The UBC Faculty of Law newsletter has a write-up of our Writers Caravan experience with the UBC Law students. Thanks to all who participated in uniting the writing communities. Although we had planned the Writers Caravan to be a one-off, plans are brewing to collaborate with UBC law again in the 2011/2012 course year.
Posts Tagged ‘Writers Caravan’
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Anne Hopkinson, Antonettte Rea, Dhana Musil, don charters, Donna Dykeman, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Jane Swinglehurst, Jill Imrie, joan morelli, Laifong Leung, Meg Torwl, Megan Frazer, Rua Mercier, Sara Graefe, Tanya Hansen, TWS, UBC Social Law, Write Club, Writers Caravan, Yaana Dancer on June 24, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Fifteen readers from the four participating groups read on the beautiful summer solstice night June 21, 2011.
The pieces they read are reflections of the generative space we created during our writing encounters at Carnegie throughout the spring. You will have a chance to read some of them, as well as others, in the publication Michael Turner is guest editing to be launched in November at the Memory Festival at the Roundhouse.
Here is the reading order of the night:
Jill Imrie (Write Club) is a makeup artist and writer and is eager to combine both of her passions! Mother to a beautiful daughter and son, Jill discovered the Momoir Project a few years ago and has been writing about her adventures in motherhood ever since. Already published on the Momoir website, Jill is currently submitting various pieces to magazines and blogs.
Jane Swinglehurst (Write Club) is mum to two boys who in a fit of organization gave birth to them on the same day, two years apart. She also writes in fits and bursts – fairy tales in her pre-teens, heartache in her teens, heartbreak in her twenties and heartburn that has persisted since her pregnancies in her thirties. Jane’s stories have appeared on the Momoir Project Blog and most recently on Points North Magazine’s website.
Don Charters (Thursdays) has lived all his life Vancouver. Though he took up writing late, he self published his novel The White Room and he continues to work on another novel – Virtual Vivid. He lives in Gastown where he endeavors to market his inventions and do voice work with his prose, poetry and comic impression. He is a member of Thursday Writing Collective and writes under the name DC Charters.
Rua Mercier (Writer’s Studio) is from New Zealand. Since 1981, she worked as an Emergency Physician in Vancouver and raised her three beloved children. Her new loves, in her second life, are ballroom dancing and writing. She is working on her memoir dealing with the themes of family and mental illness.
Sara Graefe (Write Club) is a playwright and screenwriter, and proud queer mom to a three year-old boy. She first became involved with the Momoir Project to get over a bad case of post-partum writer’s block. She has since launched a blog, “Gay Girls Make Great Moms,” published pieces in Literary Mama and on the Momoir Blog, and read her work at the 2010 Mamapalooza Festival in New York City. She teaches in the Creative Writing program at UBC.
Laifong Leung (Thursdays) is a teacher of language and literature and also works as a translator. She is a new member of Thursdays Writing Collective. She is the author of Morning Sun: Interviews with Chinese Canadian Writers of the Lost Generation; and in Chinese – A Study of Liu Yong and his Lyrics. She is a contributor to and coeditor of the forthcoming History of Literary Interactions Between China and Canada.
Dhana Musil (Writer’s Studio) is a mother of two girls and makes her living as an Iyengar yoga instructor. She lived in Japan for a decade and is currently in TWS learning how to compile her experiences into a book of short stories. She has been published in The North Shore News, the Outlook and Tennis BC. You can find her at Dhana.ca.
Margot Young (UBC) is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. She teaches in the areas of constitutional law and poverty law. Her researches focuses on issues of equality law and social justice.
Meg Torwl (Writer’s Studio) works with writing and performance in radio, video, new media and arts advocacy. Her work has appeared in Canada, the US, the UK, and New Zealand. Her writing has been published in Knowing ME, Spin, Eat these Sweet Words, Linescapes, Nuestra Voz, Sinister Wisdom, Magdalena Aotearoa, Canadian Women’s Studies Journal, Sins Invalid, and her own poetry chapbook (in) valid. She is working on a manuscript of poetry and one of short stories. http://integrialmedia.blogspot.com.
Joan Morelli (Thursdays) is a committed activist and performer. She has contributed to four Thursdays chapbooks and is involved in a variety of arts initiatives on the Downtown Eastside, including “Rewind: Memory on Tape,” a short film produced by Thursdays Writing Collective and Bladerunners that screened at 2010’s Memory Festival.
Tanya Hansen (Write Club) is a somewhat frazzled grade four teacher and mom of two amusing boys. The bulk of her writing was done long ago in her twenties while criss-crossing Europe, journal in hand and backpack on back. She is convinced that the best piece of writing she ever did was on her Grade 12 English exam.
Yaana Dancer (Writer’s Studio) studied at Emily Carr School of Art and Design and worked mainly with photo, video and installation but without warning fell in love with the performance art medium. Yaana enrolled in TWS 2011 to work on a non-fiction memoir without regard for the risk of exposure to the abstract poetic form.
Megan Frazer (Write Club) was not an early reader, but from the moment she could put HB pencil to paper, she has been writing stories and lengthy poems. In the eleventh grade, she had the misfortune of no longer being able to despise her English teacher for calling the class “a bunch of philistines” in a mock English accent, when she won a couple of essay writing competitions that he had forced the class to enter. Megan is currently writing a secret blog about her life and, despite herself, a book of creative non-fiction about growing up in Marpole, which she expects to complete in twenty-minute writing start intervals over the next twenty years.
Antonette Rea (Thursdays) is an award-winning spoken-word poet who has performed at festivals, readings and events throughout the Lower Mainland. Antonette’s writing has appeared in Thursdays chapbooks, Sad mag, Megaphone, Geist and she was recently profiled in Vancouver magazine.
Thanks to the warm audience for supporting DTES voices, and to all the participants of the Writers Caravan. Thanks to the Roundhouse for making this event possible through an artistic residency, to Canada Council, City of Vancouver, SFU’s Community Fund and Carnegie Community Centre and in recognition of the Coast Salish Peoples on whose unceded territory we live and write.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged 2011 writer's studio, poetry is dead, Roundhouse Community Centre, Thursdays Writing Collective, UBC law, Write Club Literary Mamas, Writers Caravan on June 10, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Our pilot project is celebrating a culmination on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 7pm at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Centre. Four writing groups – UBC Law students, 2011 Writer’s Studio members, Write Club Literary Mamas and Thursdays Writing Collective are uniting for the first time. We have written together one-on-one and read on double bills throughout the spring but this will be the night all the groups and participants hear each other’s writing and reconnect. Join us!
Thanks to the City of Vancouver, Canada Council, Roundhouse Community Centre and Poetry is Dead for their support.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged anne young, antonette rea, don charters, Jane Swinglehurst, Jill Imrie, joan morelli, Liesl Jurock, Maia Gibb, Megan Frazer, Momoir Project, patrick foley, Sara Graefe, social writing, Tanya Hansen, westside family place, Write Club, Writers Caravan on May 17, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
On Monday night May 16, 2011 members of Thursdays Writing Collective crossed town for a reading at Westside Family place at 11th and McDonald hosted by Write Club, a group of literary mothers formed off their experience with the Momoir project. The childcare centre was a warm setting for our joint reading, which was thoughtfully hosted by Sara Graefe and Jane Swinglehurst. The adult audience sat on couches and perched on toddler chairs while the readers kept it short, sweet, insightful and revealing.
Thursdays readers included Anne Young, Antonette Rea, Patrick Foley, Don Charters, Joan Morelli. Patrick had the place in stitches as he read his piece about a renegade watermelon, Anne described a bucolic visit to Vancouver Island as child and the beauty of rural life, Don read an excerpt from a longer piece about “concrete cave dwellers,” and Antonette performed two spoken word pieces, one about global warming. Joan belted it out with two poems about self-esteem. Applause was effusive.
The Write Club readers had many of us groaning in sympathy about the lengths to which mothers must go for their sanity. Megan Frazer, Maia Gibb, Sara Graefe, Tanya Hansen, Jill Imrie, Liesl Jurock, and Jane Swinglehurst touched on guilt, dirt, sleeplessness, biases against queer parenting and overcompensation through elaborate cupcake construction.
For many Thursdays participants these pieces about parenting were gentle reminders of their own years with children. Several members in the discussion mentioned the importance of enjoying the trying moments while you can.
It was certainly a step out of our neighbourhood to be surrounded by the toys and sandboxes and concerns about naptimes but the Write Club bridged any gaps with a warm and engaging welcome. Hosts Sara and Jane made us all feel at home and they provided a bounty of snacks and beverages for breaktime.
After the last reader we did two social writing prompts chosen randomly from a list of phrases that had popped out of each individual reading. The two were, “that watermelon really picked up speed,” from Patrick’s piece and “watchful crows,” from Antonette’s. Thanks to the dads in the audience for jumping in to share their writing with us, too! And thank you, too, for the candid remarks about what this night of writing forged in terms of bonds between two distinct demographics. This reading epitomized the Writers Caravan goal of forging community through writing together.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged dhana, diane leclaire, henry doyle, irit, lai fung, meg, Momoir Project, push the button, Rua, social writing, Take 5 Cafe, tws reading series, Write Club, Writers Caravan, Yaana on April 26, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Congratulations to the Writers Caravan participants who read at Take 5 Café on Friday, April 15, 2010. They were astounding. Thanks to Lai Fung, Henry and Irit from Thursdays Writing Collective and to Rua, Dhana, Meg and Yaana from SFU’s Writer’s Studio for sharing their interesting pieces with the audience.
They all made an impact on us with their thoughts and the beautiful ways they articulated such different ideas.
We had a full, warm crowd and we even had time to do some creative writing right there with everyone. Fiona Scott, the host of the TWS reading series brought biodegradable pens and paper for us to jot down reactions to a quote from one of the pieces chosen at random. We all bent our heads and wrote for six minutes on Meg’s phrase “push the button.” Half a dozen people came up to the mike to share their work and the crowd was eager for more writing, if only we had had time.
Writers from the third and final group that is part of the Writers Caravan were there, too, to get a feel for what we do. They’re a group of mothers, who met through the Momoir Project, and formed a writing group called “The Write Club” and they’re very excited about working with us in May. You’ll be meeting them soon when they host a joint reading just as the law students and the Writers Studio did, on Monday, May 16 at Westside Family Place. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Thanks to all of you who came to support the readers. It makes a big difference to us all when you are there clapping!
And here is the generous note Fiona Scott sent out to all subscribers of The Writer’s Studio Reading series email list:
Dearest Readers, Writers and Listeners,
Last Friday night hockey fans paraded past the windows at Take 5 as word enthusiasts gathered inside to prepare for a special cultural exchange. The Writers Caravan had pulled into the TWS Reading Series and guest host Elee Kraljii Gardiner launched with great applause from the crowd. Eight participants from the program then stepped up to the mic share their poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
Our found poem for the night may take you back to the buzz we all experienced firsthand. Using just one line from each reader, you too might catch the beautiful imagery created by our guests in the spotlight. Many thanks to Lai Fung, Henry, Irit and Elee from Thursdays Writing Collective in addition to Rua, Dhana, Meg and Yaana from SFU’s Writer’s Studio.
An outdoor place I once knew well
If I die here, I am close to home
Until the sun turns blood red
I could feel the barrels of their guns in my ribs
A spark of freedom from a slap in the face
Sometimes we hear ordinary sounds
Crack the door to the great outdoors
I draw a total blank
And to add a new dimension to our regular reading series, we finished off the night with a 6 minute writing exercise. I am confident that sharing this experience practised within the Writers Caravan, encouraged all writers in our audience to continue being a part of our community. Thank you Elee!
Friday, April 15, 2011
Take 5 Café (on Granville and Hastings)
The Writers Caravan is holding its second of three readings, this one a collaboration between SFU’s Writer’s Studio and Thursdays Writing Collective.
Join us for a glimpse of the writing resulting from a creative encounter between the two groups.
Click below to download the pdf of the poster created by SFU’s Writer’s Studio. Thanks to Fiona Scott and The Writer’s Studio participants for hosting the Writers Caravan!
Yesterday, April 4, 2011, we literally caravanned, in two vans, from Carnegie up the hill to UBC where we were warmly welcomed to the University Centre by Professor Margot Young and her social justice law students. The students provided a fabulous snack display and we nestled right in to an hour and a half of engaged discussion.
This first joint reading was held in their classroom and open to participants of the Writers Caravan. The students are beginning their exams and the need to continue our exchange in a non-performative arena was mutual.
The afternoon functioned Quaker meeting-style, with speakers sharing their thoughts or writing as they were moved rather than by adhering to an order designated by seating or naming. What followed was an organic exploration of the change in penal codes since the 70s, a commentary on solitary confinement from first-hand experience, recognition of the fluidity rather than rigidity of law, and some beautiful writing.
UBC student Patricia wrote a creative enquiry into human rights conditions in Canada, Karen shared the beginning of a story of cultural appropriation in an East LA market and Margot played with the idea of “landscape” in a political, judicial and geographic sense based on Insite, the safe injection site. Angela shared a brief piece and lent her camera to document the group, which consisted of other members who did not read their writing but did contribute their thoughts.
Collective member John wrote of Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Taylor, Henry read a compact verse on the Libyan fruit vendor who self-immolated as political protest, Anne H. shared two harrowing poems, “Justice” and “Evidence,” Anne Y. took us on a trip to China and Elisabeth reminded us that we are the experts in our lives.
Though the writing provoked and pleased, it was the interstitial moments that continue to resonate. The conversation was relaxed and buoyant with a flow of information and perspective running from the theoretical to the personal. In the van down the hill Diane and Elisabeth and I agreed that forging community through writing is an effective way to reduce distance between “self” and “other.” We were pleased to write with such a thoughtful, engaged group of law students, “good” people who are willing to venture outside of their studies to exchange ideas with us.
Today, February 23, 2011, we had a writing session with a group of second and third year law students from Professor Margot Young’s course. Many of them had not written since highschool, though all expressed an interest in getting back to it. Their ability to jump into the prompts with us was wonderful. We did a series of prompts related to vocabulary Margot gave me in advance of the meeting. She did not know what I would propose using her fodder and this made for a comedic moment as I mistakenly added a “p” to “regnant lawyering.” For more details about the session and to see what we did with social justice and Paolo Freire’s concept of silence and liberation theology, please click on the Writers Caravan UBC Law Students button. Thanks to all the writers from TWC and UBC!
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Angela Mairead Coid, Cathleen With, DTES Collection, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Fiona Lam, George McWhirter, Michael Turner, Thursdays Writing Collective, visiting authors, Writers Caravan on December 6, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Our last class of 2010 is this week, December 9. We start again on February 3, 2011.
This has been a fruitful, exciting course with many new members of the Collective.
Thank you to the guest authors who visited us, beginning with poet Fiona Lam in October. Fiona took us through revision stages of her own work, candidly sharing her drafts so we could have a sense of her editing process. She also generously brought copies of her second book, Enter the Chrysanthemum, and gave a copy to each participant.
George McWhirter and his wife Angela Mairead Coid visted next. George read pieces focussing on the topic of sound, which we had delved into the previous preparation. Angela read her own beautiful response piece to Collective member James McLean’s poem “Creative Thinking” about growing up in poverty in Scotland (see below). Before class George presided at the inauguration of the Downtown Eastside Literary Collection in the Carnegie Branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
Cathleen With was our next visitor. She came laden with literary journals and fantastic ideas about writing in the voices of our younger selves, our friends and even people we have not met. Cathleen led us in some writing prompts using Diane Arbus’ work and then graciously donated the photo book to the Collective for our future use. Cathleen also inscribed copies of “Skids” and “Having Faith in the Polar Girls Prison” for our petite Thursdays Writing Collective library.
Our last guest of the year, Michael Turner, discussed his own process of engagement via a three piece text on Malcolm Lowry he wrote for the Capilano Review. The pieces are based on Lowry’s own syntax and form as in letters published in the Vancouver Sun. Michael introduced us to the concept of “wordsquatting,” or “kicking out the words of the author and putting in your own.” Using a verse from his first book, “Company Town,” we did that with Michael, on the spot. This concept of squatting in someone else’s text is one we will be returning to, not only for its political ramifications, but also because of the incredible creative possibility.
Michael’s writing prompt from his visit, begun with his sentence, “The sun rose like a headless pair of shoulders,” is on his blog dated the day after his visit, Dec 3, 2010.
In February we will be putting into practice the techniques and concepts these amazing writers shared with us. Thursdays Writing Collective is beginning a pilot project, The Writers Caravan, where we invite writing groups from across the city to come to Carnegie and write with us. Each group will then do a public reading with us on a shared slate in their neck of the woods. Our hope is to cross pollinate with other literary communities and to increase the creative options for all involved. In culmination we will be holding a celebratory reading and party in June and producing a publication from this collaboration with the three or four visiting writing groups. If you are interested in participating, please contact Elee Kraljii Gardiner at email@example.com.
AN EARLY LIT FIRE (for James McLean)
Angela Mairéad Coid
There is no heat in the house. Coal is rationed by the government and not cheap when your father is “on the sick”. A fire is set in the fireplace, but this altar to warmth won’t be lit before 5 o’clock. Until then, the adults warm themselves with cups of tea, and the smokers warm their hands around a cigarette’s glow.
There is no heat in the house. In spite of a vest, woollen jumper and cardigan, cold wraps itself around your middle like an overpowering cummerbund. You do your homework with the dog on your feet. The cat warms your mother’s lap. Upstairs in the bedrooms is a quiet place to study, but cold rules there. Children sleep with the pets, and parents have each other. On bitter nights, overcoats are thrown over the beds. Blankets are thin and scarce.
In the west, they burn peat cut from the bogs. In Belfast on the Old Lodge Road they say the tenants strip the wood, the banisters and the doors, to burn and chase away the penetrating cold from the dirt-floored, terrace houses.
“Then they do a midnight flit to another house.” Or so the story goes.
There is no heat in the house. We live near the beach in a little town.
Last night there was a terrible storm. My eldest married sister brings news of bounty on the beach. Coal from the shifting cargo of colliers has washed up.
The women grab their shopping bags and the children old school bags. We pass the neighbours’ houses as if taking a healthy walk to the seashore, dogs delirious in the wind from the Lough. The golden sand has patches of black. We collect as many nuggets as we can respectably carry. Tomorrow it might be washed back out to sea, but tonight the fire will be lit early.
Heat in the house.
Angela Mairéad Coid was born and educated In Northern Ireland, and has published in Ireland and Canada. Her work has most recently appeared in Canadian Women Studies: Women of Ireland, Boyne Berries, Ireland and in The Antigonish Review, who kindly nominated that story for the 2009 Journey Prize.