• Poetry Invites

    Poetry Invites June

    Inspired by our Grandparents

    According to the 2016 census the average age of people in Cobourg is 49. The median age is 54. This means a lot of grandparents live here!

    Write a poem for Cobourg Present, our evolving eChapbook. 

    This month you are invited to write a poem about your grandparents. The last year hasn’t been easy and many are looking forward to when they can see grandparents again. Or some people are thinking about the events in history their grandparents lived through and reflecting on how that connects or compares to this.

    What do you love most about your grandparents? What do you remember about them? What would you do if you could spend the day with them today?

    Maybe you want to write from the perspective of your child self. Maybe your grandparents are gone and you want to capture their legacy in a poem. Was there a lesson they taught you? Start with a photo or a phone call and see where it takes you.

    Let’s celebrate our grandparents.

    You are also welcome to revisit a prompt from an earlier month and submit a poem at any time. Click here to see the archive of prompts.

  • Poetry Invites

    Poetry Invites May

    Inspired By Our Food, Farms, and Eateries

    When I moved to Cobourg over ten years ago, it was the food that surprised me most. We live in a delicious region!

    Write a poem for Cobourg Present, our evolving eChapbook.

    This month you are invited to write a poem about food. What inspires you about the food of Cobourg and Northumberland?

    Food is central to how we express our culture. Food becomes part of traditions and celebrations. We are lucky to live in a region that is filled with people who are passionate about good food.

    Maybe you want to write about a local business or a trip to the Farmer’s Market (which opens in a week!) Or maybe you want to write about a memorable meal shared with friends. Perhaps it’s the beautiful farmland that inspires you or picking apples at one of our local orchards.

    Let’s celebrate the most delicious parts of life here!

    You are also welcome to revisit a prompt from an earlier month and submit a poem at any time. Click here to see the archive of prompts.

  • Poet Laureate of Cobourg

    Lessons from the Earth: Poetry eChapbbook

    Happy Earth Day!

    It was such a joy to put together this eChapbook featuring poetry and images for Earth Day 2021. Each year celebrating Earth Day feels more vital. We are blessed to live on such a beautiful, abundant planet. On Earth Day we express our gratitude and we renew our commitment to care for our Earth. This eChapbook is a collection of poetry and images exploring the theme: Lessons from the Earth.

    We can learn something new every day when we pay attention. Thank-you so much to the contributors for generously sharing their talents. Thank-you to our readers for giving your time to reflect on the environment.

    With this project, we also celebrate National Poetry Month.

    Watch some of the contributors read their work!

    Lessons from the Earth

    eChapbook Launch and Poetry Reading

    Posted by Sunshine in a Jar on Thursday, April 22, 2021
  • Morning Letters

    Another Turn in the Spiral of Life

    There are moments when I see a spiral in everything and other moments when the spiral seems to disappear. If you’ve read my blog before, you may have noticed I often think about learning as a spiral. Life moves, not just in circles or cycles, but in spirals within cycles.

    I’m feeling deep and writerly this morning. I see spirals everywhere. This happens when I’m rested. What a blessing a four day weekend can be, especially after particularly busy work weeks. It’s nice to take a moment to reflect and reconnect.

    This morning’s sunrise shines on the windows across the street. Birdsong pulls me outside, beyond the glass of my own front window, to feel the cool air settle around me. Frost on the rooftops and the road shimmers as it melts. When the light expands across the sky, the birds sing less and work more, carrying twigs in their beaks or searching for breakfast. Today is Easter Sunday.

  • Poetry Invites

    Poetry Invites April

    Inspired By Our Friends, Family, and Neighbours

    This month we focus our poetry on writing about the people in our community. Who inspires you? It can be someone you know well or someone you secretly admire.

    Write a poem for Cobourg Present, our evolving eChapbook. Based on the recent news headlines it looks like we are facing another lockdown. We miss our gatherings. Let’s connect to our common humanity and the heart of our community through poetry.

  • Podcast

    Conversations about Creativity: New Podcast

    Aprille Janes and I are excited to launch our new podcast featuring conversations about creativity: Hummingbird.

    We celebrate the joy (and sometimes messiness) of living with creative abundance. We share practical strategies and reflections on expanding creativity. Aprille is an artist and Jessica is a writer. Like the hummingbird, we fly from ideas to projects to people to find ways to better understand how to engage in our arts with more passion, skill, and fun.

    We explore big questions about integrating creativity into our lives. Sometimes the question is about something that holds us back or what creativity really is all about or sometimes we examine a life lived. How do you nurture a life of creativity? 

    We invite you to not only ‘eavesdrop’ on our conversations but to share your questions and comments with us on our website and social media.

    Recent Episodes

    Feel free to follow on your app of choice. Or you can follow our Hummingbird Podcast blog to be emailed each time a new episode is posted.

    For those that have followed Sunshine in a Jar over the years, you know creativity is my favourite thing to write about. Now I’m thrilled to be able to talk about it!


    Conversations About Creativity

    Each episode is framed around a question we have about creativity.

    “Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

    Rainer Marie Rilke

    Each episode ends with a Play List, an invitation to play with the ideas further and engage in a creative call to action.

    Aprille and I have spent many years exploring the abundance of creativity. We are looking forward to deepening that relationship through these ongoing conversations together.

    We also hope that you will send in your questions too!

  • Creativity Workshop

    It’s Your Writing Spiral Now! So Then Who Am I?

    This is the last post in this series.

    Do you want to go deeper into understanding the relationship between yourself and the world around you?

    What is autoethnography?

    “Autoethnography is a form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher’s personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.[1][2] It differs from ethnography —a qualitative research method in which a researcher uses participant observation and interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of a group’s culture— in that autoethnography focuses on the writer’s subjective experience rather than, or in interaction with, the beliefs and practices of others. As a form of self-reflective writing, autoethnography is widely used in performance studies and English.” http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Autoethnography

    Also check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoethnography

    This section is a little more philosophical. It’s looking at research-inspired methods of writing as a way to spark insight. I love this type of work. My Master’s thesis used these ideas.