Events / On Writing

Ketchup – photos, thanks, keynote speech and more

This post proves how busy it’s been in my world! I started it on February 10th! Too funny! It’s what, June 12!…I can’t believe it, but here it is. As least the sun is shining. I am bikini-clad, sitting at our table outside on our deck…I’m keeping an eye on the pool as my boob sweat makes a pool of its own…

There are loads of events that have come and gone so I’m gonna wrap them up all in this pretty little blog post.

Art Bar Reading Series – Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Yeah, it’s been too long since I’ve caught up with my readings! (Sometimes I wonder why I blog about the readings at all…is it weird to post photos of the food I eat, and my self reading on a stage?! I suppose that’s what social media is for though, right? To offer a glimpse into each other’s lives? Some glimpses are full-on voyeur dreams come true! In any case, I do feel like it’s nice to share…and for those who are thinking about participating in things like reading series and book tours…maybe my blogs will help motivate to go ahead and do so!) The Art Bar Reading Series stopped for a short time and then was revived again. It takes place in Toronto at the Free Times Cafe. How happy was my belly when I saw Matzoh Ball soup on the menu!

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I ate a bowl, then two helpings of guacamole with warm tortilla chips. I think I had three cups of coffee…which wasn’t the best choice, and my guts were a mess for the rest of the night. Yeah. Luckily there was a bathroom nearby. #ulcerativecolitesstrikesagain

I was nervous for this reading. I mean, I’m always a little nervous, mostly excitement fuelled, before a reading, but I got really nervous for this reading. I think it was because I had prepared my set list and was all geared up to read but then I saw the audience…and I felt the energy in the room…and it just didn’t match. I can say with confidence that I’m quite susceptible to energy in a room. My body is always open to it and by looking at people, making eye contact, chatting, I can usually get a sense of the vibe of the crowd. This crowd…well, I felt shy in front of them. There was a young man in the audience…maybe 15, and he was sitting with this parents…I felt very awkward knowing in my my mind that some of the poetry I was planning on reading was of a sexual nature. And so, in a flurry of page flipping and re-organizing, I brought my Rated R version down to a Rated Pg-13 version reading. It’s not the first time that is happened. It won’t be the last. I read with poets Claudio Duran and Rosa Arlotto.

Thanks to the Art Bar Team! We love ya!

Rowers Reader Series – Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I took the train to Toronto for the Rowers Reading Series. It was a fine event and an exciting reading! Thanks to Heather Wood and the Team. We love you!

I read with three other writers – one poet, one novelist and one short story writer turning novelist! It was such a diverse group and that made me feel good, and quite honestly more confident than usual.

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I promised myself that to have fun! Sticking a post-it note to my book cover totally helped me stay focused on this goal!

Lana Pesch.

Melanie Mah.

David Clink.

All 4 Love Poetry Reading – Chatham February 11, 2017

It was an honour to celebrate Valentine’s Day with poets Kara Smith, Deb Hill and Cornelia Hoogland in the beautiful belly of the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham. Crissi Cochrane wooed us with her sensual voice – and she jingle-sang the names of each door prize winner. It was outstanding!

Miller & Margaret (Atwood, that is!)

Miller had a performance project today at school that had her dressing up like Margaret Atwood! She was nervous all week (Miller, not Margaret), so she didn’t want Friday to come…that slowed things down a bit too! The project was that she had to choose a famous person to ‘be’ in a wax museum in the gym…She chose Atwood! So cool, right? (I didn’t tell her to, I swear!) She memorized some biographical info and we got her a costume…

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She looked amazing! I think they look like twins, no?! I posted a video of her on my Twitter feed if you wanna hear it!

Classroom Visits & Workshops!

I love, love, love going into classrooms and talking to students about writing. I’ve had many visits this year! As close as Windsor and as far as Sarnia – from Elementary to Secondary to Post-Secondary classrooms – I’ve been there! Spreading Poetry on Demand, poetry, storytelling and process. I feel as though I could teach every day! It’s on the list…this teaching thang!

As April was National Poetry Month, I was busy every week sometimes with 3 or more events! I was able lead a workshop at the Budimir library on Canadian poetry. I gathered with six others and read Canadian poetry, then discussed it, then wrote our own in response or shared-form. It was super interesting as we each brought to the table different experiences of poetry, and unique and diverse life stories that made our conversations very fun and educational!

Ballet

I continue practice and learn ballet, and I continue to love it! I hope to plie into the summer months. One day, my goal is to learn how to dance in pointe shoes! If only once – that’s my goal!

PS. I’ve since purchased new ballet slippers!

Workshop at Oxley Winery for Book Club

I was invited to lead a poetry workshop for a book club. We met at the beautifully welcoming Oxley Winery, and shared wine, words, fancy cheese and meats – and loads of love and laughter. Book Clubs are a bit of an untapped market, I do say! For readers aren’t always reading poetry. It’s seems as though it’s a big deal when they do – and I’m honoured to be a poet to call out to for a word or two on the subject!

Indeed, if you’re a member of a book club and you’d like to read some poetry, feel free to make contact because I’d love to share some poetry with you!

The Steady – Poetry Reading with Adebe DeRango-Adem, Samantha Bernstein, and singer/songwriter Carmel Liburdi

For a second time, I planned a reading at The Steady Cafe in Toronto. Joined by Toronto poets Adebe DeRango-Adem and Samantha Bernstein, we gathered to share poetry and music. Truth be told, two people showed up to listen. Thank you!!! I will admit I felt sad….that more people didn’t come. But we made the best of it, didn’t we? We still read and talked about the industry and poetry and writing. It was a wonderful conversation. Carmel gave us the gift of her song, and sweet humour. We all experience readings where a small (or no!) audience. And yes, it can be jarring, but we make the best of it. We certainly did! Congratulations to Samantha on the birth of her fist collection of poetry, Spit on the Devil!

United Way – Women Leading the Way – Keynote Speech

I was invited to give the keynote speech at this year’s United Way’s ‘Women Leading the Way’ luncheon. A fundraiser for United Way, this event happens annually and welcomes a woman to give an ‘inspiring’ speech.

I was honoured to be invited, and took this task very seriously…planning for weeks what I would say, and putting together an engaging slide presentation. I was extremely nervous…like, cry and want to give up nervous! But I pushed through it and ended up giving the speech of my life! Indeed, it changed me. Thinking about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, and then getting up in front of 327 people to speak it – it was a life-changing event for me.

There was tremendous support from the community – like this piece in Biz X.

Me and the United Way Team! Go women!

Holy Hannah, my boobs look huge.

Cheese! Thank you Scotia Bank for your support!

I read poetry during my speech. Gosh. It was amazing!

Posing with friends (Veronique Mandal!) after my speech. Such wonderful women we have in this city!

Goofy me post-speech. I was flying!

A quick line-up formed – folks wanted my signature! Thank you!!!

I worked so hard on my speech…really entered my deep-deepness to get to the heart of ‘me’ – which I hope was inspiring…! I talked purpose, and stories and being in the moment. Someone even started a hashtag: #handtoheart!

Here is a video of my speech…it is edited down because I spoke over the length of time I was supposed to (oops!)! Watch how blotchy my skin gets! And yes, I cried. Would it be an event with Vanessa if no one laughed or cried!?

Click here to watch my speech.   (And find out more about Women Leading the Way!)

Infinite thank yous to everyone who attended, to United Way and Women Leading the Way Windsor Essex, Lynda, Danielle, Chantal, Janice, to Biblioasis, Tina, and Scotia Bank – it was truly an incredible, life-changing event! And all for literacy!! Hundreds of dollars in books and donations were made for kids in our community!

Windsor’s 125th Birthday Celebration

I had the opportunity to do Poetry On Demand at the 125th Birthday celebration held downtown! Happy to share poetry with the community and celebrate Windsor’s birthday, new flag and the diverse people who share the land – it was a fine day indeed.

Mouth Piece Storytelling – The Secrets Edition

On June 3, we had another Mouth Piece Storytelling event featuring Guest Storyteller Jeni De La O, and Guest Musician Crissi Cochrane! It was a revealing event! Five storytellers shared some intimate, funny, and unique ‘secret’ stories!

Guest Storyteller Jeni De La O!

Does she look liked she lived a double life? because she did!

It’s no secret, Crissi Cochrane is incredible!

Outstanding art by Dave Houle..all over Villains!

Find out more about Mouth Piece Storytelling at our website: www.mouthpiecestories.com.

Birthday! I turned 39-yo.

We danced at the Rondo until 1:45am! Then talked…I got home and was in bed by 2:30am. So. Crazy. But..um, yeah, I can do that still. Once. A. Year.

With my girls! Dancing at Rondo!

Look maybe 27, feel 19…actually 39.

League of Canadian Poets Feminist Caucus Panel

I was the co-chair of this year’s Feminist Caucus Panel – Revisit, Revise, Revolutionize! We gathered Andrea Thompson, Paulina O’Keiffe, Janice Jo Lee, Adebe DeRango-Adem (absent at the panel, but still very much part of the conversation!) and moderator Susan G. Cole to engage in a conversation about the definition and role of Feminism in the literary, spoken-word, and community-at-large worlds!

Moderator Susan G. Cole, Paulina O’Keiffe, Andrea Thompson and Janice Jo Lee.

We made incredible progress and are moving forward with a vote and action committee! Yahoo!

For more information about the League of Canadian Poets – click here!

And now….

Home!

Writing – on this fabulous vintage typewriter I got as a gift for Mother’s Day/my birthday.

Love…so much.

It has been a truly wild, busy and educational 2017 thus far.

Truth: mama’s tired. And with so much that has happened, now it’s time to rest and reflect.

Thank you to everyone I’ve shared a stage with…all the poets, the reading series, the event organizers, the people who attend and support…my family and friends. I’m honoured. Humbled. And so very grateful.

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