Wednesday, November 14, 2012
CAA-West Coast Branch - Nov.14, 2012
CAA - West Coast Branch - monthly meeting Arts and Cultural Alliance Centre, Howe Street Nov. 14, 2012 I arrived and right off hugged Margot Bates, Jean Kay then Margaret Anne Hume and thought there was a time I would have been awed to 'touch' real live published authors. Later I sat with Anthony Dalton and Bernice Lever. What a treasure it is to be a member of this organization that brings us all together. Surely our motto 'writers helping writers' sums up this organization well. What follows are my rough notes (unedited) taken while listening to the nights offerings. (I just wish I knew Douglas's last name. His reading and writing were amazing! addendum? Thank you Margot Douglas's name is Douglas Cameron Aitken, and now I won't feel badly years hence when someone says 'aren't you the guy who didn't know Margaret's last name was Atwood) Jean Kay announced that the Anthology of writing and poetry has gone to the printer. Copies will be available for sale at meetings and on line. Bernice Lever announced her poetry and picture appearing in BC Bookworld, an excellent source for publishers for free. Goes to all the libraries. Robert Mackay, author of Soldier of the Horse, announced he was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in Navy and with Veterans. Dec. 8 is the annual Christmas meeting. James McWilliams won first place Edith Hanning (sp) won second place Ed Griffin and Georgia Hunter were tied for third place. Alan Twig is presenter at the January meeting. February's meeting is an open mike night and readers are invited to put their names forward. Readings from French Canadian Bed Time Stories - Douglas - included men working in wilderness logging camp, Jean Baptiste, the bunkhouses, canoes, argument with the devil, blizzards, day before Christmas, letters from loved ones, birth of twins, father trying to force a daughter to marry a known philanderer, invitations to come and rescue the fair French girl, cookhouse, camp boss, fields of snow glizzening white under the full moon, a strange little man, dressed in Indian buckskin, a proposition, flying canoes, crystal waves of the moon, celestial palace, Milky Way, Indian shaman, church steeples, Trois Rivieres, bright red pom poms, high pitched little chants, little people, bears awoken from their dens, Voyageurs, enticing music, people dancing, true love - a delightful ingenius tale of fantasy and charm Heidi Greco Poet, Writer, Editor, SFU instructor Surrey's Resident Poet, commissioned to write a poem of the city Heidi's blog "Out on the big limb" Blond bespectacled pleasantly attractive woman dressed in slacks, grey turtleneck and button vest sweater, round blue white shell medallion necklace: "I billed this with Margot as a conversation." "All of us have our own story of how we came to writing and committed ourselves to pursuing it.....mine is not that different from many of you.....I learned to read from an early age....I was the child with the proverbial flashlight under the blankets....when I was about nine there are the earliest fragments of my writing......summer holidays there were kids everywhere and all the backyards were open to all of them......one summer I wrote a play....I have the surviving 2 pages....all very corny and resolving happily ever after....I would direct these plays and star in these plays and there'd be dancing .....I moved along to writing stories for my girlfriends, heavy romances, putting their names and their current flames names in....no sex of course because we were all very innocent.....I had a poem published at 13....I got a dollar for it and it was a very important dollar .....I did get more serious about writing poems....in university I sent out poems....different small literary magazines in Canada....then absurdly....I had someone who was important to me....said not very kindly, this is crap....you should not waste your time....I didn't write for 25 years....I was in my 20's at the time and only took up writing again when I was in my 40's. I was a single parents and this was a male and a writer and I had no self esteem....for a man to authoritatively say this , well he must know....and I didn't write....I did other things....I did crafts....I found other ways to be creative ....I crochetted and tie died....I thought then it was ridiculous I was doing all this needle work....I had everything I could make and had given gifts to everyone who I could and I turned back to writing.....I think so many women like poetry because it's a thing you can enclose in a space of time....you can do it in a page....you don't have sub plots and such to carry around." At this she read a poem: from one of her several books of published poems Shrinking Violets - Quattro Books A: American Poems Rattlesnake Plantain Siren Tattoo About her mother. Next she read a poem "Hype" Listening to her I found her voice resonant, expressions engaging, lilting, words accented, ablaze with intonations , musical, deep, soft and wildly civilized An amusing moment occurred when her reading set off the building alarm which took seconds to subside. She described reading a poem at a Surrey forest saving event "Begin with a single tree.....notice the shape.....like waiting hand to cup the rain.....ways it bends around itself stretching.....contemplate .....listen to it's branches tips so fine in green.....a mystery....a forest....so much more than the sum of its trees......" New online magazine, Cascadia Review - poets are always looking for place for their poems.....they put a series of my poems last week. Regarding Obama election she said "It seems as though the better choice was made." Following this she read: "Faithful" "I didn't mean this just to be about poetry. I also write book reviews," she said. "The Pacific Rim....one of the publications that still runs reviews, has published my reviews.....Subterranean Review....another which has published my reviews." Why book reviews are important, 'just remember when you write a book, you will hope someone will write a review of your book and now we can all go on Amazon and write a paragraph saying why we think a book should be read." "I never say I teach things, I lead groups.... I don't know if I have anything to teach but I like working with writers....I had a group which wanted to produce a 'chatbook'....our group is putting out it's 8th chat book" "I was in good company one of the Eco poets....in an old growth forest in Seattle..we gave a workshop after the readings." This one, "Beatitudes for the 21st Century" , I'd like to read. I've found God creeping into my work recently and this one was inspired by Matthew." "This was published by Lipstick Press back when they were in Abbotsford....I've always been fascinated by Amelia Erhart....conspiracy theories are my real attractions...unsolved mysteries....I dive off the deep end in the middle of the book..my theory is she crashed, alright, but she was supposed to crash, on a spy mission for the US, she ditched where she was supposed to, but they decided she was somewhere else, allowing her to be imprisoned on a tropical island....these are theories many have....that she was given a false idea....I take it s step further....saying she ended her life in an insane asylum in New Jersy...this was a kind of crazy book....you can do anything you want with poems 'especially when they are researched'. "Amelia Erhart did write some poems". "I'll read one of these when she was in the asylum "Joan of Arc lives down the hall". "I'd like to shift gears ...I'm speaking about different genres....Shrinking Violet is more a novella....my friends Steve describes a novella as taking a canoe down a narrow canyon and just seeing what it is the canyon....my idea is of a snowball ...not much room for subplots...this book started as a 3 day novel....it's an interesting experiment....you have to be ready to not answer the phone.....when I started all I knew it was a young woman who had bright orange hair....I just sat down on a Friday night and wrote till my fingers bled....that 3 day novel did not win...it went into that drawer...everyone has that drawer....then in 2010 a friend had a really sad cancer and I couldn't write....but if I don't write I get kind of crazy so I pulled this thing out and it went through a complete revision and entered it in a novella competition...it won and that's why it was published." With that Heidi read from her novella. (A fascinating read) "It's not very happy at home with Randy" "her body is soft and flabby and not what he expected" "she dreams" "the baby starts to cry" "I had a hard time with that book. It took me to places I didn't know I could go. I thought of pulling it ." Asked by the audience about the contest and why she went in "I just did and didn't know I could write 30,000 words....the contest has gone on for 30 years." Discussion in the group about the 3 day novel....."Anvil press had it....Pulp had started it in the late 60's...then another outfit jumped up and they continue to call themselves the 3 days novel." "Were you at SFU and have a child in daycare?" someone asked and they then waxed poetic about the day care at Simon Frazer...."there was so much cultural enrichment...there was always something great going on...these little kids would traipse on over to the theatre at noon." Room - is a vancouver based publication - here is a poem I'd like to end with "The Poem I am not going to write". The poem I'm an not going to write excuses herself daily........ Questions and answers followed. Break the meetings over.