Posted in Your Turn

Newly Found Bloggers & Artists

You may have seen his work floating around on Etsy, Pinterest or even Facebook. Modern impressionistic painter Leonid Afremov has been creating his pieces for many years and has attained considerable notoriety online. I myself purchased a large piece from him only a year ago as a wedding gift for my wife. It hangs proudly in […]

via Artist of the Week: Leonid Afremov — Better in 2D

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Posted in Writers I Like, Writing, Your Turn

Artist & Writer: Monte Robinson

I have shared several of his poems and essays on the blog–BROKEN DOLL, GIVERS VS TAKERSINCOMPLETE; we’ve collaborated on a few projects, or at least tried (FREESTYLE); and now, Mr. Robinson, aka The Writerly Genius, has finally granted an interview.

Do you agree with the cliché that creative types are misunderstood?
​I do​ agree with that statement, because of personal experiences and scientific research. Artists are often stereotyped as weirdos, and I think some of that perceived weirdness derives from the creativity we hung onto and expanded throughout our lives. We do not quite fit into the box of what is considered “normal” due to our natural born talent.
I draw, paint, write short stories, and dabble in poetry. Those things require me to think differently than the average person. I think all artists think differently than the average person, which can lead to us being misunderstood. In many cases, I just experience the world in a way that others do not. When I look at real life landscapes, I see them as two dimensional like they were on a canvas. At random times, lines and stanzas just pop into my mind.
From an educator’s standpoint, how would you encourage a young person interested in the Arts? How would you  encourage your younger self?
Usually when students tell me they cannot write poems, short stories, or plays, I reassure them that they have the ability, and they just need to tap into it. Generally, they are afraid that it will not be good enough, so I explain to them that “good” is relative. Some may like it; some may not, so write something that you will enjoy. My mother was very supportive of my artistic side, so I would encourage my younger self the same way she did.
We often hear the term “natural-born talent”, do you feel we have innate gifts, or is creativity one of those things learned over time?
​I believe we are all born with creativity. When left to their own devices, kids come up with some creative – sometimes crazy – stuff. I think some of us are more developed in specific areas than others, also. My mom said I started drawing at age 3. I remember being in Headstart at age 5 and drawing my own cartoon characters on the back of the pages they gave us to color. I think schools, adults, and the need to fit-in kills the creativity. ​
You’re both an artist and a writer. Which of these was most dominant in your formative years? In later years? Are there similarities in each field?
In my formative years, I was more of an artist. I did not think of myself as a writer at all. I still don’t. Looking back, I realize that I used to tell short stories to entertain my cousins. It was usually silly stuff, but it fit my age. I really enjoyed drawing, and it garnered lots of support, so it was much more of a factor for most of my life. I only started writing within the last fifteen years after I stopped drawing and painting. It started with blogging. I had a way of getting my point across in story form and that eventually morphed into writing short stories. My ex-wife was a poet, so I kind of started messing around with poetry because of her.​​
The similarities between the two are that I am trying to tell a story. The differences are – besides the obvious- I have to find just the right way to tell my story in a single image while drawing versus writing​​ ​where I paint the picture with as many or as few words as I like.​
Imagine you have time to pursue a creative project. What would it be?
I would write a novel. For years now, it has felt like something I was destined to do. It is hard to explain. It just feels like the next step.​

In one word. Writing is _____________

​Unpredictable​
 
                sketchII
Posted in Perhaps...I'll Let You In, Writing and all its cousins

Self, This Is Self

I set out to write this story, to purge myself of the pent-up words and emotions inside. I have always been told that I express myself better on paper, maybe all writers do. And I set out to do the same thing every year, run amongst the crowd in November in the quest to claim the prize:  50,000 words in thirty days.  It isn’t so much the climb out of the mosh pit but the experience itself, to say, “I did it; I survived; I nearly lost my mind in the process, but I made it out alive and fairly unscathed.”  And so that is what I aspired to do,  to release this melancholy that has followed me since daddy’s death.

Sure, there have been cheerleaders and words of encouragement along the way, even when I unreasonably made the decision to take part this year, despite the fact of having carpal tunnel surgery less than a month prior to the competition. Not only surgery, but a somewhat botched one that involves my dominant hand–the one I desperately need to type out or even write this conceived tale formulating itself inside my, at times, over-active brain.

And yet, there are other issues as well. One being that I am a person with a high level of control—or at least that is what I have been told. Not the kind where I wish to dominate others but more so of wanting things to run smoothly, orderly, and with a sense of logic. Mainly attaining to keep myself in order.  Thus the problem with stories and me. I tend to over think them.

First drafts aren’t neat and tidy. At times they don’t even make sense. And I want to say, “Hey, do what I tell you. Do as I think, not as I write. Do what the girl in that book did.  No, you know the book I’m talking about. The one by that really cool, best-selling, NY Times top ten list author. Yeah, her. Do it!!!”

Emotions aren’t always logical either, no matter how much we strive to make sense of them; and this is the problem I usually run into mid-way through a written piece. My beta readers respond with stuff like, “Shouldn’t Rachel be steaming? If I’d been {insert catastrophe here}, I would be livid. I wouldn’t worry about what the guest or my mother think; I would be throwing things and slitting tires and turning up bottles of vodka.”

And so the same with the high hopes I have for this…novella? Which covers the span of daddy’s death and the series of craziness which ensued.

My initial thought was to intertwine it with my subconscious (a little trippy and hard to explain, I know); so let me back track and attempt to clarify.  Some of you may recall the brief free write I did in which I visited my so-called “happy place.”  (I had to create one when working in retail because without a happy place you will certainly crack up in that line of work 🙂

So, anyway, yeah. And that is where I am twenty-seven-thousand words later because (a) that ingrained sense of control won’t allow me to explore my deeper feelings on said subject (b) my inner editor is going berserk. It yearns to come out and play with me and (c) the thought of so many words/pages is at times overwhelming.  Oh, and I suck at outlines.  I dreaded it in school and still have a hard time creating one that is detailed enough to buoy me pass the first five chapters.  And without a solid idea of where you are going—well, lets face it, you can wind up all over the  map.

Excuses, excuses…  I am aware of the fact so shush.

Conundrum: How do I rehash this in a way that is—that puts that “must be right” side of my brain to sleep while, at the same time, not re-opening painful memories over and over again. (I swear if I have to re-read that hospital seen while scrolling one more time!  And how do I collaborate the two stories?

Ooh, I have an idea! A slightly different approach, but…  Yeah, it just might work!

Your Turn:

What difficulties have you run into lately with your creative projects?

How did you resolve them?

Or are you still trying to figure that part out?  🙂

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Please feel free to share your thoughts and conundrums under comments.

Posted in music, Music & Art Forms

Composer: James L Revels

You mention that you are a “self-taught” composer. Can you elaborate on that? How did you learn the ins and outs so-to-speak?

The “self-taught” part refers to the music composition and audio engineering. I learned how to do this by practicing engineering on the vocals of my high school friends who used to rap and by making instrumentals in my free time. I will admit I was taught how to read music in elementary, but that didn’t help me when it came time to compose.  I had to learn everything else from books, Google, and experimentation.

Have you always had a passion for music?

I haven’t always had a passion for music.  Initially, I wanted to be a writer–specifically poetry–but I came to feel that most people wouldn’t listen to my poems unless they were over music.  So, during high school I bought a five-dollar gaming mic, began experimenting with music, and the rest is history.

How many hours a day or week do you work on your music? Tell us what a typical day for James is like.

I practice about 20-40 hours a week depending on my work schedule. A typical day involves waking up at 7 or 8 a.m., then jumping on my keyboard for about an hour. After that, I get online to check the social media and work on a composition or instrument building in Reason.  After that, the day is pretty free-form. I could be going to work or going to hang out with my music mates of Radikal Nation as we work on our group album. I’m still an ordinary person, for now 🙂

In what ways do you promote other artists?  Tell us about some of the venues in which you promote both your music and that of others.

I promote artists primarily on the internet. Particularly, my blog (audiosexxx.com) or on Radikal Nation’s blog (rnwdgaf.wordpress.com). RN does have an official website (rnrecords.weebly.com) which we plan on turning into a place where musicians from all over can network and talk in our forum, but right now the site is in its infancy. We are still gathering support for it.

Any advice for those looking to get into  composing and/or writing music?

I’d say, “network almost as much as you practice,” because what’s the point of having music that no one is going to know about and listen to?

Five contemporary artists you admire and five legendary and/or old school artists you look up to:

1. Zun

2. Masashi Hamauzu

3.Tycho

4. Fall Out Boy

5. Nobuo Uematsu

***

1. Nas (lyrically)

2. Claude Debussy

3. Jimi Hendrix

4. Gustov Holst

5. Modest Mussorgsky

Who or what inspires your music?

Curiosity inspires my music the most. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Geometry is frozen music.” I take this completely literal, and I’m trying to see how far I can take that idea. It’s better understood with a few pictures of my note [I’ve attached a few pictures for you]

In one word, music is __________

Life

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*
Radikal Nation Presents…夏炉冬扇 Karo Tōsen (Summer Heater, Winter Fan) and XXXplicit CompleXXXion Series. Karo is my 45 minute summer project which takes you through a variety of sounds and is practice for my first album which is to be released as soon as I upgrade to Reason 7. You should download it so you don’t miss out on the 6 download exclusive tracks. (http://jamesrevelsiii.bandcamp.com/album/karo-t-sen-summer-heater-winter-fan)
XXXplicit CompleXXXion Series by Divine Linez is a sensual 4 track mixtape for those who have some extra freakiness they just can’t seem to release. Unlike the average sex rapper, Divine Line brings the aesthetic of a poet, while still being raw and frank. Whether you prefer a Mz. Dark, Brown, or Light Skin ,or happen to be a Miss yourself, I’m sure you will find a track for you. (http://rnwdgaf.bandcamp.com/album/xxxplicit-complexxxionz)
composerintervattchIMG_20130926_100828 IMG_20130926_101042 IMG_20130926_101249 IMG_20130926_101554
Thank you, James, for an excellent interview. Best wishes on your new release.
Interviewed by Shonte’ S  aka Whatevertheyaint
9/26/2013
Posted in life and reflection, Writing and all its cousins

Untitled (8-14-13)

Impress upon our minds a kiss,

a smooth caress and linger still

amid our dreams, nocturnal bliss

And we’ll drink the words until

the day arrives, expressions cease,

and lucid conscience is released

Unto the world our souls return

Until tomorrow spirits yearn

 

sms/Whatevertheyain

8/13

 

 

*Any suggestions for a title? Do share under comments.

Posted in Writer's Prompts, Writing and all its cousins

Power To the Powder

So, I was playing around yesterday afternoon and came across a prompt/challenge from the Nanoers over on FB. The idea was to take a snack and give it a story.

He wasn’t like the other donuts. He was plain—no glaze, no chocolate, just round and ordinary. But today was the day.  He’d been watching the baker for weeks.  Today was the day he’d sneak in and have an affair with the powder!

Would she go for him?  He wasn’t sure, with her being so sweet and all. Plus, she was white and, well, he was a little on the brown side.  But together they could do great things.

sms/2013

Posted in everyday living, Your Turn

New Year, New Thangs

I don’t do resolutions. Too formal. Why not aim for the stars, do better, live better, EVERY day?

Yet, a new year has a way of making one feel like…they’ve opened a blank book, untitled, just waiting for them to fill in the space–hopefully, with good things. What will YOUR theme be for 2013?

What are your creative goals?

(http://bluegreenlilac.livejournal.com/)

Do you plan to write more, blog less, showcase your artwork, start your own business? The possibilities are endless. That’s the exciting thing about each year. That’s the cool thing about EVERY day!

Best wishes to you.
Aim high. Keep reaching.

SMS-12/31/12

Posted in music, Music & Art Forms

Thinkin’… Music & Artforms: Frank Ocean

So I came to the song late.  And maybe I’m not as hip to the music game as I used to be.  And perhaps I ceased tuning in to the radio because every song consisted of getting into bed, leaving a club, grinding while in a club, or getting one’s drank on.  Ain’t knocking the music hustle,  just grew tired of the lack of creativity.

But that changed on the way home one night.

On this night, someone called my name, my middle name, the six-letter word add apostrophe that only a few know. I didn’t stop, but it came again– spoken softly, the way only one person could. My feet came to a halt as I cautiously looked around.  And that’s when I saw him.

You know that awkward moment when you haven’t seen someone in eons (in this case, a decade) and you don’t know whether to nod, shake hands, side pat, or ignore them altogether?  I went for the nod; he chose the bear hug.   So, I immediately withdrew, the way any sane, legally attached, content/happily married woman would.  Gave the standard, “Good seeing you,” which, basically translates into a cordial buh-bye.

For good measure, I added, “Yeah, really  have to go.  Need to pick up such-n-such and after that, I have to such-n-stuff-n-such.” Then I got in my car and, by chance, turned on the radio. What did I hear? Some dude talking about Idaho and California.  But I kept listening.  And then he hit falsetto:  “But…do you…not…think so far…ahead…”

I turned the volume higher as I rounded the corner.  I listened.  And smiled.

Frank Ocean

Channel Orange

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Faves on constant repeat:

  • Thinkin’ Bout You
  • Pink Matter
  • Sierra Leone
  • White (Should have been a song but some tight-boss jazz!)
  • Sweet Life
  • Super Rich Kids
  • Pilot Jones
  • Bad Religion
  • Forrest Gump
  • Pyramids