Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Circus: By Michael Harris

Michael Harris's newly released collection of poems titled 'Circus' is a roller-coaster ride of circus misfits, sombre stories, delightfully crafted sonnets and real-life testimonials. 

Troupe opens the 'Circus' collection and starts us imagining all the assorted misfits in Harris's circus. We are not disappointed.

From The Bearded Lady to The Dog Trainer, Hang in There to The Ringmaster, Michael weaves tales of extraordinary individuals in sensitive moments of everyday life.

He then moves to poems of actuality with Derelict and Concentrate, where we are faced with our own pasts, frailties and the inevitability of our own deaths.

Making this collection truly delightful and well-rounded, Dr. Suess comes to mind with Hoodiddit and Closet Sonnet. The rhymes are reminiscent of my childhood, having spent many a night reading 'One Fish, Two Fish...' and other tales of trickery.

The book ends with what's real in Speech and The Examiner, bringing us back to the test that is life. Whether we have less teeth or not, we must take a big bite, a big jump and, as Harris writes, start now.

I found 'Circus' a thoroughly enjoyable read. The different voices, timbres and points of view are engaging and eye-opening (and for the chihuahua Oliver, leg-lifting) in their honesty, maturity and genuine understanding of what makes--and doesn't make--human nature tick.

Circus by Michael Harris is published by Signal Editions, an imprint of Vehicule Press.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sonny Rollins: Jazz Fest 2010 in Montreal

We saw Sonny Rollins last night at the Montreal Jazz Fest and, even in his eightieth year, his ability to make his saxophone an extension of his soul has not diminished.

The experience was spiritual is nature and his music moved through the audience making us tap our feet, clap our hands, hoot and yell out 'I love you, Sonny!' to which he replied, 'Sonny loves you too baby!'

That's what the whole night was about: Love. Love and the excellence that is borne from it.

We came away feeling elated, hopeful, free and deeply inspired. The soon-to-be 80-year-old saxophonist became a giant once his lips touched the reed of his instrument. He helped us realize the power behind the arts. The power of experience and time and practice.

Thank you Sonny and your band for what can only be described as a colossal and pivotal jazz experience!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

YES - Always remember what you're searching for

I was at an inspirational and informative conference for artists of all varieties yesterday, set at the Centaur Theatre in Old Montreal--a beautiful venue!

It was the YES conference in Montreal, Quebec.

I came away from the day-long event with the profound and unshakeable feeling that art is life and life is art.

The lessons that the panelists wanted all of us artists to remember and apply to our professional lives, could just as easily be applied to all facets of our personal lives as well:

  • Always remember what you're searching for, don't just give people what they want.
  • There's always a market for what you do. Never forget this!
  • Do it yourself. DIY.
  • Talent isn't enough, you also need drive.
  • Remember to have fun!

Great advice for any life endeavour professional or otherwise.

Peace and love to you all,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being according to Janice

Janice wrote me a short letter that I thought was eloquent in its simplicity and wisdom.

She gave me the permission to share it here with you.

Dear Jacqueline at The way is love,

I think you will understand where I am coming from.

I have come to the point in my life where I have realized that I no longer have to be what my parents think I am or expect me to be. I have come to realize that my family, friends and lover should accept me for who I am because of who I am. I am not perfect, nor do I ascribe to be, but I am genuine and honest and real and gentle.

I know that my potential goes far beyond what my mother's imagined or hoped for me. I know my choice of profession causes my father to ask himself, what's she thinking. I say, if that is the case, well, so be it.

I have struggled with accepting the fact that I have always intimidated my mother, mystified my father and been ignored by my extended family. I no longer believe I am the product of anyone else's mind or expectations. I have chosen another route that is, and will be, purely my own.

I think I have finally come of age, come into my own and taken ownership for where I'm going and who I'm going there with and it feels good, and a little frightening. But then isn't anything that is worthwhile? I say yes.

I wanted to share this with you because I think you've been here, in your own way, and I acknowledge that and honour the journey: The journey that is each our own.

Yours truly,


Thank you very much, Janice.

And I wish you luck and courage on your journey of life.

Peace and love,


Sunday, April 25, 2010

There's nothing you cannot do

I looked at my horoscope today and realized that it was strangely prophetic and good advice considering what I've been thinking about recently.

It said, "Keep telling yourself that there is nothing you cannot do in this life and you will go a long way in a short space of time. What would you choose to do if there were no restrictions? Do it right now."

Restrictions...what are they exactly? Are they financial, personal, physical, emotional?

I heard recently in the news about a 92-year-old woman who won at the Senior Olympics, and she didn't start training until she was 77! Does she believe in restrictions? I really don't think so.

I realize that everyone's life situation is different and people have their own issues, situations and realities that they have to accept and deal with. I have had my own share of them too and I know that life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it and sometimes when you're at your most vulnerable. Life is filled with happiness, sorrow, hard work, heart ache, joy, fun, love, anger, frustrations and choices.

But believing that you cannot do something will definitely stop you from doing it. I think restrictions are all in our heads. The only constant in life is change, so what was true yesterday may not be true today. The only true moment we have is now. I find this idea very liberating because if we live our Now moments with purpose the rest will follow. Even my horoscope says, "Do it right now." And the questions is, when else can I do it?

So, if I can do it right now then what I believed before doesn't matter anymore, only what I believe now matters.

I think I will believe and live as if I can do everything that I want to do. How quickly will things change? How quickly will I start to see results? I'll let you know.

But I do think it's all about belief. I'm sure Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Marie Curie, among many others, would say that change begins in our brains and hearts, and then the behaviours follow.

So changing what I believe now will change my soon-to-be future as well. What I believe will move through my life like a gentle lapping wave that will grow larger and more powerful as my belief grows with it. That belief momentum will push me forward and wonderful, amazing things will happen in a very short time.

There is nothing I cannot do. I believe it for me, and I believe it for us all.