I had the privilege of taking part in a three-author reading event at UNBC (Terrace campus) this past Thursday (July 9th), along with poet Simon Thompson (watch for his poetry collection, coming September 2009 from New Star Books) and Si Transken, an inspiring wild woman who, amidst her hectic life of teaching as a tenured PhD at UNBC and working with street women and in shelters in Prince George, writes wickedly funny, painfully challenging poems about the people she meets—docu-poems.
The way I prepared this time was particularly beneficial and non-crazy-making (bonus!), and evening was totally fun and inspiring night—I went home so fired up that I wrote ‘til 3:00 a.m.
Once Simon began to speak, I forgot my nerves. He made interesting commentary on writing in general, and the poems he shared, full of sharp, vivid images, pulled me in entirely. His poetry is like a camera’s click—each scene is captured with precision, right down to the changes in light and shadow. I especially love how he makes no references to mood or emotion, yet each poem is powerfully felt because of the details he chooses to elaborate on. An excellent take-home point for every writer!
Si was shocking and fantastic—soft-spoken, smiley, constantly joking as a presenter. Her poems? Her words? They flashed and slashed like a pulled knife. She is all about social activism and change and vocal about what’s wrong in the world what needs to be righted and so high energy you wonder if she breathes when she talks and you’re ashamed/challenged—your words your thoughts your art should DO something.
The audience was great—very engaged, laughing and interactive. Yay! Afterward, most hung around to chat a bit. I especially enjoyed talking with Noreen Spence, a wonderful painter, about some of the parallels between painting and writing (maybe between all arts—my sister’s a classical singer and we notice similarities in our processes all the time too).
This morning I received an e-mail from Noreen that said in part: “I was listening to the three of you last night and thinking about what enormous courage it took to do what you did. Another way that writing is similar to painting. All this solitary activity and invested energy and then one day there you are, having to be exposed and suddenly gregarious. What a wild ride. Only crazy people would willingly climb on for this insane roller coaster. Thank heavens for the crazy people!”
Yes, thank heavens. 🙂
Writing is a solitary, intimate endeavour, and while I love that about it, it also makes mingling with people who do what I do (or want to do) and who love and obsess about the same things I do (in different forms or modes) that much more important, special, out of the ordinary, nourishing.
If you can, get thee to a reading soon!