A little over a week ago, I traveled to the pretty little town of Sharon Ontario (all on back roads of course, with my highway avoidance thing) to attend the Words Alive Festival. It was the first annual, and judging by the turnout, we'll be there again next year. The weather was perfect, and the setting...was just unbelievable. (I took lots more pictures but Blogger thinks I've spent too much time loading photos today!)
This is the Sharon Temple.
(North side, first side seen from the entrance to the grounds.)
It really is an incredible building. I do think these pictures are magnificent, but I want you to imagine being in there. The air was cool, the sunlight spilled in through all those tall windows, and every sound reverberated around those high ceilings and bounced off the wood surfaces. I need to go back there someday for one of their famous musical performances.
It was built in the early 1800s by a group of idealist optimistic pacifists! Well being Mennonite I can relate, sort of. The Children of Peace built their temple, planned to change the world, but were derailed by the late 1800s by disagreements among their ranks. Which in a way is the same sort of explanation as to why there are about fifteen different kinds of Mennonites in North America. Instead of splitting into Conservative Children of Peace, Old Order Children of Peace, Reform Children of Peace and Brethren of Children of Peace, they just...walked away. This gorgeous building was surrounded by grazing cattle by 1917. In the 30s a Historical Society was formed to restore and care for the property. It's a couple acres of history and this is the first time I'd actually been on the grounds, exploring everything and soaking it in.
For more information go to the website!
I attended an author reading in this amazing little house, which was built by an early settler and moved here a few years ago.
I loved this house. I wish I'd gotten a shot of the main room downstairs. The fireplace dominated the room and there were hooks everywhere to hang stuff off of, you know, like your oregano drying, and your laundry. The guest Author and I, and two teenage girls, checked out the whole house and groaned about how much we loved it and that we'd live in it right now.
As long as we could get wireless internet in it. We'd all use candles and lamps but darnit we need our internet. Kinda sad but that's how it is now.
Seriously I loved this house.
And I loved the author too. Gale Zoe Garnett. What an interesting woman. She has been an actor and a musician before throwing herself into writing. I'm reading one of her books right now! VISIBLE AMAZEMENT is proving to be gripping and enjoyable. She started the book I'm reading now because the character popped into her head and demanded her story be told. Wow...do I know how that feels!!
I also attended a workshop by Molly O'Keefe. She spoke to us about the process of getting published and the myths of all the riches earned from writing! I got a copy of one of her books, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR, and I gobbled it up in two days. I could not put that book down! I'll tell ya, it's not your grandma's romance novel! Molly is enthusiastic and fun, and I appreciated the time she gave me afterwards, answering my many questions!
I spent some time inside the temple too, listening to Barry Dempster on inspiration, and training the Muse. Yes, training the Muse! You really can't sit around waiting for your Muse if you're going to do this writing thing.
Not hard to be inspired in a setting like this...
I stood underneath the stairwell to the second floor, called Jacob's Ladder, to take this picture.
Then I moved over and took a picture from the side. Apparently, musicians in the old days used to lug their brass instruments up the ladder!
Looking up from the centre. Just wow.
Yes it's easy to be inspired here, and I was, and I still am almost two weeks later! The trick is to take it home with you. Every day. Even when you don't feel like it. That's what I've been doing for the last year...along with training for that riding lesson gig I'm aiming for. Sometimes my goals seem so far off and so sketchy. But it's all there.
I'm going to live on 50 acres in the future, and I'm going to look out my window at my horses while I'm sorting out words in my head, with my fingers on the keys. I'm going to build a cabin in the bush.
I'm already thinking forward to next year's Words Alive Festival.