Today is Sunday and the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is over. It was one of the biggest and best things with which I have ever been involved. Our finals night was spectacular. Any of the teams could have won, they were all that good, but in the end Vancouver Team 2 (the one I was rooting for) was declared champion.
This week has been unbelievably rich for me. Up until now my only exposure to spoken word artists not from Vancouver has been when they have featured at the Vancouver Slam. I have not toured or gone to a major competition. Finally all of these people and experiences that I have only heard about came to Vancouver and I got to be there and be part of it. I have met so many new friends and seen performance styles and talents that have filled me with awe and inspiration.
Another wonderful thing about this week was the volunteers. Ottawa poet John Akpata called them our "army of peace," which I think is a perfect description. They hosted poets in their homes, drove them in from the airport, solicited donations, put up posters and helped at the events. Volunteers worked the door, info table, merchandise table, bar and lineup. They were timekeepers and scorekeepers for the competition and they made sure the poets were welcomed and taken care of at every event. They worked with dedication, team spirit and a great sense of fun. They all seemed to feel lucky to be doing the job, which made me feel very very happy because that was my goal for working with them.
Most of all, I have loved working with my Vancouver Poetry House friends to make this festival happen. I'm not sure if we really knew what we were getting into when we started this project almost two years ago, but the process has been as important as the actual festival. I am inspired by the talent, creativity, hard work and good will of this small but mighty group. When I think about how I feel about them, I can understand what the volunteers have been saying to me this week. Lucky, lucky, lucky... Randy, Jim, Sean, Chrystalene, Emily, Steve, Graham, Brendan, Angus, Barbara, Daniel, Matthew, Rowan, Joee, Kevin, Darek. You are beyond wonderful. I am blessed to know you.
The day after the festival I am proud and happy and also sad that it is over. My friend Irene checked in with me yesterday to make sure I wan't going to feel too sad. So far I am okay, although I had a couple of moments near the end of last evening when it hit me that we wouldn't have this to look forward to any more. Today I'm kind of bobbing up and down with alternating joy and deflation. But there are other projects on the horizon. I'm leaving this one immeasurably richer and more grateful than I can say.
question: what do you do on the day after Christmas?
mompoet - glad, sad and glad (mostly glad)