I spent last weekend in Trinity, at a writing workshop and retreat. What a privilege and a delight it was to have 3.5 days of thinking, writing, creating, and imagining together in such a magical place.
The retreat, hosted by Allyson Latta (who edited What the Oceans Remember), has been over two years in the making. That we were able to meet together, now, in Trinity, was the confluence of several factors: the strength of our campus autoethnography reading and research group (which brings together students and faculty members from all over the campus, from Gender Studies to Music, Education, Sociology, Community Health, Engineering, and more), the good folks at Artisan Inn (one of whom, Tineke Gow, is a Dutch ex-pat who has lived in Newfoundland for forty-plus years), a Vancouver writer’s decision to visit Newfoundland and join the retreat, and midterm break.
It’s been an incredibly busy fall term on the teaching and administrative front, and these 3.5 days gave us much-needed time to recharge, return, and reflect, and from there, to grow and expand our writing and thinking. Indeed, writing together is part of the magic of a retreat: sharing space and talking through ideas made all of our writing stronger and richer.
Trinity, for those who don’t know, is a small community in Trinity Bay. Surrounded on almost all sides by water, it’s a gorgeous, easily walkable town, and almost every single room is a room with a view. As a tourist we ran into one day put it, “It’s like being in a movie set.” And truly, it is.
On the final evening, Allyson and Tineke worked together to host a pop-up pre-book launch for What the Oceans Remember. We’d thought it would be a quiet event, with seven to ten folks (our crew plus a couple more) in attendance. But Tineke spread the word and there were about 20 people in total under the cozy eaves of the Twine Loft. Some were local. Others were just visiting. Some came far (France! Israel!); others had popped in from St. John’s for a quick getaway (including a colleague from MUN). And what a wonderful audience they were: they laughed at all the right spots and asked great questions. It was, as they say in Dutch, ontzettend gezellig.
Now back home, I’ve got another busy week ahead of me. There’s teaching. There’s stack of grading waiting and another, larger stack coming later this week. There are meetings. And emails.
More importantly, there’s the St. John’s launch of What the Oceans Remember!. I’m thrilled that Angela Antle will host it, and equally happy to have my former student (and musician), Kate Lahey sharing her music with us. Broken Books, our local independent bookstore, will be selling books. And there will be homemade food, a reading, a door prize, examples of archival materials, some (small) freebies, and more. I. Can’t. Wait.
What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home is available in ebook and hardcover formats through all major booksellers (both big box and independent). It can also be ordered from WLU Press.
© Sonja Boon, 2019.