Monday, July 21, 2008

Fernie Writers Conference 2008, Day 1

Day 1 for me, that is. The conference actually started on the 14th. H and I spent part of the morning in our room watching the cliff swallows feed their young as the light crawled across the mountains in the background. The swallows are nesting on the gable end of the roof that shades our balcony.

A bird lover's dream. I love the way they sound.

Then we went to Polar Peek Books, a lovely independent bookstore in downtown Fernie. There I was thrilled to see the gorgeous display of the workshop leaders' books and the books they'd recommended prior to the conference. So, for example, there was Cantos From Wolverine Creek and A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver, the book I'd listed as recommended reading for the participants, displayed side by side. Impressive.

While there I ended up buying The Cellist of Sarajevo, the latest novel by Steven Galloway which Martin Levin had mentioned during his talk. Apparently the book has caused quite a stir. H bought some books as well, adding to his impressive collection of field guides. He bought Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest, National Audubon Field Guide to Fossils and Wildlife & Trees in British Columbia.

More later.

The panel discussion titled "Shaping the work--From the inside or the outside, how does a piece form?" was scheduled to go from 2:30-4:30 and so it did. There wasn't a quiet moment.

The panelists were (left to right) Peter Oliva, Angie Abdou, John Keeble, me, and Keith Liggett. Keith started by reading and commenting on a short passage from an essay by Ray Bradbury. It can be found in Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. I was up next. I decided to let T. S. Eliot speak for me, at least at first, so I read a quote I found in Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody by Charles O. Hartman. The others followed with great opening remarks and it went from there. The time blew by.

Tonight we had the pleasure of hearing Angie Abdou and Jon Turk read from new work at The Northern Hotel in downtown Fernie. Now we're going to sit out, have some brie and enjoy the view.


tracy said...

Excellent! I hope the rest of the conference looks to be as much fun as the panel!

Brenda Schmidt said...

Thanks, Tracy! So far, so fun! It should be a fun week.

Ariel Gordon said...

Hey B,

I'm glad to hear you've arrived and are installed...

(I just heard about the cellist'll have to let me know what you think of the book.)

Brenda Schmidt said...

Will do! I take it you've arrived and are installed, too. Looking forward to updates...