Artist Way 2019-2020

artistwThis year’s E-circle Artist Way group starts next Monday and the anticipation is growing. I’ve just returned from a month in Italy and Greece and my brain is stuttering in low gear. I’m eager to put pen to page, clean out the sludge and awaken the starry-eyed dreamer within. We’re reading Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water” from the Artist Way series along with Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” Each year I chose a project to write 3 pages on daily, along with the Morning Pages, in a genre outside my wheelhouse. Initially I experience an impending sense of doom over dipping my toes into unknown waters. However, I know from past years that, a few weeks in, the hard brown bud of initial idea will soften and split. Crinkled curls of color will slowly unfurl into full blooming vibrant life. This leaping off of a creative cliff is one I find equally thrilling and terrifying. Wish me luck!

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Perils and Pleasures of the Creative Life

creativeI received this little book for Christmas called “Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life” by Dani Shapiro. I connected immediately with her experience of the writing life from an early age:
“I have been writing all my life. Growing up, I wrote in soft-covered journals, in spiral-bound notebooks, in diaries with locks and keys. I wrote love letters and lies, stories and missives. When I wasn’t writing, I was reading. And when I wasn’t writing or reading, I was staring out the window, lost in thought. Life was elsewhere–I was sure of it–and writing is what took me there. In my notebooks, I escaped an unhappy and lonely childhood. I tried to make sense of myself. I had no intention of becoming a writer. I didn’t know that becoming a writer was possible. Still, writing was what saved me. It presented me with a window into the infinite. It allowed me to create order out of chaos.”

Doing the memoir exercises in our recent Artist Way group brought me back to how energizing it was years ago when I first attempted writing short stories. I loved following inspiration and letting it run like a hooked fish to the end of the line. I would check collections out of the library, read and dissect them. I loved uncovering a turn of phrase, a description, a character marker, anything in the prose that highlighted what I was beginning to learn in my own writing and enlightened my ignorance. I admired these writers, but I also felt a sense of homecoming. This is where I belonged. This is the portal I entered as a child when I first picked up a book and stepped into an imaginary world and felt their magic igniting my brain, spirit and soul. I sensed even then the power, rightness and wisdom that came with slipping behind the veil. I had a sense of safety, of endless possibilities. I trusted that I was being held, guided, that I would learn things and experience worlds I never knew existed. Writing led me out of a confused childhood. It opened that “window” as Dani says in a stark room. Writing was and is my lifeline into the real world, even if by now it has allowed me live more in the world and less on the page. That’s a good thing. It’s what writing does. It seeps into your bones and lifts you high and carries you until you meet your true authentic self. Writing is the homecoming.

Don’t fear the blank page. Embrace it.

Kathy-Diane

 

Writer’s Union of Canada Short Prose Competition

spirit1It’s that time of year again. This is a wonderful competition to submit your short stories to for feedback and affirmation. I’ve helped participate in the judging past years and have always found it invigorating to witness emerging shining talent.

Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition

The Artists E-Circle is almost wrapping up. We only have a few weeks left to go.  I’m always blown away by the way a group of writers can come together, from various backgrounds, geographic locations, writing styles and goals, and gel so tightly, simply by corresponding weekly by E-mail tasking one of Julia Cameron’s books. I will take away renewed creative insight: a kaleidoscope of possibilities, entertaining directions and synchronous surprises. Thanks all for taking the risk to join in. It’s a great way to while away the longest month of winter!

Happy writing all.

Kathy-Diane

“Leveille knows character…” The Globe and Mail

Interview with David Alan Binder

I really enjoyed doing an interview with David Alan Binder this week talking about the writing process and creativity.  He’s a great supporter of writing for writing’s sake, and you’ll find all kinds of great information on his site:

Writers and Writing

I’ve just finished reading “The Hero is You” by Kendra Levin.  She challenges a writer to use the archetypes in Joseph Campbell’s heroic journey not only in plot and character, but also in their life, all the while guiding them through inspiration to completed MS. I was challenged by the questions it forced me to ask.

hero

We’re half-way through the Artist Way E-Circle group with Julia’s Cameron’s new book. It’s wonderful to join with old friends and new, with keen expectations and trembling fear, to re-kindle the creative fire. We may be unique in our artistic histories, hopes and angst, but we’re comfortingly the same beneath the surface.  I am always amazed that it continues to be a journey of discovery for me.

Artist Way Circle 2017

its_never_too_late_cover_480-250x312As the weather turns cooler, I’m feeling the urge to return to the page after being away last year with my essential oil course. To jumpstart the process, I’m organizing the annual Artist Circle to begin November 1st and run for 6 weeks (breaking December 15th), and resuming for the final 6 weeks the first week of January. Julia Cameron has a new book called “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.” While geared towards people who have retired, it’s also for “anyone who wishes to expand his or her creativity” or going through a transition in life which may be, as in my case, simply getting back into the writing routine after having been away for a spell.
The Artist Circle is an e-mail group that utilizes the principles of “The Artist Way.” There are 11 spots open, to be filled on a first come, first serve basis. It is not a critique group, but an opportunity to explore strengths and stumbling blocks, and to follow inspiration at your own pace; while sharing discoveries with a supportive group. I have set up the structure, but don’t lead it. Once we get going and everyone is familiar with the weekly routine, I’m simply a participant. For more information you can contact me at:
kathy.dianeleveille@gmail.com.
Hope you’ll join me. Happy Writing!
Kathy-Diane

It’s been a busy year

danceA big thank you to everyone who volunteered to take part in my case studies this year for the Essential Oil Therapy course. I learned tons about the amazing medicinal properties of herbs and passed with flying colors. It was one of the many things on my bucket list of things I’d like to learn more about. I’m an avid gardener with lots of lovely herbs in the garden. Thanks again dear friends for helping me out. Happy to report: Everyone lived!

Of course this means I have put my writing on hold this year, doing this course and working my day job, but I loved the break. Change can be good for the soul. Still, I am looking forward to scribbling again come Fall. I finished the novel “How to be a Psychic” so it will be time to roll up the sleeves and start editing.

Enjoy the summer everyone!

Book Launch at the FogLit Festival

foglit2  Join me for the launch of my  new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” (Tightrope Books) at the opening ceremony of the FogLit Book Festival on October 3rd at 1:00 p.m. in the Saint John Free Public Library at Market Square. Drop by for a reading, signing and munchies. It’s free! Enter a draw to win a gift certificate from Element 5 Day Spa.  A portion of each book sold is being donated to WORLD VISION TRAUMA RECOVERY CENTERS for victims of child trafficking.  If you can’t make the launch, see the EVENTs page for a list of upcoming books signings.

Last time I participated in a book festival in this library, I was ‘piped in.’ A colorful bag piper– complete with kilt–serenaded the authors in a grand majestic parade through the doors and up the stairs. I can’t wait to see what they have in store this time. By the way, the FogLit Festival runs through the weekend and features free writing workshops and readings. Indigo is running the book table so lots of bookworm browsing to be done. There’s ghost stories, historical walks, music and, if you’re 19 or over, a wine tasting. Authors  include Beth Powning, David Adams Richards, Donna Morrissey and many, many more.  The writing workshops run the gamut from memoir, short fiction, poetry and, for the kids, comic books. Be sure to drop by.

See you there!

Kathy-Diane

“Leveille has set her story in a bygone place and time so vividly evoked that the reader is transported to experience it
through the richly realized characters.” -Trudy Morgan-Cole, Author of That Forgetful Shore

“Nineteen thirties rural New Brunswick shines in this multi-layered, coming-of-age murder mystery. I hope we hear from Elsa Byrd and Lavinia Twigg again – they make a first-rate detective team.”     – Laurie Glenn Norris Author of Haunted Girl

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….

Poet or novel writer?

At writers’ workshops I always bemoan the fact that I’m too long winded as a writer to ever become a poet. I equate poetry to snapping a picture and novel writing to filming several wide pan shots.  I always want to explore the WHOLE story.  However, I was cleaning out my files and guess what?   Yep, I  found a poem I wrote.  This, however, does not in any way mean I won’t stop throwing a pity party when I have a word count to fullfill (as if poets have it any easier finding the right words to nail the creative vision onto the page). Ha!

Chicken Bone Fence

   Car tires

   humdrum humdrum

   rutted blacktop,

   drumhome drumhome

   dead dreams

    lost love. 

   Round the curve…                                                                             

   Chicken bone fence

   zig-zags

   a swollen breast

   of farmer’s field,                                                                        

   framing                                                                               

   the whipped butter tops

   of goldenrod,  

  snarling thistles

  onion sweet

  bales of hay,                                                                             

  reeling bees,                                                                               

  and daisies bowing

  their heads

  to pray. 

  All else is forgotten

  as we swell

  and ripen,

  bursting our skins

  beneath

  this living Monet

  hung on a hillside

  in Cambridge Narrows.

 Kathy-Diane  Leveille

“Leveille uses rural New Brunswick to explore characters who, in the midst of emotional change, find emotional memory tugging at their sleeves.” -ATLANTIC BOOKS  TODAY

 

Friendship sustains Us




My novel LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU is about the redeeming power of friendship. Brannagh comes to terms with her past when she attends a reunion of the childhood all girls club Tuatha-de-Dananns. So, I was really pleased when I returned home recently to reunite with some of the girls I went to high school with: Carole, Kathy, Debra, Thea, Patrician, Maryanne and Thelma. Where has the time gone? It was so good to re-connect with you all again. I’ll leave you with heartfelt wishes of my protagist, Brannagh, who summed it up this way:

“Whatever heaven was, Brannagh decided, wherever that place was that you went when you died, she knew that this moment would be there waiting like a cosmic seed to sprout in their hearts upon the first moment of recognition. She was certain that all that they had been–children, girls, teenagers, women–the loss, the hope, the reaching and stumbling and getting back up again would all be there too. And she was convinced that all the exhuberant, shining expectations not yet fullfilled, the dreams and yearnings that had been too painful not to discard over the years, that they had simply given up or locked away, would be there too, unsullied and expectant, ready to be claimed, like goods stored in the locker at the bus depot.”

-From LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU (Kunati Books)

I think it’s true that ‘nothing can change the past, but friendship holds the power to transform the future.’

Kathy-Diane

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