Done. Done!

I am done. First draft of the novel was finished last night, in the quiet of the studio. So, so much work. I ploughed through it this last week, piecing together the work I’d already done, thinking about the story and the characters, and writing new material. The writing I’ve done here — the last third of the book, basically — feels like a truer, more authentic voice. There’s a marked difference (to my eyes, at least) between it and the earlier work. But now that I’ve found that voice, I think I can hold onto it, sustain it through […]


Banff has been magical. I’m more than halfway through my residency, and I’ve been chased by deer, started by pine martens, and nervously looking out my window for the grizzly bear the Park Service has warned us about. Bear 148 is wandering around the area, eating people’s jack o’ lanterns and looking for berries. Which is just fine until you realize, as my friends Chris and Sarah say, that there are at least 147 other bears out there. I’m sleeping better than I ever have at a Banff residency, and writing well. I had a meeting with my editor (over […]

Tucked away at the Banff Centre.

I promise that there is, in fact, writing going on. Really. Truly. But also a trip up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Lunch in town with good company, and then a trip up the gondola where the rain turned to snow. Lots of snow. These tourists were pretty excited about it: And we managed to catch the eclipse, which I was pretty excited about: So the plan for today is more writing. I have a meeting with my editor in the morning on Google Hangouts, some laundry going, and a plan to write like the wind. The novel feels […]

Home again.

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! 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 […]

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

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 […]

Walking into the dark woods.

On Thursday night, there were two concerts and a volleyball game between the Montagues and the Capulets (the cast of a production of Romeo and Juliet are here; I can just barely see them working on swordplay and movement rehearsals from where I sit to write). But there was also the night walk and bonfire with a local guide and naturalist. I put my name on the list, thinking that the bonfire would be nice. I really nice a nice wood fire. As it turned out, I was the only one to turn up for the night walk and bonfire […]

The sounds of the Banff Centre.

Here are some of the sounds and sights of the Banff Centre. There was an art project. The artists came by our tables at lunch and asked us to come and help make noise for their piece; they gave us mallets and asked us to bang on their glass sculptures. One of the musicians brought a violin, and the rest of us made a strange, eerie concert. There are the ravens and the chickadees, and the sound of the snow under your feet when you go for a walk. And the little bonfire we had after a night hike (which […]