Aaron Rabinowitz is is a past Writing Between the Vines retreat recipient and a Vancouver-based writer who focuses on young adult fiction for ages fourteen and up. The first chapter of his current manuscript, Small-Town Terrestrials, won the 2018 CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) Writing for Children Competition. His manuscript, Below Daylight, was a finalist for both the CANSCAIP competition and Hunger Mountain’s 2018 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. Aaron is also a mediocre bowler.
Did the retreat meet your expectations?
I feel so fortunate to have an entire week dedicated to writing. My world became smaller and simpler.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your retreat?
On my second day, I hiked the Golden Mile Trail, which begins at the edge of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and came across a bench along one of the peaks. It had a great view of the vineyard, the valley, and nearby lake. I returned to that bench to write several times that week.
Did the vineyard setting inspire you and/or your writing? In what ways?
It’s quite meditative to go for hours without speaking. The world I was creating came onto the paper with much less effort. Each time I looked up, there was an amazing view to keep me motivated.
What did you work on during the retreat?
I worked on the first draft of a young adult novel that involves crop circles, scavenger hunts, and good characters up to no good.
No one can write 24 hours a day! What other activities did you do during the retreat?
Because of the mild weather, I often broke up each day with a hike. Once I even ventured into town for lunch. I chose a restaurant with an outdoor chalkboard advertising its daily special: “Soups!!!” As a writer, I’ve been taught to eschew exclamation marks. So while lunchgoers might be reeled in by three, I found them gratuitous and aggressive. If you have a restaurant, a chalkboard, and an open mind, I suggest a simple italicization of your daily special. I will admit that particular restaurant had an excellent, unpunctuated egg salad sandwich. The soup smelled delicious; I avoided it on moral grounds.
Any tips or advice you think might be helpful for future residency applicants?
Stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it.