Mark J. Keenan
Meditate. Move. Read. Write. Listen. Be.
These were the first six words I wrote on beginning my residency at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre last week. And they stayed, pinned to my corkboard for the duration, as a constant reminder of what I had come here to do.
Because writing is so much more than putting words on a page. It’s also about observation, conversation, contemplation.
Which is why a week at KSP, as part of the New Writer Program, was perfect for me.
My manuscript had sat, unloved and untended, for some time prior to my stay. For various reasons, it hadn’t been a priority. And that’s okay. Sometimes you need to let things go, so you can see them with fresh eyes, and new passion, when you return to them.
I wanted this to be an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the characters, to re-engage with the story, and start to move forward again.
But I knew what I really needed, above all of this, was to reconnect with me.
And so, I went with no goals, and no plans; just these simple words to remind me of things I should do, every day.
Meditating every day, walking and running the trails, talking to other writers and listening to their stories, reading, writing, and dreaming.
By the end of the week, I had a renewed passion for my characters, and a deeper understanding of their motivation. And, through discussions with co-resident writer, Helen Thurloe, and my wife, Karen, I’d resolved a character and plot issue which had been holding the story back. I’d written new scenes and started on a re-write of others.
By the end of the week, I was connected again; to my story, and to me.