Banned book week

1888687_10152270480746813_3049804720412313024_nIt’s one of my favorite weeks, banned book week, celebrating the fact that good art scares the living crap out of people!

Maybe the coolest part of banned book week is that the ACLU published a scroll over infograph to give information to why each of these famous books pictured was banned.

Do you have an all-time favorite banned book? Mine is probably a tie. Slaughterhouse Five and Farenheit 451 (a book banned about banning books!)

 

 

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The spastic love child of Axl Rose and Sylvia Path

tesla_meLast week was the week I said, I was going to release my E-Book. Then I ended up getting called in for an interview for teaching a playwriting class and realized that I had an erasure poem I wanted to submit and the deadline was fast approaching…

so last week was not the week.

But as Scarlett O’Hara, a heroine that I despise would say, “tomorrow is another day.”

So barring anything crazy, this week will be the week.

But back to the erasure poem, I received work yesterday that it will be included in the project (I’ll post more later.) (I also got the job teaching kids play-writing! expect a blog on that later.)

I’m super excited. This was my first attempt at an erasure poem.  Erasure poems, for those who don’t know, is  a form of found poetry or found art created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem.

The project is going to be available on Silver Birch Press.

I found this sort of work, freeing in its constrictions. The project had a specific constraints on the topic as well as the page number you could pick. It was a puzzle for the artistic mind!

It also helped with my writer’s block. 🙂 I really do suggest it for people who can’t think of anything to write or who like to pretend like me that they are visual artists as well.

I think I might take a few books and just have at it. Who knows maybe I’ll come up with

 

When your give birth to your literary babies

Poetry may be dead, but poets aren’t!

I woke up on Monday with two bittersweet emails. Two of my poems had been accepted for publication in Cool Etc! a few new online journal. One of which was a baby of  mine, Loaded Gun, Twice Fired. I wrote this poem about 8 years ago (wow I’m getting old) for a class in poetry. The assignment was to finish the Emily Dickinson poem, My life has stood a loaded gun. I ended up with a poem that I loved that stood a lone or in tandem to the original piece. But after I got out of college, I had a heck of a time trying to publish it, because it was “too traditionally.” I refused to give up, and now, my baby shall see the light of day. It’s an odd feeling though, to be done with a piece I tweaked and changed some many times throughout the year, but greatly satisfying. Image
In addition, my poem, The river bed, was also published! This wasn’t a baby of mine, rather a poem I wrote while spending a day walking along the Mackinaw river.

It’s pleasures like this that make a rainy Wednesday much more enjoyable. I hope you liked my work.

The periodic table of storytelling

I’ve run across one of the neatest sites/resources for story telling, the periodic table of storytelling. It’s an interactive periodic table with all sort of great information for people who want to know the art of story-telling. Warning though, this website is super addictive, and you can spend all day on it!

Enjoy.

periodictableofstorytelling

http://designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/

First publication of the new year

Good afternoon, Rachael!
 
I wanted to drop a quick note to you with good news!  Your monologue “The New Girl” has confirmed entry into Volume III of ‘interJACtions: Monologues from the Heart of Human Nature.’  Congratulations!
This greeted me in my inbox today!
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I was very excited to have this monologue published. It was originally a short story which I wrote during an exercise at University of Indiana.  It’s a dramatized piece about my experience of switching from a private Lutheran school (15 people in my class, all girls) to a public school.

Hopefully this year will continue to be a productive year for publishing (both indie and traditionally) for me!

Anyway, sorry for the brevity of this post, but I wanted to share the good news!

Pemberley High Part 2 (Pride and Prejudice re imagined )

Ok guys, I’m a couple days late (oops) but here is part two of my for fun writing project. If you haven’t read part 1, read it here.

PART II

Pemberley High was built, if Lizzi were to venture a guess, during the early 1900’s. The town like to claim it was much newer, circa 1970 but its dilapidated, crumbling gothic architecture made her rather suspicious. During her sophomore year, she had launched an investigation into the history, but the Principal quickly shut it down.

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The school was small, almost dying.  For years, the town council had argued that it should be shut down, and the kids shuttled off to other towns to attend schools. But, with most of the parents being rather wealthy (Lizzi’s parents were the notable exception), they were able to pull the political strings to keep the school open. As a consequence, Lizzi knew every one of her classmates and had been in the same class with all of them since Kindergarten.

Lizzi and Jane arrive at school on their matching blue bikes.

“Jane!” a gaggle of girls rang out.

As Jane smiled and greeted them, Lizzi slinked towards the door.

“Lizzi,” Charlotte, a slightly round mousy girl engulfed Lizzi. “ugh I missed you. I almost went insane at my Aunts. No TV. No WIFI. No internet….I was so bored, I learned to knit.”

“That sounds wonderful!” Lizzi said. “My mom had me in modeling sessions all summer.”

Lizzi contorted her face.

“I learned that ugly is beautiful,” Lizzi continued, “and unlike my nearly perfect sister, Jane, who as our coach said, was almost too beautiful to model, I had the perfect amount of flaws.”

Charlotte gasped. Lizzi couldn’t tell if it was shock or if she was a bit envious.

Charlotte and Lizzi had been friends for as long as Lizzi could remember. Their mothers, both stay at home mothers, who worried much too much about their daughters, had quickly bonded over the twos mutual social awkwardness during the great kindergarten Valentine’s day buddies debacle. Lizzi, who had decided by then that Valentine’s day was an over commercialized- consumer driven holiday had refused to participate and instead brought a homemade heart shaped protest sign which read “Love doesn’t come from a store,” to school while Charlotte, who because of a nasty paste-eating habit and cootie scare, had been labeled as “the weird kid,” sat crying over the lack of valentine’s in her un-decorated shoe box.  What started out as a play date to socialize the girls and a chance for the mothers to drink some wine and lament, quickly turned into bff bracelets and secret handshakes.

Though recently, Lizzi worried they might be drifting apart. She had engrossed herself in every art and political outlet she could think of which seemed to bore Charlotte. While Charlotte had joined the school’s flag guard and was reveling in what little social status that seemed to bring her.  

“I even had a few job offers.” Lizzi said, “Of course I immediately turned them down and told my mother that my coach said I was a hopeless case.”

“Lizzi, you’re awful.”

“ What mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Lizzi said with a smile.

“Oh hey,” Charlotte said, she arched her body around Lizzi, “ I’ve got to go say hi to the other guard girls before class. You have first period Chemistry right?”

“Yeah.”

“Awesome.” Charlotte said bouncing away. “See you then.”

——–

A plea to Ted Nugent (and all the other demagogues of the world)

Dear Ted Nugent,

I’ll admit it. I grew up admiring you. You were a drug-free artist who came from a small town and was thought of as crazy. I was a drug free artist who was thought of as creepily smart, possibly on drugs (for my odd behavior) and as an  “odd one”.1545098_10151929481037297_351251612_n

Besides you had long hair, which is my Achilles heal and you were in one of my favorite bands, Damn Yankees.

What’s not to love?

Mind you, this was before the age of widespread Googling and I became aware of your political beliefs (diametrically opposed to mine) and your past with women and girls.

But that’s not what this is about today. It isn’t about Obama. It isn’t about gun control. It isn’t about the questionable past-times of you or I or anyone else.

It’s about what you say, how you say it, and why it so desperately matters.

You see, language shapes our world-views. If you really want a crash course in this, I suggest you check out this crazy cat named Derrida.

I’ll give you a quick crash course. For example, using he in a text when it referring to both a male and female inherently devalues the female. She is relegated as not as important as the male counterpart. The more widespread this becomes, the more inherent the thought that the female is second becomes, so much so that we don’t recognize it as an opinion but a truth and as that becomes a truth it bleeds into other parts of our lives.

But maybe this is too abstract. Let me illustrate from your own words how language can shape people.

You recently called the President and various politicians as well as their supporters (via facebook), subhuman mongrels.

Sub-human, really?

What Teddy has just done here is labeled the President, most politicians, and well myself (as well as other Democrats supporters and gun-rights control advocates) as “the other,” inherently inferior and by definition less than human.

But why does this matter?

Because simply you are creating a system where by people see themselves as superior to other people. As our history has shown, when one group tends to think of another as not as good, not as human, not entitled to the same rights, violence, enslavement and bigotry ensues. In short, you are by you words, making a schema where it is ok to disenfranchise others. It is ok to hate others. It is ok to believe that certian human beings are not as good as you and not worthy of the sames things that you deserve.

What someone doesn’t believe what I believe!

Well they simply aren’t a good/human as I am, so what does their belief matter?

What you are doing is hurting America.

You have almost 2 million followers on facebook. Instead of engaging them in debate, perhaps trying to find the solution to our problems, or a compromise, or at least providing evidence to why your solution may be betters than others, you instead polarize your fracture, making them resistant to debate, compromise or change; all the while, you fill them with hate towards anyone who thinks differently than you.

I’m tempted to call you out on the hypocrisy of trying to uphold American ideals of freedoms while demeaning and shaming all those who think differently than you.

Ok I just did it.

And for those who think I’m cherry picking a quote, I invite you to follow his facebook page, or check out some of the other awesome quotes he has had throughout the years.

Ok one more link, there are just too many.

The worst part, is, though you aren’t the only one.

Pundits on both side who have millions of viewers, millions of people who’s world view are partly shaped by their words and interpretation of the world, continue to act in a devious  manner, skewing and sometimes just plan making up facts to fit their own political agenda. All the while these pundits bash and trash the other side. Instead of having a rational factual debate. They label anyone who opposes them as “the other“, the enemy.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protest. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dissent. But there is a helpful way to do it, one that works towards a solution to our problems, and there is one that comes at a cost to all mankind.

I’m going leave you with a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, LOST:

If we can’t live together, then we’re going to die alone.

We all have a choice in the words we use. And there are consequences to them.

A former fan (fine I still really like Damn Yankees),

Rach

Video

Video killed the literary star……

An open letter from Walter Kirn. It’s hilarious and yet rather interesting critic of what is lost as writing becomes more glamorized and more open to the “fluff” of television. Also I might be a bit biased towards this because I’m not a fan of James Franco. Regardless of if you agree with all he says, it’s worth a listen.

 

Pemberley High, a series (part 1)

Ok guys as promised, my for fun online series! Look for a new one each Thursday and let me know what you think

PEMBERLEY HIGH

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It is universally acknowledged that high school is a form of medieval torture invented by embittered adults to retaliate against the inconvenience youth had caused them. This was never truer than for an outspoken, sharp-witted junior named Lizzi.  Her unconventional dress, and various charity causes, including most recently, her “What are men compared to mountains: A weekend of Womanhood and Nature Retreat,” earned her much notability and scorn amongst the jocks and cheerleaders that roamed the halls of Pemberley High.

Today was the first day, of, what, her mother dubbed, “the search to find a homecoming date (and of course potential husband).” Her mother, who Lizzi thought worried entirely too much about the social lives of her five daughters, was convinced that if Lizzi could procure a reputable male to escort her to prom, it would vault her social status to that of head cheerleader. After a suitable courtship, aka the day after Lizzi graduated high school; she would be proposed to and taken care of for the rest of her life.

The idea made Lizzi want to vomit.

“Lizzi,” Her mother’s voice floated up the stairs of their two story farm house. “Did you see the outfit I laid out for you?”

Lizzi had indeed: a pink micro miniskirt and sea-foam green crop top.

She was currently trying not to vomit at her image in the mirror.

“It doesn’t look that bad.” Jane replied.

Jane, Lizzi’s older sister, a current senior in the same high school, had apparently escaped their mother’s fashion wrath. She was dressed in a mid-length blue dress with white accents. Of course, Lizzi thought, Jane could pull off wearing a paper bag.

Jane was in many ways was Lizzi’s opposite. Fair, blonde, cordial, and almost delicate, she was the head of the fashion club as well as the service club in her school. Well-liked and popular, she had, to their mother’s joy, throughout her three years in Pemberley High, dated the caption of the football, baseball, and basketball teams. Though, at times, the relationships looked as they would go the distance, each in eventually fizzled out, on good terms, of course, for Jane would have it no other way.

Lizzi personally was glad. Those shallow, meatheads had nothing of substance to offer her sister.

“Your outfit is so hot!” Lydia, Lizzi’s younger sister, who was a freshman this year, squealed as she popped her head in the doorway.

Lizzi wondered if Lydia would be able to sit down, or if the sheer movement would split apart her skin tight jeans. Still the outfit, their mother picked for her, a bubble-gum pink shirt which said, “Sexy and I know it,” and jeans managed to make Lizzi jealous.

“Now I know it’s awful.” Lizzi moaned.

“Mom,” Lydia screamed, “I wanna wear what Lizzi is wearing. This totally isn’t fair.”

With that, Lydia huffed down the stairs.

“I look like a hooker,” Lizzi said, “and a blind one at that.”

Lizzi flung her dresser open. It was empty! Her mother had struck again.

“Mom’s just trying to help you….. “Jane sweetly tried to say.

“I guess it’s kind of impressive, if you think about it,” Lizzi said, “she was able to sneak into our room in the middle of the night, steal all of my clothes, without waking either one of us. She’s like an evil Cupid.”

Sighing, Lizzi rummaged under her bed. She managed to find and slapped on a pair of ripped up tights and her white leather Guns n Roses jacket.

“Let’s go.” Lizzi said, “before mom notices how I altered her vision.”