As a new initiative in the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA), I tabled for Augur Magazine (along with Terese Pierre and Lawrence Stewen!) at the Small Press Market in Harbourfront Center last Saturday. It was a very low-key area, as the location of the tables was in a section near the side doors. It was really nice to learn about some other small presses at the fair and to also reconnect with some writer friends.
At the time, I was also actively working on not nodding off as I only had a few hours of sleep the previous night, and wrote a few lines of poetry on a piece of butterfly paper. I haven’t shared any of my poetry on this blog but one of my goals for the rest of this semester (and the new year) is to start incorporating more creative works (perhaps even some visual art and music), so I decided to transfer my words onto this page.
By: Vivian Li
I wanted to sleep
but felt the car rumble.
I knew of truth,
without notion of how to approach
or sketch its weight with my blurry eyes.
I need to hold life:
a vibrant squirrel,
a static butterfly,
a dense shadow
in my hands.
No, something more tangible.
Give me something I can’t forget when I am lost.
It’s definitely not perfect and in its raw stages, but I’m happy to have something on the page after some weeks of not having enough energy to write. Honestly, this piece gave me some pain after re-reading and re-writing it, and I think it’s because I return to the same place of feeling (the head-space when I’m first writing the poem), which hits me hard as I’ve been trying not to feel these emotions. I’m still not sure how to write authentic poems and narratives without feeling an emotional burden (perhaps this burden is necessary).
However, another form of the arts has recently piqued my interest. I’ve been taking an acting class at Hart House and it’s given me the license to be present in another person’s raw emotions and needs for two hours each week. Although in a way I’m avoiding my real feelings, I’m loving the course and the way I can simply trust my instincts to guide the story-telling.
I also believe that ultimately, what I learn in acting can help with aspects of my writing. For instance, in my classes, we discuss the intentions of the speaker, which helps in understanding and writing good dialogue in stories. I also think that art itself is very interrelated and connected to each of its various disciplines. Composing music lyrics is (or can be) related to poetry, dance is reliant on music, acting is about visualization and feelings, visual art is hidden landscapes brought to life on paper. As such, I hope I can always remember the moments I’m lost in art, learning and creating with my fingertips.