The McLoughlin Gardens Society will present a screening of “The Gardener” on Thursday, April 4th at 7 p.m. at the Stan Hagen Theatre in Courtenay. This gorgeous documentary explores the world of Quatre Vents, a private garden developed over several decades by Frank Cabot. Tickets are $15, available at Laughing Oyster, Blue Heron and Tarbells. Also available online at The Gardener Film Screening.
Arleen Paré, a Governor General’s Award-winning poet and fiction writer, will be reading from her work at the Courtenay Library, on Tuesday, August 21st, from 4:30 - 5:30 pm. Please mark this event on your calendar and bring a friend to hear Arleen read at this free event.
Here's a taste of Arleen's poetry, from Lake of Two Mountains:
sky on the move across the lake
slant sheets closing in
sky collapsing from its bowl
shoreline waiting taut
stones dark as plums
from "Distance Closing In"
Signs will be up soon for a new trail that winds its way from the grassy road down to the top of the hill. There may even be a bench soon for walkers to sit and contemplate the mystery of sword-ferns.
Writer-in-Residence Arleen Paré will be giving a workshop in Courtenay on Saturday, August 18th.
Arleen writes: "The phrase 'the habit of art' was coined by Jacques Maritain, an early twentieth century French philosopher and later borrowed by the American writer Flannery O’Connor. They each had their own ways of understanding the term, but for me, the habit of art indicates a way of being in the world, a way of seeing, of sensing, with curiosity, interest, awareness. It is a habit, a mantra, an orientation, a possibility, a practice. It is noticing details, patterns, colours, wonder, what is wow-ful, which is almost anything, everything, outside and inside, pleasant and unpleasant. It is a way of heightening experience as artists, poets or painters, writers or mosaisists, opening ourselves to what’s there. It is a point of view, a way of inclining our minds, a stillness. Just saying “the habit of art” can shift the view."
In this workshop we will employ “the habit of art” to expand our practice as writers, as artists, and as individuals interested in the world.
Paré, who lives and writes in Victoria, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Victoria. Arleen is offering individual consultations this month. Visit this link to find out how to sign up.
The McLoughlin Gardens Society is hosting an afternoon workshop on July 18th with Victoria children's book author Michelle Mulder.
Whose Story Is It Anyway?
A story can change a lot, depending on who’s telling it. Join award-winning author Michelle Mulder for a writing workshop that focuses on creating an authentic, compelling narrative voice. Bring a writing project you’ve been working on, or come prepared to create on the fly. We’ll explore all the steps in creating characters and/or narrators that stand up and tell it like it is (from their own point of view, of course!) This is a lively, engaging, no-pressure afternoon designed to get your pen racing across the page.
Date: Wednesday, July 18th Time: 1 - 3:30 p.m. Registration Fee: $40
The new exhibit at the Comox Valley Art Gallery opened on Friday, May 18th and runs until June 29th.
Touching Earth Bodies offers a dialogue between three bodies of collaborative and individually-produced work by Victoria-based artists Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde and Valerie Salez. The three projects, In Defiance (Delaronde), In the Shadow of our own Dust (Salez), and Touching Earth Bodies (Delaronde and Salez), explore the power of self-representation, rejuvenation, and healing through ceremony and connections to the land.
Visit the Gallery's site for more information about the show and the community make art workshop on June 2nd.
We were fortunate to have six local writers donate their time and talent to the Garden Gala. Here's a little bit about them:
Harold Macy is a longtime Merville resident. His most recent publication is The Four-Storey Forest (Courtenay, Poplar Publishing, 2011). In 2014, Orion Magazine published a piece Harold wrote about the unique character of Merville. Place Where You Live...
Natalie Nickerson began her reading by acknowledging that we were gathering on the unceded territory of the local First Nations. She chose to read a wonderful array of poems that surprised and delighted.
Berni Friesen selected a compelling scene from an unpublished novel. We're looking forward to seeing the whole book in print!
Cornelia Hoogland read from her beautiful collection Trailer Park Elegy, which has been nominated for a major poetry prize.
Judy LeBlanc read a gorgeous story from her collection of short fiction from Oolichan Books - A Promise of Water.
Marlet Ashley introduced us to some of the eccentric characters in her recent novel, The Right Kind of Crazy, set in Cumberland, which is hot off the press, and now available in local bookstores.
The weather looked iffy on Sunday morning, but by noon, the sun appeared. Some walked down the hill from the gate, some preferred to get a ride, and when the readings began a little after two p.m. we had a good-sized crowd, gathering in the garden to hear local writers read from their work. Our backdrop--seashore and coastal mountains.
We're gearing up for our Open House and Garden Gala on Sunday, May 6th, from 1 - 4 p.m.
Six local writers will be reading from their work--Harold Macy, Bernice Friesen, Cornelia Hoogland, Marlet Ashley, Judy LeBlanc, and Natalie Nickerson. Plus, there will be refreshments generously provided by the Comox Valley Writers Society. Local musicians Patrick Desjardins and Kel Kelly will share their talent, along with Margo McLoughlin, playing the magical hang, a percussion instrument from Switzerland.
Several varieties of hellebore are still blooming along the paths near the house.