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Sunday, March 15, 2009

A WINDY WALK ON THE BEACH AND WRITING

JERICHO BEACH
I'm lucky because one of my writing groups (The Brock House Writers) is located right by this beach, one of Vancouver's finest recreation areas. So on Wednesday when I had finished my morning group and had lunch with a few of the writers, I went for a refreshing stroll down the beach. It was a brisk, windy morning, still bitterly cold but so clear with the skyline and mountains dazzling in the distance. I like to walk when I am sorting out my thoughts and working on new writing. Over this long, snowy winter I haven't had the daily walks that mean so much to my well-being but the last few days have been bright and sunny. So I took advantage of it, even though a chill wind was blowing that nearly froze my fingers as I took photos along the way. Living on the Coast you learn to take full advantage of the sunny days, and yes, it has started to rain again. Somehow I sense Spring is creeping up on us though, as the next day, while walking in the West End, I spotted the first buds of the cherry blossoms on the trees that line the streets where I have my Thursday morning memoir group.


EBB TIDE AND CITY SKYLINE

I have had a particularly busy Fall and Winter, as I took on a few extra classes in order to make a bit of money toward my planned visit to Wales and Greece at the end of May. Unfortunately it has eaten up some of my personal writing time, so I'm falling a little behind with work on SHADOW. Besides the classes, I also write four pieces a week for the online travel guide Planet Eye (check out my new stories, now with photos, at http://thevancouverguide.planeteye.com ) In addition to all this, I am editing/publishing my on-line travel 'zine. And the new stories will be up by next week so check it out at www.travelthruhistory.com (I'm not making any money on this venture -- so please click the ads so I can ) I have received many inspiring accolades from all corners of the world about the quality of the site. And I am amazed at the many stories that get contributed for the publication.

A lot of my own writing time is spent in research and my table is always piled with papers and books. Before I start each section I must go through and check and I am trying my best to be accurate in spite of the fact a lot of the 'facts' are contradictory. Then I write, then I workshop, then I rewrite -- again and again. (So often what I post here as snippets are early drafts). It's an inspiration (and also sometimes a learning experience) for me when I instruct the classes. In particular the novel-writer's workshop I have been conducting at home once a week -- a new writers who started out in my night school classes. But I find the time races by and I still have so much work to do on SHADOW just to finish the complete story. (And then the final work on the final draft which will happen over the summer. I want to have it ready enough to speak to an agent/editor at next Fall's Surrey Writer's Conference).

Most of my classes are finishing for the Winter sessions but will soon begin again in April. The Brock House group has asked me to continue right through and I'll continue with the novel writing workshop at least until the end of March. In the midst of all this business, one must take time to reflect, relax, and enjoy. So, I grab the opportunity each time we have a bright, sunny day like this one was and I head down to the Park or the beach or even just stroll the neighbourhood. I've always been a 'walking writing' and get some of my most inspiring thoughts while I am strolling along. (And always remember to have that notebook and pen handy!) I recall early drafts of SHADOW written while I was spending time in Greece, and a lot of my ideas came flooding into mind as I walked up and down the mountainside from my shepherd's village on the island of Evvia, or while I basked in the sun and swam in the Aegean Sea.

Last night I went to the theatre with my friends to see a rare production of "Coriolanus" by Shakespeare, a difficult play rarely produced. The director was a friend of mine (he starred in a lead role in my own play "The Street" back in 2000) and the play was staged in modern dress as so often is the case these days. It's an interesting, if not a bit confusing. Strangely, while listening and watching, a flood of ideas and thoughts came to me for SHADOW. Now I feel I can make some progress this week, sort out the tangled threads, and move on to THE END.




SEA GULL SENTINEL


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