Crazy busy month so far, this June, but wonderful too, the green and colors of spring fully arrived to our city at last. I never tire of our simple backyard and especially the way one of the branches from our elm tree stretches over our lot and blesses it with its draping foliage.
I’m part of the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission. We meet annually, and this year we met in Winnipeg. It’s interesting and inspiring to be with archivists and others interested in history. We celebrated the completion of one project, the production of the book, It Happened in Moscow by Maureen Klassen. Subtitled “a memoir of discovery,” it tells the interlocking story of three women: Mary Klassen, wife of the well-known Mennonite migration leader CF Klassen; Erika Reimer Gurieva, whose 1993 Moscow telephone call started the chain of discoveries described in the book, and author Maureen Klassen. It’s a popularly written book of memoir and history that illuminates the fate of Mennonites in the Stalin era. It’s about secrets and grace.
Another project of the Historical Commission this year was an inaugural student internship, awarded this year to Amanda Bartel of Iowa. She spent one week in each in the MB archival centres in Kansas, California, and B.C. and two weeks in Winnipeg, getting acquainted with the collections and doing research on a personal project. She blogged some of her internship experiences here.
I also recently enjoyed following via blog the adventures of artist Miriam Rudolph who returned to her home country of Paraguay to do a printmaking workshop with indigenous artists. It’s inspiring to see how this artist with so much of a career ahead of her is already nurturing other artists. The work of the Paraguayan artists is worth a look.
H. and I drove up to Dauphin, Manitoba on Saturday because I was slated to do a reading at the public library. It turned out to be one of those days full of so much else as well, like a close-up mother-bear-and-cub sighting in Riding National Park and after the reading, a tour of the historic Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Resurrection, and then a quite incredible supper at a friend’s house (a friend made some years ago at the Thin Air International Writers Festival).
Dauphin was the last of my reading events for this season. Now summer perches in front of me as compellingly and greenly as the view of our back yard above. Time to spend with family and to read lots and maybe write more regularly in my blog! In fall, I’ll focus — thanks to a Winnipeg Arts Council grant — on the writing of several new short stories. But summer will be something of a break from writing fiction. Did I mention family (as in children and grandchildren) and reading? Even the anticipation is a pleasure.