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Category Archives: Shit I Agree With
I was raised an American.
I physically developed, formulated a personality, practiced social graces, and made friends living abroad, almost entirely outside of the United States of America.
Beyond America, as an American, no one gave a shit if your father was this race, your mother was that ethnicity, and certainly, without a hometown to tout, nobody cared which city/town/state in America your people came from. The determinant of a shared drink at the bierstübe or an all-out beat down was simple: conciliatory manners, meaning, demonstrating respect towards the culture one is ensconced in, for the sake of peace. This is how I came to understand “relationship building.”
Thus, my confusion when I arrived on these shores to find the Americans acting rather…feral…towards each other. As soon as I smiled hello, the marginalization began: What are you? What are your parents? Where do they come from? What neighborhood do you live in? Marginalizing box after box after box instead of just a, ‘nice to meet you’ in response. I thought it was a phase, but, twenty-three years later, that fervent need to make a person fit in a narrow-minded box is still definitive Americana.
Artistically, my race/sex/ethnicity/nationality/sexuality/etc does not matter. I have voiced men, I have voiced South Asians, I have voiced transsexuals through my artistry. It’s because I allow myself to be infused by these cultures that these stories and poems manifest, and manifest with respect to the attributes of the culture.
As an independent author, I had to manage my own marketing, so I tried assimilating into the literary world fold without utilizing Americanism, because it belittles me. If I’m only an [adjective] author, then I’m saying my art is only valuable to [adjective] people, which would be me belittling my target audience, the global community!
The last two months During the summer of 2014, I did decent with general sales but abysmal in representing my work without getting forced into a social cubby-hole. I incurred derogatory statements regarding my sex, my race, my ethnicity, and those statements then erroneously defined the quality of my novel.
While I try to respect the perspective of those who protect their “-ness,” I won’t allow my principles to be subjugated to the -ness. Does that make sense? That’s not my crutch; that’s that person’s crutch, and I needn’t lean on it. Here’s a sample of that:
There was an opportunity for I Blew Up Juarez to be featured in one of Tampa Bay’s [adjective] bookstores. This [adjective] bookstore, according to its owner, is the signature bookstore for the area’s [adjective] community. As well, the owner was a contributing committee member for a major area festival celebrating the [adjective] community, and she was THE person to talk to in order to be a featured artist in that festival. Struck gold, right?
The bookstore owner felt her endorsement of my work would be integral to achieving success in the Greater Tampa Bay reading community. It was here in the conversation I started to experience trepidation, as I observed her mentally pushing four boards together around me in the middle of her shop.
A bystander to our conversation felt compelled to declare, “We need to support all [adjective] authors!” He nodded heavily, proud of this statement. He supplemented his declaration by talking about inspiring the future generation of [adjectives], and the struggles of being [adjective].
Very rah-rah-rah this guy! I saw an opportunity and replied, “Thank you for that! I have copies in my car, would you like to purchase one?”
He blinked at me.
He looked at the bookstore owner.
The bookstore owner burned eyes into him.
He looked back to me and declared, “I wasn’t going to buy a book today.”
I retrieved my review copy of I Blew Up Juarez from her weeks later, as it became more evident her intentions were to puppet my [adjective] self, not my artist self. Even if she was a fellow [adjective] person in the literary community, she behaved like a complete asshole.
Unfortunately, it is socially expected to accept marginalization and profitable to -ness it up.
It’s disparaging, but…I suppose I’m the only one who sees it that way.
*: original post 06.24.2014 – edited content and toned down cynicism
First poem of 2015:
is my last day
I have no plans. I really have no goals to achieve in the immediate future. My calendar shows a series of blank fields. Unprecedented!
Here’s the thing: every year of my adult life I’ve needed a focal point. By 1 December, I would have had a prepared list of things to do in the coming year, by quarters, with approximate time tables for project completion. This year? All I did was wake up and show up.
I did pack my laptop and wireless keyboard and mouse under the pretense of getting my prose and poetry organized. The devices spent more time occupying the bend of a sitting room couch than in action!
I did a little exercise of writing technique. For the first few days of my visit, I used my morning pages to compose a fairy tale, about the Queen of Saturnalia leaving her coastal lands for the dark and cold North, ruled by The Dark Prince. Probably five entries in, did the story go from fantastical alternate world scape to sequential erotica! How is it? Well, reading it over analytically, I have a solid grasp of the activity, but the anticipatory factor, that build-up the Midwest moms really need, is very weak. To borrow a publisher’s comment, it ain’t bad, but it ain’t great!
I still haven’t done my book unveiling yet, it was my planned New Years Day event, but then decided I wanted it to be a private affair.
No more irrational pressure. If I can I will. If it’s not in me, it’s not gonna happen. Sourcing that pressure, I know it to come from a culture demanding accountability, when, in and of itself, the culture is conditioned to act irresponsibly. This year, any pressure I embody will be self-developed for my own personal gains. This, my crone emphasized, is enhancement. Those who adhere to cues from Society call it selfishness. Just bear in mind, School of Latter Thought, the trophies for self-sacrifice are almost always awarded posthumously. My intention is to be relevent now by first acknowledging the Now.
Switching gears, I want to talk about you in your face! I am absolutely flattered by the diversity of readers engaged in my madness. Based on skillful trolling, my recent new readers average their early 20s and are artistically driven. This puts me in a vantage of mentorship, but not in the typical, “I’m older than you therefore I am better than you” way; rather, I’d like to approach my proselytizing like who I am in real life: your cool aunt who passes the ganja around while she shares tales of shenanigans, with a pinch of morality thrown in! Experience, not age, is how one achieves Wisdom.
For 2015, I’m going to enhance my blogging experience by sharing more, which isn’t easy for me, but I know if I unlatch a bit of armor, you’d appreciate associating with me more. The challenge is to be more revealing about my existence.
So let’s start with this piece… CLANK! There goes the left gauntlet to the floor.
Hi. My name is Ivonne, with an I not a Y, it’s pronounced with a hard eee, not a yuh or an eye. For the sake of monosyllablism, let’s go with Von.
And you are…?
Lucky for me, I have two benevolent people in my life who embody the values of Love and Wisdom in a manner I deeply desire. I met Love, protective and gentle, and Wisdom, reflective and balancing, about the same time last year, and since meeting them, the delusions of archetypal conditioning have started to melt away. Entering into 2015, I no longer feel starved of these self-actualizing components. Rather, I’m experiencing real-life affects of their abundant energy.
As I pack up Queen of Saturnalia’s caravan for a later departure back to the bright coastal waters of her queendom, I feel spiritually, physically, and emotionally sated. I will enter my home, settle in Bobby, and look out to the lake and marine wildlife in my backyard. I’ll plug in my newer tablet to fully charge.
In the morning, after my morning pages and coffee, I will do my book unveiling ceremony.
That’s the plan.
[NOTE: Revisit of last year’s Christmas-themed post. Enjoy!]
On Monday, a bright, textbook sky blue morning, I picked up Marie and her son, Loki, and we headed up to Weedon Island Preserve. We were going to be the only people around, given the sparse parking lot. I love that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but it’s too in the city and heavily trafficked. I’m trying to get my Henry David Thoreau on. I’m trying to loose the coil that is society for the next few hours.
I was led to reflect on Walden, one of the first books I read after deciding to cease living my old existence. My favorite chapter of the book, and I know you’ll think me strange, is The Bean-Field. His fastidiousness in accounting for developing his garden reminded me of how much I sought to control every value of my life as if it was a line item. It’s not that simple though; not every aspect of life can be quantified.
In the past few weeks I experienced a dynamic, negative shift in my professional aspirations as well as a negative shift in my personal relations, one in particular Marie witnessed herself this past Friday. We reached the lookout point and we got to the discussion of values, the who and whats in our life we’ve assigned priority to, and why. Revisiting the events of last Friday, it was evident that there was way too much expectation out of individuals on my end, as if I was going to find The Total Package upon every new relationship I build. The reality of it, as Marie succintly pointed out, is that will never exist in an individual or a thing, and the best way to keep Angst at bay is to carve out the part of the individual or thing you do value and hold on to that. Find contentment in what works, and acknowledge not everything is going to be fulfilling. It’s fatalistic, but easy to digest.
My focus returned to quality of living. I relaxed against the wooden bench, eased my spine, and felt the twists of Angst unfurl slowly. I tipped my white hat over my eyes and felt a long overdue relaxation. It was then that Marie mentioned she couldn’t find her camera. “Dammit, I just got comfortable.” I shifted slightly, ready to remove my pose. “We’ll double back. It’s got to be on the trail. You stay there.” Now that was nice of her. I heard the stroller and the whine of the boy dissipate towards the island, and I drifted away in a cat nap.
This, I realized, is the essence of being. My hands are not manipulating anything. The hard drive that is my brain has slowed its spinning to a dull loop. The breeze, perfect against my skin, the sun, warm enough to cause slight sweat. I felt cleansed. The act of Being is such a rare engagement. To detach, to be one with the sky and the water and the earth, reminds of the fickle nature of humanity. While cars zip around carrying frantic holiday celebrators to and from stores and to and from houses, fufilling social mandates of the season, I am here, Being. This is the best celebration I could possibly engage in, and a cherished gift.
I wrote myself a letter once I got home, and my plan is to read it on New Year’s Day. If I am lucky, I will Be on that day. I hope you will Be, too.
‘Tis the season, fellow writers and lovers of the written word! National Novel Writing Month, a day-by-day literary reckoning. Many sign up, few complete 50,000 words, even fewer, before November 30th.
First year…SMASHED IT!!
And I blogged intensely about it right here in WordPress in case you need to know what insanity reads like. :) (Search NaNoWriMo in Make Contact)
This year, going for Da Tre. Win #3. And I’m really excited to enter this novel as a contender, especially at the cusp of another presidential election season!
The picture does the synopsis no justice, so here’s the extracted text in full:
The sequel to NaNoWriMo 2012 Winner The Black Parade, the United States has economically imploded, sending the leadership into self-dug graves, the wealthy running for sanctuary, and the general population taking the law in their own hands. With hungry eyes and salivating chomps watching America, smelling opportunity for land takeover, will the faction-ed camps of Kills Enemy and Vargas, the people responsible for the initial uprising which brought down Archie Wilcoxon at the expense of Shenandoah Leslie’s life, put their issues aside to protect the fractured nation from marauders?
Thursday nights I’ll be NaNo’ing at Community Cafe. There are other write-ins around Pinellas County; please check nanowrimo.org for the region you’re in and where those WriMos be at!
GOOD LUCK AND FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!!!
The inspiration for my original work, “Welcome To The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance:
I had a week of more achievements than failures, yay!
As one should do, I celebrated that W last Friday night by taking care of Numero Uno. Check out the dinner spread, yo:
BF indisposed for the weekend, so I get to wear my Fat Girl clothes, spread out across the couch and queue up Hulu. It’s an old school TV Party ya’ll!
Premise is, Ichabod Crane of the classic story is brought back to life in current time, and has to get busy controlling the Headless Horseman and the other Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I tuned in last year because it debuted during spooky Halloween season, but I started to really enjoy the story, especially how they mash up the battle for the republic with witchcraft and supernatural beings. If you haven’t seen this show at all, it’s binge-worthy! Go ahead and add it to your Favorites list.
People tune in for…
But I’m watching for…
“I’m a mental patient with a handgun.” ’nuff said.
This show is what I imagine Mitt Romney’s family is like when the cameras aren’t on them. Story takes place in the richy rich part of Long Island, but the way these Crazy White Girls act, you’d think they were on Staten Island! Hats off to the costume design team, too; everyone, down to the subordinate characters, are dressed supa dupa fly!
People tune in to see…
But my eyes are on…
I’ve never witnessed such gracious evil! She just stood at the door to let Emily know she broke out of the mental institution and will kill her. Talk about decorum!
Another ‘Life in the D.C. Bubble’ show, but this one is Shonda Rhimes’ work, and just as fan-building as Grey’s Anatomy. It is frustrating to watch from an experiential standpoint, but I guess the general public needs their delusions that there are people out there, working the Capitol, who are pure of heart. I do love a good comedy!
People are big fans of…
But I root for…
Mellie Grant is flawed yet fearless. That woman has ambition, motive and drive. She also has the President wrapped around her finger, and a White House that is at her complete service. The First Lady is a reminder to all side pieces: there is NO HOPE for you!
The Bat Boy’s back, but this time, it’s everyone’s Origin Story. I’m a sucker for origins, even though I famously can’t stand Batman. This is worth couch surfing, even binging, if you’re a fan of DC Comics and have yet to jump on this!
Fans of justice relate to…
But my ideology mirrors…
I thought Jada was perfect as Niobe in The Matrix movies, but I’m really enjoying her in this role; scheming, conniving, destroying, all while dressed to the nines and keeping her nail game tight!
This summer series is my quiet addiction. These women are essentially me splintered in four – their personalities, their clothing tastes, their drama, everything! This past season, my life was crazily mirroring the story line, proving that my bullshit is not even unique. So that’s a calming experience. :)
The moderator of my new writing group was kind enough to edit my latest horror story’s opening gore scene two weeks ago. Finally, after a week of not-so-great moments, I pulled myself together to address her notes, as I’ve given myself a personal deadline of completing a first draft by Sunday, 5 October.
But how to go about it? On Saturday, Texas A&M played against Mississippi State (you can never get tired of typing Mississippi…Mississippi…Missississp..oops!),Ole Miss against Alabama, LSU played Auburn, and Michigan State played Nebraska. I usually hunker down when intense writing – telly vision and phone off, mood music, tea kettle on perpetual boil – but there’s a deadline AND football! What to do, what to dooooo…?
I decided to give distracted writing a chance. I left the ArtHouse, arrived at the poolhouse, set the telly to Game 1 and began to review edits. By the time Mississippi State posted 24 points over the Aggies, I finished her notes, and expanded in ever so gruesome detail the horrors of that particular scene, channeling my frustration with Kenny Hill and the entire Aggie offense, and yes, even you Seals-Jones!, into Scrivener.
While Game 2 was on, a gaggle of tween girls entered the house to use the computer terminals. No biggie; as long as they didn’t interrupt my football watching or my train of thought. They loudly looped a very popular song, much to my chagrin, then started to sing boisterously along with it! I tell ya, nothing will get your skin crawling, nay, UNDULATING, like 11 year old girls singing, “I’m gonna love youuu/until you hate meee…” at the top of their just-started-menstruating lungs. Which inspired another gore scene. Thanks creepy girls!
Between Game 2 and Game 3 I got into a heated text-fight with the BF. To comfort myself, I sought either a bowl of cheese or a burger, to which a visit to Local Family-Friendly Sports Bar was in order. I got the manager to kindly put Auburn-LSU on the top screen, Michigan State-Nebraska on the lower screen, ordered a medium rare Angus beef burger, and continued drafting hate-fueled sequences in my writing journal.
All at once, I was eating, watching plays, writing scenes, fact checking data, web searching points of reference, maintaining all at a constant flow:
As Auburn was metaphorically stomping LSU’s nuts, I took to physically macerating a character’s genitals. Nebraska and Michigan State were putting up such a frenzy, I used the excitable energy around me to describe a shoot out. Not trying to be an entire asshole, I text-apologized the BF between burger bites. By Nebraska-Michigan State’s half, I had finished my first draft!
Man, do I feel accomplished! And happier with the SEC. Big 10, well, you know I’ll always love you, heck, my protagonist’s family hails from East Lansing, Michigan! Kenny, get it together for next week, or at least, fail so miserably I’ll have no choice but to kill a character in my next story.
Ya never know what’ll work until you try it!