Category: Jamie’s Creative Life

Saying Goodbye to a Poet, an Artist, a Canadian Son

“That Night in Toronto”

It’s hard to say what Gord Downie meant to so many in this country. It’s even harder to say what he means to me. Since news of his cancer and The Tragically Hip’s final concert last summer, I felt so moved and I expected to be called out.

“Did you have every album?”

“Do you know every word?”

No, but there are words etched in my heart, lyrics that make me cry – every time. There are songs that are a part of the fabric of my life and the life of a generation of Canadians.  And there is the way that somehow, with a magical force of presence and art,  this man, his work and his passing have brought us together.

I recently read Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone in which she exhorts us to “Hold hands. With strangers,” to join in moments of collective gathering.

“All of these examples of collective joy and pain are sacred experiences.” Brené Brown

In that spirit, Justin and I went to Nathan Philips Square last night and sang our hearts out along with a crowd galvanized by Choir! Choir! Choir! I cried my way through Bobcaygeon and belted out Courage. I was pulled into The Stranger and let loose in New Orleans is Sinking.  I did it alongside others wholeheartedly doing the same, each with their own soft spots and memories, each with their own Gord.  Every moment deepened my belief in the power and impact of sharing and art and the worthiness of making this your path.

The arts bring us together.

The arts send us home.

Sing Along… (Lyrics available here thanks to Choir! Choir! Choir!)

We get to feel small…But not out of place at all

It was in Bobcaygeon
I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at time

Don’t tell me what the poets are doing… Don’t tell me that they’re talking tough.

It’s sad but true… I’m kinda dumb and so are you.

Sundown in the Paris of the prairies

Courage… it couldn’t come at a worse time.

Her son has gone alee… And that’s where he will stay

I’m moving fast.. On the path nobody knows

Learn more & Contribute – Downie/Wenjack Fund

I come from downtown… Born ready for you… Armed with will and determination… And grace, too.

No dress rehearsal … This is our life…

Picking out the highlights of the scenery… Saw a little cloud that looked a little like me

The event was livestreamed to Facebook. For a time you should be able to find the recording here.

Found Poem #2: The Remnant

The remnant,
The faces,
The griefs,
The terrors,
The ruin

Letters to each and all

The deepest wisdom
Of all the earth

The city throbbed
Day and night
The narrow ways
Were crowded
The wide road
Yet dark

A strange cry rang out
And the point was a rich sword

Found Poem #1: The Raven

To lie in bed,
Gnawing with wrath at weakness,
She ravened up
And wandered in the wilds.

Bold and insolent,
Able to bear shame and anguish no longer
and stubborn

Forced to fly
White with great age
And the calmness of deep learning

While I am tucked away in the studio building The Academy for the fall, I am taking little breaks to nourish and express my creative spirit.  I have a love of poetry and have been delighting in creating little found poems from an old book.

August Flowers

With the seasonal approach of the studio, one of my plans has always been to take time off between seasons. So far I have often found myself right into the next, plotting and planning, designing and creating behind the scenes. This month, however, it looks like there will be time for me to meander the boardwalk, journal in coffee shops and catch up on my sleep. In anticipation, I find myself walking slowly through my neighbourhood, enjoying the beauty this time of year holds.

Morning Glories


Star of Billion

Star Burst


New Additions to the Garden

New Garden Additions

It’s already a bit late in the season to be getting to the garden centre but there was still plenty of beauty!  I always put some annuals out front, usually some dark red geraniums and some purple wave petunias, neither of which were available so I made some new choices. What’s funny is that I didn’t even notice that I had picked the same  colour scheme! I guess I just like it, especially against the green of our house.

Verbena Hybrid

Verbena Hybrid  – Lanai Dark Red Verbena (annual)


Salvia longispicata x farinacea – Mystic Spires, Blue Salvia (perennial)

Euphorbia Stardust

Euphorbia Hybrid – ‘Star Dust Super Flash” Euphorbia (annual)

Delphinium Guardian

Delphinium elatum – “Guardian Lavender” Delphinium (perennial)

Japanese Pieris

Pieris japonica – ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’ Japanese Pieris (shrub)

These give me a sense of serenity and sanctuary just looking at them. Tomorrow I’ll get them in the ground and let them start the process of making our garden home.

What are you planting in your garden this year?