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.  

dieins
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:

mayorsartaward poster

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.

oddlittlethings digi cover
“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!

JV poetry fundraiser
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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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: Tagore Festival

West Coast Tagore Festival 2013
Tagore, b.May 7, 1861- d.August 7 1941,  
Indian poet, short-story writer, song composer, novelist, playwright, essayist, and painter.  
Tagore was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region’s literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”, he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Tagore introduced new prose and verse forms and the use of colloquial language into Bengali literature, thereby freeing it from traditional models based on classical Sanskrit. He was highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of modern South Asia