Highlights from Boobs Book Launch Party at Heartwood Cafe

The Writer 'Reading' from Boobs at Book Launch

The Writer ‘Reading’ from Boobs at Book Launch

On Friday April 29, 2016, at Vancouver’s Heartwood Community Café, I did my first public book launch ‘reading’ from my “Reclaiming My Thorns” story published in the Boobs anthology for an audience of about 70 people.

My ‘reading’ was accompanied on a guitar by a musician friend, Enrico Renz of the Red Herring band—also a first for me—and it proved a great success for the audience and for me. It made my dance-like movements when I speak appear more in-place and gave gentle echos to the silent pauses in my speech.

I say ‘reading’ in quotes, because I needed to memorize the roughly 7 minute speech / excerpt reading, as my dystonia condition still does not allow my eyes to stay open and my voice to work at the same time (i.e., no reading out loud for more than a few words at a time).

The Writer Presenting 'Signed' Copy of Boobs to Beloved Reader

The Writer Presenting ‘Signed’ Copy of Boobs to Beloved Reader

But I was able to see—and with much gratitude, to enjoy—so many in the audience tear up as well as laugh throughout my ‘reading’, reassuring me that I was being heard: literally and figuratively.

I ‘signed’ my story in others’ copies of the book using my “authorstamp package” (i.e., autograph, Maggie’s way), and I had my copy signed by the other anthology contributors reading their stories with me and others in attendance.

I also say ‘signed’ in quotes, because my “autograph” consists of my “authorstamp” and a bookmark that includes a photo poem on one side and my story of why I use an authorstamp on the other.

Why Authorstamp Bookmark

Why Authorstamp Bookmark

I had a lot of fun performing at this event and feel so grateful for the table-full-and-a-half of friends who joined me and my co-contributors to enjoy the readings, the venue, and each other!

Boobs Book Launch at Heartwood Cafe

Boobs Book Launch at Heartwood Cafe

First Literary Publication in Boobs

Boobs, 2016

Boobs, 2016

I am now a published author! My “Reclaiming My Thorns” story appears in the anthology, Boobs: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts, which is now available in paperback.

My story in this anthology, “Reclaiming My Thorns”, is a poignant reminder that ”life, even with thorny challenges, can be beautiful.” (p.177)

Purchase options:

Buy directly from me* (the only way I can receive a royalty!), but only if we can meet in person—or if you don’t mind paying an extra $10-15 in shipping.

If shipping is needed, please purchase through Amazon, Chapters, the publisher: Caitlin Press, or a local bookstore (please request it if not already on a bookshelf).

Copies will be also eventually available at public libraries.

Please look for a copy, with shipping to:

Maggie's Thorny Rose Tattoo

Maggie’s Thorny Rose Tattoo

* If you would like to order through me (so that I can receive a royalty and if you don’t require shipping), please let me know, so that I can place my order with the publisher. I can personalize this copy for you: signed Maggie’s way!

$25 cash, cheque or e-transfer will be great … although I’m also considering creative exchange offers, just because I’m me.

I invite you to read it and share your reflections by writing a book review, either in a Comment below or on one of the Amazon / Chapters websites.

Thank you!

“I can choose what makes me feel normal, even if I can’t always choose what others see!” (p.179)


Update on book launches:

Please re-visit for future Boobs book events.

Past Events:

2016-06-04—Maggie’s Boobs Book ‘Signing’ Party

Maggie’s Boobs Book ‘Signing’, Poetry Reading & Friends For Life Community Engagement Party is on June 4, 2016. Please email me to receive your Eventbrite invitation.

Maggie's Boobs Book Signing Party Notice

Maggie’s Boobs Book Signing Party Notice

2016-04-29—Official Boobs Book Launch Party

The Official Boobs Book Launch Party is on April 29, 2016. Please RSVP at the Eventbrite link provided at https://www.facebook.com/events/1677791172484141/.

Official Boobs Book Launch Party Invitation

Official Boobs Book Launch Party Invitation

Can’t make the 29th? No worries! I plan to have a personal book launch & ‘signing’ party after this one…details and invitation to come.

Poem of the Week: “Touch of Valentine”

Happy Valentine’s to You!

I share my latest poem for the occasion. Please feel free to share the image or just the words (in your own card / letter) with your loved one(s)—I only ask that you acknowledge the poetess.

<3 @ <3 @ <3


About This Week’s Poem:

My poem, entitled “Touch of Valentine”, was originally composed on a relatively rare sunny moment in February in Vancouver, BC. It captures the sentiment that I feel towards those who touch my life in various, sometimes mysterious, ways. While sitting at my desk, organizing my poems into a spreadsheet one afternoon, I looked up as the sun’s rays burst through my windows, washing over me a feeling of loving connectedness—I felt compelled to express it as a poem, thus capturing the moment.

(Please CLICK on the image for a larger version.)

Special Dish for the Week: Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto

I am celebrating today’s signing off on the final page layout of my “Reclaiming My Thorns” story, which is going to the printers with the rest of the Boobs anthology any minute, and I do so with this Special Dish for the Week:

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto

I make myself this fabulous lunch of mushroom and buffalo risotto, prepared in my new Lagostina cast iron frying pan, and accompanied by a glass of my farourite wine these days: Apothic Red.

I chop the ingredients with my new Cusinart Santoku knife, and make the sprouted brown rice in my trusty rice cooker.

I add the following ingredients into the coconut oil seasoned cast iron pan in the following order—feeling amazed that everything fits into this one pan, which can then easily go into the oven for the final tempering.

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Ingredients

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Ingredients

The ingredients include:

  • onions, chopped
  • buffallo stewing meat, once cooked, I cut the cubes into even smaller bite-sized bits
  • cabbage, sliced
  • shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • garlic, grated
  • ginger, grated
  • 1-2 tsp thyme
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek
  • water, to keep the dish from sticking to the pan
  • sprouted brown rice, cooked
Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Preparation

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Preparation

Once all the ingredients are mixed in the pan, I place the pan in the oven and bake the dish for about 45 minutes at 350F.

While the risotto bakes, I prepare some chopped French green beans for garnish along with a few strings of arugula.

I serve the mushroom and buffalo risotto with a dribble of olive oil on the garnish and a glass of Apothic Red.

Today, I have my fully bloomed potted tulips to keep me company, and my “Let Go” picture from a dear friend to remind me of my new way of being in this world—feeling grateful for all the experiences I am having as a result of shifting my focus above all else towards contentment.

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Dish

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Dish

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Fully Baked

Mushroom and Buffalo Risotto Fully Baked


Poem of the Week: “Ceremonies” and Taking a Leap: Going Public

Choose the words that you use;
treat your fear as a muse.

Taking my own advice from my recent poem on “Befriending Fear”, I am taking a leap! After hanging out on the edge of my self-constructed cliff for years (decades?), looking over the edge to measure myself up against WHAT will be IF or WHEN I finally jump, at last, I am jumping! And it feels like it’s happening in slow motion, but I am in motion now!!

Update on My Social Media Presence:

Margota, Poetess and Writer

Margota, Poetess and Writer

I am starting a public Facebook Page (Margota, Poetess and Writer) and an Instagram account (@margota.ca), for starters, adding to my semi-secret website*, www.maggiesway.ca (also accessed through www.margota.ca).

I invite you to Like my new Page and follow my Posts!

*Some of my website posts remain under lock & key for various privacy and contest publication reasons—thank you for understanding!

With all that, and my impending publications, I am trialling a pseudonym / pen name / nom de plume: Margota. A dear friend who helped me rediscover the poetess inside me, calls me by this name, and I love it. It combines the letters from the myriad of versions of my first name, in my native Polish and my chosen English varieties, and includes letters from my surname. Although I like my existing names: Maggie / Margaret / Malgorzata Wojtarowicz, they are a mouthful to pronounce and are complicated to remember for my publication purposes. Simply Maggie works for me as well, but it isn’t very original for readers to recognise this Maggie and for anyone promoting my writing to be specific enough. Margota is unique!

Update on My Publications:

The Writer on First Bike Writing Retreat on Galiano Island

The Writer on First Bike Writing Retreat on Galiano Island

I am thrilled to announce that my first literary nonfiction story has been accepted for publication in the Boobs anthology, by Caitlin Press. It is expected to come out this Spring 2016. I drafted this story, originally entitled “My Vampire Boobs” and edited into “Reclaiming My Thorns”, during my first bike writing retreat to Galiano Island last Summer. I’ll be publishing this story under my full name while my nom de plume gets trialled out on social media. I would love for anyone interested, to join me at the book launch in Vancouver this Spring and any other celebrations I organize for it! I feel so grateful to my friends, nearby and from across the continents: A.K., B.S., C.L., G.F., M.C., M.F., M.L., N.P., S.M., S.M., and V.K., for helping me shape my story through the first 5 of the eventual 10 drafts and for creating the space for me to draft it.

Update on My Readings:

The Writer at Her First Open Mic Poetry Reading--definitely in the spotlight!

The Writer at Her First Open Mic Poetry Reading–definitely in the spotlight!

I have now given three readings of my poetry during Pandora’s Collective open mic part of their Twisted Poets Literary Salons (how appropriately named!). I had so much fun at the last one after a great brainstorming session with the amazing SFU’s Writer In Residence and Poet, Jordan Scott (so creative in his poetry and presentation!). We chatted about strategies to help me reduce my voice-restricting anxieties and to help audience members understand my own words better. It was so wonderful to receive such great feedback from the audience during and after my performance. I was so touched by one man’s teary eyes as he professed that seeing me read my poetry that night has motivated him to do something more with his life. Wow!

A few days later, a new friend from the Kitsilano Poetry Group in which I participate, has similarly shared with me that my poetry presentations at our group meetings have inspired a poem from him. He dedicated his poem, entitled “teach me to whisper”, to me on his Philosopher/Poet website.

Update on My Submissions to Writing Competitions:

The Writer with Her Poem Postcards

The Writer with Her Poem Postcards

I continue to make my poetry contest submissions, having submitted to the following Writing Competitions since my last update:

My latest submission was super fun: the 2016 Postcard Story Contest by Geist Literary Magazine out of Vancouver. I created my own poem postcard, as I am trialling this idea of sharing my poetry as a source of income (possibly to sell on Etsy.com website marketplace), and I wrote my “Seeking Life” story to accompany my poem (by the same title) about this darling hummingbird that got trapped in my apartment.

About This Week’s Poem:

And with my first poem of the week for 2016, I will give thanks for all these wonderful literary happenings and for all the people who have contributed to making them possible. I wrote my poem, entitled “Ceremonies”, on a sunny afternoon while I sat on a rock in the middle of a river surrounded by terraced rice fields during my self-directed healing retreat in Bali last Fall 2015. It was inspired by the daily rituals of the Balinese people to offer gratitude for absolutely anything and everything (sometimes it seemed that they were making up reasons to celebrate–which felt rather familiar!).

(Please CLICK on the image for a larger version.)