29 August 2013

I think I'm going to like it here

With our childcare finally figured out (knock on wood, DID YOU HEAR THAT UNIVERSE? I'm KNOCKING!), I've been able to be up at the CSRS two mornings this week. I've attended Coffee Talk and have been working on my course. (A little hiccup when it was pointed out that the week I thought was Reading Break was in fact a whole month before when it actually is, meant a lot of swearing and then some quick fixing. All will be good.)

Today's Coffee Talk was complete freeform. There were eight of us around the table and while the chat started out with one of the Fellows* describing a bit of the work he's doing regarding pre-Christian Celtic religion and Celtic Christianity (truly interesting work), the conversation veered into a discussion including, but not limited to: Westerns (as in the literary genre), Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, eco-neo-paganism, the Holocaust, genocide, Cormac McCarthy, representations of the "settler" mythology, First Nations history, Scottish history, the responsibility of an author when writing about history, and Deadwood.

It was a great discussion and I'm so excited that I get to be a part of this community. Such a smart, interesting group of people.

*At first I thought people were using "fellow" as a charming way of saying "man" or "person", but I've now learned it's an academic term. I still think it's charming.

21 August 2013

great fiction

Last night I went to a reading at Russell Books. New to me, though I've heard/read her name everywhere since moving to Victoria, Yasuko Thanh read from her much lauded book Floating Like the Dead, my dear friend Lee Henderson read from his incredible The Man Game, and in the category of "friend who I feel like I know thanks to social media, but am only meeting in person for the first time now", Amanda Leduc who read from her book that I'm itching to start reading The Miracles of Ordinary Men.

I got to be read great fiction, chat with people I've been wanting to talk with for a while, and be out at night. My only regret, that I hadn't remembered the reading until 7pm. If I had remembered earlier I would have been able to look a little nicer for the event, but the flash of it meant a flurry of trying to get the family loaded in the car so that I could be dropped off at the bookstore. (I can't drive thanks to my knee and transit would have meant too much walking/not enough time.) It was madness, but I don't think anyone minded my dishevelled state. Or if they did, they were too polite to let on.

20 August 2013

a beginning

Today was my first full day at the CSRS, the first day that I felt in my position as Artist-in-Residence (AiR). I had hoped to have started the day with a little blogging but with my bum knee (long story short: camping, slipping, pain, swelling, ripped ligaments, knee brace, hobbling) I was slow in unpacking books, setting up my space. Just as I was to open to blogger, I heard the sweet bell that rings the community to Coffee Talk, an hour long discussion period for members of the community (and this could mean you, too, all are welcome) to come together for an hour every day. Sometimes the discussions are open, sometimes they are about a set subject, and other times, like today, they centre around visiting guests or a specific presentation.

I found my first Coffee Talk interesting. Patricia Vickers and Glyn Ramkeesoon introduced us to their methodology in working with people overcoming trauma, specifically the work they do in BC's Indigenous communities. (You can see their site here. Conversation was rich and I had many questions, but unfortunately I missed the opportunity to ask any, as I had to duck out a few minutes before the end as I was meeting a student to chat about the upcoming course I'm teaching. Yes, you read that right, I'm teaching a class at UVic this fall--Advanced Forms and Techniques in Poetry. I'm very excited and have been prepping this course pretty much the second after it was confirmed that I'd be teaching it. It's a big class in scope and size. I haven't decided whether or not I'll be blogging about the class at all or not. I guess we'll see.

My first full day as AiR felt too short. Six hours was not enough to do all I wanted to do, but oh what a gift it was to have the time and space to get things done. I can't tell you how excited I am to be part of the community at the CSRS and to start creating there.