Lectio

Back in Banff.

By Heather Clitheroe - October 22, 2014

I am happily ensconced in another residency at the Banff Centre. The last for this year (I’ve applied to go back in January; waiting to hear on that but I’m not too worried). The weather is still very autumnal. Cool and crisp, a bit rainy. A bit of fresh snow up on the mountains. I went for a hike with a guide yesterday, but otherwise, I’ve been working away in my studio.

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It’s such a privilege to get to be here. The writing is going well.

Banff Centre redux.

By Heather Clitheroe - October 18, 2014

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I’m packing up the rolling suitcase again and making my way west, to the Banff Centre. I was there just three weeks ago, but it feels like it’s been much longer. I’m going out there to try to finish the novel.

That is perhaps the most exciting and terrifying thing I could type. But I’m going to try to do it. I have my notes, my outlines, a diabolical plot, and the characters fixed firmly in my mind. Now all I have to do is complete the execution. Get the fire started, so to speak. I’m on vacation for the next three weeks, and I’m going to try to squeeze everything I can out of the project. And still take some time to lie about, reading in my pajamas.

So, packing. Naturally the cat is lying on anything dark.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Heather Clitheroe - October 13, 2014

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We had a lovely turkey dinner last night: turkey, potatoes, turnip, peas and carrots, stuffing, and apple pie for dessert, as our guest didn’t care for pumpkin. The pumpkin pie is for today, with the turkey sandwiches.

Amazing to think that this time last year, I was still preparing to go back to work after surgery, worrying about how it would go.

Today I’m going to lounge about, read a Georges Simenon mystery (the translated Inspector Maigret novels are being rereleased by Penguin, hurray!), and do some writing. It’s the perfect way to spend the holiday.

Saturday.

By Heather Clitheroe - October 11, 2014

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Another week comes to a close; I had dinner with a coworker (we’ve decided we’re now friends first and coworkers second) and then hopped on the train to head out to the burbs for Dungeons and Dragons night.

It’s a happy routine I have. The steady pace of the work week, the writing I do in the mornings, the gaming nights with friends. I’m shortly on my way back to the Banff Centre for the second installment of my autumn writing residency, and that will have its own routine: of writing, of meals, of looking at the mountains. I’m going to go out on a guided hike while I’m there (there’s no way I’d walk in the woods by myself).

Tomorrow is our Thanksgiving dinner; I’ve got Monday off to read and work on the novel.

Catching the eclipse.

By Heather Clitheroe - October 8, 2014

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I didn’t get up to see the full event, but I saw the tail end up the eclipse as I got ready for work — the moon still partially covered in shadow, eaten up by it. A lovely way to start the day: a wondrous, beautiful thing.

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It was over by the time I left the apartment. Off to start the day, get on the bus, shuffle to the back. Life continues.

Saturday.

By Heather Clitheroe - October 4, 2014

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The first week back at work went quickly, but whew, it was a busy one. Meetings almost every day, and the long slog through emails. Still, I’ve kept the momentum I gained at Banff going and I’ve been writing steadily. Not nearly as much as I do in the mountains, of course, but reading through what I’ve written, and working on a new scene.

I’m heading back to Banff in two weeks. Hardly seems real, I’m so lucky.

Home again.

By Heather Clitheroe - September 26, 2014
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The view from the dinner table. Simply amazing.

Well, I’m home again — back in Calgary. The residency was wonderful. Really great writing accomplished, and a good start on this third draft of a novel. Maybe this draft is the one? I hope so!

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On one of our evening rambles. We were ‘self-directed’ writers, so Fred and I wandered, unsupervised, and with no schedule.

I came home a day and a half early…something I ate wasn’t really agreeing with me. There was a midnight escapade with a vole in the room that got in from outside (not surprising, really, given that it’s on the side of a mountain in a national park). These things do happen, and I was offered a new room for the night. Fred, bless him, came to help me move.

Needless to say, though, I’m a little tired. I was happy to clamber onto the Brewster bus and start the trek home.

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Even the views on the way home are lovely.

It was a really good residency. It was wonderful to spend it with Fred, who is still in Banff today…lovely to have a friend along for the ride, to talk to at meals and head out on walks. And have campfires.

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My first time roasting marshmallows on a campfire.

We were even lucky enough to see a fawn one evening, coming back from a walk:

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This fawn stepped out of the landscaping as we came back from a walk.

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Its mother was in the bushes, and the fawn kept up a running commentary. ‘Mom! Mom! Hey, mom! Mom, I’m over here. Mom! Mom! Mom!’

I’m heading back to Banff in about three weeks for a Leighton studio residency — a lovely little cabin in the woods for me, and more intense work on the novel. The first section is finished; there are at least two more to go, and I think it’s going to be a great story. Here’s hoping!

And…I got author pictures done. There was a wilderness photography workshop running, and one of the photographers, Daniel Paquet, offered to do some portraits of me. There are some truly extraordinary pictures. I admit that I did not see myself this way, and it’s pretty liberating to see such lovely shots.

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Now all I have to do is publish a novel. And believe me, I’m working on it.