Advice, create create create

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’d like to say that I’ve spent my time away from the blogger-sphere creating, unfortunately it’s been much more mundane than that…surviving if you will. (I’d say living but that implies a certain zest that these droll winter months haven’t much afforded me.)

But this morning, a deary day with nipping hints of Persephone’s legacy swirling around my face, I stumbled upon this and decided today would be a beautiful day to rededicate myself to writing  and to the world at large.

In short, I’m back. And if you have had a creative drought or are feeling your work isn’t up to par, please take a minute a listen to the video below.

A minute can reset your life after all.

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(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.

I’m not dead, I’m just a mommy…..

Just a quick note at work, I realize this last year that I have very sadly let this blog go downhill. (What can I say motherhood has kicked my artistic ASS). But on the plus side, my amazing illustrator is making progress on our children’s book, I have a youtube series in the work and I’m finely writing poetry again. So please bare with me as I slowly work my  way back to artistic glory or at least.  And until that way, enjoy a progress sketch of Monster’s Don’t Hugs.

Alfie

Peace n Love,

Rach

Out of the ashes, I rise with my blonde hair……

I’m coming upon the year anniversary of my father’s death. And what has been, for a lack of a better term, the least productive year artistically of my life.

I was depressed about it. Lost, one could say in the volume of silence, the abyss of nothingness.

That was until yesterday when in a passing conversation with my fiance’s dad, I mentioned that I had previously been a math major.

“Math major, pshhh. Let me see those grades. You had to be failing that is the ONLY reason that anyone would switch from math to English…..”

Enraged, I took my grievance to social media where I got a bevy of responses similar to:

“Why would you do that????? He’s right. Don’t you know companies are poaching math and science high school teachers…..”

A rekindled fire burned with in me.

Why would I switch from Math to English?

Very simply, when it came down to studying for my Cal final freshman year of college, I decided instead to watch Young Guns.

Yes the 1980’s brat-pack western.

And it dawned on me, I was good at math, oh I was, (got a high A in the course) but I wasn’t passionate about it. I didn’t stay up late at night to study or work on math, but I sure as heck did for writing.

I have railed in previous posts about how much art matters, but have, through the course of the last year, partly forgotten how passionate I am about it.

His words, though, and others fuel my fire. Art matters. My art matters. You’re art matters.

And don’t let anyone tell you otherswise.

Now, where is my pen, do I dare to disturb the universe?

Because a vote for me is a vote for humanity (ok not really but please vote)

Torrid Literature published my poem, We is, this summer and is now having a contest for their literary hall of fame. If you would be so kind to vote for me, that would be awesome. I’m on page three, Rachael Stanford, We is. You can vote

A vote for me, is well, a vote for me. :)

A vote for me, is well, a vote for me. 🙂

We is by Rachael Stanford

We
Is

Laughing at linguists who
could never comprehend

though the space between our
fingertips

is wider than the Grand Canyon
the barren plains punctuating
I forge, unashamedly naked
The bitter November winds
lick my flesh

We is

Enveloped in blurred realities
Of your memories, warmed by the linger
Touch of your flesh, a permanent tattoo

I run, unwavering by demons of doubt
A happy toddler, each step in you

A cosmos
We.

Thanks again for the vote, I’m happy to return the favor!

marching towards the light, erasure poem by Rachael Stanford (Half New Year Poetry Series)

My poem is live,check it out 🙂

Silver Birch Press

stanford_erasure
marching towards the light
by Rachael Stanford

My dream — wearing a wedding dress
it didn’t fit, the hem was caked
with dried mud, a tattered veil

he, a dank cave,
an old fashioned white cloth
half woven

and he was staring right at me,
like I was a TV program,
he’d been waiting for.

My dream-self was slow
taking in the stalactite ceiling,
the stench of growling
bleating sounds that echo from behind
blocking the room’s only exit — a cavern
beyond.

“please I don’t have the strength,
you have to hear me!”

SOURCE:  Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Two : The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (Hyperion Books, 2006).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is based on a page from a Percy Jackson YA novel. In writing the poem, I wanted to retain the original feel of the page but change and tweak it to elicit…

View original post 81 more words

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 words aren’t enough…..

Note: written during the weekend of another Hallmark holiday, Father’s Day, where I find myself lost once again so I take to the paper and write something, I’ll be rewriting for the rest of my life.

Image

I found myself in the sterile room,

snow blind, a blizzard

of you.

as the doctor’s tongue snaked

charmed out symbols, I coated

myself with words: selfishness,

bravery and faith.

and the silent bargains serenade

angels, the bleat from

my lips to the eletronic  pulse

… . … . … . … .

You need a lung

but my words were dull,

unable to cut the

supple folds of my

skin. You needed

everything

 

all I could give you was a sonnet.

Lit nerds shaming (just what the world needed)

bookwarRuth Graham’s new article on why adults should be ashamed to read YA literature seems to have brought all the literary snobs out of the wood work. You know the type, your friend who only read Joyce in public or lament much to loud and publicly about poetry that rhymes. Of course this tends to be an issue, that comes to surface again and again and again. It isn’t enough to read, you have to read the right work.

When I was a child, the devil was Goosebumps. How could kids waste their time on this, there was no literary value…blah blah blah blah blah.

I was one of those kids wasting my time reading these poorly written crap, which they were, no moral, no plot development and frankly about half way through the book, I could tell you how it was going to end. But to my third grade self, there was nothing more exciting than getting my next book-order in with my new Goosebumps book.

Mind you, before those books I HATED reading. I’d only read what was required in school. And eventually I became bored with them and moved on to the classics (Fahrenheit 451, Tom Sawyer, etc).

Here is something to think about (from 2013): 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read:million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.

We do not need to be shaming people on their literary choices. Yes, there are more engaging and mind boggling works than YA (though some are pretty darn powerful like 13 Reason’s Why), but frankly as long as something keeps you reading, that is something.

And let’s talk about some of the classics, with a plot break down:

Old man and the sea: Old man goes fishing. Has a lot of regret. Finally catches his giant fish. Sharks eat it. He is defeated. Dreams of lions (dies).

The Catcher in the Rye: A whiny boy whines for way too long.

Need I go on? (Don’t get me started on Pamela.)

In all, Graham’s article seems to forget:

Reading is a personal choice and what is engaging or deep to someone is completely person.

Frankly, I challenge all of you to go reread Dr. Seuss’s work, there’s some deep social complementary in it.

And there is an art in simplicity in the ability to expound deep thoughts to younger audiences.

So go out, read what you want. Be it a magazine, a best seller or a classic and don’t let anyone give you crap for it.

 

The odds and ends of being an artist

This has been a busy week! (And as I’m writing this I feel I’m writing a short, not as amazing “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”). I’ve been asked before, sometimes, that as an artist, what is it that you do?

Sometimes I think when you tell people you are an artist people automatically envision romantic Paris-wine dreams . Not so much.

The reality is that like most people I work (as a tutor and an English instructor) and manage to find time for my art usually at the expense of my house hold choirs.books

So for those who are wondering, here is a sample of my week:

First I received an email that my poem “We Is” is going to be published in July in torrid magazine. It was a nice email (though a pang of sadness as I couldn’t call the first person I always do) especially because I have not been submitting anything as of late (too too busy).

Then, I spent the first part of the week, furiously getting a portfolio together for a grant program for the Illinois Art Council. It’s a long shot. They announced over 15,000 in grants. However, the announcement came with a 3 day turn around (talk about pressure.) I will keep you updated. Also if you live in Illinois check out the Art Council page for more programs.

Afterwards, I had a Skype date cue the fancy music, first date jitters and a wine with a fancy illustrator friend of mine,  Riki,check out her work) to discuss working on a children’s book (Lots of exciting info to be coming!)

The rest of the week was a hodgepodge of emailing about guest blogs, contacting a graphic artist about a graphic novel, talking to my best friend Ashy about doing a collaborative art show and a few other art odds and end on the promotion side.

Notice no writing 😦

But life goes on doesn’t it? How was your week as an artist?