I attended and performed in my first poetry slam event on Wednesday night last week. The Berkely Slam is held every Wednesday at the Starry Plough Pub in (you guessed it) Berkeley, California. The event hosts a small workshop prior to opening sign ups, with readers chosen by lottery. Five random judges are chosen from the audience, which makes the tone very random. It is currently hosted by the amazing Jazz Sufi.
The judges — or more specifically one judge — was kind of an ass that night, scoring almost everyone incredibly low, which was annoying. For the most part, however, I laughed along and was astounded by the work of so many amazing poets, Allie Marini among them, and had a fabulous time.
I read “The Things I Own.” I was incredibly nervous to read due to the contest atmosphere and because I knew poets tend to be well rehearsed at slams. But I surprised myself by feeling fairly confident when I performed and I got some nice feedback from the audience. The experience has me thinking that I should work on memorizing some poems and work on getting more confident with performing.
What I’m Reading
Rupetta by Nike Sulway is a fascinating read so far, featuring a robot/android being built in 1600s, who continues to live on over the centuries and ultimately becomes the center of civilization in the twentieth century. Beautiful writing and engaging world.
I’ve watching the mini-series on BBC, I’m rereading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke via audio book, because there is so much that I don’t seem to remember, especially in regards to the fantastic footnotes.
Recently finished the wonderfully unsettling The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma — book review with a giveaway will be posted shortly.
What I’m Writing
Just a little bit of writing got done last week, mostly on Tuesday night with some editing of a review I’ve been working on. I think I needed to take it easy in order to recover from the go-get-em attitude of the week before.
Submitted! A micro chapbook of ten pages to Porkbelly Press, called Sacred Ways.
Goal(s) for this week: Finish and submit a selection of poem(s).
My weekend was taken up in part by considerable time watching big screen adventures — Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road — both of which were fantastic fun and, as a side note, both using a number of mechanical effects over CGI.
Fury Road was my favorite of the two as a long time fan of the Mad Max series. The movie is essentially a single long car chase seen across the apocalyptic wasteland, featuring a spectacular spectacle of mayhem. What hold the movie together are the assortment of badass characters both good and evil, the carefully choreographed stunts and action sequences, and gorgeously haunting cinematography.
Instead, I’d like to say that Mad Max is as hard core as he’s ever been. Although he spends the start of the movie as a captive, Tom Hardy portrays a sense of barely contained violence and rage. War Boy (or one of the others) describes him as a feral, and it’s an accurate description. As in previous Mad Max films (Road Warrior and Thunder Dome), Max starts out with a single selfish goal of obtaining only his own survival, perfectly willing to leave others behind to their fate. It’s only after circumstances force him to team up that he eventually begins to fight for a bigger cause.
Jurassic Worldprovided almost the same feeling of wonder and thrill of the first Jurassic Park. The tone and pacing were just what I’d hoped they would be. It didn’t matter that the plot was full of holes or that most of the characters were caricatures. I loved seeing the dinosaurs again (even if they don’t fit the profile according to more modern science) — I loved seeing the ambling brachiosaurus and the stampeding gallimimus and the terrifying intelligence of the velociraptors.
The only thing that really bothered me was was the main chick’s shoes. Her character was already annoying to me anyway, just so clearly arrogant and financially motivated with little time for her nephews, that my friend and I were kind of hoping she’d get chomped on by one of the dinos. On top of that, she decided to go tromping through the jungle and running from giant dinosaurs in ridiculous spiked heels — an act not just impractical but impossible, since the heels would be sinking into the mud the entire time or she would have broken an ankle and died. If she had taken just 30 seconds to switch out for flats, I would have liked her character so much better.
What I’m Reading
Although beautifully written, Atonement by Ian McEwan, is really dragging for me. I suspect that part of my disinterest is due to have seen the movie and having hated the ending. I was told that you have to read the book to understand why it’s a great love story; I’m still skeptical.
I’m also in the process of reading and reviewing Drink, a collection of poems by Laura Madeline Wiseman. In the meantime, you might want to check out this interview with Laura.
What I’m Writing
My social activities took up a lot of my time this week and the rest of my free time was consumed with procrastinating activities (my turn off the screens plan hasn’t quite been implemented yet), so just little fragments of writing happened this week. So, I need to kick into gear this week.
Goal(s) for this week: Write! Edit! Submit!
Nada. I’m still at a grand total of 3/20 for the month’s Submission Bonanza. Can I manage to send out another 17 submissions before the month is over and make my goal? Yes! Sure! Maybe. We’ll see. Eep!
“The enduring Confederate influence on American politics goes far beyond a few rhetorical tropes. The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries.
That worldview is alive and well. During last fall’s government shutdown and threatened debt-ceiling crisis, historian Garry Wills wrote about our present-day Tea Partiers: “The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule.”
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change.”
Jaclyn Bergamino over at Lightening Droplets announced her plans to once again do Submission Bonanza, a challenge to send out 30 submissions in the 30 days of June.
It’s a fantastic challenge and, since I’m currently trying to stick my neck out more, I’m planning to throw my hat in as well. I’ve been slow about getting around to submitting, mostly because I’ve been slow to get around to editing first drafts. This might just be the kick in the pants that I need to get a move on.
Realistically, I don’t know that I’ll be able to manage a full 30 submissions, but I might be able to stretch myself and send out 20 submissions this month, which would be awesome.
Poets might be interested to learn that submissions are open for a Mermaid Anthology from Sundress Publications that is “interested in poems that push the mermaid myth and figure into a new light. Submissions should not simply retell the mermaid and her classic story but establish new facets in which to read, question, admire, interrogate, and fear this fantastical siren.”
Historical fiction, fantasy, and movies have done a lot to erase people of color from mainstream consciousness, to the point that many writers and readers argue that including POC in stories is unrealistic. Medieval POC is a fantastic blog that presents historical evidence of POC existing in Europe in the middle ages.
Maleficent is a new live action Disney movie coming out that will tell the story of sleeping beauty from the villain’s point of view. I’ve long thought Meleficent was cool and I have hopes that this will be decent. I just hope they make her a strong complex character without letting things get too corny.
I’ve recently found out about the Disposable Film Fest, which presents short films created with “low cost video technology: everyday equipment like mobile phones, pocket cameras, DSLRs and other inexpensive devices.” I keep trying to figure out when the fest is presented in San Fran, so that I can go and I’d also like to try to put together and submit a film. In the mean time, I’m loving the shorts on the website, like this year’s grand prize winner, Malaria, which is amazing.
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What got accomplished last week? Not much. I got my running days in, but nothing else. *sigh*
That which must be accomplished in the coming week: – Finish second half of Chapter Six of Under the Midday Moon – Submit something (poem, story, whatever) – Workout at least three days with two workouts being running training (0/3) – Do three morning yoga workouts (0/3) – Practice my Spanish – Get stenciling done on art project for niece’s bedroom
– Make Progress on Organization (do one or more of the following): • Find a minimum of ten items (big or small) that can be gotten rid of and get rid of them • Take all items to donate to Goodwill