Spoken Word Festival, my new girl crush, and Spring. Sweet Lovely Spring.

Hi Friends!  I spent all last week volunteering for the Calgary Spoken Word Festival and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. I’ll say straight away that I’m not a usual attender of Spoken Word events. I’ve seen a few artists and always thought it was kind of cool but I’ve never sought them out.

I love all aspects of this poster but I think my favorite part is the little red polka dotted shirt. 
The hat is also pretty great.

Well, I’ve got time on my hands and I saw a call for volunteers so I thought, Why the heck not?  I signed up for four events and the volunteer manager practically gave me a kiss she was so grateful. But as is usual when you give something of yourself away, you usually get it back in spades.

For those of you who don’t know Spoken Word is essentially poetry spoken aloud. But that’s just the simple explanation. There are infinite takes on the art form. I heard poems about Sasquatches and pudding, poems about activism and femininity and growing up as a gay poet in a Catholic Filipino household. I saw poets recite while standing on their heads, while twirling like a whirling dervish, in French and English. There were some who used keyboards, some who used guitars, some who sang, who beat-boxed, who looped their hypnotic voice as a foundation for their poetry. I attended a total of five events and I never got tired of it.


A poem by Chris Gilpin about the Sasquatch. One of my favorites.

Two of the events I attended were for groups of middle and high school kids. I gotta say it super neat to see teenagers engage with poetry.  They were hooting and hollering and laughing at dirty jokes. Spoken Word can be edgy or silly; it’s always thought provoking, and it spoke to the kids as adults. Yes, poetry is cool!

It was at one of these school events that I saw Rachna Vohra perform “Cover Girl.” There are a thousand lines I could quote from this, but I’ll let you see it for yourselves.

This poem made me want to jump up and down and scream “Yes!” The fact that it was performed before 12, 13, 14, and 15 year old girls made me want to run up to Rachna, hug her, and somehow time machine the performance back to my own insecure awkward dying to be skinny-and-pretty teenage self.  Rachna’s not only talented and stunningly beautiful, she’s also incredibly nice, and my new girl crush.

In the midst of these Spoken Word happenings, spring suddenly arrived. The sun–a warm sun–came out, I slipped into a tank top, and Dan and I are both sporting tiny sunburns this week.  We strolled aimlessly through the city, had noontime beers and lunch on a patio, a marching band passed us by in full Scottish regalia replete with bagpipes and swords. We walked by an accordion player and street string ensemble, cello, guitar and banjo.

It’s been years since I lived in a place with real seasons. The Bay Area does have seasons, but they’re slighter. This is so dramatic. The way the gulls are suddenly in sky, bird songs lilting over a warm breeze, the once desolate parks now packed with children screeching and laughing on the playground, dogs bouncing after balls, runners, bikers, people sprawled out on blankets.

Somewhere between the tiny green buds on the trees, the inspiring poets, and the unhurried time with my husband, contentment settled over me. I’ve been so worried about Life and Big Things happening, that I sort of forgot that the Little Things are just as good. A Saturday morning walk with a cup of coffee when the world is still quiet. A garden ready for seeds. A day with no plans. An unexpected instrument. Holding hands in the sun.

Another one of my new favorite Spoken Word artists, 
Brendan McCleod, is a member of this band, The Fugitives.

I promise not to forget. The little things. The big things. And everything in between.

Welcome Sweet Lovely Spring.