A New Year, a New Day

Well. I am not sorry that 2013 is over. It’s been a good year, with a lot of wonderful highlights, but it has also been stressful and a bit exhausting. I am not expecting this year to be magically amazing. A year is just like a day, it is what we make of it. And while I am not making any New Year’s Resolutions as such, I do have plans for this year. Plans which still need to be drawn up in concrete terms, but they are there.

A few highlights of 2013:

Gogol Bordello. Seeing them live was incredible. The energy. The madness. It’s a moment that I could never, ever again recapture which is both beautiful and tragic at the same time.

Starting a book club. Yep. That’s right. I gave into my nerd and started a book group with some coworkers. It’s great because it’s open to novels, non-fiction, and pretty much everything else. And selection is done by a new person each month, meaning it’s easy to end up in a situation where I get to read stuff outside of my normal literary comfort zone. And you know what? THAT IS AWESOME. Reading is great. But you should always go above and beyond.

There are so many more things, but my concept of time is pretty unique (read: exceptionally bad) and it is harder to put events and moments in linear order.

Musical Highlights:

2013 was survived mostly with the help of Mojo Juju, The Great Malarkey,Black Prairie,  and a continuation of the Amanda Palmer Down Under album on repeat. Without these artists, I’m not sure I would’ve made it.

Goals for 2014:

Write more.

Go to more shows.

Listen to more music.

Keep being awesome.

I think those are good goals.

And on that note, I’ll cut this entry short. No, I’m not making a list form of my musical highlights of 2013, but I’m happy to give you a few music videos should you want to enjoy some good music. Happy 2014! Make it wonderful!

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Another NaNoWriMo Loss.

I hate writing these posts. Writing these posts means that I am giving up the fight for NaNoWriMo, and it seems too often that this ends up being the case. Honestly, I am not sure why I expected to finish this year. My life has been so off balance that scheduling in the writing time has  been more trouble than expected. November came too quickly. I wasn’t prepared. My writing practice has taken what seems to be an overly long vacation. And now November’s ending already.  There are so many things that I see on my agenda for the new year. One is finding a sense of balance. The past few months have been something of a living, breathing hell for me just due to the lack of balance brought on by a variety of reasons. And honestly, this month if I had actually focused on Nanowrimo, I think it would have ended up becoming an escape mechanism from the craziness that is my life. Good? In theory. Problem is, part of what I need to find balance is to face the issues that I’m facing head on.

And I’m a little afraid of what that means. I don’t typically get too personal in this blog, because that’s not the point of this little corner of the interwebs. This page is supposed to be dedicated to cool stuff. Like Music! and Feminism! RiOtS! Revolution! Art! Kickass women! Etc! and as of late it hasn’t quite been living up to that (with the exception of a few articles). I’m also not going to start getting personal now.

But suffice it to say that the end of this year is bringing with it change. And I aim to make it through these changes.

To all of those who finished nanowrimo this year, I salute you! I hope to follow you next year! I plan on bringing myself up to a daily writing habit and getting past my biggest block which is the simple act of starting. I’m making good ground with an almost daily journal writing habit (weekends sometimes get left out) and I’d like to bring it past the journaling and into writing about other stuff, which should hopefully end up on here.

Wish me luck. And hopefully, we’ll see each other soon.

Mission Statement, Aug 2010

Have you ever had a weekend that was just amazing? One that was completely inspirational? One that reminded you of why you’re really here and what it is you want to do/achieve? This weekend was one of those.

When I started this blog, I was your typical college student. I was young and idealistic. I had just discovered feminism, and the fight for equality in the areas of gender, sexuality, class, race, and all other intersections. I found the queer community on campus and immediately felt like I was at home with all the wonderful revolutionary and creative people within the group. It was one of those times I really discovered who I was and what I wanted to be involved in.

Then I found the book “Rock She Wrote”, an anthology featuring women rock journalists. Combine music and a love of writing? Yes, PLEASE. I started this blog with the intention of featuring bands, both under and over the radar, that featured women leads/all women bands, but I didn’t want to limit it to that. I wanted to include pieces on feminism, on LGBTQ in/equalities, on the fight for justice, on anything that remotely falls under the feminist umbrella or interesting pop culture.

And for a while I kept it up. I wrote a variety of pieces on bands as small as the NC-based Midtown Dickens, to national (though not super mainstream) acts like Sia. I bought music that looked intriguing to review/spotlight on the blog and I enjoyed it (the Noisettes were one of those amazing discoveries). I wrote Feminist Friday pieces that took a critical look at stuff we take for granted, like fairy tales.

Then, I moved to Utah. My blog writing grew more and more intermittent to the point that months went by between entries. My blogging was discouraged by people who believed they knew what was best for me. I was told that blogging was pointless. It’s not a career, after all. And no, it’s not, but it sure feels good. It’s a great self-publishing tool that, while far from perfect, is a good beginning for a writer.

And more and more time went by between entries. My musical spotlights dimmed with time and just didn’t happen.

This weekend, however, has inspired me. I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday positively basking in music. For those not located in Utah, this past weekend was the 4th Annual Women’s Redrock Music Festival. The festival is located in Torrey, UT and features women musicians, but it’s for everyone. This year was absolutely fabulous, and arguably (according to WRRMF veterans) one of the best line-ups. Artists ranged from local (Marie Bradshaw and her band) to national (BITCH). Genres spanned from acoustic/folk (Blame Sally) to jazzy (Ayo Awosika) to good ol’ rock-n-roll (Runhoney).

It has taken a good two years for me to really regain my enthusiasm for music writing, and blog writing in general, but I think I am finally there. I am not going to write a whole lot about the festival in this entry, because it deserves an entry of its own.

This is an entry with one purpose and one purpose only: It’s a joyous reclamation of past passions and current. It’s a “fuck you” to the people who told me that my purpose was not a purpose, that there will be no success in my future if I follow my passions (not exact wordings, but certainly the message).

I hope you stick around, because things in Salt Lake City are about to get loud.

xoxo

F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N

With tonight being officially (more or less) over, there are exactly THIRTY TWO days until November–aka National Novel Writing Month.

I’m excited, because of how close I got last November (which technically by pro nanowrimo writers isn’t that close), and borderline frustration. I seem to be wavering between random periods of extreme creativity and then extreme apathy/lethargy/etc. And right now I’m in the apathetic, hitting-my-wrists-against-the-brick-wall-of-writers-block mode.

Which is ridiculous. Here I am with the best writers group a grrrl could ask for (seriously, it’s like the godmother of writing groups has smiled upon me!) and I’m still a lazy writer! or just a not-very-good-at-writing fiction writer.

So, anyway. Yay for the fact that November is almost here! Soon I will be able to massacre that inner voice that keeps saying “No nothing you do is good enough!” and bury it 12 feet deep (b/c 6 feet just won’t cut it.)

and in addition to being a “yay” post–I’ve got some good stuff coming up plus a brand new myspace: myspace.com/rebelgrrrl_theblog 🙂

Nanowrimo:1 Me:0 (but this isn’t a bad thing!)

So, long story short–I didn’t make the 50,000 words. I managed a good 15,000 which, as I mentioned in the last nanowrimo post, is an incredibly substantial amount. And even though I didn’t make the 50 thousand, it has showed me something–I can write if I want to, and I’m not going to let this lesson go to waste. Quite frankly, I like the story I started and I think it might even have a possible potential publisher…it’s very much a niche market. but that would require me writing 🙂 oh, and did you know how huge vampire/suspense/romance is right now? I didn’t. but I went to a bookstore and in the process of looking for Laurel K Hamilton (I’ve just recently discovered the Anita Blake series, and I love it) and discovered a display totally devoted to titles featuring vampiric elements. the funniest/worst title? Fanged and Fabulous.

I kid you not.

Anyway…wow. So yeah, I’m going to see what I can do to keep writing. I’ve been chewing on the idea of publishing bits–not so much novel parts, but scenes from my characters life, so to speak–on this blog. I just recently discovered a fictional blog, Days in the Life of a Starving Musician (I’m not sure how fictional the current phase of the blog is in…) which…well, the title speaks for itself really. It’s the thoughts of a fictional musician…and I’m kinda thinking I’d like to have similar entries featuring Jesslyn (a.k.a. Jazz)–singer & bassist extraordinaire– from my story (which is still untitled…it’s hard to think of a title.)…so if you like fiction do ring in on whether you’d like to check my writings out. 🙂

Ok. So now some big news. (Yes I waited ’till down here for the big news. Just wanted to make sure ya’ll are still w/ me.)

Well, it’s funny sometimes how life works. Like, I’m seriously beginning to believe that there is something like destiny/fate. I do believe in choice and that we choose who we want to be and we make our lives what we want (as long as we’re working to that end), but there do seem to be some things that connect without our choice. Like, my last example of this was that years ago when the Squirrel Nut Zippers came out with the popular song Hell, I was in Alaska in middle school/jr high. I loved the song. for years I never heard it again till I transferred to UNC in NC. Chapel Hill. the home of the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

My newest example (though it’s a bit silly, I’ll grant you this…it’s still crazy!)…in my novel Jazz has a bass. It’s an Ibanez. It’s black.
At work recently I was telling a coworker how I was planning on buying a guitar for her because she wants to learn. my coworker asks me-what kind of guitar? her son has a bass that he doesn’t use and hasn’t used in a long time…
I reply that my sister doesn’t want a bass (she wants acoustic) but I however (emphasis on I) have been wanting to learn bass. I love music and would love to play an instrument. And bass seems like an awesome starting point. When you’ve got people like Kim Gordon to look up to, it’s definitely a hot instrument. 🙂 So I tell her I’m interested in buying it off of her.

guess what kind of bass it is?

Black. Ibanez.

*grins*gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!

I’m now the proud owner of a black Ibanez soundgear bass.

Looks like Jazz & I have something in common (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Entry

Right now I’m listening to “This FireI don’t wanna wait” by Paula Cole and I’m ridiculously happy.  My music discovery wasn’t one that I can credit to anyone-cool older brother/sister, or a mom/dad with great music taste-it was a journey I had to make myself with the help of a pop station and-eventually-103.9 KUWL fm, an Alaskan alternative music station (that has since disappeared, as all good things seem to do). While I haven’t lived in AK for a long time and don’t intend to again (I don’t like winter), I will always be thankful for my time there-for that is really where my musical journey began.

If you were to ask me a question like this: IF you were caught in a burning building and could rescue only 5 of your CDs, which ones would you choose? my answer would be pretty quick.

1. Meredith Brooks-Blurring the Edges 1997
2. Sheryl Crow-self-titled 1996
3. Fiona Apple-Tidal 1997
4. Paula Cole- This Fire 1996
5. Garbage-self-titled 1995

Note that Paula Cole is a recent acquisition in my musical library (thank god for crazy people who don’t see the intrinsic value  in their albums and sell it back only for me to find them in Used sections), but the album’s always been present in my internal music library-since it came out and I borrowed it from a friend. I loved the album then and now that I have it, I still love it, thus its inclusion in my 5 most important CDS.

My musical journey has grown and developed-it’s seen the progression of pop/alternative rock to the inclusion of hard rock/metal and even some hip hop. My music taste has changed yet its foundation is forever rooted in those five albums (plus a few extra songs-“Deep Dish” by Ani diFranco and “Hell” by the Squirrel Nut Zippers).

It’s almost an understatement to say I’m thankful to those artists, to the brief flame of 103.9 KUWL FM for allowing me to find songs like “Deep Dish” and “Hell” (I wouldn’t have found those anywhere else!) but that’s my personal truth. where Chuck Klosterman has an unhealthy obsession for Kiss & 80s hair metal, it seems mine is just as entrenched.

And you know I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

Music is a wonderful thing-it gives us inspiration, helps us get through our darker days and in general makes life comprehensible. as Klosterman says in one of his side passages in “Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs”–“Without a soundtrack, human interaction is meaningless.” This was in relation to the lack of music on the reality show “big brother” but the point remains–music is such an important thing in our culture that it helps us understand and make meaning of our experiences. I made a whole mixtape recently (yeah! mixtapes!) featuring songs with themes on love/lust-and there’s a lot! Meredith Brooks “Electricity” is perfect for that type of theme.

So I am hopelessly thankful for the music that I’ve had the fortune to stumble across and the music that I’ll have the chance to stumble across (my musical journey=far from over!).

Confession

I just bought a bunch of used CDs yesterday for wayyyyy  cheap… and I’m not in the mood for writing (I know! shame on me!) so I would like to dig into my CDs (Luscious Jackson-Electric Honey & Fever In Fever Out, Melissa Etheridge & the Go! team…ok, the first three were cheap-under $5! and they work! the final one…not so much.)

so I’m gonna do that.

Expect an entry on the go team.

expect thanks to those of you who’ve mentioned Luscious Jackson…b/c I do thank you. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve known them by name only…and not realized that in the episode in season….4? where Buffy gets drunk and turns into cavewoman buffy, that the band on the television she stares at is, in fact, Luscious Jackson.

as a gift, I suggest all of you who haven’t already check out The Con, by Tegan & Sara. I think you’ll like it. I really do.