Shannon P. Laws was born in Seattle and raised in Federal Way, where, she says, "as a teenager I learned that when a guy from Auburn asks you out on a date, he will most likely pick you up in a stolen car."
Laws reads from her debut poetry collection, "Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy," at 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Village Books. She is the host for the Village Books Poetry Group, which meets twice monthly at the bookstore.
She can be heard on KMRE 102.3, SPARK Radio, in downtown Bellingham, hosting two music programs, "Classic Blues" and "New Americana."
For more about her writing and her radio shows, go to splawssji.blogspot.com, newamericanahour.wordpress.com and boosiesplayhouse.wordpress.com.
Question: What brought you to Bellingham?
Answer: In 2010 a major life event produced the momentum for a move. Family and work located in Bellingham made it an easy choice for relocation; my mom and brother live here. It's great to visit them when our schedules allow.
Q: What's your job and volunteer history?
A: I occasionally host the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers open mic, which meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Firehouse Café. I am a volunteer radio producer/editor at KMRE 102.3, a nonprofit community station that broadcasts from the SPARK Museum. Also, I am a member of the writers group Artistic License and Whatcom Writers and Publishers.
Q: What do you enjoy about what you do?
A: After working in television for many years, radio seemed like a fun project, especially at a station as unique as KMRE. Jonathan Winter and Brent Davis are encouraging people to work with. The museum in general is a warm and quirky place to donate time. It feels like a second home.
My pet project is "Boosie's Playhouse Classic Blues." The show's focus is on the classic blues era, which I bracket, 1920-1970s, the first 50 years of the recorded blues. I created a character persona Boosie Vox, the Voice Vixen, to host the show.
One day Jonathan approached me about an idea he had for a new show that discussed the way music influences our lives. The program "New Americana" was born. In January of this year we started to bring in local musicians to share the five songs that influenced their lives. Jon and I sent out the invitations for guests and we are amazed at the positive returns that show has created.
Q: How did "Madrona Grove" come about?
A: An idea is a nagging, a tug at the heart, that demands to be heard. It wants to be recorded, as if my simple notebook is an official document linked directly into the planet's psyche. I constantly get visions and inspiration, whether I am lying in bed contemplating a dream, or notice a crow staring at me on my walk as if it remembers me.
Q: What do you write?
A: I primarily write short stories, memoirs, an article or two, and there's a novel in the works. My blog, Madrona Grove, started in 2010, and, at first, was my only creative outlet. My first book of poetry, named after my blog, was published in January.
I do not edit work that is over a year old. I like to respect who I was at that time. The voice of the work is as important as the words themselves. Ten years from now I want to pull that book off the shelf to read it and say, "Yes, I remember that woman."
Q: What's fun for you outside of the world of radio and literature?
A: I love the outdoors. A walk, hike or a day at the beach are perfect moments for me. A double-tall mocha at the Black Drop is a guilty pleasure I do not mind satisfying from time to time.
I typically enjoy any type of live music. Also, I'm a big movie nut who just recently discovered the joy of watching local theater. I am a season ticket-holder to the Idiom Theater and Pickford Film Center. It's the ideal form of time travel outside of my own imagination.