I wanted to share some thoughts about the book I just finished, Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, by Kenzaburo Oe but I thought the blog post would be obnoxiously long, so I created a Zoho document to compile everything. Just follow the link!
Today was an enlightening afternoon, and I got to meet some really great people. I have never been to a workshop like this before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Grace Curtis, Omope Daboiku Carter, and Melody Moezzi were fascinating to listen to, and all three of them were exceptionally kind. I introduced Melody Moezzi, and I suppose I did fine even though I was so nervous that I couldn’t feel my arms. I’m not even sure I actually read the words that I had written on my paper. I didn’t throw up on myself or pass out, though, so I am calling it a win.
The biggest thing I took from the entire day is when asked to talk about their crafting process at various times, each one of them said that you have to just do it. Just. do. it. Write it, finish it, own it. Keep writing. This specifically resonated with me, because I cannot allow myself to call myself a writer if I am so paralyzingly terrified to put myself out there. Sometimes I can’t even focus long enough to write for half an hour because I can’t escape my own head. It’s not a fear of rejection. Rejection blows, but it doesn’t bother me from continuing to try. It’s a fear of not being good enough. A lack of confidence. Why should I write if no one wants to read my work; what makes me think anything I have to say will be interesting, evoke emotion or conversation – after all, I’m just some dumb girl that likes to write poetry, right?
I know from where this lack of confidence stems, but it’s time to stop letting it be a factor in my life. No more excuses. If I am going to continue to learn and progress, if I am going to get anywhere creatively, I need to slay this dragon. I acknowledge that I have made great progress in the past year alone. Last year, I would have never willingly submitted any of my work to contests, and yet this year I have won the Deanna Pickard Prize for Poetry, and first place in Sinclair’s Creative Writing contest for short fiction. I would have never attended workshops, and yet this year not only have I introduced the keynote speaker at the workshop today, but I am also attending the Antioch Writer’s Workshop this summer. A year ago, I would have had a panic attack at the first sign of having to be social, let alone speaking in front of others. It’s time that I explore myself and find creative direction. It’s time I accept myself and stop being so afraid. I am finally realizing what I want to be, and it’s time that I just shut up and do it.
There’s a place between heaven and hell
Don’t need a map, just follow the smell
A place filled with filthy air
A place full of dark despair
A place you have no prayer
A place called New Jersey…
Ryan and I went to see Toxic Avenger at Sinclair Community College last evening, and we both loved it. It was a delightful amalgam of self-deprecation, Mel Brooks-esque humor, environmental commentary, and monster classic in the body of a catchy musical — all of the things I adore the most in this world.
While we were waiting to be seated, I took a moment to check out the bulletin boards that lined the entrance. They had great information regarding the importance of saving the bees and how you can help, the significance of reducing, reusing and recycling, and details regarding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The character Sarah seemed to me the embodiment of the population who only want to focus on superficial elements or the beauty of nature, and are blind to the unpleasant reality of the climate change situation – the ‘ugly truth’, if you will. The Mayor represents those who profit from these destructive endeavors, and aren’t bothered by the consequences or who else is affected, as long as it continues to fatten their wallets. The Avenger is the powerless Average Joe, who wants to make a difference and put a stop the destruction of the planet, but the odds are overwhelmingly against him to the point where he feels the only course of action is violence and retaliatory destruction.
The humor suits this play well; I think it makes the environmental messages easier to swallow and makes the audience feel involved, instead of making it feel like an agenda is being shoved down their throats. Plus, who doesn’t love making fun of New Jersey?