Years ago I heard an interview with Yann Martel

in which he said he’d written “Life of Pi” on a sailboat. We boarded that boat and sat at his desk at Banff Center, the boat propped up in the forest beneath a pavilion and assigned as a workspace for resident writers. Yes, written on a boat. We were at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity in the Alberta Rockies. My wife, Janey, and her sis Tyler were at the center for a six-week artists residency and I had flown up with their mom, Jean, for a three-day writers’ workshop. Jean and I enjoyed readings and discussions with heady authors, editors, translators and poets while Tyler and Janey were painting and sculpting twelve hours a day. Mornings, Jean and I went down for coffee in the contemporary high-ceilinged, endless-view-of-snow-capped-Rockies coffee shop. While we chatted I overheard the conversation from the next table. Obviously there was an international math conference in attendance. What I heard and could understand were numbers and the word, “Tangent.” Janey, her sis and I also worked in a sensuously spectacular hike above Lake Louise in nine-degrees F. The cold was starting to get to us as we approached a warming hut. Up the steps, we stomped off our boots and opened the door. It was packed with fellow hikers hugging a wood stove. We repaired to the porch and the risen direct sunlight to warm. Love the Banff Center experience!

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