463*…


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463. grace enough to recognize I’ve veered from the thankful path for several months, and I can step back on, right now.

* As I explained back at the beginning, the concept of naming one thousand gifts is not mine, it is one that I learned in the pages of Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts”. The website of the same name can be found here. When I spoke of her book here on my blog post “Soon and very soon we are going to see”, I implored you to run out and buy a copy of Ann’s book. If you haven’t done that yet… PLEASE DO! I have since bought a couple more copies, given them away, continued to read and re-read my copy, and realized a deep call on my heart to begin to write down and name and own a thankfulness around the things that God fills my eyes and heart with each moment of every day.

So I continue to look and see that God is good in the hundreds of millions of intricate details of my life. I caught a glimpse of my face today in the rearview mirror of my car, after seeing items 50, 51 and 54 and I was smiling… that Mona Lisaesque smile that says so much… hmmm… perhaps the fullness was showing…

On the path, looking,

Lesley-Anne

464. the colour purple against that particular colour of yellow and the feast for the eyes that can be captured digitally to enjoy over and over and over…

465. a young friend gets a job after months of searching and trying and wondering and waiting…

466. not having any answers but finding some small words of love and kindness for the hurting ones, when your heart is heavy yet nothing compared to the weight they carry.

467. family… young and old, active and still active, sitting around the table as the light goes down and the stars come out and the conversation continues… being able to remember those times today when the house is empty of all of them.

468. gainful employment for the guys, youth camp for the girl, good things coming to us undeserved.

469. doors opened and closed, perspective for both.

470. another day to Carpe Diem!

471. losing track of the numbers and focusing on the listing of good gifts.

472. the words of others that fill my heart, poke me in the ribs, get me thinking.

473. a few bits of poetry paper pinned to trees and lights and benches and the potential for words to settle into the lives of others.

474. summer.

475. creative ideas and bouncing them off others and how their ideas melded with yours are so much better.

476. things to look forward to.

All is as it should be, SDG.

Lesley-Anne

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Hope is oxygen, and random stuff leading to New Years…


1. A worthy pursuit is capturing JOY (and HOPE) and sharing it with others. Buddy Breathing is about sharing HOPE. An example of sharing JOY is Jump for Joy, a ‘project’ blog by a Canadian born photographer. Her project is to capture photos of people expressing joy while leaping into the air! People from all over the world, including many Canadians. I smiled often at her photos, proof that JOY (and HOPE) is contagious!

2. Speaking of photography, I’m excited to share that my son Malcolm is launching a photo blog. He has some amazing shots in his portfolio… coming your way soon…

3. So, here we are mid Christmas season and feeling a tad… bored? It happens when so much emphasis is placed on prep for THE DAY, and then THE DAY comes and goes and there isn’t much to do anymore. You’d think we’d be happy about this. Why is relaxing into the moment so difficult? But it is. Have we forgotten already the magic of a winter’s evening on the ice… just last week?

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4. Poetry… how best to share it, market it, send it out into the world to live and breathe. Many differing opinions, many options to consider and do nothing about getting it out there. So, 2013 is the year of setting my poetry free (publishing). I begin by attending a Patrick Lane January workshop at Honeymoon Bay on Vancouver Island, more learning, more writing and serious goal setting. Then the rubber hits the road. Writing is work. Writing poetry is work. Selling poetry will be even more work. As always, you’ll be the first to know the details!!!

5. Naming gifts has been something sustaining this year. Beginning with reading Anne Voskamps book, One Thousand Gifts, and awakening my soul to gratitude in every great and small thing in my first naming post, I managed to name 445 gifts in just over 6 months. Not 1000, but well on my way. A daily naming would get me there, but that’s not the point. For me it’s about remembering to be thankful, and that’s not full time or all the time, but the sometimes that are slowly growing closer together.

6. Almost at New Year now, I pause to remember what has been gained, what has been lost this year ~ a sweet friend passes away too soon, eldest son grows up, goes away and comes home again, middle son graduating, daughter fledging, husband loves, survives heart attack, we make changes, eat healthfully, exercise more, parents visit, peer mentors emerge, old friendships deepen, poems written, contests won and lost, publishers say no and no thanks, Pop-Up-Poetry launches, I live and learn and lean into what God would have of me.  I still consider a Soli Deo Gloria tattoo. Life continues…

Thank you for the path you’ve walked alongside me this 2012. It’s a privilege to write for you and imagine you reading my words, considering things I mention, and I get SO EXCITED when some dear person says something back to me! My heart LEAPS! May you continue to find HOPE here, and beneath it all, the foundation of God bearing up the life of this very ordinary woman.

All is well with me. In borrowed words, “all is grace

Lesley-Anne SDGDSC_0485

The precipitous perils of writing


National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills (Photo credit: mySAPL)

I write because… I feel better when I do, worse when I don’t, especially during the grey days of February. I feel like I’m supposed to write, that it fulfills something in me when I do. Writing is cathartic, gets the inside out, stops the slow simmer-spiral down, provides the occasional epiphany, allows for conversations to develop, promotes transparency, builds bridges, finds community. All that and more.

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” ~ Carlos Fuentes

But where I write/publish (and what is safe, yes, there is a very real element of professional safety involved around potential copyright infringement etc.) and what disqualifies me from further publishing of my thoughts-work-art is a very real concern these days. It causes a bit of angst for me and I don’t quite know what to do about it.

This year, when CBC announced their annual “Canada Writes Contest”, rules clearly stated that any work previously published in any form, including on the internet, was not eligible for submission. Bummer. Big bummer. And I’ve noticed an increasing number of Literary Publications that have this qualification in their submission guidelines.

Yikes, I thought… so much for blogging my poetry, my essays, my words, when it is clearly disqualifying me from serious literary activities. Or, does that really matter?

There is an inherent tension in the life of an artist… the hard wired need to express what and who you are, and then while you are busy doing just that, at some point, the thought crosses your mind and then becomes a small voice repeating itself over and over, expressing the need to expose your work to others. Then to further complicate things, the dawning realization that the ‘work’ of getting projects out there to others is quite complex and filled with dead ends and wrought with politics and costs and the days and the weeks and the years pass and you suddenly wonder, if this traditional route of getting out there is really working, is really worth all the trouble… I mean, is it? What is the point of writing if nobody is ever going to read what you write?

I used to share my poetry openly and with abandon here on my blog. Tuesday Poems were… every Tuesday gifts to whomever dropped by to read them. Then after the “Canada Writes” disappointment, a bit of fear set in, and I reluctantly quit posting poems. The haunting question remains… what if I’m giving it all away for free (because poets can expect to make big bucks once they are famous, right!!!), what if publishers consider any form of any draft poem published online out out out of the question too. Simultaneous submissions aside, if it’s online and free for all to see, then would any discriminating publisher want it? Would they?

It’s feels like a gift has been given (the world wide web way of sharing words/art/ourselves) and then taken back. And that really isn’t a very nice thing to do, whether it’s a pony or a candy or an opportunity? How is posting online any different from reading work aloud in public places? Or posting broadsheet billboards of my poetry old school style on posts and walls and street signs? Or, sending a hand written poem to a friend? If I share my written work any way whatsoever, is it considered used and tired and not worth publishing in a traditional sense? I’m confused. And a little bit angry.

I’m just laying this all out there today, in hopes of starting a conversation, discussion, around this topic. What do you think? What are the underlying issues?

Testing the waters,

Lesley-Anne

Tuesday Poem 005


Is it any wonder?

My mother will tell you the precise hour of day
my sibling fell. Outrageous claim, hearing bone crunch
from miles away. (I rolled my eyes). Now I eat salt-sweet
crow with a side of maternal melodrama.

He didn’t (do they ever) come easy, arrived on pain’s
edge, pushing, cutting, cord and apron strings. So is it
any wonder his experience is mine, our dreams like
spirit lines melded in the night. Both may die hard.

My prayers are biased. I profess a life (submitted)
to (leading) Providence, but leave bread crumbs marking
The Way. Home is this nest of plucked breast feathers.
I would give my life for him. Is it any wonder?

While his father molds a man, I prick my finger, spot
(spill) a shirt with blood, tend to the needed (urgent)
steep compassion in my cup. Stay up, unbolt the door
run to meet him on the road.

NOTE:  A special thank you goes out today to Kolembo for speaking into last weeks poetry post in such open and helpful detail. If you have never visited or read Kolembo, you must do so. His work is profoundly real, raw, and affects me each time I read it. Life has taken me away from that particular poem to this new one over the past few days, but I continue to be grateful to those who read and give me such direct and helpful feedback for when I will return to those works in progress. xo LAE

POST SCRIPT to my NOTE:  Aforementioned poet friend Kolembo just invited me to link “Is it any wonder” to Open Link Night 48 over at dVerse… an online community of poets, writers, and… well… as I’ve only just walked through the ‘door’ over there… I’m intrigued by who I’ll meet. So, I linked in. Thanks K. Now this is everyone’s invite to pop on over for more poetry if you are so inclined. xo

Midweek Random Ramble013


1. I just came upon this video of Billy Shakespeare, performed by students from Kansas University. What a delight interesting experience to be able to watch this, listen AND READ SUBTITLES!!! If only this had been available when I was trying to read Shakespeare in High School Engish class. Just saying…

2. Amy, my hairstylist has been cutting hair for over 17 years. She’s young, and I can count on her to give me a style that is contemporary, not trying to look like I’m a teenager, and certainly not wanting to look like I’m old over 40ish! I asked her, among other things, what her favourite part of being a hair stylist is.  She said, “Well, it’s the instant gratification of the styling,” (you know, that part that I (you?) stress over each and every morning of our lives as we try to recreate what was looking sooooo good when we first had it cut). Seems that what takes me a lot of time and a lot of emotion to create, she finds to be both ‘instant’ and ‘gratifying’.  Hmmm… here’s the results this morning as I tried my best. It certainly wasn’t instant for me!

3.  I’ve committed to writing a manuscript of poetry. And I’ve almost committed to submitting it to publishers. Which means I’ve almost committed to writing a BOOK!!! I’m setting aside a time each week where I work on my poems, editing, fine tuning, rewriting them into something I feel happy with. Then I’ll go from there. It appears that I’m going to need about 64 poems that will be a substantial body of work that would be of interest to anyone. So, I’ll also be writing new poems too, as I’m not quite at the 64 mark. Just thought I’d mention it.

BTW, what’s your opinion on poetry? Does it feel rather distant, irrelevant, precious, uninteresting? Does it remind you of #1 where you struggled through Willie and didn’t quite enjoy the process? What if I told you that poetry was simply a story? To me, that is exactly what it is. My poems (which you read here every Poetry Friday) are about regular everyday people, places and things. So, when I say I’m writing a book of poetry… don’t let that put you off. I think you might like it when it’s done.

4. And here is what Halloween costumes looked like at our house this year, after a trip to Value Village and some digging around our own ‘tickle trunk’ downstairs…

… our own version of The Mad Hatter, complete with bunny…

…and a War Maiden of Celtic origins…

… and then there was Luke Skywalker…

5. Gotta go dust and vac. the house. The dog is all over it! Literally. Footprints and bits of leaves and other things Emmy has dragged inside.

Peace,

Out.

Lesley-Anne

Sol Deo Gloria