I held the whole event on line. However, I was able to do one in person interview with my designer Heidi, and my dear husband David helped out on that one. That was truly lovely! We caught up in real space!
After a discussion with the production team as well as with a friend who works in media I created a number of short videos that could be watched individually or in sequence. I placed these on facebook ready to go on the day of the launch. I knew it would take quite a while to upload them so I started the day before.
I decided to do the launch this way so people could take the event in through small morsels, that might make them interested in taking more in.
I wanted to take into account how people use social media, and how they might not have large chunks of time to engage with the launch (especially at such short notice of the actual details of the event with many attractive events also on).
I felt that often poetry is something you want to engage with in small amounts, so you can treasure it.
I wanted the launch to be about more than the book, and share how rewarding the process of collaboration can be.
It was a lot of work editing the videos, as anyone who works with video or film knows, and especially because I hadn’t done video editing for a long time and was mixing with a program I hadn’t used before. At times I felt like I had definitely bitten off more than I could chew. Argh.
June with Designer Heidi Den Ronden
I didn’t have full command of the program and there were a few more things I would have liked to do with my edits. However, I just did the best I could with the time I had, to achieve the kind of variety I wanted.
I pushed myself to have them done in time, and to do the best I could. I was thankful for the team sending me their footage excerpts to assist in the process and giving their time to do interviews.
In the compilation of videos I decided to do an interview with the artists on zoom, Ruha and Minaira Fifita, and designer Heidi Den Ronden, in person on my phone, to take people behind the scenes of the production. They submitted video footage and images of themselves at work.
I posted the chat with the artists yesterday, on the blog here. I made a short video excerpt and also a sound cloud of the full interview. We yarned up about collaboration, arts and spirituality and family. It was such an enjoyable chat.
So happy to have captured it, as we often have discussions like this but we don’t usually bother to record them! I am thinking about a zoom interview series! Or a podcast rather than posting of text.
I invited Delia Olam to share a performance of Tahirih’s words, a poet and Baha’i hero, who inspired one of the poems and say whatever else she felt like saying. She submitted her video.
And then I recorded myself with my phone, welcoming everyone to the launch, introducing Delia, reading poetry and thanking everyone at the end.
Being a perfectionist, I did several takes of myself reading and considered elements from my training with the Australia Society of Authors on virtual presentations such as wearing a block plain colour rather than something busy with patterns and reasonable lighting.
I shared some of my readings on my instagram, and informed people about the launch.
I decided to mix some videos of art with musical backing – wordless – for viewers to take in the visuals of the project in a creative way.
These were mixed into a full sequence of videos, for a watch party. Hmm the watch party was a tricky thing to do live, but I saved the whole thing for replay and left it for commentary.
I kicked the whole thing off with a facebook live, explaining how to take in the launch.
The facebook live had friends from Far North Queensland, Brisbane, Canada, Sydney and country New South Wales and they were from, Writing groups I had been in editors, I worked with in the past, to people who have known me and my love of poetry since I was a young child (and who informed me that I had always been drawn to poetry and visual arts combinations), and more.
Many people have visited the recording of it afterwards, and a few people said they wished they had known about it in time as they would have definitely turned up. Oops that’s my bad.
I didn’t do an enormous amount of prepublicity for the online launch, maybe because I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go, and despite my ambitious program wanted to keep it a bit low key.
I did inform lots of groups that I regularly visit on line and sent out a few invitations. I also had a preorder, and so some people had the book in hand and have been sending in their wonderful feedback! This one made me cry!
I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of this virtual launch, except for the watch party – where it all went a bit haywire as far as having a true live interraction under it. However the replay is pretty enjoyable to watch back and I am still glad I had a go at seeing if it would succeed.
As part of the launch I posted some creative activities for people to do, and will be looking for submissions which I may PUBLISH on this blog. I was so delighted to see the first submission to this project turn up in my social media today!
One reader posted a tremendous, short and sweet, review on her instagram! Thanks Vacen.
In future I would be confident to run something like this event again, but would see if I could give myself a longer preparation time, and more prepublicity. I would probably avoid a watch party, and add a zoom invitation live chat instead.
That said my major pre publicity was to have a preorder and quite a few people actually had their books in their hands on launch day! They turned up to the virtual event too, which was fantastic.
Much love and thanks to everyone that turned up, and is still turning up, watching, participating and interacting. I will post some of their responses to the launch in future posts and do an analysis of some of the data on the attendance and participation as it unfolds.
A special thinks to the collaborative team.
Matilda one of my dear editors who prefers to remain behind the scenes, so hence no video interview with her, turned up throughout the whole weekend from her home where internet can be hugely intermittant and was a wonderful participant as were all the team. They have been such a pleasure to work with.
I’ll let you know when the next virtual event will be!
My enthusiasm for this form has grown, due to the way it can bring so many people who have become like family, and who live all over Australia and the Globe into one space to share the love of poetry, the arts, collaboration and community building.
Of coure it will be lovely once again to have warm in person meetings, such as at the Illumine exhibition (I have a picture above of that!) and to see people open and interact with the book.
A special thanks to those people who sent video of themselves opening their book privately to the team. What treasures to make us feel like we had an in person launch.
Look out from some more video posts on this event.
If you want to attend the full watch party you are welcome to do so now WATCH PARTY REPLAY
I am chalking cheerful
even though I’m not an artist
from my drive way to your drive way
from my pathway to your pathway
wherever you are
I am chalking unicorns and dragons
and love hearts.
I am thinking of the grandparents
missing their grandchildren
the people stuck in their homes
the people without homes
the playgrounds without children
the children who never had playgrounds.
And flying towards us is a dragon
in his talons a vaccine
And the teddy bears send a hug to the doctors and nurses
and the teachers and all those looking after us
Unicef says to draw the real life heroes of today
they are all around us.
I am chalking cheerful
Will you join me?
” Wert thou to hearken to this mortal Bird, then wouldst thou seek the undying chalice and pass by every perishable cup ”
Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys
You sing us to
that is not
where your words
build ladders in
You shelter us
so unlike Icarus
burnt by the sun
we will not tumble
through the valleys
leading to you
you give us wings
By June Perkins
Leonard Ericks was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Resided, studied and worked in Florida, Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Costa Rica. He graduated from Ringling School of Art and Design with Honors, and currently resides in Costa Rica, Central America. Leonard is a painter and sculptor, writes and illustrates children’s books and teaches art. You can find out more about him on his facebook page.