Saturday, October 29, 2016

SiWC 1916 accommodations

On Saturday, October 15th, my husband and I went to Vancouver. Our first trip back since our move to Penticton last April. The first five days were catching up with a few friends (couldn't get together with some, unfortunately) and taking care of Franciscan obligations. (See that blog entry.)
Then, on Thursday a friend kindly transported us from the Accent Inn, Burnaby, to the Sheraton Guildford in Surrey for the conference.
My husband had to amuse himself while I attended the Surrey International Writers' Conference on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The conference was excellent as always. I didn't manage to connect with friends as I usually do, and that was the only disappointment.
It's so hard to get to all the workshops I like, while still taking the opportunities to meet with agents for pitch sessions and with fellow writers for blue pencils (editing). Still it's worth the effort.
I want to get the calendar in front of me before I tell you what workshops I did manage to attend. For now, here's just the mechanics of getting around.
When I first booked my room at the Sheraton, at the same time that I registered for the conference, I didn't know my husband wanted to come, too. Not to the conference, but to the Lower Mainland, and to extend the visit to include our Franciscan obligations.
As a result, the Sheraton room was not very "handicap accessible" and I didn't think to change that before our arrival. We spent the first night in my original room, but my husband had so many difficulties that they finally were able to give us another room where he could be comfortable.
The staff were exceptionally helpful for the whole time we were there.
My conference registration was for the whole package--which included most meals. They were varied and quite good, but spoiled by the excessively long lines to get to the "buffet" (aka cafeteria style). Surely a hotel of this size and quality can feed a crowd (I think we were about 700 or 800) in a more efficient way that this. I've been to many large banquets where the meals were brought to the tables by staff, so guests could all eat hot food together at the same time, without having to carry the plates ourselves.
Other than that, the weekend was great! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Franciscan Retreat 2016

It isn't easy to go on a real Franciscan retreat. First you have to find other Franciscans who are available all at the same time. Then, well, there are the usual arrangements to make of where and when and doing exactly what and for how long. And, of course, you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. (Who said that? Lincoln? I don't know.)
So, to make it simple, my husband and I usually just do the retreat in our own way together, just the two of us. We try to make it mostly in silence,  but that isn't easy either. But we're getting better, I think.
This time, we're taking a few days before the Surrey writers' conference to spend time with friends and take care of a few Franciscan obligations while we're at it.
The best way to do a retreat is to go to a retreat centre, but we can't always do that. Maybe next time we'll go to the Benedictine monastery in Mission, BC, but this time we're just in a hotel.
We arrived in Vancouver on Saturday afternoon, after a 7 hour ride on a Greyhound bus from Penticton (leaving the house at 5:45 am, bus leaving at 6:20 am). We had time to book into the  Accent Inn  and then have a light lunch at our favourite restaurant. This was our home base for everything during our 5 night stay--including our retreat.
So, here's the retreat schedule you've been waiting for:
We began on  Monday night with Compline.
Then in the morning, we were in silence except for private morning prayer, then a reading from a book called Reconciliation by Martin L. Smith SSJE, followed by silent meditation on the readings recommended there. At about 11:30 we went for "brunch" at the above restaurant, and hung out until the maids had done our room. We allowed ourselves to use this time to assess our retreat choices and schedule, and make adjustments. The rest of the day was spent in a similar pattern. At about 5:30 pm we said Evensong. Then, more readings from the book and more silent meditations. Supper at 7:30 at the restaurant, followed by more readings and silent meditations. Ending the day with Compline, again. More silence until the next day. It's not perfect, but we try.

Six months in Penticton

My last post was about four months ago, I guess. I was still feeling like a novice in our new home, our new town, starting a new life you might say.
I still love the little apartment, plenty big enough for us, as we continue to get rid of stuff we thought we couldn't live without--our "Lazyboy" chairs, for example.
I still love to go to my "Cowork" office, and savour the many hours of just sitting at the computer and actually getting some writing done.
Since my last post, I have completed the book I was writing, sent off the synopsis and first 100 pages to the agent, Laura Bradford. Now I'm about 30 pages into the sequel--just in case I'm lucky enough to have her ask me to send the second part of the first book and the first part of the second book. Failing that, I have another series I want to write. Maybe she'll ask about that. That's a question I'll have answers for this time next week.
How come? Well, this is the week of the Surrey international Writers' Conference, and I have an appointment to "pitch" to Laura Bradford at the conference. Hopefully, it won't take me four months to report of the result of that appointment.