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Photos of Kawartha Lakes Retreat (Summer 2012)


Turquoise Waters Writers’ Retreat — so named because Sandy Lake is said to be one of the few bodies of water in Ontario that beckons with Caribbean hues — took place over five days in July 2012 at a spectacular ten-bedroom cottage in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario.

Our gracious and organized host, Janet Markham, who also participated in the workshops and writing activities, opened her summer home to our group of eight writers for a study of “Imagery and Imagination.” Janet has taken my U of T course Memories into Story, and also joined my Costa Rica group earlier this year. She is now completing her Final Project for her University of Toronto SCS Certificate in Creative Writing, a family memoir based on the life and work of her husband’s great-aunt, a well-known German artist.

The retreat included my workshops, individual and group exercises, quiet time for individual writing, evening reading salons, private half-hour consults with me on WIPs submitted in advance, and plenty of animated writing-related discussion. Guest author Michelle Berry dropped by one day and spoke candidly about the ups and downs of the writing and publishing life. Another day we set off on an excursion (and writing prompt!) to view art at The Gallery on the Lake in Buckhorn.

Beyond that, we enjoyed tasty meals, and took full advantage of the endless sunshine we felt graced to receive: swimming, canoeing/kayaking, hot-tubbing, lazing in a hammock or lake-side swing, and even eating dinner one evening at the end of the dock. Stunning sunsets obligingly spread their glow over the lake each evening, and later, we would listen for loons calling in the dark.

And what visit to the Kawarthas would be complete without Kawartha Dairy ice cream.

Photos here were taken by me, and my fellow shutterbugs Mary E. McIntyre, Christine Barbetta, and Mary Wallace. Click on individual photos once to enlarge:

“I got a sense of the power of restraint from Hemingway, which is the smallest way to put it, because I got much more than that from him. I learned the power of simple language in English. He showed what a powerful instrument English is if you keep the language simple, if you don't use too many Latinate words. And from Faulkner I learned the exact opposite, that excess can be thrilling, that, 'Don't hold yourself in. Don't rein yourself in. Go all the way. Go over the top. Overdo it.' And between the two, it's almost as if you've now been given your parameters. This is the best of one extreme and this is the best of another. And somewhere between the two you may be able to find your style in time to come.”– Norman Mailer, Interview, The Academy of Achievement, June 12, 2004