Gayle is still glowing from a sunny, warm and stimulating morning of LOCATION WRITING, a new experience for her as it was for her two companions, Miss P and Patricia. The occasion, which all three hope will be the first of many, is open to other writers in the Vernon, British Columbia area who may wish to join them in the future. Award-winning local author of the “Mighty Orion” novels, Patricia Donahue encountered Gayle and her friend Miss P at a local coffee shop last week. During the conversation that ensued, Patricia and Gayle lamented the demise of the Vernon Writer’s Group they had both attended last year. Thus was born the idea of starting a new group that would experiment with location writing, meeting once a week at various local venues to write and maybe even discuss their pieces. Topics could pertain to the venue being visited, or they could be about whatever the writers might wish to pursue. They decided to make it as relaxing and experiential as possible with no set agenda. What ensued in their first trial was fun and inspiring. The venue was the Kukhia Cherry Orchard in the BX area of Vernon, on the heights overlooking Swan Lake. Patricia’s invitation was worded as follows:
WRITING IN THE ORCHARD !!!!
Writers of every level are invited to experience writing on location, or Location Writing.
This is a free opportunity to write as you are inspired by your surroundings:
shapes, colours, smells, breeze, view …
A casual experiential 2 hours outdoors in nature. A different location each week.
Bring writing materials – retro? write with a pencil …write using calligraphy … coloured pens …
July 30th, 10 – 12 noon Be Chekovs in the Cherry Orchard !!
Here is Gayle’s take on the day.
I awoke full of expectation, wishing that my husband Ian would join us for the location writing, but knowing that he was not at his best in the mornings, had pretty well retired from writing and would choose to stay in bed. Since this first session was to be in a cherry orchard, I had to wear my new t-shirt ablaze with cherry-themed “bling.” I also made our morning wake-up smoothies using cherries as an ingredient. Finally heading for the orchard, I picked up my friend at her house and was glad to have her along as she knew the BX area of Vernon a lot better than I did and we found that Patricia’s directions were not exactly accurate.
The orchard was a stimulating venue for writing – rows of trees laden with lush, ripened cherries that grew in thick clusters like grapes – something I wasn’t expecting. We took some pictures while listening to distant voices of U-pick enthusiasts climbing the ladders scattered along other rows and filling their pails. Soon, though, I dismissed them from my mind as we “writers” set up our chairs at various shady spots along one long path between rows of heavily laden cherry trees, just at the edge of the orchard with a fence separating us from a neighbouring apple orchard.
So the writing began! Later we were surprised to find that none of us wrote what we had expected we would write. Patricia had been prepared to write poetry using coloured calligraphy pens. Instead she filled a couple of torn pages by comparing Chekhov’s iconic play, The Cherry Orchard with what she had gleaned from the orchardist’s life story. He had emigrated to Newfoundland from East Asia at age eleven, spoke with a “Newfie” accent and eventually came to own this wonderful cherry orchard in BC.
When my friend, Miss P had told me about Patricia’s plans, I had responded, “Well, I’m certainly not going to write poetry. I’m not really into that.” To my surprise, I began to write a journaling-type poem about my day. My “bling” t-shirt had inspired me to see the orchard and its surroundings as jewels.
Miss P related that she had initially written some prose about the orchard and then she read us a play-on-words poem using cherries as a metaphor! Very clever!
I certainly enjoyed sharing our quite unique and differing works. For what it’s worth, here’s my poem:
Location Writing – A Gem
by Gayle Moore-Morrans
What a shiny, glorious day!
Soon I will be on my way.
Dressing for an orchard fling,
Donned my shirt with “cherry bling.”
Spun yogurt, banana, peach and cherry,
Smoothies for Ian, more sleepy than merry.
Kissed husband “goodbye”; though writer, too,
He’d rather sleep than write. What’s new?!
Soon my KIA was in motion,
Picked up Friend. What true devotion!
The directions, though, were somewhat flawed,
We found the place, ere nails were gnawed.
Worried now, Patricia had to wait,
Apologetic she made us late.
All forgiven, we parked, unpacked,
Greeted orchardist. No enthusiasm lacked.
Through the rows and rows of trees,
We found some shade and watched the bees
Flitting through the long, jade leaves.
Ah, we loved the God-sent breeze!
Sparkling sky of sapphire blue,
Glistening gems of cherries, too,
Hanging there in ruby clusters
With all the brilliance they could muster.
My blingy shirt, the gem-like fruit,
and nearby topaz apples to boot,
All make me feel that life’s a jewel.
Leaving here will be too cruel!
“Location writing” isn’t really tough,
It’s like a diamond in the rough!
Photo highlights of the day:
Three very different writers hard at work:
Home at last. Sharing the morning and some cherries with the family in our shady gazebo and sunny back garden.