Day 350: Absorption

Ferlinghetti, seen in 1982 in San Francisco, rejects the term ‘memoir’ for his new book. Photograph: Chris Felver/Getty Images

“…and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead…”

-“I am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, (b. 1919- d. 2021) 

Something funny happened to me the other day.  First off I had a bad day.  Nothing too extreme, just your normal run-of-the-mill bummer of a day.  I was feeling inadequate at work and falling behind in some personal goals.  My little apartment is my sanctuary.  Pulling into my parking space, sitting in the car for a moment to collect myself, the weight of the day became known.  Dang, what a day!

Walked in to set my stuff in the house. Got the mail key. Went out to grabbed the day’s mail. Went back inside. Looked through it at my desk.  It’s Tuesday so grocery flyer day. A bunch of recycling from one box to another. One letter caught my attention immediately—no mistaking it, it was a check.  Inside was a letter from the local book store along with a check for the sale of ten of my poetry books, approximately $65.  The letter explained the 4th quarter payments are late due to accounting circumstances. I was bummed thinking nothing sold last quarter, but, apparently, somethings sold. So, this is good news.  But…I stared at the check and the letter with no exclamation or acknowledgment.  I was still processing my crappy day.  I needed to process my crappy day. I wanted to turn the key from sad to glad right away but instead, I said, “I’ll celebrate tomorrow, or Saturday.”  A voice replied, “Did you just schedule HAPPINESS?” 



Words Under My Skin

Can the lines of a book or poem hug you?  Yes.  Comfort comes in many forms and during this freakin’ pandemic I would guess many of us are seeking comfort in any form we can get it.  I sure am.

A shift that has started in my writing is absorption.  For the previous decade, poems came to me, loudly, processing through my mind and body and shooting out my fingertips to the page.  I appreciated the clarity of the thought.  What’s happening now is I hear the poem and just friggin’ savor it.  I’m keeping the words within me. Like a dissolving lozenge, the flavor slowly works its way through my soul, feeding my very essence.  Sounds dramatic?  It is.  A bit of a mini-drama.  My knee jerks to hurry up and capture the thought on paper, my throat wanting to continue the precious perception, says gently, simply, NO.

Writers have a natural progression, you get an idea you write, or you need to form an idea so you write.  Writers write.  The stanzas coming to me throughout my day and dream time should be placed onto the page. Perhaps the moments are attempts of my psyche to heal the mind and body, acknowledge and absorb the beauty around me, helping me to recover from a bad day.  Maybe I’m just being lazy.  Fresh words and stories come by for a visit and I talk with them and keep them in my heart.

Perhaps we can force another Age of Enlightenment onto the planet? Let’s keep creating and loving each other and see what happens. Have a good day wherever you are. -Shannon

P.S. I was looking forward to perhaps some aliens landing, or a break down of society completely but it looks like the vaccine is coming out and masks are coming off in September (my guess for Bellingham, WA.) *sigh* no fun.

Event: Poetry Reading

You are invited~

cafezippy june 2015

 

Everett Poetry Night at Café Zippy

6/25/2015, 7:00-10:00 p.m.

2811 Wetmore Ave, Everett, WA

This event kicks off my summer tour.  (More dates to follow) If you’re in the area please consider stopping by for some words and really good soup at the hosting cafe.  Thank you emcee Duane Kirby Jensen.  

Amazon Kindle: Madrona Grove

Hello readers!

Bongo roll please—

Glad to announce that my first book of poems

Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy

is now available in print or Kindle on Amazon!

Click the title or the photo to get to the page in a snap

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Madrona Grove Now Available!

 

It took a few days to get it properly formatted, but it’s up and ready for purchase.   Excited to be able to offer my first book on Amazon.  Hoping to reach new readers.  

Please consider a copy as a gift for a friend, or as an addition to your poetic library; I fit nicely between Keats and Oliver.  *wink*  -SPL

ABOUT

POETRY: Shannon P. Laws, 2013 Mayor Arts Award winner, takes us on a stroll through the mind, heart and the mystery of dreams in her debut collection. Her poems, like a fine picnic laid out on a blanket in the shade of her beloved Madrona, reveal treasures that hide in everyday living. This majestic tree, native to her home on San Juan Island, has a skin like bark, alive to the touch. They act as a sentry on her journey through ancient emotions and primal urges that stir within.

 

 

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.

Event: Poetry Reading

Join local poets
Heather Curtis, Shannon Laws
and Jennifer Bullis
for a poetry reading celebrating
National Poetry Month.

April 5, 2014, 7:00 pm
Village Books 
1200 11th St
Bellingham, Washington
Come on down to celebrate National Poetry Month 
and the release of Heather’s new poetry book, “Upon Waking”.
“Upon Waking has been inspired by the exploration of landscapes: both internal and external. The mind, natural world, relationships, and personal experiences are the wells from which poet, Heather Curtis, draws inspiration. It is her hope, that these poems express where she has been and encourage you to do your own exploring.” 
See you there!

Village Books Event Page

***

Artist Profile/B’ham Herald


Shannon P. Laws was born in Seattle and raised in Federal Way, where, she says, “as a teenager I learned that when a guy from Auburn asks you out on a date, he will most likely pick you up in a stolen car.”

Laws reads from her debut poetry collection, “Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy,” at 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Village Books. She is the host for the Village Books Poetry Group, which meets twice monthly at the bookstore.

She can be heard on KMRE 102.3, SPARK Radio, in downtown Bellingham, hosting two music programs, “Classic Blues” and “New Americana.”
For more about her writing and her radio shows, go to https://shannonplawswriter.com/, newamericanahour.wordpress.com and boosiesplayhouse.wordpress.com.

Question: What brought you to Bellingham?

Answer: In 2010 a major life event produced the momentum for a move. Family and work located in Bellingham made it an easy choice for relocation; my mom and brother live here. It’s great to visit them when our schedules allow.

Q: What’s your job and volunteer history?

A: I occasionally host the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers open mic, which meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Firehouse Café. I am a volunteer radio producer/editor at KMRE 102.3, a nonprofit community station that broadcasts from the SPARK Museum. Also, I am a member of the writers group Artistic License and Whatcom Writers and Publishers.

Q: What do you enjoy about what you do?

A: After working in television for many years, radio seemed like a fun project, especially at a station as unique as KMRE. Jonathan Winter and Brent Davis are encouraging people to work with. The museum, in general, is a warm and quirky place to donate time. It feels like a second home.

My pet project is “Boosie’s Playhouse Classic Blues.” The show’s focus is on the classic blues era, which I bracket, 1920-1970s, the first 50 years of the recorded blues. I created a character persona Boosie Vox, the Voice Vixen, to host the show.

One day Jonathan approached me about an idea he had for a new show that discussed the way music influences our lives. The program “New Americana” was born. In January of this year we started to bring in local musicians to share the five songs that influenced their lives. Jon and I sent out the invitations for guests and we are amazed at the positive returns that show has created.

Q: How did “Madrona Grove” come about?

A: An idea is a nagging, a tug at the heart, that demands to be heard. It wants to be recorded, as if my simple notebook is an official document linked directly into the planet’s psyche. I constantly get visions and inspiration, whether I am lying in bed contemplating a dream, or notice a crow staring at me on my walk as if it remembers me.

Q: What do you write?

A: I primarily write short stories, memoirs, an article or two, and there’s a novel in the works. My blog, Madrona Grove, started in 2010, and, at first, was my only creative outlet. My first book of poetry, named after my blog, was published in January.

I do not edit work that is over a year old. I like to respect who I was at that time. The voice of the work is as important as the words themselves. Ten years from now I want to pull that book off the shelf to read it and say, “Yes, I remember that woman.”

Q: What’s fun for you outside of the world of radio and literature?

A: I love the outdoors. A walk, hike or a day at the beach are perfect moments for me. A double-tall mocha at the Black Drop is a guilty pleasure I do not mind satisfying from time to time.  


I typically enjoy any type of live music. Also, I’m a big movie nut who just recently discovered the joy of watching local theater. I am a season ticket-holder to the Idiom Theater and Pickford Film Center. It’s the ideal form of time travel outside of my own imagination.


Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com. Follow Bellingham Entertainment on Facebook or @bhamentertainme on Twitter.

Almost 8

Morning offering of beer bottles gather on the last 
step laid over, laid up, slept past last call
My coffee in too small a cup sits 
with me at a table that limps
Construction worker walks from sandwich shop to truck, 
early enough for the dirty professions, still too 
early for the clean, those bleached-sterile 
by fluorescent preserved in recycled air
Trash in the bushes, empty cup rolls 
along in this morning wind
will it be enough to push over clouds
 that fill this window
There’s my man!  A Hamster: suit and soft shoe, on his bike, 
backpack full of papers, phone, protein bar, water.  
He navigates through intersection of Railroad / 
Chestnut, the traffic light a suggestion
*A “Hamster” is a person who lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Poetry: River Ink

 
 
River Ink
Went to the river looking for a poem
I found my familiar trail
Winding woods that hug the bank
Whatcom Creek in August
Bushes high and
Full of berries,
Birds and spider’s webs.
Grass sways underwater
Moving in sync with the river
This what peace looks like,
Melted into movement
Tree branch dips over the drink
Desiring more of plenty
Is water from the root not good enough
Do you cool your leaves in the noon sun
Down by the edge there’s a place to sit
Two dead trees have slumped across
I dip a stick into the stream
Like pen into ink
To write my name on the
sun bleached wood.
The sun grabs my letters
Throws them in the air
Birds ride the upward current
Did I just disappear?
This poem and others by Shannon P Laws
are available in a paperback book
Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy
published by Chickadee Productions
***