every breath we drew was hallelujah.

Two exams left, and summer begins. Hello sunburns, hello sandals, hello late nights and hello days dedicated entirely to poetry.

I made it. Eleventh grade. It’s so surreal- it seems like just weeks ago I was sitting my ninth grade PATs, dreadlocks and energy drinks and thinking I was so cool. But, in all honesty, the last three years have elevated me as a person, a writer, a friend, a student, etc. I’ve learnt so much and am so blessed to have such brilliant teachers and mentors (not to mention family and friends).

In the past year, I’ve written absolute volumes, and sung an entire record collection. I’ve grown as a performer and a creator, finding comfort rather than anxiety reading in front of  loads of people, and feeling a rush of excitement as I continue to put myself and my work out into the ominous *there*.

Of course, the past year has had it’s share of downward spirals, but thankfully each trip down the rabbit hole has simply led to more growth and acceptance of myself. And I live with no regrets. Yes, my heart has been slightly injured in the past while, but you learn to embrace that pain and fold it into something new.

My grandmother has become one of my closest friends, due to being left behind during a family vacation, and seeing her wedding photos for the first time (her house burnt down when my mum was young) was a moving expirience.

I could go over every significant event of the last year, psychoanalysing the various ways in which each individual event has changed me as a person, but I will need to sleep eventually, so I will simply list a few things I am greatful for.

1. My WordsWorth/ YouthWrite family. I have never felt so much love for a group of people in my life. After last summer’s camp, I felt invincible, and my work became more than just a past-time. Every day I think of the last four years in the presence of such talented people and feel nothing but pride at the thought of being in such solidarity with them. (http://www.yabs.ab.ca/WordsWorth.asp)

2. My fabulous teachers and mentors, both inside and outside of school. Judith Williams, Lisa Murphy Lamb, Mrs Royce, Ms Leyne, Mrs Johnson, Mrs Fish, Mr Clay, Mr Bachek, etc. I have learnt SO much from these wonderful people, and am so grateful for their encouraging and enlightening presences.

3. Everyone at CiSWF (Calgary Spoken Word- http://www.calgaryspokenwordfestival.com/). The Spoken Word Workbook, YouthSlam, Slam, and the festival itself have been such positive experiences for me, each time I attend an event associated with CiSWF, I can just feel myself growing and changing. Every day the beautiful Sheri D Wilson puts everything she has into her poetry and the festival, as well as mentoring us aspiring poets, so I am also beyond thankful for her.

4. My friends and family- I have nothing but love for ALL of you. You put up with my frequent *existential crises* (and my pretentiousness) and my whining, my self-indulgence, my shameless self-promotion, and loads of other crap.

5. My muses; you know who you are. I write primarily about love, and without all-encompassing synchronicity, passion, heartache, etc, I’d be quite stuck for material.

There are so many things I’m thankful for; renewed spirituality, jazz, german wine, autumn leaves.

Six days from now, I’ll be boarding a plane to Montreal, where I’ll take a train to Quebec City. The last few days make everything 100% alright, and my anxieties about leaving have been completely eradicated.

Friday was my date night, my lovely friend Will (@wintr on twitter) had given me two tickets to his play i-Robot theatre, and I was very excited to go out and have a good time. I put on my favorite heals from Montmartre in Paris, my little black dress, and headed to Kensington to meet an old friend. (Naturally) I ended up hopelessly lost and had to call for reinforcements. Joseph picked me up in an area of the city completely foreign to me. We then proceeded to circle 16th ave looking for the theatre. Eventually (with the help of twitter) we found it, and stood outside the door with an eclectic mix of lost travellers such as ourselves. Eventually a woman came to the door; “No late admissions.”

We pondered what to do, and ended up driving to The Auburn (where else?), which was packed for a SledIsland event. Plan C was the Gypsy, which was the opposite of the Auburn and too quiet. But, what lies next to the Gypsy? The Beatniq, of course. We went in and sat down. I asked the bartender where the restrooms were, and on the way to the loo, I *stumbled* upon the live jazz club downstairs. A couple of glasses of (the most wonderful German) wine and excellent conversation later, and our night was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

The next day I hosted my first open mic at one of my favorite coffee shops. With the help of WordsWorth and some friends and family members, we set the bar high for the next open mic! The café was just bouncing with talent, music, poetry, coffee- what more could you ask for? My friend Michaela, who I’ve known for ten years blew everyone away with her voice, as did Sarah and Jamie. David read some gorgeous poems, and we even had some last-minute sign ups, two young guys who played “Hallelujah” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Fabulous. I even convinced my father to play (very proud moment, as he has little use of his fingers from an accident). I performed a couple of poems which were well received as well.

Honestly, it was one of the proudest moments of my life, seeing these people who I love SO much, meet each other and share their talents. I feel so honoured to have organized and hosted the event.

I admit, I am melodramatic, I overreact, I’m neurotic, etc etc. But I have an amazing life and am truly, truly blessed.

Happy Summer.

xoxoxxo Erin

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