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

This little light of mine…

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DSC_0001 DSC_0011 DSC_0014So be it, at approximately 4:30 pm yesterday, I embarked on my first illumination installation. A little paper lantern and inside a battery operated tea light turned on, some additional tea lights noted with, “be the light,” and “shine on,” my poem, “The Properties of Light,” and a candy cane, suspended from the trees and porches of my neighbours.

I came home aired out and rosy cheeked and with a giddy feeling of having done something, while only a few hours earlier I was questioning the validity and integrity of my initiative (feeling rather dark in the beginnings of this winter season, feeling rather inadequate). Then I was reminded of a tiny verse that is fixed to the front of my fridge with a magnet, “Go in the strength you have.” Joshua 6:11. So, deep breath, small prayer, winter coat, cozy scarf, flipping stomach, I went out. I hung lanterns. I took photos. I saw the lights twinkle in the dark. And that was enough.

City Light Kelowna, and something inside me flames.

SDG, Lesley-Anne

I get by with a little help from my friends

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Here’s to friends, real, tried and true, old like a comfortable slipper, new and heart racing scary, virtual friends, and those yet to be.

Girls skipping at an athletics carnival

Girls skipping at an athletics carnival (Photo credit: Powerhouse Museum Collection)

Here’s to friends who share wisdom, like another supper idea when the recipe box in my head comes up empty, or say no when the bathing suit is just a little on the scanky side. Here’s to friends who laugh til they pee when I say something completely off the wall, and share their leftovers, and pass me kleenex at just the right moment, and let me use their chapstick.

And here’s to wordie friends… those who read and listen and affirm and suggest. The ones who understand the writing life is a bit lonely at times, who know a village, similar to the one required to raise a child, is needed to release a poem to the world. The ones who say something back when you say something you think might be OK to say out loud.

I have what I think might be a new poet/blogger friend in Vancouver, just over the mountains to the west. I recall reading about Samantha once in the paper, a couple of years ago. She inspired me. I found her online recently and read her blog, read what she’s up to which includes writing a poem a day for over a year. Wow.

And although I have yet to meet this friend face to face, she gave me a gift. What a generous spirit Samantha Reynolds has. What a gift to be featured on her blog, bentlily!  Thank you Samantha Reynolds! Thank you for believing, like me, that writing words down must always be followed by giving them away. Thank you, my friend.

Here’s the link to bentlily, Samantha Reynolds stunning, uplifting and creative blog.

And here’s the link to bentlily’s featured poet for the week (me).

Breathless and happy,

Lesley-Anne, SDG

Oh gosh, that was really awkward…

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Yesterday the sun came out for the first time in… weeks. Well, maybe not weeks, but many days have passed since the clouds have parted and we’ve seen blue and sunlight. It put me in a good place, and as I worked on a writing project at my desk in the morning, the thought began to percolate that it might be time to hit the streets again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read outside.

So, off I headed, this time with a slight revision to my presentation style: the addition of a stand to place my poems on and a small sign (a precursor to the bigger sign I’ve ordered and which arrived today by mail from Vistaprint). The sign to announce who I am in the hopes of taking away the, “what’s-this-woman-trying-to-sell-me-anyway” aura that is faintly around me out there (my perception anyway). Rather than approach people and ask to read them a poem, I thought I’ll just set up my stand in a likely spot and begin to read. Passersby will see me and stop and listen or continue to pass by… their choice.

Only it was awkward. The walk from my truck, past the coffee shop outdoor tables to the spot I chose with music stand in hand, was awkward. The setting up of the sign and the papers and the putting on of reading glasses was awkward. Clearing my voice and beginning to read to nobody in particular was awkward. And people passing by and not stopping and not smiling was awkward. Sounds of traffic seemed louder. I fought with feelings of low self-worth and foolishness and embarrassment and I questioned my motivation, my intent, my purpose. Yes, all this was awkward. And perhaps a little foolhardy and a little dangerous???

English: Don't stand too close Warning sign ad...

English: Don’t stand too close Warning sign adjacent to gate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until a fellow with a bike stopped and listened and nodded and carried on when I was done. And another man having a cigarette hung around and asked for my card, and a woman coming out of a store came over and told me she was a poet and then waited to hear an entire poem from beginning to end. She also wanted my card. Then I wandered to another spot, read out loud to pigeons and squirrels and a mobility bus driver who hid in the bus and one lady who kept her head down and eyes averted as she walked by (did she speed up?).

OK, so those encounters were worth it, I think. Usually it’s not really about me at all, but about the bigger picture. Sharing poetry. Sharing beauty. Being open. Returning the gift. Giving thanks.

Like Bill Cosby says above, or one of my favorite old Hebrew quotations that I keep on my fridge;

“… go in the strength you have…” Judges 6:14

Still popping up, next time with my new groovy sign!
Lesley-Anne

SDG