Social Media North Shore Writers’ Festival 2014

Social Media     North Shore Writers’ Festival      10-11am        Sat., April 12, 2014


Joan accepts North Shore Writers’ Assoc. Poetry prize from Sonia Nadina Haynes, President, in the sunny wind down at North Shore Writers’ Festival.

“Social Media: An I-dea, YOU-dea, HE-SHE-WE-dea. Let it free ya…”  Joan Boxall  

I AM A CNF or Creative Non-fiction writer.   I use fictional and poetic means to enliven facts thru:

  • Journalling, Blogging
  • You-tubing my poems
  • Travel Writing from a recreational perspective (x-c ski, bicycle, ocean kayak)
  • CNF encompasses the personal essay, journalism, nature writing, memoir/portrait or biography with which I consistently whittle.

When I read Clay Shirkey, social media theorist at NYU, and author of Here Comes Everybody, The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, I quote:

“Social media prompts users to engage with texts, images and videos…AND promotes a culture of sharing.”

It was poetry to my ears!      AND—

“Media now creates both the conversation and the group, connecting not one to one, but many to many (whereby)consumers become producers.”



Thus: I AM A CONTENT CREATOR thru MY mix of CNF text, photograph, music and voice.

I float my leaf on the Social Media River:

1.   Launched WordPress blog and website in January, 2012

  • To Portfolio my travel tales
  • To YouTube poems
  • To tweet and connect within ‘Communities of Practice’,

an Etienne Wenger term.  He is a globally recognized thought leader in social learning circles, who defines the term–

“ groups of people who share a concern or a passion for s/thing they do, learn how to do it better as they interact…”

According to Tom Standage of Writing on the Wall   Social Media—the First 2000 Years: “from Cicero’s papyrus letters to Internet’s social media platforms, (we) use connections to create a distributed discussion, (and watch) History Retweet Itself.”

So I:

  • Record and upload photos and music to complement poetic podcasts.
  • With nearly 3000 hits to date on six Youtubes, this is how I self-publish.
  • With Twitter, G+. LinkedIn and e-mail contacts, I professionally optimize readership of my creative non-fictional work.
  • INPUT via website posts and pages feeds out and back (OUTCOMES) to optimize more:

LISTENING, REFLECTING, ASKING, RESPONDING, LINKING AND REPEATING…the OUR-glass keeps turning over.  The website is a gold-sifting catchment that sifts, sieves and cinches.

 Social Me-dia

Is an I-dea, a You-dea

A real He-She-We-dea.

Let it free ya,

Professionally sharing 1-way, 2-way, every which way.

Linking & liking in this egg-timing-



Float your leaf (be brief).

Turn it over, again and again.

Panning for gold thru your web sifter.


Social Me-dia: An I-dea, a You-dea

The real He-She-We-deal.

Let it reveal ya,

Professionally sharing and

Linking OUR small-world-egg-timing-


Input feeds out and back, sifting thru the OUR-glass.  The website catches info thru its centrally-located sifter.


Cowichan Locavores Hit the Trail

Southern Vancouver Island locavores lollygag on the Trans Canada Trail in the Cowichan Valley.  See Joan’s article pages 6-9 with a ‘Getting There’ finale.

Here’s a synopsis:

Follow Lochside Trail up and over the Saanich Peninsula to the Brentwood Bay Ferry. Stop at Seahorses Restaurant or Merridale Ciderworks for refreshment before rolling on to Shawnigan Lake, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, Chemainus or Salt Spring Island.

You’ll need MAPS!  Some are found aboard the ferries. Once off the Brentwood Bay-Mill Bay ferry, ride into Mill Bay and stop at the shopping mall before heading up and over Shawnigan Lake Road.  There’s a tourist info located there, but for now, check out these two links:

From Shawnigan Lake’s Marifield Manor, explore the Kinsol Trestle along the

1.  Trans Canada Trail to Lake Cowichan (Kidd’s B&B) and Duncan (the Quamichan Inn), along the

2.  Southern Vancouver Island’s Rotary Route to Ladysmith (Kiwi Cove Lodge) or to Salt Spring Island (Harbour House Hotel) via Crofton-Vesuvius ferry.

Read more in March, 2014 edition of ‘Senior Living’…the online version gives mileage and where-to-stay links.

You don’t have to be a senior to click with and into it…

The Richmond Bicycle Club says, “Thank you so much for you email and the link to your article on cycling on the Island.  The executive thoroughly enjoyed and I am forwarding it to all the members of our Club.  We often do 4-5 day trips to the Island and we now have ideas for more trips.”  Sue McLeish

The Rule of Three: Okanagan Cross Country Skiing


Dave, Lucy and Joyce observe the Rule of Three


South Okanagan steed in shining armour


Camony & Alex with some Merrit-orious munchies


Poutine, Ron & Lucy:
a delicate three-some


Coquihalla Connection Rule of Three…visually?


from back to front: Valerie, Monique, Kay and Mary Anne


From one bus to another


Jill & Valerie have hot chocolates waiting


A female Downy powers up on peanut butter and lard


Trish in pink: Mary Anne in pursuit


l to r: Joan, Monique, Trish, Mary Anne


l to r: Monique, Larry, Trish, Mary Anne, Ken


Connie (l) and Helen


Ready to glide!

The Rule of Three 

Cross Country Skiing

Omne Trium Perfectum

Everything that comes in threes is perfect.

We didn’t realize we were following The Rule of Three.  One never knows this ahead of time.   It’s a writing rule that loosely parallels a visual art concept, the rule of thirds.  The three rule creates tension.

Once it’s resolved, the lasting effect is funny, effective and satisfying. ‘The Three Bears’, ‘The Three Pigs’ and ‘Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway’ all follow the rule.

We weren’t expecting how this would unfold on an Olympics Family-Day long weekend of cross country skiing.






Vancouver Skiers forged a path to the Kelowna and Telemark Nordic Ski Clubs.

Leaving the Lower Mainland’s rush hour and arriving at the Kelowna Motor Inn by eleven thirty, we crashed early then laid down an energy layer of self-serve oatmeal, toast, bagels, coffee/tea, yogurts, and apples both mornings.

Rule Number One:  McCulloch Lake home of the Kelowna Nordics (35 km east of Kelowna on Hwy 33)

We were cross country skiing by ten thirty.  We explored some of the 75 kilometers of groomed and track-set, classic and skate- compatible trails (another 75km are snowshoe trails).  Snowshoe director, Rick Gee, invites club members to try out the McCulloch Lake trails next year.

Under gorgeous sunny skies, -10 Celsius, we glide by Saw Mill, Log Cabin Loop, Ernie’s Lane, Beaver Run, Upper Meadow and Riverside before or after lunch.

The lower chalet birdfeeders lined the windows, and many chickadees (Black-capped, Boreal and Mountain), Nuthatch and a female Downy Woodpecker, nibbled on 50-50 peanut butter/lard mixture, rolled then stuffed into hollowed-out-log feeders according to a friendly club volunteer.  The upper cabin was a great stopover with wood stove crackling, and we, like the birds, chattered and nibbled while studying maps or snapping photos.

Back for a 5:30pm Happy Hour, we carried on in that manner.  Trip leader, Lisa Peter’s #1 best law firm in the world ie Olympics compliant, Lawson Lundell, supplied fun prizes.  By then we’d heard our first bronze medal winner, Mark McMorris in Snowboard Slopestyle, reiterate how lucky we were to be doing the sport we love.  With a twelve-hour time difference between us and Sochi, we still celebrated with the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Justine and Chloe, in their Mogul’s gold/silver at Sochi’s Olympics.

We chose dinner favourites with either energy or dietary parameters in mind:  The Spaghetti Factory (five blocks away), ABC Family Restaurant (across the street), in-house Mekong Chinese, in-room pizza, or Thai/Vietnamese choices, just a quick cab-ride downtown.

Rule Number TwoTelemark Nordic Club Trails on Kelowna’s West Side

(960-1220 meters elevation)

Telemark is named after a Norwegian county where the history of Nordic skiing dates back 2000 years.  Telemark Nordics have over 50 km of groomed classic and skate cross country skiing trails with 62km of snowshoeing as well as biathlon and race circuits where 42 competitors engaged in their own Special Okanagan Olympics on Sunday.  For one young man, he got into his zone for a 2x 2.5km Olympics sprint while we ate lunch around him.  Pacing ourselves for the 1:30pm departure, we checked out the Aspen and Cottonwood-lined rolling terrain of Fern Creek, Telemark, and rollicked on Roller Coaster.

Rule Number Three:  one dashboard light technical delay leads to a two and ½ hour electrical shut down

Just a ½ hour out of Telemark, the South Okanagan Charter Busline , aka Ernie, came to our rescue on a white steed with shiny red trimmings.  Carol Burnett re-runs kept spirits up.  In comedy, this third element catches you unawares.  It’s the gag-line repetition.  This was the Beginning-Middle-End of our 3-act trip in a ‘Go-Fight-Win‘ kind of way.  Without the delay, would the skies have been so pastel?  Would Merritt’s fast-food have tasted so good?

Would the two seats shy of a full busload have provoked such chivalry from Brian O., Helen E. and Katryn J.?  Dave W., Lucy K. and Joyce R.?  They definitely followed The Rule of Three: tension, energy and interest.  All were generated.  All were resolved satisfactorily.  All with the greatest effect. The Rule of Three:  Hip, Hip, Hurray!


Pat’s pose


Brian sans trio


Tom's ready to go

Tom’s ready

Cross Country Skiing Lucky Streak

Vancouver Skiers to Stake Lake and Larch Hills

Friday to Sunday Jan. 24-26, 2014

As Vancouver Skiers depart for some cross country skiing at Stake Lake (near Kamloops) and Larch Hills (near Salmon Arm), two distinct streaks of cloud give the eastern sky a gold-encrusted flair.  One is a snow omen.  Snow we cross country skiers haven’t seen much of on the coast.  And the other?  It looks a bit like a swirl of decorative cake icing, but it’s not.  It’s hoarfrost or white frost, but that magic comes later on.  First, to stake out Stake Lake.


A Van Skier frames a hoarfrost ‘tree’


Hoarfrost bows Alder boughs


Joanne and Brenda enjoy a moment at Cec’s Cabin, Larch Hills


Cool climate grape growing at Larch Hills Winery


Sabina stetches out, Larch Hills Chalet


Line ‘em up at the Larch Hills Winery…here come the Vancouver Skiers


Alex between Elizabeth (left) and Dianne inside Cec’s Cabin, Larch Hills


Katryn gives Dianne some cross country (apres) ski stretching tips


Stake Lake stop-over for some classic and skate cross country skiing


Larch Hills cross country skiing here we come


Larch Hills Winery welcome

From arrival to departure at Stake Lake, our trip leader, Anna Bentley, tells us we’ve got four hours to play.  Blue skies, +4 degrees, tracks well set, packed and tracked — firm without iciness.  Friendly Stake Lakers are readying for some British Columbia Cup Races the next day, yet it’s serene on the trails.  There are Aspen groves, animal tracks in the snow, and rolling ranch land in the distance.  Pines scent the stillness. Some pack lunch in to the upper hut; others are happy to unpack brown bags at the club cabin.

Once at the Comfort Inn, Salmon Arm, we’ve got one hour before happy hour to shower, hot tub or dip before walking to restaurants like Setter’s Pub and Home Restaurant for family/ pub fare.   Our pub table enjoys halibut ‘n’ chips, wraps, prime ribs and stir fries.

Up early, Vancouver Skiers enjoy the Comfort Inn’s breakfast buffet.  Salmon Arm skies are overcast, and as we climb, it’s a bit foggy, but this is the magical temperature for white hoarfrost. Water vapour freezes into furry needles of ice that crystallize onto twig, needle, grass and even icicle ‘trees’.

It’s Robbie Burns Day.  We fittingly pass Highland Angus Cattle, and hum a few bars of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, one of a hundred tunes the ‘Bard’ of the Romantic Movement penned back in the late 1700s.

With ears popping, the plowed road winds above Salmon Arm into the domain of the Larch Hills Nordic Society who’ve just celebrated the 30th anniversary of their club’s loppet the weekend before, dedicated to two-time Canadian champion, Reino Keski-Salmi.  We head to and from Cec’s Cabin in roundabout ways on trails like Skyview, Bilbo’s Bog, Larch Hills Road, Larch Hills Loop, Baby Moonwalk, Willow Switch, Frodo’s Bog, Panorama, Skytrail, Stig’s Loop and Alder Lane.

Once back at the bottom, between the parking lot and the chalet, two lovely club volunteers are dishing apple ciders, hot chocolates, smokies, and a soup-o’-the-day.  Saturday, it’s beet borscht…scrumpdillyicious.  Check out their club’s recipe page:  for some soup-er-charged energy bars.

Larch Hills Winery and its proprietor Jack Manser await.  Thanks to Anna Bentley’s organization, we spend our happy hour sipping and savouring red, white and dessert wines such as ‘Mad Angie’ (Madeleine Angevine), ‘Ortega’, ‘Semillon’, ‘Ortega Dessert’ and ‘Lemberger’, many of which are medal winners.  Cool climate grape growing makes Larch Hills Winery different from Okanagan Valley vineyards, and they’ve been crushing and processing their own since 1997.  Club members love to medal, so we take a few Larch Hills Winery prizewinners home.  But not before our bus driver, Len, drops us downtown for more Salmon Arm dinner choices like Paul Trantina’s find at Table 24, and we fuel up to revisit favourite trails Sunday morning.

Hoarfrost Ho or Fairy Dust Snow!

Hoarfrost Ho or
Fairy Dust Sno-ooooow!


Ron & Lucy energize by the fire

Ready to go

Ready to go

Home is over the Coquihalla Connector via Kamloops.  Just as we tune into the 2005 movie, ‘Kinky Boots’, we’re on the Connector, and there, against the blue skies is a hoarfrosted forest.

Those white swirls at dawn have been a cross country skiing lucky streak in Larch Hills and Stake Lake. Vancouver Skiers at their best, frosted in hoar, or was that fairy dust?


Hawaiian Culture, Kauai’s South Shore

Hawaiian Culture, Kauai’s South Shore

As a tourist, garden volunteer and longtime repeat visitor at the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) on Kauai’s South Shore, Hawaii, I’m excited about the NTBG golden anniversary year, 2014.  Renewal is brewing in the gardens.

Andy Jasper, NTBG South Shore Director of Gardens, wears enough hats to make that renewal a top hat reality.  Jasper left the Eden Project in Cornwall, England where he was Head of Research and the Eden Project Encourager of relationships between people and plants.  His skill sets in heritage preservation, culture, tourism and counselling intersect at the McBryde and Allerton Gardens on Kauai’s South Shore, Hawaii.

Jasper, in a recent brown-bag luncheon meeting at NTBG, outlined how Cornwall and Kauai both share a substantial percentage of GDP in the tourism industry: Cornwall at 25% and Kauai at 65%.   The Eden Project, in its twelve-year tenure, has seen over fifteen million visitors.  It places eighth in British tourist attractions, trailing giants like The Tower of London, Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle.


Queen Emma’s Cottage is framed in rosy Bougainvillea and delicate palms at the National Tropical Botanical Garden.


Jurassic Park dinosaur eggs and countless tourist photos hatch Hawaiian Culture here in the McBryde and Allerton Gardens


Volunteers meet here at the axis-point between the McBryde and Allerton Gardens.


One of many ornamental fountains in the National Tropical Botanical Garden, South Shore, Kauai

Just as the McBryde and Allerton Gardens are Eden-esque examples of post-industrial economic decline (sugar) in Hawaii, so too the Eden Project built the world’s largest conservatories over the spoils of china clay mining .  The ceramics industry originally used china clay to make porcelain.  Now it is found in many product whiteners including toothpaste. The 20-20 vision for National Tropical Botanical Garden’s South Shore is as an internationally acclaimed must- see, an educational resource and environmental showcase.

Gems from the Allerton and McBryde Gardens

Gems from the McBryde and Allerton Gardens, part of both the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Hawaiian Culture.

Jasper foresees protecting safety over asset gains as was done at the Eden Project, while preserving and celebrating Hawaiian culture in the state of Hawaii.  The key to success is in building strong relationships between staff, volunteers and the community according to Jasper.  And as for impending change, he quotes American futurist, Marilyn Ferguson,













“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear . . . . It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to”.

And French essayist, Andre Gide,

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Expect to see the logo for NTBG South Shore’s 50th renewal for at least a year or two, and well into a sustainable future.  For a longtime visitor, that’s part of Hawaii’s Aloha Spirit.

Taken from a letter to the editor, ‘The Garden Isle’, Dec. 30, 2013.


Pipelines as conduits and what’s goin’ through it?  Does it fit, does it flow, in watery innuendo?  Oil and gas, developing fast, but wait, go slow…in our own bodies, as well as in the body politic and the body democratic, funnel an alternative.  To provide a hopeful future, we might well ask, ‘what’s goin’ through it?’ before goin’ through with it.

TWS & North Vancouver City Library Local Authors’ Series

Upcoming poetry/prose readings:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Writers’ Studio hosts readings at Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main St., 8pm start


Wed., November 27th, 2013      7-8:30pm (doors open at 6:30 for wine and refreshments)

North Vancouver City Library Local Authors Series, with Dina Del Cucchia, Barry Jakal, Maria Tomsich, and yeah Joan’ll be at both these, reading some of her latest gems:            series

To watch Joan’s ‘Can I See Your Poetic Licence?’, ‘Hockey Power Play on the North Shore” and ‘Pipelines’ poems, view the first 15 minutes of this link:

Mayne Island Sea Kayaking SKABC Labour Day Weekend 2013

Mayne Island  SKABC                   Labour Day Weekend, 2013

Leader:  Bruce Pickwell                                                                                                  Review and photos:  Joan Boxall


Gathering together at the newly-managed Eco-camping on Seal Beach, Miners Bay, Active Pass, Mayne Island, we meet our gang of twelve in eleven boats.  We plan on doing the eighteen nautical miles around the isle.  A circum-navigation.  It is Labour Day weekend after all.  We walk to the Springwater Pub which has been doing business on Mayne Island since 1892; a particular favorite for miners en route to the Caribou and Fraser River gold rushes.  We’re panning for gold too: a golden weekend, post electrical storm that brought buckets of golden rain to the Lower Mainland.  Rain to send salmon upstream; rain to green our forests and gardens.


We leave just after nine on an (in) Active Pass slack-tide morning, and round picturesque Georgina Point and Lighthouse.  A nor’wester’s blowing.  We cut across Campbell Bay, and past Georgeson Island, trading wind for current.

Square dancing aka ferrying gets us all do-si-do’ing our way to Winter Cove, Saturna Island’s sunny shores.  We circle to the right, chain across, turn those kayaks to meet our corner islands, Curlew and Lizard.  Bow to your partner, SKABC, pass through Georgeson, weave the ring…it’s been a Labour-Day-full: ‘Nine to Five,’ sings Dolly, ‘What a way to make a livin’, and we swing right back to Miners Cove, Mayne Island, ‘What a way to live!’


The return route is an up-and-back promenade home from St. John Point along Mayne’s southern shore, past Village Bay, and around Helen Point. We’re glad to return to Active Pass before any whirlpools surface.  We’re more up for a whirl in Eco-camping’s hot showers, then we prep the annual celebratory potluck meal.  There are more-than-enough restorative calories to replenish: corn chips, dips, quiche, bouillabaisse, ribs, pork tenderloin, chili, salads, apple crumbles, macaroons, date squares…did I mention hydration?  That, too.  Allemande left, star right, pass out.

Sunday, we leave Active Pass to launch from Paddon Point on Mayne’s eastern shore, down a short steep ramp facing Curlew Island.  Today’s water is calm, and we chain the Belles of the Belle Chain Islets.  Okay, no more square dancing…this is more of a waltz.  One, two, three…one, two, three hours of meandering and viewing Harbour seals, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Western Sandpipers, gulls galore, who all pose on rocks that mirror chunky clouds. Back via Samuel Island’s north side.  Boat Passage is an impasse.


Raptors’ fishin’ grounds



Other raptors follow the Turkey Vultures’ keen sense of smell

P1020146 P1020142Tuesday’s SKABC club meeting with Sue Davies as guest speaker, fills us in on raptors.  Who knew that Peregrine Falcons stun-punch their prey at 300 km/hr?  Or that the beak is the raptors’ knife; the talons, their fork?  Or that Turkey Vultures wash and cool their feet in their own ‘clean’ feces, and deter predators by regurgitating in and around their meals.  Or that owls hear in 3-d forming pictures of their prey in the darkness?  Or that  raptors help us avert avian flu pandemics by being bacterial epicures?  We’re a rapt (or) audience, listening like hawks, falcons, eagles and owls to Sue’s presentation, and plan on making OWL, Orphaned Wildlife & Rehabilitation Society, one of our causes or respectful pauses when viewing raptors along our shores.

We’re in time to munch leftovers or take in the Lion’s Club’s salmon BBQ fundraiser.  Thank goodness we paddle for our suppers given baked potatoes, tenderly squeezed and dolloped with butter, sour cream, and a sprinkle of chives; Caesar salad, bun and brownie-a-la-mode.

Monday, the SKABC gang is still up for an early slack-tide start exitiing east end of Active Pass and along east side of Galiano Island, stopping for lunch in Montague Harbour, then back in the same direction to Pocket Beach near Helen Point (beach glass mecca). Mayne Island sea kayaking bulletin:

Line dancing in ferry line-ups?

Strictly prohibited!




Writers’ 10th Annual Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival

Writers’ 10th Annual Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival:

Winds of Inspiration

What was it about the wind at the Summer Dreams Festival at Trout Lake Park (aka John Hendry Park) on Saturday, August 24, 2013?  Was it how it stretched the cirrus into alluring fingers, or how the lake rippled and late summer leaves rustled?  It blew the bride’s wedding dress and she, posing on her happiest day, was full of promise.  A poem.  It blew through the Trout Lake Farmers’ Market.  It whirled and twirled for cyclists, picnickers, joggers, dog walkers and writers…it even blew the dogs’ hair.  A steady energizing wind to inspire, refresh and renew writers, to open possibility and change…that same wind of Norse, Slavic, Aztec, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian mythologies.

Summer Dreams 2013 012

Wind is sometimes referred to as breath.  I attended Amanda Wardrop’s performance workshop on vocal  technique.  We began humming and feeling the vibrations in our facial bones,  hips to toes.  We took a line of text and played with it in innumerable ways.  We ten stood in a circle under a small open air RE/MAX tent.  We all voiced our poem lines simultaneously.  We felt each other’s voices in unison: supported and juxtaposed with breath.

Summer Dreams 2013 002

Amanda’s workshop…standing room only to voice our poem

We breathed down into the soles of our feet, to fill and compose ourselves.  Compose…ourselves.  We played with textual cadence and applied different stresses.

Summer Dreams 2013 004

Amanda Wardrop, Performance Workshop Clinician

We added a gist; a nuance brimming with emotion from a child’s joy, anger, frustration to an adult’s: from zero to one-hundred-percent intensities.

Amanda suggested checking in with our audience at the beginning and end of a reading.  Why not thrill them with various gists within the same poem…contrasting gist with line, such as a humorous gist with a serious line?  Her performance workshop reminded us how to gift the audience a poem: a gist of words.

We took on the skin of a performer we admire and emulated them in our line of text.  We did it again as a dedication.  Then, with subdued body posture; with calm, comfortable ease and grace, we gave it away.  We let our words take wind.  Free-flying words, airborne.  Born… of and on the air.

“Whenever you touch a poem that caresses your soul, breathe it gently for it might be the wind that perfects your life’s goal.” 
A. Saleh

Amanda is a theatre artist and teacher.  Her performance workshop was one hour from noon til one, and by then, words were swirling all around us, gusts and gales of words in breezes, squalls and zephyrs:

Wanda Nowicki’s Quartet,  featured author, Joy Kogawa, featured poet, Fiona Tinwei Lam, slammers, spoken word, Poetic Justice, Poetry Around the World, Dead Poets, Twisted Poets, World Poetry Youth, Word Whips, Naked Poets (the author didn’t see any), The Comedic Mix, theatrical performance workshop, storytelling, music and readings on the Main Stage, the Community Stage, the Children’s Stage.  Panels and open mics with groups from all over the Lower Mainland, even Galiano Literary Arts Fest.  The Federation of BC Writers, Writers International and the Canadian Authors’ Association.  Publications of literary journals and magazines, publishers, and BC Bookworld.   A hurricane of words.

Summer Dreams 2013 011 Summer Dreams 2013 010

Margo Lamont with Sylvia Taylor & friend at the Grind Writers table

Margo Lamont with Sylvia Taylor & Keith at the Grind Writers’ table

Summer Dreams 2013 007

Writers gather round table to find a home for the words.

A second workshop was with Joanne M. Ursino on exploring handmade book structures.  Joanne is a textile and mixed media artist skilled in bookmaking and quilting.  Joanne demonstrated how books are held together and how she uses various papers, sizes, and shapes from one-inch square ‘Summer Dreams’ books to chapbooks.  She’d prepared five kits with awls, scissors, glue, styluses, beads and needles…everything we’d need to make our own or where we could go get supplies, and then blow the magic wind of words onto the page.  Writers sat there creating books and listening to the words float, hover and soar on the wind all around us.

Back at the Grind Writers table, founder, Margo Lamont, challenged passers-by to take and possibly blog a writing challenge.  Many did.

Challenges all-around in securing grant providers, financial supporters and sponsors…all to be lauded.  Something was in the wind, no doubt about it.  Many thanks to the volunteers, the stage hosts, the festival committee,  sound technicians and most of all, to Bonnie Nish, for letting the Summer Dreams inspirational wind whistle.

‘The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.  The answer is blowin’ in the wind.’  –Bob Dylan

Summer Dreams 2013 014





Harmony Arts Festival & North Shore Writers: Love on the Fly

NSWA at Harmony Arts August 11, 2013 001

North Shore Writers Association welcome Harmony Arts Festival newcomers to Memoir writing.

Harmony Arts Festival & North Shore Writers

Love on the Fly Through Memoir

Love on the fly you say…do tell.  Well, that’s us.  The North Shore Writers Association and the Harmony Arts Festival.  The last day, August 11, 2013.

Fran Bourassa led us in memoir writing in a two-hour workshop with credits to Sylvia Taylor.  Fran quickly made the workshop her own, instructing us to mine into the rich well of our dramatic beings to inspire, share insight, role model our peculiar perspectives (Fran did say with general accord, that as writers, we are…well…peculiar), reflect our own journeys, and extend our vision into another time or space.

North Shore Writers helped facilitate with four tables and over twenty-five willing participants.  Carl Hunter’s brainchild, this is the first year North Shore Writers have been represented at Harmony Arts.

Citing her yoga teacher’s mantra, Fran suggested we treat our senses to the four prompts…without judgment or competitive impulse.  Freely ejecting the editor within…we had five minutes to respond and possibly share at the open mic:

1)       A favorite tree from our past and how you responded/interacted to/with it, participated or gloried in it.

2)      What’s in your name?  Who gave it to you, its meaning, how you’ve been shaped by it, nicknames, and what novel would it name?

3)      A photograph of yourself as a youngster… ‘In this one I am…’ describing what you see, what you’re wearing, doing…what’s behind you, even the weather’ with a follow-up to describe what unfolded before the photo or earlier in the day with you and the photographer…and finally, ‘I don’t know yet…’ and describe something that’ll unfold in your later life that you had no knowledge of when the photo was taken.

4)      The childhood home in a specific time/place and take us there using senses in a camera-like fashion.

What happens when a group of willing participants submits to writing prompts?

a)      We learn about each other.

b)      We appreciate how each of us responds with insight and integrity.

c)      We share in the universal truths around us.

d)     We shut down the critical editor within and glory in the group’s authenticity.

e)      We let the prompt leak information about our pasts.

NSWA at Harmony Arts August 11, 2013 008

Cabbage White Butterfly

Oh, and love on the fly?  As I walked back to my car, I spotted the Cabbage White Butterfly, the most common of butterflies.  They came to America in the 1860’s from away, then spread quickly.  That’s us, flitting and skedaddling from one dandelion to another, doing our mundane stuff.  Males have one spot, females two.  And this one had one spot…but when I looked more closely, not a spot, (but four-leafed-clover-of-clovers) a heart.  I realize how representative our two hours together this afternoon have been, catching fleeting moments on the page…like love on the fly.

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After our impromtu prompts, members of the North Shore Writers read from memoir at Harmony Arts Festival on the sea.

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Fran encourages each participant to ‘voice’ their prompts.

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We’ve all just written some version of the same story.  We marvel at the differences.

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Cathy Scrimshaw reads from her memoir.