My World

by on November 19th, 2013

DarkI truly appreciate you taking the time out of your day to visit my corner of the internet.

I am a full time student. I am an english major at USC. I’m nearing graduation and I feel my studies have been well worth it. I have achieved success that some authors only dream of. I have published on multiple occasions and am nearing the release of a collection of my poems that has already pre sold more than 1,000 copies.

More than anything I am an artist. My canvas is a napkin or torn notebook paper, my brush is trusty fountain pen, and my paint is words. I say what I think, and I think that most of my thoughts are shared by others who may be to proud or scared to voice them. I’ll admit my poetry can be provocative at times, but life is provocative.

No I’m not spiteful at the world, but there are definitely aspects of it that get me riled up. Even then, I’m really quite friendly, so please don’t hesitate to comment on my work. I won’t be offended if it’s not your cup of tea. In fact I love constructive criticism. Though I am no master, I have tasted the fruits of success, and I feel it a responsibility to help those who come after me in any way that I can. This is one of the purposes I have for starting this blog. These are my humble reflections of my true emotions. I will offer what tips and insights I can into your poetic journey, there are also other sites like this that can help you get started. Take them or leave them, to each his own. But please understand that I operate only out of the need to help others.

My publishing company handles all of my press releases, interviews, and copyrighting. If you would like to reach them for any reason please just use my “Contact” page. I have it set up so that your messages will be forwarded directly to them. Let me close this post with this piece of work

 

I whisper patiently

In shelves I live and breathe

When the page turns there I lie

When “The End” comes, I die

In time I resurrect

Old ideas to reflect

With new blood I do awake

and death I will forsake

 

Finding Poetic Inspiration While On A Bike Ride

by on September 17th, 2014

Mountain BikingAs many of you know I was able to visit Park City a few months ago, for the Sundance Film Festival. I never got the opportunity to write about it, so I will take the time to do so now. It goes without saying that I was out of my mind seeing all the celebrities and enjoying the artistic atmosphere. It was such a magical place and it was truly an experience I will not forget anytime soon. Park City is such a beautiful place. The mountains were just gorgeous. Although my purpose of being there was for the film festival, I did my fair share of enjoying nature as well!

I often find the beauty of nature as one of the most powerful inspirational forces for many of my literary creations. Being secluded from the city and technology helps me to focus in on my primal senses and I think that comes across in the poetry that you may have seen in one of my collections.

While in park city I had the opportunity to take a 3 hours bicycle ride through the forrest surrounding Park City. Lucky the bike that I rented was a full-fledged mountain bike (I’m used to BMX bikes) and was more than up to the challenge. I’m a big stifler on safety as well, so I made sure that I got the full faced mountain bike Giro helmet at a great price and also I decked out my Bike with lights so that even if I got lost someone would be able to find me better I can’t remember which bike tail lights I used, whether it was the Trelock LS 820 Rear and the Expose 75 Lumen or some other combination of bright tail and headlights. Either way I must admit that by the end of it my bicycle kind of looked like a UFO.

The bike ride flew by so fast. I was impressed at how well I was able to handle that much exercise but the beauty of the scenery distracted me from any physical pains I may have had. I took pictures galore, and stopped several times just to reflect on my thoughts and take some notes of my emotions. Since I’ve been back I’ve already written 5 new poems based on the experience, and I expect that I will write at least 10 times that amount before I’m finished. To say that I enjoyed my time at Sundance would be a significant understatement. I will simply say that I am forever grateful for the artistic journey that I experienced while I was there and I have achieved a new outlook on life that has inspired me and helped me grow as a writer.

My conversion to EBooks (and how I nearly converted back by accident)

by on January 27th, 2014

ebooksEBooks have changed my life. I was an avid reader beforehand, but one of my worst sins was a tendency to try and read five books at once. I would have Moby Dick, Jurassic Park, Memoirs of a Geisha, A Game of Thrones, or one of my many books of poetry all beside my bed, dipping in and out of each one as I pleased. It was a flawed system, but it worked and – since I love reading (and writing)– it allowed me to indulge my love of books at a quicker rate. The real problem came when I had to try and pick one to take anywhere. If I knew I would be on a plane or a train for an extended amount of time heading to one of my publishing events, I would look forward to the chance to read for a few hours, but dread sitting down and realizing that the book I really wanted was at home on my bedside table.

This is why I took to EBooks like a duck to water. For the longest time I was sure that I would need to have that physical object with me. The romance of the smell of the pages, the way the felt. I was certain that I would get a headache. But somebody bought me an EBook reader for Christmas and I have not looked back since. I went through the process of converting my library into a digital format. Lots of the older books were available for free online, and I would shop around to get the best deal on novels I really wanted. I collected lots of different titles on my computer, in lots of different formats, which I hadn’t realized might be an issue. Thankfully, you can convert between the formats using software, so I just download, convert and move the title onto my device.
What I really enjoy about having all of my collection with me at all times is not just the choice when I’m out and about, but the weight and the space. Some of the bigger books can be an absolute hassle to carry around all day and I have been sorely tempted to leave a few behind. Luckily though, with my new collection, I always know that it’s going to be a light weight solution. And it has been entirely seamless and an easy transition. That is, up until something went incredibly wrong and I thought I might have lost everything.

Like I mentioned, I keep all of my digital books on my laptop, downloading what I need from a variety of sources and converting them, as I need to. This works well and meant that I had a good library built up on my computer and was steadily working my way through it. But then my laptop broke. I have absolutely no idea how it went wrong, or why or what happened. It was just a broken laptop. At first I was just annoyed. I don’t use it for much beyond social networking and a bit of shopping, so I would have to get it fixed, but I was in no great hurry. Then I remembered where all of my new books were. Books I had already spent money on.
Like my own personal burning of the Library of Alexandria, this broken laptop had robbed me of all of my books. I was distraught and suddenly in desperate need of getting my computer repaired. You may have grasped that I am no computer expert. Thankfully, I managed to find an IT specialist who was, by finding this site. who was. I have no idea how he fixed my laptop, but all I know is that he has recovered all of my information and my digital reading material. While this hasn’t put me off EBooks, I’m certainly a bit more wary of where I keep them. I’ve got backups of backups now. Whether I’m reading Primo Levi or Article 3, I like to know it’s not my only copy. But thankfully, the dedicated IT guy was there to help me through my difficult time.

After this experience, I decided to talk to my publisher. One of the great things about being both an author and an avid reader is that I have a personal understanding of the things my audience may be looking for. Until that point, all of my poetic collections had only been physically printed. I was able to convince my publisher to covert and offer my books in digital format. It was no surprise when we enjoyed a nice little bump in sales due to this decision!

Different Types of Artists

by on January 8th, 2014

Make-up_artistI’ve touched on this a bit before, but some recent Facebook posts that I’ve seen have got me going on a rant again. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and we are not better or worse than anyone else. We all have different callings. We all have different talents. We are all artists in our own way.

I feel that I have been successful  to a significant degree in my pursuits as a book author and a poet. I have been published on multiple occasions, and have signed by a couple of publishing agencies to date. While I am far from famous, I feel that I have been put in a position where I can stand up for others, and people may listen.

We all enjoy the services and talents of others, whether it be the cashier at your local grocery station, or the cooks at your favorite restaurant. We all create our own art, and it’s sometimes sad that we fail to recognize the importance and celebrate the uniqueness of all artists, whether they go by that name or not.

I have a friend who went to cosmetology school, and does hair and makeup application for a living. I am aware of some people who think less of or look down on those that didn’t go to traditional secondary educational institutes like universities. Some may look down on trade school like cosmetology schools as not preparing people for a” real career.”

This was pretty much the situation that I witnessed. A person who considers himself a businessman (a generally respectable career choice) was basically being condescending and insulting the career choice of my friend. Now I have not witnessed the work of this other gentleman, and I’m sure that he’s good at what he does. I respect his work and contributions in the work place, but that obviously does not put him in any place to demean the work of others.

In her career, my friend mainly specializes in makeup application. She’s actually the one who first taught me in high school how to properly apply moisturizers, foundation, blush, eyeshadow, etc. It may be “only makeup” but it’s what she is passionate about. She knows her stuff so well that she runs this makeup site about foundation for people who want to know which makeup or facial products will work best with their oily or dry skin. She may not own her own company, nor be an accomplished scholar, but she creates beautiful piece of works. I’ve seen her work with clients who have never worn makeup before and probably wouldn’t be considered the most attractive of people, but once she’s done they look completely different. Some even look like models. The human face is her canvas, and the makeup pallet is her paint. Other wouldn’t know it by judging her by her employment title, but she works wonders. Those who come to her for her talent, always leave grateful and satisfied. She may not be as prestigious as others consider themselves to be, but in my book she is one of the best at what she does. She is successful, and she is an artist. I feel the same for all of you, regardless of what you do. If you do your best to do it well, then you are an artist. What you do is no less important that what anyone else does. Don’t ever let anyone else treat you differently.

Sundance Here I Come!

by on January 7th, 2014

sundanceI’ve just received exciting news from my publisher that they had received a limited amount of tickets to this year’s Sundance film festival in Park City, UT. I was lucky enough to be among the authors chosen to go this year, and I am unbelievably excited.

While there are many authors and writers who despise recorded media (we poets tend to be old fashioned), this is not the case for me. I tend to be heavily affected by watching film medium, and I love movies with essence. While every once in a while I enjoy watching the occasional “blockbuster,” I won’t hide my distaste of the recent stint hollywood has taken, in remaking classic works of literature. Many of these books I grew up reading, and for me, part of the magic of getting lost in a story is being able to formulate what everyone looks and talks like in your own mind. Many of these Hollywood remakes destroy the magical visions you had dreamt up in your mind, for a much more boring version. However, I don’t need to worry about this happening at the Sundance Film Festival because these are films that are much more artistic in nature.

While I’ve never actually been to Sundance before I’ve seen many of the movies that have premiered there, and I am seldom disappointed by the beautiful scripts and artistic and philosophical ideas often address in these films. I’ve also never been to Utah, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the region in which I’ll be staying for a week. It seems that while Utah is predominantly a largely conservative state (due to it’s high Mormon population), Park City tends to be an anomaly as much of the population is made up of visitors and vacationers. I will be staying in a beautiful 6 bedroom home in a subdivision called Jeremy Ranch. Apparently my booking agency found this short-term vacation rental through a Salt Lake City property management company who also manages short term rentals in Park City and specializes in trips like ours. They handled all the details of finding us a rental to stay in, and will essentially perform room service and other hotel like functions (at least that’s my understanding). Park City is a beautiful mountain town with picturesque scenery, so rest assured I’ll be taking lots of pictures. With the pictures I’ve seen on the internet, I’d love to own some vacation real estate in the area (Though I’d definitely need to save up to afford to buy property since it is a ritzier area).

Aside from hopefully learning how to ski in the “greatest snow on earth,” I’m definitely excited to be able to enjoy the artistic talents of the filmmakers, actors, editors, producers, and many others who have dedicated their time to sharing their talent. Regardless of the medium, this is one of my all time favorite things to do. I feel like each artist that I come in contact with helps me shape who I am. I grow from their ideas, and new thoughts are sparked with in me which helps with my creativity! I can honestly say that I have probably never been more excited than I am to go to Sundance in a few weeks!

The Beauty of Words

by on December 6th, 2013

WordBeautyHave you ever had words cut you down to your very soul? Have words ever brought you to tears? Or made you feel like the happiest person on Earth? We humans have developed a communication lightyears beyond anything else seen in the animal kingdom. Language is arguably the greatest human invention. For thousands of years we have been creating art not only with our hands, but with our mouths. It began with oral traditions passed down from generation to generation. Each generation added their own embellishment and passed them down to their children. As time progressed so did the advancements in language and literature. Stories evolved into novels, poems, and songs.

Today this tradition continues. Each new generation adds it’s own works of literature and song to the existing pool. Each new generation continues to have it’s own creations and embellishments, and this is now happening at an exponential rate. Gone are the days where we need to worry about these works getting lost in the wind. With the invention of the internet and digital media it is much easier to ensure that these works can spread rapidly and decreases the chances of them ever being truly lost. Websites like QuotePoet.com are a dime a dozen and spread quotations from some famous historical figures (and some not so famous). One need not even be a writer or literary figure to have their oral “gems” recorded. There are quotes, books, poems, etc. for almost every occasion.

We all want to feel understood. Especially during our hard times. No one likes to feel alone in their emotions, and it always helps when you can identify with other people’s situations, and they can identify with yours. Take for example the common event of becoming sick. When sickness overcomes you, you start experiencing symptoms that exclude you from the “group” of other individuals around you who are not sick. You are normally excluded from such activities as going to work, school, or any public place in general. It’s no wonder why it’s easy to feel alone during periods of illness. It’s also makes sense during these times why hearing words of well wishing from others helps us to almost physically feel a little bit better. Knowing that others are thinking about us, or have gone through similar trials in the past can be a great comfort, if for no other reason, because it helps us not feel alone. These get well wishes and sayings can be from the heart or they can be quoted from others. The beauty of words is that they can describe exactly how your feel in a way not possible without such a brilliant method of communication. Word can carry emotion in such a strong way, even with something as simple as telling someone that you hope they get feeling better soon.

We feel connected to people through words, even if those people are long gone or fictional. With the vast collections of literary works it nearly impossible to not find a piece that you can connect with. Think of the recent rises in popularity in such recent works as Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Game series. Young adults flock to this literature like it’s the new and latest addicting drug (sometimes they act as crazy when under the influence of such novels as well!). Without passing judgement on these books, it cannot be denied that one of the prime reasons that these series have such huge followings, is because of the connection young adults (and twilight moms) feel with the characters who come alive while reading the books. They can identify with the emotions of being lost or confused, losing a parent, feeling the sting of unrequited love, etc. Reading these works helps, on some degree, to  help readers feel that they aren’t alone, and that there is more to life than the negative feelings they experience.

As another example of this, think of all of the major religious pieces of literature out there. The Bible, the Torah, and the Quran are the best known of these religious texts. They have existed for many hundreds of years and have inspired millions to many small, great, and at times terrible actions because of the emotions evoked within their readers. Words are beautiful. They are powerful. They are redeeming and damning. As a writer, speaker, poet, or artist, it is our great privilege to mold works that could endure for centuries and influence thousands. Most of us know how great it feels to know that you’ve influenced one life, and with each individual touched, the feeling multiplies.

A Poet’s Tools

by on December 5th, 2013

toolsOne thing that sets men apart from beasts it their knowledge and use of tools. Yes I know some primates have been observed using primitive tools, but that’s another discussion. For the sake of argument let’s just all agree that we become many times more effective in our pursuits (whether they be personal or professional) when we utilize tools. Now we know that not all tools are created equal. Just try using a butter knife to cut through a steak if you don’t agree. So in order for us to be the best that we can be, we need to have the best tools possible.

At this point we can acknowledge that each person has different goals. The tools that will be most effective to each of us will depend on our direction. I am a writer. I write poetry, and I have some other projects in the works. So I will obviously be discussing today the tools that poets like myself utilize. One more point I’d like to make before moving on is that not only is each pursuit different, but each person is different as well. So while there may be some generalized tools that will be most effective for poets to use, like a pen for example, there might be different pens that will be more effective for some than for others.

So with that let me list the tools that  I feel make poets and writers the most effective:

A Proper Writing Utensil (Fountain Pen)

I already alluded to this in the example I gave above, but obviously someone who writes for a living needs to have something to write with. Now I know some cheap pens get the job done, but I’ve personally found that have a solid writing utensil that I  use only for writing poetry, helps me get in the creative state of mind better than scurrying through the house trying to find any pen available for my writing time. If you don’t have a dedicated writing pen go to this site right now and pick out a pen that matches you personality and that will get your creative juices flowing. Some people prefer a pencil, but I like pens. I imagine the poets of old dipping their quills in ink when penning the classic verses that we now so oft quote. For me, fountain pens are where it’s at. They have the feels to them of a more classic and elegant writing utensil, but also are more feasible than actually using a quill with their internal ink supply. Whatever you choose, the first most-important tool for a writer is a dedicated writing instrument.

Proper Paper

I know some of you may use a laptop or a tablet for writing, and I’ll admit that may be best for you. For me having a piece of stationary gets me going more than just staring at a blank computer screen does. Sure eventually you’ll need to convert your work to a digital format, but for the sole purpose of just writing  a dedicated pad of stationary works best for me. I used to use a notebook, and that was okay. I’ve also used the back of homework assignments, restaurant napkins, and any other pieces of scratch paper available. Whatever you choose a dedicated item like a notepad or stationary pad works amazingly.

A Creative Place

Another necessary tool for writing is a place to write. It should some place where you can relax and let your mind roam. It should be a place where you will be free of distraction. This could be your room, or your car, or some secluded place on a hill where you can be alone. This place will really be for you to decide, but make sure you have one. And make sure that it’s yours.

 

Never Sleeping

by on December 4th, 2013

never sleepingThis is one of my recent works of poetry. It’s a little different than my normal style, but I’m wanting to branch out a try a few new things so if it’s not the greatest that’s okay. I can’t be afraid to fail if I am ever going to improve as a poet and as a writer.

To off a bit of an introduction before I start, I have dealt with insomnia ever since I can remember. Many people in the United States struggle with insomnia and other sleep related problems. It is a serious endemic in western countries. People like me feel a lack of energy all night and all day. We always feel tired, but have the hardest time going to sleep. Most of us have tried all sorts of pills and potions to help, but at best they work minimally. The beautifully tragic thing is that the one thing we want most, the thing that our bodies need most, is the one thing that we can’t have. Sleep.

The human body can only survive so long without sleep, and my body pushes that to the limit. It forces itself to get the bare minimum amount of sleep that it needs to survive, and not a wink more. The poem below was heavily influenced by the experiences that I have had (and continue to have) dealing with sleeping and other issues. I dedicate it to all those like me who suffer from insomnia or any other medical or emotional condition that may cause your sleep to be elusive. I admit that it’s still a work in progress, but let me introduce my new poem. It is called “Never Sleeping”

NEVER SLEEPING

My eyes they burn of fire, my pad it seems of pins

I lie awake at night, my prayers unanswered. I am never sleeping.

The thoughts that cross my mind make no sense, yet they whisper of urgency.

For my longings, my worries. I could be consoled, but I am never sleeping

What creatures lay in wait, when sun and moon subside?

When man is meant to rest, but I am never sleeping.

Perhaps in prior lives, I was not a man but beast

of nocturnal nature, prowling never sleeping

From whence comes this need to sleep? It seems the cruelest joke

For what I need, I will not have for I am never sleeping

I could count the stars and probably name them all

Once, twice, thrice before the morning dawn as I am never sleeping.

What causes eager minds, I have no guilt to recount.

No problems rife with life or death, yet I am never sleeping

They say the wicked never rest, am I to take offense?

I’ve always tried to do the right, and still I’m never sleeping

Some gifts are curses, but mine is not a gift

It was not asked for neither helps, I’m cursed with never sleeping

But finally my tired mind slows to an eager still

my eyelids rest just as the rays of morning light appeal

 

 

To My Fellow Artists

by on December 4th, 2013

bullyI’ve been going on a rant these past couple of days, and I won’t apologize for the fact that it’s going to carry over into my professional life as well. This is something that is VERY near and dear to me. I recently took part in an event on campus during which there was an inappropriate comment made that sparked a whole bunch of drama. The whole thing boiled down to the fact that a group of people were being very discourteous. As an artist, I respect the talents and expressions of all other artists. I am obviously a very opinionated person, but at the end of the day who am I to pass judgement on the words/music/product of another artist. While their lyrics or lines may sound cheesy or unpolished, their work is unique. They put their heart and soul into it, and for others to tear it down is a terrible thing to do.

I have many friends in the artistic community who’s work isn’t my cup of tea, but I respect them nonetheless. A prime example of this is one of my close friends Goodnight Sam who sings in the alternative rock band Goodnight Annabelle. I don’t get on with the poppy more mainstream sound of music, and their lyrics take a completely different style and tone than does my poetry. However we have grown to be pretty good friends in our online communication and I’ve been impressed with the level of respect that he shows for others. I know that he isn’t the “biggest fan” of my work, but he’s shown great respect for it and the work of other artists. We are both the kind of people that if we see another person doing what they love and getting disrespected because of it, we’ll jump in and raise hell.

At this particular event that I attended, there was a “beginning poet” who admittedly was very green in her experience. She opted to read one of her works in an open-mic type setting. As she did a few of the people in attendance began to verbally mock/jeer her. This set me and a few other artists in attendance off. When push came to shove (and it literally did) a fist fight almost broke out. The police actually ended up being called in and it turned into a mess. Was it the ideal situation? No. But it was much better than just sitting there like a helpless bystander while watching someone else be bullied. Those who do nothing sicken me more than those who bully, and that’s saying something.

SO TO MY FELLOW ARTISTS:

No matter who you are or what you do, I support you.

If you are honest and genuine, I respect you.

If you are in need of help, I will help you.

If someone attacks you, they attack all that you stand for

This includes me and all other members of the human race

Who are trying to make an honest living

Chasing a dream

Those who stand idly by, become the bully

You become the scum

If you are who you are, and you’re true to yourself

Then you are me, and I am you