Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Banff Centre

The Banff Centre is a world class facility for artists of all kinds. There are programs for writers, ballerinas, painters, musicians and even circus performers. I've been lucky enough to attend two writing programs there. The most recent one was this September. I was in a six-day workshop on children's writing with the wonderful Tim Wynne-Jones, a Canadian author who has published over thirty books. The above photo was taken from the top of Tunnel Mountain. The Banff Centre is the cluster of buildings at the bottom right, and across the Bow River up and to the left is the Banff Springs Hotel.

Here's most of my group celebrating a great week. Standing from left to right: Sue Farrell Holler, me, Don Cummer, Tim Wynne-Jones, Joanne Jefferson, Karen Spafford-Fitz, Leslie Carmichael, and kneeling is Ann Sutherland. Brenda Johnson was also in our group but she was off writing or something when the picture was taken.

In this workshop, we each brought the first 20-30 pages of a novel, read each other's work, and discussed what was great and what had to go. It was extremely helpful. When you get knee-deep into a manuscript, you often can't see the forest for the trees. With the help of Tim and the group, I was able to tighten up my first chapters and get my novel off to a roaring start. The trick now is to keep that roar going...

The best thing about The Banff Centre is that they set up your environment to allow for the greatest amount of creativity. They teach you, feed you, make your bed, guide you on hikes, invite you to free inspiring performances...and give you lots of space and time to write. Included in all this is the option to work late and sleep in. Could it get any better?

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