For the first time in a couple of years I made it to Wild Ginger, the Ontario witch camp. I drove down on Wednesday, attended the four days of camp and came back on Monday.
I believed that I would write while I was there – I knew the two days of driving were a dead loss, but I thought I could find some quiet time during the days at camp to get at least some of my words in. The only day I managed to write anything, I realized that campers are, in a way, like cats. You know how your cat comes and sits on your keyboard? Or starts nudging and purring at you the minute you begin something? Not that the campers sat on my keyboard, but when I set up in a relatively quiet corner with an electrical outlet, suddenly everything that was happening seemed to gravitate to that corner. It is the way of the world. I decided to forgive myself for the time I was at camp and just get back to work when I got home.
In the meantime, in the midst of everything going on I got some wonderful inspiration for my third book. Making up a culture is hard work, and trying to make different cultures different enough is also tricky. Some of the things that happened at camp created such vivid images for me that I thought I could probably use them – or variations on them – in the third book, where I need to introduce another culture. There are few Iron Age images in a twenty-first century life, so you take them where you can get them.
The four days of camp, being with other people who follow the same spiritual path I do, more or less, was refreshing and relaxing. There’s usually some sense of being braced against opposition when what you do runs counter to the prevailing culture. I’ve had that sense for most of my life, as an artist and a witch. Wild Ginger is one of the few places where I feel it’s safe to let my guard down and be myself. It’s also the one place where I meet many of my friends, or, indeed, where some of those friends were made.
There was a lot of good talk, a lot of good worship and ritual, a lot of laughter and a profound sense of relaxation. Nothing seemed very much worth getting exercised over. I’ve spent a lot of my life tense and concerned about money, time, what other people think and so on. You know the stuff, I bet. At camp, none of it seemed that important. It was easy to push an incipient worry away. That was very, very good for me.
So I’m home again, refreshed, inspired and rewired, and ready to get back into the regularly scheduled schedule, where there are only cats sitting on my keyboard.