I’m a mess. Funny how the body in turmoil tips the emotions and shakes them on their head, too.  I’ve had a cough for weeks that is so deep that even a tiny version of it erupting causes my friends to raise their eyebrows in concern and exclaim, “Oh Deepam, that doesn’t sound good.” After weeks of all the natural herbal, homeopathic, etc treatments I know failed, I gave in and went to the doctor.  He prescribed me the “cheap” puffer ($105.00), blasts of prednisone twice a day. That was a week ago and nothing much has changed. Except that on Saturday night (2:30 Sunday morning, actually) I tripped and fell down three concrete steps on to a concrete floor, bringing with me all sorts of loud clattering doodads on a craft shelf in an art gallery. So now I have a split lip and a constellation of bruises up my right side and on the tops of my feet. Oh yes, and a big bump on my head that you can’t see.

The writers’ organization for which I am now serving as Vice-President, WCSC, took part in Barrie’s Art ce Soir on the waterfront on the weekend, from 7 pm to 7 am, an event inspired by Toronto’s Nuit Blanche. We had a booth in the parking lot – a pop-up tent, actually, sort of a sun-shelter, with no sides. I mention this because on Saturday night the temperature dipped to minus two degrees Celsius and that didn’t factor the wind chill. But we were intrepid and forged ahead. I brought two heaters and Noelle brought one. Whenever we turned more on than one, the power for the entire event blew. I was grateful that my stepdaughter suggested I take my winter coat, since by 9 pm the temperature was nipping at the zero mark and only dipped further as the night progressed.

As The Writers’ Community of Simcoe County we hosted five mini writing workshops in our little “booth”. Noelle, Tobin and I took turns leading prompted writing huddled in a circle with some very delightful participants. People were game and took to the prompts in sometimes brave ways.In the last workshop that Noelle led, one man read a piece of poetry inspired by a “Soul Collage” card chosen from a pile Noelle brought out. I asked him to read it twice. His poetry about two lovers killed in a bomb blast was lush and rich and I was certain he must be well-published and likely someone famous. Apparently not. He laughed when I asked him. I include this moment because it demonstrated so clearly the truth that we cannot know how our work will touch others. His poem caused our little circle to be silent for several moments.

At 12:30, we read short pieces to an audience of about twenty people, most of whom didn’t appear to be drunk.

All was well until we were packing up and I took a trip into the gallery. The lovely women hosting the event took great care of me as I sat dazed and bloody with an ice pack on my lip, and counseled me with grave faces not to sleep for at least five hours. For someone who likes to be asleep by 10 pm, hearing that I had to stay awake until 8 am, this was not welcome advice. But since my eyes weren’t rolling around in my head and I could balance on one foot at a time, they let me go.

The late night didn’t help my cough, but at least a few more people know about our organization. And that we have Terry Fallis coming to speak at our next meeting. He spoke at one of the first WCDR meetings I attended, and I found his determination and his humility quite inspiring. Yet one more sacrifice for art’s sake, eh? An all-nighter in the service of promoting a wonderful organization. And there’s always a bonus… I got to sit in on a couple of the mini workshops and sketch out scenes for Roadkill. Roadkill is my new love affair, and I find I’m not having trouble staying up all night making love with this story. But that’s another post…