I try not to make this blog too political, but I think that the arts are as always under attack, under funded and not valued in society which is why this please me so very much.
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?
I’ve been slowly formulating a kick starter campaign for one of my children’s projects. And it is completely never racking. I haven’t yet launched it. This is odd because as any artist I am used failure. It is my friend, a chance for me to rise like the phoenix and dust off the prose that sully my wings.
This though is never-racking.So I’m asking for advice? What would you like to see in a Kickstarter campaign? What has or has not worked for you? what other funding tools have you used?
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
We is by Rachael Stanford
Laughing at linguists who
could never comprehend
though the space between our
is wider than the Grand Canyon
the barren plains punctuating
I forge, unashamedly naked
The bitter November winds
lick my flesh
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
Thanks again for the vote, I’m happy to return the favor!
In the art world, it is inevitable, you have to work with others, especially if you are like me, who works somewhat with print in the visual arts and can’t draw their way out of a paper box.
Seriously, my stick figures don’t even look like a 5 year old drew them.
My excitement of my visual art idea quickly fades every time I think about having to work with others because frankly every experience minus one (my children’s book project) that I have had, had majorly failed.
It started back when I was a fresh-eye college student. I had a plan for a fem-fatal graphic novel and a friend who was an art major in a near-by college. He had already had some successful with his post-it-note paintings, so I was majorly excited when he approached me about a collaboration.
I spent the better back of four months, drafting and conceptualizing a story (it sits still on my laptop, I need to rework it for a novel now), sending him drafts, getting feedback, waiting for the drawing to begin.
He even sent me a couple of rough sketches.
But then, I got a boyfriend.
Then poof. Nothing. Nada. Won’t return my phone calls/text.
When he finally gets around to answering me, he comes up with the excuse that I’m not invested (after i did all of my end of work) and scraps the project.
Months, hours, days wasted on a script I will have to completely retool to be readable.
I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it isn’t.
Time after time, other artist I have worked with have bailed, and it doesn’t matter if they are “professional” artist or a “novice”, but I end up pointlessly excited and doing way to much leg work to have it fall through.
I’m starting to feel like I’m cursed, and I’m starting to want to mostly go solo, but art for an extrovert isn’t much fun when you are always solo.
Has anyone else had this experience?
Check out this website for some more hilarious intepretations of Disney classics.
Ruth 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.
An amazing woman who lived an an amazing life as she wrote beautiful poetry. RIP