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welcome to the wonderful world of a literary adventuress

"The Songbird of Vienna" at the Vancouver Fringe Festival September, 2022

"Michelle's recent performance at a fundraiser for our charity was well received by the diverse audience.  Her presentation is flawless and engaging and she holds her audience in rapture as she delivers her epic with grace and sophistication."

Maureen Loiselle, President of School Orchards Africa

"We have featured Michelle several times and always received a strong response from our audience who love her poetic stories.  She brings them to life on the air, painting with words beautiful images for the listeners."

Ariadne Sawyer, MA, Host and Producer of the World Poetry Café celebrating 23 years on the air with Vancouver Co-op Radio.

     Believe me, I dearly love the written word but nothing can equal the fleeting magic of a well crafted tale told to perfection.  Timbre and expression of voice, rhythm, rhyme and the musical richness of unusual words are qualities that cannot be properly conveyed by the flatness of the printed page. Below you will find recordings of a few of my stories in verse.

     Each of my story poems draws on the history and culture of a foreign country.  Perhaps you will learn something you never knew before.  If you do then that will only be a happy accident since each story has no other purpose than to entertain, delight and make your day more enjoyable.  These are the kind of stories that you can listen to in the car when you are stuck in traffic or while tucked into bed with a cup of tea on a cold winter night.

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The Songbird of Vienna 

This is the story I will be performing at the 2022 Vancouver Fringe Festival.  General opinion among my friends is that it is the best story I have ever done.  I am very excited to have this huge opportunity to present it to the world.  Nothing can equal the magic of live theatre.

So... It's the late 1800's in Vienna, the glittering capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Famed as a musical powerhouse, the city has been home to such spectacular talents past and present as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss. Hopeful young composers flock there but not all of them find success. One of the unlucky is Franz. Having given up, his dreams crushed, Franz is waiting for a coach to take him back to his home town when he discovers a baby bird in distress. He rescues this tiny spark of life. One thing leads to another and through this small act of kindness his fortunes change. Luck, hard work and inspiration, love, friendship and confidence all play their roles on the way to a happy ending. This is a story for anyone who has ever felt the joy of rescuing an animal and seeing it thrive - and it's a story for anyone who has ever dreamed a dream and tried to make that dream come true.

This recording is not yet available.

The Cats of the Winter Palace  

To this very day the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia is home to a colony of cats.  In fact, cats have lived there since 1745.  Inspired by real events in Russian history and greatly embellished with fiction, this is the story of how the cats first arrived.  A capital city under construction, a mercurial empress, an ambitious princess and, of course, plenty of unpredictable cats are the ingredients of this enchanting story.

This album entitled "The Pearl of Dubai" contains three stories:

1. The Pearl of Dubai 

Harking back to the early 1900's when pearl diving, not oil was the big business of the Arabian Gulf, this is the story of a humble pearl diver, the fabulous pearl he finds and the special bond that unites the two.  The story is purely of my own invention; it's fiction.  However, the historical background is fact.  You'll find much more about this little known period of Arabian history in my blog post Pearls of the Arabian Gulf

2.  The Lost Library of Alexandria 

Reaching back into ancient history, this is the story of how Alexander the Great established a legendary library and how, many centuries later, the formidable Queen Zenoubia of Palmyra, a legend in her own right, longed to possess it.

3.  The Persian Carpet 

Set in the old Persian Empire, this is the tale of a talented young carpet designer who accidentally glimpses a beautiful garden and falls in love with the girl who created it.  The story is fictional but the setting is historical - and the ending is blissful.

The Figurine

This story was inspired by long buried true events of grand passion and tragedy in Edwardian era England.  In the early 1900's, when motorcars had newly been invented, Eleanor Velasco Thornton, a London secretary, went to work in the office of a car magazine owned by a lord.  The secretary and the lord fell in love and their great affair ultimately sparked the creation of the Rolls-Royce hood ornament.  Here fact is lavishly woven with fiction to bring this remarkable fragment of history to life. 

You can find more background on this story in my blog post

A Woman Worth Remembering?.

The Cats of the Winter Palace  

A performance of the story poem in full.

This video is a few years old at this point but I still like it even though I've changed and improved quite a bit since then. It is of an informal "rehearsal" night, basically an "open mic" at a tiny theatre where, thanks to the kindness of the eccentric manager, lots of people get stage experience and the chance to be filmed in front of an audience. I am on stage right from the beginning (that's me in the red skirt).  My performance ends at 25:42. 

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