Answering the Call X: Writers’ Retreat

art40It’s time! Time to tackle the manuscript you’ve been letting gather too much dust. The fall retreat is scheduled:

Answering the Call X: Releasing the Writer Within

    A WORKING WRITERS’ RETREAT

WHERE: The Villa Madonna in Renforth, New Brunswick (just outside of Saint John)
WHEN: November 14, 15 and 16, 2014

FORMAT:

November 14, 2012:
5 p.m.-6:00 p.m.- Arrive and settle into your room.
6 p.m. Opening Welcome: Answering the Call by Kathy-Diane Leveille
6 to 9 p.m. Meet and Greet, explanation of weekend structure, sharing optional writing exercise, social

November 15, 2012: Full writing day
7-9 p.m. Optional Critique Group

November 16, 2012:
11:00 a.m. Closing and wrap up.
1:00 p.m. Heading home after lunch and out by mid-afternoon.

FEE: $176.00 which includes single room and board.

This is not a leader-guided writing retreat. Rather it an opportunity to give yourself the gift of uninterrupted time to write. Over the years, Kathy-Diane has created a loose structure that provides touchstones within the weekend’s framework for optional opportunities (between writing) to connect with other writers. How those connections happen vary with the individual and the ultimate shaping of each group. There is no predicting. Sometimes works-in-progress are shared, sometimes tentative ideas are given words and take more concrete shape, sometimes the room door is closed tight and the pen flies across the page. We each go willing to drop the hindrances keeping us from our writing and wait and see what unfolds. Rooms are single and private.
E-mail shadowsfall@kathy-dianeleveille.com for more information or to hold a spot.
(*NOTE: Cancellations after November 1 subject to a 50% refund/No refunds after November 10).

Hope to see you there! Send me a friend invite on FaceBook….

Happy scribbling,

Kathy-Diane

“Standing in the Whale’s Jaw is a swirling, twisting tale of intrigue. Two bright and daring young women weave through a cast of characters… to solve one great mystery and open their minds to a greater one. A rollicking ride with many surprises along the way.” -Linda Little author of Scotch River

Writing and Kurt Vonnegut

danceEvery winter I hold an artist E-Circle that follows one of Julia Cameron’s books (Artist Way). This year’s book is “Walking the World.” We exchange weekly e-mails on the chapter readings and spotlight our individual works-in-progress; mostly it helps to share writing struggles and triumphs. Thanks to all who joined up. Speaking of triumphs, congratulations to member, Elizabeth Copeland, whose novella won the Ken Klonsy novella contest and will be published by Quattro books in the fall of 2014. Wonderful news! And thanks too to Kathleen who shared this inspiring letter from Kurt Vonnegut below that she found on-line:

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood…:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music singing dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

He’s a wise man!
Dancing home…
Kathy-Diane

Creative Courage

reflectIf you’ve always yearned to live more creatively, you must read the essay “Fail Safe” by Debbie Millman, given recently to a graduating class at San Jose University. It’s on BRAIN PICKINGS. Be sure to scroll down to the beginning: “For most of my life, I followed a safe path….”

I love this!!!! Especially the Robert Frost reference. My writing begins with fear and trembling, and a suspicion that I’m a little crazy to have the audicity to imagine this faint elusive germ of an idea will bloom into a full glorious body of work. It does anyway.
If you read Frost’s quote below and exchange the word writer for poem, it says it all for me.
 
A poem begins with a lump in the throat, a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where the emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words. —Robert Frost, American poet, letter, 1916
 
A writer begins with a lump in the throat, a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete writer is one whose emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words. —Robert Frost, American poet, letter, 1916
From the happy logophile,
Kathy-Diane
Roads Unravelling is a winding highway of quiet, still surfaces and yawning depths. Patrolling the flow are gape-jawed monsters and small glimmering pearls of real beauty. –The New   Brunswick Reader
COMING IN JUNE “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” (Tightrope Books).  What happens when a secret you hug close becomes one you don’t dare let out?

Comedy, Music and Books: Happy New Year!

write16The holiday have been good to the Leveille household. All the family is home.  My oldest son arrived from Toronto. Check out this YouTube of his latest comedy creation: School of College. Hilarious!

My youngest is visiting from Ottawa and writing his reviews of the top 20 albums of 2012 on his blog Kidnapping is Wrong.  We’ve visited a few second hand record stores and flipped through the old vinyl albums: Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Carole King.  Brings back memories…

Mom and dad are unwinding by the wood stove. I got a Kobo reader and can’t believe how light it is and easy to read.  Books, DVDs and chinese food. What more could a girl want?

Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours all the best in 2013….

True E-Book Confessions

Let the Shadows Fall Behind You and Roads Unravelling are now available on Kobo and Kindle. Very exciting! And yet….

I must confess I still don’t have an E-reader.  It’s true. I remain enthralled with the feel of the printed book in my hand: the unique smell, the shifting weight, the color.  It’s as if my imagination can only truly expand unfettered when my nose is buried between a book cover.  I feel as if I’d be disloyal leaving my paper books behind somehow; closing the door on one of my deepest friendships. My oldest son showed me an e-book he was reading on his i-Phone.  I was impressed and fascinated by how easy and convenient it was to browse.  He lives in a big city, so it makes sense that it would be ideal to have that at his fingertips on a morning commute or lunch break.   

I live in a rural area on the east coast. The pace of living is hectic for the average snail.   For some reason in my mind, it’s an atmosphere that goes hand in glove with the delicious anticipation of holding a traditional book….as if all the writer’s hopes for the narrative, the words put to page, the promise and fullfillment, have come full circle to be unleashed in these quiet surroundings.

Since something inside me would shrivel and die if I couldn’t read, I know it’s inevitable that I’ll eventually buy an e-reader in some form or another.  I’m already intrigued by the potential to read a few pages anywhere, anytime in places where a traditional book just wouldn’t be practical. Take travelling for instance.  It would be wonderful not to have my suitcase bursting at the seams with so many books. I’m always afraid the one I absolutely need will be forgotten at home. 

There’s a place for both types of books, I think.  I’m comforted knowing that, despite the package a book comes in, the imagination is still all that matters. It ignites from the words, however they arrive, in the same way it always has… and the worlds it creates in each reader can never be manufactured or replicated or downloaded at the click of a button.  Happy reading!

    

“Picturing ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and recording their impressions with an intense clarity we associate more with black and white photos, Leveille is blessed with a flash of insight that lets the readers see far beyond the surface.” – The Chronicle Journal

Award for excellence in the Arts!

A big THANK YOU  to Arts NB for awarding me a creation grant for ‘work of outstanding artistic merit.’  I’d submitted the beginning of my new novel “How to Be a Psychic.” It’s humbling to get this recognition from my peers, and also be handed the freedom to finish the book this fall/winter. Here’s the opening:

Tim Ward began to pack the carpenter tools away as he always did every afternoon when the shadows grew long and slanted across the wooden floor. He moved toward the window to close it from the fog that would soon be rolling in and was filled with a sudden queer irrefutable restlessness as the salty breeze fluttered the old cotton curtains his mother had sewn years ago. He fell against the dusty panes, the warmth of the glass pressing as firm as a woman’s cheek against his own, weakened momentarily by an overpowering yearning for once, just once,  life to surprise him.  For a moment, Tim reeled at the weight of  the longing. It hit like a vicious roller determined to knock him flat and fling him out to sea.  Then, just as quickly, the wrenching passed.

Nice to have something new to scribble away on as we start gearing for the upcoming release of “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” with Tightrope Books.

Happy Readin! Kathy-Diane

“Roads Unravelling is a winding highway of quiet, still surfaces and yawning depths. Patrolling the flow are gape-jawed monsters and small glimmering pearls of real beauty.”  –The New   Brunswick Reader

Coming in 2013!

I’m thrilled to announce that my new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” will be published by Tightrope Books in the spring of 2013. Set in 1935, it takes place in Atlantic Canada on the east coast:

Fifteen-year-old Elsa Bird discovers an injured man hiding in the barn on her grandparent’s farm, the same day a dead girl appears floating in a dory on Lost Creek. Elsa’s life turned upside down when her father entered the TB sanatorium and she and her mother were forced to leave Saint John. The stranger’s arrival is a welcome diversion from worry. After concluding he’s harmless, Elsa agrees to hide the vagrant and experiences the heady power of owning a secret. When her mentor, Lavinia Twigg, teams up with the police to uncover the identity of the dead girl, Elsa discovers that keeping secrets, while deliciously potent, is complicated, dangerous and can quickly escalate out of control.

More to come!

“Picturing ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and recording their impressions with an intense clarity we associate more with black and white photos, Leveille is blessed with a flash of insight that lets the readers see far beyond the surface.” The Chronicle Journal

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