This is Monday. Normally I turn on my cell at 7-7:30 am and within 60 seconds various tones notify me of new emails or texts. Working a Saturday to Wednesday shift, Monday is when most of my contacts respond to various communications from the previous week. EVERYONE is in the office on Monday. Today, all the organizations I work with are sheltered in place some since the week of 3/16. The flow of work and communication is showing a noticeable difference. It’s no longer a racehorse jumping out of the gate at 7:00 am.
This morning my silent phone feels a bit eerie.
1) an observed joy- Enjoyed the Palm Sunday live stream with the church; many of the parishioners displayed clipped fern leaves, a palm-like stalk found in almost every Northwest yard, for the occasion. Later that evening Zooming with my family, a phone call catch up with a writing friend, was touching as well.
2) a real concern- Two of my friends believe the lockdown will be extended into June or July. I REALLY hope they are wrong. As a social worker, I understand that people and families in crisis live in a pandemic-like state constantly, with no foreseeable end. The common suburbian- in crisis -is an unstable animal.
3) a personal challenge- I want to increase my walks from 4-5 a week to twice a day.
4) one personal success (no matter how small)-I’ve tackled my file cabinet, and I’m doing better about leaving a pile of dishes in the sink.
5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- How long in lockdown before I vacuum behind the bookshelf? There is a spider web back there amongst the dust bunnies and a forgotten hair tie. It is a guardian of all things hidden and forgotten.
Here is my current mood expressed in a pandemic meme. It’s a shout out to all the ‘effin’ people over 70 I see in the grocery stores rocking the isle without a mask with a “death can not touch me” attitude, meanwhile…
This event is an early 5:00 p.m. set designed for you and your sweetie to enjoy a special day together, a passionate spark to get things started. Also, a great time for anyone who is a fan of love and wants to support the Alt Library and local artist. (I think we’re talkin’ about YOU) You’ll hear from poets Eric Kosarot and James Bertolino. The featured poet is Shannon P. Laws who will be reading select love poems accompanied by Greg Sherman on upright bass. This is also the first Bellingham reading from her new book “Fallen”, 2017.
Come early Kathy McKeever, Urban Cauldron, will be available to read your LOVE tarot 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Kathy is a professional, long time tarot reader and teacher of tarot. She is an expert in the art of divination.
Tickets are suggested $5 or donation, tips encouraged for tarot reader Books by authors will be on hand for purchase
James Bertolino’s poetry has received recognition through a Book-of-the-Month Club Poetry Fellowship, the Discovery Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two Quarterly Review of Literature book publication awards, and the Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize for Washington State Poets. He has had 12 volumes of poetry published, the most recent being Ravenous Bliss: New and Selected Love Poems, 2014, from MoonPath Press. http://www.jamesbertolino.com/
Tongue in Ink
by Shannon P. Laws
The best poems are not written in ink but by the tongue
Spoken into the air never finding paper
Touched by the mist of breath against your neck
Said in the dark rooms where lovers meet
Not at all recorded nor syllables numbered
But art form just the same
Once activated and released the words are all lost
Such a joy to feature again at Zippy’s. Great poetry-loving crowd. Duane is a wonderful host. Zippy’s offers yummy sandwiches. It’s a win, win, win. I’ll be reading for the first time from my new book, “Fallen” with FRESHLY PRINTED copies on hand to take home.
I’m carpooling down to Everett. Message me if you’d like to join us, there are two spaces left.
Last evening I received my second Mayor’s Arts Award. Allow a moment of confession, just to help the editor in me get back to sleep. You see I woke up at 2 a.m. bothered. I prepared a speech expecting a five-six minute read time. Excited to share a bit of WHO I am and WHAT I do. However, twenty minutes prior to the event I was told I would be the first person up, please keep it to a sharp 3 minutes.
As I type a “Breaking News” alert on BBC Radio announces that Prince Philip, 96, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, is retiring from public service. Perhaps I should take some pointers from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His speeches were known to be short and to the point. In Canada one time he said, “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.” Short. Sweet.
For completely personal reasons, which this whole website is up for completely personal reasons, I need to post my complete speech. RED is what was removed to accommodate the schedule. -SPL
Thank you Mayor Linville and the Bellingham Arts Commission for awarding “Bellingham Art Beat” the Mayor’s Arts Award, it is a great honor.
I am the producer of the program. Boosie, the host, couldn’t be here tonight. She sends her thanks. She is on assignment on a sandy beach off the coast of Cuba. Poor girl.
I’d like to also extend a special thank you to the many dedicated listeners to the program and the 60 plus guests who have appeared on “Bellingham Art Beat “over the last two seasons, especially three previous guests who are also receiving awards tonight, Mary Gillilan, Fredrick Dent and Lisa Spicer. A town is only as great as its’ people. The people of Bellingham are extraordinary!
I’m in the story collecting and sharing business. I particularly love biographies. It is my belief that testimonies have a sort of power. A person’s story when shared can alert a listener to the possibilities toward their own solution.
I’m mesmerized at the properties of storytelling in general, whether shared around a campfire, read in a book, presented on stage, or projected in IMAX. Telling a story is human. Our society has punishments for people who tell false stories with intent to harm. We value words, tales, history and truth, even embellished truth.
Stories are all around us. In 2010 I went looking for my own story. After my dissolved 21 year marriage, I moved to Bellingham to be closer to my family. But that is not where my story starts.
Born in Seattle, and raised in the sleepy and slightly odd truck stop town of Federal Way. A town that, at the time, had the distinct problem of too many trees and not enough strip malls.
As I shared in my BTV interview, I discovered television broadcasting and field production in my junior year of high school. It was my first career love. I worked in field and studio production for about four years, then a decade later I returned to a related field of cable commercial insertion.
Moving to Bellingham I landed a job with the beloved KVOS TV, up there on Ellis. Since the sale of KVOS in 2012, I have worked at a variety of temporary jobs doing what I can to stay in Bellingham.
When I first moved here I asked my brother what is the best way to learn the town and meet new people, he said “Volunteer.” I tried volunteering at a few places before I found a perfect fit as a radio producer and host broadcasting on KMRE 102.3 Spark Radio in 2011-2015. In 2016 I decided to offer a fresh radio program for air at the new station KZAX 94.9 Make.Shift Radio.
Producing my radio program reminds me of my television days. Radio and television are cousins. This work keeps me connected to the original passion. I do it for free. I simply love it, and I will continue to do it until it stops being fun.
By this summer Bellingham Art Beat will rotate on a total of three stations in the Northwest, online and over the airwaves.
Often people approach me with an idea for a radio program. You can see the fever in their eyes! There are many good ideas out there, but most things “good” take time to make.
People think this is easy to do. It’s not easy. It’s [Radio] a craft as much as any art form, and it takes time to learn. It takes time to research a guest, compile questions that will spur stimulating conversation for the audience. It takes time to edit the work. I’m talking, for example, editing 30 minutes of an interview down to ten. That persons story needs to be represented well. Their words respected. Bellingham Art Beat is a half-hour weekly radio show; each show takes at least four hours to produce, so that is about 16-20 hours a month volunteered.
If there is one common denominator with the artists I have interviewed over the years it’s perseverance. They fight for their idea, roll up their sleeves and work to make their business, class, band, play, collaboration, project a reality.
I’d like to close with the reading of a poem that came to me at the right time, and seeded hope in my heart when it was very tender. And I’d like to read this as a “Thank You” to the guests who have shared their story with me, and allowed me to share it with you, the listeners.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.