Posts Tagged ‘Autumn’

Fall is in the air

September 2, 2015

Technically, it’s still summer, but with many people heading back to school and the long summer drought finally ending here on the BC coast, it feels like fall has arrived. The long string of dry hot days has also turned many leaves prematurely brown.

For years after I finished high school and university, I used to get itchy feet this time of year and feel that excited flutter in my chest that comes with the anticipation of seeing old friends again, the potential of meeting new ones, and (in university years) wondering what exciting vistas new classes might be about to open for me. In more recent years, this feeling seems to have morphed into a yearning to travel in the fall ─to explore new places and admire fall colours in different locations.

 

autumn wind─
I have the sudden urge
to buy school supplies

 

park

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Inspired by fall leaves and history

November 23, 2012

I thought I’d share a glimpse into the wonderful writing retreat I experienced last month at Spark Box Studio near Picton Ontario (with funding gratefully received from the Canada Council!). A whole week without distractions, focusing on the craft of writing historical picture books! I was particularly interested in exploring the question, “How do I take a huge topic such as the War of 1812 and hone in on a small story suitable for children?”

To help me get on the right footing for my retreat, I stopped in Toronto beforehand to meet with children’s book author Monica Kulling, for a thoughtful and inspiring discussion about writing historical stories for children. Her latest book, Lumpito and the Painter from Spain, about a little dog who touched the life of Pablo Picasso, was hot off the press, and provided a great example (I love the dog, illustrated by Dean Griffiths).

Next, I took a side trip to soak up some War of 1812 history and watch the reenactment of the Battle of Queenston Heights near Niagara Falls. The boom of cannons, smell of smoke, calls of the soldiers, costumes of the military and civilian reenactors, and the cool, damp fall day helped to cast a spell that opened a window into the past.

At Spark Box Studio, I started each day with a solitary walk between farmers’ fields. The empty fields, subdued colours, and the whispers and rustles of leaves and grasses that followed me as I walked, made it easy to imagine a young girl two hundred years in the past, standing on the edge of a field, hearing the distant boom of cannon and cracks of musket fire. I felt like I was walking with one foot in the present and one in the past as I wrote these haiku:

.

autumn wind

on the lonely path

many voices

.

 

whispering grasses

the words always

out of reach

.

While it was great to have so much time to myself to think and write,  talking with the creative hosts and other guests at Spark Box Studio was also enriching. And, despite that last haiku, the words weren’t out of reach. I finished the first draft of a picture book story and concluded the retreat feeling buoyed in spirit, recharged and reinspired to continue writing…

November morning

November 27, 2009

 

Exciting to wake up to sunshine instead of rain again this morning (that’s two days in a row here on the wet coast!). The view from my kitchen window inspired a quick haiku:

mist weaves through tree trunks

as houses warm this morning

sunlight holds last leaves

 

And another image from this morning:

I have yet to see a coyote since we moved beside the ravine, but I’m keeping my eyes open (especially late at night when I let the dog out to pee before bed — and hoping the dog won’t give chase if we spy one).

As for writing, I’m actually back working on my neglected novel (yeah! I was getting a bit worried I’d forgotten how to write), but progress on unpacking boxes and setting up my office seems to have stalled.