Tuesday, September 13, 2011


(Thoughts For The New Millenium)

In June of 1999, Joanne and I began our Cross-Canada art tour to work on the project entitled “Canada: Glorious To Be”.

Our first stop was Neepawa, Manitoba. During the first two weeks, we were busy looking for work and a place to live – at this point we were still sleeping in our van and cooking over fires at local campgrounds. We spent a lot of our time checking out all the local newspapers to aid us in our tasks.

It was Jo’ who spotted an advertisement posted by The Poetry Institute of Canada looking for submissions for a special collection of Canadian poems to usher in the new millenium. This gave me an idea.

Since my artwork and poetry is always filled with thoughts of understanding our past as we forge a brighter future for the world, I thought that this ‘Millenium’ concept was right up my alley. And, so, I began to jot down a few new ideas and a short while later my poem entitled ‘Peace-Fire (Thoughts For The New Millenium)” was ready to send off as my submission.

A few months later, I received a letter from the PIof C, telling me that my poem was in the running for some prize money! I was ecstatic!!! In the envelope, there were also a few order forms so that authors could purchase a leather-bound copy of the collection of poems that was being put together. There were also order forms for other items to purchase, as well.

Of course, I mailed in a cheque to receive my copy.

A few months later, I received my copy of the poetry book. Inside there were letters of thanks and all of that kind of stuff and a list of the finalists who had won a small prize. I was not one of the winners, but I was very happy to have been a part of something really unique and truly Canadian!

The next year, I received by mail, another offer by the PIofC to participate in another poetry contest. I submitted another poem and soon after received the same letter telling me that my poem was being considered for a prize. Enclosed were more order forms.

It was at this point when I didn’t feel so special. I began to realize this letter was probably being sent out to all contestants in a ploy to get them excited so that they would purchase products. Jo’ and I sat down with a calculator and using very conservative figures, we estimated how much money was being made off of poor artists by this national company. The estimated profits for the PIofC were staggeringly high.

I haven’t participated in any poetry contest conducted by the Poetry Institute of Canada since! :(

In February of this year, Joanne and I went on our first resort vacation to Mexico.

We both knew that this could be our only visit to this country, so I wanted to do something interesting and unique while we were there. I decided to do some filming – using my digital camera – so that I could bring my ‘Peace-Fire’ poem to life.

The poem takes the reader on a journey through the Earth’s history with thoughts about responsibility while considering the present so that the future of the world will be a joyous place. I thought that the landscapes surrounding Talum – an historical site filled with buildings and temples constructed by the Mayan civilization – would help me to capture images reflecting the world’s history. While in Playa del Carmen, I filmed some scenes to capture images of the present day world.

When we returned home, I started setting aside a few dollars every paycheck so that I could pay for professional editing services. A few months ago, I had saved up enough money and it was time to bring my ideas to life.

I contacted my friend Melissa Parrott – http://www.melissaparrott.com/services.htm – to help me.

We got together at her recording studio so that I could record – using my guitar – the music that I wanted to hear in the background of this video. After that, we recorded me reciting the poem.

Notes and email letters flew back and forth between us over the next while as we discussed edits and storyboard layouts. Overjoyed may be a great word to use when, last Friday, I received an email from Melissa with a link to the finished video!!!!

And, now, ladies and gentlemen from around the world, it is my humble privilege to present to you…


I’m very confident that you will enjoy this video presentation! I’m really happy to have been able to share this with you.

Although I have asked – a few times in the past – my blog readers to participate in some of my fun peace-art initiatives, I have never asked anyone to help me promote anything… until now!

I would like to ask everyone to help me to share this video so that more people can enjoy it. You can share a link on your Facebook wall or on Twitter. If you have created a ‘group’ on Facebook, you can send this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxowqHJ6sGM - link to everyone in that group or send an email to all of your friends.

Your comments and support are always appreciated and I thank you in advance,


No comments: