Sunday, March 15, 2020

Read this instead of virus news. It’s short. It’ll make you feel better

For one hour a week, since mid 2017, I have gotten together with a small group at a local drop-in
centre to discuss writing. Some people call it a “workshop” but “playshop” is more accurate.

It’s one of the funnest things I’ve done in my life.

The group calls our get-togethers “Peter’s Writing Group” but identifying me as the leader of this bunch is like naming Wile E. Coyote  leader of the Bugs Bunny Roadrunner gang.

Now that I think about it, our bunch and the Bugs Bunny characters share a trait or two. For one, everybody (not just in that room but everywhere) has had an anvil dropped on their head at some point; but the half dozen or so regulars in the writing playgroup are doing their best to bounce back, like a re-energized Foghorn Leghorn, and we know writing is a vital ingredient in the bouncing-back recipe.

One of my favourites is Mike. He’s somewhere between 30 and 40; he has an arts degree from Sir Wilfrid Laurier and he churns out inventive short stories the way Johnny Cash produced songs--one after the other; each as dark and/or funny as the last. 

One of Mike’s recent pieces was about a 1-800-crisis-care volunteer who--after listening to the anxious tale spun by one of the distressed callers--realizes that the man on the other end of the line is her dad. Like I said, one after the other.

Another woman, Lisa, creates poetry by clipping magazine headlines together and pasting them in amazingly pretty but also gritty verse.

Because I’ve spent so many years in the mag biz in Canada, I was able to determine which actual magazines some were lifted from. (If by any chance any staff of  Zoomer magazine happens to be reading this, they should feel very good about the fact that some of their headlines  have morphed into moving works of poetic art.)

She also produced the rainbow-coloured work in the photo.


Rather than blather on, I’ll wind up by sharing a poem composed by one member of our writing group. Her name’s Delanie. The poem’s called, Hello Heaven.

 Hello Heaven, I’m here to greet you;
These rivers are made of tears;
feelings flowing through heartache and joy.
Please dear,
Let these rivers flow; the mountains of sorrow we pass;
Make the valleys a laugh
Send me a postcard, I’ll mail it to yesterday;
You’re not forgotten but tomorrow you’re too far away.
Let me know today am I okay
This life calling Heaven to come back
Suddenly I feel the wrath of love
The endurement of life
Overwhelming  glow of empowerment
Hello Heaven
Please send me my tears. I’m not alone yet. I still have valleys to till;
Mountains to melt.

Pretty, huh?

If you’re in Toronto any given Wednesday, you’re welcome to join in.


  1. Thank you Peter for the positive work and opportunity you facilitate in the lives of so many of us, through your writing, teaching and sharing...

  2. Bravo !!
    There seems to be far too few creative people anymore. I am hopeful of someday attending this wellspring of ideas!

  3. Wow...I will be privileged to attend Friday,