Writer’s Retreat – Toronto Islands Artscape

The writer’s retreat at Artscape Gibraltar Point last month was nothing like what I expected.

For one thing, I didn’t know it was going to be so gosh darn gorgeous. I mean look at those photos! I was compelled to stay outside and if you know me that is NOT my factory settings! I hide in the shade or stay inside, but that weekend I was constantly trying to stay outside and soak up the sunshine and the beautiful relaxing landscape. But wait, isn’t the Toronto Islands a tourist destination? How can that be relaxing? Well, the organizer (and friend) Phil Rickaby planned our weekend retreat on Mother’s Day weekend + the weekend was cold and calling for rain so not many people were there except the usual suspects (aka the people who live there).

I was there with 5 other writers, only two are pictured above as I didn’t want this to be a “vacation” where I photograph everything (though I couldn’t help the pictures above because AGAIN it was so damn gorgeous!) – all of which had a project they were working on. I was working on the 2 Weeks to Paradise webseries script! We shared our pieces together and gave feedback on what we heard.

We had our own desks in our rooms and came together at meals and hung out (Phil and I went to the farm on the island and got kissed by Prince the llama(!), and heard about each other’s projects. It was really inspiring!

Here is a sample of what I wrote while I was there; it’s shifting the focus on Claire, the principal character’s intern. I want each of them to have a full story of their own as “supporting” characters…

CLAIRE
You know what I mean. You’re dedicated. You’re an artist.

JENNY
Graphic artists don’t get to be “artistes”.

CLAIRE
Ya you do, it’s in your job title.

JENNY
Ya but, I don’t use a brush I use a keyboard and I don’t think a museum wants my digital creations any time soon. Hell, I just want my Etsy to blow up – pay my rent, hell buy me groceries…

CLAIRE
Do you need money?

JENNY
No no no. I just, ah, I just am feeling like a faker. No one wants my shit.

CLAIRE
It’s not shit.

JENNY
Says the dutiful sister.

CLAIRE
Says the sister who is always right.

JENNY
I love you “sister who is always right”.

CLAIRE
I love you too. Now (waves her fork like a wand) it is time for another glass of wine! Why? Oh, because I’m always right!

Here’s hoping the next round of grants will let me finish this and produce it up for you to see! In the meantime, if you can BOOK SOME TIME at Artscape, I’m already planning on going again later this year. It was exactly what the writer doctor ordered 🙂

*Special thanks to Phil Rickaby for putting that weekend together and all the participants who were just an amazing talent and energy to be around.

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