Friday, 21 September 2012

Wintergreen Studios

Alrighty my babies, I know in my last post I promised an entry detailing the delights of my recent trip to Montreal. The meals! The shopping! The booze! The hangover! The amazing spa-ing! The parking tickets that were avoided! Every exciting, delightful detail will be relayed. Before we get to Montreal, though, I have to spill the beans on this most amazing weekend I've just had. Yes, yes, those who are keeping score (rude) that is two weekends in a row when I abandoned my family for selfish pursuits, but really, my family is small and low key and seems to be perfectly content without me, so it's hard to work up a really extensive guilt trip.

This past weekend, through a series of twisty, fate-y turns, I ended up taking a three day writing workshop with Lawrence Hill. Not only was Larry (yes, that's what we were asked to call him) a really good writing teacher -- insightful, helpful, engaged, interested... But it turns out he's a very nice guy, a good listener and a pretty good swimmer.

The weekend would have been fantastic if it had just involved learning about the craft and business of writing from Larry, but it was so much more. The seven other participants (all women) were also amazing... Just this fantastic group of fascinating ladies who each had interesting stories to tell about their own lives. There were no whiners or weirdos in the group (though, I do have a friend who claims that if you can't spot the weirdo in a given group, it's because you yourself are actually that weirdo -- if so, sorry ladies!).

Again, that kind of serendipitous wonderfulness doesn't happen often, but maybe what sealed the deal on the magicality (totally a word) of the whole thing was the setting. Wintergreen studios is a secret hideaway tucked away in the backwoods of Ontario. It's down a long a windy dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Off-grid and built as sustainably as possible, the main lodge and its surrounding buildings (including a tiny little cabin called the Hobbit House that was tucked away in the woods... totally adorbs. I contemplated staying there, but then chickened out because, murderers) were made from recycled materials, and often with straw bales, which is totally the de rigueur building material for the environmentally conscious.The place is the brain child of this brilliant, multi-talented Renaissance woman, Rena Upitis who  bought the land and envisioned the whole wonderful, magical place.

Suffice to say, the food was incredible, the setting stunning, the people nurturing and funny and inspiring and the whole thing was like a giant feast of creativity that will nourish me for months to come.


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