Spent an amazing weekend at a Sanctuary of Writing at Loretto Maryholme north of Toronto. The facilitator of this writers’ retreat was Brenda Peddigrew, poet, spiritual mentor and Sister of Mercy. I had first heard of Brenda in the Haliburton Highlands, where I spent my summers for many years and where she currently lives.
At Maryholme, a beautiful property on Lake Simcoe owned by the Loretto Sisters, I focused on relaxing, trying to move from head into heart mode…which proved quite difficult after going “head-on” full speed for the past several months. To ensure the very best results, I didn’t open my laptop all weekend.
I made one resolution–to create an outdoor writing sanctuary for the coming summer. Over the past decade, I have gradually removed all the grass sod on the front lawn of our Toronto home and created a “Santa Fe garden.” In Santa Fe, New Mexico, where there is a dire stortage of water and blistering summers, watering of lawns is limited to 10 minutes a day. So most homes don’t have grassy lawns but many have cultivated lovely, eco-friendly gardens with drought-tolerant plants, stone, etc. I’ve tried to imitate this with mulch, rocks from the Haliburton Highlands, and flowering perennials. We no longer have to mow the the front lawn or use pesticides on it.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll turn my attention to the backyard. I’m no longer up to removing sod, so I’ll live with the grass and attend to the flowerbeds, which I’ve neglaced in recent years. I aim to create an outdoors space that I hope will come close to replacing the screened-in porch on the stone cottage on Saskatchewan Lake where I worked on the Pat Tierney novels on my laptop. Not quite the same, but I’ll do my best to shape a Toronto writing sanctuary.
RAVEN LAKE went up for pre-orders before I left for Maryholme on Friday. And when I returned last night, I was thrilled to see that it was climbing the Amazon sales charts–and it hasn’t yet been released! Pre-order the e-book at Amazon.ca or Amazon.com for only 99 cents until June 1.