Christmas Letter 2015

 

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Will Ferrell as “Buddy” in “Elf”, 2003

Round and Round

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THE EYES OF “CHARLIE HEBDO” EDITOR STEPHANE CHARBONNIER APPEAR AT AN ANTI-TERRORISM RALLY IN PARIS, FRANCE. JAN 2015

2015 seems like an amplified version of 2014 don’t you think?  Except this year we had the added entertainment of an American Presidential race, promotional “stuff” for another Star Wars movie a la Disney, Kim’s booty and the Pope’s world tour to distract us.  Finally, sick of the violence and injustice, MORE citizens took to the streets!  From Paris, to South Carolina’s Ravenel Bridge to Bellingham Washington, citizens unified in mass against war, terrorism, police violence, and the environment.  Round and round we go.

 

With only a few days left in 2015 it seems the right time to write a Christmas Letter.  My mom use to mail an end-of-the-year letter to family and friends, near and far, sharing the highlights of our family’s year.  It is in that spirit that I write to you today.

mtgcom_arcana_1240_pic1_enPerhaps you treat these letters like fruit cake.  If that’s the case then I leave you here, in the third paragraph, simply wishing you & yours a happy, warm holiday and prosperous new year.  Also, it’s important for me to add a BIG Thank You!  Thank you for visiting my page and buying SPL poetry.

However, if curiosity is creeping around your ankles, making it’s way up the leg, securing you in your seat for, say, the next five minutes, then I welcome your company. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.  You are a “happy personal association” and I welcome your presence.

My Christmas Card movie features the SPL staff at it again.  This year we are working as a team to beautify our surroundings, sharing the joy with our neighbors.  Living on the 48th parallel our winters are long and dark.  The sun sets about 4:30 pm and stays down until 8 in the morning.  A string of lights is helpful, happy and welcomed.

Blessings to you and yours & Happy 2016!

~Shannon, Brad, Vince, Robert & Chris.

(Click our photo to watch our home movie)

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SPL Staff, l to r, Chris Pine, Brad Pitt, Shannon Laws, Robert Downey Jr, Vin Diesel

 My Poetic 2015

The year started off in PEACE.  On New Years Eve World Peace Poets, Betty, Carla, C.J., Carol and I met at the “Peace Pole” in Fairhaven with another group for peace.  We lit candles at dusk, tossed paper crane prayers into the sea, then joined hands in a moment of prayer for the new year.

new years 2015

Later in February all FIVE of the “Peace Sisters” published “Peace Poems, Vol I”.  We included an award ceremony with the book launch.  There are many people in Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C. who stand for peace and understanding.  We wanted to recognize them as “Ambassadors of Peace”

 

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Recipients (sitting) and readers at the World Peace Poets Award ceremony event, Bellingham, WA

World Peace Poets encourage harmony through words for international writers and promote public readings.

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In March my poem “Voice on the Trail” was accepted for a wall display in the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company’s “A Night at the Gallery”

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In April I joined in the celebration of “The Bard of Bellingham’s” book launch!  Beloved +80 yr old Jim Milstead, a well known poet, (finally) released the much anticipated book of poetry “Collage”. Congrats Jim!

JimMilstead booklaunch

 

 

 

 

 

poet gallery

For a second time, it was my (well-protected) pleasure to feature at Western Washington University’s Erotic Poetry Night.  Such a fun time!3950_eroticpoetrynight_poster

In May I read at Erica Reed’s Poetry Gallery, representing Village Books Poetry Group.  This new, quarterly event allows each of the over 22 poetry groups in the Bellingham area to share for 3-5 minutes.  It’s a night of cross-pollination, networking and good words.  Erica plans on continuing this event into 2016.  Look for it in the community calendars!

 

June: after an exhilarating experience reading on a street corner for the Bike/Poetry Seattle group Mob Rolls in May, I was hit by lightning!  Putting in a call with the Downtown POETS CORNER JUNEBellingham Partnership, “Poets’ Corner” was born!  An exciting new living art display for Art Walk participants.  Poets take over a corner, read to the passing masses! Poets’ Corner ran from June-November, co-hosted by Lucas Nydam.  It is a fun experiment.  Due to the winter weather it is currently on hiatus until April 1, 2016.

Featuring for Everett Poetry Night and Poetry Night in Bellingham  within seven days of each other was stimulating to say the least.  The audience was warm and accepting, and my books sold!  This was my first year featuring for open mics.The change of perspective, audience member to performer, was refreshing.  Am I ready for more?  I hope so.  It’s a great responsibility to feature.  The high is amazing and I hope to do it more in 2016.62215 poetrynight

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For July I found myself reaching into new physical and emotional territory.  The Lament for the Dead was an 2015 on-line movement about personalizing the victims of police violence.  My poem “Wallow in Ashes” was accepted.  Also, I returned to my old stomping grounds South King County as a feature poet for Auburn Days.  One of my goals for 2015 was to feature outside of Bellingham.  I am thankful to Everett and Auburn for letting a circuit-newbie take the stage.


RADIO

0502131339aJuly marked the end of my time at KMRE 102.3 SPARK Radio.  I started volunteering with SPARK back in 2011 producing the classic blues show “The Playhouse” that features the blues from 1920-70’s, and occasionally stepping in as an afternoon LIVE DJ, running the “Board of Doom”.  Later, in 2013,  Jonathan Winter asked me to help him with a show he envisioned where folks that love music share their music story.  The New Americana Hour was born!  In addition to those two programs I also recorded local poets for an award winning feature called “Poetic Moments”.  You can learn more about my radio time at KMRE here.  What a wonderful family the Museum of Electrical Invention is!  It was hard to say good-bye, but I am thankful to of worked beside some of the northwest’s most influential, giving, and creative characters.

We put together a “Best Of” show as a Thank You & Farewell~

Listen to it now:

https://newamericanahour.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/the-best-of-2013-2015-show-311/


September the Peace Sisters were recognized for their publication and “Read-In” events by Writers International Network .  The ceremony was held in Richmond, British Columbia along with recipient poets and artists from India, Mexico, Korea, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.  I am moved and very thankful to WIN for this award.

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Community Champion Award 2015

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October was an amazing month.  October 2015 marked my fifth year in Bellingham.  I am touched by the kindness this community has shown me. I wanted to give back and do it the “Bellingham Way” = do it for charity.

I wanted to coordinate a musical album featuring artists from Bellingham and Seattle, but would any band want to be on it?  And WHAT charity would be the benefactor? Then, these two questions were answered within a week of each other.  Many band members I contacted grew up with music in the home and/or were introduced to music through a school program.  These programs cost money.  Blue Skies for Children helps low-income, homeless and foster children in Whatcom County with music lessons and musical instrument rentals.  The 17 bands that donated songs to this album are “paying it forward” for future musicians.   In October “Blue Skies for Bellingham” was released in time for the Blue Skies for Children charity auction.

Please consider purchasing a copy today via the albums Bandcamp site ( https://blueskiesforbellingham.bandcamp.com/ )  Click on the photo below to learn more:

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The bands: Arthur James (Seattle), Baltic Cousins (Bellingham), Hillary Susz (Bellingham/Colorado), Hot Damn Scandal (Bellingham), Lipbone Redding (World Traveler), Lucas Hicks (Bellingham), Meghan Yates & The Reverie Machine (Bellingham/Maine), Mts. & Tunnels (Bellingham), Mudflat Walkers (Skagit Valley), Polecat (Bellingham), Prozac Mtn Boys (Bellingham), Robt Sarazin Blake (Bellingham), Spyn Reset (Seattle), The Bad Tenants (Bellingham), The Copacetics (Twisp), and The Sky Colony (Skagit Valley).

“This album together with the original cover art by esteemed painter/musician Meghan Yates, are submissions for Blue Skies for Children’s Annual Dinner and Charity Auction. All seventeen bands are from Bellingham or frequent the Bellingham area.
All proceeds go to the Our Little Wishes Instrument Loaner and Enrichment Programs. These programs provide local homeless, low-income and foster children ages six to eighteen for music lessons and musical instrument rental to help increase hope and raise self-esteem.”

Also in October World Peace Poets hosted our 3 rd annual “Read-In”.  November and December I read at a new hookah bar Cafe Bouzingo, and the first “Noisy Waters” reading at the Mt. Baker Encore Room, and returned to Auburn to feature at the Auburn Arts Association Poetry Open Mic.

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Fall 2016 I’ll release my third poetry book “Fallen” and I hope to get more feature gigs on the books.  I also have a few secret projects I’m working on–one includes a phone booth, another a hair artist, painter and fifty sets of crunches a day, and a NEW radio program for KVWV, Bellingham.  My body, mind and spirit in top form—yep. That’s what I’m looking forward to in ’16.

Thanks for walking with me through this year.  (dang that took a long time!)  Have I mentioned how THANKFUL I am?

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Christmas Card 2014

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Holiday Happy Dance

Merry Christmas from the

S.P. Laws staff!

-Shannon, Brad, Vin, Robert, and Byung-hun

Click HERE to view our holiday card in Super-High-Speed Definition™

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So, how was your 2014?  What a mixed bad of nuts, right.  

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A large group of protesters stage a “die-in” on the street in response Monday in Seattle to the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. Photo: JORDAN STEAD, SEATTLEPI.COM


Robots went to Mars, the Rosetta spacecraft‘s Philae probe successfully lands on Comet 67P, the Ferguson, Mo. ruling (WTH?), the die-ins, Russia hosts the Olympics, Pussy Riot spoke out, Brazil puts on a dynamic show for the FIFA World Cup, the TV news world goes nuts over the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the US government continues to play games instead of governing, stunning display of the aurora borealis viewed by people as far south as Seattle, and some dy-no-mite sun activity causing cell/satellite outages.  Fun. Fun. Fun.  You were there, I don’t need to go into detail, but what a strange, wild, wonderful, and horrific year.

Here at the S.P. Laws office we had a… lets call it  “productive” year.  Many improvements are in place to help launch us off into an even more productive schedule for 2015. Here is the years recap:

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2014 started off on the good foot with a breathtaking announcement in April.  A letter came in the mail to officially notify me I was selected for  2013 Mayor’s Arts Award recipient “Poet”, along with many powerful folks in the Bellingham arts community, including my “Writer Idol” Laurel Leigh.  Here we are celebrating at The Temple Bar afterwards with productive and energizing writers Susan Chase-Foster and Janet Oakley.

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me, Laurel Leigh, Susan Chase-Foster, Janet Oakley

Also in April I was invited to speak with two lovely poets Jennifer Bullis (Bellingham) and Heather Curtis (Anacortes) for Heather’s book launch “Upon Waking” and for National Poetry Month.  I could not be in better company.  A fine set of poets.

book reading VB april 5

In  June my second poetry book, “Odd Little Things”, was released.  Special thanks to my dear friend and editor Denise DuMaurier for her help.  I edited my first book “Madrona Grove” by myself, in addition to formatting it.  (I’ll never do that again) I learned my lesson.  Editors are good people to know & hire.  Don’t be afraid to use an editor.  My two cents.

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“Odd Little Things” June 2014

 “Odd Little Things” is a familiar ride full of piercing moments and wishes. In this, her second book of poetry, Shannon bares all making you feel like best friends at a café sharing secrets. The cycles of life seem to spin like an unforgiving stellar system for this poet. However large or small, everything matters, especially the moments you only share with yourself. Shannon says about her new book, “If ‘Madrona Grove’ is my lover, then ‘Odd Little Things’ is my child.”

Available at Village Books, in store and online at this link: Odd Little Things VB

BTW: This fall a second edition of Madrona Grove was graciously edited by poet master, retired professor, James Bertolino.  Available now at Village Books, click here: Madrona Grove VB

RADIO

June marked the end of The New Americana Hour’s second season.  It was a double punch to the intellect and heart.  Such an honor to be apart of this program.  I am a volunteer producer for a non-profit radio station in Bellingham, KMRE 102.3 LP, that broadcasts out of the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention.

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Sunday afternoon editing session for The New Americana Hour

This season just touched my heart greatly.  It was as if the seed co-host, Jon Winter and I planted last year decided to reward us with a bodacious bloom.  Musician’s approached us hearing about the show from their colleagues, asking to be a guest on it.   TNAH also connected with the Seattle based television program“Band in Seattle”. The success of last years line up and increase of listeners has contributed to two new sponsors for 2015.

To learn more about this pioneering Bellingham program please visit the shows re-broadcasting site on wordpress: http://newamericanahour.wordpress.com/

September presented two magnificent opportunities to spread some SPL poetry: 2014 Tagore Festival in B.C. and the official book launch of “Odd Little Things”.

The Tagore Festival is always a treat.  The music, films, history, traditional Bengal clothing and dance ignites the senses!  Carla Shaffer and I were invited to read on the Friday performance.

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September Poetry Host Book Launch Bellingham WA
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September Tagore Festival Richmond, B.C.

For my book launch I invited two poet friends of mine to join me.  Now, you know I can fill up an hour’s worth of podium time, however, I saw this as an opportunity to share the space with two of Bellingham’s finest: Carla Shafer and Erica Reed.  Carla is the long time host of Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, and Erica the host of Kitchen Sessions (2012-14), two inspiring open mics in town.  This was the first time, that I am aware of it anyways, where three poetry group hosts gathered to read their poetry for an audience.  Thank you Village Books for providing the space and promotion.  I believe there was a cross-pollination, an intermingling if you will, of poet circles.  Good times.

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September World Peace Poet Event Bellingham, WA poster by Shannon Laws

In September we also hosted the second annual “Poets for Peace, Read-in! Write-on!” event.  This year held on a Friday night.  The program is simple: opening ceremonies, soup/salad dinner, poets and musicians read and sing about what peace means to them.  It ends when the last poet speaks. This is the only peace read-in in Bellingham.  I hosted the event along with my Peace Sisters Carla Shafer and author and poet C.J. Prince.  Watching members from Seattle to B.C. share their peace poems is like a healing, and good massage, calming down the anxiety of questions regarding humanities future.  “World peace starts with me” – peace is to be shared freely.

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Peace Sisters: C.J. Prince, me, Carla Shafer planning the 2014 Poets for Peace event.

The last event I was fortunate to be apart of was in November, a fundraiser for the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project.  Held at the glamorous Encore Room at the Mt. Baker Theater.  The audience was generous and responsive to touching poetry by all artists.  Kevin Murphy was the exclamation point at the end of the evening with his bongo poems that everyone can relate to.  Man, I love that guy!

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Kevin Murphy, C.J. Prince, Joe Nolting, me, and Mathew Brouwer

What a year.  My writing is a great release, and a reward thanks to a responsive writing and book worm community here in Bellingham.  Connecting with people, my neighbors, sharing intimate work like poetry, music, a smile and a handshake, is like a great reward, an enrichment to my little life.  People are amazing.

This summer I am hoping to expand my readings outside of Bellingham.  I’m hoping for an Anacortes reading, perhaps LaConner, South King County and Seattle.  Just crossing my fingers that time and money will be available for those events.  This December I moved into a tiny apartment.  Like Virginia Wolf, I have a room of one’s own (and kitchen and a bath).  Here is my launching pad for 2015.  I wonder where it will take me?

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” Virginia Wolf

Thank you for joining me in my life of writing.

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Little room, little desk. Where I type, write and dream. Dream to think ratio 5:3

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Event: Mayor’s Arts Award/Speech

Tonight at 5:30
Here’s my thank you speech:

     I am filled with joy and encouragement over this award.  It is a humbling experience to be listed with the other artist from the past years and those receiving it today.  Many of whom are on my list of people I want to be someday.

I believe I share this award with organizations that were here long before I arrived to Bellingham, in winter of 2010.  Places such as:
Village Books
Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater
Whatcom Poetry Series: Poetry Night Open Mic
and KMRE 102.3 SPARK Radio
that broadcasts out of the SPARK Museum on Bay Street

It was through these community centered groups that I was able to find a good reason to be busy on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 12-3, or Sundays 1-4.  2013 was a busy and productive year for poetry, and I am glad to of been apart of it.

Roosevelt said: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” As militant as this sounds, action is required to better our surroundings. Actions.  Not wishful thinking.  Lets all work together to build a better tomorrow.

Thank you Mayor Linville, the Bellingham Arts Commission, and my friends and family for your support.

Thank you.

Mayor’s Arts Award

Shannon P Laws
Mayor’s Arts Award
35th Annual Recipient
Bellingham, Washington
It is with great joy and thanks to our Mayor Kelli Linville and the Bellingham Arts Commission that I share with you my good news: I am a recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award, 2013.  Truly a once in a lifetime award! 
2013 was an outstanding year in the area of community literature and arts outreach.  Sparks of creativity, and the desire to extend past the coffee houses, birthed new events for our city.  Through events such as the international “Poets for Peace, Read-in, Write-on”,  the FAB (Fairhaven Art Block) party, and the radio feature “Poetic Moments”, poets and writers found new ways to bring encouragement, insight, and art to citizens.    
Bellingham is a city of artists, a city of poets, a city of musicians, and I am happy to be apart it.
Please join the other recipients, and me for the reception and awards ceremony 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30th at the Mount Baker Theatre in the Walton Theatre located at 104 N. Commercial Street in downtown Bellingham.
ALL RECIPIENTS
Tore Ofteness – Photographer
Margaret Bikman – Entertainment News Coordinator
Laurel Leigh – Author and Editor
Jack Frymire – Opera Singer and Educator
Shannon Laws – Poet
Becky Elmendorf – Former Whatcom Symphony Orchestra President
Alan Rhodes – Community Columnist
The Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony is an annual opportunity for the Mayor to recognize individual artists and businesses, benefactors, arts organizations, arts community leadership, arts education or support, civic improvement and research, notable achievements and events, and those that have contributed to the arts in our community. 

Thank you
~
Old City Hall