My Banff Centre residency so far (it’s great!).

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It’s been going beautifully. I arrived at the Banff Centre on Monday afternoon. The room was ready for me, so I picked up my ID card and put my suitcase away, and then went down to town to run my pre-writing errands: lunch at McDonalds (I have no explanation why, but it’s now a ritual), a little bit of a wander to stretch my legs, and then to the grocery store to pick up some things for breakfasts. I have another kitchen suite, so I can make myself toast and putter around in the morning without rushing to make the breakfast buffet. I stopped in at my favourite florist, too, and ordered flowers for my desk.

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And then back up the hill to unpack the suitcase and set up my writing space. There’s a very large desk available, but I prefer to use the dining room table in front of the patio door. I’ve got a view of Tunnel Mountain as I work – I can look up and just see the top of it.

Fred is here, and enjoying his residency, too. We’ve been having meals together and going for walks and rambles around the campus.

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As you do, when you’re a self-directed writer. No structure, us. Unsupervised. We’re having a lot of fun!

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We went to a geology walk and talk lecture given by Jim Olver, and I learned a new way to appreciate Banff and the Banff Centre. Jim talked to us about the geological history of the mountains here (they were all under the sea! The old rock is on the top of the mountains!) and then took us outside to hunt for fossils.

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This is, I think, my fourteenth residency here, and I’m still stunned by the views. It’s hard not to feel inspired when you’ve got this view at meals:

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The writing is going very well.

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I’ve worked out plot, thanks to help from Kirk (who runs our Dungeons and Dragons games, and is even more diabolical than I thought…which is saying something). The novel is taking shape; the characters feel more, well, solid. Scrapping that first draft and starting over seems to be the right path. I thought so at the time, but it feels confirmed this week. I’ve been waffling over structure, but I think I’ve found my balance. And since it is a first draft (maybe second, I guess), I can always go back and change things if I need to.

As much as I enjoyed my sky palace at the Palliser, coming to the Banff Centre feels like coming to a second home. It’s hard to believe that the first week is done; there’s just one more. But then I remember that I’ll be back in just four weeks (!) to start my Leighton residency. I am so immensely grateful to the Banff Centre for the time, the space, and the support.

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