“Writing With the Old Ones”
Having read several novels by Richard Wagamese, (Ragged Company, Indian Horse, and Dream Wheels), I knew as soon as I found out he offers workshops, that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from him. In the spring I registered for a workshop that was to take place in August, and was sent a copy of his handbook, “Writing with the Old Ones: From the Oral Tradition to the Printed Page”
After reading the handbook, I read two more of Richard’s books – compilations of essays about his life: One Native Life and One Story, One Song – and I felt, even more than I had before, what an honour it would be to work with this remarkable man.
A few weeks before I was to head to BC for the workshop, I received word that it had been cancelled. I was disappointed, of course. But the cliché that ‘when one door closes, another opens’ proved true. In the days I anticipated being in BC as part of a workshop group, I instead:
- attended the last Sunrise Yoga class being led by my favourite instructor before she goes on sabbatical
- hosted an impromptu lunch on our deck on a perfect summer day for a small gathering of friends
- visited two photography exhibits at the McMichael gallery with my dad and my partner
- had my stepdaughter and two grandchildren for dinner and an overnight stay
- enjoyed dinner at the home of my son and his wife, which was a chance to see my daughter too
- had my sister and her dog up for a weekend visit.
- took in a movie at the Bookshelf Cinema with my partner.
- headed to Nova Scotia earlier than originally planned, to take advantage of the chance to spend Labour Day weekend with my other stepdaughter and her family.
I really appreciated these opportunities to spend time with family and friends. Each in their own ways, they’re as important to me as writing is. (In some ways, of course, they matter even more.) But my writing life is important to me; so is becoming a better writer as I continue to practice my craft. So I do hope the chance to work with Richard Wagamese will present itself again, some day.
I also hope visitors to my blog have enjoyed opportunities to spend summer days in wonderfully satisfying ways too. And hey, it’s not over yet, is it!
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.