by Sean Arthur Joyce and Tom Wayman
The deadline is fast approaching for the chance to have your imaginative writing responded to by one of Canada’s best known activist authors at the 4th annual Convergence Writers’ Weekend in beautiful New Denver, BC. Nestled in the Valhalla Mountains and on the shores of pristine Slocan Lake, it’s an inspiring setting for writers. Join authors Gary Geddes and Carolyn Pogue for a fascinating weekend of writing workshops and discussions. The event will be held this year on Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17.
“A house divided against itself will fall,” goes the old proverb. Our house—our world, our community, even our sense of self—is threatened with many issues of ethical dislocation, injustice and dis-ease that can divide us or paralyze our forward momentum. Some of these things are new, some have been with us throughout history. Whatever threats we face, one of our most powerful tools for motivating social progress and justice is the written word.
Every day the world discovers more and more how everything is inter-connected. Our Convergence 2017 theme, We Will Not Be Separated, will focus on exploring positive connections we can make with our own creativity, spirituality and activism. We will learn from and encourage one another. We’ll look at how the world is, and how the world could be. New and seasoned writers are welcome.
Convergence 2017 offers registrants a chance to work on their writing with either Carolyn Pogue or Gary Geddes in Saturday workshops. You can hear them speak Friday evening at a session open to the public. And Saturday night an optional session provides the opportunity for registrants to read from their work and to discuss what they’ll take away from Convergence.
“May 19 is the deadline for anybody wishing personal feedback on their writing from invited presenter Gary Geddes,” said Convergence Writers’ Weekend coordinator Nadine Stefan. “Spaces are limited to 25, and we’re half full already.” For people who don’t want to submit samples of their own creative writing, the registration deadline for the June 16 and 17 writers’ weekend is June 1, Stefan said.
Registrants in Geddes’ poetry workshop will learn about line breaks, how to make a poem nest in the ear without depending on rhyme and metrics, or how to turn a local image into a structural component in the poem. “I’d like to show you how to write up a storm, not a perfect storm but one that resonates at the levels of sight, sound and idea.” His most recent collection of poems is The Resumption of Play, which explores the experiences of those forced to endure Indian residential schools.
Those who prefer to explore non-fiction will benefit equally from Geddes’ tutelage. In Drink the Bitter Root, he travelled to Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland in ‘A Search for Justice and Healing in Africa.’ Geddes’ newest book, Medicine Unbundled, is an account of Canada’s long-time provision of segregated health care for indigenous people.
Reviewing Medicine Unbundled in the Vancouver Sun, Tom Sandborn writes: “Geddes gives a passionate and persuasive account of the devastating impacts of Canadian government policies on the lives and health of this nation’s first peoples. This book deserves to be widely read, and should be acted upon boldly. Anyone who cares about human decency and social justice owes a debt to Gary Geddes and to his indigenous informants.” Geddes has written or edited 50 books.
Pogue, too, has written on a variety of topics in her many books. As a descendant of a British Home Child, she has written two young adult novels, Gwen and West Wind Calling, about this aspect of Canadian history, one of which was a finalist for the 2010 City of Calgary Book Prize.
Her other books include Language of the Heart: Ritual, Stories and Information About Death, Part-Time Parent: Learning to Live Without Full Custody, and a follow-up to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sorry: Why Our Church Apologized, which with other authors explores the United Church’s expression of regret for its part in the residential schools. Pogue also co-founded a peace camp for kids, and contributes a twice-monthly column to the United Church Observer.
Pogue’s Write the Spirit workshop will encourage seasoned and beginning writers to explore how the world is and how the world can be. Using “freefall” writing, discussion and a variety of exercises registrants will explore possibilities for peace, justice and healing within ourselves, our country and our planet. Work in any genre you choose.
Convergence is supported by the ProVision fund of the United Church’s B.C. Conference, and by the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Area H Director, Walter Popoff.
Registration fee of $45 plus GST = $47.25 covers all events Friday and Saturday. Friday’s session is open to non-registrants by donation.