It’s been good.

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The continuing saga of a writing residency. The writer takes a day off.

Baby Banff comes to visit.

Oh, and the ping pong match? It went ahead as planned. The Writing with Style team didn’t show up, so we were the victors by default. I will point out, however, that we would have one, because the pong is strong in the Leighton Artists’ Colony. Very strong.

Baby Banff comes to visit.

Saturday was quiet – post-finishing quiet. Baby Banff (and his parents) came to visit me in the studio, and then we went out to lunch. It was lovely!

At the Banff Centre.

It’s been a quiet day for me. With the novel finished, I’m a bit at loose ends, to be honest…I’m too ‘written out’ to think about starting anything new, and I feel like it’s too soon to begin make revisions to what I’ve written. I’ve separated everything out into chapters and it’s sitting on my desk here in the Hemingway studio, looking very massive. I can’t quite believe that I finished. Me? I finished a novel? Really?

Chilly morning.

And yet, there it sits: a novel that is very much finished. A novel that is entirely my own making (thought Gabe the poet keeps offering to write a guest chapter).

Finished novel. First draft.

So today I read for a while, and then I walked down to Banff and visited the Whyte Museum. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time inside the museum itself; the main attraction, for me, was the visit to two historic homes located on the property. They’re maintained in the style that they would have been around the 1930s, and quite gorgeous.

Whyte house.

I think I’d like to live in the Whyte house.

Whyte house.

Whyte house.

Whyte house.

Check out the curtains in the Moore house – best ever!

Curtain in the Moore house.

Moore house.

I was fascinated to have a look at the books on the shelves of the Whyte’s house and the Moore’s house. They were, unfortunately, behind glass…so the pictures didn’t turn out well (and I couldn’t pick the books up to look through them…drat!). One thing that struck me was how many of the books seemed to be for younger readers. When I googled some of the titles, later, my suspicion was confirmed. The tour guide commented that the Whytes had no children of their own, but when Catherine married Peter Whyte and came to live in Banff, she wrote home to ask that all of her books be sent up, and also, apparently, kept collecting books. The guide said that they were happy to lend books to people living in Banff, including children – the rule was that you could borrow a book so long as you returned it, and then you could take another. I suspect – and it’s only a hunch – that Catherine Whyte intentionally filled her shelves with children’s books, in part to help provide reading material to young readers in an isolated community…but also so that she’d have a steady stream of children traipsing through the snow to her house with books tucked under their arms. There’s no way to know for sure. But to judge by her books, she kept a number of books that would have been enticing to a young reading. Daring Deeds of Polar Explorers certainly looks like something that would have thrilled several generations of young readers.

Books in the Moore house.

I also visited the the Banff Park Museum. Though it’s mainly a collection of taxidermy, the museum building is quite amazing – really astonishing to see. I did get a change to look at a marten up close, but it wasn’t nearly as thrilling to see as the pine marten that I’ve been watching from my chair in my studio.

Banff Park Museum.

They had a little exhibit of Norman Bethune Sanson‘s office, too – very neat to see:

Sanson's office.

This is his little hut on top of Sulphur Mountain, too. If you take the gondola up (or if you hike up), you can walk along a boardwalk that follows the ridge up to the highest peak on Sulphur Mountain, which has been named for him. His hut – he used to go up the mountain once or twice a day – has been preserved and you can peer in to see how it used to be.

Sanson's peak - the cabin.

I also splurged and bought myself some ammolite jewelry to commemorate the residency:


And then I came trotting back to the Banff Centre, just ahead a squall of rain and wind. I dropped in on the library and picked up The Short Stories of John Cheever and The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories. I don’t have a hope of finishing either, but I’m going to have a good browse though them.

The residency is coming to an end now. I have one full day left, and I’m scheduled to leave on Tuesday morning…though I’m thinking that I might go back Monday night so that I can sleep in my own bed. I don’t go back to work until the next week, but with the bulk of the writing done, I’m really thinking hard about schoolwork and reading that’s piling up – not so much the grind, really, as realizing that I’ve got to hop back onto the merry-go-round of the day to day. It’s been so wonderful to escape to the studio here, and to enjoy it. But with the novel completed, and time to spare, it occurs to me that my holiday is over; it’s time to go home. I finished what I set out to do when I first arrived. And poor Luna is waiting for me…she’s missed two weekends of lap sitting.

The meals:
Breakfast: eggs and bacon, toast and fruit (and coffee!)
Lunch: tuna sandwich and french fries; strawberry tart and iced tea
Dinner: Salmon with a white wine sauce, rice, and zucchini, brownies and mint tea for dessert

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