Returning to Kingston, Ontario, is always special for me. When I first decided that I was going to write, be a writer—go for it—I began by attending a workshop here. That was about 25 years ago.
Returning to Kingston always brings back memories of that long-ago self, memories of my longing to be a writer, of walking along the shoreline lost in thought, memories of my flying elation over my instructor’s encouragement. Memories of attending the inspiring readings given by writers—writers I regarded with awe, writers who are now my good friends.
Each time I return, I add another layer of experience. For two years I’ve been coming to the Kingston WritersFest.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Joan Thomas, whose book Curiosity I mentioned earlier in this blog (a novel now long-listed for the Giller). Her workshop on narrative voice and point-of-view has me thinking, considering loosening the fixed “narrative distance” I’ve imposed on the novel I’m writing now.
Last night, Jane Urquhart interviewed Joyce Carol Oates on-stage. Oates had finished a novel at 1:00 that morning. She said that for months it had felt like crawling across a floor pushing a peanut with my nose. That, believe me, resonated!
Joan, yes! Although I thought she was referring to the period of time it was taking just to end the novel. Knowing how quickly she publishes, I'm likely mistaken!
xo Sandra (now pushing a peanut across the floor of Chapter 12)
Sandra, that comment struck me too, but what I heard most was "for weeks and months." She was working on this novel for WEEKS AND MONTHS! How about years and decades, like the rest of us!
Katherine, thank you so much for posting! I think a first workshop group creates a special bond. Several from my group came to the launch of Mistress of the Sun — I wept to see them there!
I have lurked on your blog for more than two years but this is my first comment – this post really resonanted with me!
You see, I'm writing a historical novel and I just returned from my first novel workshop. I was surprised by how welcoming my fellow classmates were and how open they were to reading historical fiction.
Hopefully, I will look back on this class with the same fondness you feel now!