What do you love about your city?

January 30, 2019
by Lindsay
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Winter magic

We have just had our first big blizzard—the kind where everything stops and people get sent home early and swimming lessons get cancelled. There is something so magical about the hush after a snow fall.

When I went to get my kiddos from daycare (sled and hiking backpack at the ready!), the teenager across the street was shoveling the sidewalk in front of his house. When I came back, he was still at it, halfway up the block, shoveling everyone out. He was at it for hours, totally unbidden, just helping out his neighbours. May we all have a little bit of Owen inside us this winter.

There is a park just south of my house that the neighbours flood into a skating rink each winter. It’s been so balmy I didn’t think it would ever turn, but the temperature dipped, and there are people out skating every single day. I can’t think of anything more quintessentially Canadian.

I don’t skate, but my newly-hockey-obsessed-4-year-old has just started and my placemaking heart grew 18 sizes watching him skate on the rink on the same street as our home while my almost-2-year-old cheered on a bunch of kids play shinny.

Winter magic…

I get that it’s not as easy to love where you live in the winter as it is during the summer. It requires a lot more layers. And, if you have young kids, a lot more patience. BUT, there is something so magical about being out in the world in the winter.

My trick to loving winter? ADULT SNOWPANTS! If you are not yet on#teamsnowpants, may I recommend a listen to my love letter to snowpants I recorded a while back for the CBC? You can listen here. Swish swish swish.

AND, once you’re suited up in snowpants, get out your thermos, dig out that picnic blanket, and be sure to go on a winter picnic. (Pro-tip: if it’s really cold, put a thermarest under the picnic blanket — COZY TOWN!) You can listen/watch my love letter to winter picnics on the CBC here!

January 15, 2019
by Lindsay
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Writing the City 2018: The Anthology

I’m so thrilled that Writing The City 2018: An anthology of works written about and inspired by The Junction written by participants of the 2018 Writing The City workshop at Annette St. Library is bound and ready for its public debut!

I worked with a dedicated and talented group of Junction-based writers throughout the fall of 2018 and they wrote such fascinating work about our neighbourhood. We wrote based on lines from Junction-based books, created characters that lived amongst us, played with maps and found poems and haikus. It was so much fun and now you can read what we worked on! Our anthology will be available at Annette St. Library in the Junction History section shortly!

I am so grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for funding and Annette St. Library for support.

November 14, 2018
by Lindsay
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Exciting news: A two-book deal!

I’m just so thrilled to announce that my Love Lettering Project-based picture book has been picked up by Yvette Ghione at Kids Can Press in a two-book deal!! Cue the confetti cannons!!!

It will come out in Spring 2021, with Book 2 out the following spring.

A huge thanks to my agent, Kelvin Kong at K2 Literary Agency.

November 10, 2018
by Lindsay
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Writing (and reading!) The Junction

A ray of light this fall has been the writing workshops I’ve been facilitating at Annette St. Library. It’s been SO! MUCH! FUN! We’ve been writing about the Junction and have created map-based poems, and place-based fiction fragments, and sestinas that aren’t quite sestinas (the faux-stina!), and postcard fiction…

We’re been using fragments of Junction-based writing to inspire our own—primarily Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s All the Broken Things, Terri Favro’s Once Upon a Time in West Toronto and Carleton Wilson’s Junction Elegies from The Material Sublime.

We’ve still got heaps to explore and I’m so grateful to these brave writers who spend their Wednesday evenings at the library with me.

Funded by the Ontario Arts Council’s Community Art program.

 

 

October 16, 2018
by Lindsay
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Letters letters letters in The Letter Page, Vol. 3

I am beyond thrilled to have one of my letters to Amelia Earhart in the newest volume of The Letters Page – the most charming, insightful literary journal from Nottingham, edited by the wonderful writer, Jon McGregor that is filled with, you guessed it, LETTERS!

It’s the most beautiful book – an 80 page craft-bound book with fold-out facsimile reproductions of the original handwritten letters (!!!), featuring a screen-printed cover which folds out to form its own mailing package, complete with wax seal. And there’s a gorgeous reproduction of Amelia’s red Vega next to my letter. I actually swooned when I saw it.

And if that wasn’t amazing enough, there are also FOOT NOTES for each letter:

You can get your own copy here!

September 17, 2018
by Lindsay
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So much love for The Junction

I’ve spent the last week at Annette St. Library asking people to write love letters to one of my very favourite neighbourhoods in the city, The Junction. We had SO MUCH FUN!

(The clear winner has been ice cream in the Junction – SO many ice cream-focused love letters!)

Check out more letters here:


And in case you missed out and want to join me for a *free* 8-week writing workshop at the Annette Street Library where we will find our creative voices, inspired by the Junction, there’s still time to sign up!

Annette St. Library: 145 Annette Street.

Adult workshops (18+):
Thursdays from 6:30-8pm:
Sept. 20, 27 / Oct. 11, 18, 25 / Nov. 8, 15, 22
Nov. 29: Public reading (optional)

Please register for the free workshops in person or by calling Annette Street Library at 416-393-7692.

More info here!

Funded by the Ontario Arts Council’s Community Art program.

 

September 15, 2018
by Lindsay
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Street party joy

I sometimes joke that I live on Sesame Street. I had no idea when we moved in four years ago how amazing our street was, but it is. It’s magic. In the middle of winter, our furnace broke and within 10 minutes of sending out a “does anyone have a space heater” email, our front hall was FULL. At least 12 neighbours came by with space heaters, not to mention offers of hosting us until the heat got back on.

Neighbours shovel each others’ sidewalks, bring meals to the parents of new babies and elderly couples, collect mail, and roll out garbage bins when people are travelling. Nothing fills me with more joy than rolling up the street with my kids in the wagon on a Friday afternoon and seeing all my neighbours standing on the sidewalk while our kids play made up games that involve a toy penguin, colouring an oak tree with chalk, and hiding sunglasses…

And if that wasn’t wonderful enough, my street also throws a street party every September. The road is closed and a team of volunteers plans the most wonderful afternoon filled with a bouncy castle, a visit from a fire truck (my son’s fav!), a magician, balloon animals, a talent show, a scavenger hunt, a BBQ/potluck (the even and odd sides alternate between bringing salads and dessert!), a little bit of love lettering and a late-night movie. It is easily the best day of the year.



August 30, 2018
by Lindsay
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Love lettering in Brazil (!!)

The Love Lettering Project went to…BRAZIL in July! How amazing is that?  The city of Teresopolis is 60km outside of Rio, and according to my friend Poliana Gomes, it has been struggling since fatal floods and landslides in 2011, an uptick in violent crime and a corrupt mayor who was recently ousted.

After a recent municipal election, a number of schools started working together to engage youth, in an attempt to develop ownership of their city.  So, for the city’s 127 birthday, Poliana and her team at the Cultura Inglesa asked their students to write love letters to Teresopolis.

(Aren’t those envelopes amazing??)

The project took off and was so popular a bunch of schools took part. A church got on board and local art teachers are asking their students to continue writing letters and spreading the civic love. SO MUCH LOVE! It’s just so amazing.

I can’t read Portuguese, but how awesome are these articles in local newspapers and a larger publication called VEJA RIO—a magazine covering the whole state of Rio de Janeiro (!!) (You can read that one here!)

 

My heart is so full!

 

August 24, 2018
by Lindsay
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Writing the City: Writing workshops at Annette St. Library

Do you love the Junction? Do you love to write?

Join me for a *free* 8-week writing workshop at the Annette Street Library where we will find our creative voices, inspired by the Junction.

Annette St. Library: 145 Annette Street.

Adult workshops (18+):
Thursdays from 6:30-8pm:
Sept. 20, 27 / Oct. 11, 18, 25 / Nov. 8, 15, 22
Nov. 29: Public reading (optional)

Please register for the free workshops in person or by calling Annette Street Library at 416-393-7692.

More on the workshops:

Writing the City is a writing-based community engagement project based on The Love Lettering Project, the internationally acclaimed writing project founded in 2004 by Lindsay Zier-Vogel.

After a successful 2017 season at Parkdale Library, Writing the City will take place at the Toronto Public Library’s Annette Street branch, and be comprised of a registration-required eight-week writing workshop for adults. In the workshops, participants will generate poetry and short fiction inspired by and/or situated in The Junction and to conclude, we will be hosting and optional public reading for the community.

Participants will uncover their own voices and Lindsay will work with the writers in providing community-focused inspiration and editing skills, transforming their work over the course of the 8-week workshop.

Lindsay is an active member of the community-based arts community and since 2004, she has been asking people to write love poems to their communities, slip them into airmail envelopes marked “love.” and distribute them anonymously throughout their communities. Through her Love Lettering Project, thousands of people have participated in over 50 events in Toronto and in two Canada Council-funded tours to the UK and Canada’s North. The project has the capacity to transform an individual’s relationship to public space and their communities through social and artistic engagement. Since its inception, Lindsay has developed a co-creative writing workshop program based on these principles, uniting creative writing and community engagement in workshops for children, youth and adults (through the TDSB, Pathways to Education, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada’s DreamCatcher Mentoring, Sister Writes, among others).

Lindsay received an M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto under the advisorship of award winning novelist, Anne Michaels and has been published in many publications including The Toronto Star, The Lampeter Review, Taddle Creek, room of one’s own, Where The Nights Are Twice As Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets, published by Goose Lane Editions and Watermarks: Writing by Lido Lovers and Wild Swimmers. More about Lindsay here.

Funded by the Ontario Arts Council’s Community Art program.