Character drawing of Catherine Moffat

Catherine Moffat

The sky is singing as I walk along the breakwall. Saltwater droplets hit my face and my hair whips around my head. A group of artists wait in sunlight near the gate. Poets, photographers, artists, musicians. Two writers are perched on what appears to be a giant pencil. It seems a good omen.

At the lighthouse each of us finds a ‘clean, well-lighted space’. White-washed walls, wooden floors, a desk, a chair. It is perfect. And the view, oh the view. In my room two windows, one looking out to the ocean, the other down the coastline.

It’s hard not to find beauty in every direction. A novelist charts the city from her window seduced by the comings and goings of a busy harbour. A First Nations writer is counting the leaves on the tree—a meditation taking him back through time. 40,000, 50,000? Impossible to tell.

The photographer is roaming, trying to capture light. She’s using old Japanese film no longer available. ‘I don’t know if it will work,’ she says. ‘I may get something, I may get nothing.’ It’s the same for us all. Our work could be something or nothing. But it’s the process that’s important, and it’s process we talk of in our breaks, sharing techniques, the highs and lows of what we do.

Each day holds a small miracle—giant dragon flies chasing the sun, a kestrel gliding and diving. And always the tugs pressing close as sheepdogs to the tankers as they shepherd them in and out of the harbour.

I write longer and harder and better than I have in a long time. My hand is singing.