Thursday, November 14, 2013

Canadian Authors Association - West Coast Branch

For some it was just another night.  Rainy Vancouver.  Dark and gloomy.  A night to get out from the dull and putrid  into the warmth and genius of the Vancouver Arts and Cultural Centre.

Margot Bates, "PS Don't Tell Your Mother", President of the CAA - West Coast Branch had organized a panel of writers to share there experience and writing tips with an illustrious audience of the truly dedicated. By some act of God I was on the panel.  I felt like it must have felt to be on the Woodstock Stage without all the drugs. It had the Kennedy Centre feel, there among the greats.  Maybe Ravi Shankar felt this way playing in Albert Hall.  Alice Munro had just won the Nobel Prize for Writing.
The event was being filmed.  Maybe Spielberg would be consulted. I looked around for a comb.
I was here, next to Margaret Hume,  author of Just Mary.  Where Margot Bates is like Shania Twain, Margaret Hume is maritimes own Anne Murray.  I felt the music in their voices.  Margaret talked about the organization of research for her novels and how she kept detail on cards,  how she used timed writing  exercises repeatedly to find her own voice.  She wanted to write in a way that would be original and appeal.
Elvis Presley was in the audience, talking to Marilyn Munroe.  Einstein, Martin Luther, Shakespeare and DH Lawrence were there too. I glimpsed Jane Eyre. Rawlings flew by on a hat.  Steven Harper and Obama were taking notes. Colonel Hatfield played  back up   with the Bare Naked Ladies.  David Bowie harmonized with Sarah MacLaughlan and Bryan Adams.
Grant Brandson sat on the other side of me. Very martial.  A military memoir writer he shared writing from his experience in the military to writing stories inspired by the questions of his little children. Taps and Bagpipes and Nursery Rhyme.
Next to him Robert Mackay, author of  "Soldier of the Horse". He was also a military fiction writer.  He received a gold award for the story he'd written based on his father's experience of WWI.  His next story will be of submarines.More bagpipes. The fife and drum.  Whistle up the Captain. Bob talked about actually getting published. He shared about "writing circles" and an amateur first novel that sat in the attic  before he learned to be as professional about writing as he'd been about law..
Monty, Rommel and Patton stood up to applause.  Ghengis, Atilla and Alexander seemed pleased.
Dennis Bolen aka the Bob Dylan/ Leonard Cohen/Thomas Hardy spoke of his many novels and his willingness to experiment, pushing the limits. There's a freedom about Dennis after his years in helping men in prisons. His creativity and originality had produced many novels. His poetry book, Black Liquor is a must.  A journalist as well, he is much admired for  helping writers,  inspiring so many in the arts with his generosity and passion.
A Greek Chorus joined the Tenors,  a Louisiana Jazz Band and  Christy Clark.  Ali McGraw waved Queen Elizabeth style while the Canucks banged their skates with sticks.
Kate Schmidt spoke of grammar. There was a pregnant pause.  Simon and Garfunckel played Wednesday Morning, 3 am.  Soft spoken, Kate  spoke nuclear missile words on the subject of writing, editing and precision perioding.   Commas were her forte.  She shared her experience of editing, the importance to her of just the right phrase.  She liked adverbs and the adjectives were jealous.
Salvador Dali, Joni Mitchell,  Lightfoot and Stuart McLean pushed at the back of crowd.
Jean Kay, Poet, shared her 20 year history of morning wiring, 16 years  of daily poetry writing.  One poem earned her $1200.  Website:Poetrytoinspire.
Sonnets, haikus, iambic pentameter, rhyme, free verse, all floated in and out of  melodies of verse and passing thought
Joyce Goodwin, her Irish origins dancing leprechauns on her tongue shared the thrill she found in writing and the inspirations for her stories.  Each thought was a pot of gold.
Patrick Taylor, our local favourite, had just published another Irish Doctor tale.
A scent of peat and sea.
Bernice Lever, shared of her early years with  Layton and  Livesley. She'd been editor of Waves , had countless books of poetry. Sensuous and divine,  hot reading that inspired body, heart and mind.
Picasso  painted as she spoke. Wordsworth and Thomas Jefferson talked with Whitman of the body electric.
The evening ended too soon.  Freight trains, explosions, brass bands and perfume.
A rabbit sprang from a hat as  doves flew and roses fell on  stage.
Friends  plied me with money for my writing.   I almost feinted.  Love between the Sacred and Profane.
Others huddled like writers do, in scrum circles, slapping each other on the butt, then  screaming 'oorah'!    Soon the fight with pens, pencils, computers and keyboards would once again begin.

1 comment:

Leanne Dyck said...

Oh, Mr. Hay, thank you for this. I was there and remember it just like this. Though I think I may have missed my opportunity to talk with Obama. Oh, well, there's always the next meeting.