Ex Post Facto:

Oak Island reflections, comments, memories

by various inkshedders

My favourite moment was during Session III, I think during Mary Kooy's presentation, when the phone in the front corner of the room unexpectedly started ringing. I'd been trying to find out whether it actually afforded dialing out of the building, and was afraid perhaps I'd messed something up -- and I was sitting near the front -- so I quickly ran up to answer it. "Is there a Jane there?" a voice asked. I knew there were two, at least. "Jane?" I said. "Yes, her name's on this order here, about the bus." I caught Jane Milton's eye, and she came up. I handed her the phone and went back to my seat.

Jane talked quietly for a minute, and went back to her seat with an utterly unreadable expression on her face. I wondered what had happened until the very end of the session, when Jane began the question period by explaining what the phone interruption had been. "It was the bus driver for the trip to Hubbards," she said. "He wanted to know what kind of a shed this was."

-- Russ Hunt


The Inkshed conference was the host of my first scholarly presentation. When I came, I felt doubly apprehensive since I was the only graduate student attending, and one whose presentation spoke of experience and values outside the institutional context. However, the welcome and acceptance I received was overwhelming. No one spoke condescendingly to me, and no one put on a dry, professional bearing. When it was my turn to speak, I felt relaxed, as I was truly speaking to peers and friends, not judges. When I read the inksheds about my presentation, I was able to see that people had deeply engaged with what I had said. I also enjoyed inkshedding after other presentations and getting to know people during meals and walks. When I left the Inkshed conference, I felt I had found true friends and colleagues. There is such warmth and joy at this conference, as well as intellectual energy, that I want to come back again and again.

-- Tania Smith

An Inkshed Memory: A vivid one, in fact, that takes off from the last sentence I wrote -- and I would have never put them together if I had not done this inkshedding. I will not soon forget the look on people's faces mid-way through Michelle's marvellous multi-media presentation (I was up at the front at that point having just finished my own paper). People were at once baffled and mesmerized -- mesmerized by the visual imagery and baffled by its application, its connection. "What is the formula for sense here?" their looks were saying. What a moment! When it occurred to people that there was no pre-ordained fidelity between the visual and written texts that Michelle was offering (or, for that matter, no fidelity to sense as we are taught to understand it), they sat back and went along for the ride, following their own moments of connection and invention. I was reminded of McLuhan's quip that meaning is in the gap, and that dropping out is more like dropping in. Now, the goodwill and intellectual maturity of this group were necessary pre-requisites, but nevertheless, viewing their struggle to make sense of a presentation designed to challenge the notion of "making sense of" was remarkable, for me the "workshop" highlight of the whole weekend. As I told Michelle afterwards, I'd take a course from her any day!

Final Reflections: The hospitality of Lorri and Allen; the seriousness of Inkshedders, who equate ink/action with the generative; the magnificent run I had on Saturday afternoon out to Indian Point where Merle's parents have their home; the good sense of the organizers to build in free time for reading and reflection; and, finally, the return on intellectual risk when you throw caution to the wind and attend a conference in which you are outside the social/scholarly circle. Much can (and did) come of that.

-- Tony Tremblay

One of the more serious moments of the conference was the subject of quite a lot of sotto voce arrangements ahead of time -- those of us not involved heard things like "When?" "Right after lunch; we'll meet in the lobby." "You serious? You really going to do this? It'll be cold." "Well, if it's that cold we just won't do it." They did it -- or so they said -- and here they are.

-- Russ Hunt

Plunging into St. Margaret's Bay in the month of May far outstrips (?) polar-bear swims at New Year's in such sub-tropical climes as Vancouver or Victoria. I missed the event. I took a drive into Mahone Bay for some film. Other 'Shedders' were with me. My first stop was the Junkatorium where, lo and behold, there was the perfect porthole for my cottage. But no, what extravagance! What self-indulgence. I quickly escaped the shop in hopes I'd see something else, cheaper and lighter, to satisfy by urge to buy. Mahone Bay is one of those places you miss if you blink, so I had barely 'done' main street before running into another 'Shedder'. I told my story, expecting the voice of practical reason - it was my first Inkshed, remember - but instead I found myself being talked into buying a no. 5 porthole. I was the one uttering all the sensible things and my tone did not ring true. I bought the porthole and am left with this story as an allegory for Inkshed. The moral of the story: Since you never know when expectations may be foiled, expect the unexpected. Corollary: Don't be surprised if it doesn't happen.

Inkshed was a series of 'unexpecteds' for me. I met a wonderfully diverse and open group of people, learned about work which encourages me to carry on with mine and heard quips, anecdotes, stories and song, most of all song. Imagine my surprise, embarassment and delight when I discovered that the film used during my presentation on chance operations somehow got reloaded into my camera and resulted in a series of double exposures! There's one shot of me giving my presentation from the limb of a tree on the Chester-Windsor Road. In another, pairs of feet overlay a group of graduates at the Acadia convocation. Happy accidents, happy feet!

-- Michelle Forrest

Here is my Inkshed reflection: Nan and Sandy/Sam trading that guitar back and forth until 4 am while a couple of us bleary-eyed stragglers sat and listened. You people who go to bed early at Inkshed just don't know what you're missing.

-- Marcy Bauman

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