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.

FINAL_ 8x11 peace poster_feb event

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

cafezippy june 2015

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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Poetry Club

Poetry Club

Poetry Club Bellingham

Hosted by Ron Leatherbarrow, retired poetry professor, 4th Sat, 10-12, at a Bellingham café. Classic poetry discussed, original poetry read.

Facebook Group Site: https://www.facebook.com/Poetryclubbellingham/

After taking Ron’s Intro to Poetry class Spring quarter I fell in love with this kind, intelligent, antidote-filled instructor.  I’m not the only one.  I organized a Saturday morning coffee follow-up with the other students and Ron; just a one day get-together.  Ron suggested, “How about people bring their own poetry to read, we can discuss a classic poem and maybe meet once a month.  Do you think people would like to do that?”  YES.

Poetry Club is now in it’s third month.  This is how easy it is to start a group.  If you are a writer who is looking for people who also suffer the affliction to write, start a group!  Make it open and public, hold it in a cafe, coffee house, book store, some place with nibbles & drinks. Set rules about giving constructive feedback and let participants know straight up that a “bully” will not be tolerated.  Create a “safe space.”  Writing and sharing is intimate.  Don’t underestimate the power of community!  Plant the seed, water it, and let it grow!

Here are the classic poems we will discuss for December:

 

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.
–Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89)

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

The shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
–Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

 

Event: Read-In World Peace Poets

You’re invited

2015 poetsforpeace 8x11 poster Final
poster by Shannon Laws

 

Musicians, poets and lovers of peace please join us for the 3rd annual Read-In!  This is a FREE and public international event.  Sign up today via email at worldpeacepoets@gmail.com for a five minute slot to share what peace means to you.  The read in ends when the last poet speaks.  A light supper and refreshments will be served.

 

Facebook event page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1483419105294481/

 

Learn more about World Peace Poets Bellingham chapter here:

https://shannonplawswriter.com/world-peace-poets/

Event: Bellingham Poetry Gallery

poet gallery
This gorgeous poster, made by none other than Jacob Tobey

You’re invited…

May 8th, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention

on Bay Street

Erica Reed is a visionary.  Did you know there were 18 poetry groups and open mics in our medium sized city of Bellingham? (really 19, but one can’t make it) At most I thought perhaps only 5 or 6.  Erica has found them ALL and is calling all poets to a gathering or words, hand-shakes and other merriment.  This is the FIRST TIME our city of poets has gathered all the poet groups in one place.  If you are a poet looking for a poet “family”, or want to learn about other open mics / slams this is a DON’T MISS event!  I’ll be there humbly representing the Village Books Poetry Group.  Its time to nerd out folks!  -SPL

Erica shares:

“Eighteen of Bellingham’s finest literary organizations have offered poets for an evening of performance and creative cross pollination.

This event is free.

Bellingham is a town brimming with poets. Many of us don’t know each other. Let’s change that.

The Bellingham Poetry Gallery will display just some of the wealth of poets and poetry that Bellingham has to offer. BPG is about community. The point of this reading is not to muddy our town’s poetry and poets into one amorphous group, but rather to recognize our diversity and to appreciate that diversity. Most importantly, we hope to inspire each other with poetry that is outside of our familiar, from poets who are outside of our familiar circles.

This is a gallery in its truest sense. We are placing our town’s poets and poetry in one room for an evening of shared indulgence in our uniting passion. We are poets, and we are sharing poetry.

Please arrive at 6pm to mingle and snack and to enjoy the musical stylings of Jeff Reier.
Poetry will begin at 6:30pm, with an intermission at 7:45. At 8 we will continue with our performers and we will end the evening around 9, so that you can go home and digest.”

ALSO…

Erica has asked me to join in the SPOKE & WORD biking /poetry event Bellingham leg happening this Friday.  I’ll be standing under this giant wall mural, near old city hall, outside, reading my poetry to bikers about 7:15-ish p.m. this Friday May 1st.  The year is starting to cook!  Yay poetry!

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Event: Three Poetry Host

3 poets Launch sept 2014_SLaws

 

You’re invited…

My new poetry book, Odd Little Things, will officially launch September 6, 2014 at Village Books, 4-5:00.  Please join me and my two poet-sisters, Carla Shafer and Erica Reed as we share our poetry.  Books will be  available for purchase and sign at the event.

Three’s COMPANY

I asked Carla and Erica to join me in my celebratory hour, mainly because I am a fan of their work, both on paper and within the community.  Carla’s graceful, intelligent writing makes me marvel at life’s organized beauty.  Erica is more like a surgeon with her pen, digging into areas of the heart and mind, exposing those delicate memories that need to be explored.

These woman are outstanding pillars in the writer community.  They care, they listen, they show up.  Dedicated to keeping the writing arts alive in Bellingham, Carla and Erica create platforms for area artist to express themselves; with projects like Fairhaven Art Block, writing poetry by request at the Farmer’s Market, and  Read-ins for Peace.

 

 

 

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.

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.

Village Books Poetry Group: P.I.P.

VBPG site title photo artist DONA REED:
Hand-pulled Relief Print, “Squabbling Ravens” Please visit her site: http://www.rainshadow-arts.com

Village Books Poetry Group is a fine place to bring in a PIP = poem in progress.  Last Thursday I shared this new poem “PEW” with my group.  One line in the poem started an interesting conversation.  The line is  “Mid service she wiggles like bacon in a hot pan”.  Some thought it didn’t fit, others said it was “an incredible turning point”.

Being apart of a writing group helps you to think outside the work.  Your writing friends can give you a new perspective on work you maybe too deep into to notice.  I find it a most helpful tool.  Whether you write, non-fiction, fantasy, novels or poems, I encourage you to seek out a writing group.  If there isn’t one in your area, start one.

Here is my poem in it’s original form:

PEW
She sits still at first
Coat on, legs crossed, hair in place
I do not know her name
her smile properly friendly
as she shares the peace
Peace be with you-
-and also with you
Mid service she wiggles like bacon in a hot pan
Her focus moves about the sanctuary; forward, then down at her lap,
the back of the pew, left toward a noisy toddler, then at the ring on her finger.
The ring receives the most attention
the corner of my eye catches repetitive moment
her hand out atop her knee, twirling the ring
round
round
her thumb and forefinger
again
again
Finally, her thoughts become action
Arm reaches for the spine
of  a hymnal laying on it’s back
gone sideways from first service
with a quick flip she corrects
it upright, front forward
Her fingers now at rest,
she turns to smile
This was something easy to fix

If you live in the Bellingham area, or would like more informaiton about how to start a writing group in your area, contact me:  splawssji@yahoo.com

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VBpoetrygroup/
www.rainshadow-arts.com

Poetry Book: Madrona Grove



After months of editing and nine test copies the book is out!  The dedication reads: To my children who always have a smile, to my writer friends who always have a good word, to the crows who know me and say hello when I walk their wood, to the beams of sunshine that kiss me when no one else is looking, and to my love…”  I must of course also thank you, the visitor to this blog.  With over ten thousand visitors in the two years I have been blogging and posting my poetry, your feedback and encouragement have basically created a writing monster.  Well done!  

As fresh as a hot mocha on a rainy day, the majority of poems in “Madrona Grove” have never before been published!  Be the first to own a slice of the Northwest as seen through the eyes of this poet.  

The book can be easily purchased on line at Village Books (link below) for only $14.95.  Village Books is an independent book store located in the historic district of Fairhaven, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.  You can also order a book over the phone at: Tel: (360) 671-2626 / (800) 392-BOOK.

Description


Poetry. Shannon P Laws 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.

About the Author


Shannon P Laws, born and raised just outside of Seattle WA, is a regular at open mics, sharing poems and excerpts from her work of literary fiction. She has been found at such venues as Chuckanut Sandstone Writers, Village Books Open Mic, Poetry Night, Western Washington University’s Erotic Poetry Night and Poets Across Borders in Canada. Shannon is also the host for the popular Village Books Poetry Group, which meets monthly. In addition she is on the radio hosting two music programs, Classic Blues and New Americana, on KMRE 102.3, SPARK Radio, in downtown Bellingham WA.

Product DetailsISBN-10: 0615745458
ISBN-13: 9780615745459
Published: Chickadee Productions, 01/23/2013
Pages: 74