…at Emma had me up most of the night. Near sunrise, night’s fog began to lift, and there I was in a row boat, rowing along with two others, in the channel between big Emma and little Emma (not an easy feat in daylight let alone the fading dark). A crescent moon rose above the spruce. It was a good two weeks at the colony, once the weather finally became agreeable, and I plan to return next year to capture more sunsets with my camera. This week I’m off to St. Peter’s for 5 weeks, where I’m sure the sun sets equally well in the north-west horizon, and hopefully I’ll post some pics while I’m there.
Launching the ducks with candles onto the lake. Blurry, because the photos are taken without a flash, and because they are without a flash, the shutter time is too long for me to hold that still. I can’t quite figure out how to focus it and shoot with the long shutter time, and have no idea where the manual is (if anyone has any expertise on this please let me know); however, they make for cool pictures. Very ritualistic. The one candle and duck lasted nearly an hour until people on a boat overturned the little reed duck, extinguishing it forever.
…sunset shot so far. This shot overlooks Fairy Island, which never used to be an island, but years ago, don’t ask me how many, they dug a channel between big Emma and little Emma and flooded certain sections of the landscape. Thus, the island was created. It used to be tradition, according to writer legend, to swim over to the island sometime during your stay here. I didn’t bring a bathing suit. I will not be skinny dipping in this lake–it is far too full of strange creatures.
…with the sound of buzzing. Horseflies, deerflies, flies, wasps, bees, and mosquitoes. Yesterday I was bit by something that left a small stinger. There are motorboats that buzz the lake. Airplanes in the sky. These sounds circle me. And in the evening at Emma Lake we stop to listen: to grebes, a muskrat, some beavers, and other artist/writers as we gather around the fire. Sometimes we are quiet, and gaze at the sun, setting in the distance.
The road up was rather interesting, but nothing really came of this storm.
I like the totems.
More shots of the lake later. I’m going to try for the sunset.
Where writers go to play. Or maybe our minds might follow the bouncing ball. Strange sign in the middle of nowhere.
The sunset was hindered by clouds tonight, so hopefully another night will show better; however, I liked the sky, and the reflection on the water in this shot. I have a view of the lake through the trees from my cabin.
…hmmmm. Last night I had the pleasure of attending the last Unscripted session, Straight From the (Rural) Hip hosted by the Dunlop Gallery at the Regina Public Library. The conversation included Heather Benning, Heather Cline, Joe Fafard, Angus Ferguson, and Terry O’Flanagan. It was interesting to listen to the experience and role of the artist in the rural setting, and compare this to my rant about the prairie poet.
So, here I sit in the city, with my laptop, headphones on, music blaring (tonight it’s Leela James as I’m pretty much finished with the Damien Rice for now) thinking about how the conversation was structured around the differences in perception of rural and urban artists, and the consequences, problems, benefits, and reasons in their isolation and art. Really, not much different than the prairie poet. The need to create a sense of community about our art is strong, but (and I forget exactly who said this) is there a point where we create a community around us simply to talk about our art, rather than focusing on getting our art out, or even creating more art, for the public? Of course, what this reminds me of is Ezra Pound, and his notion of creating a sense of community, and how this has trickled down (into/throughout) the past hundred years to our own community, and the outcroppings of creative writing programs, and their immediate sense of community. And where am I going with this, you’re asking yourself right now, and I’m not really sure. The word nostalgia came up often in the conversation. Are we nostalgic to want to create our art from a space we know, rather than one we don’t, and what does this say about us as creators? I don’t know that there were any hard answers, but I wanted to know more about what makes the prairie gothic work, what makes it exist, what is it? Why are these definitions so hard to pin down? Much like the term “prairie poet” afflicts us just for being here, does the label “rural artist” hold the same weight in the world? I’m still thinking on these things, with no real answers other than the fact that we are all aware of our roots, where we come from, and some of us like to keep digging at the ground around them, just to make sure the roots are still there.