WSSIHtR and Camp NaNoWriMo!

It’s practically June! You know what that means….summer at its peak, an emphasis on camping, swimming in community pools or–if you’re in the right places in the country–lakes or oceans–, getting that sexy tan and enjoying late night bonfires.

……and writing 50,000 words in a month, no holds barred, kill that inner editor good-n-dead.

Wait!–50,000 words? That sounds like we’re talking NaNoWriMo. But doesn’t that happen in November?

Why yes, it does. But it also happens in the summer as part of Camp NaNoWrimo (June and August) because one month alone….it’s just not enough.

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will be hosting nanowrimo-themed events and write-ins throughout the month. Everyone’s encouraged to participate and if you’re interested and live in Salt Lake, please join the WSSIHtR facebook group for updates as they happen. Also every Thursday night in June we’ll meet up at Coffee Break (430 E 400 S) which is just off the trax line so it’s pretty easy to access. Just look for the crazy writer types stuck at their laptops and taking breaks only for the caffeinated beverage next to them. We’ll be meeting from 7-11 and writers are encouraged to come and go as they need, but I do ask–that on the off chance that no one shows up and you’re planning on showing up at 9:30/10:oo…..let me know. Email me at rebelgrrrl.theblog at gmail.com if you are seeing that as a concern and need my info.

These write-ins will be totally informal. Bring your laptops or notebooks. Expect to do nothing but write. With the occasional conversation. And the occasional dare or even word sprint. (I’ve never really done one but people seem to like them?)

Keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available and for those participating in the June Camp NaNoWriMo–GOOD LUCK!! NaNoWriMo is always a challenge, and sometimes your dedication results in that 50k victory and sometimes life drags you down and breaks your arm in order to keep you from writing. But fear not. The most important thing about NaNoWriMo is having FUN, so flex your wrists, dust off those cobwebs taking up residence in your imagination, and get ready to run the 50k word marathon to the finish.

Happy writing!

 

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution May Reflection

May has been a month of extreme growth and development, for both myself personally and for When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic. Huge, Wonderful, Incredible changes. 2012 will be a year I remember for a long time (and the year’s not even over!)

First of all: in the spirit of taking risks, embracing the punk aesthetic that I love so much (yet find myself terrified to fully embrace), and celebrating 2 years of When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution as an open mic–I dyed my hair pink. Let me repeat that one more time, in case you are skimming over and missed that previous line. I DYED MY HAIR PINK. Not pastel pink. No light or subtle colors for me. This is the first time I’ve ever dyed my hair like this, and there is no halfway point on this. As soon as I promised myself that THIS was the month that it would happen, I knew that the only way to do this would be as bright and bold as possible. and voila. The whole process was made exceptionally easy thanks to a friend of mine who generously agreed to help me make this the best experience ever. She did such a great job! The success of this is so much a part of her excellent abilities, and you’ll have to excuse me, but she is amazing. Her name, if you’re curious, is Tami Porter-Jones and she’s a pretty fabulous writer, and her first book is out and available on amazon. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, of stories with characters who draw you in, and great writing, then you should for sure check out her book, which is available on amazon or right here. Do yourself a favor and get in on the action.

So yeah. My hair is now bright pink. And I’m loving every second of it.

This month has also made me acutely aware of how important starting the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic/community was. It’s been an incredible two years, full of a lot of wondering “am I doing the right thing?” and “is this going to last/be worth it?” The answer was always pretty obvious, but here, two years later, the answer is unquestionable. YES. It was. And it’s an amazing community of writers/performers and I’m so grateful to see how it’s grown and developed, with such an amazing group of core supporters and new people at the same time. There is DEFINITELY a reason this little open mic with a huge spirit won City Weekly’s Best Poetry Open Mic in 2012.

A little food for thought, should anyone outside of Salt Lake read this post/about the awesome that is WSSIHtR: Don’t spend your time wishing that something like this existed in your area. Seriously. All it takes is the guts to start your own revolution. You say you want a space dedicated to creative women writers and musicians? Make it happen. Talk to your friends. Talk to venues around your town. Coffee shops, bookstores, libraries–find somewhere! And the best part about organizing an open mic that people don’t really tell you (especially when you’re *just* starting out) is how freakin’ easy it is. Bring the passion. Bring the support. Advertise as much as you can over facebook. Invite everyone you meet. Post fliers everywhere. And most of all: BE THERE. Be ready for nights that ROCK, where the talent is so dynamic and contagious that you’re freewriting poetic verse by the end of the night even though you’ve never been a poet. Be ready for the nights where it is your small core group sharing stuff in a supportive environment, testing out new/old material among friends. Be prepared for these and everything in between. Most of all–be persistent. In creating a community like this, it’s you who has the role of the fearless leader. Without you this wouldn’t exist. Don’t give into your fears. Embrace that inner pit bull, grab the bone and GO.

They say that you are your own worst enemy. What they don’t say ENOUGH is the more important message that the movie Whip It conveys.

YOU ARE YOUR OWN HERO.

It’s up to you to create, to bring people together, to make a scene, to start your own damn revolution….so what are you waiting for?

This message is absolutely something I’ve learned over the trials and successes of running the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic, and if you are interested in more information, in starting your own variation on the theme, please feel free to let me know, either in the comments or an email at rebelgrrrl.theblog at gmail.com

Final thought for this post: having a project like WSSIHtR has been a really interesting way to track my growth. The very first open mic two years ago, I was so terrified being onstage, in front of people. SO terrified. And now here I am running City Weekly’s Best Poetry Open Mic and just last weekend I hosted the Salt Lake City Women of the World Poetry Slam qualifier. That was unquestionably the biggest thing I’ve done to date. The community and spirit of slam was actually part of my influence in starting WSSIHtR, and hosting a slam event is COMPLETELY different from an open mic–at least in terms of format. The general idea is the same. Thanks to my two years with WSSIHtR, thanks to my learning to come to terms with being in front of people, sharing my own words, my own spirit, and offering myself up to the altar of the creative community has taught me a lot. And I rocked the slam as the host. So much fun. It was definitely a learning experience in terms of the stuff that was different from slam to open mic, and I was far from perfect, but I did my best to keep up the energy and got the hang of it pretty well. For me being onstage is a unique experience. I am myself, but amplified. Weird sentiment but totally accurate. I don’t really disguise myself in a character created exclusively for the stage, and for me I think it works. It’s definitely more vulnerable, when people are seeing you pretty much as you are, but once you realize that you’re in control, that you’re the driver and by the way, you’re kick ass, it’s pretty fun. It’s getting to a point that works that is the real challenge. And it doesn’t come overnight. But damn is it a learning experience, and one that leads to more self-knowledge, more self-confidence, and a bigger appreciation for all the little steps that led you to your state of knowledge.

It’s on that note that I’ll end this blog with a BIG GIANT shout out to everyone past and present who has helped make When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution such a huge success. While it takes one person to lead, an open mic like this cannot exist without a supportive and engaged community. And everyone adds to the spirit that is built up over time. 

Also–the future is shining pretty brightly. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is getting better every day.

–One last note, and I ended the May WSSIHtR open mic with this idea–When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution started on a dare, on a vague notion that something like this could happen and work, but no certainty whatsoever. It’s through dares like this one that hidden paths can be uncovered, that monsters can be defeated, that we can learn to overcome our fears. So for the month of June (and beyond?)–be daring. Have you always thought that your hair would be cooler neon green? Screw convention–do it! Have you been wanting to do something but you keep convincing yourself out of it? Stop rationalizing your fears. Dare yourself to do one thing every month that scares you. Just try. Even if it’s not the best experience in the world, you’ll have learned something. And we live once. What are we living for if we’re too cautious? Too safe? Give yourself permission to start your journey to flight.

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution May Events

The month of May means one thing to me, and one thing only. The ever-growing When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic is now another year older.

As of the last Saturday of this month, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will officially be 2 years old. And that means the whole month of May is going to be an incredible, event filled month! And here’s a run down of what we’re planning so you can add them to your planner or smart-phone and plan on being there!

Friday May 18, 2012, 7:30 pm @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse: Words of Temptation–An Erotica Open Mic 

There is nothing more liberating than talking about those topics that are so often seen as forbidden fruits. Sex and sexuality and freedom to explore is the thing that made the TV Show Sex and the City so very popular, yet it’s still something many of us only talk about with people we know or certain circumstances. This month we will be having a very special evening full of words that ooze passion, desire, and temptation. The evening will be hosted by the sultry and sensual mistress of Salt Lake City Slam, DeAnn Emett (who I wrote about here along with the rest of the 2009 slc slam team).

The event will also act as a fundraiser opportunity for the Salt Lake Slam team raise money for Nationals this year, which are all the way over in North Carolina….Charlotte, NC to be exact. And if you’re excited to send Salt City Slam down to nationals this year, don’t worry, you do not have to wait…you can help them right now by clicking on this link! If everyone who reads this were to donate one dollar and everyone they shared this link with would donate a dollar and on and on….eventually all those dollars (or $5/$10) would add up!

This will be an event not to be missed! For one thing, how often is there an event like this in Salt Lake City? Not often enough, in my opinion. And if this is successful, we’ll definitely consider making this an event that’s scheduled again in coming months.

Tuesday May 22, 2012, 9:00 pm @ Club Jam: When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution–Date With the Night Party!

The road to making this open mic what it is has not been the easiest. There’s been a lot of work involved, a lot of planning, and a lot of anxiety. Yet it has continued to grow and expand beyond my imagination and i expect that it will continue to grow even beyond this.

So this–this is an opportunity to celebrate several things. First–most obviously–the continued presence of Salt Lake’s feminist-riot grrrl-infused open mic in the scene. For this fact alone, there will be a birthday cake. I can’t promise anything as far as the cake goes because I do have yet to order it, but I can tell you that it will most likely be vegan and it will be bought from a local store. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is a local open mic and continues to support local businesses, especially those businesses that are made of awesome.

This party will also be a celebration of persistence and feminism and the kickass women that make up our community. There will be some great drinks, great company and delicious cake, so do come out and celebrate the little open mic that refuses to go anywhere.

Saturday May 26, 2012, 7:00 pm @ Jitterbug Coffee: When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution Open Mic

Join WSSIHtR for words/music/ideas and concepts that will delight and inspire. The community of When She Speaks is indeed a revolutionary one, and is also one of incredible diversity. Poets, novelists, fiction writers, comedians, and musicians have all found a home at this open mic, and anything that can be performed is certainly welcome. While WSSIHtR was founded on the concept and continues to celebrate the act of bringing the creative women of SLC a home to share their works, it is not an exclusive open mic and is open to everyone, no matter how one identifies or where they are in their artistic process. The scariest part of being at an open mic is in the sharing and we are all nothing but supportive. This is a place where writers and musicians can expect to share and grow and network with each other, and the space aims to be a safe, supportive environment for EVERYONE.

The open mic lasts between 2-3 rounds and is always a lesson in expecting the unexpected! This month’s will be extremely special as it will mark the 2-yr anniversary of this spectacular event, so don’t miss out!

Finally: A Special Announcement. Or two.

I will be hosting the Salt Lake City Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is Poetry Slam WoWps Qualifier. I’m so excited to be hosting such an amazing event! Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is continues to be one of Salt Lake’s biggest slams and continues to bring in great features from all across the country and draws some of the best and brightest of the local slam scene! This will be especially exciting for me given that I will have an opportunity to be part of the process that ends up with a Salt Lake based qualifier for the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2013! So yeah. This is gonna be an incredible event. The only unfortunate thing about this particular slam is that there can only be one victor. I’m going to have to convince all of the other competitors to try and storm wowps 2013. Salt Lake can totally take over the 2013 wowps. ooh. I really like that idea…..(mwahahaha)

So in conclusion: if you can take Tuesday, May 29th off of work, call in sick, or something, then you should do it. Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is will be taking place on Monday, May 28 and it will kick so much ass that you’re gonna really need some extra sleep the next morning. Stay tuned for more details.

And a final note: WSSIHtR is making a zine! Be part of it by submitting your art/prose/poetry/feminist rants/etc to rebelgrrrl.theblog @ gmail dot com. Go ahead, go for it! There is currently no theme, though if some of you wonderful readers want to suggest themes and one of them rocks so hard that it’ll just have to happen….well, you could earn a cookie and a dedication in our latest zine.

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution + UHC BOOK FESTIVAL

Great, great news to start a Friday!

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will be an exhibitor at the Utah Humanities Council’s 14th Annual Book Festival! How exciting is that? A celebration of books + A celebration of words and writing? I can think of no better way to spend a day.

For those of you unfamiliar with the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic–we are an open mic that meets once a month with a focus on encouraging and supporting the voices of women and the trans community. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is an open mic dedicated to being there for those who have felt marginalized and those who are ready to start a creative revolution within their own lives. For more information, feel free to check out this interview I did with Gavin Sheehan, of City Weekly’s Gavin’s Underground.

And the Book Festival is going to be amazing. The big day for the festival is the 22nd of October, but keep in mind that events will be going on statewide for the entire month! Check the website for more information and to find out if your favorite authors will be hitting your town!

A few things:

In readiness for this awesome opportunity, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will be having our first zine! For Salt Lake/Utah artists and writers–SUBMIT YOUR WORK!! If you believe in the mission of When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution–I want you! If you believe in creative revolutions–I want you! If you believe that feminist art is an important aspect of the larger art/creative scenes–I want you! Submit your stuff NO LATER than Sunday the 16! (please!) The email to send it to: rebelgrrrl.theblog@gmail.com

I’ll also be looking for people interested in helping with tabling on the big day, Saturday October 22! If you’re free to be around, please let me know! It’ll be a super fabulous day and I’m so excited to be a part of it!!

(PS: This is Day 5 of my blog-a-day challenge!)

Blog-A-Day Challenge Day 1-The Start of Everything

Every day that I don’t write on this blog weighs on me, believe it or not.

How could it not? When I started this, all young and idealistic and excited about everything, writing here became an adventure. And when days started to pass without writing, followed by weeks, followed by months, I felt like I was disappointing the readers who had stopped by, the connections I had made, and most importantly, myself–and that younger, more idealistic self. And with that disappointment came a new feeling–a reluctance to write here for fear that the good things that had been built over the years would be destroyed by my newer thoughts. I’m not the same after all. Things have changed. I’m in Utah now, far, far away from the haven that Chapel Hill, North Carolina provided. And I have been questioning my motivations and second guessing myself almost every step of the way since I’ve moved here.

That’s about to change. Finally. Last month I participated in an unofficial write-15-minutes-a-day challenge, and it turned out to be one of the best things I’d done.  It got me writing, which–as it turns out–was an invaluable step forward. My journey as a writer has really only recently been reclaimed, as of August of this year. I have done varied writings here and there throughout the year, but it wasn’t until that fateful August day when I picked up one of my journals I’d started (the last entry was dated November 2010) and gave it a full reboot that my writing sessions were restored, and the practice was back in place.

Well. That exact thing is what I’m going to do here. Which means for 30 days from now until November 8, you won’t know what to expect from my writings. It could be completely rant heavy, to enthused entries about new albums/musicians I’ve discovered, to entries about the writing process itself to any number of things. The one thing you will know to expect is an entry. I can’t promise it will be the greatest written word has to offer–in fact, I’m not going to. But it will be a fun process. As I’m writing this, I’m getting more excited about the potential this has to unlock interesting subjects, and as a way to unlock my voice–so to speak.

I’m going to end this entry here for today. It will serve as purely an introduction to the 30-day madness that shall ensue. Wish me luck. While I’m determined to make this happen, good wishes won’t hurt!