I started TOpoet.ca a few years ago after taking a course at UoT about ‘building an audience.’ As I got used to blogging as a way of communicating what I wanted to write about became clearer. No one was doing reviews of the many spoken-words I went to, so I focused on doing just that with occasional posts about major events: Bloody Worlds, Loyalist Workshop, Fan Expo.
I read that photos would make a blog more appealing so I started to take photos to add to the mix. I rarely try to fit the photos with the blog content though. Along with photos I began to include what shows I was going to or featuring at, so readers got a sense of my away from the keyboard life. in 2014 I reduced that list to major events or features.
Almost from the start I included rough draft writing samples in a mostly random way except for the reviews when I would add a piece I’d read or not had time to read. Reviewing shows made my ear much sharper and my attention very focused, but trying write down a great line during the flow often results in misquotes.
In 2014 I decided to make the blog more structured and frequent. In 2017 I upped frequency once again to 5 days a week. Monday is devoted to my music collection: pop, jazz, classical. Pop covers just about anything with non-classical vocals. This’ll take me, at the rate of a blog a week, some twenty years to do. It means I don’t have to decide what to write about on Mondays. The Monday writing sample is short flash fiction.
Wednesday I write about my writing – poems explained, as to my motivation, my intention and how much truth may be in the poem. People seem to think poets only write from their own experience not their imagination. Thursday is the day I post new poetry – I’ve been writing pieces inspired by the 227 Rules for Monks. Friday is whatever’s on my mind, sometimes a book review, sometime gay life & our expectations of one another. The show reviews became a bonus post.
I decided to perform as TOpoet.ca. It’s now a stage name & slowly became my brand. An intent that is pretty true to me but yet allows for my ordinary self to be a bit more anonymous. To push this ‘anonymity’ further & in light of the shift to de-gendered pronouns I’ve decided for performance purpose I’m either an ‘it’ or a ‘that’ or a ‘this.’