(throw back) Saturday morning

Sitting here at work, way to early on a Saturday, I’m reminded of a piece I wrote a copy of years ago, when I was struggling with that post-graduate, job-you-love-some-aspects-of-but- you-feel-doesn’t-work-you-to-your-full-potential experience.  This fist appeared in Illinois State University’s literary journal, Euphemism:

The flip side of a copy

Rachael Stanford

Time moves slowly when you’re a glorified copy wench. As the pale glow of replication illuminates the growing wrinkles adorning my face, the realization slowly sinks in. A train monkey could take my place, not a NASA rocketeering monkey either but a sleep-most-of-the-day in between poo-flinging one.

As the minutes tick to the void, my eyes scan the room. I want to rip down the OSHA poster, burn it to the ground, screaming to my coworkers, “six years, two degrees, honors societies and publications have to amount to more than paper cuts. And sleepless nights slaved away with library crammed house should amount to more than a no-benefits, crap-dollar an hour pay.”  I want to start anew.

A battled scared vet returning to a reformed nation, I find myself longing to be lost in The Wasteland, strung out and strung up in a hotel full of beatniks and hippies hell bent on filling the worlds with flowers.  But the best minds of my generation are wasting away in cheaply pressed suits, long retail hour eyes wearied, as their back breaks with the loans on which their future was built/destroyed.  And my rent is due in a week.

The copy machine spits out my order. As my hands shake, I pick up each warm piece, permeating my skins. But my bones shake as I turn out the light and slowly walk away, each step echoing down the hallway.

So you’re trapped on a desert island

I always think it’s a fun question, you’re trapped on a desert island, a seemingly magical one where your basic needs are taken care of so most of your day is spent lounging in a self made hammock, sipping fruity drinks and reading books. The question also asked is what ten books (yes the joys of arbitrary numbers) would you pick? Comment below and let me know

My picks:

1) Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

2) Ariel by Sylvia Path

3) Walden by Thoreau

4) Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

6) Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange

7) Winkie by Clifford

8) Alice in Wonderland by Lew Carol

Totally cheating) Rurouni Kenshin (series)  by Nobuhiro Watsuki

And 10) ???? Well I’m not sure, maybe you could help me pick that last

(For REM fans, here’s a fun look at what Michael Stipe would choose)

Iggy Pop can’t make a living off his art and apparently neither can I

So if you haven’t read Iggy Pop’s recent speech, and you are an artist, you should. It’s a bleak but true analysis of the current world for musicians, but not just for musicians, its true for artists.

This weekend, my friend and I packed out bags for a local comic book convention. It was our first time as vendors. And after eight hours of selling our hand made goods, I have a mixed feeling about the whole experience.

art_booth

Not because we didn’t sell as much as we would have liked, which we didn’t, but because of how we were treated by the consumer who bartered and belittled our prices again and again.  I understand that a little good-natured bartering is a part of every con, but there become a point at which it is, well, insulting.

People offering you half and even less of the price you are selling at. What was worse, some of these people were fellow artist, fellow vendors.

And worse, if I rejected the price, there was an indignant rage? Why wouldn’t I take it? Wouldn’t I want to sell something at any cost?

No, honestly, if it means I’m going to lose half my cost, I’ll save my art for later, thank you.

Yes I  understand that Walmart and china cheapies exist.

But why and how do they exist? Because other countries have awful labor laws. They exploit people, children, ect.

It saves you money. I get that. As someone who has been dirt poor, I understand limited funds. But if that is the case. If you don’t have that much money to spend at my both, just come over, say hi, and admire my work. Don’t try to barter and then get annoyed when I say, “no I can’t do that.”

No I don’t do this to make a living. And it’s a good thing because if I did I would be hosed.But I put money and time into making each of these crafts, and I find it ridiculous that people expect to pay cents on the dollar for crafts.

Be an Artist

Be an artist. Paint. Write. Play the banjo. Sing in the shower. Whittle figures out of soap.  Write lyrics in bathroom stalls. Do anything and everything that connects you with your creative potential.

Any day is a day for a play

Imagine. Explore. Dream.

Don’t be angry if your parents or teachers try to discourage you. They are worried, worried for you.  Money rules the world in so many way and bleeds into our fears for the one that they love. Adults try to pretend this fear doesn’t exist. But it does.

But they don’t understand. They don’t know what it is like for words to course through your veins and swell your body until a pen realizes it. They haven’t found salvation in a dingy light club with a sweaty rock and roll man screaming as the crowd swells against you.  Or spent all day staring at clouds. Or spent six hours trying to find the right shade of red. They simply are just not wired like you,do not thirst art like water, do not breathe it in like air.

Realize that this beauty is more powerful than any dollar amount, and may never bring you any money. Realize that the late nights and long hours are worth what you are doing for nothing more than the finishing line of a poem. That fame and success do not add to your work. You do not have to be Picasso.   My art, your art, our art will have a rippling effect that no one will fully comprehend. One speck of paint can bring the heavens to weep.

Creation. Taking nothing, taking parts and making a whole is contained within itself, a wonder that mimics the heavens.

Be an artist because the world tells you to become an investment banker but just as the word needs financiers, scientists and doctors, the world needs a soul.

Be an artist because the world sucks. In the darkness, we need your light of hope. We need a voice that screams, “I feel how you feel. You are not alone.” And in the light we need the darkness, an everlasting reminder of the yin and yang of life.

And never apologize for it. Be who you are. And love what you do. Those who understand will never chastise you. And those who don’t, will never understand.

All children are artists, why aren’t all adults?

All children are artists, each in their own way.

Think about it.

Watch a group of children.

What do they do?

Draw.  Write.  Paint.  Build.  Pretend.

They are actors, directors, producers of their own little dramas, be it playing house, Barbies or G.I. Joe’s. They make up magical worlds all within their minds.

Until….that  self-awareness, the creeping of adolescence and adulthood hit us.  I remember seventh grade, and going to a friends house,who was a year ahead of me. I was horrified that she wanted to play Barbies.  I played, begrudgingly  but the thought of pretending at 13 was just absurd to me.

The irony is now, at 27, I wish I have more time to pretend.

Why do we stop?

I could say this is an isolated incident, and there are still obviously people who continue into adulthood (LARP), but this is not the norm.  Why does this intricate part of life, slip away from us?

And not just pretending, why stop creating art in general.

Do we lose our passion?

Are we taught not to?

Is art just a way to mimic adulthood so when it stops having a function, we lose it?

Does society condition us not to?

What do you think? I’ll post my ideas in a follow up response.