Author Archives: Von Simeon

Have Tea With Me On Saturday!

Join us Saturday March 28th from 2 to 4pm for Sawgrass Bar’s Afternoon Tea! As you nosh nibbles provided by Ray’s Vegan Soul, me and my Wordier Than Thou pals shall ear-tain you with diverse readings!

Reader lineup:

C Abraham Bellamy
Shae Krispinsky
Von Simeon
Austin Scott Collins
Anda Peterson
Tiffany Razzano

Located at 2315 Central Ave, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713 Donate what you can at the door! See you soon.

Read the Creative Loafing article

Remember the Literary Pub Crawl

all photos stolen from the Internet – Google ‘Victorian afternoon tea’ (why lie)…

Turn It Up Tuesday! Salt N Pepa, The Hip Hop Muses

Let’s close out Women’s History Month with a musical group who impacted my most formative time-space moments: Cheryl ‘Salt’ James, Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, and Deidra ‘DJ Spinderella’ Roper! Collectively, you know them as Salt N Pepa.

I remember my first encounter with Salt N Pepa. “Push It,” came on the radio, and I listened to the lyrics as it played. I had no earthly connection to what they were talking about, but their vocal delivery, their ‘out there’-for-a-tween lyrics, and frankly, their female-ness sent me into an array of emotions: Amazing! Who are they? How cool; they’re rappers…and women! With boom box in tow, I ran into my brother’s room, breathlessly exclaiming, “They’re girls! And they’re rappers!!” in a tone suggesting, “See big brother? Girls are just as good at hip hop as boys!”

He responded, “GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” which, translated, meant, “You are the best sister anyone could ever ask for. You are correct; that is a wonderful discovery and what a historical vault for American womankind.”


During our last art date, Marie and I talked about how “Let’s Talk About Sex,” the seminal Salt N Pepa pop tune that spurred much controversy, saved us from haphazardly jumping into an activity with serious life consequences. The song came out about the same time my classmates were getting physical, yet none of them could answer for me, “Why do you have to have sex?” Here they were, 13, 14, 15 years of age, engaging in mating ritual, without putting much thought to the significance of the act. Then this song came out, and I’m practically stuffing my headphones into my ears. What the hell is this ‘sex’ business about??

Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be

I set out to talk about it. My mother, when confronted, checked out a copy of “The Joy of Sex” from the library and hid it under my bed, with a simple suggestion to check under there for answers. My best girl friend gave me a copy of Nancy Friday’s “Forbidden Flowers” to peruse. The following summer, I took a job at the local daycare center for Army babies. Oh boy…that’s why everyone’s having sex?? Seems like non-fun.

Salt N Pepa prepped me with life-saving messages in lyrical form. As such, when the guys pushed up, I asked, “We’re friends. Why complicate that with sex?” I had no want for disease or oopsie babies, thanks to my hip hop muses.


I fear today’s young ladies in their formative years aren’t receiving the right empowerment messages. Iggy Azalea prides herself in…what? Guys noticing she has friends and a huge ass (which is how I summate her freshman album)? Nicki Minaj wants to encourage sexual desire, but only on the B side does she refer to its consequences (which is how I summate her sense of accountability)?

Perhaps I’m just a tired old bag who feels the genitals have nothing to do with self-esteem or positive living, but I am glad that, because I listened to my musical mentors and their messages of truth, I own my sexuality. I determined upon my start and still today, when, how, and with whom I engage with sexually. I am a goddess, I only get this one body, and only I am responsible for it!

Thank you, Salt N Pepa, for using Hip Hop to educate, influence, and lift up those within listening range.

If You Could Undo One Historical Event, Which Would It Be?

If you’re a high-level thinking individual who’s sexy to boot, then you’re already enjoying Aeon Magazine. I appreciate their thought-provoking articles and intuitive content contributors. Recently, I beheld an interesting editorial section, Aeon Ideas, in which they posited: If you could undo one historical event, which would it be? Mr. Haselby responded with the U.S. Government response to the Elian Gonzalez affair. Good one, I thought, as US-Cuban relations are now the hot topic.

Reflecting on the past, I tried to pick an event I would undo. The Holocaust? Pol Pot? Every Kardashian?

It’s so obvious: I’d revisit my SAT exam!!

Let me set the sad story. I moved to Texas from Germany mid-high school. Probably before the end of my first semester in America-American school I realized this country was academically slow. Wherever the America-American curriculum was set at, I’d already completed it before moving to the Western Hemisphere.

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Because of this inconvenience, I would cut school, pretty regularly. Kept a decent routine; you know, be present for roll call at the beginning of 2nd period, then throw a few hand signs to a select group of people before excusing myself to the ladies’ room, winding down the stairs to the parking lot, where those who interpreted the signal correctly would be waiting to enter my family’s Ford Aerostar. Lots of coffee and pancakes at Kettle, day trips to Georgetown or Austin. We had a good time! 

My first official boyfriend was not into school at all. Like this should come as a surprise to you regulars…he was quite involved in gang activity. When not day tripping to the Salado gift shoppes, I was rolling around town with this wonderful-to-me/nightmare-to-society individual. Lapses in judgment and time resulted in several Saturday detentions, which was fine, because my boyfriend would be there too! Aww, young love… 

Still an Honors student, I scored high on my course exams and was ranked in the top 10% of my graduating class despite hardly entering the building (save for Band, gotta stick with Band). Used to being told to show up to the gymnasium, I trotted in one Saturday morning blissfully expecting to see BF and his gangsta cohorts. Instead, I saw kids that were in my Honors classes, looking nervous as fuck.

What happened that got all the Honors kids detention? I actually thought. I was yelled to sit down, so I did. I was handed an answer sheet and a pencil. What the…? Am I in the wrong gym?? Slapped down in front of me was the official examination handbook. SHIT.

Didn’t know, so, didn’t study! I scored a dismal 950. However, stroke of friggin’ luck…in Texas, if you are within the 90th percentile of your graduating class, your SAT scores don’t matter if you apply to a state school. Hurrah!

EXCEPT. You’re also automatically enrolled in remedial courses if you score less than average than the graduating class. Fuck fuck FUCK!

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Here I am, a proficient writer in and speaker of the English language, enrolled in collegiate remedial English! Our instructor was a frail, wool-chested, chain-smoking idiot who wore his shirts unbuttoned to his naval. My first paper for the course, I misused a word: condone. To condone is to forgive or allow, I knew that, but I intended to use the word condemn, which is to judge as unfit, as I remember it was a position paper and I wasn’t agreeing with the stated position. Either way, simple mistake, especially for a handwritten, in-class assignment.

Chesty McDickerton marks my paper as a Fail. To the right margin, in creamy, red felt ink, he noted, “I understand why you made such a simple error. You haven’t mastered the English language yet.” Such gravitas!

I went from being one of the brightest and gifted students the Department of Defense Dependent Schools system has ever had the glory to educate to a fresh off the boat, English as a Second Language, special needs student in the eyes of Texas.

All because I kept skipping class.

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Turn It Up Tuesday Double Feature: School ‘Em Sista!

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am featuring TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

The Show Must Go…On?

[read time: 5 mins, 35 sec]

A late night steady rain crept across the lake, sending me into a deep slumber, and when I woke in the bright morning, I was fine.

It’s over.

If one is adherant to Western horoscope, he would blame my ordeal on Taurean stubbornness. An adherant to scientific methodology would deem it a qualitative and quantitative result of an ongoing hypothesis. The thing is this: I know what I am experiencing, and I know what causes it, but to explain it to the “normals” is as fun as banging one’s head against the wall.

But, for documentation’s sake, and the fact I’ll be meeting with a state “vocational rehabilitation counselor” next Tuesday, I’ll do my best to explain the series of events leading up to incapacitation. (And yes, ‘vocational rehabilitation counselor’ sounds just as convincing as an ultra-conservative Christian anti-gay group’s ‘relationship counselor’. Like how their contingency swears there’s a way to un-gay you, seems the state has a plan to un-disable me. Hmm. Enough digressing.)

Let’s use a simple metaphor: I am a sponge. The moment I exit the Treehouse, I start to absorb my environment; children yelling as they play, chatter between neighbors, what qualifies as music from a passing car. Slightly sogged, I enter my truck and head to whatever venue or errand, and, once there, I absorb more. By the time I get back to the Treehouse, I’m so saturated I have to do things like meditate, turn off all electronics, sit in silent darkness, just to wring out. Sometimes an hour helps, sometimes, I need days. I don’t know what specifically in the environment or of society saturates me, I just know, this is a constant.

On occasion, I’ll cooperate in a local event to get my art out there, put face to written word, pal around with fellow artists. I have to be careful, because the saturation can enter hyper mode: too much face time, too much surrounding dialogue, too many new energies, then I start to feel boggy. Knowing the trend I compensate, one event a month should be enough. Of the calendar month, I need only spend four hours in extreme environmental disarray, a small torture for a fine opportunity.

But, thinking I could handle it, I booked back to back events, causing the inevitable no-one’s-fault-but-my-own consequences. By SunLit Festival’s Lucha Libro, it started: disorientation, inflammation, clammy skin, symptoms very similar to the flu. By the time my poet friend and I met at Galerie 909 the next day, I was feeling hot, dizzy, my joints, burning. That was the last day I was on my feet and lucid.

It got scary there for a bit, so I called my general practitioner, which I knew was a crap shoot. When you don’t have health insurance, doctors don’t necessary come running to assist. I waited two days for his callback, only to hear him say, “Not my area of expertise,” then advised me to call another center. There was a queue for appointments, so I followed the automated instructions, leaving the proper information in voice message form. As of this composition, no one has called to confirm.

“Von, you’re an idiot,” you’re thinking. “Take some pain medication, you’ll be right as rain!” Here’s the problem with that: You know all those side effect warnings they list during an AstraZeneca commercial? I’m the person who experiences each one, in full, vibrant, discombobulating color. Prescription pain medications cannot be an option. Alcohol has to be avoided. Anti-depressants, as I’ve chronicled in earlier posts, interfere with my well-being. 

The answer is simply, balance. Do-Be-Do-Be, as Professor Amit Goswami says. The moment I get going I start doing that, “I gotta…I gotta…I gotta…” mantra which slides me way too far from serenity. Only in a serene state can I poet, can I compose, can I enjoy music. I gotta Be just as much as I gotta Do, and, as my crone advises me constantly, “You ain’t gotta Do a damn thing.”

But the normals, they don’t comprehend that. If you’re not out there, if you’re not center stage, if you’re not on the mic, if you’re not coordinating projects, then you’re not working. You’re not contributing. You’re more burden than boon.

What I’ve been trying to advocate with this website and through wordcraft is that the disabled aren’t a burden. We can produce in the capitalistic sense if we are given leeway to create constructively, and that is, in the manner we know is positive for us, as long as what we engage in does not harm others or ourselves.

Despite knowing my limitations, I pushed myself too far, resulting in a very excruciating physical ordeal. A concerned friend sent a text, “Is it depression?” to which I responded, “Depression can’t find a seat at the table right now.” So if anything, let’s post that as a win! I didn’t let my incapacitation drive me into melancholy. I fought, silently, by resting. When my eyes worked, I read. When I could move, I sat in the sunlight. The irony of this beastly affliction: occurring during the first full sunny warm week of Spring in Florida.

I missed listening to the talented David Warner reading, “A Tale of Two Brians” at SunLit Festival’s Fiction Live! I’m so sad about that still, that story, so important and personal to me. But the reactions have been positive, and maybe, crossing fingers, someone liked it so much it’ll be commissioned for further production.

Absurd, isn’t it? I want my art to get out there, but in order for that to happen, I gotta get out there, but my sponginess makes it hard to stay out there, makes it difficult to share my craft.

Let’s see what these rehab folks gotta say about it.

Hooray! 400 WordPress followers..THANK YOU

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Turn It Up Tuesday! Double Feature: Lyrics Be A Lady

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am featuring TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

SunLit Festival’s Lucha Libro! Luchadora, Pero No Ganadora

This is what you get for being a literary arts booster; when you put yourself down as a stand-in, you might actually have to stand in. And just that happened during last night’s Keep St Pete Lit’s Lucha Libro! Part of St Petersburg’s SunLit Festival happening through next Sunday. I ended up as one of the literary luchadores. No mask, but definitely scary hair :D

Lucha Libro works like this – writers are matched off over semi-reliable typewriters, given a word, and then five minutes to compose something around that prompt. The crowd decides of the luchadores who wins the round. Most people were probably expecting this:

But it turned out to be much milder, a wonderful array of diverse styles and interpretations, a fun folly I was glad to join in on.

First Round: GANADORA! Word: Shrouds

shrouds

Second Round: GANADORA! Word: Seethed

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Third Round: PERDEDORA Word: Naked

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SunLit Festival: So Much Lit To Love! Starts This Friday

[read time 1m4s]

I’m proud to be participating in this year’s SunLit Festival, a “Spring celebration of literature in the Sunshine State.” Events abound, from readings of local work to revering masters of the craft, all within St. Petersburg, Florida, Home For The Literary Arts.

Yes, I just did that. Let’s make it a thing. ;)

Events begin Friday evening well into next week. My artwork, “A Tale of Two Brians,” will be performed during Fiction Live! on Tuesday evening, benefiting Project Shattered Silence. Admission is $10 advance, $12 at the door.

This war-time romance story began on WordPress as an innocent writing prompt: Take a popular book title and reinvent the story. I presented it for the Florida Bibliophile Society back in September, with wonderful feedback; most touchingly, from a Vietnam War veteran in the audience. The story is modeled after my favorite Ernest Hemingway novel, “A Farewell To Arms.”

Look at me, getting my Vaclav Havel on! Pre-Velvet Revolution, before you guys get all fact-checky.

Here’s the full lineup for Fiction Live!:

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Purchase My Ticket For Fiction Live!

Full Event Listing for SunLit Festival

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Looking forward to hanging out with these awesome artists again! Join us, won’t you?

Turn It Up Tuesday! Double Feature: Femcees Reign Supreme

[read time 49 seconds] 

Am excited and nervous about this; hope I pull it off just right!

Regularly I’ll participate in the global hashtag, #TurnItUpTuesday by featuring A song by AN artist, highlighting either my mood or theme, whatever. But this, my friends, is going to be special.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I plan to feature TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

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