Every month on the second Thursday, Word Up in Barrie hosts readings by writers, poets, and spoken word artists. From pros to amateurs, and all genres of writing, Word Up’s open mic has welcomed writers of all genres, from amateurs to winners of the Governor General’s Award.
The volunteer run group holds its reading night at the artisanal Unity Market and Café, on Toronto Street, just a walk away from Barrie’s charming downtown core and harbor on Lake Simcoe. Apart from its famous “scuffins” (an amalgam of muffin and scone, generously filled with savory goodness), the market is a gestalt meeting place for creativity, holding events almost daily.
I heartily accepted when Linda Laforge invited me to speak about my last project to those in attendance last Thursday. My latest book is Water Is…, a non-fiction work that took me three years to write and the culmination of a career and life with water.
I talked about how the book came about—linking it to how I came about—and the process of research and writing—which morphed into something beyond what I had initially conceived. The book in some ways wrote itself, telling me to go here and there; gathering friends and colleagues to me—some from far away—to provide important information I needed to put into the book.
I ended my talk with a description of the Watermark Project, a Lake Ontario Water Keepers initiative to give narrative to our connections with water—exactly what I’d intended with Water Is…
What followed was an open mic that resonated with water connections from a short story about death to learning how to heal with water. Damian Lopes, Barrie’s Poet Laureate, delivered a compelling poem on Canadian sociopolitics.
The open mic closed with Shane Dennis’s freestyle oration—a spontaneous stream-of-consciousness flow of powerful imagery that both summarized the night’s readings and set it aflame and into flight.
Damian Lopes won the raffle for a free Water Is… book. And I sold a few books to a few hydrophiles. A wonderful evening!
Thanks, Linda, Aaron, Bruce and Shane!
For more about my book Water Is… and about water see TheMeaningOfWater.com.