Lichen on a dock railing (Maybe?)
I revel in my once a month writing group gatherings. We move living room to living room, and I consider my fellow writers the embodiment of possibility; the kind of possibilities that for others – non artistic types – are too often the first casualties of getting through the month, after month, after month.
One of them has just returned, her stories trying to catch up with her telling, from a six-day trip to Wells Gray Park, from a gathering of scientists and Lichen Bums, as she referred to them and as they refer to themselves, joined by major Canadian literary types. They convened for six days in the forest. Robert Bringhurst. Tim Lilburn. Patrick Lane. Lorna Crozier. Name after name recognizable speaking about environment, protection, sustainability and she barely able to believe that she had landed somewhere so aligned with who she is.
Another has been transformed into a modern day version of Emily Carr on a smaller scale. She’s renting out her second bedroom in a walk up off Commercial Drive that she can’t afford to live in alone. Travellers now traipse in and out as she tries to figure out how to satisfy the editor of a major New York magazine on a revised version of an article she first got published in The Tyee.
The elder, weary but still committed, in setting up a new type of writer’s working & performance space called Blumin Warehouse. She’s working 16 hour days, recognizing the unhealthiness, and craving time in nature, space to get back to that inner sacredness where creativity blooms. Driving from Jericho, to Iona Spit and outside, quiet, removed, until a chapbook burst forth materializing on the page the way styro-foam washes up on a beach.
Another proud of her balancing act in the last month between full-time work and writing time and the equation of balancing, space surfacing like the beginning of seeds previously planted; okay, it’s still possible to create, to muse even in between a full time job and fertility treatments.
And me, two months into a job – a job that demands so much writing of a different kind – wondering how to protect that last grip on my own space for creativity that always gets buried by the demands of a five day a week job; juggling my own need for time, time to think, to wander, to be in nature, and wondering how to make this time different than all the other times that I tried to make work, to balance, and didn’t.
Away in the Ukraine at an artist’s retreat.
The couch surfer, house-sitter on a mission to find a place that’s bunny friendly.
Away in Massachusetts, a place he hasn’t been in 30 years, settling his university-aged daughter into her future.
Hearing about their possibilities, reading the stories they’ve produced, leads to threads of ways of being that all people involved in an artistic focus must juggle daily. Make the time. For writers its imperative to keep our writing going, and meeting and sharing keeps it real, especially to ourselves.