Why Spoken Word is no longer my “Sidechick”

My name is Paulina O’Kieffe and I am a Spoken Word Artist.

I have been in the spoken word game for over 10 years although you may not even know it. Why is that you may ask. The answer is simple, because for far too long I have been treating my spoken word art as my side piece. I have used my talents, my passionate and skill as a continual side project for far too long, often leaving her underdeveloped, underused, underexposed for the sake of making money doing more traditional types of work (community work, project management, etc) However in doing so I have come to discover that not only did my quality of life degrade (literally my bouts of depression and anxiety got worse over the last few years thanks to burnout) but I noticed my ability to write, to perform and express myself was no longer as easy to do. This is where I knew I had to change my perspective.

This year I gave birth to my second child, CJ, and I have been on maternity leave since February. It was been the most liberating experience of my life as I have no excuses now and am free to develop myself as an artist once more. I also won’t be going back to my position at my old job and so there is nothing holding me back from going full force back into the beautiful art form known as spoken word. I have already performed this month and the experience was exhilarating. To ensure that I wouldn’t fall back on my artistic practice I diligently signed up to compete at Dwayne Morgan’s Toronto International Poetry SLAM in August. I have a whole summer to “clear the cobwebs” as Dwayne put it. And clear them I will.

With a handful of unique and interesting artistic opportunities lining up for me I feel that the stars have aligned and it is time for me to upgrade my spoken word art to full “wifey” status. No longer will my art remain in the shadows as a hobby, but it will once again be a major force in defining who I am and how I live my life. And there is no doubt in my mind that my life will be better for it.

I look forward to sharing my artistic revival journey with you as well as my new works, performances, workshops, programs and other spoken word community events on this site. I look forward to sparking dialogue with my words so please feel free to leave your comments.




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