Time flies…

Summer is whizzing by, as it always does. Bit of a heat wave in Nova Scotia right now, but we always know snow is coming – eventually, so I try not to complain too much about the hot days.

Granddaughter Noelle made her first visit to Nova Scotia earlier this month – I’d love to post some pics to show you how sweet she is, but permission hasn’t been granted😊 She did dip her tiny toes in the Minas Basin, Lake Peter and the Atlantic Ocean – she wasn’t a fan of the waves. It’s interesting seeing the differences between parenting in the age of Google, compared to our experience of essentially parenting by instinct/guess/luck/friends’ advice. Pretty sure there’s too much information available in some cases, but, of course, a lot of useful/great info, too. Happy we’ll get to spend some time with both Noelle and Ada in August in Ontario (and their parents, of course).

We’re on our 12th annual creating retreat this week, our third visit to The Mighty Atlantic in beautiful Beach Meadows – lots of crashing waves and pounding surf music this week – and nice, cool temperatures compared to many places. We’ve been fogged in a bit, but most days the sun has appeared before dusk falls. A fox family living in the woods near the beach has been an added delight this year. Great conversation – we haven’t solved any of the world’s problems, but not for lack of trying. As always I take too many pictures, but I especially love the sand trees carved by the endless waves. Happy summer to you and yours!

“The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn’t subdue you and make you feel abject. It’s stimulating loneliness.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
Jacques Cousteau

“When anxious, uneasy, and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”
― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” – Van Morrison

Moments that take our breath away…

944679_10200613095823365_968750882_nI’ve only been on retreat here on the Scarborough Bluffs for five days, but already I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to tear myself away when September rolls around. I find myself occasionally chatting with Doris (McCarthy) because of this extremely life-like portrait of her that hangs beside the living room window overlooking the lake here at Fool’s Paradise.  The neighbors are pretty quiet for the most part, but there’s so much wildlife activity outside the windows of “The Chapter House,” as Doris called her writing rotunda, that I have a hard time keeping my mind on the manuscript by times.  And I keep having to rush outside to take pictures.

Doris McCarthy, artist and creator of this awe-inspiring space.
Doris McCarthy, artist, writer and creator of this awe-inspiring space.

The view from up here on top of the Bluffs
The view from up here on top of the Bluffs

Fool's Paradise - a perfect reflection.
Fool’s Paradise – a perfect reflection.

Coywolf - if I see him going after the deer and her fawn, I may have to dash outside and do some serious hazing...
Coywolf – if I see him going after the deer and her fawn, or even the chubby groundhog, I may have to dash outside and do some serious hazing…




I am managing to get several writing hours in every day, although so far the story is growing, rather than being pared down… Thank you, Doris, for sharing your home with me (and providing a haven for all these creatures).




I learned a few things while living and working alone in Lunenburg, NS these past five weeks:

1. Five t-shirts, three sweaters, a raincoat, and three pairs of pants is all the clothing you need for five writing weeks. And hand-washing underwear/socks is pretty easy.

2. Quiet (inner and outer) is conducive and necessary to productive writing time (I suppose I already knew this).

Sigh ...
Sigh …

3. Laundromats are interesting places but it’s easier to do your laundry at home.

4. About-to-expire spinach, a can of chicken noodle soup, an onion and some curry powder = a delicious supper. And Chapman’s fudge sticks ($6 for a box of 18) provide excellent incentive to keep writing.

5. Strangers are more likely to talk to you when you’re alone, and even invite you to go for coffee.

6. The camaraderie among badminton players is the same at every club.

7. There is no better way to “find” your characters than walking the paths they may have walked 250 years ago.

8. It is possible, and hugely satisfying, to write 1,000+ words daily (not including the rewritten/deleted words) for 33 consecutive days.

9. Enjoying your own company is a necessary life skill (although writers are really never alone, thanks to the characters living in our brains and hearts).



and the opportunity to completely immerse myself in my characters’ world.

Have you ever had a chance to retreat from the world?