KPNW-DB RADIO Interview

Ep 7 – May 2019 -Shannon Laws sits down with me to share her latest venture, an album of her Poetry/music titled “You Love Me, You Love Me Not”.
This collection is a satire and embellishment of very real relationships, explores the adult dating experience, it carries the listener through a muddy mess of emotions, passion, regret, rebound, delirious dreaming, and various other levels of pain and suffering while in the pursuit of finding love, or something close to it. The combination of Shannon’s articulation and Greg’s bass touching each stanza ever so gently is a roller coaster ride; asking the question “do they love me or not?”; This show includes several cuts from the album.
The album is available on Bandcamp

“You Love Me, You Love Me Not” was recorded at Bill Simpkins Alpenglow Sound Studios 2019 in Bellingham, Washington USA

Thank you KPNW-DB

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Poem: One of Many People

 

One of Many People

by Shannon P. Laws

I have been was
a second grader in 1976
My hair was long
my skin was tan
and someone gifted
me a turquoise ring

Looking back I don’t
remember having many friends
but I was happy and free
and in love with my world

I built a comic book
reading fort in the
garage rafters of our
9th Avenue home

It was a room by itself
It had a clock radio
a small, warm lamp
cushions and blankets
for me and the cat

I read
Dynamite
MAD
Marvel and D.C.
and the spooky “Believe It Or Not” comics

I miss that girl

Puberty and the 80’s were
crouched around the corner
ready to pounce
ready to pound me into another person

It will never be 1976 again
I’ll never be that long haired girl again

 

Me, 2nd grade, cu from classroom photo

 

Dynamite, issue 25, July 1976 “Space 1999 takes off!” An American pop culture magazine for children 1974-1992

 

Sharing Poetry at Kendall Elementary

Janet Oakley (l) shares some CCC history before Shannon Laws (r) starts her Introduction to Poetry presentation for the 4th-grade class at Kendall Elementary, Kendall, WA March 8, 2018

On March 8th historian and award-winning fiction author, Janet Oakley and I visited Kendall Elementary to share an introduction to poetry and encourage 4th graders to write their own poetry.

This project is inspired by the depression era Civilian Conservation Corps statue dedication.  On June 16, 2018, at the Glacier Ranger Station built by CCC workers, the statue will be dedicated.  Janet Oakley is working with Mike Impero and me to coordinate community events for all ages in celebration of the statue dedication. (Read more about the Corps below)

The CCC boys printed their own newspaper called “The Bulldozer”.  Copies of the paper still exist.  After Janet discovered that the boys wrote many poems for the newspaper, she recruited me to help spur a poetry contest with the local 4th-grade class.  The contest went well.  The Kendall kids are creative!  Select poems are on display at the ranger station and the Kendall Library.  Winners will be read at the dedication ceremony on June 16th.  Kendall is about 10 miles from Glacier and some of the students are direct descendants of CCC workers who stayed in Whatcom Country after the CCC was dissolved.

Yesterday Janet came over to my home and shared some of the Thank You notes from Kendall.  What a warm surprise!  I am so thankful for the experience!  These cards made my day.

“Raise your hand if you’ve written a poem.”
“Dear Ms. Laws and Ms. Oakley, Thank you for teaching poetry. Poetry it can be funny or sad. Mostly I like the rhymes. Still, thank you for coming to our school. Now I really like poetry instead of hating it. Thank you for coming. sincerely Tristian”
“Dear Mrs. Laws, Thank you for the time to write poetry. I have been writing ever since. Thank you for coming.” *wink*

 

Dear Ms. Laws and Ms. Oakley, the slide-show was great and thank you for teaching us poetry. Here is one of the poems I made. Mrs. Grats. Mrs. Grats had sixty rats, each one ate ninety-nine cats. I had a longer one but I forget it. This one isn’t my best when I made it I didn’t have that much time. from Caleb
Dear Ms. Laws and Ms. Oakley, Ms. Laws Thank you for teaching us poetry and spending your time with us. It was fun you having us. Ms. Oakley thank you for teaching us about the boys that made most of the buildings and the statue that is going to be at the ranger station because if you wouldn’t tell me I wouldn’t know, so, thank you.


About the Civilian Conservation Corps Statue

On June 12, 1933, a group of forty-three men from the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived in Shuksan in the Mount Baker National Forest. A week later they were joined by thirty enrollees from Illinois. By July 12, Company 2915 was at full complement of 200 men. During the summer and fall, the company worked on the construction of truck trails on Hannegan Pass and Twin Lakes, felled snags, and strung telephone lines. On November 2, the company moved to their permanent site on the Mount Baker Highway between Maple Falls and Glacier. Over the years, Company 2915 would build the Douglas Fir and Silver Fir campgrounds, the Glacier Ranger Station, the Austin Warming Hut, fire outlooks and hundreds of roads and trails

This June 16, 2018, nearly eighty-five years after the first group of CCC boys arrived at Camp Glacier, a statue will be erected at the Glacier Ranger Station to honor the Civilian Conservation Corps’ work. Though Mount Baker District is used heavily in winter and summer, few today know the history of the CCCs in our area. This statue will serve to tell their story.

A Little History Lesson

The Civilian Conservation Corps came out of the desperate days of the Great Depression. In 1933, only 30% of the population had jobs, mostly halftime. Banks, farms and businesses failed.  With 25% of all young men ages 16 to 30 unemployed, serious social problems arose. To meet this national crisis, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed the Emergency Conservation Act, soon known as the CCC. FDR was inaugurated on March 3, 1933. He proposed the bill on March 21. Both houses passed it on March 28. FDR signed it March 31.

Whatcom County’s first call for young men to sign up was in mid-April. A qualifying family had to be on the welfare rolls, their son between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five years old. The family received an allotment of twenty-five dollars a month. The enrollee would receive five dollars a month, but they were also fed, given shelter and soon training in a variety of things –from radio, auto mechanics to packing horses and setting up phone lines. Some finished their high school certificate.

The CCC Worker Statue

Sometime in the early 1970s, former CCC boys formed alumni chapters to get together, share their stories and support the preservation of their work in state and national. Today, most of the chapters are closed as members have passed away. The concept of the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC Worker Statue program was developed by the former Chapter #129 of Grayling, Michigan in 1995. Program coordinator Rev. William Fraser had the dream to have a statue in every state. The CCC Legacy, a national non-profit group, took on the task recently and now owns the CCC statue mold.

The Glacier statue will be created from a standard mold, and look just like this one from Montana.

For the past year, author and historian Janet Oakley and Mike Impero, North Fork historian worked to get a CCC worker statue for the Glacier Ranger Station. Oakley grew up on stories of the CCCs and wrote a novel, Tree Soldier, set in the Glacier area. For two years, she was a Washington Humanities speaker, going around the state talking about the CCC’s impact on the state’s treasured parks and soil conservation. Mike Impero has written books about the Glacier area. He has a personal reason for the statue: his father was one of the first CCC boys to serve at Camp Glacier. Last month CCC Legacy signed with the Mount Baker National Forest to allow such a statue. The statue will be the second in Washington State and seventy-second in the nation.

On June 16th at the Glacier Ranger Station built by CCC workers, the statue will be dedicated.  Janet Oakley is working with Mike Impero and local poet Shannon P. Laws to coordinate community events for all ages in celebration of the statue dedication.

A 4th grade Kendall poetry contest in March through April.  Poems will be displayed at the Kendall Library and at the Glacier Station.  On April 28th Janet and Mike will give a presentation at Village Books.  All the events are free and open to the public.  -press release

Event: Encore You Love Me, You Love Me Not

You’re invited…

June 19th, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

*AT THE HONEYMOON MEAD BAR*

Encore performance! Poet Shannon Laws hosts a Honeymoon poetry OPEN MIC followed by her “You Love Me, You Love Me Not” beat poetry program accompanied by stand up bassist, Greg Sherman. Shannon’s fresh sense of humor and quietly erotic poetry highlights the joys and aggravations of mid-life singlehood in this collection of love and love maybe poems. Sure to make you go “LOL” and “OOoooOoo”, a fun night for all.

If you missed her debut performance of the set in February you got another chance to catch this unique poetry presentation. Books will be on hand to purchase, donations accepted.

“Shannon Laws’ poems are ventures, many journeys of the mind and imagination… They also probe the mysteries of the human condition, posing elemental issues: love and death and loss, the aching solitariness of human experience, the straining for meaning, clarity and confirmation, the yearning for contact and connection, and the guises humans adopt in the consequent interchange.”
—Ron Leatherbarrow, Professor of Literature, Whatcom Community College

 

Don’t’ be a poet and not know it!
Come on down for good food, good words and a warm fun time of love and no love poetry.

Poem: Votive

Votive

by Shannon P. Laws

 

Candle burns into a puddle of cinnamon

Flame sorts through the fallen

 

A pile in the back of the yard

The unusable parts of me

 

Makes way for stalks

To break burnt soil

 

 

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Event: Honeymoon Open Mic

You’re invited to the event of a lifetime…

Tuesday, June 19 at 8:30 PM – 10 PM

at the Honeymoon,  1053 N State St, Bellingham WA

Encore performance! Poet Shannon Laws hosts a Honeymoon poetry OPEN MIC followed by her “You Love Me, You Love Me Not” beat poetry program accompanied by stand up bassist, Greg Sherman. Shannon’s fresh sense of humor and quietly erotic poetry highlights the joys and aggravations of mid-life singlehood in this collection of love and love maybe poems. Sure to make you go “LOL” and “OOoooOoo”, a fun night for all.

Sign up at Shannon’s Facebook page or in person at the Honeymoon for a slot to read your own love/not love poetry.

If you missed her debut performance of the set in February you got another chance to catch this unique poetry presentation.   Books will be on hand to purchase.

“Shannon Laws’ poems are ventures, many journeys of the mind and imagination… They also probe the mysteries of the human condition, posing elemental issues: love and death and loss, the aching solitariness of human experience, the straining for meaning, clarity and confirmation, the yearning for contact and connection, and the guises humans adopt in the consequent interchange.”
—Ron Leatherbarrow, Professor of Literature, Whatcom Community College

Shannon Laws with her writing hat on. “But the visor is down!” “You don’t need to see to use the force”

 

 

Interview: Bellingham Alive

Here it is!  Better late than never.  Folks were asking for the link to the Bellingham Alive article (November 2017 issue) by KATE GALAMBOS.   Kate touched on my writing, radio and Poem Booth work.  Thank you Kate, and THANK YOU Bellingham Alive for placing me next to my crush Rick Steves!

http://northsoundlife.com/lifestyle/exploring-human-condition-art/

Bellingham has its artistic success stories (Death Cab for Cutie, comedian Ryan Stiles), but it also has its grassroots luminaries. Author, poet, and radio producer Shannon Laws is one. She has the privilege of not only being one of many talented Bellingham artists, but possesses a passion for supporting the local art community. Since beginning her writing career in 2009, she has expanded her reach to radio and community art installation.

Laws has always wanted to be an author. At just 12, she announced to her mother that one day she would be. “I’m sure that statement made her smile. I had poor grammar and spelling skills,” Laws said. Years later, Laws began writing poetry after finding herself in a dark time of life. While living on San Juan Island, she was intrigued by a writing class offered by Pacific Northwest author Susan Wingate. “That class changed the direction of my creative life and gave me hope.”

In June, Laws released her third book of poetry, “Fallen.” The collection explores loss, heartache, and quiet eroticism. Draped in dark humor and metaphor, the writing is a middle-of-life work that aims to “ask questions about a dark past, finding truth in the now, while (being) confident about how it all ends.” The book was a community effort, edited and published by Bellingham residents (Independent Writers Studio Press). Laws said she hopes readers find solace in the familiarity of the poetry. Grief is never felt the same, but her collection aims to lead readers through the process of loss. “I’m saying to the reader, ‘Come join me while I wallow around in my mottled life. We’re all a bit muddy. Let’s take that mud, cook it in the sun, and build a home together.” Loss is never a clean endeavor, and that is all right.

Beyond her writing, Laws produces the award-winning radio show, Bellingham Art Beat, which airs on Make.Shift Radio (KZAX LP-FM 94.9) and online at KPNW-DB. In March, the weekly program has been awarded the 38th Annual Mayor’s Art Award for its advocacy for local artists. It covers the art scene with live interviews and music. Laws draws much of her inspiration from the radio show. Each interview brings to light the awesomeness of the human experience. “I fall in love with everyone I interview,” Laws said. While each experience differs, we are all part of human existence. Our experiences are as unique as our fingerprints, she said. Laws is driven by inspiring stories of survival from all dimensions, big and small.

Laws also has had the opportunity to be a part of an unusual revival project. All over the country, phone booths have become dilapidated, seemingly pointless structures once the phones are removed. Working in partnership with artist Christen Mattix, and poet Summer Starr, the team refurbished a phone booth to beautifully house poetry. The Poem Booth can be spotted outside the downtown Community Co-op on North Forest Street. Today, the booth stands as a bright, clean, and inspiring art installation, hosting a new poem on a quarterly basis. Poems can be submitted to poemboothbham@gmail.com. Winners receive $25 cash and a $25 gift certificate to the Community Co-op.

shannonplawswriter.com

 

Bellingham Alive, November 2017 cover

I dreamed I was married to…Willem Dafoe

Photo IMDB.com

I dreamed I was married to…
Willem Dafoe

 

What Is This?

I dreamed I was married to Willem Dafoe.  Number two in the series of four dreams I had one week that “guest starred” a famous actor.  I’ve decided to share the dreams with you.

In this dream, Mr. Dafoe and I make a home movie. Acting in a film in your dream, according to my dream book, “Dreamer’s Dictionary” Garuda, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., could mean

“you dislike false and hypocritical people—or you are pretending to be somebody you are not. …if you are the film actor, you don’t feel comfortable around your friends. Find out who you really are.” with a note, “People and actions in a “dream-movie” are usually a mirror of your emotions.”

I like the advice “Find out who you really are” …ya, just go do that would ya.  It’s easy, like, buying bread at the grocery.

Why Dafoe?

Dafoe has been one of my favorite actors for many years, so I am not surprised he shows up in my dream.  The dream played out like a silent movie, but in color.  Mouths move, exaggerated jesters, very little sound throughout the dream, but it was my dream so of course I know what everyone is saying.  I’ve added words to help explore the action and to be able to share the dream.

Here is the dream

After a whirlwind romance I assume happens prior, William and I are living in southern California is a modern home with white furniture.  We are sitting on the couch one morning, sun shinning in through a wall of windows, the TV is on and we’re reading the newspaper.  At that moment I get an idea—

“Babe! This year is our first holiday together. How about instead of a card, we produce a video short to wish everyone a happy new year?”

Willem puts his paper down and looks at me, seriously for a moment, then a smile fills up his face, “Babe, that’s a great idea.  Let’s do it!”

He gets a pen and starts to write names

“I know a guy who can get this done for us, a camera man, script writer…”

Willem looks at me from the list

“How long do you think?”

“Like 10 minutes max.”

“Love it. Great idea. It’s happening.”

 

Next via the magic of dreams we are in our home meeting with a video crew discussing the pre-production of the New Years video.  Ideas are bouncing around and everyone seems excited about the project.  I am sitting there, hands folded, listening quietly.

“I have an idea.” everyone stops and listens to me in great anticipation

“What if we did something like this…”

My idea of the video visually unfolds as I speak, because of dream magic

“So, Willem is a great dramatic actor, right.  Everyone knows him, but few really know me. So how about a scene in the life of “us”, but it’s the reverse of what everyone thinks it would be like.  Like, Willem is lazy, lying around the house and I come home from my job at the mill, because why would I leave my job at the mill?  I have a great job, I love my job.

So, I come home and he’s like “Hon, party this weekend, 50 guests at our place. I noticed we have no decorations.” and I say “Don’t worry.  I got this.”  I take on the massive project, don’t solicit help from Willem or friends, I want to do it all myself.  I am having a dramatic time getting the house ready for the holiday, shopping and everything.  Like, comically dramatic.  Silly things happening, daring rescues at a toy store, saving people from a hard candy mishap, car chase, troubles with a ladder and a string of lights.  But inside the house Willem sits quietly reading listening to music at home, eating or whatever, but I’m experiencing all the drama of preparing for the holidays.”

Everyone leans forward to hear the ending.

“I come down the stairs dressed for the party that is starting in an hour. I stop at the couch to ask Willem why he’s not ready yet.  “Can you iron my shirt, I want to finish this article.” he responds. Getting my earrings on, I say “Iron your own damn shirt!” then huff out of the room.

Willem straightens out his paper and scoffs “Drama queen.”

Everyone laughs.  Big belly laughs.  They know Willem is really not like that and would never do that and HE is the REAL drama king, the king of drama.  So that is why it’s funny.”

 

The producer and his team explode with enthusiasm and start running around, talking on the phone, like they are getting all that video stuff together.  The director exclaims to the room “I love it! People will love it!”  He smiles and grabs Willem’s shoulder like “Where’d you find this woman?”  Willem puts his arm around me gives me a proud hug and says “This is going to be fun.”  “Well,” I confess, “The only problem is that I don’t know how to act.  I need someone to show me how to act.  Like, perhaps an award winning drama actor…” With a confident look Willem takes on the job, “I can teach you. It’s easy.  No problem!” his free hand cuts through the air in jester.

More dream magic bubbles into a montage.  It fast forwards us through the process, Willem giving me tips, I act the hell out of that movie, the finished product is sent and our friends and family love the video. The world is full of peace and love.

Best dream ever.

the REAL drama Willem DaFoe

 

What does it mean? 

The overall feeling of the dream is upbeat, exciting expressed through physical comedy.  Comedy has a dark side to it.  I’m thinking I’m overwhelmed in my side projects, radio show, poem booth, promotional work.  However, I don’t need to be.  There are a handful of people who help out, a network of folks and we support each other.

I’m worried about the apparent need for affirmation from a crowd of professionals…MEN.  I was basically the ONLY woman in the dream. Holy shit!
I’ve always been a goal setter and enjoyed winning trophies, certificates and being recognized for my hard work since my first award in second grade for “Most Improved in Math”.  Soccer and softball trophies collected each season felt like symbols that I was “good”.
(Oh boy…it’s getting deep.)
I’m a naturally competitive person.
I like to win.
Should I continue to embrace this attitude with the  anticipation that REAL success manifested in trophies will line my path to TRUE happiness, or perhaps discover new ways to assure myself that I am a “good” person.
What IS a GOOD person?