It’s a long time since I wrote a blog, except for those used on our festival website (spiritofthehills); for as I chaired Spirit of the Hills Arts Association’s 2019 festival of the arts committee, the series of events we planned and executed consumed my time and me for many months. The committee’s dedication and constancy over this period were crucial and I am happy to report that the festival was a success. This being our second, we extended its length, added some new events to the core ones we developed last time and were delighted when the Lieutenant Governor Ontario accepted our invitation to visit and come to our opening reception. So, now as the snow is piling up and the colourful last days of October are long gone, what are we left with? Dramatic productions, dance performances, a concert and a multi-media afternoon involving poetry, videos, music and performance of a choral poem, workshops and panel discussions are ephemeral after all, though we are fortunate to have a record of some of the events on videos made by one of our number, poet, Wally Keeler, and uploaded to You Tube.
But there is a more permanent creation from the festival, this year’s anthology Hill Spirits IV. It is available as a paperback or an e-book on Amazon worldwide, Barnes and Noble and Indigo in Canada. Gwynn Scheltema, Susan Statham and I were the editors of the anthology for a fourth time. The theme for this volume is “sharing” and this one word elicited a wide variety of writing from Spirit of the Hills authors. Some wrote about the value and benefits of sharing while others considered some of its pitfalls—secrets or greed for instance. The collection contains poetry, short stories, memoirs and nonfiction; in short there is, as ever, something for everyone. I love anthologies!
This fall too, I have been working with an e-book editor and my publisher on an online edition of my novel, Alone: A Winter in the Woods, which I hope will be released early in 2020. And of course our radio show, Word on the Hills continues. Gwynn Scheltema and I have acquired a new team member, Chris Cameron, who loves editing the shows and sharing the interviewing. If you ever become curious about writers living or visiting east-central Ontario, listen in to a programme or two on wordonthehills.com
When I get absorbed by large projects and also need to keep long term engagements going, I tend to think that I’ll never get back to writing new stuff myself, so I found one of Brigid Whelan’s recent Quotes for Writers on her blog, Brigid Whelan—Writer, particularly encouraging,
Writing or making anything — a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake — has self-respect in it. You’re working. You’re trying. You’re not lying down on the ground, having given up. Sharon Olds
Perhaps January will bring inspiration… In the meantime, Happy Holidays and lots of chocolate cake!