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on going to banff.

September 7, 2013

tomorrow i leave – very, very early in the morning – to go to the banff centre for three weeks (and then a week in vancouver after that.) there are a whole lot of emotions tangling up inside of me right now. it’s been a few months since i sent in my stuff to banff and so the whole process kind of filtered to the back of my brain, especially while i worked in the newsroom for the summer. i couldn’t afford to focus on september because i had to keep my brain cells working for the present.


Courtesy of the Banff Centre

Courtesy of the Banff Centre


so tomorrow i take my grant money and i go to the place i’ve been dreaming of for a good few years now. and what do i feel tonight? kind of … fear. it’s funny, because in a way, fear was the touchstone word for this summer. the newsroom has a definitive culture of fear, which i think is inevitable because of the nature of news. sometimes knowing nothing is better than knowing it all, and the more you learn about syria or the boko haram or egypt or UAVs you can’t help but feel fear. fear also because the print industry is an interesting place to be working right now. i always feel a modicum of fear – emotionally and in my love life (because i hate parsing feelings and talking about them), in my writing life, and as i get older and start to realise that the adult world is waiting for me. the challenge for me this summer was to deal with the fear – not by ignoring it, not by suppressing it, but by sort of just sitting there and doing my job and disconnecting from the fear. it’s not as airy-fairy as letting it wash over me because we’re absorbent, we still feel things. but it’s – as my mother likes to say – feel the fear and do it anyway.

i fear a lot. i fear that i’ve been building up this sabbatical, as my friend called it, so greatly in my mind that i might get there and freeze up. i fear that not getting into the writing with style workshop or the leighton  artists’ colony will make me bitter or that it might hinder my editing capabilities. i fear that i won’t be self-motivated enough, or that i’ll be too solitary, or that i’ll be too ascetic, or that i won’t finish the damn manuscript.

but feel the fear and do it anyway. i’m a city girl but a part of me always longs for whatever is not the city. i need to get out of here. i’m excited to get out of here. i’m excited to go to a place i’ve never been before, and to breathe new life into my mss and my characters and my plot outline, and to be able to write OAC in november and say “hey, remember that 40 page submission i gave you? it’s 60 000 words now and it’s kick ass and i’m going to send it to agents.” or something like that.

i need to unplug. i need to see the mountains from the side where it doesn’t rain every day every night every day. i need to see the ocean again. i need to see my writing friends in vancouver again. i need to lock myself in a room and discover the darkest and most solitary parts of myself again, and then go from there.

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