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Write On! Contest 2017   

Submissions open now Deadline April 1, 2017 Winners will be announced April 30, 2017

Submission Rules: 

3 Categories: o Non-Fiction (1500 words max) o Fiction (1500 words max) o Poetry (1 page single spaced max) o Submit entry as a Word Document ( Font Times New Roman, Size 12)

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1st prize - $150, 2nd prize - $100, 3rd prize - $75 3 honourable mentions in each category. Winners and honourable mentions will be published in RCLAS E-Zine, Wordplay at Work. Fees $10 per submission for members, $20 per submission for non-members. Maximum three submissions per person, total combined in any of our categories. Previously published work will be accepted as long as author retains copyright. Cover letter to include Name, Address, Email, Phone, Category, Title, Payment info. Judges: Chelsea Comeau (Poetry), Alvin Ens (Fiction), Bryant Ross (Non-Fiction). Submissions to judges are anonymous. Current Board Members are not eligible to submit. Winner’s Reading Event TBA

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SUBMISSION and Payment OPTION 1: Pay via Paypal at AND email entry and cover letter to SUBMISSION and PAYMENT OPTION 2: Email Word Document entry to (DO NOT mail submission) and mail your cheque or money order to: Royal City Literary Arts Society Box #308 – 720 6th Street New Westminster, BC V3L 3C5 For further information Email:

2017 RCLAS Write On! Contest Judges Chelsea Comeau is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Claremont Review, Quills, CV2, Piffle and BUST Magazine. In 2011, Amber Tamblyn chose her poem as the winning entry in the BUST Magazine poetry contest. In 2014, she attended the Banff Centre's Writing With Style programme with Lorna Crozier. In 2015, she was the Canadian winner of the Leaf Press chapbook competition. She attends poetry retreats twice a year with Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier.

Alvin Ens writes prose and poetry for both the Christian and secular media. He comes to us with a wealth of experience in writing, editing and teaching writing skills. He was a high school English teacher and edited the creative writing magazine, advised the annual yearbook, chaired the English Department and organized the school and district public speaking. He has been the editor of the last six Fraser Valley Poets anthologies. He has written eleven books of family history, poetry, a novella and has written widely for magazines and contests. He belongs to two local writing clubs.

Bryant Ross is the host of Vancouver Story Slam, Vancouver’s longest-running monthly storytelling event. Bryant was the Vancouver Story Slam champion in both 2009 and 2014, and has featured at numerous literary events including the Under the Volcano Festival of Art and Social Change, the Vancouver International Storytelling Festival, and the Main Street Car Free Day. He is a father, an artist, a thirty-five-year veteran of the Township of Langley Fire Department, and a damn fine baker of pies.


Ariadne Sawyer

Ariadne Sawyer, MA, C.C., is a conference speaker, a poetry judge and movie reviewer, and an author of three books. Ariadne is the president of the World Poetry Reading Series, co-host and co-founder of World Poetry Canada International and the New Westminster World Poetry at the New Westminster Public Library. She is a director of the Asian Heritage Month Society, in addition to serving on two other boards. She is the radio show co-host and producer of The World Poetry CafÊ CFRO 100.5 FM, a weekly venue which is heard in 91 countries. Ariadne was the winner of the $5,000 prestigious MacLean Hunter award for programs of excellence: The Brain Bulletin Series, 7 CD’s which have played on radio stations across Canada. She is currently working on a book of dream poems called Love Poems to the World. Her poems have been published nationally and internationally. Ariadne has received numerous awards and continues to work to empower and support those whose voices and talents need to be heard. Visit her website twitter @wpicdabc

Access Your Creative Dream Worlds

Since ancient times, creative people from many nations have used their dream worlds to unfold new talents and to create everything from poetry to films and art. Dream poems can also be for self-healing, problem solving and lucid dream experiences as well as inspiration. Likewise daydreams can be used for insights and increased abilities. In my upcoming book, Love Poems for the World, Dream Offerings, I have only had two lucid dreams in which I was transported to the site of the dreams and interacted with them. In the first one, The Egyptian Football Girl, I woke up with aching legs from running with her in the dream. Our brains thoughtfully inject a chemical to keep us from actually moving during the dream but in this case, I certainly felt the after effects and still do in my memory. This poem was motivated by seeing a short doc on her from the BBC. The method that I use is to remember something in my mind when I am going to sleep and have pen and paper by my side. Around two in the morning I wake up with a dream that needs to be put on paper. When I put it in my notebook, I write the dream down in the dark since turning on the light distracts me and the dream often loses clarity and disappears. The next day, I read it and put it on the computer, trying to keep it edit free since it comes from another place and it would be disrespectful to alter it. If you want some tips on Creative Dreaming, please send Ariadne an e-mail marked urgent at

*Pouf: a round or square piece of padded furniture with an upholstered cover, used as a seat or footrest. N. American term: hassock

World Poetry Celebrates: A Special Welcome to New Westminster’s Poet Laureate Alan Hill! “Spring & International Women’s Day” Wednesday March 22, 2017 6:30 - 8:30 pm New Westminster Public Library 716 - 6th Avenue New Westminster Features: Alan Hill, Poet Laureate Candice James, Poet Laureate Emerita Don Benson, Poet Laureate Emeritus & Evelyn Benson Tony Antonias Lavana La Brey, featured musician Janet Kvammen Chris Williamson Ronney Nasreen Pejvack Hosts: Ariadne Sawyer and James Mullin Open Mike Free raffle Refreshments

Info: 604-526-4729

Issue 43 Themes

Deborah L. Kelly

Light Bomb I forgot it was a nightmare and I was beyond terrified. It started out in darkness. I was walking, I guess at night, and came to a fork in the road. It looked ominous; didn’t matter which one I looked down. I had a white purse around my neck, and in it was a little white Chihuahua; don’t ask! I think it was pretty terrified too as I could feel his little body trembling against my chest. As I came closer to the fork, I decided to take the left one and check it out. Wrong! I could see faint shapes heading toward me. As I got closer, forms became clearer, and I froze on the spot. There were vampires, zombies, ghouls, and any other night time horror one could imagine. As they came toward me, obviously intent on having me and my little pup as their next meal, I turned and ran down the right fork. I stopped dead in my tracks! Sitting in the middle of the road was a little yellow sports car with an Asian lady inside. I noticed it was a convertible, but the strange thing was, that convertible top was made of chicken wire. Yes, that’s right, chicken wire. She exited the car and started heading toward me. I think I tried to say something to her, but nothing came out. By this time, completely panicked and feeling trapped, I noticed an old, very old mansion just up the hill behind me. Holding onto the purse and dog on my chest, I started running for all I was worth. I don’t remember the path that opened to let me through, nor do I remember the journey to the front door, but there I stood. Putting my hand on the doorknob, I slowly turned the handle to see if it was unlocked. I sighed a breath of relief when it clicked in my hand and I gave it a little tap; it opened, and it was completely silent inside. I could see from the doorway that there were a few candles lit around the main foyer of the mansion. It was truly exquisite; though I had no doubt, somewhere inside, the shadow lurked.

As my foot stepped over the threshold, the old wood squeaked; freaked the hell out of me and I almost hit the veranda roof above me. Telling myself to calm down, for all seemed quiet, I walked into the room and closed the main door behind me. I could feel every muscle in me instantly relax. My mind sighed as I took in a deep breath of the ancient air around me. Now that I had settled somewhat, I walked into the main library of the house. It was exquisite!! As I walked to the end of the room to look out the expansive bay window overlooking the forest deep, I heard a faint noise behind me. At some point, I had taken the purse off my neck and put the little doggie (never did know its name), down because, however irrational a thought, I was afraid he would pee in the purse. I know, I know ... nuts, where do these things comes from? As I slowly turned around, training my ears on the sound I had heard, I could see them coming at me again! The dog; I have no idea where it had gone, but it was gone. My adrenalin went from 0-60 in less than a second, I swear. This time, I was truly trapped; funny how the mind will keep looking for ways out of a trap, no matter how ridiculous the ideas seem. At the pinnacle of my fear, something absolutely miraculous happened. Everything exploded into a bright white light, including me. Out of that light, came a voice. What that voice said to me will be with me a lifetime; a shield to make it through the struggle. “As long as you are surrounded by this light, you need never fear this type of evil.� The only way I am able to describe that voice is that it was above me: below me, within me, outside of me, all around me. It was quiet: it was loud, it was soft, it was stern and most importantly; it hit me to the marrow of my being. I do not remember going back into a deep sleep. But that I did, and slept the night through without any further dreaming. When I woke up that morning, I felt so alive and so very much at peace. Imagine that! The Creator made his way to little old me, to soothe me in the midst of my mortal terror. I am truly blessed; and so very grateful.

Kathy Figueroa The Robins of Cardiff Though the snow did cling, 'twas the first day of spring And I wanted to celebrate No matter what faith is dear, to all it's clear That this is an important date It was Sunday, too, so the thing to do To start the brand new week Seemed to me that it would be To go to church and hear the minister speak So off I went as a congregant Since my celebrations weren't of the partying kind And I hoped that a measure of spiritual treasure Would be something that I'd find I wasn't wrong, sermon and song Spoke of a man from the distant past Who was wise and kind, a type hard to find So fond memories of him still last I sat in the pew and listened to The minister speak some interesting words And then was surprised when I realized She had started to talk about birds She said she'd learned, when early each year they returned That finding food could be a difficult feat So to make it less hard, she spread seeds in her yard For the birds as a special treat This once attracted a flock from all over the block That enjoyed the unexpected lunch 'Til assailed by feathery blows from a crowd of crows Which were a raucous and boisterous bunch Suddenly, during the melee, from the fray A big robin did appear Then it perched quite still, on her window sill And showed absolutely no fear There it stayed, unafraid As it looked right up at her face And, with a knowing nod, she said it was sent by God To illustrate God’s divine presence and grace

The sermon came to an end and I thought of a friend Whose name was “Mary Lou” She had a heart of gold and stories are told About the kind things that she used to do All critters wounded or lost, no matter the cost At her place were welcomed and mended They convalesced, with food and rest And were most carefully tended With the hurt and stray, she had a way She'd heal them or give them a home It was a good circumstance, if by chance To her place they managed to roam Once, by bad luck, a tragedy struck And baby birds were left bereft of a mother's care Though still alive, they couldn't survive They were too young to find food anywhere Someone knew about Mary Lou And her way with creatures large and small Then correctly guessed the young birds in the nest Should be taken to her to have any chance at all Mary Lou fed them by hand and could understand Exactly what they needed to eat And people were amazed that the birds were hand raised Because that was an unusual feat Thus, by and by, they grew large enough to fly After being nurtured so carefully And, for they were wild, not tame, the time eventually came When they had to be taken outside and set free It was hard to part because, with all her heart Mary Lou loved those birds, it was clear So, her eyes shone bright, with a radiant light When she said what happened the following year It was a lovely day, in April or May Her living room window was open wide And to her delight, some birds paused in flight Then, through the open window, hopped inside They wandered about and checked things out And seemed as if, to each other, they said “Here we were raised, mercy be praised We were kept safe, sheltered, and fed

Though far we did roam, this is our home When we were motherless we were brought here to stay” And they looked as if they knew kind Mary Lou And thanked her, and then flew away Medicine and technology were employed, but her body was destroyed For her, doctors couldn't do anything And right 'til her last days, she continued to amaze With the way she’d ease all creatures’ suffering She found relief in her belief In a man who performed many a miraculous feat Through the stories told, from times of old She believed that, eventually, she and he would meet Poorly she fared, but she never despaired Or cried out from self-pity or the great pain And though, one day, she went away I believe Mary Lou lives, again When birds sing at dawn, maybe they pass the story on So it's known in each new bird generation Of how the kindly soul, on whom illness took such a toll Is now held in great veneration “It was a sign of love, from Heaven above!” Said the minister that day in church “An example of grace, from a holy place That sent the robin to the windowsill to perch!” And, to give the minister her due, what she said was true But there was more, of which she was unaware You see, Mary Lou used to live in that Cardiff, Ontario, neighbourhood And I’ll bet the robins still look for her there

This poem is dedicated to the late Mary Lou Leslie. “The Robins of Cardiff” by Kathy Figueroa was first published in the November 29, 2012, issue of The Bancroft Times newspaper.


In Their Words: A Royal City Reading Series 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm New Westminster Public Library, 716 – 6th Avenue. Launched at last year’s LitFest New West, this series features guest speakers who will showcase their favourite authors. Each speaker will introduce an author and read from their work. Genres range from fiction to non-fiction, poetry to memoir. Presented in partnership with Royal City Literary Arts Society and the New Westminster Public Library. Feature Readers: Carol Narod – reads Thomas Hardy (literary fiction) Kyle McKillop – reads Patrick Lane (poetry) Sylvia Symons – reads Evelyn Lau (poetry / creative non-fiction) Sana Ziist Janjua – reads Eduardo Galeano (social commentary)


Wordplay: A Sense of Place Sunday April 2, 2017 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm BUY-LOW FOODS COMMUNITY SPACE 555 Sixth St, New Westminster Alan Girling hosts an idea-generating writing prompt group featuring ekphrastic inspiration. Janet Kvammen will provide photo prompts of New Westminster to spark your creative imagination. Experience new approaches to your writing; unlock that treasure chest of ideas in your head! This group generates some fabulous first drafts; all you need to bring is writing tools, paper, and a ready mind. This is not a critique group; let’s have some fun! Presented by the Royal City Literary Arts Society. Alan Girling is a teacher and writer whose work has appeared in such journals as FreeFall, Hobart, Lichen, and The MacGuffin, on CBC radio, in various online journals, at live readings, even in shop windows. He has won two poetry prizes and has had a short play produced. Currently, he writes poetry and sometimes fiction and often works with the Royal City Literary Arts Society.

Vice President of Royal City Literary Arts Society and New West Artists, Janet Kvammen is a poet, photographer and visual artist. Published in over a dozen anthologies, Janet has been a featured poet, host, and organizer of many local events. She is the recipient of a 2016 Nehru Humanitarian Award, 2014 World Poetry Empowered Poet Award as well as 2012 W.I.N. Distinguished Poet and Artist Award.

Featuring RCLAS President Nasreen Pejvack

Upcoming RCLAS Events RCLAS Write On! Contest 2017 Call for Submissions 1st prize - $150, 2nd prize - $100, 3rd prize - $75 Full Details here: Dates: • Submissions open now • Deadline April 1, 2017 • Winners will be announced April 30, 2017 • 3 Categories: o Non-Fiction (1500 words max) o Fiction (1500 words max) o Poetry (1 page single spaced max) RCLAS presents “Songwriters Open Mic Night” Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017. 7:00pm – 9:00pm, free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, Backstage Room, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster, BC Hosts: Enrico Renz, Lawren Nemeth and Poul Bech More info Description: Original music only, performed by the songwriters! Great venue: good sound, food, beverages and a friendly, supportive audience that actually listens! RCLAS presents “Tellers of Short Tales” Date: Thurs, March 7, 2017. 7:00pm – 9:00pm, free admission. Location Renaissance Bookstore, 712B - 12th Street, New Westminster Host: Nasreen Pejvack Featured Reader: Patricia Donahue Open Mic Sign Up More info Description: A program of monthly readings designed to engage fans of the short story genre with emerging and published short story writers. Also, an open microphone will be available for writers who would like to share their stories.

RCLAS presents “Children’s Chronicles” Date: Saturday March 18, 2017. 3:30pm – 5pm, Admission is free. Location: Queensborough Community Centre, 920 Ewen Street,New Westminster Feature Author: Duane Lawrence, author of "Sammy Squirrel & Rodney Raccoon – A Stanley Park Tale" Description: For children 8-12 years of age. Story time, writing and discussion. More info Poetic Justice Date: Sunday, March 19, 2017. 11:30am – 1:30pm. Location: Boston Pizza at Columbia Square, 1045 Columbia St, New Westminster Host: James Felton Feature Poets: Bernice Lever and Russell Thornton Open Mic Sign Up with Linda Holmes More info

RCLAS presents “In Their Words, a Royal City Reading Series” Special LitFest NewWest Date: Sunday April 2, 2017. 1:00pm – 3:00pm Free admission. Location: New Westminster Public Library, 716 6th Ave, New Westminster Host: Alan Girling Feature Readers: Carol Narod – reads Thomas Hardy (literary fiction) Kyle McKillop – reads Patrick Lane (poetry) Sylvia Symons – reads Evelyn Lau (poetry / creative non-fiction) Sana Ziist Janjua – reads Eduardo Galeano (social commentary)

RCLAS presents “Wordplay: a sense of place with Alan Girling &Janet Kvammen” Special LitFest NewWest Date: Sunday April 2, 2017. 5:00pm – 7:00pm Free admission. Location: Buy-Low Foods Community Room, 555 – 6th Street, New Westminster More info Description: Alan Girling hosts an idea-generating writing prompt group featuring ekphrastic inspiration. Janet Kvammen will provide photo prompts of New Westminster to spark your creative imagination. Experience new approaches to your writing; unlock that treasure chest of ideas in your head! This group generates some fabulous first drafts; all you need to bring is writing tools, paper, and a ready mind. This is not a critique group; let’s have some fun! RCLAS, in partnership with NWPL, presents “Opening Up To Character with Cathy Stonehouse” Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2017. 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Free admission. Location: New Westminster Public Library, 716 6th Ave, New Westminster Facilitator: Cathy Stonehouse To pre-register email or call 604-527-4660 Inquiries can be made to Description In this workshop participants will be invited to consider what makes a successful fictional character, and to practice writing prompts and techniques designed to support the discovery and development of fictional characters whose struggles, in turn, may give rise to dynamic and meaningful narrative. The workshop will consist of both reading and writing, as memorable characters from a wide range of literary sources, and the techniques used by their inventors to render these characters on the page, will also inform our explorations. Cathy Stonehouse is the author of two collections of poetry and one collection of short stories, and is just completing her first novel. Currently a regularized instructor in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s creative writing program, she has also taught courses and workshops in creative writing for many other Lower Mainland educational institutions such as SFU, UBC, Langara College, Douglas College and Capilano University. This summer she also facilitated a residential memoir-writing workshop for Island Mountain Art’s summer arts programming in Wells, BC. A graduate of Oxford University and UBC’s Creative Writing MFA Program, she also holds a certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy from Langara College.


Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine Antonia Levi

RCLAS Members Open Call for Submissions No theme required to submit. Themes: Tribute Poems for Favourite Poet/ Rain/ Crows Deadline March 22, 2017 Issue 44 Mothers/ Blue/ Ekphrastic Deadline April 22, 2017 Issue 45 Ongoing Submissions for upcoming “New Westminster” Special Feature Poetry, Short Stories, Book excerpts, articles & lyrics are all welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work. Submit Word documents (Please include your name on document title) to

Janet Kvammen Photography

Thank you to our Sponsors & Venues 

City of New Westminster

Arts Council of New Westminster

New Westminster Public Library

Judy Darcy, MLA

Anvil Centre

Boston Pizza, Columbia Square

The Heritage Grill

Renaissance Books

Buy-Low Foods

Queensborough Community Centre

Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it. Of the little words that come out of the silence, like prayers prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came. Wendell Berry

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March 2017 Wordplay at work ISSN 2291- 4269 Contact: RCLAS Vice-President/ E-zine

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