Poem / Song: When We Gather

baltimore Reuters Jim Bourg
Photo credit: Baltimore, Reuters / Jim Bourg, April 2015 Protesters form a line in the streets of Baltimore

 

There’s a revolution

flowing through us

when we gather

it is screaming

to be free

 

 

There’s a revelation

flowing through us

when we gather

it is screaming

to be free

-SPL

Tensions In Baltimore Continue To Simmer After Days Of Riots And Protests Over Death Of Freddie Gray
Peaceful Protest Photo credit WGNO / Baltimore April 2015

standing
Photo credit: Baltimore Sun / Colin Campbell, @cmcampbell6

 

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Freddie_Gray

 

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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

Christmas Card 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 
from the 
SPLaws staff
Shannon, Brad, Vin, Chris, and Robert
L-R: Chris Pine, Brad Pitt, Shannon Laws,
Robert Downey Jr, Vin Diesel
Here, at the SPLaws offices, we had a slight change of staff since 2012. Abe retired and Tom, who has been with us since 2011, disappeared into another timeline. Both will be missed dearly and we wish them well. Thankfully Chris Pine has stepped in to fill the shoes of two people, no less.  In addition to being a great dancer, his research skills are out of this world!  He shows great promise in producing extraordinary work for 2014.
When I was growing up, my mom would type up a Christmas letter to friends and family.  A Christmas letter is like the families year in review designed to update distant relatives on the years accomplishments.  In that tradition I have composed a letter about the 2013 highlights for SPLaws, Inc.  It has been another electric year!
Read it, or don’t, perhaps you treat them like fruit cake.  Either way thanks for stopping by and helping to get our visitor numbers pass 30k this year! Please leave a comment, and keep it real for 2014.
Shannon Laws
President
SPLaws, Chickadee Productions
Bellingham, Washington USA

***

SPLaws Christmas LetterThis year I did not find much in the way of PAID jobs, but with the extra time on my hands my volunteer work excelled.  I was paid in love and new life experiences.  If only I could take it to the bank I’d be a millionaire!  Here are some highlights -with photos- from 2013:

BOOK RELEASE

My book on the shelf
at Village Books

In January 2013 I released my first poetry book “Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy”, Chickadee Productions, available at Village Books, Bellingham.  The book includes my original poems from 2010-2012.  During these two years I was divorced, reborn in my writing, moved off San Juan Island and was embraced by the city of Bellingham.  The poems are a real document to a personal journey I shall never forget.

my new writers photo

BELLINGHAM HERLAD ARTICLE
In July, MARGARET BIKMAN from the Bellingham Herald interviewed me to promote my book reading.

“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.” 

Jared and I at a joint book
reading event on SJI

In May I traveled with retired actor, novelist and children’s book author Jared McVay for a book reading on San Juan Island, and shared some poems at the Big Rock Garden Party for Mother’s Day.

 
Group photo of guest speakers
at the Tagore Festival
 
September I appeared as a guest speaker at the Tagore Festival in Richmond, British Columbia.  
A yearly event to honor India’s poet 
Rabindranath Tagore, (May 1861- Aug. 1941)  
I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
laughter. 
“Squabbling Ravens”
VBPG Signature photo
courtesy of SJI artist Dona Reed

HOSTING VBPG
Village Books Poetry Group, 29 members strong, continued to meet bi-monthly at the independent book store in Fairhaven this year. It is a group I enjoy tremendously.  Many of our regulars are folks who are sharing their poetry for the first time. VBPG is a diverse group from many different cultural and professional backgrounds, linked together with our love for words.

Dave at the start of
Downtown Sounds,
beer garden side, of course

DOWNTOWN SOUNDS/KMRE

I am a volunteer DJ at Spark Radio, KMRE 102.3.  The station is an extension of the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, at 1312 Bay Street, in downtown Bellingham.  Dave the K (The Rockin’ Surfer) and I were the on-air host’s for the cities Downtown Sounds.  The free concert, food, beer garden and street entertainment event is held on Bay Street for five Wednesday evenings in a row, July-August.  Great fun!

Jon Winter and I at SPARK

NEW AMERICANA
The 13 radio programs I produced in 2013 “New Americana” developed a large following.  Brent, the station manager, has approved it for a full season, 26 shows, in 2014.  I co-host the show with the museum’s co-founder, Jonathan Winter, a real gem of Bellingham and a pleasure to work with.  The talk/music show brings in a local guest, usually a musician, who shares the top five songs that have influenced their life. You can hear the 2013 podcast of the show here:

Casey Sulkin, retired DJ and
jazz club owner, I co-hosted
with Casey on his jazz show
“The Swing Shift” for a
few months

Bellingham’s Fast Five, or BFF, rotating features on KMRE, debuted this summer.  I created the concept to provide more attention to our New Americana guest by producing a five minute musical promo.  Local musician and well loved hamster, Bert Monroe, worked with me as voice talent on these informative features.

POETIC MOMENTS
This is an end of the year project for me.  There are so many wonderful poets in Bellingham.  I want to share them with the world! Poetic Moments are short features, under 2 minutes in length, that started to rotate on KMRE 102.3 in December.  My goal was to record 60 poems.  Over 25 poets came out to donate their words, and 93 poems were recorded!  More poems will be added in February, 2014.  Catch a taste of these amazing poets here:



FAIRHAVEN ART BLOCK
In September Carla and I, representing the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, had the privilege of working with the Bellingham Repertory Dance group, the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, and Lucia Douglas Art Gallery on a group project. We organized the street festival Fairhaven Art Block party, or FAB.   This event was designed to share the artist community of Fairhaven with it’s residences.  Folks were encouraged to walk from the art gallery to the Firehouse, just a block over, along a path littered with poets reading live poetry for any passersby.  Music and dance intermingled with the guests.  It will return for 2014.

Poets for Peace l/r Carla, Betty,
C.J. and good friend Denise


November worked with three local poets to organize and launch the first POETS FOR PEACE Read-In Write-On International poetry event, held in Bellingham’s South Hill neighborhood. Poets from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. shared poems about peace from 2-8:30 p.m., ’till the last poet spoke. The event was a great success! Plans for another in 2014 is in the works.

What a fun year.  My mom asked me a few months ago, over coffee of course, how I got into poetry.  It was hard for me to answer her at the time, had to think about it a bit.  I love writing short stories, blogging and working on my novels. However, poetry, I find, is much like gardening. When I use to have dirt to dig in, I would flower garden.  A few hours a week, or month depending on the year, of work produced immediate gratification = a clean and beautiful yard.  Poetry is quick work, one or two pages, and once edited and polished, gives me a great deal of satisfaction, like freshly cut tulips in a crystal vase on my kitchen table.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
~Helen Keller 
***
Wars on Kinkade series by
Jeff Bennett

Event: Read-In! Write-On!

Some local poet and writer friends are organizing a World Peace Read-in! and Write-on! It will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 2 PM to 8 or 9 pm. at 910-14th Street (St. James Presbyterian Church). There will be an opening and welcome reception at 2 pm. People will be welcome to come later in the day and evening, but we want a crowd at the opening.
It is open to everyone. We are planning a special Young People’s hour that features their writing from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. We are hoping that young people (through high school) will come and share poem/stories about peace…living peacefully or whatever they might like to share. They can speak from 1 to 5 minutes.  Please sign up young people sending us an e-mail at worldpeacepoets@gmail.com we’ll confirm the time and answer any questions.
At 3:30, we are planning a time for international poets (speakers and writers in more than one language).  Most of the international guests will be from British Columbia, but local international voices can choose to read now or later in the day. 
For the World Peace Open Mic held after 5:00 pm, five minute slots of time are open to poets and writers from everywhere. The sign up for this time period is at Village Books.  
Musicians ! Musicians are welcome. We’d especially like musicians included who have song about peace that young people would enjoy. This sign-up is done at: worldpeacepoets@gmail.com. For times after 5 pm musicians can sign up for a five-minute slot at Village Books. These will be musicians who can perform using one voice mic and one instrument mic, with no additional setting up required. (questions go to worldpeacepoets@gmail.com)
Other activities will be posters for peace, Information about world peace initiatives and a space will be provided for meditation and writing.
This a free event, no one is getting paid. It is part of a world-wide “poetathon for peace”  to be launched October 23, 2013 by World Poets Canada (friends in New Westminster, BC).

-Event coordinators,
Carla Shafer, Betty Scott, Shannon Laws