14 Jun 2010
Writer In Residence
In 2009 there were two occasions where I was hired as a Writer-in-Residence. The first was in May through St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I was provided a house on the edge of town near a wildlife sanctuary, and a red pick-up truck. From my base in Pittsfield, I led a series of workshops in that city. In addition I was able to accept invitations to drive to other Massachusetts communities, Williamstown, Amerst, Stockbridge, Gloucester; And as well as Concord, NH; Middletown, CT; and White River Junction, VT. The churches and bookstores I was sponsored by expressed great satisfaction with the response from participants who were in attendance.
From October 1-21 I was hosted by the Wascana Presbytery of the United Church of Canada in Regina and provided with office space by the Central Regina Library. A wide range of workshops emerged to provide a compelling tapestry of opportunities for me to be of service. These included a food bank & learning centre, youth-at-risk program, seniors centre, cancer survivors group through the Pasqua Hospital, Saskatoon Native Ministries, a Franciscan Retreat Centre in nearby Lumsden, a variety of church congregations and several programs for the Gay & Lesbian community in connection with the public library and University of Regina. Together with three workshops in Alberta proximate to this Saskatchewan trip, I led 26 workshops across 26 days, with some days off in the midst of some very full days of instruction.
In both New England and the Canadian Prairies I was able to do some sight-seeing. Highlights remain Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst, MA, Edith Wharton’s majestic home in Lennox, MA, Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, the town of Salem and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables; a trip to Moose Jaw to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw and stories of Al Capone coming to that prairie town as a getaway from Chicago when things got too hot for him in the Windy City.