A surprise in the woods

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After participating in Christine Valters Painter’s “Awakening The Creative Spirit” in Perth, Scotland in 2017, (written about here) I became enthralled by the idea of gifting another installation of Pop-up’s. I contacted Betsey Beckman, Christine’s co-facilitator, and together we connected the dots to make it happen long distance.

This time I illuminated my poetry excerpts with colourful graphics, like Japanese block cuts, and sent them in the mail to Betsey, who carried them with her over the ocean to Perth, Scotland for their June 2018 retreat.

Early one morning, the support team went out and installed my poems in various places on the property at The Bield, to be discovered by retreatants over the course of the day. The results were serendipitous, joyful, and created a stir overall. Here are some photographs of the pop-up-poem placement and discovery.

Thanks and love to Christine and Betsey for allowing me to offer my gift again.

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Don’t fence me in

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We knew it was coming, first the move out, then the move on, then the moving in of the hazmat team, proceeded by fences and followed by bulldozers. We knew it. We prepared. We celebrated. We left our mark on the building face like it has made a mark in our hearts.

So, today wasn’t a surprise, but still it felt surprising to see the doorway fenced off, the new art and words from a distance, and my heart feeling a little heave-ho because this was it. We have not gone anywhere, and we are determined to stay close and hold out hope to the homeless and vulnerable and disenfranchised for as long as it takes. Still, this was our home of several years. This is where people dropped in and stayed and sat around a little table and wrote poems and then shared them. This is where first words were uttered, where he finally spoke to me, where she smiled and invited me into a conversation.

All I can do today is continue to remember, take a few more pictures, and then, because they were already waiting in the back of my truck and because I was recently told to “do what I can” and I brought what I had…a pop-up happened. A few of my poems hanging like little prayer flags on the moduloc fence, waving goodbye.

Believing in what is to come…what can never be fenced in,

Lesley-Anne

p.s. and just so I have to chuckle rather than cry, I notice in one of the pictures a typo on a poem…and recognize even in a simple little installation there is room to be imperfect and humbled.

p.p.s. soon we will be launching our Metro HOLDINGOUTHOPE campaign. And the stories, oh the stories…

 

Location, location, location

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It appears that art installations, like real estate, may be all about location, location, location. After the fiasco of vandalized art earlier last week, I intentionally returned to the same site, but a slightly different location. Rather than the quiet north side parkway, I chose a location directly adjacent to the front door of our Aquatic Centre H2O. While my daughter worked out, I installed lights and poetry and stood back all spy like and watched what happened.

Within 15 minutes all 20 copies of my poem and as many tea lights were taken by an interesting variety of people. I overheard joy, gratitude, questions and comments that affirmed what I was doing. The most energetic and positive being a group of tween girls with their enthusiastic YMCA leader who said “Look, this is a random act of kindness (RAK) which lines up completely with what we are doing tonight! Let’s take a poem back and copy it and share it with everyone.” I hadn’t thought of PUP as RAK before. Yes, I was standing fairly close by to hear all this! I also saw people take selfies with the installation. Yep.

The funniest comment was from a boy who was very excited until he saw “They aren’t real candles!!!” Then I returned to my car and received a sticky under my wiper blade. It said “you are special in many ways 🙂 🙂 “ I think it was placed there by those very same happy tween girls! So undeserved, so personal, so WOW.

I want to thank each one of you who spoke kindly and affirmatively when I was feeling hurt about the vandalism. Thank you for your reminders to rally on and not let the darkness win. You know who you are. You are my light.
LA

Random PUP photos, found on my phone

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A reminder that I really am really out there, even a little more than I remember. I’m out there with illumination installs in the dark of December, development commentary for the land behind our home, poetry tucked into library books, little lights and poems for my neighbours, and various installations in public places including readings.

Reminds me it’s time to get out there again.

My library is always illuminating…

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I have a happy reciprocal relationship with my local library. And I’ve loved many libraries since I was a little girl. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of Saturday afternoons driving to the North York Public Library with my Dad, “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera” on the car radio. Talk about an mind expanding journey each week. I would max out my allowed books, and then voraciously read them before next visit. Book worm indeed. Thanks, Dad. YES, I adore libraries and books. They are illuminating, informational, inspirational and have shelves full of free destination vacations!

In November I was invited to read at the Okanagan Regional Library, Mission Branch.  Welcoming library staff brought in coffee and snacks and promoted the event with posters and lots of positive talk. It was a fun evening of reading, interacting, and creating with a kind and courageous audience. I’ve been invited back in the New Year.

So I was excited today to gift my library with an “Illumination Installation”. A simple installation of luminaires, poetry and tea light takeaways for staff and passersby. (If you haven’t been to your library lately, pop on over and take out a book to read over the holidays. I’m certain there are lots of very nice staff who will help you find a perfect read.)

And if you are in the Mission area of Kelowna, drop by the Mission Branch and pick up a poem and a tea light. There are lots to go around.

Here are some photos;

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My love language is bread and butter…

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This letter is meant as a reminder, first to me, then to anyone like me, who questions the validity and impact of their life purpose. Choosing the poets way is not often in the spotlight, but rather in half light and shadow. Yet it brings me alive, somehow I know I’m about what I should be about, and God is gracious enough to offer me bread crumbs along the way that affirm my heading. Not everyday, but often, and just when I’m wondering why I’m bothering, someone shows up, says something, confirms the way for me.

Here’s a note for those other days;

Dear Lesley-Anne, dear one,

So don’t be discouraged. You may not be the up front mass appeal type. Don’t feel insignificant. Every thing you do, counts. You have to press in to what you know, do what you have been given to do, with passion, just do it. While you waste time and look at others and tally how many they have impacted, instead just say, good for them. And continue to do what you know YOU are to DO. Walk the dog. Send the email. Say hello. Say thank you. Bake the cookies. Help the helpless. Smile. Hug. Listen. Speak. Take a photo. Paint something. Write something. Post something. Sew something. Ask God to increase your opportunity, your creativity, your energy, your love. Nothing, no NOTHING is wasted.

Live like you believe what you have to do counts. Because it does. Nobody else is going to convince you of this. You have to tell yourself. There may be affirmations from time to time, there may be verses in the Good Book that buoy your spirits and set you going, but for the most part, you have to get going.

Sometimes, when you feel what you are doing counts for nothing (no matter how hard you try to not feel this way), you will be given a gift of knowing it does matter, to someone. Someone will tell you so. Be grateful, be oh so grateful to hear. Tuck these words away for the days you aren’t certain. Because the days will come.

Believe anyway. Every life you touch matters.

SDG

p.s. Yesterday I received a loaf of bread. A lovely homemade, salt topped rye dropped off at my door by a neighbour in thanks for my neighbourhood illumination installation ~ and the poem that touched her heart. Unexpected joy, my love language happens to be bread. How did she know this, I wonder? So I slice off a big chunk, butter it, taste the joy of the moment, the love.

And in the end, love is all that matters,

Lesley-Anne