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I'm a small-town poet in both written word and performance. I'm more influenced by rock and roll but I am also a lit-chick full of curiosity. My influences are far and wide and I can find writing inspiration in anything, from important matters to pure whimsy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's That Time Again!

Open mic night! A week late, but still happening! Yay I'm psyched!

I just need to finish looking over the drafts for my latest poems and decide which ones I will read for the evening. I also plan on sharing a Tom Waits spoken-word piece as well, because Tom Waits rocks.

Still bugging Steve to design a layout and setup here to help connect me with the rest of the web. I'm thinking Saturday would be a great business day since we will both be off from our paying jobs together. He can work on the layout and I can organize my networking accounts to make my work more reachable to the rest of the world!

I just finished reading Crush It! by famed netizen Gary Vaynerchuk. I recommend it to anyone wanting to do something with themselves, no matter what it is. It really helps with giving advice, ideas and organization to help make whatever your passion is your life. Once I have all my bearings together the rest should be a busy (but smooth) ride. Not that things are ever supposed to be easy, but getting started is usually the toughest hurdle, but once you're fired up it's just keeping up on fuel.

School has been off to a great start for instance. I just started on my paper about The Crucible for my American History Through Literature course, and am already starting on reading the beloved classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. As a child I had a Great Illustrated Classics copy of Little Women and I loved it. Even though Great Illustrated Classics seems to condense a lot of literature, breaking down a 450 page, two-part novel into something that can be read within the span of a few hours if given the time. Not complaining though, I'm glad my parents encouraged my reading habit, and the actual full novel is even more exciting!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Benefit Concert

Tonight there is going to be a Haiti benefit concert at the Waterhole, featuring some wonderful music, a silent auction with some pretty awesome goods and services and Haitian cocktails. Proceeds will go to the local chapter of the Red Cross for the earthquake relief effort. There's no cover charge, give money as you wish, whether you bid, buy drinks or just put money in the donation pool.

Today's local paper actually ran a story on a group of Haitian refugees who were incarcerated in the early 80s. These men didn't even know they were going to be incarcerated until they arrived at the prison, they just wanted to emigrate to America to work and earn money to help their families. Fortunately out of the situation many locals helped these men out during their time at the prison, providing supplies and care while rallying for their release.

The more I learn about this town, the more amazing it is, even though I've lived in the area practically my whole life. Local history is indeed a very interesting thing. The building I live in first housed a grocery store, which was the first in the village to have a walk-in cooler. Later it became the newspaper offices for almost half a century. Funny seeing that I interned for the local paper last semester.

Classes are off to a start. Been reading and discussing. Today I'm feeling a little tired which is expected after another late night. It was Steve's birthday and we had a friend over as well. It was a fun night overall though. I just need to get my energy back for tonight's show.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This is Disgusting

I just learned that open mic is on for this month! It's going to be a week later than normally scheduled, but it's still happening apparently. I'm glad. Now to figure out what poems I will read there for the evening.

I also learned something today that upsets me. I heard of how Borders is closing 200 of their Waldenbooks stores. For a while the company has not done well at all, which is say when hearing that in their heyday they were known as a company for people who love reading. The worst part is that they've decided to destroy unsold product, rather than donate it.

Once again it's putting pennies before people. The decision to render an item useless because a company is unable to sell it, rather than give it to someone who normally wouldn't be able to afford it. We've already heard of how some H&M stores are destroying unsold clothing that could go to thrift shops and homeless shelters. Now to hear of the thousands of books that will be destroyed that could go to shelters, libraries, reading programs, schools, etc. (never thought I'd link anything here by Perez Hilton) Just because you can't make a profit on something shouldn't mean that it has to be needlessly wasted. It's sickening how much corporations who adhere to the old ways of things would rather put pennies before people.

After this I don't know if I'll be able to set foot in a Borders again. I love going to Borders because there's such a wonderful selection of books, but a lot of the news I've been hearing about them lately sickens me. It's all about the money and not about reading anymore. Either they're breathing down the necks of workers to upsell like crazy, or they're destroying stock that could go to worthy causes.

There is a Facebook fan page created regarding this issue. I suggest that facebook users who are just as outraged add it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Attempting to Settle

I'm attempting to get things settled down around here. Hoping to tie my networking together in an organized manner so no matter where people find me, they'll be able to see my other platforms as well. I'll create a new YouTube account just for my performances (unless you want to see some goofy cat videos as well). I should link my Twitter as well, and at some point create a facebook fan page. I know I've blathered about this all before.

I'm feeling kinda bummed, there's no open mic this month. Between winter break/semester starting, and the director needing a little break there is no open mic. Open mics are one of the highlights of the month for me, not just because I perform, but I get to meet other wonderfully talented people. At least there's one next month.

February should be interesting. I'll have more material than usual to go through and pick from if there's no open mic this month. I'll be turning the big 2-7 in a month. In terms of entertainment the new season of RuPaul's Drag Race will begin in February. I'm usually not into reality shows, but I love watching RuPaul's Drag Race. Plus it's always good to be reminded to be fierce, everybody needs a little fierce in their lives.

Other than that, just trying to keep the winter blahs away. Writing helps on the therapeutic end. Because my mind wanders I also like escapism. Lately I've been watching Farscape, I got my fiance the whole series for Christmas, and we've been watching it together. I don't know why I didn't get into it when it was on television, then again I would probably have had to fight with my sister over the TV since she prefers sports.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Decade

I don't feel it's too late to think about leaving the previous decade and entering a new one. There is a lot to think about concerning the decade (how do we name it, what mattered most, what mattered least, etc. ) Plus we think of what we gather from the previous decade that will help us launch into the new decade.

First there's all this talk of what do we call the previous decade. The Oughts? The Noughties? the Nulls? etc. Maybe it's best to leave it nameless. Part of the conundrum is that it's hard finding something with a good ring to it, it's not like you can have a simple, catchy, explanatory name like previous decades from the teens on. Does it even need a catchy name? We know it's already defined by some strong moments.

It was a decade where the modern generation lost its identity and innocence. 9/11 was a changing moment in history, Americans hadn't felt that fear since Pearl Harbor. What happened in the aftermath were a bunch of political snafus that we still feel the effects of. Two wars in the Middle East, an economic downturn that was a combination of the costs of war along with corporate greed. The job landscape is changing, and there are a lot of questions now.

As a member of the millenial generation there is a level of uncertainty. We first saw it a few years back with the "quarter-life crisis", graduates having a hard time finding employment in their degree fields. Which has now expanded to finding employment, period. Even though I'm working towards what can be called a flexible degree, I wonder if I'll even be able to find anything after graduation. Especially with discussion of it taking this whole decade for the job market to stabilize. Unemployment statistics are not accurate because they don't count people who have lost hope of finding work. They say that more jobs will be temporary, unstable, and employers will be much harsher on their help, with more work and less pay. It begs the question of if there will be such a thing as a "good" job. I even see it in my current employment. It is not the company that hired me years ago, the way things are conducted now are like many businesses. It's about making profits, upselling, the employer end creates a more restricting, pressured hold on the employee. It seems to be like this everywhere though.

It looks like the best way to accomplish anything in these uncertain times, is to work towards being self-made. We've been seeing this over the past couple years, consumers aren't as swayed as marketers want them to be, and people who have their own branding power are able to take control. Especially in this digital age, where anyone with talent and charisma (and sometimes lack thereof) can become a star if they know the right buttons to push. More and more that's becoming the way to take control of your future. Those with privilege are shutting out the little guys to protect their own assets and the world has gotten a little more dog-eat-dog. Now the best strategy is to bypass all of that and use accessible resources for all they can be worth. The marketing-focused business giants are slowly dying because they have forgotten the passioned, and human element. They forget such things as pride in work, and encouraging such pride through strong values beyond dollar signs.

I'm not a business person, I'm just a writer. But, one major thing that helps in my writing is the ability to observe and analyze the world around me. I can give the perspective of a blue-collar retail worker, I can give the perspective of a college student uncertain about my future even if I know the ways my degree can be used. I can speak as someone concerned that post-graduation there will be few stable jobs that pay enough to make ends meet, and I can speak of my frustrations towards these concepts. I need to feed myself too, I know poetry is a career of passion and not money, so I need a paying job to at least sustain myself, and want to go beyond being a convenience store clerk. The cocky part of me says I'm too smart for that kind of work, but cockiness and pride have to take a back seat in times like these. One of the few things I've learned from growing up poor. You have to give up pride to feed yourself.

Innovation is making the way, we're already seeing this in pop culture, and if it grows the next decade will be a changed, but hopefully fruitful one. I know that I will be utilizing these ideas more in the future as a writer, if anything just to let my voice reach out.