And then I realized that I was somebody

I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody.

Source Unknown

I was recently watching “Horton hears a Who” with a friend (in case you forgot the book/movie plot it can be summed up in the simple phrase, “a person’s a person no matter how small,”) when I lamented to a friend, “why is it that in adulthood, we forget all the important lessons of childhood.” She responded sadly, “because adulthood makes us forget.”

I remember being a child, thinking I was going to end world hunger and create world peace on my hippie artist farm (my goal as a 13 year old.) By the time I was 20, I was so jaded with life, I swore I would only ever think of myself. That of course lasted a year maybe two at most, and I am dilligently working my way back to the 13 year old who would let nothing stop them.

It’s easy road to follow. The news is filled with awful stories every day. And it makes the world seem so bleak that there is nothing a person can do.

One such sobering fact : According to the World Literacy Foundation, one in five adults cannot read or write, 57 million primary aged children are not in school, and 123 million young people are unable to read or write.

Now what do you do with that information?

Ignore it?

Lament it?

Or try and change it?

Well one girl (who was 8 at the time) decided to try and change it. Holding book drives with eventually turned into a non-profit organization, “Read Indeed,” Maria Keller had a goal of donating a million books by the time she was 18. At 13, she has already passed her goal. You can read more here.

Never forget baby-steps can change the world. You can change the world. Don’t be jaded by past failures or the daunting task of it all. Forget how hard the road may be.  

If you don’t like what you see, rearrange it.

Two very cool sites you should visit today……

I’ve been surfing the web and found a couple of really fun websites. The first is called Brain Pickings. It has a lot of cool articles, a lot word nerd related articles,  including one for vintage ads for libraries.  Here are two of my favorites:

vintagereading6vintagereading7

If you like what you see and want some for your own home library, check out ebay and amazon. They have some great deals!

My second find of the day is a little start-up literature journal. It’s run by a friend of a co-worker of mine at the writing lab. The journal, unlike a lot of other journals, seems very unpretentious and open to all kinds of writing. They are also looking for submissions for their next issue. (I’ll add it to my submissions page shortly.)

Breaking up with your book

Dearest —–

You must have seen it coming. My eyes have been wondering to other books on the shelf. I  have gingerly caress their spines as yours sat collecting dust.

And then there were those occasions when I did pick you up. After waiting months and months to see you, I sighed, enthralled perhaps for a minute or two, but quickly the feeling vanished and I was left, forcing myself to keep going, hoping inspiration would hit us again.

books_1612625c (1)

It didn’t.

I furrowed my head at your plot twists. What once seemed ingenious now became convoluted and redundant. As more and more seemingly filler characters came into the picture, as your story become self-aggrandizing and obese, as your story veered off into tangent after tangent in an obvious allegory to Christ which for some reason almost every dystopian series feels it must follow, I sat and wondered, were you the same series I fell in love with?

Maybe it was the months and months I waited for you. Reading about you. Dreaming about what would lie in your undiscovered pages. My mind put you up on a pedestal that only Kurt Vonnegut and my other masters of literature could fill.

Or maybe it’s me.

It been over a year since I read  your last chapter, caressed your pages lovingly, let your word bleed into my reality. A lot can happen in a year, perhaps we have just grown apart.

A rat in a cage (Indy vs traditional publishing)

Publishing is a game. You learn that early in your studies if you go through an university. Be it an scholarly  journal or creative writing, it’s all hoops you have to jump through to establish yourself and further your career. And the more you become engrossed in it, the more you realized it’s not just about talent, but who you know and how much press they will get for publishing you…..

Why is it that way? Because they say so.

Now, I’m not sure who they are. Though I suspect it might be the publishers and those profiting off of mine and yours work….

I also think that’s partly why being an indie writer is so looked down up.

plays

Ok, we will get it out of the way. The problem with vanity press is that anyone can do it. And frankly there are so god-awful works that in my opinion see the light of day. There are also a lot of scams, and publishers that try to hide that you will be footing the bill,  so if you do wanna pursue vanity press, research it and do it because you want your work out there…..

But if you do self-publish in any form, expect to be look down upon for it.

“Oh you’re an author, who published your work?”

“….I did…”

Awkward silence…..

That might be my least favorite part about the writing game. This weird need that most artist have to inflate their own work at the cost of others. I remember excitedly telling a professor of my first real publication (in a fairly respected online journal) only to have him brush it aside….*in a stuffy accent* “well if you’re still writing and publishing when your forty, then we will know you have what it takes to be a writer”….just to have him a few months later blow up my Facebook feed with how amazing the journal was and blah blah blah because his wife had a poem published here….

….Don’t even get my started of a few of my friends who decided to start their own journals…..Somehow editing an online webpage and calling it a journal must turn nice rational people into cut-throat, pretentious snobs. Stories. So many….more than I care to share of how the publishing/promotion game has soured perfectly nice people.

It’s like all writers are perpetually stuck in high school, insecure jocks that have to pick on everyone else around them in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that they aren’t gods among men.

But that wasn’t always the case. In the 19th century it was common for established writers to pay for publishing their own books.

(A stolen bit for Wikipedia for you from their vanity press article. Let your “More you know star”shine:)

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was common for legitimate authors, if they could afford it, to pay the costs of publishing their books. Such writers could expect more control of their work, greater profits, or both. Among such authors were Lewis Carroll, who paid the expenses of publishing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and most of his subsequent work. Mark TwainE. Lynn HarrisZane GreyUpton SinclairCarl SandburgEdgar Rice BurroughsGeorge Bernard ShawEdgar Allan PoeRudyard KiplingHenry David ThoreauWalt Whitman and Anaïs Nin also self-published some or all of their works. Not all of these well-known authors were successful in their ventures; Mark Twain’s publishing business, for example, went bankrupt.[6]

Ernest Vincent Wright, author of the 1939 novel Gadsby, famous for being written entirely in lipogram, was unable to find a publisher for his unusual work and ultimately chose to publish it through a vanity press.

(By the way, if you go back to the early early days of publishing, there are way more writers that are well known that used vanity publishing at one point or another in their career…but anyway back to my own thoughts.)

But the truth is that success or failure is not guarantee your art is good. Emily Dickinson had only a handful of poems published in her lifetime, still she is greatly studied, admired and remembers. Yet, Ursula Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea which was immensely popular in the 1970’s and was later borrowed heavily upon for a certian scared-wizard series is  almost completely forgotten.

Time and people can only tell us how art stands the test of time and who it can affect. As far as I can see, the more art that is out there, on any level, the more chance for us to grow and discover. And how do you measure success? Frankly, if one poem/essay/play/story I write helps one person, then I consider it a success. And when you consider the ripple effects, well, it’s hard not to make a case for more art in this work isn’t it?

In short, yet blogs, indie publishing and vanity press have no standards. They are the mutts of the art world. But it is still art. And some of it is darn fine. 

So if anyone gives you crap for being , a self-publish artist or vanity press artist, tell them at least you had the guts to do something with you life and put yourself out there.

 All of this makes me just want to run to my piano….the piano doesn’t judge me!

Rant over. Time to get back to playing the game and self-publishing. I have college applications to finish, journals to submit to and the finishing touches on my Nook Book.

A pride and prejudice wedding

I’ve been told that most girls from childhood spend their days dreaming about their wedding and proposals. Frankly, I think that’s crap. If you count my idea that getting married by a young Elvis (no fat Elvis for me) in a crappy chapel in Vegas as childhood-dreaming of weddings/marraige/etc, I’ve spent a grand total of maybe forty-five minutes of my life fawning over the affair.wedding

Still, when I came across this guy’s reenactment of Pride and Prejudice’s proposal scene, I was impressed and a bit confused.  Impressed because this clearly took ALOT of work. And confused, because (and I’m assuming the proposal was real and the dude wasn’t just re-enacting the scene for larks) even though I really love Pride and Prejudice, I wouldn’t want to borrow the moment from them for my own engagement!

So what do you guys think, is this an awesome idea? Or not?

Insecurities

Insecurities are probably just a given with the artistic life. It’s hard not to take it personally when you poor hours and sweat into a piece just to have someone hate it.  And even though you know a lot of times, its just a preferences it’s hard to carry on.

And that’s where I find myself sitting, on the cliff of fear and insecurity.

insecrutities I have one project done, an anthology of plays. I just have to add my author’s bio and click publish on the nook press. But I linger. Realistically, I don’t expect it to be a best seller. But, as all of these plays have been produced, my main goal is just to get it out into the world and move on….still what if NO ONE buys it. My doubts are demons dancing in my brain.

Speaking of plays, my play, “The Wall,” is available for download (free) from Independent Playwrights.

Also, I’m shortly going to be opening an esty shop. I’m a writer that paints with too many painting for my home anymore and a crafter. It’s time to downsize. And maybe spread my view of the world to others.

And lastly, I’m pairing with a local artist to create a comic book. Details will follow including a Kickstarter campaign. It’s a slow process which I’m not used to and scary but I think the process will be worth it.

As you can see, lot’s going on that puts me into the world and opens me up to rejection. I suppose in the end I’ll just have to suck it up and put my big girl pants on. And if I do face utter rejection, well its the air artists breathe.

 

Write for a free house

I have mixed emotions over the idea behind Write A House but I thought I would share it with you, my readers, because it might be of use to some of you.

It’s fairly simple. If you are a writer, you can apply for a free house in Detroit.  The up side, you can get a house rent free (minus utilities, taxes and with contingent on some other rules.) The downside you have to live in Detroit which has become a fairly crime-ridden city.

One of the houses remolded for an artist

One of the houses remolded for an artist

But someone has to turn around Detroit don’t they? And hey if successful, maybe Detroit will turn into a little piece of art heaven which you can be a part of. For poor starving artists like myself, well, it would give you a roof over you head and a place to write.

You can check out writeahouse at their website. They have more detail about the application process and rules that apply.

 

 

The 30 Best Period Dramas From the Last 30 Years

If Downton Abbey has you hooked on period pieces, why not try this list on for size! Some great gems in here 🙂

Flavorwire

In the week following the Downton Abbey premiere, some disappointed killjoys notwithstanding, I probably don’t have to do much to sell you on the idea of watching period dramas. They’re a hobby/comfort food of mine, these only-somewhat-highbrow historical pageants, usually starring British actors and just as often tied to the BBC. Sometimes people ask if I long to be dressed up in fancy corsets and mooning about drawing rooms, if that’s what draws me to them. I don’t think so. I think what attracts me personally is the self-conscious sort of grandeur these things always have, a grandeur which is missing from most of our contemporary depictions of our lives.

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