Saturday, September 27, 2008

All the Cool People are doing it!

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!

Register to Vote at Rock the Vote

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

Overprotective + Enough is Enough

First, thank you to everyone that has commented on my blog (all 4 of you!). You all have truly inspired me and kept me motivated! Sometimes I just come here and read your words and I feel better, honestly. Not many people understand what I'm trying to do here and it feels good to see that you do! I have become a major blog surfer these days and, of course, I read the blogs of those that comment here and I try to comment where I can. Special thanks to Blu, my most recent commenter, because one of her posts has inspired this one!


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!

I don't want to compete, I want to write!

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 am so tired of worrying!

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

Parental Control

Quick Update:

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

Here We Go Again!

quick note on abbr: Master of Fine Arts (MFA); Community College (CC); Creative Writing (CW)
After 4 years of high school and 4 years in college, I think it's time to finally admit something to myself that others (namely folks that were close to me during my senior years at the prep and hu) have known all along . . .


I'm talking at drop of a hat, in a snap, in a flash, before you can blink, faster than a speeding bullet, from 0-60 in .5 seconds, "it's a bird, it's a plane . . . no, it's Bsquared86 screaming through the halls" quickly.

But, somehow, I've always performed relatively well through the stress, no matter the source. Be it family, friends, loves, professors, employers, extracurriculars, or academia- I do what I need to do to get through it. That is until grad school started looming on the horizon of my college career-- that's when I realized that, though I may perform well under stress, it just wasn't worth it at the time. Piling the stress of trying to decide what I would do after I graduated on top of the already daunting task of ensuring that I did, indeed, graduate was just too much. So, on one fateful day in late winter (February 19, 2008 to be exact), I decided that I would take a year off between undergrad and grad school. TA DA! Stress gone. I felt freer than a blue bird, I swear! I figured that by the time application season rolled around again I'd be able to handle the stress of applications, recommendations, portfolios, manuscripts, essays, and such because I'd be at home in LA with the hassle of graduating behind me. It would be a breeze . . .


It's about 5 am here in LA and I haven't been asleep yet. For folks that know me, you're probably thinking, "And? This is what you do." and you're right. Not sleeping like a regular human being IS what I do, unfortunately, I am not up simply because I am not sleepy-- I am up and

Granted, not as stressed as I was back in late 07 and early 08 . . . but stressed all the same. Why?
  • 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.

::au revoir::