Monday, October 25, 2010



Ah...fall. Every season is my favourite as it arrives (except winter, although I'll give it pretty), but is anything prettier than an autumn drive past huge stands of orange-golden larch? 

 This weekend the destination was Ymir ("Why Myrrh"), where some 15 of us gathered for a writers' retreat. We took over most of the Ymir Palace (the building behind the hotel), and for 48 hours we ate, drank a lot of coffee and a little wine (or was it the other way around?), slept, and played with words. 

Ymir is a town with a population of two or three hundred. At the end of the 19th century it was a booming mining town. Now it's a bedroom community for Nelson, popular in the winter with skiers who come for the powder at Whitewater. These days it's one of the locations for The Tall Man, a suspense thriller starring Jessica Biel. (Note the head of the inflatable deer in the window.)

We had dinner at the Ymir Hotel where, we were told, anywhere from two to eight  musicians get together and play. They were great!

After a good breakfast Saturday morning that included lots of Oso Negro coffee, we got to work. 

Remember those Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny cookies from my last post? Rita brought some more, this time with all the letters of the alphabet. By mid-afternoon Rita, Cyndi and I figured out we could play make-a-word with them. Unfortunately, by the time we figured this out we'd eaten all the vowels except the E and the U so we had to be creative. But then, that's what the weekend was about.

We explored the best way to take photos that minimize those pesky little chin and neck problems that sometimes occur as we get older. (From now on I'm having any pictures of me taken from a helicopter.)

Many hands make light work, and we had many hands all weekend.

There was ample time to catch up with each other around the big table at mealtimes. 

It was such a great weekend. Being surrounded by writers is sort of like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket on a cold day.

Thanks to everyone for making it fun. Special thanks to Anne DeGrace who organized the accommodations, shopped for food and made two kinds of spaghetti sauce while in the middle of doing an exhausting line up of readings for her novel, Treading Water, which was the book chosen for One Book, One Kootenay this fall.

And thanks to Jennifer Craig, our rep for the Federation of BC Writers, who gave us all hope with her fairy tale story of how Yes Sister, No Sisterher memoir of when she trained as a nurse in Leeds in the 1950s that was first published by Breeden Books in 2002, has just been re-published by Ebury Press to glowing reviews. We in the Koots are very proud of you!


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