Thank you Cirque Journal

Reviewing my submissions and acceptances for 2020 tonight and holy moly I forgot about a publication in the 20th issue of Cirque Journal! Such a beautiful PNW Rim magazine.

Cirque brings together the finest literary and artistic talent from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Cirque was founded in 2009 by Anchorage poet Mike Burwell. Cirque, published in Anchorage, Alaska, is a regional journal created to share the best writing in the region with the rest of the world. This regional literary journal invites emerging and established writers living in the North Pacific Rim—Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Yukon Territory, Alberta, British Columbia, and Chukotka.

Cirque #20 celebrates 10 years in print. It’s a large issue of 175 pages. We are glad you will be part of it.

Sandra Kleven
CIRQUE

Read the current issue below. I’m on page 74, but check out the whole issue. Good stuff ALL! https://cirquejournal.com/

Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

Day 25: You Are Here

Today Washington State is 3 weeks and 3 days into the COVID-19 lockdown.  Strange moments remind me what universe I am in.  My son went to get some groceries and I rush over to him before he left, “Take a face mask!  They might not let you into the store without one!” People will cross the street instead of walking past you on the same sidewalk, while folks a few blocks over meet in their culdesac, sit 6 feet apart on deck chairs to talk to each other in the evenings.  A local bookstore is offering to deliver your book order to your door if you live in town.  We had a delivery for dinner the other day.  The driver knocked on the door, left the food in a paper bag then took 6 large steps back and waited for the door to open. There was an awkward moment if I should even talk to her.  She seemed scared. “Thank you! Have a good night.”  Everyday things are a new dance.  New etiquettes are surfacing.  Common courtesies have new rules.

I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about the day and what to journal, I am wondering why I selected those 5 ridiculous questions to answer every day.  I no longer like them. I think it is obvious that I’ve never been in a pandemic before!  (…BTW- if, so some reason, the planet goes through this again within our lifetime, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENT?   How would you prepare if you know you had perhaps a 4-day notice or maybe you saw the clues three months ahead of time.  Would you fly to a tropical beach? Buy 100 rolls of toilet paper? Sell your cruise tickets? Just wondering…I like where I am and who I am quarantined with but I wish my apartment was larger, like if I had space for a back yard, a swimming pool and a craft room.)

These daily personal inquires started with good intentions like most bad ideas, but, I’m just not going to do it anymore.  You can’t make me.
1) an observed joy-  meant for me to keep my eyes on the positive.
2) a real concern- designed to remind me what is a REAL problem.
3) a personal challenge- I imagined I would be in a self-improvement mode.
4) one personal success (no matter how small)- a question designed to showcase the self-improvement.
5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- I’m a silly random person

Here is my current mood illustrated in a meme.  -Shannon

Event: Mother’s Day Celebration Big Rock Garden

 You’re invited~

Mother's Day Poster 2016

 

Poetry in a park? YES!  This year it was my job to gather poets for the 23rd annual Big Rock Mother’s Day event.  I’m so thankful to present this stellar list of exceptional poets from the Bellingham area and one fabulous poet-mother from Seattle, Ibtihal Mahmood.

Ibtihal is a Chairperson at IMIA – International Medical Interpreters Association, Member at Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society (NOTIS) andVolunteer at Translators Without Borders, a mother and a poet.  I first met her at a Peace Poet “Read-In” event.  She’s a real treasure.

bellingham-big-rock-garden-horse-sculpture-pagoda
A horse sculpture and pagoda at Big Rock

My World Peace Poet sisters Carol McMillian, C.J. Prince, Betty Scott and Carla Shafer are in the line up.  Poets representing Village Book Poetry Group, Jennifer Dannenberg and Kathleen McKeever, will read.

Also, excited that Kevin Murphy and Elizabeth Vignali will be sharing.  Both released a new book of work this year.

Kevin’s poetry collection “The Bird of Pure Midnight”

“I like to think that “The Bird of Pure Midnight” offers many of the same benefits as an around-the-world journey, but at a small fraction of the cost.”**

Elizabeth (Elizabeth Broucard) book “To Marry Well” is a tribute to her great-grandmother.

“Like the heroine in my first book, To Marry Well, my great-great grandmother traveled by train to a small town in Washington Territory to marry a man who she’d never met in order to provide a secure future for herself and what remained of her family. Unfortunately, my heroine’s real-life counterpart did not have a happily-ever-after. To Marry Well was created from my desire to give my great-great-grandmother the happy ending she deserved.”***

Come join us for a fun day at the Big Rock!

 

Poem: The Field

winterberries
The Common Snowberry (Death Berry) , Symphoricarpos albus

The Field

Bushes of death-berries near the bus stop begged me to take their picture last week. Branches whip their winter fruit, heavy at the end, as proud as a child holding summer’s vanilla cone. Proud they are plump, ready for the eating, stiff sticks shake nervous in the morning fog—

Remember us, this field of us!

Poking out in clusters, brillo-pad raisined blackberries sleep alongside winter’s bleached fruit.  The field is a young girl’s hair needing a wash and comb.

A week later the corner is stamped mud-brown
a chocolate square cake decorated with a yellow back-hoe.

I missed the pulls and yanks at the knots,
the discovery of a chrome bumper, a smashed
burn barrel and two pickle buckets.

When did this happen?
I never got to say goodbye.

 

~by SPL

Event: Get Lit

You’re invited~

Cafe Bouzingo’s “Get Lit”

Featuring poet Shannon Laws

get lit 3088819150_n

 6:30 p.m. Sunday, November 22

at 1209 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, Washington.

get lit 2
Cafe Bouzingo, coffee shop, tea room, art gallery, live music

Get Lit! is Café Bouzingo’s weekly poetry show. Every Sunday, sign up starts at 6:30 p.m., join the crew at Café Bouzingo for an evening of spoken word — local and nationally renowned touring poets are frequent features, and each show spotlights one of Bellingham’s many vibrant poetry organizations. The first portion of every evening is an open mic, so don’t forget to bring your own words to share!

Open mic sign ups begin at 6:30pm.

*Café Bouzingo is an 18+ hookah lounge, with a yearly membership fee of $5

git lit 64544561782293614_n
Cafe Bouzingo, coffee shop, tea room, art gallery, live music

 

Light Like Love

By Shannon Laws

 

The wind blows in its fresh breath

smell the sunshine on its wave

sun shines as a lamp turned on by God

Designed to remind me

The universe is the big black

But where you are now

I wish to see you

 

#

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

e57e1-onlinecovermg
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.

 

 

Christmas Eve Walk

The legs of the pier were standing on the sky.  The bay water thick, and the activity of what plays in it a mystery to my eye.  Clouds and patches of blue, just fainting from the late afternoon, spread over the waves.  
Sky dancing on the Sea

Various sea fowl floated along, feet paddle as rudders, guide them wherever they want to go.  Where did they want to go?  Were the birds out for a walk?  A walk before dusk, before the sun sets and they sleep in nests I cannot guess to know the location?  What sort of blood would a water bird have to not freeze up on a day like this?  
I need to know all of this, wondering about everything I see, today this walk distracts me, I am filled with wonder!
I walk.  I walk alone.  Determined to cry if I wanted, if the tears came.  If the tears rise up inside me, I would let them flow, because I was alone, and I would allowed it.  It did not bother me myself too heavy, that my scarf and hat did not match, that my shoes had a small tear in the left toe, because I was alone, and I am happy.  I am happy and comfortable with myself.  Right now, I am happy and free and I feel like crying tears of happiness… 
Or is it the cold wind finding it’s way to 
the water I carry behind my iris?  
Pulling drops out with each blink, 
as gentle as a Grandmother in her kitchen.
I want to hug this damn planet.  This scene on the waterfront.  ‘Effing Christmas Eve and people are drinking hot chocolate, walking with family, friends, and their dogs.  People are happy here.  Right here!  Right now!
A dog off leash barks a happy hello to me, as if it knows me, as if we are long lost friends, separated on a trip to France, torn apart by war, each thought the other dead, but now- discover the other is alive!  
It’s the happiest bark I have ever had the privilege of receiving.  
The Happiest Dog EVER

The black lab, walks quickly towards me and brushes my left leg like a hug, tail wagging, tongue dripping out of its open mouth, nose pointing, below the dock, below on the beach- a young German Sheppard is playing fetch with its owners.  The Sheppard barks a hello back to my long lost friend.  How easy it is to understand the language of “dog”.  They are simple.

I walk from Fairhaven, along the pier to Boulevard Park, around the loop and then back towards my car.  I see all sorts of people; joggers, walkers, strollers, families, people of all ages.  No otters today, only birds floating on the sky.

Sea Otters on Vacation

I imagine a post card from the Otters, a photo of a furry family floating on Californian sea kelp, “Having fun, fish you were here”
I stop where the pier bends uphill, away from the water.  Then I see it- just there, right over there, between the spit I can walk to, and an island across the bay, …just there in a “V” shaped, black land-line at the horizon, is the glow of the winter sun setting.  A peach, then pink, soon dark purple, then stars.  I stare at it for a while.
A walker-lady stops and asks me, “Do you see anything interesting?”

“No, nothing today, not even the otters”

***

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