Saturday, December 8, 2012

Inspiration, Imagination, Intuition: Email Writing Workshop

This seven-week email workshop will be of interest to anyone who wants to explore the creative process through writing. It will benefit both beginning and established writers in all genres from fiction and poetry to technical writing and memoir. Participants will: 

  •  make the space to write – physical, mental, emotional  
  • practice easy and effective writing guidelines to move through creative blocks     
  • hush those internal nay-saying voices that lead to abandoned writing projects
  • enjoy writing opportunities that invite the muse to play
  • bring mindful awareness to the creative process

How the workshop will work:

-      Each week the facilitator will email a short discussion of an aspect of the writing/creative  process, along with an opportunity to practice through a specific writing exercise.
-      If they choose to, participants will email back their responses: short excerpts from what they have written in response to the assignment; and/or insights that arose from completing the assignment.
-      With participants’ permission, a selection of these responses will be sent anonymously as encouragement to all workshop participants.

The seven-week workshop will begin January 8. Cost is $85.00. Payment by check, cheque or Paypal. Registration deadline: January 4. 

I will donate 30% of tuition to the Zen Monastery Peace Center

What previous participants in the workshop have said:

clear, imaginative and supportive
- KM, British Columbia 

It was fun to open an e-mail and see what was in store for me that week. This is a wonderful and gentle way to start coming out as a writer.
JZ, Alberta

Your questions for us regarding the ideal writing space had me traveling ...emotionally....physically...historically...habitually...returning to my own home place.
CW, Saskatchewan

To register, contact: 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pages and Patches: Review of Watermarks

Pages and Patches: Watermarks - Laura Burkhart:
Watermarks Author: Laura Burkhart
Publisher: Wild Sage Press Web:

You might suppose creative licence means you can do whatever you like as an artist, but much like any licence, say for driving, hunting, or practicing medicine, there are rules to follow. Creative licence isn’t a hall pass into anarchy – artists have an obligation to their craft to make it worth our attention and time. Some art might teach, while other art might simply teach the lesson of beauty.
                Laura Burkhart’s Watermarks is a collection of Carpe Diem poetry, the purpose of which is to teach us to seize the day, and by extension, our lives. To find fulfilling personal experiences, Burkhart’s poems seem to say, is a pursuit of transcendence above our egos. After all, the final piece, a sonnet titled “Time”, ends with the phrase, “Time is of the essence. Who said that?” Burkhart’s question perhaps points to our desire to find answers at the risk of missing the point.
                We are finite; one day even our legacies will be watermarks on stone. Why not leave a beautiful mark?
                I don’t mean to turn this review into an epistemology discussion – because truly, Burkheart’s Watermarks is a tour of gaping wonder. While asking the big questions about life, her command of sound alone lifts us to that higher plane of the sublime. Note the lilting line in “Household Effects”:
                                An accessory to beautify, frou-frou embellishment, gimcrack knickknack, maybe one
                             they chose together on a rare outing to the country on one Sunday afternoon touring
                                antique shops.
The speaker in this poem discusses her curiosity regarding a news story about a woman who murders her husband with a “household ornament.” The poem is both an absurd seize-the-day story and, simply, is a lot of fun to read.
                Many of Burkhart’s works are playful, such as the opening “Advice from Noah’s Wife”, in which the prophet’s marital partner questions the logistics of the biblical journey and her husband, who needs looking after just as much as the animals. Gender is a prominent theme of Watermarks, as many of the female voices are empathizing tourists journeying through Hawaii, the Middle East, and Asia. Their surroundings are mystical, and the people in them are curiosities, sometimes tragically so.
                The transition from ecstasy to tragedy is stark in Watermarks. “Feed Me”, an example of ecstasy, is a call to worldly delights:
                                Start with that strawberry, the crimson one,
                                plump drops of moisture on its skin. Then move on
                                to praise a poet, Rumi say, or sing a psalm
                                of David to Bathsheba. Next on the menu
                                a belly laugh so deep and pure it attaches
                                to my wit and holds me tight
                                as you do in the night.
Several poems later, we are brought to “Burdened As We Are”. Here, “Headstones grow from our spines.” The transition from “Feed Me,” where the body is built for pleasure becomes a thing that will ultimately pass. Burkhart teaches us to pass on to the next life, without passing up this one.

Devin Pacholik is a book reviewer with Global News Regina, an Editor with Fine Lifestyles, Business Regina, and Business Saskatoon magazines, a humourist, and author.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hawaiian Launch a Success!

The room  was filled to overflowing. Members of the
Inkwells read from their work, and selected poems
from Watermarks made their Hawaiian debuts.

Food, fun, and visiting until the library closed.Lauren Lobowocki, talented local caterer, augmented the food and mulled cider with excerpts from the poems. Yes, the fruit on the platter is all locally-grown.

More photos to follow (photo of me by Elena Graham; food photos by me). I'm also figuring out how to upload an audio file (MP3) of one of the poems.

Inkwell readers were Michael Foley, Julia Rooney and Lynn Mallard - watch for more from them!
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