A young woman’s journey of love & healing – Felicia Guy-Lynch’s Time For Healing

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As in her poetry collection Scattered Thoughts: A Stream of Consciousness, Felicia Guy-Lynch offers everyday personal wisdom in her novella Time For Healing. Based on a true story and written in the first person, the book reads like part journal, part internal monologue as the reader follows a young Jamaican-Canadian woman, Lydia, on her search for identity and “innerstanding” (love that word).

A first generation Canadian of Jamaican parents living in Toronto, and leaving a childhood trauma behind in the city as the family moves to the suburbs, Lydia navigates the complex and challenging social scene at school as she and her family – with its shifting structure and personal dynamics – struggle to make ends meet in a rough neighbourhood. But, despite these circumstances, she never gives up pursuing her goals of education, independence and finding love, and of walking the path of openness and transparency – and, ultimately, true strength.

All of this is not done on her own. Lydia actively builds – and processes – relationships with family, both biological and chosen (including friends and lovers), and with God; all play a part in helping her find her genuine self. The storytelling is deeply personal in tone, and while Lydia’s perceptions and experiences as a creative, curious and sexual “melinated” (black) woman striving to keep true to her cultural identity are very specific to this young woman’s world, the universal desire and search for connection and belonging – with other human beings and with a higher power – is strongly evident. Like Guy-Lynch’s poetry, the language in Time For Healing is evocative, true to the mark and even playful, with words like “innerstanding,” “melinated” and “politricks” providing insight into Lydia’s thoughts and character.

Always mindful of keeping an open mind and heart, Lydia reminds us that we must first and foremost be our true selves, and conduct our lives with truth and honesty. And never stop learning.

You can find Time For Healing on amazon.com – with shouts to illustrator Bradley Roy Lindsay and designer Seanre Bennett for their work on the book.

You can also pay Felicia Guy-Lynch a visit at her Twitter and YouTube co-ordinates.

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Random thoughts & sage advice in Felicia Guy-Lynch’s Scattered Thoughts: A Stream of Consciousness

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Felicia Guy-Lynch reading “you should know” at The Beautiful & the Damned.

Felicia Guy-Lynch’s first book, Scattered Thoughts: A Stream of Consciousness, is a poetry collection of random thoughts and shared wisdom on love, self-worth, trust and living in this world. Political, analytical, with word play, rhymes and rhythms – it sometimes feels like you’re reading a sheet of music with no notes on it, but you can hear the words, feel the beat.

I saw Guy-Lynch perform “you should know,” which appears near the end of Scattered Thoughts, at Glad Day Bookshop back in September at the monthly The Beautiful & the Damned poetry and music cabaret. Having now experienced this piece both live before an audience and read silently to myself in solitude, it’s still one of my favourites. Inspired by The Alchemist, the piece imparts sage advice that strikes home and sticks: “…those who gossip to you will eventually gossip about you. you should know wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you. those who anger you control you. you should know how your treat and make people feel? that’s all that matters…”

Often served up with a rap rhythm, some of the poems use rhyme, some don’t – and poems like “stylistic” weave a single rhyme throughout the piece. At times, the words flow across the page without punctuation, capital letters signaling the beginning of the next line. And just when you think you’ve got the rhythm down, anticipating the next beat, Guy-Lynch changes it up, playing the words in rhyming couplets in “crossroads,” then floating them in free association phrases in “cosmic sanctuary.”

You can catch Guy-Lynch at her upcoming book signing – including Scattered Thoughts: A Stream of Consciousness and her new book 365 on Saturday, May 11 at Knowledge Bookstore (177 Queen St. W., Brampton) from 12 – 4 p.m. In the meantime, you can pay her a visit at her Twitter and YouTube co-ordinates.

Incredible feature performers & open mic artists on a night of words & music @ The Beautiful & the Damned

Another night of incredible poetry, spoken word and music at the September edition of The Beautiful and the Damned on Thursday night, in its new home upstairs at Glad Day Bookshop.

Host DM Moore got our brains cooking on trivia questions (for prizes!) on this month’ s dead celeb, Gore Vidal, during three amazing sets of artistry, while event co-founder Duncan Armstrong worked the beverage service/merch table. As usual, so I can get everyone included in the post, I like to free associate on this event…

Marcie Rogers told a devilishly fun, sexy and visceral fairytale of a demon in disguise, on the prowl for an angel.

Felicia Guy Lynch served up some rap rhythm words and got the audience in on it – “You Should Know.”

Jeff Cottril made me laugh so much, I almost forgot to take his picture. Hysterical, ironic and real poem “Apology” – and I think I’m dubbing him as the stand-up poet.

Feature artist, poet Jacob Scheier, read some beautifully crafted pieces from his collection More To Keep Us Warm – at times intense, grotesque, grim, angst-ridden and funny, as well as reminiscences of his NYC Jewish family roots, a three-part Occupy Wall Street piece, and images of Constantine and The Seagull. This spring, ECW press is launching his next volume, Letter from Broadway. http://www.jacobscheier.com/

Alec Butler read a selection from his novella, sharing struggles of coming out as queer and trans, family abuse, recalling the vandalism of the Pieta, navigating queer politics as a trans person – “I’m still confusing people – and people don’t like to be confused.” Candid, brave and good-humoured.

Brandon Pitts performed a piece from his collection The Pressure to Sing – biblical, political, raw and rhythmic.

Duncan Armstrong read his poem “You and Whose Army?” – hilarious, political, one-upsmanshipping, making fun of homophobes and slut shamers, biting, irreverent and sexy.

Feature performer David Bateman gave us a haiku about a beautiful but vacuous man, the laugh-out-loud funny “Crocodile Cock” (an ode to hemipenes), cats names changed from Tabby and Puss to Caspian and Euphrates in a darkly funny break-up poem, a remembrance of mother’s china cabinet, a shout out to Marshall McLuhan – with a decidedly unusual and sexy alternate use for a vacuum cleaner “You are screwing a vacuum cleaner. You have no conscience.” – and an ode to Canadian Tire.

Sam Kay offered up a lyrical, romantic folk ballad, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar – song from his dad “Rachael’s Song.”

Lucille Barker read a poem about the life of the 99% as seen through the eyes of a six-year-old witnessing day-to-day family hardship, bright young eyes still able to see past the negative.

Kenn Chaplin, author of the blog My Journey with AIDS, gave us images of crisp, cool colours, a snapshot of a cottage on Lake Simcoe, then recalling the final moments of a dear friend’s life – the everyday becoming a surreal montage as those who survive continue their lives. http://myjourneywithaids.wordpress.com/

Alanna Cook – sweet and saucy haikus and a short poem, smart and sexy.

Final feature of the night, singer/songwriter Jessica Speziale, dubbed a “pop rock poet” by a Bracebridge newspaper, gave us a sweet, soulful, at times driving, acoustic guitar/vocal set – selections from her EP Dear Reverie, including my personal fave, the award-winning “Turn Me On.” A delight to watch, as well as inspiring – she recently recorded “How To Be A Man” for We Are One, a compilation of artists supporting Nellie’s and Amnesty Canada. http://www.jessicaspeziale.com/

Marcie Rogers
Felicia Guy Lynch
Jeff Cottrill
Jacob Scheier
Alec Butler
Brandon Pitts
Duncan Armstrong
David Bateman
Sam Kay
Lucille Barker
Kenn Chaplin
Alanna Cook
Jessica Speziale