So today is Day 356, 10 days until the challenge is over. I have had people ask me if I am going continue into 2017, and I have enjoyed this experience far too much not to 🙂
However, I am making some changes to the blog, which I am very excited about as it will allow me to collaborate and meet other artists. More on that later!
On a personal poetry challenge front, I have a request – My question to you, bloggers, subscribers, and supporters, is ideas on how to take the Poem a Day Challenge to the “next level.”
I ask as I am looking for simple or complex ways to challenge myself, so I don’t default into a habit and am always pushing myself and thus my writing.
One suggestion from my sister, which is going be tough for me is to post by 4 pm, Toronto time. As WordPress is 5 hours ahead of Toronto, my late night posts usually end up the day “after” I post them here is Toronto. So her challenge was to try to write my poems earlier in the day.
I would welcome any other ideas or suggestions that people may have.
The first time, I spoke too fast. The second, I didn’t make eye contact. The third time, well… I should be a regular by then right?!? – So it should be easier.
After the encouragement of two people I respect, Amy and Manik, I attended by very first Shab-e She’r Poetry Night in September.
For someone who is fully embracing their poetic heart this year, it was a terrifying challenge. However, I knew I had to conqure it if I wanted to continue my growth as a poet. I had previously only shared a poem at a book launch, and with my group at the Scaborough Poetry Club (SPC). The SPC members were so sweet, encouraging and supportive, that they gave me the guts to try the larger stage of Shab-e She’r. Without the Scarbrough Poetry Club’s feedback, support and love – I wouldn’t have ever thought of sharing my poem (they meet the first friday of every month, for anyone seeking to join a supper suportive group).
Publically writing the words in my head is very new to me, and reading them to an audience is somthing I never imagined I would do. I have a slight speech impediment and have always been nervous speaking in front of others (though, I hide it well). I have trained myself to present confidently, but that is always at trainings and workshops, where I am sharing the work of others.
Poetry, and through it, the spoken word, is a whole other beast. It leaves you no other names to hide behind, because the name at the end of that poem is yours. Presentating with the Scarborough Poetry Club and Shab-e She’r is forcing me to re-examine the barriers I placed on myself, and more importantly, my expectations of my “audience”.
Shab-e She’r is, “The most diverse poetry and open mic series in Toronto; showcasing people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, etc.” They organize monthly events with two featured poets and open mic performers.
True to its promise, Shab-e She’r draw a crowd fo 50-70 people of all ages, races, ethnicity and so on. All with very different styles. I have enjoyed meeting other artists and poets. Every time I go, I learn a little bit more about poetry and this journey I am on. The various styles and topics people present on continue to enrich me.
The next event is on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, at Beit Zatoun and starts at 7 pm. It marks the 3 year anniversary (I believe). If you are from Toronto (or in Toronto that night) it is worth checking out. I’ll be there 🙂
This time, I am planning on making eye contact, smiling 🙂 and confidently speaking my poem. Multi-tasking at its best!
I cannot believe it’s Day 301 – I keep wondering how I got here. There are only 56 more poems to write for 2016. Making it to Day 100 was a big deal for me, then all of a sudden it was 200 and then 300 – now, I have no doubt in my mind that I will make it to 366.
The confidence by which I say I WILL make it to Day 366 and beyond is quite new to me, and I am enjoying this level of self-faith.
The past 300 days have made me more open and honest with myself and my friends. Sharing fears that I have carried around for too many years – fears that still hold on to me and even as I articulate their ridiculous nature to friends and family, I still cannot shake.
“The written word helps you hide” was a comment made by a good friend recently. She told me that my work was raw and vulnerable but still finding that person behind the words was hard. I hid between the letters, the intersections, the prose, and poems. My friend was/is right. As open as I know I am becoming; I am still hiding pieces of myself in different days, so when the picture is created, it is still a bit jumbled, and needing a bit more work.
So as I work on my poetry and myself, I really truly want to say thank you for taking/being on this journey with me.