Circle Maze, acrylic on paper, Cat Charissage (c) 2020 a.r.r.

Hello Dear Friends,

The New Moon of the 3rd moon of summer has come. We’re starting to make the transition from the heat of the summer into shorter days and thoughts of school. I’ve already gotten my back to school special: 10 packs of loose-leaf notebook paper at 35 cents a pack, plus a pile of 10 cent spiral notebooks, hopefully to last me and my writer son until the next year’s sales.

Regarding my own Offerings, I’m going to be offering two Story Circles on zoom. They are once a month (Sept. through June), 2.5 hour zoom gatherings on Wednesday evenings. I’ll step into zooming slowly, while also continuing to keep on with writing my book. My main mission in life is to assist others in the exploration of life’s Depth Dimensions and to self-expression in the service of self-sovereignty, healing, and intentional creation (of a poem, of a organisation, of an idea that changes the world).

Now that I’ll be using zoom, I welcome any of my friends outside of the Lethbridge area to join me. I still will be limiting each group to 8 members, the better to make meaningful connections in. Registration isn’t open yet, but if you think you might be interested in joining, please send me your email address so that I include you in my email announcing when you can sign up. Email me at catcharissage(at)gmail(dot)com. You can also respond to this post on FB to let me know. That letter will go out in a week or two.

The first, “A Poet’s Words”, is close to full already. It’s the continuation of a group that’s been going on for 3 or 4 years. There might be a space or two that opens up, though, so again, if you’re interested, let me know. “A Poet’s Words” is a chance to help the rest of us learn to love the poetry that you love. At each meeting, one of us in the group presents a sampling of poetry, usually by one author but sometimes the poems are chosen according to a particular theme such as “poems of authenticity”, or “poems of encouragement written by women”. Whoever is the presenter gets to choose the theme. We have time for about 10 – 15 poems. The presenter also prepares 3-4 writing or simple art prompts, the goal of which is to help the rest of us move more deeply into the poetry presented, laying our own lives alongside the message of the poet. So the evening goes back and forth between reading poetry and responding to the prompts, sharing our writing or simple art responses, and discussing the poetry presented. This group has proved to be a positive, joyful, and supportive exploration into new (to us) poetry plus deep insights both into ourselves and into our fellow (soror?) members of the group. This group meets on the second Wednesdays of the month, starting Sept. 9 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Cost: $150/10 sessions. If that is prohibitive for you I am open to barter or other ideas.

The other group, “Bad Poetry and Mediocre Art: Why you should try some!” is a low-pressure, fun and explorative circle for poetry writing and simple art making. I call it “Bad Poetry and Mediocre Art” because unless you are a very experienced poet or artist (and perhaps they, too) those of us who want to try self-expression in these mediums often find that there’s a gap between our aspirations and our results, between our good taste and what turns up on the page. (see Ira Glass on the Creative Process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbC4gqZGPSY) Many of us become discouraged and quit. I want to create an environment where we are given full permission to produce the worst writing and art in the universe, but to encourage our efforts with the same humor and compassion as we would encourage our young children in their efforts. We have to try and try again to develop the skills to produce work that matches our aspirations, and we are helped tremendously by a space where we’re comfortable and encouraged to pick up the pen or the colors again and again. And what do you know? You’ll most probably end up producing quite pleasing and quite meaningful work, worth saving and building upon. This is open to beginners as well as more experienced artists who might want to try a new direction. I will facilitate each meeting, introducing prompts and instructions/suggestions for writing or using the art mediums of watercolor, collage, and blind-contour drawing. You will have the choice each meeting to respond to the prompts as you want, with pen and words, or colors and images. You will be invited to share whatever you produce with the rest of the group in a supportive environment. Limited to 8 participants. The last Wednesdays of the month starting Sept. 30, 7- 9:30 p.m. Cost: $200/10 sessions. If that is prohibitive for you I am open to barter or other ideas.

Speaking of new directions, the image I’ve included is in a new direction for me: abstracts! I’m not fully pleased with my work (so far), but it is a lot of fun to give myself permission to play and to experiment. This one I will at least keep!

With much love and many blessings to each of you,

Cat