September 09, 2005 Features & Images » Feature Story

The Vicious Circle returns 

Ironman and religion

Fresh from their success with the Collective Novel Experiment, and with two grants lining the coffers, Whistler’s Writers Group, the Vicious Circle, has confirmed CanLit leading lights Susan Musgrave, Caroline Adderson, and Brian Kaufman as workshop leaders for the annual festival and retreat to be held in Whistler from Sept. 8 to 13.

Registration for the entire five-day writing retreat is open to anyone, with 21 spaces available, in either fiction or non-fiction stream, at a price of $500 (discounted to $375 if participants arrange their own accommodation.)  Large portions of the program are also available on a drop-on basis.

Morning lectures will be presented by Ross Laird on ethical issues related to craft and tapping into your creativity, Mary Schendlinger on the how to get work published, Patti Osborne on self publishing and Rebecca Wood Barrett on pitching stories to publishers.

A detailed program, bios of all the writing mentors and presenters, and information about the pitching session, are available online. To register, or find out more about the retreat, lecturers and mentors, and readings visit the group’s newly launched website,

In anticipation of the Writers Festival, Pique Newsmagazine is showcasing four short stories written by local writers from Aug. 25 to Sept. 15. We hope you enjoy these stories and will come out and hear more local and national writers read and talk about their work.

Ironman and religion

Do I believe in God because I did Ironman? No. But do I understand why people flock to religion because I had to ride, run and swim almost everyday? Yes. My daily toils, sacrifices of time and sweat, my trying to come to terms with the sheer amount of luck and faith that goes into every race, every training day made me appreciate that there is some higher power out there. To define religion as an expression of archaic rituals carried out by blindly faithful may seem obsolete, but the daily observances that many religions follow, the confident belief of the faithful in the truth of the super-natural, strikes me as very much at home in the world of long-course triathlon. That both Ironman Athletes and the devout Christians have a tenet in common – faith. When disaster strikes, whether it be the third flat when you only brought two spares and you are 80 kilometres out of cell range, or when the largest forest fire in the last century rages through your back yard while you wait to see if they are going to start the race, faith that things will work out are paramount. Like Job, faith is tested again and again in an Ironman, yet do the athletes curse? Probably yes, but they do not turn away from their religion. Instead they follow, blindly, madly, like the flagellators of old, further down the road.

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