Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creative Mulch

I haul in seaweed, save some under a tarp, arrange the rest under my asparagus and tomatoes, suppressing the eager growth of weeds and saving water loss due to wind, more than anything. Seaweed is a gift here, not like some stations where the location of the lighthouses brings in vast swaths of it to the shorelines. The bears of Estevan Point love going out and munching on the generous drifts of it there, fresh greens, little crabs, dead fish, yum, yum, go the bears.
Summers here are usually on the dry side. Usually. I can see maybe 1/8 of a mile in fog and drizzle as I type on August 3rd....still waiting for summer. Each of the 3 houses on Lennard Lightstation has a 5000 gallon cistern and our non-potable water supply for fire suppression and watering the gardens is a 20,000 gallon unit in one of the two oldest buildings on the island, 1903-4. They knew how to make cement back in the day, studded with seashells and a strong mortar, not cheap grey soup with a bit of sand, destined to crumble within a decade. Arrr-be-darr, the cement there was then! I do like collecting our water as the way to go, having it go through several filters with a modest amount of chlorine to combat the crow poop and spruce needles that may have infiltrated the rain water.
I am hauled away to teach a 3 hour writing workshop and it's been a few years since I last taught so I fret and over-prepare as usual, in order to be able to leap from my careful hours of notes and to wing it happily once I finally meet my students and get an accurate sense of where they are in their writing practice.
Creative mulch is what I call the papers spread around on every horizontal surface in my writing room. Ancient journals, writing notes from my first classes at the Kootenay School of Writing in 1985, a great workshop I took with Diane Shoemperlein, another gem with John Newlove, more notes from my summer classes for the Kootenay Lake Summer School of the Arts and still more with Elder Hostel, Selkirk College, the B.C. Festival of the Arts, and the Kamloops Young Authors Festival, 6 years worth, and the wonderful era of the Sechelt Writing Weekends. I have adapted the Words in the Woods Workshop from all of these and a workshop with the theatre director, Kate Weiss, in Vancouver. This starts me on a reverie of my years with Theatre Energy in Nelson, working as a writer, as a publicist, 5 years on the board, and I think I'm in charge of the script of Runs Good, Some Rust as far as reproduction rights are concerned. I think I ended up as the guardian of the script because I had the eminently useful ability to do my own income tax, hence, I was deemed by the cast to be the responsible type! 
All this mulling and mulching, and finally, a workshop format emerges. I have taken far too long to pull it together but oh, the places I've been since starting out, and now, after teaching the class at North Island College in Port Alberni and meeting the bright sparks who are the writers underway with such interesting projects, I am happily spent. 

Strong cement, studded with shells and grit and fine sand...still standing. Arrr-beee-darrr!

No comments:

Post a Comment