A behind-the-scenes-look at the craziness and joy of planning an arts festival
This episode is by author Kim Aubrey, a Festival committee member who runs a writers’ retreat in Bermuda each spring.
Monday — four days before my flight to Bermuda– was set aside for preparation.
Instead, I got an urgent call from Felicity: The grant application we thought was due the following week is actually due tomorrow. Could we meet at my house to write it? Cynthia would join us as soon as she could.
“Okay,” I said, grateful that I’d already spent many hours developing the writing exercises for my workshop.
The adrenaline was pumping all day as I worked on the grant with Felicity and Cynthia, who paced the floor to ease the pain in her right side and to get her sentences flowing.
The adrenaline was still pumping the next evening when Jennifer put together the supporting materials and finally pushed the “Enter” button on the grant.
Phew! It was done.
And now, instead of 4 days, I had just 2 to focus on preparing for the retreat. First, I’d have to calm my nervous system. I needed to do some yoga, then get a good night’s sleep. The retreat is usually pretty busy and I wanted to arrive on the island well-rested.
And then I was off to Bermuda, for a week of writing and island-touring.
We enjoyed ferry rides across Hamilton Harbour, swimming with parrot fish in Jobson’s Cove, an afternoon at the Agricultural Exhibition, where we marvelled at exquisite orchids.
We saw Bermuda kites made from wooden sticks and colourful tissue paper, hats formed out of palm fronds and casuarina berries, live animals including hens with plumage like feathery parasols and the largest, proudest roosters I’ve ever seen.
Humpback whales stop in Bermuda on their way north from the Caribbean each spring. While we didn’t go whale watching, we did watch a documentary about the whales that immersed us in Bermuda’s blue-green seas and in the lives of these graceful and curious creatures.
I’m back from Bermuda now, back from a week of communing with other writers.
We shared our writing in workshops, and we explored the link between walking and creativity (as Cynthia did while writing the grant application).
We observed aspects of our surroundings we’d never noticed before — channeling the power of detail (a necessary skill in grant-writing too).
We even wrote our own obituaries (surprisingly similar to writing bios and CV’s).
It’s now one week after the retreat, and I haven’t had a chance to type up the pieces from the workshops yet.
FOTA calls, again!
I’ve met with Felicity and Wally about the new multi-media event we’re planning for the Festival. Over coffee and tea at Meet at 66 King St. cafe in Cobourg, we created a programme of video presentations, poetry readings and music by artists across the region.
Then there’s another planning meeting soon.
But right now, it’s time to take a walk, time to get the body and ideas moving again.
Then I’ll review those workshop pieces and recall where I was when I wrote each one: in a garden of crimson hibiscus and white lilies or on a gently rocking dock, watching the ferry make its rounds.