Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Montreal with Daughter.

Rue Clark

(photos and tales to come)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stranger in a Fresh Green World: Off I Go to Quebec

Quebec Writers' Federation Workshops

Spring Session 2011

*The phrase "Stranger in a Fresh Green World" is from Raymond Souster’s "Get the Poem Outdoors."
Friday, May 20, 5:00 p.m. to Sunday May 22 at 3:00 p.m.
Manoir d'Youville: 498, boul. d'Youville,
Île Saint-Bernard, Châteauguay QC
Cost: $260 for QWF members; $285 for non-members – single room (shared bathroom) & six meals included

Maximum number of retreat participants: 12  (WORKSHOP IS FULL)

Workshop leader: Shelley A. Leedahl

Join multi-genre Edmonton writer Shelley A. Leedahl for a dynamic weekend of writing-on-location. We will take the advice of Raymound Souster and “Get the Poem Outdoors.” Fiction and nonfiction writers are equally welcome. All that’s discussed can be applied to any genre, and writers may modify the exercises to suit their preferred genre.

You will receive encouragement and gain inspiration through readings, discussions, and critiques in a picturesque, rural setting. The focus is on walking and crafting nature-inspired poems. Several springboard exercises will be offered, and ample time is allocated for solitary walking and writing. Six meals (dinner Friday through lunch Sunday) and single-room occupancy lodging (with shared bathrooms) are provided from Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. through Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

Friday’s dinner will be followed by Leedahl’s address on the subjects of walking, writing, and place. Bring paper and pens for a meditation exercise designed to break the senses wide open. Reading material will be distributed.

After Saturday’s breakfast, we will gather for an hour-long experiential walk (participants are randomly paired and will take turns being led blindfolded for 20 - 30 minutes each) and writing response. Lunch will be followed by a brief discussion and three fun writing exercises. You will have the remainder of the afternoon to walk and write. You are also welcome to schedule time with the workshop leader for one-on-one discussions of the work you’re doing on location, to receive feedback on work previously submitted, or for general writing-related discussion.

After dinner Leedahl will present her short multi-media piece “Greig Lake Suite,” and participants will be invited to share their work with the group. This will be followed by a nocturnal walk.

Optional writing exercises will be presented on Sunday after breakfast. Free time to walk, to write, or to meet with Leedahl continues until departure at 3:00.
  • Participants are invited to e-mail the workshop leader (shelleyannleedahl@shaw.ca) with up to 10 pages of work for critique. This material must be received by May 1st.
  • Participants are required to bring writing materials (including computer), flashlights, clipboard and paper, and good walking shoes. Magnifying glasses, bird and plant books, and cameras are suggested.
Dates of Retreat:
Friday, May 20, 2011(Check-in from 2:00 p.m., Activities begin at 5:00 p.m.)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011 (Optional activities after breakfast; check-out time 11:00 a.m., lunch will be served; optional activities continue until departure at 3:00 p.m.)
Shelley A. Leedahl has been writing poetry, essays, stories, and novels almost since she learned to walk. Much of her work is walking and nature-inspired, and her poetry is often written on location (at international artist retreat centres, or in her own garden and rooms). Her eight books include The House of the Easily Amused, Orchestra of the Lost Steps, Talking Down the Northern Lights, A Few Words For January, and The Bone Talker. She recently began producing multi-media works which incorporate poetry, song, still photography and video. A long-time Saskatchewan resident and active member of that province’s writing community, Leedahl relocated to Edmonton in 2010, where she continues to write and explore the natural world. Forthcoming titles are Wretched Beast (poetry, BuschekBooks) and The Moon Watched It All (children’s illustrated, Red Deer Press). www.writersunion.ca

The Resemblance: My Son and Prince William ... I'm Just Sayin'

Logan Leedahl, On a boat in Australia

 Prince William, Somewhere

Monday, May 16, 2011

Does My Recent Love of Purple Mean I'm Getting Old?

Exhibit One (purple plaid shorts).

So I went to DOTS, because they were advertising $10 dresses, and who could pass up an amazing deal like that, right? Sunday afternoon. The DOTS on 118th St. in Edmonton is gargantuan. Dizzying. 

I go to the outer edges, begin perusing the dresses, of which very few are $10, as a matter of fact. Mostly $29.00. (Although a fellow shopper told me they were really $20 until the end of the day ... no one knew for sure.) 

Now let me tell you about these dresses. The bulk of them were the most godawful examples of "design" I've ever seen. Puckers in spots one certainly doesn't wish to accentuate ... weird belts and crazy necklines ... tucks and darts and buttons and zippers and snaps all in decidely ludicrous places. Fabrics from out of this world. Hemlines that dipsy doodled. It was 
Frankensteinian, Jeckyll and Hydian, Lucy in the Sky with diamonds and whatnots. As I filed through the racks I kept thinking about the types of odd theme parties one could host, just so they could wear these wretched pieces!

And then what did I do? Scooped up 20 items and ducked into a changeroom. Halfway through the lot I realized another sad fact: sizing at DOTS is out of whack. I am a Large at DOTS (in real life I consider myself a Medium). Everything pulled or didn't even get zipped up. I'm surprised the mirror didn't shatter in fright.

Of the 20 items, 5 were contenders ... if I could find the same items in a larger size. Could I? Nope.  But that didn't stop me from scooping up another dozen items and heading back to the change room. I mean, come on ... I'd already invested over an hour in the warehouse-like store ... I was not going to leave empty-handed.

And thus I didn't. I bought the shorts pictured above. Plaid shorts. Predominantly purple. Dress shorts ... something I can wear to work. But did I have anything to match these shorts (which I was not sure I even wanted)? No way. Back to combing through the racks. I was parched. I had to pee. It was now going on 2 hours of my time in DOTS. (Did I mention I'm not a shopper?)

So what did I find to match the shorts? Not a thing.

Onward to a place where I know I'll always find something I like ... something that suits, and fits, and the price is right: Value Village. I bought 4 T-shirts and someone's perfectly good go-go type white shoes. I was happy.

Exhibit 2 (purple file folder)

No one made me take the purple file folder (in which to insert my radio advertising scripts after they've been produced at the station.) I could have chosen slate gray, or mellow blue, or yellow like a slightly-withered lemon. But no. I chose purple.

This is the thing: more and more, I am choosing purple.

Exhibit 3 (purple floral duvet cover)

I think Greg doesn't like it, but he's too polite to say. I slipped it over our duvet while he wasn't looking. Well, it's spring. There's been all-together too little floral in this house, methinks.

And when the irises that are popping up all over the garden bloom, they'll look smashing on the bedside table beside this romantic duvet.

My daughter at 24 Sussex.

It's not everyday one's invited to 24 Sussex to dine with the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, his wife Laureen Harper, and company.

Taylor and her partner Megan Lane were invited to a dinner party at the PMs after Megan performed at an Arts Event in Ottawa. Taylor is wearing the red bandana in the photo. You can see Laureen (blonde, blue dress) behind her, and in the background, you can see Stephen (bespeckled, back to the window.)

Taylor also recently made the acquaintance of the former Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean.

Wow, I say. Wow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A weekend in Calgary\High River with Family, Hats, Volleyball, and Sunshine

My brother has a number of hats -- perhaps hundreds -- from a French Foreign Legion original to homemade numbers; a top hat ala "Deadwood" to toppers he's picked up in his travels around the world. With each hat is a story. Or many stories. Two things about my brother: he tells a good story, and he loves his hats.

Unfortunately he and his wife Laurel cannot attend our spring BBQ\wear-a-hat to the deck party in June, but he did give me some ideas as to what I might wear at the soiree. I think I'll go with the French Foreign Legion hat, which Kirby acquired through his friend Felix, who picked up it in Germany while he was serving his post-school duty.

Me in the French Foreign Legion hat, Kirby in a hat one of his friend's made.

Kirby looking decidely sheik.

This hat has lost its fairytale.

Hm. How many 45 year old's still have their hat from Cubs?

So that's what you look like with hair!

Most of the weekend we were watching Greg's daughter Anna play volleyball at Rally Pointe (a volleyball complex in SE Calgary). Her team from Medicine Hat won Gold!

At the courts.

In between games I visited with my long-time friend Gail Fleck

and Greg and I got out for a brilliant run on the first really warm day we've experienced this year.

I read poetry aloud most of the way home -- Greg actually asked me to! I bought Canadian John Steffler's That Night We Were Ravenous (McLelland & Stewart, 1998, 2007) last week at Audrey's Book Store, and what a score.

He writes "we plan a high culture built \ low to the ground"  ("Primitive Renaissance"), and oh, so much more.