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Blog-o-versary: Five Years, Time for Transitions

May 19, 2015

I’ve been blogging for five years and it’s been this most recent year that I’ve noticed a change. My posts have been less consistent but more rich. I have so much to share around my career but also in my personal growth. I am playful but also tracking events and achievements. But I hit a ceiling. It’s sad to admit but…

I am outgrowing writinginatree.com

So I’m pushing through a transition. It’s been going on for a while now but I know now that I want to focus more on my Whitney French Writes work, fuse my effects into a professional website. But what does that mean for my blog?

I’m still balancing out options, keep writinginatree.com as a blog on my website with updates, abandon ship altogether, use it as an archive. I’m not sure yet. What I do know, dear readers is I’m going to be blogging less but still want to talk to you all. Stay tuned for the whitneyfrenchwrites.com when it hits the interwebs and we can continue our rich dialogues there.

But in the meantime and in between time, as usual, here are the highlights of last years blog posts: Frenchie’s pick:

 5. Writing in a (Harlem) Tree

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In September I exiled myself to New York for two weeks after some real personal and professional challenges rocked my centre and Harlem was my sanctuary. So nourishing going to the Black Mecca.

 4. Contact Workshop

I asked the group who has ever been called a 'bitch' before. Everyone (including) teachers raised they hands.

I asked the group who has ever been called a ‘bitch’ before. Everyone (including) teachers raised they hands.

I’ve done so many workshops so it’s hard to rate which one I enjoyed best. This session I did at Contact Alternative school was so touching because I felt I was truly facilitating and the young women were exploring in an authentic self-directed way. It was less about me and my fancy exercises and more about creating space and supporting them tap into their deeper selves.

 3. Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Last year, any faithful reader noticed I didn’t write a post between May to August. Two whole months passed without me write one post. My life was in shambles. And a huge source of my pain was from a soul-sucking job. It stopped me from writing (which is life-affirming!) but also stopped me from loving myself, from loving those around me, from being myself and expressing myself. It was BEYOND toxic. So I quit, and I shared my journey here.

2. Writing While Black 

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There are moments when you realize a dream materializes. Writing While Black is a commitment, a love, a dream, an obligation, a brain-child, a necessity. It’s an on-going (hopefully monthly) workshop that I had to actualize. And this year, I gave birth to a movement.

 

1. #31 Days of O

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I am a human first and a writer second. This was my 2014 mantra. This was my truth. But a writer writes. If she does workshops, that’s a bonus. If she performs, that’s a bonus. But a writer writes and this writing challenge truly focused me to continue my long journey to create the stories that express the rhythm of my soul. This is O. This is #31DaysofO.

 

Honourable Mentions:

POEM: Define Break Up — No break up is truly complete without an emotionally charged poem.
Frenchie in Halifax or What to do when asked to be BOLD — My physical and emotional journey as I visit Halifax for the very first time.

#BrandingYourselfBeautiful Workshop — My excitement around a new female empowerment workshop and musings over facilitation practices.

POEM: Lunar Time (Revised) — More #31DaysofO poems, this one exploring what humans have done to the moon and how she’s taking revenge.

Thank you beautiful souls for 5 beautiful years of blogging blitz

Over and out!

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POEM: Lunar Time (Revisited)

May 11, 2015

Sneak peek of some of the work I’m hammering away at for #31DaysofO. Check out the hashtag for more snippets of the epic sci-fi novel-length poem I’m writing.

Lunar Time

 

time is inseparable

from the life force,

focus on the thrumming

of the blood body

find the rhythm

of your wavelength’s

vibration.

time is as cyclical

as the moon, the

marker of change,

the flux of its

fingernail, an all

too tight dress

to peel in and

out of, a light in

a sleep of shadows,

soft sounds fall

across her orb.

slaughter daughter —

like we slay the earth

and the moon and the

maternal celestial

bodies before her,

broken rhythms

lay still across the galaxy

floor, unforgiving of their

murderers, unmoving in this

massacre.


Lunar Time Revisited

the buzz of lights overhead,

rushing white lines

clawing at the hollow sky,

aren’t stars or even

fireflies, but aircraft sanctioned

to fly.

regulated space

that belongs to

no one, the sky

belongs to freedom

but that too has died.

the moon is no more.

we look up and realize

we can’t even afford to

dream anymore.

(C) Whitney French, 2015

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WORKSHOP: #BrandingYourselfBeautiful & Thoughts on Facilitation

May 7, 2015

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Today I’ll be facilitating a workshop at York Woods Library near Jane and Finch through Urban Arts all around the theme of Branding Yourself. It’s a workshop for young women to re-envision and re-imagine themselves with the most beautiful lens and decide how they want to be portrayed by create their own media.

Each workshop I find myself pushing the bounds of my comfort zone to offer unique and fresh programming for clients. It’s an exciting process to truly live up to my slogan: creative, quality, custom workshops. The creative part is easiest but it still requires a good hunk of effort to be intentional and unique in the delivery of a solid workshop. And then there is quality, what things can I offer that is different from other workshops? I constantly have to remind myself to be present, mindful, attentive and again PRESENT. Quality boils down to the clothes I wear the day of programming, to the reference sheets I hand out for additional info, to the evaluation questions I craft for the session. Work ethic and professionalism is something I strive for but I also am trying to elevate my game. Being early and taking the extra prep time is one thing, but to actualy carve out a work plan like it’s a polished sculpture is quiet another.

And of course, the most challenging thing as a facilitator is to not fall into the trap of recycling the same workshops, to a point. Yes many exercises, themes and activities are tried-tested and true but the custom is the tricky part. How different does a female empowerment workshop look like for a group of teenagers vs. adult activists? What are the ways in which I incorporate access into my workshops (different abled participants, ASL interpretation, multiple learning styles etc.)? Would a workshop in Toronto’s east end look different than the exact same work plan on a reserve in Kitsumkalum, BC? Customizing programming and considering the diversity within the group you are working with is one area that I am being more aware of and training myself to be more flexible in my approach.

Fingers-crossed that I provide an enriching program for the young women in today’s session but I will also be learning and taking cues from the group. What do they need to get the most out of the program? How can I facilitate in a way that is inclusive but also specialized? My heart is open and my mind is hungry to learn. Wish me luck on my workshop today and all the days to come.

Over and out

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POEM: An epitaph for my self(loathing)

May 5, 2015

I’m 5 days late but better late, for the late (get it epitaph, death, late, you know what I mean), than never. Here you go Anita! Here’s my epitaph for our National Poetry Month Challenge, 2015.

S.L. 1993 – 2013

here lies my self-loathing

your presence was strong

your reign unnerving

but in the end you were sideswiped by love.

please, stay dead.

__

to clarify the timeline, I guestimate that I began hating myself at aged 6 and I officially killed this self-loathing in the year 2013 when I learned to forgive myself. Still learning.

Over and out
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NEWSLETTER: Awesome April Aspirations

April 6, 2015

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It’s my B’earth Month so I’m extra excited about this newsletter. For all things Whitney French Writes, check out all the happenings-on for April. There’s radio, nature adventures, Octavia inspired storytelling, creative writing programs, screw faces and much more

CHECK APRIL’S NEWSLETTER HERE

or

SUBSCRIBE TO WFW NEWSLETTER

 

Over and out!

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