Highlights from Boobs Book Signing Party at Friends For Life

Boobs Book Signing Party at Friends For Life

Boobs Book Signing Party at Friends For Life

I had so much fun being with my guests at my Boobs book ‘signing’ and poetry ‘reading’ party at Friends For Life (FFL) on Saturday June 4, 2016.

I truly loved ad libbing, performing, sharing the stage with musician friend, Enrico Renz of the Red Herring band, and with poet friend, Jon Ballam (PhilosopherPoet), who collaborated with me on some readings.

The 25 guests were my beloved friends from most of my various walks of my life. We had all sorts of writers / poets, artists, musicians, cyclists, professionals / engineers, public / customer service providers, and lovers of life in our midst

Guests at Boobs Book Signing Party at Friends For Life

Guests at Boobs Book Signing Party at Friends For Life

The Poetess, Moving as in a Dance

The Poetess, Moving as in a Dance

And I had some fabulous assistants throughout the day and evening—helping me deliver and take back my “party supplies”, serving food and cleaning up, giving a tour of the FFL house, and making the whole evening look and feel glamorous.

I feel grateful that they made this night possible, together with others who were there in spirit, including the book’s publisher Caitlin Press.

It was all so wonderful.

The feedback that I received at the event, in my guestbook, and online afterwards, was a mix of praise: for me, my readings, my writings, and the event, and of gratitude: for my invitations and for me sharing my talents.

The Writer, 'Reading" from Boobs

The Writer, ‘Reading” from Boobs

“The musical accompaniment was superb!”

“I really enjoyed the evening and it was a beautiful place to hold your Boobs book signing party.”

“Thank you so much for including me in this inspiring evening.”

“Thanks for the lovely evening and for being you!”

“You are bursting with radiance tonight, Margota!”

“You shine!”

“Bloom on!”

The nutritious and delicious food was devoured and the wine flowed aplenty! I served refreshments consisting of:

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

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

The house’s famous brunch table was adorned in white tablecloth, beeswax candles from my Honey Lady at the West End Farmers Market, and potted mini red roses (of course)—gently thorned.

On display around the room, for my guests to peruse and enjoy, I had my photo poem postcards in frames and in a booklet, and photo poem wall pictures.

My guests very generously donated with their RSVPs and to the event’s donation box—painted black with the red Depeche Mode rose.

It was truly a fabulous and fun evening.

The Writer / Poetess Taking White Wine Time Out

The Writer / Poetess Taking White Wine Time Out

The Evening’s Readings:

Maggie (Margota), reading:

“I Am an Enigma” (16-01-29)
Excerpt from “Reclaiming My Thorns” from Boobs anthology

Jon Ballam (PhilosopherPoet), reading
Poems from Boobs anthology:

“First Class After Lunch—Mid-1960s” by Marilyn Belak
“Radiant” by Miranda Pearson
“Breasts” by Kate Braid

Maggie (Margota), reading:

“Befriending Fear” (15-12-31-rev16-01-25)
“Vampirellas (The Immortal Breasts)” (15-08-24-rev15-08-27)
“Releasing” (15-06-27-rev16-05-26)

Jon Ballam (PhilosopherPoet), reading
Poem written for
Maggie Wojtarowicz, Margota—Poetess:

teach me to whisper

Jon Ballam (PhilosopherPoet) and Maggie (Margota),
reading duet of Maggie (Margota) Poem:

The Missing Sun and The Ephemeral Moon” (15-06-13-rev15-07-15)

Maggie (Margota), reading:

“Mistress P” (15-03-04)
“Seek to Find” (15-09-20)
“With Eyes Wide Open” (16-04-18)

Boobs Book Signing Party at Friends For Life

Maggie’s Boobs Book ‘Signing’, Poetry Reading & Friends For Life Community Engagement Party Notice

Maggie’s Boobs Book ‘Signing’, Poetry Reading & Friends For Life Community Engagement Party Notice

See about Maggie’s story below.


You’re invited to my book ‘signing’ (Maggie’s way) party for the Boobs anthology, in which my story, “Reclaiming My Thorns”, is published. You will experience ‘readings’ (recitals) from the book as well as poetry to music, while getting yourself acquainted with Friends For Life (FFL or ‘the house’ and some of its members), which supports those of us diagnosed with life threatening conditions.

You will be greeted at ‘the house’ with several treats for your senses: refreshments for the palate, music and lyrics for the ears, photo poem postcards and pictures as visuals, and lots of love for the soul!

Maggie / Margota 'Reading' from "Reclaiming My Thorns" in Boobs Book

Maggie / Margota ‘Reading’ from “Reclaiming My Thorns” in Boobs Book

This event is intended to engage the greater community around Friends For Life (beyond the current members) through mingling and seeing the interior of this beautiful heritage house in the West End at 1459 Barclay Street.

I would love to host about 15-30 guests* — and I ask for a small RSVP donation to help cover the costs of the event and give a donation to the organization, with an option to pre-pay if you wish to purchase your copy of Boobs ($25 per copy). I will have a few extra copies at the event.

* guests include current and potential FFL members, and individuals living with and without life threatening condition diagnoses


Saturday June 4, 2016

Greetings @7:00pm
First ‘reading’ @7:30pm — from the Boobs book
Second ‘reading’ @8:30pm — poetry
Farewell by 9:30pm


Please RSVP at: http://boobs-signing.eventbrite.com
(by invitation – please email me to receive yours)

If you have any questions, please see FAQs on invitation at Eventbrite or email me.

I look forward to spending a lovely evening with you!
Maggie
xo

Please feel free to follow my writing journey at https://www.facebook.com/Margota.ca/


About Maggie’s “Reclaiming My Thorns” Story:

Maggie's Thorny Rose Tattoo

Maggie’s Thorny Rose Tattoo

In her story, “Reclaiming My Thorns”, Maggie Wojtarowicz (who writes as ‘Margota’), likens her life to a rose whose thorns are the challenges she has experienced.

Having lived with a movement condition that was diagnosed as dystonia when she was a child, Maggie navigated through her teens with her body increasingly restricting her ability to speak, be still, or move, without attracting unsolicited commentary – while surviving the well-intentioned but misguided treatments of her uniqueness. Believing the medical wisdom of the time, that her condition could not be organically improved, Maggie persevered in her desire to practice as a Professional Engineer, while moving on her own at 24 from Ontario out to Vancouver, BC.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid-thirties and lost both breasts, she gained valuable insight that led her to retraining herself to speak without triggering the dystonic spasms. As part of her newly reconstructed cleavage, Maggie also acquired a rose tattoo to remind herself that even a thorny life can be beautiful.

Drawing on the stark contrast between her experiences with her cancer condition – invisible unless she chooses to share it – and her very visible neurological condition, Maggie reconceptualizes her thorny challenges to have a gentler and more forgiving side to them. Using humour, Maggie diffuses the sombreness of her conditions and shares her newly gained perspective for living an even richer life.

The story was recently published by Caitlin Press in an anthology entitled Boobs: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts.

More on Maggie’s story publication and book availability.

Special Dish for the Week: Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

A conversation with a couple new acquaintances from Authors for Indies event inspires this Special Dish for the Week, which I then make and share at a potluck with another new group of lovely acquaintances—many of whom easily on their way to becoming friends:

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai

I find a couple more foodies, recently, who also love Thai food. One of them eats raw vegan foods, which makes me curious: how does one make raw vegan Thai food?!

A quick Google search reveals that Pad Thai is quite a popular option, especially if there is a zucchini spiralizer on hand—which I don’t (yet!) have. I julienne some of my veggies and chop others—some by hand and some in my electric chopper (blender)—for varied texture.

I am reminded of the Rainbow Life Salad with Quinoa I made last year, also very delicious!

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients

I prepare the dressing first, using the following ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (alternate: almond butter)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Bragg soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds (alternate: white sesame seeds)
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 4 finely sliced kaffir lime leaves
  • chopped cilantro stems
Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients Combined

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Ingredients Combined

I let the dressing stand while chopping the following veggies:

  • 2 carrots, chopped or julienned
  • 1 small red cabbage, some chopped and some thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, julienned or spiraled
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

I pour the dressing over the chopped and sliced veggies, and mix lightly.

I let the dish sit in the fridge over night, to soften the veggies and to allow the flavours to intermingle.

I garnish with sesame seeds just before serving.

The dish turns out very delicious, nutritious and colourful—and it is a hit with the potluck guests, some of whom ask for the recipe.

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Dish

Raw Vegan Rainbow Pad Thai Dish

Meal ideas & recipes from http://ohsheglows.com/2013/07/01/rad-rainbow-raw-pad-thai/.

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

Special Dish for the Week: Bouillabaisse

The seafood medley bag in my freezer inspires this Special Dish for the Week:

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

I loosely follow a couple of online recipes, mainly just going from my memory of what goes into this seafood fest.

I also pleasantly discover that this fish stew is a Provençal specialty from Marseille.

It brings me back in my memory to the time in l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue when a good friend and I made this dish with fresh ingredients from the local market.

Bouillabaisse Ingredients

Bouillabaisse Ingredients

The ingredients include:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, for sautéeing the onions and garlic
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp wakame flakes
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek or red Thai chili pepper, finely chopped with seeds in (quantity and seeds in or out dependent on desired spiciness)
  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2-1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
  • generous pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • salmon fillet, chunked
  • seafood medley of squid, mussels, octopus, shrimp

I serve the seafood stew garnished with chopped cilantro and accompanied by a French rosé, Le Petit Chat.

Bouillabaisse Dish

Bouillabaisse Dish

Meal ideas & recipes from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/classic_bouillabaisse.php and http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/classic-bouillabaisse.aspx.

Special Dish for the Week: Nut and Seed Balls

On the spur of the moment, inspired by a friend’s homemade halva recipe, I make this Special Dish for the Week to serve at my Gado Gado and Poetry to Music dinner party, where the Beet Apple Charoset serves as the appetizer:

Nut and Seed Balls

Nut and Seed Balls

Nut and Seed Balls

I make two versions of this delicious and nutritious raw dessert:

  • one version sweetened with dates and honey;
  • the other, with coconut oil and cinnamon.

Both turn out fabulous!

Nut and Seed Balls - Sweeter Version Ingredients

Nut and Seed Balls – Sweeter Version Ingredients

For the sweeter version, I use the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped nearly to butter consistency
  • 4 tsp black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)
  • 2 tsp milled flax seed
  • 4 dates, chopped nearly to butter consistency
  • 1 tbsp honey

I make the walnut ‘near butter’ in a small chopper and set it aside in a mixing bowl. I do the same with the dates. Next, I return all ingredients and blender them together.

If the consistency looks good to roll into small balls, I make the balls and store them in the freezer. If the consistency is too liquid, I add another teaspoon of milled flax seed, and if it is too thick, I blender the mass for a little longer.

Nut and Seed Balls - Less Sweet Version Ingredients

Nut and Seed Balls – Less Sweet Version Ingredients

For the less sweet version, I use the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped nearly to butter consistency
  • 5 tsp black sesame seeds (or white sesame seeds)
  • 3 tsp milled flax seed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4-1 tsp cinnamon (depending on preference: I use 1/2 tsp)

As with the sweeter version, if the consistency is too liquid, I add another teaspoon of milled flax seed.

To make the balls, I place the mass in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the coconut oil solidify a little. I mix the mass and relatively quickly shape the little balls, since the heat from the fingertips begins to liquefy the coconut oil after a little while. I also store these in the freezer.

One or two balls for each guest to enjoy is plenty as these nut and seed balls are very nutrient and calorie rich. And they’re also filled with lots of TLC.

Nut and Seed Balls Served With Love

Nut and Seed Balls Served With Love

 

 

 

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)

Enjoy!
<3

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.