Be brave

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Inside, your voice speaks: You know you can do it. You know you have something to say. You’ve dedicated years of time, talent, and treasure to this, and seen the ripple effects as others receive the gifts. Yes, there is that fine line that you walk between true humility and feeling…joyful and proud to share your poetry…that it is even yours to give. You know the excitement you feel when you get out there, that freaky, wonderful, guerrilla prickling under your skin feeling as you imagine someone finding something you left behind. You know it’s a good thing.  Be brave. 

So I do it. I am brave. I install my “Pop-up” poems in a lavish sprinkling all over the woods. I watch from a distance. I wonder is it good enough, will it touch someone, will someone find it and like it, will someone say something, or will it all remain a mystery to me of what happens next?

Last day at the retreat, one of my new circle of creative sisters says to the gathered group: “so what I want to remember most of all is this…how magical it felt to find this little poem bit in the woods, and so I’m writing it here on my expressive art piece, so I never forget that feeling, and my prayer captured in those beautiful words.”

“Fill me with God scent, Spirit favour, something good.”

Yes, God, yes, yes.

Be of good courage. Be brave.

LAE

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Over the sea, found poetry…

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On the last day in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I went for a rainy walk with clips and poems in hand. Hung from trees and rustic door handles, nestled in mossy logs and tires, resting on window sills and table tops, my poems each found their place.

In Northern Ireland the very air carries music, the water is thick with poetic intent and I walked in that landscape rich with literary history and beauty and felt somewhat restored. My bits of paper became a simple proof I passed this way. And like other bits of me I leave behind to mark my way, my poems are waiting to be found and carried home.

I want to know.

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DSC_0032As much as I spend time alone, create alone, work and think and pour out alone, there’s part of me that wants to know… others, their thoughts, their responses to my words. I create to express, work to sharpen myself as an artist, but also to share. And when I share there’s absolutely nothing more catch-my-breath-in-my-throat, than to really really know I am become a small part in someones life, a link in a chain strung from here to eternity.

Pop-up-poetry may just be a small miracle. I remember reading Stephen Kings book “On Writing” years ago, and resonating with Kings thoughts (I must look at it again!) that writing somehow transcends time and space. He says, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” To be a writer, to commit words to paper/internet, and then moments, days, years from now, someone reads those words, in a connection across time and space… is miraculous! And so I press on and pop up.

Thursday of last week I pinned poems on Cawston Ave. in Kelowna. I imagined how the words might impact… how God might take what I wrote and begin something or heal something or continue a thought process… with someone I didn’t yet know.

That my poem pinned to a gateway would be welcome home. That my poem pinned to a bench would be rest. That my poem pinned to a community garden would be food.

And I went home believing.

I received a comment here at the bottom of my “About” page that quickened my heart upon reading it.  The joy… in knowing… just a glimpse.

Here are some photos of my pop-up-poems, scattered to the wind, looking to land.

All SDG,

Lesley-Anne

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You just gotta have fun!

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From time to time, someone asks why I do Pop-Up-Poetry. They often look slightly puzzled.

I pause, then explain I want to write, and I want to share my words. Then there’s the giddy, excited feeling when I install poems, almost feeling like I’m breaking a law of some kind, and I’m going to get caught. And that appeals to the rebel in me, and to the childlike mystery of taking action and anticipating ripples, like a comment on my blog, or meeting someone who says, hey, aren’t you the one who does Pop-Up-Poetry? And then there’s the taking steps of faith part of it, like doing it not knowing exactly why, but knowing it somehow feels right.

And it’s just FUN! Shouldn’t we all have fun in our lives?

Here are of the more whimsical installs I’ve done this year:

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Yes, I know that’s poor grammar in the title!

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