Thursday, December 30, 2010

Well, that was fun

WHEREAS
Even I am growing tired of the random content and haphazard posting on this here blog, and want to be deliberate about something…

WHEREAS
In trying to publish more in journals, I can no longer post drafts because even though there’s no huge readership, to some publications this space still counts as publishing and many lit mags request “no previously published work”…

WHEREAS
I cannot bring myself to divulge private things on a regular basis, which seems to be the key to being a widely and oft-read personal blog, for I am barely able to divulge in real life and I tend to internally berate myself for being self-centered and overindulgent (well, I guess that’s pretty personal)...

WHEREAS
Five years is a long time, and my blog has lasted longer than some marriages…

WHEREAS
It has always bothered me, in a telltale “your fly is down” sort of way, that I misspelled my URL…

IT IS DECREED
Words, Words, Words (previously known as Rough Draft) is taking its curtain call. *It was hard for me to know when to call it quits; I don’t like the idea of leaving my web-trash all over the place. Maybe I’ll work it into the archives of my next project.
***

There will likely be another...something--a more intentional, properly planned something--in the future. 
But for the moment, I'd rather read/listen to you. 

Happy new year, and keep me posted!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Phew!!



My first semester of graduate school is behind me. I knew this day would come--I visualized it. But I didn't know how good it would feel. The other night, I just sat. That's it. I sat, slouched in a chair, with my head back and my feet up and reveling in the goodness of not owing anybody anything.

I had a few several late nights, but no all-nighters. I guess I'm just not cut out for them anymore, and that's fine by me. I also had the audacity to ask for an extension, and you know what? I got it because I had 'always attended class and been prepared with insightful contributions during discussion'. Yes, I am happy to report that it does matter--that being professional and accountable to my professor and colleagues is acknowledged and appreciated. I'm thrilled by this because one of the major reasons I wanted to physically return to school (versus the online degree option) was for the in-class magic. I love discussions that make me think on my toes; they lead me to conclusions that I might never come to just ruminating alone.

I'm already excited about the spring.
**

And I would be remiss not to shout-out HomeBoy, who supported me through my procrastination and academic insecurities and group project melodramas. He made me coffee for late nights; he let me sleep when I needed to; he was a wonderful host to the family we've had visiting, keeping them entertained and occupied when I had to sequester myself in our office and bang out page after page. He's my grad school secret weapon.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Certifiable


Want to watch me weave a web of domestic delusion? First, give me a long-term assignment; then, sit back and let the crazy unfold. For some reason, deadlines bring out the domestic in me. If there's an assignment looming, I'll clean the bathroom. If there's a project nearly due, I'll cook dinner. Case and point, yesterday was the eve of my poetry portfolio & lit journal submission deadline. I come from work, and what do I do? I bake a lasagna. Know when's the last time I made lasagna? Never. And the night before a major assignment is the perfect time to try a new recipe, right? I am some kind of lunatic.

To my credit, I did have the drafts. I just needed to finalize them, choose the journals I wanted to submit to and write the cover letters. I just couldn't sit myself down. I watched TV and cooked and talked on the phone and ate a late dinner and then got to work on the portfolio. *And woke up he next day with rings around my eyes that made me look part raccoon. Now I've heard that procrastination can be symptomatic of a fear of failure or a fear of success, and HomeBoy and I have talked on occasion about how waiting might be a subconscious ego thing. That way, if you don't get the stellar results desired, you can hide behind the idea that you didn't really give it your all.

But knowing all this wasn't enough to get me to shape up. The other thing is, I won't turn in poor work. It will be later than late before I turn in trash for the sake of being "on time." But the inaccurate ultimatum I just established isn't even legit; it's not a choice between quality and punctuality--I create that dichotomy when I lollygag and dillydally and avoid, avoid, avoid. Honestly, I freeze up. Before I sit down to write anything that will be judged, I think it will suck. I think that I am not the writer that I've fooled myself into believing that I am; I think, "This will be the tell, some one will read it and figure out I have no idea what I'm saying...Hey, let's rearrange the living room!" It happens almost every time, seriously. In the metaphor of writers' blocks--I'm Sisyphus out this b*tch!

I don't want to fail, and for every success the stakes get higher--each success has to be bigger and better than the last one. This sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But how can anyone compete with her/his own potential? It's maddening. Well, I got one of my giant projects done, and I've got one to go. So if the next time I post, I'm talking about macrame or microbrewery--you'll know why.

So help me...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Quote of the Day



"I'm still blue-collar,
it's just a nice f*cking collar."

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm not dead...

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna burn it at both ends.


The final weeks of the semester are winding down. I still have much to do, but I believe I will do it all--and well too! I'm no better at deadlines or pacing than I was in undergrad, but dammit I'm a professional. I'll get it done because I have a responsibility (and because a bad grade means I can kiss tuition reimbursement goodbye)...

*chirp, chirp*

Well, that's all I got.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You have to bring that up, how we died in Cleveland?

Ben Stiller was destined to be funny. Have you seen his parents? I've watched all the episodes so far...

"They threw cutlery." LOL!

Monday, October 18, 2010

On A Purple Day in December...


Prince sure knows how to draw out the anticipation, doesn't he?

The line-up will include:
Janelle Monae
Esperanza Spalding
Maceo Parker
Leelah James
Cassandra Wilson
...and MORE!

Looks like we'll be taking a trip in December.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Well you're about as helpful 
as a concrete life jacket."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We are living in a material world...

I do not have five hundred dollars to spend on an area rug...


I do not have three hundred and fifty dollars to spend on an area rug...


But, oh! Would that I did.
World Market, you are such a tease.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm in there!

Pretty cool.
Pretty cool, indeed.
I've got to order a copy (or dozen).



If anyone watches the trailer and recognizes the song playing, please let me know what it is. I think it's beautiful.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Toddlers...



(via text)

SIS: They're so cute when they're jus take care of...Lil' Bit is potty traind!

ME: Well, when ur tired of sitting in shit, u move.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get Busy Living...


This year I officially entered my late 20’s. With 3 years left in this primary-post-adolescent decade, I’m thinking about goals—goals and fun, but it didn’t start there…

I’ve been reading some of the top women bloggers (in my opinion) for a good long while. One of them created what she calls her “Mighty Life List”. It’s an amazing to-do list of things she wants to accomplish in life, and I like this idea. However, with my proclivity for procrastination, I’d probably keep putting things off until I woke up one day in my 70’s or 80’s (hardly the end, but far from my prime) with a life list completely untouched. I need deadlines—preferably something closer in than before you die.

So, on my 27th birthday, I decided to make a list of my own and “30 B4 30” was born. I took some time to chew on this list; I wanted the goals to be ambitious but not impossible—meaningful but not too serious.  For some, one entry wasn't enough, hence #6 on my list: engage in 30 acts of audacity.* I included this because I have been a very grounded and safe person pretty much all my life. I’ve been “an old soul”, a “Mother Teresa”, “the responsible one”. While I don’t have a problem with any of those endearing monikers, I do believe that discomfort is fertile ground for personal growth. So bring on the uncomfortable!

*I am not suggesting, by this list, that I have not been living to this point. Nor am I implying that you have to check things off a list to feel a sense of accomplishment. Living in the moment is a beautiful thing; my only aim by having this list is that I will be more open to those moments, so fewer of them pass me by.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Comparing NOTES: 1 undergrad, 1 postgrad-both freshmen

This series is about the first year of school for an undergraduate student and a graduate student, respectively. Each week, the students will submit journal entries relating their experiences--highs, lows, frustrations, breakthroughs, epiphanies and all-nighters (let's pray there aren't too many of those).

1.5

Undergrad  09/12/10
Okay... so today is Sunday and I'm actually preparing myself for class tomorrow. I'm making sure my calculus homework is completed CORRECTLY. I'm officially caught up in my Intro to English Composition class, and History... *smh* that class should just be canceled due to its lack of organization. I STILL don't have a book for that class because the professor doesn't want to order them. He feels his lectures are good enough. I need to know FACTS, not just his theory of what happened. I don't know about anyone else, but when it comes to learning, it's exceedingly hard for me to retain info without a primary source. My professor talks way too fast and he stutters too much for me take informative notes (I still try though).

And now that I'm trying to control my academic life, my social one is falling apart. On Friday night my roommate, a couple of friends, and I attended 'Fashion Night Out' in NYC. I thought we all had a really good time. However, the next day my room mate text one of the girls that went with us to see what they had planned for the day, and she said nothing. But the other friend told me they were going to the beach. My roommate and I were a little offended because we DID invite them when we didn't have to. So now I've made a vow to myself, if I do all my work during the week, I will NEVER spend another weekend bored out of my brains EVER AGAIN. 

My 'campus boo' did make our relationship official on Sept. 1st, but I think it was a mistake. I didn't know you weren't suppose to hook up with the 1st cute guy that was your type on campus. Alegedly it's some kind of rule. Everyone keeps asking me why we date and we've only been living here for about a month. I mean, from what I can tell he doesn't have a problem with being in a relationship, but supposedly it's an unspoken rule that you don't seriously date anyone at least until the second semester. Well, who knew?! You learn something new in college everyday -___-

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Comparing NOTES: 1 undergrad, 1 postgrad-both freshmen

This series is about the first year of school for an undergraduate student and a graduate student, respectively. Each week, the students will submit journal entries relating their experiences--highs, lows, frustrations, breakthroughs, epiphanies and all-nighters (let's pray there aren't too many of those).
**
1.4
Undergrad 09/05/10
Okay, so I haven't submitted my blog in about two weeks because every time I started my segment, I had to stop and do something else. Right about now I'd have to say that time management is my biggest hardship to overcome. I'm catching up on work from a week ago; I have to complete a student loan form that I honestly THOUGHT i finished prior to moving in; and every time I think I'm done, there's another task awaiting me. I guess this is the hard part of college. Although I thought I'd like the independence, I'm starting to wish it didn't all fall on me like a ton of bricks.

If I could grade myself on things other than school, my grades would go as follows:
A--Cleanliness
B--Socializing
D--Roommate (a different story for a different blog, smh)
A--Relationship

However, these ARE NOT important in college. The actual academic work is what we pay for, but young adults (like myself) get easily distracted by the social side of this experience. My goal in freshman orientation was that by the time I graduate from College socializing wouldn't be so hard for me.After these two weeks I've realized that socializing isn't THAT hard when you have total control of yourself. For example, I can talk on the phone all night if I want, without someone yelling at me, "IT'S THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING! GET OFF THE PHONE!", or I can wear whatever I want, whenever I want, to attract a certain type of person without a second thought. When you have the freedom to do whatever and be whoever you want, your self-esteem skyrockets and socializing just becomes easier by default...I just wish being responsible came as easily.

Now that I know my weaknesses, I can strengthen them. Hopefully by next week I'll have some good news to share. '_'
**


Grad 09/07/10
I have been robbing Peter to pay Paul where time is concerned, and it's really a shame. It's not even that there isn't enough time--I'm just procrastinating. UGH! It's embarrassing to even admit that, but it's the truth. One of the things I hoped to do by taking time off between undergrad and graduate school was to vanquish this demon habit. Apparently, old habits don't die hard--they don't die at all. They are undead, zombie habits. But I'm not going to let this screw me up; I'm determined to grab procrastination by its bloodless throat and throw it in a back vault. Then i will fill said bank vault with cement...all that to say, enough is enough already with the procrastination.

In my personal statement for the grad school app, I said that I would bring collaboration and professionalism to my classes and colleagues--skills that I have honed for that last 5 years in the workforce. Well, professionalism certainly has no room for the other "p" word. I'm not going to let myself or my classmates down. There. It is written, so it shall be done. It may be done with a self-imposed facebook block and a 2-hour per week TV time limit and my cell phone on silent until 10 pm every night, but it will be done.







Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dang. Whip it.

 I tell ya, boy, Big and Little are building an empire.


A colleague and friend of mine shared this song with me yesterday.  Upon first listen I thought the repetition would give me a headache, but I listened a second time. The production is crisp, the vocals are promising and the content is age appropriate (even if the delivery of a few lines is SUS). Then, the pop kiss-of-death: a few hours later the song was in my head. And the longer it stayed in my head, the more I wanted to dance to it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Quote of the Day...

"I've never had anything so good
that I wanted to slap my mother,
I have had some things 
that were good enough 
to slap yours, though."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Comparing NOTES: 1 undergrad, 1 postgrad-both freshmen

This series is about the first year of school for an undergraduate student and a graduate student, respectively. Each week, the students will submit journal entries relating their experiences--highs, lows, frustrations, breakthroughs, epiphanies and all-nighters (let's pray there aren't too many of those).
**
1.3
Grad (08/29/10)
Hypothesis: I cannot do my homework at home--least of all on my couch.

Trial 1:
Read...nod...zzz...hours pass...wake with a start...oh hell!

Trial 2:
Begin reading again...reread last passage...nod...zzz...an hour passes...wake in a huff...FTW!!

Trial 3:
READ...nod...zzz...wake with a familiar foreboding...not AGAIN!!!

Conclusion: No, I cannot do my homework on my couch, but that does not mean I will be unsuccessful in every place in my house.

Further Study:
--Try using the office (duh!)
--Do my reading standing up


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Comparing NOTES: 1 undergrad, 1 postgrad-both freshmen

This series is about the first year of school for an undergraduate student and a graduate student, respectively. Each week, the students will submit journal entries relating their experiences--highs, lows, frustrations, breakthroughs, epiphanies and all-nighters (let's pray there aren't too many of those).
**
1.2
Undergrad (08/22/10)
I just moved in a few days ago. The 1st few days were hell, I mean I couldn't stand the people, the atmosphere, or ANYthing. I couldn't seem to get into the swing of things. I hated everyone because it felt like everyone was clique-ing up with each other. I was a little scared that college was going to be just like high school...

But after the orientation was over, I began to fall in love. It's the little things like waking up in your OWN area. Taking as many showers as u want, whenever you want. Washing your OWN clothes with your choice of detergent. The little things have made me grateful to be here. The utter freedom of having company, leaving, and coming home when I want?! It's just beautiful! Lol, coming from a household with barely nothing to a dorm room with a free laundry room means a lot to a girl like.

Not to mention I've made some "friends". At 1st it felt like every1 was avoiding me, but now I'm fine. I had a Snookie moment. (I'm the prettier version of Snookie in the dorm because my 1st impression was pretty bad. But now every1s cool wit me.) I love it. I mean, I thank God for allowing me to be here. Hopefully being here will lead to me establishing great friendships.

I officially start classes on Wednesday, and I'm slightly excited. I can't lie, I like being here without going to class... But u HAVE to go, lol, class is the main objective of college. I like the studying part; I just don't like the seeing new people part. I get all types of nervous, my stomach starts to turn and I can't concentrate. I don't want to give off a bad 1st impression to my professor, but I have no choice but to sit ALLLL the way in the back. Just in case I freak out, at least I'll be in the back. But I'll be okay. I've learned that everything seems hard at 1st, but after you're over the newness of it all you'll be ok. I know I'll be ok. Thank God.
**

Grad (08/22/10)
It's 12:10am. I have class in 15 hours and 20 minutes. I have just--JUST printing the reading material. Oh yes, class is in session.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blip

"Communication"

facebook just told me
to reconnect with you.
but what do they know?


This is a nice supplement:


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comparing NOTES: 1 undergrad, 1 postgrad--both freshmen

This series is about the first year of school for an undergraduate student and a graduate student, respectively. Each week, the students will submit journal entries relating their experiences--highs, lows, frustrations, breakthroughs, epiphanies and all-nighters (let's pray there aren't too many of those).
**
disclaimer #1--I realize that today is not, in fact, the 15th

1.1
Undergrad (8/15/10)
When I think about college, I can't even lie, I wish there was a way around it. I think of it as a long journey that I HAVE to complete for a better life. And with that in mind, I'm literally forcing myself to go through with this. I know I'll be fine academically because I have no problem with studying for hours, writing pages of work, or reading long stories.The work load that I was fortunate enough to preview during the EOF Summer Course wasn't too much for me to handle... so I'm not worried about that. I'm just not excited. I use to be before, but after the EOF Summer Course I've come to the realization that ignorant people are everywhere. EVEN in college. Although the ignorance has dwindled down since high school, it hasn't been completely depleted. 

On the other hand, I do look forward to the independence that's incorporated in college. No one's going to remind you to do what you have to do. No one's going to sugar coat anything for you. No one's going to hear you're bullshit excuse for not pulling your own weight. And that's just so exciting to me. Ever since grade school, I've watched slackers get away with not doing their work and lying about why they didn't do it. Now, if a student doesn't do his/her work, they're looked at as an idiot, lol. Like FINALLY, people in college realize that not taking advantage of education is one of the dumbest things you could possibly do!

And I can't sit here and lie like I'm not interested in the perks of being a college student. Beside the fact that I just HAVE to go to college, I'm definitely looking forward to having my own dorm room and the cute boys I get to invite there (teehee!] lol. I mean, just to have my own space to do whatever I want is amazing. However, when people ask me if I'm excited about finally going off to college, my overall response is no, I'm really not. It's not interesting. All I can see is the bad so far (loads of work, new people, etc]. But everyone else keeps telling me there's more to it than that... so hopefully I'll find it. =(

Grad (8/15/10)
Some of the differences between being a first-year undergrad and a first-year grad:
1) I’m not living in a dorm, and I’m sharing a bathroom with only one person—and it’s a dude (hi honey!)
2) This is the cherry on top. Don’t get me wrong, this program is very important to me, but in terms of society’s general perceptions and expectations—I did my time(undergrad).
3) Having a part-time school schedule and a full-time work schedule; it was the reverse in undergrad.
4) I am NOT taking out any loans. (‘Hank ya!)
5) School isn’t the most important thing in my life; it’s way up there on the list but not numero uno
6) I will be a part of a brand new program, versus that of a very old, sacred tradition.
7) The majority of my academic community will not share my ethnicity, gender, socio-political trappings and historic/cultural collective memory.
8) Co-Ed
9) All-nighters. I will not do them.
10) NO RAMEN! (*maybe. see #5 below)

Some similarities:
1) My desire to (over) achieve has not wavered, in all likelihood.
2) Still have to make a good impression and prove myself to professors and colleagues.
3) Farewell long, leisurely weekends; see you in a few years!
4) Bye-bye extra TV watching (except for Mad Men and maybe ANTM—a girls got her vices).
5) No meal plan. This time, the plan is to have someone else prepare the meals (I’m looking at you, HomeBoy).
6) I have my own computer, so no waiting lists in a lab for me, and a good thing, too, with the facebook and all.
7) I will learn new, amazing things and will be very excited about them.
8) I will have to do group projects and will be much less excited about them.
9) I will probably attend campus events that include free grub.
10) I will make THE MOST of this opportunity

BIGGEST SAME: I will be a student again, and I have always loved school.

BIGGEST DIFFERENCE: At the end, insha-Allah, I will have a publishable manuscript of poetry—CHILLS!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just Swell (Thank you.)

Things are going well. Yes, it's been a while. Yes, I mentioned a birthday post and have yet to make good on that. Yes, I'm working on a series with a co-author for this blog. Yes, I start classes next week. Yes, work is very, very busy. Yes, we are currently fasting (Ramadan Mubarak!) Yes, yes, yes...

I am busy and blessed, but eustress is STILL stress, is it not? So when I need a minute--nay! a few minutes--just to keep it light or take the edge off, I can always watch this bit. It makes me grin every single time, without fail.



Hope everything is just swell with you, too.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thanks, I needed that.

(excerpt from a text-versation with my sister):

"Teresa my dear, you are the bright side!"


And so I say, with all the optimism I can muster--

You too are the bright side! 

:)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Disconnec...ted.


Dear FedEx,

What kind of asinine operation are you running where a delivery person would leave several hundred dollars in mobile electronics on a front porch--without ringing a doorbell!? Without requiring a signature!?  Are you stupid?  That is not a rhetorical question; I would really like to know.

Sincerely,
Teresa
**


Dear Young Woman Who Answered When I Called HomeBoy's Number,

Don't let me see you in the street.
On second thought, DO. Do let me see you in the street.
I wish you would let me see you...

So Serious,
The Angry Woman Who Paid for That Phone
**

(And now I can laugh about it...not right now, but soon.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

A place called this exists...

I don't want to introduce this as "Music Mondays" because as soon as I brand something or trump it up, I'll slack off. (Remember "Twenty-Something Tuesdays/Thursdays"?--exactly.)  So lets just say that it happens to be Monday, and I happen to have this song on my mind that I want to share. That's all.

 
"A Place Called This"

HomeBoy introduced me to this emcee, L'Roneous, hailing from northern Cali--the bay area I believe. When we first started talking (not talking-talking, just talking), we met at this coffee shop in downtown JC where he taught me the basics of chess. Then we went to a diner for a quick bite, and he dropped me off at home. Before I got out of the car, we sat in the jeep and listened to this song in total silence. Why talk? We just enjoyed the music and the company. This song stirs a plethora of memories for me, but even if it didn't I couldn't deny how fresh it is. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I wouldn't use the word "ingrate" or "pansy"--no, I wouldn't use those words exactly

 
“Like every respectable child of the psychoanalytic age, I want to take this opportunity to blame my parents.”—Shannon O’Keefe, It’s a Wonderful Lie
**

We didn’t ask to be born—we didn’t choose to be here. We had amateur parents. And? After the earth shattering revelation that our parents aren’t omniscient or perfect, at what point do we move on?  I think that once you deem your parents fallible, you can no longer hold them responsible.

I am not a parent. I’m only an older sibling, and even from this vantage point I can say that parenthood is hard.  You’re trying to relate but remain in a position of authority, assuring the younger ones that they will come out on the other side while attempting to remember what it felt like when it was you in the thick of it—the unending madness (both the anger and the crazy) of growing up. And it wasn’t even that long ago for me. Add to that the rapid rate of societal shifts and cultural transformation, and we have a damn-near complete breakdown in communication. Adults and young, not-quite-yet adults (children) are foreigners to each other; the cliché of “speaking a different language” is as close as it’s ever been to a literal interpretation. Try to hack into a son/daughter/sister/brother/niece/nephew/godchild’s laptop or phone and you may not understand what you find there anyway. Teachers face some of the same problems—how to prepare YAs for a future of challenges that don’t even exist yet.  Now, more than ever, children are validated in their complaints of “you don’t understand.” 

Fine, I can accept that, but I need them to accept this: THIS IS LIFE. And while I may not be savvy on the techniques of cyber-bullying or the peer pressure du jour, I’ve got more experience living than you. This is not me implementing some sort of hierarchy. I don’t believe in those, and we don’t need them. This is me simply saying that if I survived the paranoia, neurosis, insecurity, etc. etc. etc. of growing up (and still, from time to time, find my way through those obstacles as a "grown-up"), just maybe  word or two of what I have to say is worth listening to. The helicopter parenting only makes matters worse, it seems; the longer a parent hangs around, the more they can take the blame. My mom didn't wake me up…My dad forgot to write the check…blah, blah, blah cry me a river.

My dad used to tell this anecdote (I didn’t realize it was one at the time; I just thought it was a joke).  It went something like this:

Two friends are walking, when a bunch of guys approach and try to jump them (he’s not one for exposition, my dad). One friend turns to the other and tells him to run.

“Naw man!” he says, “I’m not a punk!”

So the one friend stays to fight the gang of guys, while the other runs away. When they see each other later, the tough guy friend is battered, bruised and pissed.

“How you just gonna leave me like that?!”

“I told you to run…”

“Man, I wasn’t about to run from those guys. You should’ve stayed to fight.”

“Well, my fault. You’re problem.”

I used to think, damn that’s cold. Not anymore. Regardless of where we put the blame, the onus is on us to find a remedy or coping mechanism.  So if your stage-mom is the reason you hate theater, or your overbearing coach-dad is to thank for the reason you avoid all sports like the plague, or any other person has ever hurt you or made you feel uncertain of yourself...Okay. It happened, and it sucks and we are affected. I honor that. I acknowledge that, but-- their fault, our problem. Now what?
**

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”—Malachy McCourt


**The image in this post is the result of a google image search for "Teen Angst". I think it's pretty hilarious**

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Freedom, Random: Independence Day thoughts...


1) Man, I wish my neighbors would run out of fireworks...

2) If the fireworks symbolize "bombs bursting in air", why are we so happy to see them?

3) I wonder what the birds think of this day. Is there some great fowl legend that explains why every year at the same time, random explosions threaten to take them out?

4) Wow, my neighbors bought a lot of fireworks...

5) I miss walking to the waterfront and watching the fireworks over the Hudson.

6) Who's having a cookout? I can't smell the charcoal for all the "ramparts bursting".

7) No work tomorrow--woohoo!

8) Freedom is the right of all sentient beings. (Optimus Prime? How did you get in here?)


9) Are we honoring the troops today, too? I think we should be.

10) Really, neighbors?! Really?! Are you still going?!?!?!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Emphatically Yours...


I like words, language, turns of phrase...I like new ones, old ones--especially old ones. Sometimes I like to go mucking around in the dictionary.com or Oxford English attic just to see what I can dust off and put to good use. (There are some good ones!) Sometimes I am writing an email or in conversation and I use a word that I didn't know I knew.  That's always a weird but pleasant surprise. I spend so much of my time communicating that having interesting terms at my disposal makes the experience more entertaining for me--like learning to brush your teeth with the opposite hand or walking backwards or something.

I don't know why, but I've been exclaiming a lot lately, and as I try to limit my swearing (only for peak comedic effect) I've started to use other words and phrases to express my distress, surprise, etc., like:

"Zounds!"

"My word!"

"Fie!"

"Upon my life!"

"Damn it all to hell!"

Okay, that last one isn't void of curses, but they are the mild swear words at least. And, I am not damning anyone, just it--more specifically it all.  That could be anything: all the bugs, all the splinters, all the incompetence...Let's be honest, who would be upset to see any of those things gone?

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Typical Exchange


(between one of my sisters and me)
**

ME: Introspection revelation--I am not a humble person anymore.

SISTER: U definitely are!

ME: Oh. Okay...
Seriously? Because I'm not in my head. So much for introspection, hmph!

SISTER: U know that's the least reputable form of observation, rite?

ME: What, introspection? But Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. :(

SISTER:  Rite...but self observation has one of the highest margins of error...it's the least empirical and innately biased

ME: Yes, Master. ;)*

SISTER: Lol
- - -

*My brilliant and funny sister, upon completing her M.A. in education, insisted for a time that everyone call her "master", so there's the innards of that joke.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Squelch[ed] the 'Tude



I had this whole post ready. It was a vehement diatribe that I scribbled in a fury about a week ago sandwiched between a much more calm and stable preface and afterward.  I even changed the text color to blue for those parts--that's how calm.  But after receiving news of yet another marriage proposal, the third one I've learned of this week, I could not waste the space or opportunity on a stale rant.  There is too much love, too much happy going on right now and it has put a happy damper on my pity parade. Thank God.

Right now, in this moment, it's summer and life is beautiful and that's where it's at.

Congratulations to all the newly betrothed.
It's going to be a hot summer, indeed!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Open Letter to a Lit Mag



Dear Up-and-Coming Lit Mag,

I thought we had an understanding. You, without so many issues off the ground, and I, having not published outside of my alma mater's periodical, could work together.  You accept a poem of mine for publication and quell my first-timer jitters, and in return I have various family members purchase copies and contribute to your bottom line--everybody wins!  I came to you humbly enough, not expecting you to give me the world. I was happy simply to be considered; I felt accomplished just submitting my work on time. So I clicked send and thought no more of it. Months passed. I moved on. 

Then, you reached out.  "We liked one of these enough to print it," you said, "so send us a wee bio and your mailing address. We'll send you a couple copies when the next issue prints."  I replied immediately (almost immediately; I had to write the bio--I don't just keep drafts of those lying around just in case).  Then, when I came to from my daydreams of reading tours, speaking engagements, honorary chair positions at esteemed colleges and universities and photoshoots for the book jacket, I told a few people.  I told my parents, a few close friends and the wonderful writers whom I had called upon to workshop with me on such short notice.  They were happy; I was happy; everybody was happy.  

That was months ago, Lit Mag, and the issues that I was supposed to receive are still MIA.  I know print media is going through it. I know magazines, especially start-ups, are having a hell of a time, add to that the fact that you are not aspiring to be pop-culture bird cage liner and it makes things even harder.  I understand that. So, maybe there is no hard copy of this issue. Should I look online?  Will my poem be there?  Did you change your mind and don't want my poem anymore? Did the entire staff and affiliated printing press spontaneously combust?  What gives?  Seriously, I'm not mad. I just need closure.  Tell me if you want me or not, so I can pick up my poems and peddle them elsewhere.  Either way, you were still my first so no hard feelings.

Sincerely,
Me

Friday, June 11, 2010

poetry & the posts to come



1 - gonna talk about my birthday a bit, but that's later

2 - *talked about the concert a bit, that's here

3 - and the beginnings/essence/bones(?) of a new poem:


"Polyandry"

My grandmother
took three husbands,
but not nearly as much
as they took from her.


*If I'd known folks would actually be able to see/read what I wrote about the show, I would've tried a little harder, dig? It's honest, anyway.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Walk Walk, Fashion Baby

So, the 18th St Fashion Show...



About 5 years ago, I was wondering around downtown KCMO, before it became the Power and Light District.  It was a weekend and, being the curious pedestrian that I was, I walked up and down the hilly city blocks.  I looked into shop windows, some closed and some open, peered at industrial facilities-turned-living spaces and wondered,  "Where are all the people?"  Then I stumbled onto 18th Street and, lo and behold! There was fashion. It was the annual 18th Street Fashion show, and that year the theme was "Chocolate Summer".  So many pieces in rich creams and satin browns; some even broadened the theme to include other candied colors.  I was still very new to the city, and finding this show put me at ease. "Okay," I thought, "there is something going on here."

In the years since then, I've fogotten about the show or missed it from being out of town. Not this year.  This year the 18th Street Fashion Show celebrates it's 10th anniversary, and my homie is one of the sponsors, so best believe I'll be there.  This year's theme is "A Decadent Summer". Don't mind if I do.

**and i LOVE that the show is at dusk. how deliciously eerie.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Preemptive Fun

Fall semester will be here in no time at all.  I remember what it was like to be a student: weekends not my own, always more work to do, my terrible proclivity to procrastinate...I
am determined to excel in this MFA program, or at least to give it all I’ve got.  I’m ready to do that – happy to, in fact, but freely relinquishing my “free time” has me in a tizzy to pack as many good times into this summer as possible.  I know, making it a goal sort of sucks out the leisure and relaxation of the endeavor, but a friend told me, “you know stress will come sooner or later, so it’s important to be deliberate about your free, happy times, so you can look back [retreat] on them during the crazy times.”  Already, a few weeks ago, we up and went to St. Louis. Chicago is next on the docket and probably Omaha after that.  In between, there are home updates and repairs, scholarship searches and of course my actual job.  Can one be overwhelmed by the good and positive things on the horizon? That’s called eustress, right?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Made up words



Scene: In Urban Outfitters. T, friend and HomeBoy looking around.
**

Friend:  
I like UO, but sometimes it's hit or miss.

T: 
(picks up cluch with tiny bow) Hit.

Friend: 
 (picks up faded, floral thing) Miss.

T:  
It's cool for inspiration, but they try too hard.  Then again, I've never been a fan of buying new things that look used.  It's...it's faux-thentic.

Friend: 
Yeah, and it's overpriced. (chuckles) I like that, "faux-thentic."

T:  
If I see something in UO that I like, I always want to cross check with my grandma, my mom and aunts to make sure they don't already have the very thing I'm looking at.

Friend: 
Good idea. (picking up some pattern covered thing) I wish they had more of their furniture in-store.  I really like the whole Anthro, UO aesthetic.

T: 
They are very similar.

Friend: 
 They're owned by the same people.

T:  
Really? I didn't know that - explains a lot.  It's like the Banana, GAP, Old Navy trifecta.

Friend:  
Exactly. UO is a step down from Anthropologie.  It's like the GAP.

T: 
 Well, I wish they would get a move on that Old Navy version because this is still too much.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I’m a Lover of a Fighter


When HomeBoy takes an interest in something or takes to a new hobby, OMGoodness, he goes so hard.  Case and point, in our last apartment, when he was wrapped-knuckles deep in boxing, I came home one day to a speed bag on the living room wall.  (I was not happy about this, as our last place was a great loft with high ceilings and an open floor plan – so open that one could see said speed bag from any vantage point except the bathroom. But I digress…) So yes, HomeBoy takes an interest and then he’s relentless.  His latest love?  Jiu-Jistu and mixed martial arts.  To his credit, HomeBoy’s interest began before the hoopla of the Ultimate Fighter Competition reality series, and as an historian, he’s delved into the beginnings of the sport and learned much about its geography and evolution.  (He’s a veritable walking mass of Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu, MMA trivia, complete with bad Portuguese accent imitation.) 

I am sometimes swept up in the whirlwind of HomeBoy’s enthusiasm, and a couple weekends ago is a prime example.  His hobby took us to St. Louis on Saturday for an event sponsored by Strikeforce, the second largest promoter of MMA after the UFC.  When I decided to be a good sport and tag along for this event, I considered the sociological possibilities of such an immersion. I was not disappointed.  It was a soggy drive there and back, but the event was really rather cool.  I have a greater appreciation for MMA after seeing it live.  We watched several matches, none of which were boring.  I even recognized a fighter, and because the tickets were so affordable we had really good seats--close enough to watch the action in the cage and not depend on the jumbo monitor overhead, far enough away to avoid sweat or blood.  The physical disparity between the fighters and the fans was quite ironic. While the fighters all looked like extras from 300, most of the audience (as I described to a friend) looked like they were as enthusiastic about KFC as UFC.  There was an abundance of Affliction and Tap Out gear, a fair share of spiky hair and mullets, plus the overdressed ladies who were 1) with the fighters 2) with the promoters 3) trying to go home with a fighter or promoter.  Thankfully, nobody spilled beer on me and that pregnant lady didn't go into labor. (No, you didn't misread that.)

All jokes aside, I really did have a good time, and it made me thankful that HomeBoy and I are so different. I'd have never experienced something like that were it up to me alone.  Who knows? Maybe I'll hit the mats and train with him one of these days. (If he reads this, I'll never hear the end of that.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

insha-Allah*



I. am. so. there.

* "if God wills"

Edited to add: Got tickets. It's going down.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Came and went

While the end of National Poetry Month came and went without a peep from me, I did have a poem in my proverbial pocket on April 30.  In fact, I shared it in my toast at my sister's wedding reception the following day. (Surely you can fill in the blanks regarding my absence: lil sis getting married + big sis/matron of honor in town the week before + loose ends = no rest for the weary.)



"The Sun Never Says"

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth, 
"You owe me."

Look what happens
with a love like that.
It lights the Whole sky.

- Hafiz


Farewell NPM,
and congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Austin.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Speaking of Spoken Word

 I picked up Seventh Octave a couple weeks ago because I missed Saul Williams and our only copy of SLAM is on VHS.  So I skimmed and read, first silently and then aloud.  Then, when I went to the bird feeders blog, she’d posted this great performance by Rives, and it was like sweet confirmation from the universe that I should speak to spoken word.  So, I will.  I’m circling back around to the oral tradition of poetry.  In the beginning, it was what pulled me in – I loved it, and I couldn’t wait to write something to share with anyone who would listen to me.  Then, a lot of people started listening, and def poetry jam happened and open mics and poetry slams were as frequent and far as the eye could see.  It was competitive and inauthentic, and I wanted no more parts of it, so I silenced myself.  I wanted to get stronger on the page; that’s where I focused.


In recent years, I’ve been to only a few events (as a spectator).  I’ve listened to various poets and writers belittle spoken poetry, like it’s fake – their very western sensibilities making light of words that fly up from mouths.  Is it because they cannot hold these words in their hands?  Is it because they cannot follow them? I don’t know.  What I do know is that when oral poetry is successful, when the likes of a Rives or Saul Williams or Talaam Acey or Suheir Hammad recites a poem, it is otherworldly.  What the written word does not give you is that third experience/interpretation – that thing in between the words and spaces and breaths and pauses and the clever use of a homonym and various forms of wordplay.  I am not diminishing the importance or impact of the written word, but it is, essentially, only two dimensions.  When oral poetry is done well, there is more than the transmission and reception of common communication.  The speaker and audience commune – you’re in a relationship from the opening line to the closing phrase.  And it is beautiful.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Content with my pace now...whatever, it's cool (#4)

“Time Traveler”

Ask me
how many times I have started over--
how many endings I’ve seen.
It’s not magic 
when it’s not a choice,
and reverse isn’t an option.



This is really short - too short, probably.  Also, I've heard Back to the Future referenced several times recently, I think that means I'm supposed to watch it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stalling (and #3)...

What’s the hold up?  I am much more hesitant than I used to be about posting first drafts.  I think it’s because first drafts can really suck. So why would I, one who cares about words and the combination thereof, put first draft drivel out for all to see?  Maybe I spoke too soon about my participation in this year’s NPM challenge.  I’m trying to see it as a sign of growth, though – that I am becoming more discerning and honest and objective about my work – when I can read something newly written and say, “Wow, that’s bad.”

That being said, here's another one - probably not so great in its current form, but I'm not apologizing.

"The Missionaries Are Coming"

My soul isn’t lost
I know just where it is.
But perhaps I can help you find
what a pure smile looks like,
how to get along with very little
and God.
The God that you read about,
who only visits you on Sundays,
I will show you Him in the waters.
He whispers to me on walks to the market.
He is keeping my grandmother alive
till she’s taught me all I need to know.
God is with everyone here—
maybe it’s because our houses
have no windows and we keep our doors open.
He can come and go as He pleases.
In return, He sustains us
by your visits, between your visits and long after you've gone.
So, welcome, nice to see you again.
But my soul isn’t lost
I know right where it is.

Monday, April 05, 2010

NPM Day 5, Poem #2

“Mouthful of Cotton”

Puffy stuffing
blossoms from my teeth
gums made of dirt
Can’t scream
can’t swallow
can’t even bite my own tongue
Fibers tickle my throat
until saliva makes them soft
Then the wad makes its way down
and rests in my belly
I scoop out with my fingers
any bits left behind--
quickly now
Before it begins
to grow again

Slow start?



eating more words than i'm writing, so far this month. :::sigh:::

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It Begins - NPM Day 1

“Scars”

Birthmarks
Chicken pox
Bike races gone bad
Facing bullies
Sibling rivalries
Team sports
Adolescence
Iron accidents (the clothing kind, the curling kind)
Cooking (there’s still enough thumb left for a print)
Gaining
Losing
Gaining again
TJ
Vincent
Miguel
Brian
Lamar
William
and Roland.

National Poetry Month Is Upon Us

It is with excitement and anxiety that I embark on another NPM challenge - one [draft of a] poem per day for the entire month of April.  The rules I'm giving myself: any form, any content, no previously written poems.  In sweet anticipation of the muses and geniuses that I pray will taunt me this month (and for always), I'm drawn to this TED conference talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  Her delivery is very good, as is her content.  My favorite part is her retelling of poet, Ruth Stone's narrative of "catching" a poem - oh to have the Juju come down on me like that.  Olé!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back "On Top"

 I’d given up reviewing ANTM because my interest was waning 
and the show has been on forever, but I am still watching.  
And last week was just full of good stuff, like:


Tyra’s ensembles.  She looked so very chic in her puffy-shouldered black, and let’s not even get me started on that gorgeous gray single-buttoned cat suit?  Emphasis on the suit; it was one piece but the top was a blazer. Shut up!  Someone is glad to have her body back.  PS, Tyra, thanks for toning the hair and make-up way down.


 No Miss J?  Who could ever replace Miss J?  It can’t be done!  These were my thoughts, but lo and behold!  André Leon Talley.  Honey, it’s a wrap. I may actually learn something from this cycle, especially the way he likes to throw French and fashion terms about all willy-nilly.  Alasia had better be glad he’s there, or she wouldn’t be.  I sense Nigel is feeling some kind of way though; he’s not the big man on the catwalk anymore.


Raina.  Her picture – swoon.  
Not touching her eyebrows during the makeovers was a stroke of genius on Tyra’s part.


Ren.  This has happened before, and I’m just as aggravated.  She bemoans being a part of the competition, but when in the bottom two she let someone else go home.  Gabrielle really wanted to be there, but you didn’t speak up. Boo on you.
 

 Jessica.  Stunning. once she learns what she’s doing, that one will be a major threat.


 Simone. I’m not going to sleep on her either.


 Krista. Body and bone structure are amazing. Still waiting for you to impress.


 Alasia.  She is beautiful, but she’s still a child, 
and right now that is overpowering my perception of her.


 Angelea.  How are you so hard-edged in person and so soft and feminine in photos?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Praise of Late Blooming

I had my first kiss when I was 17 years old, and it was pretty much perfect.  In fact, I still breathe deeply when I stop and think about it.

I first discovered Santana when buying 11 CDs for $1 (or whatever the promotion was).  I had the disc (it was a “Best of” collection) for maybe 2 years before I opened it one night in my dorm room and let it wash over me; the experience was riveting.  No, I wasn’t high, but that would have been awesome I bet.

HomeBoy lobbied for years that I read The Godfather and The Sicilian.  When I finally got around to it, I devoured nearly everything Mario Puzo that I could find.

What do these events have in common?  I think it’s that the experiences were delayed for me and perhaps that made them all the more amplified and meaningful. 
 
Growing up, I don’t recall ever being in a real rush for anything – especially to be a grown-up.  I wasn’t the fake-ID-using, get-older-relatives-to-buy-me-liquor, needy-for-“romantic”-drama, hand-on-my-hip, sassy type.  I was present for a few risky games of truth or dare, but I was pretty much chaperoning.  I’m not what you would call an “early adapter”, but I don’t mind. Kissing and handholding and “making out” were enough to keep my head in the clouds when so many teens my age were visiting clinics and worried about multiple partners.  Discovering early rock and roll kept my faith in music when pop stations were dead to me.  And what more can I say about Puzo except “there is no frigate like a book.”

…The point! The point, Teresa!  What is it, and get to it…

I guess what I’m getting at is this – I’m in favor of slowing down.  Being connected to younger people allows me to see what a rush they are in, and it isn’t always good for them (or for any of us, really). Yes, life is short, but there’s something to be said for the ripening process.  We are in a rush to experiment with so many things early in life, but we may better appreciate and understand those very same things if we experience them later.  I’m not saying take everything slowly. Dreams, ambitions, goals – run!  Go get them!  But as for the other stuff, I think those things will come when the time is right. And if we wait, they could be sweeter and more memorable than we ever imagined.

Maybe we’d have a different perspective on aging, if we didn't think the “best years of our lives” were behind us.

Is there anything you're glad you waited for?  
Anything you wish you would've done sooner?

Monday, March 15, 2010