Monday, October 25, 2010

Sling beers, burgers and then create something

Stability is a sound secure thing. It's attainable. Go to law school to be a lawyer. Go to nursing school to be a nurse. Be a teacher, a doctor, a plumber, a chef, be a stable piece of the American workforce. And sometimes this is my desire. To start all over again and be a mechanic. Wake up every morning and put on a standard grey-blue shirt, dark slate slacks, and black boots. Go to work. Hear complaints about noises, jerks, and smells. Get my hands deep and dirty inside of an engine. Find out what's wrong and repair it. Scrub my hands with a gritty, orange scented shop-soap and then every evening at 5:25 climb into my truck and drive home--- happy because I fixed something and there is beautiful black grit underneath the tips of my fingernails to prove it.

But turning back now is too easy. I've got this dream. This need to create. I love radio, sounds, music, recording, the wave form that is the picture of what is captured, editing, crafting the segments together, and most of all I love every story of every person. A story is a living creature. It is born every time a person tells it. A person's story is what makes a minute, an hour, a day, a season, a life. I want to learn and explore so many things: the issues of society, current events, struggles, discoveries, death, birth, adolescence, grieving, fear, reflections ... the list has no end.

The challenge is staying disciplined. Unlike the careers of most, being what it is that I want to be --- a mesh of documentarian, story teller, creative non-fiction writer, producer and something else not yet known--- is with out a definite career path. As I grow so will my career and portfolio which is why I have to keep myself in check; learn how to balance two jobs in bars and restaurants and to set deadlines for myself. Holding yourself accountable to no one but yourself is one of the most challenging tasks in life. Sure, I could go to journalism school or get a MFA in a media study but being a college graduate of the recession I can't bring myself to go into another level of student loan debt and this work isn't about education. It's about experience. Life. This work is a type of art.

Mark Vonnegut, a writer with whom I share a common battle with, recently wrote,

"Art is lunging forward without certainty about where you are going or how to get there, being open to and dependent on what luck, the paint, the typo, the dissonance, give you. Without art you're stuck with yourself as you are and life as you think life is."

So here is to the artists who work so they can create work. Never stop.

"Lament" by Mount Moriah. This is Heather McEntire's new project. She is a woman who never ceases to create beautiful moments.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When decisions are like ingrown toenails:
a fierce decision was made, picked, pinched, pulled back, and in a swift movement all that's left is a broken piece of fiber. An exposing rip. With time it grows trying to heal itself, but the new growth is in the wrong direction, the decision is irreversible, and a superficial treatment is just a delay. Time and time again she can't fix it, the Korean nail artist looks and in sad conclusion-- too deep, it's too deep -- she says. So she trims down the flesh with short gentle moves, trying to encourage the nail to grow in the right direction. Maybe this time it will not petrude into the flesh, maybe it will grow slower and be correct. But the cycle is repeated. And she says every time, looking up with that fallen smile -- too deep, i try but it's too deep -- so she paints the new color of red and knows it will be the same in three weeks.

When mistakes are like ingrown toenails the dull annoying pain flares up with everyday use and it stays that way because it's necessary. Self broken. Self fake fix.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let the summer of sound begin.

On my first assignment as an intern for WUNC I found myself in downtown Raleigh, my stomping ground. I work, play, and live in downtown Raleigh. I know the area well, but what I didn't stop to notice until I had a microphone in my hand and headphones on my ears, is what downtown sounds like. I knew I wanted to make this summer one of sound, recordings, experimenting and having fun but I didn't realize how rich and promising my downtown backyard would be. This is is a clip I was able to capture with a not-so-great mic so there are a few glitches, but the beauty shines through. It gives you a few minutes of the music of downtown Raleigh, specifically Dave Bullock. This recording has inspired me to work on a larger piece that presents the many street musicians in downtown, their stories, and their music.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I love you Mabel Mercer.

If only you could have lived longer, long enough to write songs about how technology affects the way we remember. You were born 33 days into the twentieth century and died the day I was born-- April 20, 1984.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Facebook, an advertisement for the self*

Facebook is the demise of a beautiful piece my generation's innate tools of life--- communication. I honestly believe Facebook is killing the human interaction between two people. The constant updates of what one thinks, feels, likes, is doing, wants, needs, dislikes, loves, is in a relationship with, and even the updates of pictures are suffocating the development of young adults. Pictures have become a status rather than a memory. The images that were once shared moments placed in frames on desks or dressers for a quick glance during daily life are now compressed into digital catalogs for others to look at. There is no privacy. There is no solitude. There is no separation between experience and feeling. It is all mixed together and plastered on a wall for all to see. We post multiple times a day and check others multiple times a day, and we expect that of others. There is no stopping point. There is no off button. We have connected the platform to our phones so we can send a text to update our status or upload a mobile image. And my generation is fine with that. They demand it. They crave it. We want to know everything about everyone. It goes two ways too. Employers look at profiles before an interview to evaluate a person's personality and demeanor before they hire someone, before the candidate even has the chance to interact with the possible employer. Young people do the same before they go on a date with someone.

I could spend a year writing a thesis on this and carefully dissect the transformation of human interaction, but God it would drain me. So rather I will attempt to live a balanced life. I will grow older and learn how to balance the social norm of marketing my feelings and experiences by creating a digital presence of who I am on Facebook (or whatever new social networking site will become standard) with the idealistic belief that to live is to feel and to feel is to interact in-person with other human beings. If we go through life not feeling, whether it be because we have whittled interaction down to an email or a wall post, or because we have become too busy to slow down and give a strong hug, we are just addicts--- wasting the gift of life. I will always look a person in their eyes. I will call them to make plans, instead of sending a text. I will write them a letter and send a card on their birthday instead of buying a Facebook gift to post on their wall. I will never be too busy to randomly scratch the back of the person I am trying to love. I will learn more about who I am through the challenges of life and the interactions of others because I will not be just an advertisement for a version of myself.

*The inspiration for this title came from David Byrne's song, "Angels."

there are no angles in america anymore, they left after the second world war ... i can barely touch my own self, how could i touch someone else, i am just an advertisement, for a version of myself, like a molecules in constant motion, like a million nervous ticks, i am quivering, in anticipation, like the sunlight on their wings

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Broken Hearted Health Care Bill: When 2009 was coming to a close my hopes were high for health care reform, so high that it was almost toxic. I rang in the new year with a kiss from my boyfriend and a dream that when I went back to college in 2010 I would be able to have my driver's license back. But I was wrong. Let me explain.

I don't have a drivers license because I don't have health insurance. In the seventh grade I was diagnosed with a childhood seizure disorder. I take medications to control the seizures, a medication that is supplied to me by a prescription assistance program that I financially qualify for. The state of North Carolina requires a neurologist's clearance for me to obtain my driver's license. The paperwork has to be renewed every two years and when my paperwork came up for renewal two years ago I was without health insurance, so my license was revoked. Attempting to fix the solution I tried to purchase the most basic health insurance coverage but because I have a pre-existing condition my premiums were outrageous. A monthly payment over $300 is not in my budget. It is just not possible. So when there was talk that the reform would mandate insurance companies to extend the age limit for students from 24 or 25 to 27 and only require half-time enrollment, instead of the full-time requirement, I thought this would be my answer. I was returning to NC State as a part-time student working on my second degree.

As March comes to a close and my 26th birthday approaches in April I will keep my head buried in my chemistry books because the health care bill that passed has left me with a broken heart. NPR reports that the bill extends the age to 26, one year less than the predicted age of 27, and the earliest reported date that the reform will come into effect is September, five months after my birthday. So for me it's back to saving money. The lowest quote for a neurologist appointment starts at $150 and can easily cost twice that. The necessary EEG, a routine test used to asses epilepsy, starts at $850 and can shoot upwards of $2,000.

Back to the music, cue "What Becomes of The Broken Hearted," by Jimmy Ruffin

Friday, January 01, 2010

Robert Francis ... "rock n' roll my little girl, rock n' roll in your big big world"

His 2007 release, One by One, on Aeronaut Records is one of my all time favorite records. Every time I listen to the recording it gives me something new, something a little more than the last. His new record is out on Atlantic, although I haven't listened to it yet. And he recently visited Daytrotter for a session which you can find HERE.