The Upside of November

I’m leaning on my Irish and Scottish lineage to celebrate the Celtic New Year, which began at sunset on October 31st. A time to give thanks for the harvest and welcome the season ahead. It’s a nice theme for this newsletter. There’s been a plentiful harvest of literary festivals this fall. Community  celebrations of  readers, writers, artists, brought together by book-loving visionaries and volunteers. I travelled south to Word on the Street in Lethbridge and north to Words in the Park in Sherwood Park for Alberta Culture Days. 

    Whistler Book Awards I was over-the (harvest)-moon excited when Separation Anxiety was shortlisted for an inaugural Whistler Independent Book Award in the non-fiction  category. Winners would be announced at the Whistler Writers Festival  on  October 13-16, the same dates (darn it!) that I would be 9000 kilometers away in China.

This is the text message I received while standing in a gentle rain beneath the Smiling Buddha in Jinan: “YOU WON!!!!!!!”  Thanks to Page Two’s  Jesse  Finkelstein for attending the event. Thanks to organizers, sponsors, and judges of the  Whistler Independent Book Awards. CONGRATULATIONS to all award recipients highlighted here in  Quill & Quire.

I’m looking forward to more travels  with Separation Anxiety in the season  ahead. I’m still having so much fun spreading the word(s)!

NEW! Writeshops  Even though the days are getting colder and the nights longer,  we have more time to think, reflect, gather memories and seed intentions.

In that spirit, I’m pleased to introduce Writeshops — writing workshops that are more play than work — that invite you to explore the possibilities in your own writing. Through a variety of writing “nudges,” you are encouraged to simply be in the present moment: to write where you are. The silence of these writing sessions is balanced with helpful hints, lively discussions and an exchange of wonderful stories. Writeshop spaces are always inspiring, often surprising. Cafés, bookstores, libraries, living rooms. Any place there is a table to gather around and room to roam on a page.  I will travel to right where you are!   Upcoming dates: “Gift of Story” Writeshop   Saturday November 19, 1:o0 – 3:30 pm Pandora’s Boox & Tea, Olds. Monday December 5,  7:00 – 9:00 pm Second Cup Café,  Southpointe Common, Red Deer Visit the Write Where You Are website for Writeshop descriptions, dates for 2017, and registration details. Follow us on  Facebook  for Writeshop news, too.

Footnote… In the stillness of this new season, I’ll be working on a new story that Separation Anxiety has seeded. By the time those “Daydream” tulip bulbs I just planted in my garden are green shoots poking through the last skiff of snow, I’m hoping there’s the  beginnings of a book on these pages.  In the meantime, sending you warm November wishes, Miji