Surrendering to the mystery

Photo credit: Ann Millar

Photo credit: Ann Millar

Reflections on the 2018 Victoria Literary Festival

The Victoria Literary Festival wrapped up last weekend, and I'm full of inspiration and humility. It's always with joy and awe that I step into a workshop space. I wonder at the folks who will arrive. What stories they carry, what goals and dreams lay just below the surface. 

I love the feeling of surrender that we share when we work together. There's a surrendering to the creative process itself, trying to sidestep the urge to censor and allow the stories that need to be told the space to come to life. There's the surrendering to a sense of awkwardness and vulnerability. What if I make a fool of myself? What if I say something ridiculous?

Each time I facilitate a writing workshop, I am reminded of how few opportunities there are for adults to come together with what might be called "beginner's mind"--that wide-open, non-judgemental space where new ways of seeing come to life. It's important for me as a facilitator to cultivate a space of safety, where we're able to take risks together and feel the pulse of creativity come to life.

The workshops at the Victoria Literary Festival vibrated with life. We dove in deep, cultivating stories from our lives, writing tiny memoirs, breathing together, crafting haikus. We danced and played. We held silence. Most of all, we remembered that when we come together with openness and curiosity, incredible things can happen.

Reading from "Emily and Me" during the VILF evening review (Photo credit: Ann Millar)

Reading from "Emily and Me" during the VILF evening review (Photo credit: Ann Millar)

I'm grateful to have served as this year's VILF as writer-in-residence, and thankful to all the folks who took part in this year's workshops and the evening review. Thanks also to the local Island media for such great coverage of the festival. Here are a few highlights:

Award-winning writer says self-confidence is the key ingredient to success (Journal-Pioneer)
Weekend of writing by the sea (The Guardian)
Victoria Literary Festival opens (The Guardian)
Writing and yoga part of Victoria Literary Festival (Journal-Pioneer)


If you missed the festival and are hoping to dive into your writing early this fall, I'll be hosting a one-day retreat here on PEI on September 22. It's filling up quickly, so if you're hoping to join us, get in touch soon to reserve your space. 

In the meantime, enjoy these last days of summer, and happy writing.