My Enchanté column about Tricia Knowles
She’s animated when the speaks. Her eyes do a great deal of her talking.
Tricia Knowles is a freelance writer and promoter of the arts. You may know her as a former radio personality. Or a writer. Or Kingston Unplugged founder and organizer.
Brunch offered time for an interesting chat. Both of us work freelance. Both work from home, so we had an understanding of the isolation and the freedom that offers.
She’s a fascinating and brilliant woman with the guts to talk about things that matter, rather than the fluff over which the mainstream infotainment media obsesses.
But Tricia is more than a writer, more than an arts promoter. She’s a creative arts professional, a loving mom and partner to Penelope’s daddy, and a life-to-the-fullest dweller on the earth.
Try something new? Sure. Why not belly dancing?
Feeling awkward in the new-mommy body after childbirth? How to deal with that? Bare it all and participate in a full-body painting.
That about sums things up for Tricia Knowles. She laughs. She cries. She expresses. Every parent should be an artist. I don’t mean that in terms of sitting down and creating a painting. I mean that each parent should listen to his or her inner voice and, the partner’s (if there is one) inner voice, about what’s right. Intuition is rarely wrong. Intuition isn’t some airy-fairy concept. Intuition is simply listening to the inner voice that garners its knowledge from years of experience on levels we don’t consciously comprehend.
Tricia’s career began in broadcasting.
After her maternity leave ended, she returned to work for two months.
“It just didn’t feel right,” she said. “I knew it was time for new opportunities. My partner is very supportive. So I decided to take a year, do some freelance writing, event planning and promotion and marketing. I took the extra time to be with Penelope. She is only two now and I’m happy where I am.”
Knowles grew up in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. She attended college in Kentville for a program in broadcast journalism and marketing.
After graduation, she worked in radio broadcasting and as a Promotions and Marketing Director for broadcasters in the Maritimes and Ontario.
We met several years ago when Tricia was planning the first Kingston Unplugged event in support of Earth Hour.
“I think loving and caring for our Earth and the nature that we take from is our responsibility, and as human beings it’s important to give back to the earth.”
She talks about Native spirituality and ways of earth consciousness.
I discovered her writing skills when she started a blog called Baby Brainz. Then I’d see her stories in publications around town. I follow her Baby Brainz even though I’m not a mom, and I’m not new. My youngest is 15, far removed from baby stages. But I like good writing, especially stuff that’s honest and open.
“When I had Penelope, a lot of new moms weren’t talking about topics I needed them to talk about. I found a few friends who were very open about post-partum sexuality, lack of sleep and zombie frustration. There’s just so much guilt about how society tells you how you’re supposed to parent.”
She’d never planned to have children.
“So I didn’t have this experience of getting ready and all this maternal stuff. This is a little person. I went into, ‘this is what needs to be done mode.’ I didn’t care what people around me thought. It turned out that i met amazing women.,”
“Baby Brainz just started by me to get some frustration about being a parent out,” she said. “Every time I’d say something, someone would say, ‘Tricia, you should blog about that.'”
She explained that the column offered her a revelation.
“On radio, you’re behind a mike, and when you’re on air you’re wearing a mask,” she said. “As much as I’d try not to, I was still wearing a mask. After being with Penelope and spending a full year not wearing that mask, when I went back, it just didn’t fit anymore.”
A couple of key moments in her career involved physical injuries. She blew her voice out. Seriously. After attending a Buddy Guy concert and cheering rather enthusiastically, she found she couldn’t talk.
“I’d bruised my larynx,” she said. “I lost my voice. For three months I couldn’t talk. I learned how to listen.”
At another time, she injured her back. That led to one of her most cherished accomplishments, Kingston Unplugged.
“I started that when I was out with a herniated disk in my back, lying on the living room floor, typing a proclamation to the City of Kingston,” she said. “After hearing what happened in Australia in 2007, I thought it was amazing and it was going global in 2008. We had a small rally around the water fountain for 60 people.”
The following year, the little event grew and included a concert that attracted 600 people.
“The year after there were 1200 people,” she said. “The last couple of years, we’ve had 1800 to 2000 people visiting throughout the night. We’ve made it into an educational event and kept it local.”|
She’s proud of taking an event, promoting it and watching it grow. The process speaks clearly of her promotion and marketing skills. She’s passing on the responsibility to Sustainable Kingston. I wondered if it was difficult giving away this “baby” and watching it leave home.
“I’ll still be involved,” she said. “Whether you agree with Earth Hour or not, it’s a remarkable educational opportunity. It’s a demonstration that’s about more than just an hour.”
She says that the local support has been rewarding.
“The guys at Kingston Soundworks donate everything. They don’t get a dime,” she said. “Those guys are incredible. They understand the value of community. That’s what makes Kingston so amazing. It’s a community.”
I like to fill my life with interesting people. That doesn’t mean commercially successful people. It might be a famous musician in Dublin. But it’s just as likely a homeless busker in Manhattan or the extremely introverted playwright. It keeps things real. Without masks. Like Tricia Knowles.
If I was looking for an interesting writer or someone to promote an arts event, I’d be turning to Tricia. And regardless of how old my children (and I) get, I’ll be reading her blogs.