Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Am I in the Twighlight Zone?
She agreed to do a couple of my recs, but only those that didn't require a form. She didn't want to have to fudge any details about me as a student; just play up my strengths. Fine with me! lol.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Oh . . . wait . . . don't leave! COME BACK!
You can thank the great Yeezy for the post title. "Love Lockdown" is his first single from his upcoming album. Peep the video below. It's kind of wierd to me. I expected something a la Glow In the Dark Tour.
Do ya'll like it? Let me know in the comments.
Stay tuned for an MFA update/post soon!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I don’t know what to call what I went into when she died. A depression? Sounds way too harsh. I’ll just say I slipped into a little bit of darkness. Yeah, that’s it, darkness. I have a habit (that I’m trying to –scratch that- will break!) of slipping into darkness when bad things happen. I put on a smiley face and go through life looking unscathed but inside it’s all dark.
Anyway, when my grandmother died, poetry became such a release. I was able to pour out my feelings about her death. Things I couldn't say because I was supposed to be "strong" for everybody else. But, at 12, I wasn't strong enough . . . not at 13, not at 14 . . . hell, sometimes not at 21. Soon, I redirected that pain into other topics but they were all so sad and angry. And that’s what my poetry was, for a long time—sad and angry.
I kind of feel like Mary J. Blige—I do sad and angry so well that when I try to write about something else it feels foreign. Heart break, death, anxiety, abuse, deception, rejection—I reworked and twisted those things a million different ways. Didn’t help that I had a lot of hurt come my way to feed that fire—but that’s another blog, lol.
So, what does this have to do with applying to MFAs?
When I look back at the 300+ poems I’ve written since 1999, I feel like I’ve outgrown them. Okay, clearly, I’ve outgrown the really early ones, lol. But, even the more recent work doesn’t feel right. I don’t think they represent my potential and I don’t really want to include any of it in my manuscript (for applications).
In my CW classes this fall, I’ve written a variety of poems. None of them really give off warm and fuzzy feelings but I don’t necessarily want to write “warm and fuzzy” poems—I just want to be able to show that I’m versatile. Like, MJB, I want to show the people (including the MFA readers) that I can do nice and happy just as well as I do sad and angry, lol. I’ve tried, ya’ll, I mean really tried to write poetry that didn’t possess just a tinge of darkness. I can count those poems on just a few fingers and half of them were written about things that glittered like gold but ended up worth no more than a tin can, lol.
I’m the kind of poet that just lets the poem flow and go where it needs to go and say what it needs to say—I don’t force anything on it or start with any real plans. But, sometimes, if I’m writing and I feel myself slipping into a sour tone, I just stop. I know, I know . . . I should just let it flow. But, damn, it gets boring! And, I don’t always want to relive the pain it takes to make the voice real. You know what I mean?
Example:I just wrote a poem about “Autumn.” Easy, right? It starts off nice—pretty colors of sunsets, football games, leaves falling. But, WHAM, suddenly it slips into not so nice stuff—poverty and decay. So, I stopped . . . I bumped that part to the bottom of my word doc and tried to begin that section again. But, nothing worked. So, I conceded and picked up where I left off. My prof and some classmates liked it. For me, it was bittersweet. I was proud of it but mad at it at the same time. I wish I could have written something else, but I don't know what else I could have written.
Oh, the passion of poetry!
It’s not that I am not a happy person because I am. I'm always laughing, smiling, joking around. But, I guess, it’s difficult for me to pull from those good things and inject more positive images into my poetry.
Any thoughts? Suggestions? Similar issues?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Also, why is it okay for people to openly admit to supporting Palin because she is a woman, when if a black person even breathes the word Obama we're accused of only voting for him because he's black? There's black people out there right now that want to vote for Obama for sound reasons but won't because they're afraid of being labeled as an "Obamabot" that is voting based on color and not character. But, they can unapologetically target disgruntled Hillocrats and undecided women with their psuedo feminist Palin propganda and no one bats an eye? What gives?
Ok . . . i'm done . . . this concludes my second political rant. it really was fun . . . I laughed, I cried, I cranked that Soulja Boy on that [OH!] . . . lol.
Please keep your comments respectful. If your ideas differ from my own, that's fine. I welcome discussion and opposition.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Back in 2004, I was super excited to vote Bush out of office until I realised that I was born after the election date and would only be 17 when the day rolled around. Bummer! But, now, at the ripe old age of 21, I will be able to cast my very first vote for US President. I've always tried to keep myself abreast of political issues and for the past year and a half I have fallen head first into politics, lol. My days are filled with the Cafferty File, Situation Room, Anderson Cooper 360, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Countdown with Keith Oldermann, and every other political show (except for those on FOX, way too conservative for my tastes). I will admit that sometimes the things they say fly over my head but when that happens, I go online and google what they said or I ask my dad (who is eating, drinking, and breathing politics these days, lol). I want my vote to be informed, not just because I like or dislike one of the candidates for reasons unrelated to leading the country (that's another blog in itself). I am a recnt college grad trying to enter the work force, go to grad school, and hopefully start a family within the next 8 years-- what happens in November matters to me!
Usually, I just stay out of political discussions because I know that (1)I'm still learning and I'd rather observe than argue, (2)I have a big mouth and (3) this election means alot to me and I may get carried away, lol. Then I thought, "Hey! I have a blog . . . isn't that what blogs are for?" and VOILA! my first blog on politics! Today's subject: Voting.
Vote or -- wait, why wouldn't you vote?
I must say that I am very disappointed in the amount of "political apathy" (in regards to voting) I've been seeing, reading, and hearing lately. Especially from young people and especially since it's been said time and time again that this election is in our hands as young people. It's not that I don't think people should have the right to be apathetic if they want to-- you don't have to give a damn about politics. But, please, be indifferent for a reason . . . and, please, let that reason make sense!
I present to you, a few very generalized reasons to not vote that I've run across And my very generalized responses.
- "America's going to hell in a handbasket anyway so why vote?" WTF are you talking about? Seriously. lol
- "It doesn't matter if we vote, they're going to elect who they want anyway" Who is this mysterious "they"? Are "they" the same as the ever ominous "the Man" from back in the 80s and 90s? lol. Let me help you put the conspiracy theories to rest-- "they" = "us", if you vote.
- "I don't like the government-- so I'm not going to Vote." Don't like the government? Change it.Vote.
- "I don't want anyone to blame me when the candidate I vote for becomes the next pisspoor president-- so I'm not going to vote." Not voting to avoid accountability is such BS. Please believe that you, probably more than anyone else, will be held accountable if you don't do anything to stop us from getting another piss poor president. Sure, there are a few Bush supporters that regret their decision but being wrong is the risk you take when you form an opinion about something, lol. So, if you don't avoid forming an opinion on things in everyday life then why are you doing that in regards to the election? Vote and stop BSing.
- "I don't like McCain or Obama-- so I'm not going to Vote." I respect that. But don't forget that there are tickets other than Republicans and Democrats out there. Check out the myriad of other folks with thei hats in the ring for president. Don't lke them either? See how your state feels about write-ins and write in a candidates name that you like or, hell, write your own damn name, lol. And remember, on Nov 4th you'll be voting for more than just a president-- there will be props, senate seats, and other things up for grabs on this ballot that you should take a look at and consider.
- "I just don't want to/don't care/don't feel like it." Fine. But before you sit home on November 4, think about all of the children, excons, mentally disable, immagrants, and other folks in your life that can't vote but are affected nonetheless by whats on those ballots and the administration to come. Do you care about them? Do you want what's best for them? Do you ever get into debates about abortion, education, reform, taxes, religion in schools, gay marriage, and other heavy topics? Well, get into this big debate and cast you vote on these issues and for people who think like you do. For minorities and women, I'm sure that the folks that faught for our right to vote didn't feel like protesting and fighting either but they did. Now, all you have to do is vote. Painless.
If you have a reason for not voting that makes sense, then by all means-- don't vote. I have stumbled across a few folks in blogs, on youtube, and other forums that have had some pretty good reasons for not voting. Their decision is a very informed one. And that's all I ask. Unfotunately, more times than not I see people saying they're not voting for variations of the above reasons and it just makes no sense to me.
But, I must be honest with everyone-- If you don't vote, then I can't hear you. I have turned a deaf ear to nonvoters. I don't want to hear you complaining about the government, taxes, schools, roads, buildings, wages, racism, sexism, ageism, etc. if you don't excercise your right to vote. I am establishing a "Did you vote?" policy whenever somebody brings these things up. And if your answer doesn't suit my pallette then the discussion is done, lol.
Seriously, though, please understand that . . .
Your VOTE is your VOICE and if you don't use it, no one can hear you.
I don't care who you vote for or what you vote for. . . . just vote. It's such a simple act. It's free, it's painless, you even get a pretty sticker when you're done! Don't want to waste the gas? Sign up for an absentee ballot before it's too late. Don't mind going to the polls but don't want to encounter the long lines and/or rush? A few states have early voting polls set up. Haven't registered? You can do so online.Click the following banner!
Ok, ya'll, that ends my political rant for today . . . hope I didn't offend anybody and if I did, I have to ask, "Are you voting?" LOL.
Note: These are the political ramblings of Bsquared86 and the sole opinion of Bsquared86. They are not and do not reflect the opinions of anyone else. Bsquared86 could quite frankly give a damn about whether you agree or disagree and will not be swayed from her stance. But, a little discussion ain't never hurt nobody, lol, so if you would lke to comment, please keep your comments respectful or they will be deleted.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Okay, so . . . my UCLA ext. course starts on Wednesday . . . how exciting?! And nerve wracking!
My issue can basically be summed up to be STAGE FRIGHT . . . despite the lack of stage, lol. I have never liked exposing my poetry to the world. They're like my babies and I don't like the feeling of sending them out there, defenseless into this cruel and critical world! It took me a while to even post my poetry in my myspace blog (which has all but dried up over the past year or so) and I've only got one (count it- 1) poetry reading/spoken word experience under my belt. My only real experience with a workshop like setting was my creative writing class last fall, we would write in class and go around the room and share or write away from class and bring it in to share. All of the experiences ended up being pleasurable in the end (my prof was a tough critic but also a free spirit and no one in the class wanted to breathe a bad word about another's work for fear of retaliation when their turn rolled around). I got an A and wrote some pretty good stuff in the class. I thought I had gotten over my anxiety about sharing my work with others on such a large scale (if you can consider 30 people large) but it's all coming back to me now. This online class where I can't see any faces or hear any whispers and giggles, worried me more than that class ever did!
The syllabus requires that we not only post our own assignments for class critique and comments but that we comment and critique everyone else's work too! YIKES! I know that some of you are reading this and thinking, "Okay, girl . . . that's what MFAs are all about! That's what writing is all about!" and I know that, but can't a sista have her reservations? lol. Anyway, I went to the course roster and facebook'd a few (ok, all) of my classmates-- I thought it would make me feel better to put faces to names and personalize the experience. I only had a few hits which leads me to believe that the majority of them are older students. I googled my professor, listened to her reading some poetry online and read her list of accolades and impressive bio. These tasks didn't really make me feel any better, lol. But, we'll see.
Enough is Enough
Somebody once told me that if you love reading then being an english major will spoil that for you, because you'll read so much and spend so much time analyzing text that you'll forget how to love literature. Fortunately, for me, I didn't lose my love for reading (though I did slack off on my leisure reading while in school) and I was a pretty good english student. Anyway, I'm a little afraid that trying to get into these writing programs will ruin my love of writing--- I'll spend so much time critiquing and worrying about whether my poems are good enough that I'll turn against writing just because of the stress!
The idea of being "good enough" for an MFA program enters my mind daily, sometimes hourly depending on my stress level. After reading about other people's journeys to MFAs and MFA graduates and I start to feel second best-- I don't have the experience in workshops and writing or publishing record that some of them mention. Very many of them are older, perhaps wiser than I am-- they woke up one day and found themselves in a career that they hated and realised that their love was writing and took steps towards getting an MFA. Not very many fresh out of college folks like me with such limited exposure to the writing world-- or at least not that I've found. Have I lived enough to write good stuff? Am I dedicated enough? Well-read enough? Smart enough? Confident, creative, or cunning enough?
I used to be a much more confident person (academically) before college entered my life, lol. No worries about not passing a class or doing well on an assignment-- especially when it came to writing! But, college brought on tough professors and excellent writers as my peers. And pressure, pressure, pressure!
I keep telling myself that enough is enough, it's time to take the reins of this thing-- I need to stop questioning my right to be in an MFA program or be a writer! I know what I love to do and all I'm trying to do is hone my craft like everybody else out there-- I'm not second best, I'm just different! My experiences are unique to those around me but make me no less qualified.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I am officially enrolled in an online course through the UCLA Extension! Yay!
When I told my mom about it, she just said, "Okay, tell your dad about it when he gets home." Well, clearly, I've been away from home too long and I forgot the old "ask your father" trick, lol, because I approached my dad rather randomly when he got home. Knowing my Pops, I should have approached with more caution. I told him about the class and then I tried to approach the money issue with a with a tinge of humor
Me:"So, I was wondering if you could give me a scholarship for it?" *smiling*
Him: "Huh . . .What?"
and when that didn't work I tried to lay out my spiel about recs and manuscripts (but, I fear that I was being overshadowed by the Raiders game). Then, when I tried to explain the price difference between the Non-Credit and Credit versions of the course, he basically cut me off every time,
Him: "Is it transferable?"
Me: "It can be. But, it depends on the--"
Him: "Get to the point . . . it CAN be transferred to your masters program?"
Me: "Yes, it can be transferred but--"
Him:"I'm not asking all of that . . . It makes no sense to take a class that can't be transferred. I'm not paying for anything so you can have something to do for fun . . . You can go read a book."
For fun? Writing maybe fun (as is spending money) but nothing is fun about the stress I'm under! I wish I could just read a book and have all I need to get into an MFA but unfortunately that is not the case, Pops! But, for my safety and future in academia, I kept those clever quips to myself and just said yes to everything he asked me until I had secured payment, lol. And that wasn't my dad being mean . . . that was just my dad being my dad and that's why I love him.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
- I need to get on my recommendation game, I only have 2 professors that I would like to ask for recs and I need 3 for most programs. Also, I need somebody familiar with my creative writing . . . why not just ask the only CW professor at my Alma mater, you say? Well, because he is intimidating as hell and already turned me away once for not having a good manuscript together or a substantial list of poets that I read (and I can't blame him, but DAMN!).
- I don't think that my "manuscript" or "portfolio" or "whatevertheadmissionpacketwantstocallit" are up to par. I mean, some of these MFA programs only accept 2,3, maybe 4 new poetry students a year so our "samples" have to be superb to say the least. They need to see both potential and promise- potential meaning that they feel that you will do well in the program and promise meaning that they feel that you will do well after the program. And, I don't know if my little amateur poems can do all that . . . YET.
Thanks to the MFA Blog, Poets & Writers, and a host of other online resources, I have learned that I can remedy this lack of recs as well as beef up my creative sample by enrolling in Creative Writing Workshops/Courses! GREAT! The course that I really want to get into hosted by UCLA is freakin expensive for just one course so I'm enrolling in an online CW course @ a community college around my way-- it's only like 20 bucks a credit/unit so it wouldn't hurt. So, I have clearly identified my stressors and a solution, right? So, all should be well.
BUT (isn't there always a but?)
Something in my heart is telling me to beg, borrow, and steal my way into this UCLA course-- mainly because it actually focuses on poetry but also because it comes highly recommended and is widely recognized while my course at the CC is a general CW and in the end is just a course at a CC (not that I think it will be easy, b/c I am sure it will not). It costs damn near 10x the amount of the CC course and I'm nervous about asking my folks for the dough (I have to pay upfront, so no time to wait until after I get a job and can pay myself as I have planned to do with the CC class). I know that they're probably already struggling with what exactly an MFA is and why on earth I am even wasting time on becoming a writer (though I have that ambition hidden under the cleverly orchestrated guise of becoming an English professor) and now, this? An expensive writing course that doesn't really guarantee anything?
my mom gets back from Louisiana tonight, so I'm going to ask them while we munch on a tasty welcome home dinner . . . let's pray that they don't laugh in my face, lol.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Okay . . . so, two of my favorite pass-times, aside from general lollygagging and random instances of tomfoolery, are fooling around with hair and makeup. I dedicate alot of time and energy into taking care of my hair and i waste-er um- invest alot of money in makeup.
To keep up with my journey in both realms I have a fotki photo album thingamajiggy
that can be found HERE.
Basically, I have seperated my hair Journey into two parts
One section that depicts my hair trials and triumphs during college, aptly titled It Really Was A Different World in honor of my other favorite pass time and (obsessively watching A Different World). It culminates, of course, with a series finale featuring my graduation but not before I throw in a "Very Special Episode" dedicated solely to me big chopping (hair lingo for cutting) my pressed ends off and deciding to wear my natural, glorious, amazing, nappy hair exclusively!
The next section is in the beginning stages, because it chronicles my journey to LOCDOM! Yes, friends, I am loc'ing my hair and I'm very excited. To keep with the trend of having albums related to my obsessions, I have titled this part iLoc in honor of my love of music (get it, iLoc . . . iPod? corny I know). I begin with a "Prelude" and move into my first track "I decided (That You Are The One For Me)" in honor of the hot Solange track.
The makeup looks I choose to keep neatly stored in an album entitled, I Lay my MAC down. There, I display the few looks that I actually capture in a decent picture. I'm getting a little better about taking pics and giving specs though.
There are a couple of other goodies in my fotki too-- like True Life:I'm A Product Junkie, where I list most of my hair products and tools, and Who is Bsquared86?, where I display some non-hair or makeup pics that just showcase both my digital manipulation (low level graphic design)and my muse (me).
Well, that was just a little look into some stuff that I like to do in my free time . . . which is usually ALL of my time these days, lol. Hope you enjoyed it!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Okay . . . I know . . . I know . . . I totally suck at this . . . but after a 5 month absence, I'm back! Mostly I'm back because I stumbled across a few blogs that fancied my interested and I've been posting comments on them and reading them regularly so I figured . . . why couldn't this be me?
So, if anybody is reading this . . . please thank . . .
- Those That Can't Do by my good friend, Ms. Brown. She's a newbie in the blog world too, chronicling her first year as a teacher and, in my honest opinion, she's funny as hell.
- mFA Weblog by a few good folks. Where, oh where was this blog when I was slowly losing my mind trying to understand Master's of Fine Arts Programs in Creative Writing last year? I'm so happy I found it.
- Afrobella by a beautiful sista that loves hair, makeup, skin care, shopping, and entertainment. She's an incredible writer and apparently a force to be reckoned with in the blog world!
I read a grip (read:"a lot") of other blogs as well, but that list would take forever. These are my current faves and major inspiration right now.
Adventures in Lazytown
As I mentioned in my first post, I'm taking a year off between undergrad and grad school and though I am very happy about that decision I am starting to suffer from "busy envy." Most of my friends are doing things with their lives even if it's the same thing they've been doing for years. The point is that for the first time in my life, I'm not doing a dag on thing but living. I knew that the moment would come that I'd be watching my friends go to grad school and I'd think, "Man, I should have just went on ahead and went to whatever school accepted me!"-- I just didn't know that it would be this hard to fight these feelings of "loserdom." I have been utterly and unapologetically lazy this summer . . . but, my folks haven't complained (yet). I want to get a job but I need some wheels first (long story).
But, anyway, I did what was best for me . . . I honestly can say that I know more about where I want to go to school and what kind of MFA program I want to get into than I did back in the winter when application season was ending and deadlines were taunting me. So, I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting starting grad school in Fall 09 (or Summer 09). The only thing between me and grad school is these dag on applications! Arggh . . . essays and samples and recommendations, oh no! As a matter of fact, I need to be sending out very flattering and sincere emails to old professors now to beg them to write a few (or 15) glowing recommendations . . . *crosses fingers*