It is less than a week to the start of my favorite annual literary adventure, the Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival. This year, in addition to being one of the local writers presenting at one of two local writers reading events (sort of a delightful repeating trek for me and one for which I am ever grateful,) I will be taking a 4 hour a day 5 day long writing workshop guided by author Steven Price. Each of those taking this course will have been doing quite a bit of prep, reading each other`s 20 page or thereabouts submissions, noting legibly (I strive for legible penmanship but it is not a strong suit) our writerly thoughts, appreciating so much excellent writing.
On another front, my enthusiasm for flash fiction continues. Two of my submissions this week received kind and appreciative note. In both of these brief set pieces, I entered the thinking of two quite unique characters; one, Floyd Thursby, who suffered an early off-screen demise in The Maltese Falcon, and the other, Nameless Cat, a feline narrator and witness to a deteriorating domestic tableau.
Though writing, in my experience, is a necessarily isolated (or isolating) activity, I have found two communities of writers to engage with. One is a large family of flash fiction writers, a worldwide and worldly bunch on the number of sites I have joined. The other is on Denman; 20 or more local writers who meet monthly, test drive our material, share feedback and encouragement.
This second group has been helmed and shepherded of late by JP McLean. JP`s The Gift Legacy series is an amazing accomplishment; entertaining, exciting and energizing. The fourth book in the series, Penance, has just been released and it is at the top of my summer reading list.
To maintain a healthy retired life balance, my writing endeavours share time with community volunteering. My key activity these days is serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Hornby & Denman Community Health Care Society. This wonderful non-profit provides an array of home care and children and family supports on the twin Islands of Hornby and Denman. It also reached deeply into sections of the Comox Valley and provides the leadership to the United Way funded Better at Home program.
Writers, though they inhabit worlds inside their heads, also have to live in the here and now. This I strive to do.