The Common touch

There was a moment during our retreat to Morden. We were gathered outside, near the picnic table. It was Friday night… or Saturday maybe? God, it’s blurred together already. In any event, the Nova Scotian members of The Common were all there—Sean, Sue, Ryan, Sarah and Carsten. Sarah had something to say, she insisted we all get our drinks. We did. She proposed a toast, holding out her Carlsberg (of all things). She said, “it’s so awesome that this writing group has turned in to five such awesome friendships.” We clinked our drinks, and then she said, “damn it, I practised that in my head, and it did NOT have two awesomes in it.”

It was appropriate though. The retreat had way more than two awesomes in it. First of all, she’s right… it is awesome, the awesome friendships that have grown out of that writing group. We have such interesting discussions, and take the piss out of each other so naturally. We are so well balanced, the right blend of hilarity and sincerity in all we do and say to each other. We can all live in a two-bedroom cottage for two and a half days and still like each other at the end of it.

So that’s a lot of the awesome. Then there’s the beauty of Morden. This was my first stay by the Bay of Fundy, and it was incredible. The way the sunlight slanted across from New Brunswick, the rocky rocky shore… how many millions of years till it’s a sandy beach, I wondered as I picked my way along it, wishing I could take every single rock home. The incredible verdant freshness, the rolling hills. The lightning show to which we were treated on Saturday night; the way it rained with wild abandon.

And then the writing. I’m not sure most of The Common got actual work done, but I sure did. Pages and pages and pages about Dacey Brown, the female singer songwriter in Fallsy Downsies, the lone wolf who’s lost her voice, but thinks she might find it if she hops a ride with Evan Cornfield and Lansing Meadows. Plus, a section that’d been missing, a section that connects the night that Lansing and Evan meet, and the roadtrip that takes them to Antigonish together.

Plus, with a little help from my friends, I figured out the ribald game at the heart of the novel. All in all, an awesome, awesome weekend.


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