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

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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

Thanks to all: Launch, World Vision and Alice Munro

SAM_1851bI’d like to thank everyone who attended the launch of my new novel “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw” (Tightrope Books) and to all the organizers of the FogLit Book Festival.  It was so nice to look out during my reading and see all the familiar faces: fellow writers, retreat attendees, neighbors, friend’s from St. David’s United church, readers and books lovers who enjoy long lunches discussing what’s currently on the shelf.

Part of the proceeds from each book sold is going towards World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Centers for victims of child trafficking. The strength behind WV is that they are already on the ground and have established trust on SAM_1860a grass roots level in many communities. The shelters offer counselling, education and training in new skills.  They advocate for children’s rights and the implementation of child protection laws.  Thanks for your support! I will let everyone know what the tally is when I send in my first donation at year’s end.

I have a number of book signings coming up and if you are around, drop by and say hello:

1-3, Saturday October 12- Coles McAllister mall

SAM_185512-2pm, Saturday October 19 – Indigo Saint John

12-2, Friday October 25 – Westminster Books Fredericton

12-2pm, Saturday October 26 – Chapters Fredericton

12-2pm, Saturday November 2 – Chapters Moncton

SAM_187612-2, Friday Nov 8 – Coles Brunswick Square, Saint John

 You can enter a draw to win a gift certificate at Element 5 day spa. The draw will be November 15th.

Finally, wonderful news regarding one of my favorite Canadian authors: the legendary Alice Munro. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature!  In an industry where the novel dominates, she has remained one of the greatest living short story artists with the prizes and awards to prove it. She’s inspired many to tackle that SAM_1866 form, including me.  I never would have tackled “Roads Unravelling” without her inspirational prose to convey the powerful stories of ordinary people. I heard that she has said, being in her 80s, it’s time to set her writing aside. I hope that isn’t true. Congratulations to Alice Munro!  So very, very well deserved.

“Leveille has set her story in a bygone place and time so vividly evoked the reader is transported…” -Trudy Morgan-Cole, Author of  That Forgetful Shore

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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?

Italy was fantastic!

SAM_1168Italy was wonderful!  Sorrento where we were based is a small town on the southern coast. Olive, orange, lemon, nut and fig groves terraced the hillsides. The brilliant lemons and oranges were hanging from the trees and the magnolias and roses were blooming. Locals were often wearing winter jackets (12-17 degrees) which we found amusing. We explored the southern coast and then took the local ferries, hydrofoil and trains to Capri, Naples, Rome, Florence and Venice. We were in Rome when the white smoke came out of the chimney and were 150 feet away from the balcony when Papa Francesco Primo came out on the balcony and received his blessing. We found it incredibly moving with people from all over the world chanting, praying and singing.

While the south of Italy was more family and community oriented, Naples was like Toronto with lots of laundry and noise, Rome was cosmopolitan with the Tiber River running through, Florence was rich with ancient art in all forms (music, sculpture, architecture, paintings) and Venice, as pictured,  was absolutely unique.

The food was incredible, the people friendly and the history amazing. I filled two journals with my scribbles.

The only drawback is that pizza will never taste the same!

Still it is good to be home and writing again. Working with Tightrope on the cover for “Standing in the Whale’s Jaw.” It’s off to the copy editor. Ciao!

Kathy-Diane

 

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

Timeless Rilke

No matter how often I read Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet,” they always reverberate:

“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this…..I beg you to stop that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should avoid right now. No one can advise or help you–no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would die if you were forbidden to write. then most of all: ask yourself in the silent hour of the night: must I write? and if this answer rings out an assent, if you meet this simply question with a strong, simple, “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”

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