Collaboration

Aside

I’m learning about the synergy that happens when two come together and create more than the sum of the parts. Husband and wife, wine and cheese, family and friends, darkness and stars, poetry and visual images, music and art, ideas and application… and we could go on from there.

“Two are better than one” are words I struggle to live by. I am naturally introverted, like my time and space alone, but too much of a good thing is just too much. So I meet with a friend or a colleague face-to-face, share ideas, nod my head, offer a few thoughts, and go away feeling more able to take on the world. I fight myself on this every time, but getting out is getting easier with practice.

Being alone is something every artist/writer/poet experiences. It’s knowing when to leave the studio that requires a fine tuned antennae. Wait too long and darkness can settle, upsetting the creative process. Leave too soon and no art is created. I’m figuring out the balance that works for me.

Early last evening, I knew I had to get out. With poems in hand I headed to the heart of Kelowna, and walked along the boardwalk at Waterfront Park, alone but in a crowd, everyone gathering for the musical offerings of Parks Alive. A quintessential Okanagan evening, sailboats running a course, tourists taking photos, lovers prone on the grassy hill, seniors clustering in groups to listen to the music, dogs and kids and happy happenings all around me.

I collaborated in kind, sowed poems all over Waterfront Park. I shared two poems, “Burn ~ Okanagan Mountain Firestorm”, and “Everyday grace”. Here are some photos of the experience.

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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