September 2017 – Author & Poet Michelle Barker

MichelleSummer break being over we now were starting the new year of meetings for creative writing. Author & Poet Michelle Barker was our special guest this month. She was born and raised in Vancouver, travelled a lot for work and pleasure, and ended up back in Vancouver.

Michelle was the winner of gold National Magazine award in personal journalism in 2002, and finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s literature Award in 2016.

Upon the opening of her presentation about poetry Michelle advised us to bring all the five senses into our writing. Images should not be just visual for the reader. This sounded very challenging, but by the end of the evening one could see (and hear and smell and touch and taste).

Of-course, one big step for Tea & Ink members present was to learn more about poetry that doesn’t rhyme. Michelle eased us through by showing us and explaining the formation of “free verse” and we were able to really appreciate it afterwards.

Michelle brought two poems with her to demonstrate the way to read a poem out loud. This was an eye-opener to Mo in particular. Sherry read the first one. It was strange to see that this poem wasn’t read by the line, but by the punctuation. It made sense to do that. Natalya read the second poem which right through to the end…and it was one page long…didn’t have any punctuation at all. It was meant to be read without stopping. So very unusual.

Following the readings and a discussion about the formation of these two poems Michelle then conducted an activity. We each were instructed to take 10 minutes to write a memory of something. Then we all spilt up into twos. Then we had to take turns reading our mini story whilst our partner jotted down just individual words of note.  The follow up would be to write a poem using those notable words.  Perhaps our next meeting will start with us listening to these new poems we should have written by then. Interesting!

Thank you, Michelle for this very pleasant evening. It was truly great to have you as our guest speaker.

Books by Michelle Barker:

  • The Beggar King – a YA fantasy novel (2013); published by Thistledown Press Ltd
  • Old Growth Clear Cut – Poems of Haida Gwaii , Queen Charlotte Island (2012); published by Leaf Press
  • A Year of Borrowed Men, illustrated by: Renné Benoit (2015); published by Pajama Press Inc
  • Poems written by Michelle also appeared in the Best Canadian Poetry anthology (2011)

Michelle’s website:
Her Blog:


Jan 2017 – Author/Filmmaker Deborah S. Patz

dspAt this meeting we were delighted to host Deborah (Deb) Patz, author & filmmaker, as our special guest. She writes guides about movie-making both for professionals working (or aspiring to work) in the film industry and for young adults who dream about one day becoming a filmmaker. Write! Shoot! Edit! A Guide for Teen Filmmakers is published worldwide this summer.

Deborah’s presentation was two-fold.  She first spoke about what she calls the 3-Headed Approach to Creative Writing, guiding us through the creative process from draft to final copy.

In the second part of her presentation she walked us through the 3-Act Structure so commonly used for movie stories. It was insightful to see the traditional peaks and valleys of story and we will never watch a movie the same way again.

wsebkDeborah closed her presentation with a reading from Write! Shoot! Edit! her latest book and from her unpublished thesis novel of her MFA – a fantasy adventure story for young adults.

It was a long session so for the practical part of the evening Deborah conducted a brief session on writing short poetry inspired by objects around us. It was amazing the imagery we each managed to write. The activity sparked our interest to have a poetry meeting in the future.

Many thanks go to Deborah for all that she shared. It is an evening we will always remember.

pmbksBooks by Deborah S. Patz (published by Michael Wiese Productions):

  • Surviving Production (1997)
  • Film Production Management 101 (2002, 2010)
  • Write! Shoot! Edit! (July 2017)

Deborah’s website:

Her FILM & INK Blog:

Deb on Facebook:

Deb on Twitter: