NaPoMo poetry party.5


Lowell, there you are just up the road and here I am, here. One day we will meet again and share word and song. Until then, my friend, thanks for coming to my party last year.

BUDDY BREATHING

promo pic 1 pic 1Lowell Friesen is from Coldstream, British Columbia. He is the first of a few singer songwriter guests who’ll be dropping by. Lowell’s creativity spills over in a number of ways: he is an accomplished potter with a studio Nautilus Clayworks, a poet/lyricist, a talented musician, and also a co-steward of the land his family has tended for generations. It’s wonderful to have you here today, Lowell. And Happy Birthday tomorrow!

Here’s a link to your Facebook page so folk can check out some of your past and upcoming live stream music events.

As you know we’ve been asking everyone to share their thoughts around three questions related to the unique times we find ourselves in. Thanks for offering your insights here:

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
L:
I think this new, although I wouldn’t say quieter, life has clarified whats truly important. Things that…

View original post 405 more words

NaPoMo poetry party.4


So good to return and read Daniela’s words again. Happy National Poetry Month, everyone!

BUDDY BREATHING

DanielaElza-cropped-Wendy D Photograpy

It’s my pleasure to welcome Daniela Elza to our little gathering. It amazes me how it is possible to create online relationships, and I appreciate ours. It’s been years since I met you in person, just once, at a reading at the Okanagan Regional Library when you launched your first poetry collection. You are a friend, inspiration and encouragement to me.

I appreciate the considerable depth of your responses to the three questions that are becoming our unifying party chatter here. Thank you for that.

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Daniela: The quieter version of life that leads to the quieter version of me has always taught me that there’s so much wisdom there. That I’m wiser than I think, if I can still myself long enough to listen. It takes getting very still, very quiet. Now the whole world is cooperating with me to…

View original post 700 more words

NaPoMo poetry party.3


So grateful to reflect on this poem by Sally Quon, offered here a year ago and still fresh and alive. Thanks, Sally.

BUDDY BREATHING

IMG_3785Sally Quon is joining us today from Kelowna, British Columbia. Sally is a writer, photographer (see the feature image above), and self professed dirt road diva. Sally’s essays and  accompanying photos at Featherstone Creative are insightful, and genuine. Welcome to our poetry party, Sally!

You can experience more of Sally’s creative work by following these links;

Instagram:  @sallyquon

Blog:  Featherstone Creative

These are unique times for us all, and perhaps even more so for those with the sensibilities and perceptions of a creative. So I’m wondering, Sally, if you might give us a window into how today looks for you by answering these three questions?

1. What is this quieter version of life teaching you?
Sally: There has been a lot of “white noise” in my life.  By eliminating that which isn’t necessary, I have more room to appreciate that which is.

2. We often say we wish we had…

View original post 251 more words

NaPoMo poetry party.2


A year later, we revisit poet Richard Osler. Enjoy.

BUDDY BREATHING

Welcome back to the party.

Today’s guest is Richard Osler from Duncan, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. His blog Recovering Words is a wonderful repository of poetry, and published frequently. I have come to many poets and their works for the first time through Richards blog, and am grateful to him for it.

Richard borrows the words of his mentor Sir Laurens van der Post when he says he lives his life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird. From business journalism with the Financial Post, to financial analysis, money management and back to words as a poet and as a facilitator of poetry workshops and retreats, describes the richness of Richard’s life so far.

I have had opportunity to be with Richard as a both a poetry facilitator, and a workshop co-participant. The depth of his poetic knowledge and passion…

View original post 454 more words

NaPoMo poetry party.1


One year later, and still so good.

BUDDY BREATHING

Back story

Yesterday a friend reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to share some poetry on his lit blog. Rob said he’s planning to host a full month of guest poets on his long time blog in celebration of National Poetry Month 2020. Yes, I said. And as I looked at what poems I might send to Rob, I felt a tiny shift in me that felt a wee bit like I mattered again in the world (cue all the feelings). And then I began wondering how I might be part of a ripple effect within my own creative community.

Bringing us here: day one of our NaPoMo poetry party!

Please say hello to our first guest and my friend, Anne Linington. Anne and I met through Faithwriters, an online writing community in 2006, and have continued a virtual friendship every since. Anne is…

View original post 333 more words

FEENY WOOD. Retreat. Reflect. Restore.


Over the past two years my husband Bob and I have been responding to an invitation of the heart. When I’m most awake and sense something percolating up into a compelling vision, I interpret it as God saying, Look, look, over here! Given who I am, where I’ve been, and what brings me fully alive, is it any wonder that God’s invitation for change can be particular and specific?

FEENY WOOD is a seed that was planted in my heart through a book — Poustinia, by Catherine Doherty.

Feeny Wood arrived when I noticed and responded to an inkling that niggled and captivated me, then compelled us to leave our family home of 18 years, move to a countryside location, and begin to open our lives more fully for the sake of others.

We are fairly certain that Feeny Wood is a God story.

Here’s what Creator says:
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.
Isaiah 43:19

Feeny Wood is a contemplative Christian retreat and our home. It is a place of refuge and prayer extending welcome to those in need of rest, reflection, and spiritual refreshment individually and in community.

Feeny Wood has become an unfolding and defining chapter in our lives.

Find out more HERE at our newly launched website.

Since November 2018, we have nestled into our home, built a prayer hut — a modern woodland Bothy — and created a tranquil courtyard garden. Feeny Wood is now open for individuals seeking a half-day or day long retreat. Through a trusted community partner, spiritual direction is available to our guests. You can reserve your time through the website.

Our vision going forward includes creating a woodland sculpture trail and a meadow labyrinth, holding small gatherings focused on living an artful faith-centred life, and publishing a blog series of spiritual meditations. God continues to lead us in the way.

Our first guest spent 5 days on retreat and said,

Everything at Feeny Wood is saturated with beauty and meaning that draws the spirit into restful reflection and renewal. The hosts are the definition of hospitality. I will come back time and time again. Thank you so much for providing this space for me! 

Come on over to our new WEBSITE, subscribe to our email list, and be in the know about upcoming happenings at Feeny Wood.

With deep gratitude to Joel Clements of Brainstorm Studio for capturing our Feeny Wood sensibilities so beautifully in branding and website design.

And for my dear husband, Bob, whose large-hearted YES continues to embolden and sustain me — I’m so grateful for our shared years of adventures.

A hundred thousand welcomes. Céad míle fáilte.

It’s a wrap!


 

30 days
28 featured guests
485 party goers
Wasn’t that a party!!!

 

What a rich time this has been, one which has me realizing again what an incredible creative community (online and off) that I get to participate in. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about each one of you, and appreciate how candidly you’ve answered my questions. I can’t think of a better way to celebration National Poetry Month!

Below is our NaPoMo Poetry Party Featured Guest List, with links back to each guest’s post. So continue to enjoy and follow up with one another. Learn more about these incredible and unique creative beings who bring light to our needful world.

And if you find yourself mysteriously drawn to pick up a pen, or a paintbrush, or a camera, again for for the first time, I encourage to follow that inkling. Every art form is a gateway. Enter in, dear one.

With deep gratitude to each of you who have graced us with your presence.

Blessings, good health, and creative adventures,

Lesley-Anne

NAPOMO POETRY PARTY
List of Featured Guests

Joel Clements

Barbara Colebrook Peace

Karen Connelly

Gary Copeland Lilley

Brigitta Davidson

Chris Hancock Donaldson

Daniella Elza

Lesley-Anne Evans
(and again)

Malcolm Evans

Lowell Friesen

Malcolm Guite

Rawle James

Amanda Kelly

Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie

Anne Linington

Margaret Macpherson

Susan McCaslin

Nygel Metcalfe

Norm Millross

Richard Osler

Sally Quon

Jason Ramsey

Carmen Rempell

Harold Rhenisch

Robert Rife

Hillary Ross

Christine Valters Paintner

Bernadette Wagner

NaPoMo poetry party last call


Me

The last day of April brings us to our final guest at my NaPoMo poetry party. If you’ve been following along each day (if not tomorrow’s wrap up will help you catch up), you’ll know our scope has widened a bit from strictly poets to meeting with a handful of visual storytellers – photographers. This morning we are joined by Malcolm Evans, a photographer and someone very dear to my heart; my son.

Tell us a little about yourself, Malcolm.

Malcolm: My name is Malcolm and I currently work as an Outreach Navigator with the Canadian Mental Health Association. In May I will begin working on my Master of Public Safety with Wilfrid Laurier University.

As all of you are also experiencing, my life is going through some unprecedented changes. Not only has COVID-19 changed where I live, how I work, and what I do in my spare time, it has also shifted my ability to focus on what matters most to me as an individual. As I find myself distanced from family and friends, there is a heightened sense of priority in my life. The things that matter most to me have been solidified by their absence.

I find peace in this.

We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Malcolm: I tend to be the kind of person who does as much as possible, whenever possible. Since I am an essential worker, the only thing that has changed for me is the time that I spend outside of work. Luckily, a lot of my daily activities already abide by social distancing requirements! If anything, I’m saving money by spending less time in breweries and restaurants, and more time out in nature. The biggest thing that has changed is my ability to spend time with my family. I do my best to find activities that allow us to be together from a distance but it’s never the same.

Why is art important?

Malcolm: Art has always been a form of therapy for myself. The world tends to melt away when I am outside with my camera. Photography allows me to focus on things that have minimal impact on my life and yet, carry significant beauty. Finding beauty in the world continues to be an important source of happiness in my life. I think it’s important for everyone to discover a way to see beauty. Art is a lens that helps us achieve that.

What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Malcolm: I ran out of peanut butter today. It happened a lot faster than I expected. I love peanut butter!

You have chosen several photographs to share this morning, and they are striking examples to me of how form, texture, light, and shadow can be crafted into a emotive compositions completely devoid of colour, and yet my perception is somehow not limited to shades and tones of black and white. I wonder why? There is metaphor in this for me.

Thank you so much for coming by today, Malcolm. Your work is masterful. I wish you all the best with MELK Photography, the business you are developing that will specialize in black/white photography. Maybe you will share more about that another day. And thank you for the helping work you do on the front lines. It is a good work, and you have a good heart.

 

Falling Water 2SunflowerMELK93Water 2

And thank you, friends, for dropping in today. Come back tomorrow for our wrap up session where all of our amazing guests will be back for one more fond farewell.

“May the road rise to meet you, may the sun be always on your back, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.” (Irish Blessing)

Peace to each of you,

Lesley-Anne

NaPoMo poetry party.28


DSC_0076

 

Good morning good folk. A dear friend who was going to drop by and share some work today has had a family emergency. I pray all will be well with them and that they can return one day to be with us.

(I’ve been giving some thought to a regular poetry party here at Buddy Breathing; what do you think?)

I hope you’ve been enjoying the daily visits with so many beautiful and inspiring people? I’ve intentionally steered away from any sense of promotion as I wanted to honour each guest as a person, and to simply sit and spend a little time getting to know their hearts. Please jump in on the comments and let me know how it’s been for you. Let me know if you want to come by one day and share too.

You heard from me once before this month, and here we are again. What shall I say? I think I’ll just share a wee bit from my life in hopes it encourages someone else on their creative journey. It’s a complex mess at times, but today I feel I’m being exactly who I am. With integrity. Truth. Purpose. Providence. With a splash of should-I-be-saying-this-out-loud and do I sound pretentious?

This week I went for a walkabout and installed some poems in my neighbourhood in a process I’ve called “Pop-up Poetry.” I keep another blog all about it HERE. I had a surprise encounter with boys on bikes that you might like to read about HERE. Two front line medical workers affirmed what they called my immeasurable gift, and this at a time when I’m questioning the helper in me. Each time I step out with my poetry and receive a response from anyone, I sense something that feels like a quiver of certainty. This is how I help. This. Poetry.

Eight years of doing Pop-up Poetry and it never gets old. I step out in a mixture of angst and fear and embarrassment (reverse pride) and come back lighter and almost free. I think there’s something about doing what I can, and sharing what I have, that carries me. Pop-up Poetry is woven into my life now.

I’ve been working with the brilliant editor Harold Rhenisch over the past couple of years. He is mentoring me, unleashing me, helping me to believe in my voice and to allow poems to be born through me. It is so difficult some days as I feel my intellect stretched past what I think are my limits. Sometimes I rise with understanding. Sometimes I write and it is complete crap. Sometimes I enter into a flow and a few words string together into a luminous line. I remember the day I asked Harold if he might take a look at my poetry and see if there was something worth doing there. From that day until now is pure gift. Harold inspires me to be like him; to come gently and humbly alongside others in their creative journeys, to speak life into them, and to be a friend.

I’ve also been giving myself to a vision I’ve carried for years, to create a place of refuge for those seeking solitude and soul refreshment. It has meant moving homes. It has meant enfleshing ideas and building things and refining the vision. This place we’ve landed, this place we’ve lovingly named Feeny Wood, has brought me to tears of frustration and joy. When COVID happened, it meant the very first booking in our Bothy (forest prayer hut) had to be postponed. Carrying a vision for hospitality in a time of staying-in-place has me wondering and asking what’s this all about, God? I keep stepping in.

Today I will sit down with my husband to talk about plans for our courtyard contemplative garden. I’ve planted a line of blueberries, transplanted some wild strawberries, and wheeled in 4 yards of lovely black earth. One step at a time. In due course our bans will lift, and our doors will open, and people will come. Maybe it will be you?

I’d like to share another poem with you today, one that arrived this week. She is new and saying something I’m still straining to hear. In other words, more edits are likely :)

May this day bring you bright spots, and a laugh or two,
Lesley-Anne

My Son as the Captain of A Tall Ship

That gentle trough
of sinew and skin like velvet
seems an odd design
for a boy's neck or a horse’s nose.
I want to rest there. I feel faint
at the thought.
When you are absorbed in Lego worlds
I will walk up behind you
and wait. Imagine how it might feel
to float once again in the swirl of hair
on the top of your small head;
drift there for a while — a buoy
in the current of our story.

From above I will tip over
and touch your neck — here, now;
a hint of sweat; your hand
brushing mine away.
I am a channel marker.
You are long gone to sea.

NaPoMo poetry party.27


5317 headshot2
Our guest today is Gary Copeland Lilley who lives, teaches, mentors, and flourishes as a poet and musician in the idyllic seaside town of Port Townsend, Washington. Gary is the author of eight books of poetry, and is published widely. Gary generously serves and creates community through initiatives like his Writer’s Workshoppe where poets are invited to “do your poetic thing with a focus on the crafting of poems, and on not judging poets.”

I met Gary several years back when he was leading faculty at the Centrum Port Townsend Writer’s Conference. It was a joy for me to sit in Gary’s presence, listen to tales of poetry and his days in the Navy, consider his rich insights, and stretch myself in a new context of American poetry culture. And the icing on the cake was hearing Gary play the blues at our evening open mics. (Hey friends, if you ever have a chance to attend Centrum, go!)

Thanks so much for honouring us by being here today, Gary. I’m excited because we get to experience you reading a poem (via video), and you’ve brought another poem in print. There’s something very special about hearing a poet read their work, I think.

If folk would like a taste of a little more about you, or purchase your poetry collections, they can start HERE, HERE, and HERE. As we have become accustomed to doing each day, we are going to ask you three questions;

Lesley-Anne:  We often say we wish we had more time for certain things. Are you spending your time differently in view of our current world challenges? If so, how?

Gary:  I am spending my time with the guitar. I love singing. I’ve written a few songs that I’m still working on. Also, I’m learning some good songs to cover. Woody Guthrie songs and Wobblie (International Workers of the World) songs. These are hyper-political dust-bowl type of times, and, for me, that loops right back into writing poems.

Lesley-Anne:  Why is poetry/art important?

Gary:  Hmmm, a better question for me is when has it not been important? The beauty of the expression of things within our lives is one of the greatest joys of humankind. It is truly a gift from God to be shared with others.

Lesley-Anne:  What is one surprising thing that happened today?

Gary:  Today, in my small town of Port Townsend, WA a woman from somewhere else and in a hurry to get where she was going was honking her horn in the sparse traffic. That never happens here.

We’ll move now into the world of your poems. In a time when we can feel distant from one another, I’m grateful for this month’s poetry party that was for me a drawing closer. Thank you for spending this time with us, Gary.

Peace, and poetry,
Lesley-Anne


Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 7.17.21 PM