It’s been a while since I’ve posted but I wanted to check in, let people know I’m still writing and give an update on a few things that have been happening for me recently.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve been taking a poetry class at Vancouver Island University. It’s been pretty kick-ass so far, I’m learning a ton and I think my writing has improved significantly over the last couple of months. It helps that it is taught by a fantastic poet and teacher, Dr. Sonnet L’Abbe. I wish that I could share some of my new work with you guys but unfortunately most of it is under lock and key for now, as I am planning to submit the good stuff to contests and literary magazines and things. As you probably know, most places won’t accept previously published work, even if it’s just on a blog. So that’s been difficult for me because I love all my readers and I love all your feedback and most of all, I love to share the love. Sharing art, sharing all the raw, gritty, beautiful, sensual, gory details of life, that’s what it’s always been about for me. Letting people know, you’re not alone. I’ve felt that way too. That’s a glorious thing. So I hope that my keeping my work from the general public for now only results in an expansion of my audience later because keeping all this poetry to myself has really been a bummer for me.
I am planning on writing a book. A poetry book, of course. I don’t know if, you know, it’s going to go anywhere or not, but that’s the plan. And if it ends up not quite being the bees knees and doesn’t get published then you’ll probably end up finding it here, haha!
Anyways, back to the exciting stuff. Since starting my poetry class I have done a couple of cool things. First cool thing was getting to meet Mr. Patrick Lane, one of Canada’s most celebrated poets. Let me tell you, I was flipping out. I’d only just recently heard of him because we were reading some of his stuff in class, but I already loved his work, and then he came to the university for a visit. He read some of his poetry for everyone and then I got to meet him, shake his hand, chat for a bit, and I had him sign a copy of his book, Red Dog Red Dog, for me. Two copies actually. I ran all over town the night before looking for them and happened across a couple of really well kept copies at a used book store downtown. So well worth it. Patrick is truly a very kind man and he actually gave me a piece of advise that was somewhat revolutionary for me, and I keep it in mind every time I write now. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, something like, “There will only ever be one Kailey. Only you can write in your voice, so don’t ever try to change it.” Which was actually a really important thing for me to hear at the time because as a young aspiring writer sometimes I do forget that. Sometimes I try too hard to write the way that others write because they’ve already been successful and I think that being like them will make me successful. In a way that’s true. I firmly believe that the best way to become a good writer is to read lots, and so I’ve been buying and reading lots of modern poetry and things, and it has helped by allowing me to pay attention to form and technique and all that. But at the heart of it, you can’t just take or borrow another person’s voice. Whatever you’re writing, it has to be you. It just has to be, or it’ll never be your best work. It’ll never sound as authentic and entertaining and true as it does when you just write as you. Now I’ve been reading a lot of Michael Faudet. I purchased his new book Dirty Pretty Things not that long ago and I’ve read its entirety already, and I’ve come to love his voice. So what did I do as soon as I finished it? I sat down and tried to write a few shorter, sexy love poems of my own, haha. Disaster. That’s just not how I write. I don’t do sexy. I do dark, angry, sad, moody and occasionally the kind of happy that still makes my mother cry because of all the sappy, sentimental undertones. So I think it’s best to leave all the “dirty pretty things” to the Michael Faudets and Lang Leavs of the world. What I did learn, however, was that short form poetry is fun and that I can do whilst still being me. So I’ve got a lot of that kind of stuff going on right now, playing around with short forms like haikus and tankas. Lots of fun. I really like writing tankas. Anyways, how did this rant happen? Moving on.
Second cool thing was I got to meet Naomi Wakan, a wonderful local author who also happens to be the poet laureate of the town I live in, Nanaimo. She came to V.I.U. as a guest speaker for my poetry class and cracked everyone up and really taught us all a few things. She was wonderful, I absolutely love her. She ended up giving us the names of a few different poetry contest type things going on in Nanaimo and so I submitted some of my work and actually ended up getting published! That’s actually the point of why I’m writing this short novel for you here, I mostly wanted to say just that. I just sort of took the long road. Anyways, so I’m a published poet now by someone other than myself and it just feels so fantastic to be recognized.
The first thing I entered was the Poetry in Transit contest. I wrote a couple of poems about the city bus and sent them in and now they are being displayed on the city buses in Nanaimo for the passengers to read. One is called Blue Jean Boy and the other is Transit Anxiety. I may add them to my growing collection for my book. The other place I sent my poems into was the Vancouver Island Regional Library. The Harbourfront Branch here in Nanaimo is publishing an anthology of local poets’ work and my poems Life on a Rock and Pacific Speaks were chosen to be in it. The book launches at the Harbourfront Branch on April 23rd where I will be reading my poems. Naomi Wakan has also asked me to read Life on a Rock at her farewell party in November. So that’s all very exciting for me. I mean it’s not Prism International but it’s something, and it’s a start.
Well I thank everyone for all your love and support over the years, and I hope that one of these days I have even bigger news for you. Until then, cheerio.
By the way, in case anyone is wondering, I didn’t spell “Dawne” in my blog name wrong. I know it is spelled “Dawn”, but my middle name is Dawne with a silent “e” so it’s supposed to be a play on words. I’ve just realized now that everyone probably thinks I’ve made a spelling error. Hmmm..