Channeling your inner NPR/PBS

As I was driving on Tuesday to the semi-annual developmental workforce meeting for my teaching job, I took the hour plus mind-numbing drive to catch up on the world around me, by tuning into my local NPR channel.

But as my hand left the preset, I wanted to scream.

pbsThey were fund-raising again.

Now fans of NPR know there is one week (every six months or so) that you want to avoid: fund-raising week, were every show you love is continuously interpreted with a guilt inducing plea for funds:

“If you love this show, don’t you want to keep it on the air….”

“It is people like you who…..”

“If we don’t raise $$$$, your favorite host will be executed at dawn….”

Ok, maybe the last quote was made up. But, it’s probably only a matter a time.

After five to ten minutes, I’m usually so worn down that I wish I wasn’t broke and had copious amounts of cash just so I could offer it to NPR to just shut up during day one.

But, as I listened, today I thought different about it. Maybe as artist we need to be able to channel our inner NPR/PBS, that almost cocky, whining desperate plea that screams, “I provide a service, I deserve to be compensated.” Even if it means we turn off a few of our readers/watchers.

It’s hard, as an indie artist to make a living, harder if we fall into a trap where we are afraid to demand (or ask) for compensation for  work.

The reasons, I think are varied. I tend to struggle with not wanting to annoy people as well as sometimes not feeling qualified.

But, I think I might just give this a try.

 

I feed the madness and it feeds on me

I grew up with a healthy fear of schizophrenia, an unusual those probably not my strangest fear and given the family I grew up in, not without warrant.

My grandmother had a very late onset of schizophrenia (nearly thirty) and I grew up in the smashed shell that was her unintended legacy: a father who had essentially raised his five siblings. they would sit around and laugh, telling stories of the time, grandmother, thinking her daughter had been replaced with a robot sent to spy on her, chased the Aunt Bert around with a knife until my father wrestled it away.

Broken china dolls. Carefully glued back together, but the shiny paste still lingered in the cracks.

vangoghinsaneI was like her, my family said, with my wit, intelligence, and the art.

Oh the art.

My grandmother had never been an artist, until the early days of her illness.  She would draw, everywhere.Elaborate murals usually of Disney characters. My father told me it was wondrous, as his childish eyes say it.

Until she started talking to the drawings.

And they answered her back.

I still wonder some days if there isn’t some correlation between art and madness. And though I have had nothing as severe as my grandmother, I have always been a bit off. From my carefree youthful days of car-surfing to my more turbulent twenties and my occasionally bouts of depression (which I can usually control with diet, exercise and meditation, those I have had to take medicine a few times.)

There’s an interesting article in scientific America talking about the history of mental illness in art. It’s worth taking a lot even at the sanest of times.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking to collaborate with a like-minded guy or girl who can draw…….

As I wrap up my short collection of plays, (hopefully) available online at the end of the week, I turn to other projects.  I have two projects may require (if I go the indy route) an artist to illustrate.

The firstImage and one I’m most looking for an artist for, is a comic, Without getting into too much detail, it’s a modern day fairy tale starring Nikola Telsa which deals with issues of corruption and power. This one I’m pretty set on being indy, though I’m open to other suggestions

The second is a children’s story. I will be shopping this around with traditional publishers, but if the right artist came along, I would be open to e-publishing or making a book app.

If anyone is interested you can email me at reestanf@gmail.com I can give you more details there.

BTW, I’ve been told I’m pretty awesome to work 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.

Why poetry is dead

….because you sucked all the fun out of it poets and magazine editors in your pretentious quest to make poetry some higher more grand form of art…..

poetrydead

I was reminded of the fact that so many poets (and many artists in general) are pretentious, stuck-up and just rude to new writers. A “friend”of mine a few weeks ago had a status mocking someone that she had rejected for the online journal she started. The sheer joy that she took in mocking another individual was outrageous, especially the other artist friends of hers that joined in.

And I grew angry.

What right did she have to mock another writer? Is she any more qualified to say what is good art and what is bad than anyone else? So what, she paid a few bucks to throw up a website. Anyone could do that. She had a few poems published. Oh well, most writers do at some point right, especially if you are friends with the editors.

And I was reminded of all of the horrible experiences that I have had over the years: the journals who couldn’t even send me a form letter of response, the instructors and other artist who I met that shamed my publications for not being in “good” magazines but then when published in the same or similar journals acted like they were God’s gift to poetry, the professors who told me good poetry can’t rhyme, the journals that said they would accept my work if I paid for their editing services first, the critique sessions I went through where people just tore into each other instead of saying anything productive……

And I was reminded how I hate this part of the art world.

So, as a some-what successful artist, I’d like to say, just stop.

Art is beautiful. Even crappy art. It’s beautiful because someone took the time to make it. And while it may not be amazing, there is always something you can take from it and room to improve.

And art is practice. Most people don’t start off amazing. Give support. Give advice.

Stop making art this grad excessive mountain to summit and focus of the beautiful journey it is.

 Also stay tune, this rouge artist just had two more poems accepted for publication…..but I’m sure my artist friends would not be fond of the journal ( 🙂 )

Writers wanting a free ride

Ok, I won’t lie. This is an amazing idea. Amtrack is offering free residency for one of their long rides. It’s a program which on a rolling basis which accepts promising new writers! The form is quick and easy to fill out (yes I might be filling it out right now! ) so why not give it a try! Maybe you can be the next great traveling writer. 🙂

* Note, as in the comments, it’s been noted that what you submit can be (though may not be) used by Amtrak. I always suggest writing pieces specifically for contests. In short, don’t give a piece that you are supper attached to/don’t want them using. 🙂

train