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Winter! How did this happen?

In less than forty-eight hours it will officially be winter–with Christmas on its heels. Seems that fall came and went in the flash of an eye. SWISH! Just like that. Although I slowed down–way way down–time, it seems, did not.

This past November I turned seventy-seven and celebrated my personal “new year” by spending a week with two writing friends in Great Village (about 15 minutes north of Truro, NS). Ginny Boudreau, Cheryl Pink and I hunkered down at the Elizabeth Bishop house and did nothing but write, revise, workshop each other’s work–and eat like royalty. Oh yeah. I napped a lot. Every day.

Elizabeth Bishop is a renowned American poet (and painter). Nova Scotian’s like to claim her as our own because she spent a fair amount of time during her childhood with her grandparents, in Great Village. I didn’t realize that Bishop was a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956, and that she won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1976–three years before her death in 1979.

I slept in Elizabeth’s room–a tiny spot the size of a closet–but oh, so charming!

We also had a fun visit with Joy Laking and her husband, Jim Wyatt. Joy’s paintings are extraordinary, and it was pure pleasure to sit in her gallery sipping tea, in a sea of stunning art. Joy gave us a lovely tour including a visit to her stuffed studio and I’m now able to picture her painting by the window. For a taste of her work (and her wit and wisdom) look for a copy of her book, The Painted Province.

Alas, I have no photos to share from Great Village as I intentionally didn’t bring my camera. I really wanted a total disconnect–and used my energy to zoom in on some essays I’ve been working on. At the moment I have around a dozen that are ready to submit–and another dozen in various stages of completion. So I’m gearing up to submit, submit. submit–in the new year.

Meanwhile I did pull my camera off the shelf a few days ago to take a winter shot of the canoes snuggled up during the storm, above. And a photo of a souvenir I bought next door in a humungous antique shop next to the Elizabeth Bishop house (name of the shop escapes me!) But the pattern of the mug is “The Friendly Village.” I recall that Mama had an entire set of this tableware which we used every day back in the 50s and 60s. Lots of memories associated with that set!

Trust everyone is keeping healthy and sane in these strangest of times.


  1. Muffy Muffy
    December 19, 2021    

    Read your essay of Unusual Christmas Traditions in Down Home For Christmas .Enjoyed this book

    • December 19, 2021    

      It’s a fun book Muffy and was a pleasure to be a contributor! Thanks for the kind words. Hope you and your have a great Christmas!

  2. Joyce Glasner Joyce Glasner
    December 19, 2021    

    So happy to hear you had a wonderful time in the Village, Sandra. Love that place & the Bishop House! I hope the writing went well!

  3. December 19, 2021    

    Great, as always, to see you pop into view Joyce! and, yes, the writing went well. Such a treat to be a able to focus without any distractions. Hugs to you both ~

  4. John Irving John Irving
    December 23, 2021    

    I discovered Elizabeth Bishop on the IB syllabus a few years ago and fell in love with her poetry and prose, especially about Brasil and NS.

    • January 7, 2022    

      Thanks for popping into view John Her poetry and prose is simple yet often profound. Also “natural.” No gimmicks or pretentions.

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