Sunday, December 11, 2011

2011 A Great CREATIVE Year!

Meg Torwl reading July 2011 at the SFU Writing and Publishing Graduation with Trish Webb, Karen Lee
2011 was a good year for me creatively! I got to work or exhibit in several disciplines - writing, performance, audio, video, new media and curate.

I wrote an audio Podplay in a workshop with Jan Derbyshire with Neworld Theatre. About dealing with cancer while going to university. How depression holds hands with illness behind your back and tries to convince you every day is the same. Meanwhile your creativity tries to see the sun and remember everyday is new and full of possibility - even as Fukushima burns.

Two of my films screened. Act Your Age!? with the Generations Project Local Docs Series. Where have all the lesbians gone? with an Out On Screen Retrospective Vancouver Visionaries screening.

I curated and exhibited a new media exhibition in Sechelt for  a month - PORTAL/PORTAGE. A wonderful collaboration with meditations on nature with three other women artists whose work I admire very much, Claudia Medina-Culos, Lilianna Kleiner and Diane Tanchak. With the Sunshine Coast Arts Council.

I completed The Writers Studio 2011 at Simon Fraser University, with the wonderful Poetry and Lyric Prose mentor Jen Currin. Such a great group of fellow students too! My work grew and expanded so much in the fecund environment! I submitted 60+ pages for work-shopping and polished  and shaped my final manuscript of 25 pages for deadline, with the help of Betsy Warland’s excellent Minding Your Manuscript class. My final poetry manuscript is a narrative arc through an intimate relationship, illness, to life transitions of all types. There are three inter-related sections 1. The Synesthete and the Kinesthete (intimate relationships, aging, illness). 2. The Autistic Rheumatologist (disability, illness) 3. Transit of Venus (things thought while traveling – family, disability, spirituality, bliss, happiness, mortality).

I took a fabulous elective paper at SFU - The Poems Story and Silence – with Betsy Warland, the out-going Program Director of the Writers Studio. I wanted to write about a magical childhood encounter with a flock of moths, and ended up writing a new suite of 13 poems on the joys and tensions of the great NZ extended family summer holiday! The diversity and talent of the other women in the class was inspiring when we all gave a 10 minute presentation at the last class, each of us with visual elements to our work. It is always wondrous as a mentor what Betsy is able to draw out of us.

I read my poetry at 5 public reading events, and had 9 poems accepted for publication. With Emerge, The Writers Caravan, Enpipe and The Wild Weathers.

I am looking forward to what 2012 brings, so far in the works seeking a publisher for a poetry book, a collaborative performance commission from Calgary, a Mentorship from NZ, and possibly a retrospective exhibition.

Namaste and gratitude.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Writers Caravan 5th Chapbook Launch Nov 18 2011

Thursdays Writing Collective launches its 5th Chapbook

Friday Nov 18, 8:15pm at the Memory Festival at the Roundhouse Community Centre

Thursdays Writing Collective and guest editor Michael Turner invite you to a reading and launch of
"The Writers Caravan Anthology," a cross-community publication with UBC Law, The 2011 Writer's Studio and Write Club!

Please join us to celebrate the authors, including TWS's Rua Mercier, Dhana Musil, Yaana Dancer and Meg Torwl, at this free event.

Read more about The Writers Caravan here

- I'll be reading from my prose poem in the chapbook 'eight doors to happiness' about Buddhist lessons learned while taking transit.

Come on out and listen the the authors read their work, buy a copy of the chapbook, celebrate inter-community writing.

Photos of The Writers Caravan Anthology Launch on facebook

Buy a copy of the The Writers Caravan Anthology 2011 here

Saturday, October 29, 2011

PodPlay Workshop October 2011

For two weekends in October I went on a fabulous PodPlay Workshop, facilitated by the wonderful Jan Derbyshire. A collaboration between Neworld Theatre and Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture.

 'PodPlays is a hybrid of technology and performance and combines sound, story and text. Load PodPlays onto your portable media player, then step outside where the plays become a soundtrack to life on the streets of Vancouver.' (Neworld Theatre).

Playwrights choose a location and use cues from the urban or natural environment to write a play, often musing on life's large or small questions.

Six of us participated in the workshop, recording first draft readings of our short plays, and then we all went on the PodPlays route to check out the results. Marvelous! We wrote on topics as varied as a missing cat, lost love,  life and death, justice and judgment and two a collaborative poem inspired by Occupy Vancouver. Photos here.

You can check out Jan Derbyshire's Westend PodPlay Dog of your understanding, and other PodPlays commissioned for Vancouver's 125 year anniversary on the Neworld Theatre PodPlay site.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct 22 2011 8pm Emerge Book Launch

Sat Oct 22 8pm - 10.30pm , Emerge Book Launch and Reading

Room 2555, World Art Centre

149 West Hastings (enter of Cordova St.)

The Writer's Studio at SFU presents the 2011 student anthology, Emerge, edited by Hiromi Goto.

Students will read from their new work, fiction, non-fiction, poetry. Meg will read verse and prose poetry on relationships in a writers life.

Doors Open 7:30pm

Suggested Donation $10
Door Prize*

Special Launch Price for the Book
This event will be followed by a cash bar reception.

*Free Creative Writing Course from the Writing and Communications Program at SFU

Read more about what I and others have to say about  The Writer's Studio course at SFU, at the blog of SmarttNet who kindly sponsored the printing of the book launch program and video of the event.

Register online if you can for catering purposes.

Act Your Age!? Screens Oct 20 2011

Act You Age!? screens Thurs Oct 20, 7pm - 9.30pm

Qmunity Generations: 1033 Davie, Room 103
1033 Davie St, Room 103, Buzz 103
Vancouver, British Columbia
Entry by donation. 
Wheelchair Accessible.

Part of Qmunity's LOC DOC series. Documentaries by local filmmakers, who attend the screening. Director Meg Torwl, and some of the films participants will be in attendance for a discussion after the screening. 

10 women aged 16 to 80 talk candidly about age, ageing, ageism, beauty, disability, friends, lovers. Music by Mik Syroid.

More info and Map here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Miss Hap: Mashup Prose Poem

 The Great New Zealand Remix and Mashup Competition - Literature Remix

At fifteen I was drawn by my body. the heavy body, the light body. was it only yesterday. on the walls of the kauri villa. once a desiccated seahorse. Small-scale sand bars... ripple. we are on the other side. We hear the wind, but never each others’ voices; It is always huge and we are always ants.

A child, I skipped alone, over cracks in concrete. I took my shadow home with me. stared directly at the sun. Shadow stands up, filigree shadows lie. I press my ear to, any promise of warmth. A pale faced dark haired mother blows smoke, standing still. In this soporific state are those who have been dead for decades. Around the curve No. 3 line, escape when I was growing up.

At eight I learned the word, ‘potion’. like spell. Breath of Heaven. Across the road, down to the creek. Into the goat cave high up a mud wall. We stayed until it got dark. You fill it up. Don’t lean away. None of the hair I have now, knew you when. I shave parts of my skull to the scalp. To the floor.

Starting things is so easy. Less of a bleeding cacophony, more of a groove. stand still and wait for a while. I like the simultaneous association/disassociation...they are narratives in their own right. It's hard to keep up with the flow of ideas, and I have to write very quickly. I’m not exaggerating or making it up. what we have built has fallen from lack of care.

It's Sunday evening here in High Street, central Auckland on a warm muggy evening which is typical of this time of year. I've spent the weekend in what has become a series of habits, reading, or just musing. the usual subject, art - new zealand - lit. stroking, Auckland city. And it works! As I write, the storm has broke.

Sources: (in order of usage)

Dylan Horrocks, Siso. Hinemoana Baker, Self-portrait at fifteen. Bernadette Hall, Sastrugi. Helen Heath, On getting away. Lynn Jenner, She used to ask me, what is it like up there? Renee Liang, Crossed Cultures. Ian Wedde, Shadow Stands Up. Airini Beautrais East of the river. Helen Lehndorf, Tincture. Emma Barnes, Don’t Lean Away. Sarah Laing, The novel beast. Russell Brown, Debrief. Cheryl Bernstein, "This is about earthquakes". Pip Adam, The Anzac Centenary Bridge. Paul Reynolds, Weekend wandering. Emily Perkins, 'Dream'.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Short film screening August 16 Vancouver Visionaries

August 16 Meg Torwl's mockumentary ‘where have all the lesbians gone’ is part of a ‘Vancouver Visionaries’ retrospective with Out On Screen. Tinseltown 9.30pm. August 16 2011. 
Wheelchair accessible. 
$8, $11, with $5 membership. 

Enjoy the Out On Screen Queer Film and Video Festival!

Monday, August 8, 2011


 The Installation and Opening of the new media exhibition PORTAL/PORTAGE went off without a hitch! Exhausting but work it! Thanks to a lot of help from A, S and P. I have to admit, given in the past year I have fractured my spine, arm, shoulder, ribs, pelvis and had to take preventive measures to avoid fractures to my neck, thigh and hip, I was kind of worried I was going to fracture something installing the show! But I got away with only a  carpet burn on my foot while duct taping down all those wires.

There was a good turn out to the Opening with friends and strangers coming from near and far. What with the great equipment provided by photographer Paul Clancy, a warm welcome from Sunshine Coast Arts Council Chairman musician Steve Wright, and artist Anna Banana serving wine, and the many volunteers helping out what could make for a better evening? People really interacted with the exhibition!

Highlights of the trip to the coast were rattling down the steep road to Roberts Creek in the electric wheelchair in the dark at 10pm having been dropped off by the bus, after the opening with my friends in a car in front of me guiding me slowly down the hill. Having gelato with S at Davis bay on a hot coast evening. Swimming with D, H, T, and A at Roberts creek beach. Meeting a woman on the bus who was visiting the coast and raving about a great art exhibition she had been to, turned out it was mine! Choice!

Check out the photos of the Opening and the Installation on Integrial Media Facebook.

You can check out the exhibition in Sechelt until August 28 2011. 

Below is a video (thanks Carol!) of me reading my poem called 'bear', a dedication to the earth, at the Opening.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Featured on The Writers Studio Blog

 My tips on reading your writing is featured on The Writers Studio Blog, for that and more tips each week by the local writers community. check it out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

August 3 to 28 PORTAL/PORTAGE in Sechelt

PORTAL/PORTAGE meditative nature installations in Sechelt, Sunshine Coast BC, new work by Meg Torwl, Claudia Medina-Culos, Liliana Kleiner, Diane Tanchak

August 3 - 28, 2011, with the Sunshine Coast Arts Council,
Doris Crowston Gallery, 5714 Medusa St, Sechelt, BC, Canada.
Reception August 3 2011, 7pm to 9pm.
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Wheelchair accessible.

PORTAL/PORTAGE is a collaboration between four artists who are each currently exploring in our work, humans as part of nature. PORTAL/PORTAGE combines Meg Torwl’s work in photo based video installations; Claudia Medina-Culos video installations and sound-scapes; Liliana Kleiner video work drawing on her photography, painting, and mixed media work; and Diane Tanchak abstract-realist style paintings. Each artist explores the nuance of location and the universality of story, cycles of growth and decay while negotiating our bi-national, or tri-national cultural identities and/or art practices, in places we each understand as home. These are the stories we collect, create, and carry from LAN (Local Area Network – an internet term) to LAND, to LANGUAGE; or images as a language bypassing spoken language all together. The exhibition is designed to be experienced as a rest, an emptying of the mind, a walk in the woods, a swim in the ocean.

Each artist has based part of their work on the Sunshine Coast or Gulf Islands of BC. Meg Torwl’s works Going Coastal (7mins, 2010), TIARIKA (11 mins, 2008), and AQWAI (14 mins, 2006) cover Roberts Creek to Rarotonga. Alongside work by Liliana Kleiner, her LUMINOZA INANNA (5 mins, 2010) draws from Galiano Island to the Gulf of Mexico. Claudia Medina-Culos’ Powell River based work, On the Trail (33 mins, 2010) and Heron Study (3 mins, 2010) was completed as part of a Masters in Media from Barcelona. Diane Tanchak's paintings A Dream of Trees (3mins, 2011) range from the Okeover Inlet to New York.

Audiences can negotiate the exhibition by way of 4 TV/DVD stations, each screening a different artists work, and listen to the soundtrack music or audio through headphones. Alternately the complete 90 minutes of work is projected into the gallery with audio coming through gallery speakers.

For more information about PORTAL/PORTAGE, artist bios, photos and videos.

Great article about PORTAL/PORTAGE in the Sunshine Coast Reporter by arts reporter Jan DeGrass. 

PS: Read about the Opening or check out photos of the exhibition opening.

For Technical Support thanks to VIVO Media Arts Centre, Paul Clancy, EnMedia Productions. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reading at SFU Writing and Publishing Graduation 2011

I am humbled to have been chosen by my peers to to read at the SFU Writing and Publishing Graduation 2011. I will be representing The Writers Studio from the Poetry and Lyric Prose mentor group. Trish Webb from Fiction, and Karen Lee from Creative Non-Fiction will also be reading. 

There will be a presentation by Dr. Helen Wussow, Dean, Lifelong Learning Unit, SFU

Certificates will be awarded in Business Communication and Professional Writing; Editing; Publishing; Public Relations; Creative Writing; Technical Communications. 

Wednesday July 6 7pm SFU Harbour Centre.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 22 Reading New Work at the Roundhouse

Hi Folks! I will be reading new poems at the Roundhouse Tuesday June 21 2011 7pm to 9pm with The Writers Caravan. See you there! This is a free event. Fellow The Writers Studio readers will be Yaana Dancer, Dhana Musil, and Rua Mercier. More details below. Spread the word ( :

'Thursdays Writing Collective is hosting an evening celebration and reading for the culmination of its pilot project: The Writers Caravan. The project was designed to foster creative contact between city writing groups that might not otherwise intersect, by writing together on common themes and reading together in local venues. Members of three Vancouver writing communities participated: UBC Law students, The Writer’s Studio 2011, and Write Club! Literary Mamas. The connections were electric! You are invited to join us from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday June 21 at the Roundhouse, 81 Roundhouse Mews (Davie and Pacific).  Find The Writers Caravan on facebook and online at:'

check out photos from the event here

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading with the Writers Caravan April 15

I will be reading with the Writers Caravan, a collaboration between the Thursdays Collective and The Writers Studio.

Friday April 15 2011
Take 5 Cafe
7pm to 9.30pm
429 Granville St (at Hastings)
Wheelchair access is at the back on Hastings St (604 697 9090)

Co hosted by Elee Kraljii Gardiner of Thursdays Collective and  Fiona Scott of The Writers Studio Reading Series. Featuring writers from the lively Carnegie Centre based Thursdays Collective, and The Writers Studio. Including my compatriot Rua Mercier, and my fellow Poetry and Lyric Prose students Dhana Musil and Yaana Dancer.

I will read a prose poem '8 Doors to Happiness' loosely based on a Buddhist poem '8 Steps to happiness'. In my disability friendly version, a journey via transit reveals the interconnectedness of all beings.

The Writers Caravan will feature more collaborative readings and a publication later in the year.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Canadian Women Studies Journal: Women and Cancer

I have a piece published in the Spring/Summer 2010 Volume of Canadian Women Studies Journal: Women and Cancer; Volume 28, Numbers 2,3. Apart from my poetry chapbook,  (in) valid, this marks my first publication in an anthology in Canada. Yeehaa!

 The Canadian Women Studies Journal takes a critical look at women and cancer with scholarly and creative contributions on: Challenging Existing Paradigms; Intersectionalities and the Biopolitics of Cancer Care; Cultural Politics of Cancer; Witnessing: Personal Narratives of Illness, Agency and Care; Poetry; Book Reviews. 

My piece Cancer Comedy: Would You Like Hormones With That? is in the Witnessing: Personal Narratives of Illness, Agency and Care section. I ponder amongst other things the relative media hype of illnesses like cancer as opposed to other less 'glamorous' disabilities we might have.

With contributions from over 50 women the whole anthology looks like quite the interesting read.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Writers Studio at SFU

I am in week 2 of The Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University. I am very excited to have been accepted in to this much sought after course. I will be working in the Poetry and Lyric Prose stream, on a manuscript of 60 poems - The Synesthete and the Kinesthete over the next year with mentor Jen Currin. It is great to be able to focus on writing again and be amongst other writers! Yay! Go team!