Month: May 2016

Portrait of a Young Artist

This morning I heard about Ratsliveonnoevilstar, an Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) EP released in 2003 and recorded while she was at Berklee College of Music. Being a huge St. Vincent fan, I played it immediately. It’s good. Really good. And it made me realize something: when it comes to my favorite artists, I imagine them arriving fully formed, but there are many projects before they make anything they can show publicly. Annie played guitar since she was little, got into a well-known music school, tried and failed to make it in New York, and toured with another group before her first album in 2007. Now she’s released four acclaimed albums and has a Grammy. It’s nice to know that people you look up to were once at the same place you are and got through it.

Other stuff:

  • If you like it, you can get the EP here (it’s not available commercially anymore).
  • Annie Clark also has a great video on making art as part of the MAKERS series.
  • One thing I miss about dorm life and Club 205 is not having conversations like this.
  • Am now 19. Hoping this new age leads to some killer art 🙂
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The Blessing

It seemed like a blessing fell in my lap when I went through my mail a few days ago. My summer plan was to read and write all day, but it faced a few roadblocks: my dad constantly telling me to get a job, my limited finances, and the fact that being at home is incredibly boring. Thus, when I read a letter from a local employer looking for summer workers—$17 an hour, all majors accepted, no experience necessary—I strongly considering applying.

First, though, I had to look into it. After all, what kind of company pays $17 an hour with no experience necessary, and why does the letter have no details about the job? Normally I’d throw it out right there, but I was pretty desperate.

I looked up the district manager and he seemed to exist. LinkedIn said he was a sophomore at a local college. How does a sophomore end up district manager of anything? I wondered, but at least that part checked out. I then looked up the company, Vector Marketing. This is what turned up: Vector Marketing is the domestic sales arm of Cutco Corporation, an Olean, New York based cutlery manufacturer. Hell. No. A crappy sales job sounded hellish, and the work, while not technically a scam, was definitely not my thing. My only other encounter with Cutco was when a desperate acquaintance messaged me on Facebook so she could present knives to my parents. Not exactly a flattering image of the job. I tore up the letter and made peace with unemployment. So went my first venture into the world of job hunting.

Other stuff:

  • Finished Everything I Never Told You and it was great. Am now reading The Year of Magical Thinking. Borrowed that, Blue NightsA Raisin in the SunBossypants, and Yes Please from the library a few days ago.
  • I actually do want a job, but not badly, so I doubt I’ll end up getting one. I suppose I could join the proud, storied tradition of writer/baristas or something.
  • Related: why are so many so-called writing jobs unpaid? Some examples on Craigslist: “Write THREE melodies/songs for a one-act musical” “Art, Music, and Culture Journalism Internship” (no pay, but great opportunities for exposure!) “Music and Tech Writing Interns.” First, why the obsession with exposure? I’m a writer, not a nudist. Second, it’s bad enough not getting paid, but it’s even worse when the place offering to “expose” you is some no-name publication. Why they think their exposure is valuable is beyond me.
  • An actual blessing that fell into my lap recently is that the place I’m living in next semester will have some killer furnishing: memory foam beds, a hammock, a sofa, a desk and chair in each bedroom, and a dining room setup. Corey’s mom is officially my new favorite person.
  • Strongly considering buying a ticket for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.

On Changing

After the first few days of what I’ve dubbed the summer of change, I can now say that trying to change yourself is weird. It feels like self-surgery; some changes are easy, painless, and wholly positive, but others are approached will all the certainty of an operation done blindfolded. You take the scalpel and pray you don’t remove anything vital. That’s what I’m doing right now, anyways.

Other stuff:

  • Another weird thing is visiting people you’ve left. It’s weird in a good way though; catching up with people you’ve missed is fun. Just don’t expect too much. If you’re hoping for a you-shaped hole in the social fabric you can slip back into, you’ll find that those holes are stitched shut pretty quickly.
  • Media Consumption Report: My Mad Fat Diary is amazing, as is Everything I Never Told You. I’ve also gotten hooked on petitepearstyle’s travel vlogs. Watched her Hong Kong trip last week and am about to start on her Japan trip now. When you have no money to do anything, it’s nice to watch others doing things. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper is out and as quality as I’d hoped for. It’s been on heavy repeat for the past few days.
  • Have a net worth hovering around $20 at the moment. It’s not a lifestyle I’d recommend.
  • When I’m in my room (which I now share with my little brother) I’m largely confined to my bed since there’s a large piano in the room and my bags are scattered all over the floor. It’s like being stranded on an island. This has its perks though: on an island, no one can reach you.
  • This blog is now a solo blog (formerly a joint blog). Also, there’s a short About Me page now.
  • I apologize for all the times I made fun of Tucson for having rock lawns instead of actual lawns. Mowing the lawn is awful.

Summer

I’m free. I am officially done with the school year and am out of Tucson for the next three months. No more trashed residence hall bathrooms, no more troglodytes making noise at all hours, no more oppressive heat, no more smelly hallways, no more mind-numbing homework, no more lousy food, no more frat people, no more funky water, no more bad public transit, no more model-thin pillows, no more small beds, no more cacti, no more repeat illnesses. I’m free, free, free. The only good thing about student housing was that I met my friends, who are pretty amazing. We’re split up for the summer, which sucks, but overall my mood is decidedly positive. It feels like the whole world is opening up. I told Phoebe I’d make a list of summer goals with her, but my only goal is to read and write every day, so instead I’ll share a list of books I want to read. I won’t get through them all, and the list doesn’t even factor in the carry-on suitcase full of books that’s flying back with me, but I hope to get through a respectable amount of them.

Summer Reading/Buying:

  •  Southern Writers: Flannery O’Connor (Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away), Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind), William Faulkner (Absalom Absalom!), Eudora Welty (Collected Stories), Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian), Truman Capote (In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
  • Black Writers: Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye, Beloved, Song of Solomon), Maya Angelou (I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing), James Baldwin (Collected Essays, Early Novels and Stories), Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between The World And Me), W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk), Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Father Comes Home From The Wars: Parts 1, 2, & 3), Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin In The Sun), August Wilson (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone)
  • Nigerian Writers: Chinua Achebe (No Longer At Ease, Arrow of God), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus), Teju Cole (Every Day Is For The Thief), Wole Soyinka (The Lion and the Jewel, You Must Set Forth At Dawn, The Trials of Brother Jero, The Strong Breed), Julie Iromuanya (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor)
  • Western Writers: Joan Didion (The White Album, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking),  John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row), Lucia Berlin (A Manual For Cleaning Women), Lauren Yee (Ching Chong Chinaman, in a word), Carrie Brownstein (Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl)
  • Women Writers: Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth), Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway, To The Lighthouse, The Waves), Sylvia Plath (Ariel, The Colossus), Colette (Cheri, The Last of Cheri, My Mother’s House, Sido), Zadie Smith (White Teeth), Jane Austen (Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion), Marilynne Robinson (Gilead, Housekeeping), Kayla Czaga (Enemy of the People), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, Oryx and Crake), Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You), Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Elena Ferrante (The Neopolitan Novels 1-4)
  • Russian Writers: Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment), Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina), Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • As many plays on New Play Exchange as possible (namely The Kilroys’ list).
  • A million other books + short stories + essays + whatever catches my eye in the bookstore.

Have any other suggestions? If so, please comment, because I’d love to hear them.

Other Stuff:

  • God hates flight delays.
  • Expecting to keep my 4.0 which is nice. Have As in all the classes that have posted grades so far.
  • The next time I’m in Tucson, I’ll be living in one of the nicer neighborhoods there. My English teacher said it was full of yuppies, but I can handle that. And the house is so nice; it’s bigger, nicer, and in a better neighborhood than the home I grew up in.
  • Being at home for three months will be a drag :/
  • I’m gonna miss Phoebe, Corey, and Dominique. At least there’s Skype.
  • Also Kasey’s staying in Missouri to get residency, which is good since it’ll reduce her tuition, but it means I won’t see her either 😦
  • Wanna get a proper first draft of this novel done, so I’m gonna write for at least an hour every morning. Hopefully I’ll be a much stronger writer by the end of the summer.
  • Got some cool TV shows lined up for watching (My Mad Fat Diary, Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life) so that’ll be fun 🙂
  • Shopping! Water taxi! Sub-100 temperature! Cheap bookstores!

 

Fun In Dorms

Yesterday I was in my dorm’s library talking with a few guys, most notably Mike. Mike is a very short Asian who lives in my wing. He wears glasses, rides around on a Razor scooter, and often makes offensive, unfunny jokes. For instance, if we are in the same room he never fails to remind others to “watch out, a black man’s here, he might steal something.” It wasn’t exactly charming the first time, and it’s especially grating the 20th time you hear it from someone who’s not your friend and who you never talk to.

We were all laughing about Donald Trump’s latest tweet when Mike asked, “So, are you and Dominique a thing yet?” Despite Mike’s history of saying dumb stuff, this still surprised me, not because of the question—most of my friends are women, so I’ve dealt with “when will your girl friend become your girlfriend?” throughout high school—but because Dominique is an out lesbian, something Mike should know. When I told him so, he looked slightly disappointed. “I’m so sorry for you,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because, you two would make a cute couple.” Oh, okay. I’ll be sure to tell her so she can flip on her straight switch. The only good thing about the whole encounter was that he’d asked me when Dominique wasn’t around, though that would’ve been far more entertaining.

Bonus Mike Story: When Dominique first told Mike her name, he said, ‘Actually, I think I’ll call you Sharkeisha instead.” This was at the start of the school year, before anyone knew each other, in a large group in the Common Room.

Bonus Mike Story #2: Around a month ago Mike met Corey (my roommate) and his sister, Vanessa, in the hallway. This is how that went:

 “Oh, is she in college?” Mike asked.

“No, she’s a sophomore in high school.”

“Oh, dang it,” Mike said, with a smirk and a glance towards Vanessa.

Vomitrocious.   

Other stuff:

  • Yesterday was enchanted 🙂
  • Finished Sex and the City yesterday morning and I don’t know what to do with my life.
  • The new Chance mixtape drops May 13th! His single Angels is pretty amazing so I’m excited.
  • So close to summer. My first grade is in and I passed my internship, though it doesn’t count towards my GPA (which is actually pretty nice since it gives you room to grow). Half done with finals, just have an essay, one on Monday, and one on Tuesday.
  • This video gives me life.