34th Parallel Magazine likes my poem!

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3220coverI am so excited! The editors of 34th Parallel Magazine have enjoyed my poem entitled: Rapid and sent me notification of their interest to publish it.

I subscribed to this magazine after reading about it in Poets & Writers. Last year I began ordering and reading some journals and magazines that I felt would be a good match for publication of some of my work. A few of them turned me down and others I decided would not have been a good match for my poems at that time. I read through 34th Parallel Magazine and knew that I had to at least try to get one of my pieces in their magazine. Their articles were so fresh and resonated with current topics of interest to me (as well as with others I am sure).

I am excited to have one of my pieces published in 34th Parallel Magazine and can’t wait to read their next issue!

Inside Out Literary Arts Project

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THE GREATEST NEWS I HAVE IS…. “I have an Internship!”

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This winter 2016 semester, I will be an Intern with the great folks over at Inside Out Literary Arts Project. As a [recently] published poet, I could not have found a better opportunity than this. Take a moment to read about all the wonderful work this non-profit organization does in the city of Detroit.

Being an Intern with the Inside Out project will give me an opportunity to learn how to educate the youth about the process of creative writing. I want to pull from the knowledge of those who are actively involved with this process. If I could name one overall result from this experience that I would like to come away with [upon completion of the Internship] it would be to have a working knowledge of the dynamics involved with the classroom-to-teacher relationship.

As a poet, I have a working knowledge of the creative writing process. Through Wayne State University’s association with the Inside Out Project, I am positioned to learn so much more and intend to capitalize on the availability of scholarly guidance. As an aspiring educator in creative writing I have the opportunity, through my association with the Inside Out project, to acquire a framework on which to build a solid foundation for nurturing a student’s overall experience in public education—and my journey will continue.

In the near future, I have my sights set on entering Wayne State University’s graduate studies program in creative writing for the fall 2016 term. After completing this, I have plans to apply for acceptance to an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) program with a concentration in poetry.

As I move forward with my final semester of undergraduate studies as an English major at Wayne State University, I also move forward with new opportunities for partnership. This partnership blends the Detroit youth, who are invested in the Inside Out Project, along with all those educators, Writers in Residence, Principals, and Parents who want to see excellence in education. Inside Out is rising high with a bright future in Detroit. It’s a tremendous honor to know that I will become a part of their forecast. (Click here to find out how you can get involved).

Writing an Artist Statement

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For the past month I have been chipping away at writing my very first Ang3Artist Statement. It’s a wonderful process because essentially I get to brag about the best part of me! On the flip-side, it means I have to write about myself which is not really my strongest point. I can write about many different topics and do it very creatively. I can ponder (sometimes endlessly) the state of the human condition in American and in the world. When I sit down to talk about myself there are all sorts of things to consider. Some of those things will forever remain in the proverbial vault. Other items are very delicate and need a special audience. The biggest reason I find it challenging to write about myself is because I haven’t done anything so worthy of being written about.

When I think about writing an Artist Statement I only have one accomplishment under my belt and that’s my poetry being included in an anthology this past fall of 2015. I searched the internet for some samples of Artist Statements and found a few that were nicely written. One blog page had some very encouraging bullet points on writing an Artist Statement. I have my statement completed and (thankfully) I will get to have it work shopped in my advanced creative writing class this evening.

The funny thing about this situation is…I have always been able to write, describe, dismantle, and deconstruct everyday life. Who would have thought that an Artist Statement would be the knockout punch that would slam into my face, pushing me off balance, and leave me groveling on the floor…me—a poet!

My Poetry is in an anthology

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Check out this anthology!

A few months ago three of my poems were accepted by the Warren Artist Market for publication in an upcoming anthology Life Preserved: Memories: An Anthology

My submission included a poem about recollection in the piece entitled: One Color Recall.  It examines human connection and the singularity that joins us all. There is a poem about the connection to nature through reminiscence of a metaphorical conversation entitled: Flowering Truths. The other poem published in this anthology examines remembrance of a Shakespearean character from his play The Tempest. A reader might remember [the Shakespeare character from the play] Claribel. Although she never appeared on the stage she dwells in thought but what might be said of Claribel’s memories? The piece is entitled: Farewell From Claribel.

I blogged about the experience I had when I found out my pieces had been accepted for publication in this anthology. I also blogged about the performance I did with the Wayne State Literary Walk. The anthology is now available on Amazon.

Life Preserved: Memories: An Anthology

Library etiquette….shhhh!

2016-03-14 001 085I completed by undergraduate degree and was accepted into business school at Wayne State University beginning this Spring/Summer session (2016). I’m pretty excited and want to really get things started in a positive direction as I work toward my MBA. Today, I went to the library to begin work on my final paper (Due in one month from now). I have my usual spot on the top floor all the way in the back where it’s normally pretty quiet. Occasionally you get people who are not used to the idea that libraries are not the place to have open conversations. This was one of those occasions.

As I approached my favorite study area, I noticed two girls talking in a normal tone of voice. I selected a table that was on the far end from them. The talking didn’t seem very disturbing and I thought that they would discontinue since they noticed that someone else was now in the same area of the library. They continued to talk and I took out my headphones and plugged them in. As I listened to some study music I could still hear the discussion at the far end of the library. I turned and looked in their direction, our eyes connected but they continued to talk.

I would turn around two more times after that and by this time the conversation they were having included some laughter as well as very audible discussion about medical school. Finally, I decided that I would just leave because I was not in the mood to teach the finer points of library etiquette to these neophytes.

As I approached the elevators, I noticed the two girls coming behind me. I thought this would be a good time to let them know how inconsiderate they were. I had a second thought and the elevator doors opened. As I stepped into the elevator, I held the door and impulsively said, “Excuse me ladies, I just wanted to let you know that from the time I arrived in this library you both held a conversation that was so loud I could hear you with my headphones on.” They both looked at each other then looked at me and said, almost in unison, “We’re sorry about that.” All I could think was…that’s it, you’re sorry?

I concluded by saying, “You couldn’t cut me some slack here? I don’t mean to sound so bitchy but you made it really difficult for me to study.” They said sorry again and the tallest one added, “You could have come over and said something to us.” I shook my head to prevent myself from saying what I was thinking, We are all in a library, normally reserved for quiet study, and you think I should have stopped what I was doing to walk over to your table and remind you that you shouldn’t talk in a library while others are trying to study—how inconsiderate!

Farscape on Netflix and sleep-watching

Last night I fell asleep while binge-watching Farscape on Netflix. This morning, when I opened my browser to see the last thing I remembered watching, it was set to continue watching season four, episode 4, “Lava’s a Many Splendored Thing.” Even though that was the last thing playing when I fell asleep, there could have been any number of scenes, episodes, or specific dialogue that triggered this question in my mind, “Are the petals on a flower redundant or necessary?” I thought this was a funny kind of question. It made me think about the human body and life’s redundancies.

Life, in general, has built-in redundancies. That is to say, body parts and organs sometimes come in pairs. I’m not an expert on anatomy but my best guess is that there are spare-parts (redundant organs) that create a solution for a just-in-case-scenario. For instance, just in case you break your left leg, the right leg still works and you can keep you mobile. If you lose your left hand, you still have the right one to help with activities of daily living, and so on.

Inside the human body there seems to be this same type of fail-safe. For example, if something happens to one of your lungs, you have another available. A woman with one ovary can still produce a child with a man who has one testicle. People have been known to live a full-life with one kidney, even though it may be a more complicated one. Humans have one head, heart, and stomach. If any of these are rendered inoperable then death is eminent.

So, “Are the petals on a flower redundant or necessary?”

What’s behind gratitude?

I can remember when I moved out of my mother’s house. It was right after I left college to get a job at the post office. First I moved in with a friend then a couple weeks later, found my own place. I didn’t have furniture so my mother let me take my bed with me. I was renting a studio apartment—the bed doubled as a sofa. Eventually, I was able to buy a very small kitchen table that had two chairs. It fit in the corner-most part of the kitchenette. There was a small stove with an oven, a small refrigerator with a freezer at the top and a small sink. I worked most of the day so the dishes were never left unclean.

There was a coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement of the apartment. Instead of regular coins, tenants needed to purchase tokens from the rental office in order to use the washer and dryer. Instead of going through the trouble of trying to catch the rental office during business hours to purchase the tokens, I asked my mother if it would be alright to come over and do my laundry a couple of times per month—she agreed. I was very thankful and decided to clean her entire kitchen each time I came over. This was usually on Thursday’s, just in case my boyfriend and I wanted to go out on Friday nights.

My mother’s kitchen wasn’t terribly huge. Whenever I went over my mother’s to wash my 2-loads, the kitchen was cluttered. It seemed as if every plate, glass, cup, spoon, knife, fork and cooking dish in her cabinets was sitting out. Most often there was food left in them—several days old from the looks of it. My brother and sister (both older than me) were living in her house, during those days. My sister had two children and no one thought they should clean the kitchen. My clothes didn’t take long to wash and dry. I started cleaning the kitchen as soon as I put the first load in the washer. I was a dish-washing-wizard.

When my mother taught my sister and me how to wash dishes, I really liked how clean the kitchen was after we finished. It wasn’t long until we each had our very own day to wash dishes—mine was Thursday. As we got better at cleaning, our day turned into a week. By the time my sister was in middle school and I was in my final year of elementary, we were assigned house chores that lasted for a full month! I remember thinking how unfair it was because all my friends only washed dishes for 1-week at a time then their older brothers and/or sisters took over. I didn’t realize how grateful I would be later in life because of this.

By the time my clothes were finished I had the entire kitchen spotless! My sister hadn’t come anywhere near the kitchen while I cleaned and neither did my brother. In fact, I believe they both left the house and didn’t return until I was about to leave. That’s when my sister came in the kitchen and said, “Oh, wow! thanks.” Then she started putting dishes in a box. I asked her why she was packing momma’s dishes and she told me those were her dishes. At that moment, all I could think about was the fact that she let me clean her dirty dishes without even offering to help. My agreement was with my mother—to clean for HER.

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When my sister said thank you, it didn’t feel genuine. An authentic show of gratitude would not have been cloaked in deceit. She wasn’t thankful that I cleaned our mother’s kitchen (because for some reason she hadn’t). Her gracious attitude wasn’t even due to the fact that I cleaned-up behind her, my brother and my niece and nephew. She was glad that I (blindly) washed all her dishes and she didn’t have to help—so she said thanks. How do you thank someone for doing something you let them believe was for another reason? Her deception didn’t end there.

As I gathered my clean clothes to put in the trunk of my car my sister walked out with me. She asked if I could give her a ride to the other side of town. I was low on gas but agreed that I would. As I got in the car she stood at the driver’s side.  With a wad of cash in her hand she said, “Never mind I’ll just get a cab. I don’t want to use the little bit of gas you have. Thanks anyway.” I thought to myself I wish she would thank me with a few of those dollars.

Wong Kar Wai

019.jpg If the name doesn’t ring a bell with you, then you are not alone. Back in December of 2015, If I had been asked, “Who is Wong Kar Wai?” I might have shrugged my shoulders and kept walking. Today, I have a different response.

If you searched Wong Kar Wai on the imdb.com website, you’ll find that he is a filmmaker out of Hong Kong. His work includes: In the Mood for Love (2000), Days of Being Wild (1990), 2046 (2004), Happy Together (1997) and Chung King Express (1994), just to name a few.

In my Asian film studies class, the professor asked, “What is national cinema?” I struggled for an answer. I thought about it long and hard until it came to me. My answers included either identifying the country where the film was made or the nationality of the filmmaker. I thought national cinema was any film that wasn’t made in Hollywood or contained a structure that could be considered synonymous with Hollywood film making. That is to say, if the story line had a predictable ending and the characters were less than believable. I later found out, from a Bordwell reading we were assigned, that my answers to the professor’s question seemed to include aspects of art cinema. The class is still going on (as of March 13, 2016). I am slowly beginning to believe that there is no definition (that stands alone) for national cinema.

I’m in Issue 33 of the 34th Parallel Magazine

33 COVERI just purchased a full color copy of the 34th Parallel magazine. The poem I wrote was accepted for publication and is available, RIGHT NOW! This piece was special in many ways for me. From its subject matter to how it presents on the page, my poem Rapid has a story to tell.

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In addition to my piece, the magazine has some very engaging stories from authors with various styles of writing. They have amazing talent. I am certain that anyone who reads issue 33 of the 34th Parallel Magazine will find it visually exciting, thought provoking and engaging.

Check it out and let me know (write a comment below) how you enjoyed the piece.