The Art of Disruption

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination”

The truth of the above assertion by poet John Keats shone brightly for me in 2015. By far the most enjoyable and moving events I was associated with included singers, musicians and spoken word poets. It got even better when the presenters were turned into storytellers and they had as much time to mingle with the audience as they did to speak. When sprinkled with food and drink the overall experience was positively disruptive. Some of the best events took place in pubs and churches.

The inescapable truth of wanting to make the world a better place is that we must touch hearts before we can open minds.

Painters, poets, singers, musicians, dancers, sculptors, storytellers and other artists have been doing both for millennia. It would be foolhardy to proceed on our social change journey without their company and artistry.

When our hearts and imagination are engaged the intellect becomes tender and bold.

Therefore, be it resolved that in 2016 I will include artists as an integral part of my presentations and speaking engagements. I’m counting on your help to commit these acts of disruption.


Try. Play. Trust. Take a leap of faith!
Something will emerge…
imagined for you, for me, for us.

     – from “The Impact I Make” by Meharoona Ghani, a marvellous poet who composed it for my Vancouver book ‘unlaunch.’

This post’s musical accompaniment is “Converge the Realities” written and performed by the immensely talented Renée Ashanta Henry and Charmie DellerThey performed this at an event associated with my new book in downtown Toronto in the fall. It may just become my theme song.

Here’s one link. Here’s another.

Our heart is big, if we keep listening,

And allow none of our children to ever go missing,

in the heart of the city.

All the voices

Are beating, needing, repeating

Pleading, exceeding, repeating…

     – from “The Heart of the City” By Richard Glenn Lett, National Slam poetry Champion 2013. Composed during and performed at the end of the same event that             involved Renée and Charmie.



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One Comment

  1. Donna Thomson

    I love this, Al! Have a look at the Toronto based theatre maker, Darren O’Donnell. His work is super disruptive – and it’s art!

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