Friday, January 27, 2006

WordPlay and the Fundraiser

I was too crabby and frantic yesterday to write about my good day Wednesday. It's safe now, to be in the same room with me, so I'm catching up on good things. I'm home from work until 2:30 when there are just too many after-school programs starting up for me to leave my co-workers on their own to manage, so I'll work for a couple of hours later in the day. Otherwise, it's pretty much a day off. Ahhhhh

Let's get crabby and frantic out of the way. Work is just way too busy, high volume with bonus time-consuming surprises. Then I take a couple days of flex time to do important things, but the work continues to pile up. It's life, but it's hard to handle. Add a low-grade cold and my own personal inclination to protect everyone around me from feeling the the worst effects of the stress, and I just naturally get to the end of my rope. A slow evening with my family and early sleep have done a world of good already. Wearing pajamas at 8:05 in the morning help too. Now Fi's home from school on a pro-d day so we'll have a girls' day, which will help also. Andy and I will sit down at the computer and actually book the vacation hotels this weekend, and that will help too. There's something about shared anticipation of a long-time-coming treat that feels so wonderful...

So you can see, I'm pretty good at finding my way out of a funk. At least partially de-funkified, I am ready to reflect on Wednesday's good things.

Barbara Adler and Brendan McLeod came to the middle school with me on Wednesday to present two spoken word workshops to grade 6 classes as part of a school-wide literacy day. The kids were hesitant at first, but Barbara and Brendan are captivating performers and very real and encouraging in the way they talk to the kids and get them to interact and play with words. I had my socks knocked off two or three times by things the kids said and did. At 11 years old, they are still "unzipped" to a certain extent, willing to go out on a limb and say and do things that reveal their thoughts and emotions. They are wildly creative and not yet limited by ideas of what a proper poem should be. It was a privilege to be given a peek into their artistic minds. And Barbara and Brendan were wonderful, generous, funny and lovely to be with. Thanks so much to the organizers of WordPlay, who run volunteer to run this program that sends poets to schools for workshops and performances. Thank you Chrystalene, Emily and Woody. You are wonderful! The WordPlay website is still in the works. I'll put a link in a future post.

On Wednesday evening I participated in the West Coast Poetry Festival Fundraiser. The festival is scheduled for the first week in July in Vancouver. This one will be the third annual. It's organized by the strange and wonderful Sean McGarragle. It's completely free and it's full of poets who will knock your socks off. A bunch of us helped Sean raise some funds on Wednesday with a show at Cafe Montmartre. I couldn't believe I was part of such a spectacular lineup: Poet Emily Elder performed intimate poems of love and loss. Storyteller Bill MacNamara had us rolling in the aisles and wiping away tears with his tales of misadventure. Chrystalene Buhler astonished us with the simplicity and intensity of her straight-to-the heart poetry. Fernando Raguero was gross and loveable at the same time. Patrick Swan swooped us into his world of hard-knocks and tender compassion. Anis Mojgani showed us why he's the current National Poetry Slam champ and a good-hearted guy too. Shane Koyczan made us laugh even when he wasn't on the stage. Sean MCd and performed a stunning new poem about the disappeared women of Vancouver's east side. Writer/musician John Dixon played evocative back-up trumpet and the divine Chelsea Johnson sang. I totally appreciated the audience for their response to my short set. That poem about the colonoscopy seems to hit home wherever I go. All in all it was a great night. I think Sean raised a bunch of cash. Irene Livingston came out and stayed past the break to see me perform. Thank you Irene!!!!! My friends Marianne, Cathy, Karen and Peggy were there too, and lots of friends from the Poetry Slam. It was all over about 11:15 so I made it home before 12, tired but very happy.

Wow, writing about all that good stuff has further de-funkified me. I know it sounds unbearably platitudinous (I know that's not a word), but our experience is coloured by our outlook. At least for me, changing lenses or pointing in a different direction is often enough to bring back a happy state of mind. Over all, I'm conscious in my logical mind and my heart and my bones that I live a life overflowing with good people, good fortune and extravagant opportunity.

question: what's good for you today?

mompoet - easily, happily distracted


J. Andrew Lockhart said...

you are so write!

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

how about "right"? :)