By Shirley Serviss

How did two weeks pass so quickly? Yesterday, I was berating myself for not accomplishing much during my time here, so I made a list of what I’d actually done. By the time I was on the second page of my list, I realized it had actually been a very productive time!

One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to get to know my companion Artist in Residence, Sande Waters. I found our discussions about art and life very stimulating. On the same page philosophically, our approaches are very different as she expresses herself visually and I use words. What happened as a result was that she ended up incorporating text into her artwork and I ended up writing a poem inspired by one of her goddess paintings, and adding words to a painting that she cut into pieces. My poetry is usually quite narrative so it was a stretch for me to write a poem that was primarily word play, using the way women’s bodies are often objectified and transforming those words into empowering ones. Actually hand-writing the words onto the page in indelible marker, after she had glued the images on, was a huge risk for me. What if I made a mistake? The beauty of literary art is that it can be easily revised or deleted. Visual art scares me because of its finality.

Sande assured me it didn’t have to be perfect.

So, now it’s time to re-enter my real life, which is always a difficult transition. Back to the classroom, back to marking assignments, back to meeting with patients at the hospital, back to trying to develop affordable housing for artists in Edmonton. I hope I have developed enough of a writing discipline here to carry on with my pilgrimage manuscript and continue writing poetry. A huge thank you to The Haven for the privilege of being here and to those of you who attended my workshop and presentation.

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