by Russell Thomas
There must have been some magic in the early morning Writing Freely sessions at Mindcamp this year. Facilitated by Maggie Dugan, a self-declared non-morning person, attendance grew with each passing day.
“This must be a Canadian thing,” she said. “In the States, attendance tends to dwindle to just a few people by the final day.”
We were almost a full house by the time Sunday’s writing exercises got underway. We were treated to some lovely prompts, exercises and readings. I’ll never forget the sonorous and heart-melting piece written and read in French by René Bernèche. Many of us couldn’t understand the words, but the meaning and beauty were clear. And yes, there were a few tears.
One of the exercises that we did was to write something based on a word or phrase picked randomly out of a selection of books that Maggie had brought along. I flipped to a page and my eyes (and heart) focused on one word: Providence. This was what emerged.
Mindcamp was providence
Elusive, effusive, immersive
Loving, embracing, igniting
A smiling face
A flash of inspiration
The days meld, like a super-heated sandwich,
One slice of activities indistinguishable from the other in a messy melange
Tasty, wholesome, nutritious
Mindcamp. Mein Kampf! It sounds like a popular book
from about a century ago
My mind. Our minds, together again,
our creative family, bountiful bonds
surreal forces and undeniable attractions,
souls mingling – hearts beating
as one, as many, as one,
as it should be.
Mindcamp settles into our bones
and leaves us, as Steve Shama says,
“one moment short of a tear”.
Russell Thomas, a presenter last year, decided to be 100% participant this year. He’s perhaps better known now as the father of Dylan Banana.