Posts Tagged ‘artist’

words have weight

I’m a native English speaker. Who’s originally from an Island in the Caribbean so the English terms and dialect with which I am familiar stem from several areas – formally from a British school system for many  formative years, and informally from a mixed bag of Caribbean slang and terms with a heavy dose of influence from living for many years on the East Coast in the U.S. The accent? Well, it’s been described as a a crazy mixture of  several states within the U.S. and when I’m tired (or a little drunk), an accent from my homeland. All of this leads to why at times, language is this crazy barrier to my understanding of cliches, colloquialism, slang, etc. You see, it’s not that I don’t understand the words because I do. It’s because when certain words are strung together in a phrase that I don’t understand, my mind tries to pick them apart separately and then insert the meaning.  I can’t even begin to imagine what non-english speakers go through with the multiple translations in their heads and in their understanding when they move to the U.S.!

I also realize that while some people, even those who are close to me, confuse me and in turn, I am sure I confuse them! Even though we’ve communicated with each other for years and for hours on end, there’s almost always some confusion. Granted, at times I’m probably just decoding at a slower pace, like when I’m tired or not paying attention so I won’t blame that on language in general. That’s just me catching on and relaying slower than I should.

However, there are times when I really need a solid answer maybe akin to a “yes” or a “no” and when it comes in the form of a colloquialism or a cliche or worse yet, slang, I’m totally lost and sometimes, heartbroken. Thoughts race in sentences like, “I thought we were past this”, or “What did I do wrong?”, or “Maybe something has changed?”, and so on. Then there’s context but that’s a whole ‘nother topic for a whole ‘nother day.

Yes, I realise that not every sentence or statement or question is going to be cut and dry or consist only of plain language for all to understand as language itself is a beautiful beast that can be oh so subjective. But when it’s an important life decision, whether it be a binding agreement or contract, or a relationship related issue, I really need it to be clear cut and understandable. To do this, I try to repeat in the plainest english terms I can think of, what I believe is being said or conveyed. Not because I think the other person is slow or dumb. In fact it’s the opposite. I realise I’m being the ignorant one and so to avoid entering into a binding agreement or losing a loved one over something that wasn’t even an issue to begin with, I have to break down my barriers. The problem is that unless the person knows me somewhat well, they may sometimes think I’m being a condescending ass. So I try to remind that I’m not trying to be an ass, I’m just trying to ensure I understand and that I’m confused by a particular phrase, etc. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they may wonder how the hell we got along all these years, but hey, here we are…

Words have meaning and these meanings change as language changes. Confusing words and lack of grammar at times, can cause interesting and not so entertaining mishaps, heartache and alarm. So as I continue to learn and grow with language, slang, colloquialisms, etc., and I’ll continue to keep an open mind. Because, well, words mean something and sometimes, they mean nothing, and then at other times, they mean everything.

 

Simple Definition of colloquial

  • : used when people are speaking in an informal way

  • : using an informal style

Full Definition of colloquial

  1. 1:  of or relating to conversation :  conversational

  2. 2a :  used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation; also :  unacceptably informal b :  using conversational style

(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

words have power

Natasha as a kid with ugly doll

Natasha Ramsey ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Ugly doll that creeped me out as illustrated by the expression on my face!

Welcome to “Awake“. Being awake is how I want to live, and what I fought so hard to become. I hope you join me on this journey of sharing my awakened state and I truly hope that you share your journey(s) with me as well! Life’s more interesting when we live it with others.

This is the first in a series of (mostly) thoughts about life that will be short and to the point. Who has time for nonsense and extra wordery, anyway?

Part 1:

As a child, I would scribble on napkins, the backs of school books and sometimes inside of them (don’t worry, we purchased our school books so this was not being a delinquent), on the white envelopes that letters and bills were mailed in, and unfortunately, sometimes on the return envelopes that you’re supposed to use when you mail those bill payments back.I would also be known to stick my head into books and let my mind run away on adventure after adventure and forget to do homework, chores, or practice my piano and guitar playing. Truthfully, I may not have really forgotten…but that’s not important right now. Writing and already written books were my escapes out of everyday life.

There were so many people and thoughts and random stuff in my head that I needed a way to get them out. Every now and again I’d try and purge it all by doing a brain dump of all of my thoughts onto paper. Back then, I never wrote for others to read. In fact, I destroyed most of it so that it wouldn’t be found. Trust me, if a parent or teacher read some of the stuff I wrote as a kid, I may not be lucid or alive today to write anything!

Besides, as a child (when T-Rexes roamed the earth and a “selfie” meant something very different than it does today!) my teachers and parents never suggested or spoke of being a writer or a professional reader (i.e. an editor, etc.) as actual jobs. It’s as if all of the books in my house and on school shelves were written by mystical creatures and that writing and editing and copywriting, etc. weren’t actual jobs. What’s even odder is the importance that was placed on reading. I was allowed to read almost anything I wanted as books were good. However, TV shows were in limited supply. Maybe it explains my obsession with written words in any medium and always craved being a writer but again, that’s not important right now.

The main point of sharing this, is because in my Island home with a relatively comfortable life, it was a well known fact. If you were not striving to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a business owner, you really weren’t striving.

-end

Today’s good vibe share is “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. Thank you for stopping by. What’s your journey? What’s your good vibe share? 

Sometimes, okay, a lot of times I don’t like to admit that I have fears, worries and in many ways, I’m fragile. Why? I’m an artist. Yes, sometimes I get super sensitive (or at least what passes as “sensitive” these days) but then at other times, I go into my inner Buddhist child-self and become the most chill of people (again, another assessment of my self from others). Why? Because when I put pieces of myself out there, I admit that it hurts a little when critics and others pick it apart and while I’m not on the scale of most writers to have large numbers of critics, I have read and heard stuff about my writing that stings. Why does it get to me? I guess I’m sensitive about my shit.

“…

I’m living life on my terms.

Writing gives me wings

and a platform upon which

I preach my truth.

Writing is safe

Writing lets me vent,

There’s no judgement on paper.

Words matter so take a seat and be quiet.

The mic’s on and I’m feeling inspired.”

(excerpt from a newer piece of mine: 2014)

 

On that sensitive note, I recently connected with the song, “Fragile” by Tech N9ne (feat. Kendrick Lamar, MAYDAY and Kendall Morgan) for some reason. No, not because of the genre, or artists themselves because I’m not huge fans of any of them, I just happen to like some of their stuff from time to time…but…the feel, beat and lyrics…I felt it when Tech N9ne said, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit”.

Check it out. What do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKs5OsT4dIY

Peace.

I’m an artist at heart (head, body and soul). Art in many forms inspires and drives me, but for-profit business, technology and the understanding of technology – specifically business analysis, project management and product management pays me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike my job, in fact I enjoy it very much. I love working with and learning about technology, performing detailed business analysis and functional specifications in the creation of products. But, it’s not my passion when I wake up at night with a story in my head, nor is it a driving force 24/7. That passion and driving force belongs to the art of storytelling.

I agree that you can be a lifelong learner and creator of art but for many of us, this happens mostly if you’re a lifelong earner – or at least until your art can afford to match or surpass your current or projected worker bee salary. So how do you get to the point of earning decent or relatively good income from your art? For me, I haven’t reached that point of understanding yet nor but I have read what many self-proclaimed and touted experts have to say on the topic. I also don’t foresee giving up my day job because I really do enjoy it and I’m proud of the career I’ve built over the span of approximately 20 years.

So what does this have to do with my artist’s head and my business professional’s wallet? Well, I think I have to accept two things, understand how my worlds intersect with the acceptance that one feeds the other, and remember to celebrate my small wins .

The two things I have to accept:

1. I’m unique but not really. What I mean by this is that while we would all love to think we are unique, we humans may have some differences but we have way more similarities than we’d care to admit. Let’s face it, it’s the differences that stir up or highlight what we call “unique qualities” but I’m sure if I search not-so-far and not-so-wide, I can find another person very much like me. So I need to find a way to sell my “uniqueness” in that I need to offer the world a valuable and worthwhile item and illustrate why it’s different than anything else they’ll come across at the moment. I also need to ensure that it provides much more than the average cuppa joe, which I used in my marketing as you’ll see a little further along in this post, and that like a tasty cuppa something good, it’s a tasty mind treat. I won’t lie, I dreaded “selling” the premise behind my book and still, sometimes do. But this challenge brought me to my next realization.

2. I have to think of my art as a commercial product. This thought evoked screams of phrases that I never really use like, “EGADS” and “YIKES” as well as worn out phrases I use regularly such as, “Fuckadoodledoo!!! Nooooooo!!! Fucketyfuckaduck”. After all the screaming, I still had to accept the fact that yes, I needed to market a commercial product. Did it make me happy? Hell no. But it was the truth and I couldn’t find a reasonable way to dispute it. Well, I could but then I’d have zero sales.

So how does this intersect with my other life as a business professional? By realizing that my ideas, stories, poems, etc. can be abstract, different, quirky, dark as black on midnight and whatnot but my once I ask for money, it becomes a commercial product that I need to sell and promote like any other computer system I’ve worked hard to build and showcase, and like any other business process and product I’d like a client to pay money for. And as things go with commercial products, there’s a ton of competition out there. So what makes me worth the monetary support? My unique points of view and the way I tell a story. See how I’ve come full circle here? 🙂

So to illustrate this commercial product mindset, I made sure that my book contained more poems than I’d seen in one book for my set price of $7.99 for a relatively unknown author. After all, this was my first release and I was a (still am, in many ways) relatively unknown on the writing circuit outside of the poetry worlds I visited from time to time. I have some regular please where I am recognized and supported like poetry clubs, shows and regular gigs where I did readings and fell into hosting open mic nights, etc. with accompanying jazz bands and other types of music. However, this was limited to two major U.S. cities so I was hardly breaking the bank or towns via this circuit.

Part of my marketing schtick was that my book cost LESS than two large cups of coffee from Starbucks (venti, as it’s known to the Starbuckians) and in some venues, when you purchased my book, you received a bonus audio track, free of charge or some other small freebie I could drum up for that night. And whaddya know, for a first time effort, it worked! However, as with most new things, there was a sales lull a few months later. So, to stir interest, I decided to set up a couple of giveaways. I gave my book away, FREE of charge on designated days to anyone who wanted to download it and on the first free day, there was tons of downloads.

What did that tell me? It told me that while I didn’t become rich because of my writing, I could carry on with being UTTERLY STOKED and SUPER EXCITED because people wanted to read what I wrote! And I needed freebies or something to show customers that I valued and appreciated their business. Yes, I know that a purchase doesn’t guarantee a read, but in my writerly world, it most certainly filled my need of getting the word out about my book and in encouraging those who were still reluctant to part with their cash, to pick up a copy and give it a go. On top of that excitement, I received some wonderful feedback on my poems from people I’d never met and I made some great online friends who were all about discussing ideas and ideals and all that’s in-between and who still provide encouragement from time to time. It was all worth it!

Another “win” in my opinion, was one that I wanted to scream about, but in a different way than when I realized my passion was being $old was that I lost some friends and family. My former friends and family (wish I had a way to denote former family. Sad that you can’t legally get rid of them, just have to ignore their existence) couldn’t find it in their heart to support my writing dreams because they didn’t agree with the content and my “leanings into gay stuff” (<< eloquent quote, ain’t it??). I was also told that my “homo-ness” and “homo love” wasn’t something that their religion and God could accept. These statements, along with many others that are worse, were said to me on many occasions. Nice “Godly” folks, ain’t they? 

Thankfully, my sanity was retained by the people who truly loved, and still, love me. They reminded me that many were scared of their own emotions or of what thoughts would get stirred and most of all, that you don’t want fake support from the wolf in sheep’s clothing. My head told me that I should rise above and even forgive the comments and reactions, but my heart couldn’t. After all, here I was, doing relatively well according to society’s rules – great job and successful career, higher education club member, yadda, yadda, yadda – but  there I was, being shunned for being myself and writing about my life and about people who needed a voice. Mind you, it wasn’t all “gay leanings” that made things bad. I wrote about the death penalty, abuse and things that go bump in the night, but I guess to them, things like that should stay in the closet, under the bed, stuffed in your pants or roaming around in your head.

So what saved me and made me want to keep writing in spite of the shunning? My loved ones – the ones who truly loved me, and honestly, the wonderful and overwhelming feedback from those who purchased my book! Their love, support and acceptance warmed the cockles of my heart and reminded me that without the book, I may have never met some of them. In my opinion, the reward was absolutely worth it. Besides, it gave me the opportunity to do something that I didn’t realize, needed to be done. I had to accept myself and my own musings. I hadn’t fully accepted myself and the things I think about, when I let the voices of others eff with me and make me question myself and my life. In many ways, direct rejection was the proverbial ripping off of the band-aid that I needed to let the fear, scab and hurt of all that I am and write, heal. Interestingly enough, it inspired me to do better, be better and to just write what I felt without fear of rejection. So in a way, I should thank them for being jackholes – but I won’t. Look, I’m not perfect but I’m trying. 

So to all of you  out there struggling to be the real and true you, to artists who are unsure if they’ll keep creating due to fear of rejection or fear of being true to yourself, remember that you must push on, push through and KEEP ON doing what you love! Why? Because when you do whatever makes your heart sing, I guarantee there are people in the world who will appreciate and love what you do. I guarantee there’ll be people who get you and who would want more. Sometimes the world doesn’t know what is needed until they see it, hear it or experience it.

KEEP CREATING! KEEP WRITING! KEEP SKETCHING! KEEP COMPOSING! KEEP SHINING! The world needs artists, creators, composers, writers, etc. just as much as they need business professionals, career individuals, and for-profit organizations.

For all of you who read what I write, who get me, who feel lost but keep on keeping on, I appreciate and admire you. If no one has said it today, let me say it: YOU ROCK! Don’t ever give up on your dreams or stop doing what makes you excited and happy even when jackholes try to stop you.

Huggles and lots of artistic, feel good creation vibes! 😉
Natasha

My work thus far:

  • Website and samples are available here
  • My book, “Hungover Poet” is available here

Drop me a line and let me know if I can support you in any way. I love making friends and checking out new projects, and art in general!

So I’m stuck between a rock and page fifty-two. Okay, not literally but I figure if I’m having these thoughts and issues, other people may be having the same questions and issues too.

So, when is it okay to decide to $ell your art (music, poems, stories, etc.) instead of giving it away? Why? Because I have more than enough random poems (written with a few audio pieces set to music) to fill more than one book. How is this a problem? Well, while my first book (yay my name in print in yet another format!) did relatively well on the e-book circuit on amazon, I felt that the marketing aspects (aka begging online via social media, email, or just plain ole asking you to buy my book in person), are not enjoyable, nor is it what I like doing.

There, I said it! I don’t like asking anyone for anything – including asking you to buy my book. It just feels odd to me – to ask someone to $hell out money (hard earned or easily gained) for my thought$. I figure if I say, “Hey, my book is published on amazon”, and the person wants to $upport me, they’ll ask for the link or go out and buy it. Yes, this is my pipe dream. I also realize that closed mouths don’t get fed. However, it still feels hella weird to ask someone to buy my thoughts.

That being said, “Have you bought my thoughts?” If so, THAAAAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUUUUU!! If not, click the link below and if you choose to fork over the buck$, let me know what you think! I absolutely love hearing opinions on what I’m sharing – good or bad.

Natasha’s e-book, “Hungover Poet” on amazon.com

Today’s WonderFUL Human is Reginald Cyntje!

Image

Reginald Cyntje’s CD, “Love”.

What makes him a wonderful human? Well, he’s always willing to share love, peace and joy. If you think I’m being overly optimistic or sound like a Hallmark greeting card, you’re right. But it’s only because this talented trombone player is truly as delightful as I’ve described. His concerts are always respectful of his environment and audience. He incorporates a dizzying array of sound not just related to jazz, but to good ole throwbacks and undertones to his Caribbean roots. Of course I’m biased about this because we share the Island blood but to just say he’s a great musician and wonderful human based on that fact alone would be discrediting the relationships he’s forged with other musicians and artists in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area.

I’ve not been to as many live shows as I’d like, but I have followed Reg’s social media footprint for quite a few years. Aside from blessing your ears with the most mellow and moving sounds, you will find that he moves your mind as well with his reflective blog posts and constant encouragement. Want to see for yourself? Check him out now!

Find Reginald Cyntje online through any of the ways listed below. If you’ve heard his music, seen him live, or just know him or of him, share some of your thoughts with the world!

As an artist with a full time job that I enjoy and dare say I am good at, it’s hard for me to accept less than (insert whatever the ‘it’ or ‘needed’ item here) from anyone who wants to put my art into a box, or label it, or steal ownership of it in some form. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to consider working with, and being included in artistic ventures that would make some artists jump for joy. But in my case, it made me hesitant. I wish I could fully explain why it didn’t and I’m sure if I tried really hard, I could. Let’s just chalk it up to not needing to earn a living with my art because I have a job that allows me to live comfortably for the most part, and to  not wanting to be associated with, indebted to, or owned by, certain things, people and situations. 

So why share this? Why share now? Especially if I’m saying I’m okay with being me?  Because I think I’ve finally found a couple of good music matches to go with my pieces, because I may be growing up a little, (not a lot because well that is soooo boring and overrated) and because I have less of a burning desire to say, ‘f*ck off’ to people who want to take advantage, or who present one face and then when I take the bait, show the other less beautiful side. 

Granted, my reluctance and desire to keep my dignity had not yielded rewards in terms of heaps o’money and fame but I feel satisfied knowing that my truth, and my dignity is intact. I also feel that by taking the road less traveled at times, the path will eventually pay off. If it doesn’t, it never hurts to have hope, right?  Plus, I’d prefer to die with hope instead of regret.  Obviously I’d prefer not to die at all, but that’s another post for another day…

Have you ever had this kind of heartfelt talk with yourself?  Have you come to realize that while someone may have good intentions, or while someone may love and appreciate you, they can’t, or maybe aren’t the most viable options through which a successful merger or collaboration will be built?  Or that some just don’t know what the hell they’re doing or just want to use you to fulfill their own dreams? 

Look, I know that by having a full time job, I’m helping an organization reach a goal and in some cases, being used by managers, directors, CEOs, etc accomplish THEIR goals and dreams. But since they pay me well to help them, I figure it’s okay. Plus, this “Give and Take” situation subsidizes my art.  So if someone wants to pay me well for art, “shouldn’t it be the same?” you may ask. I don’t think so. I think hierarchy, censorship, etc is okay in certain workplaces but have no place in art. Therefore, an artist should be reasonably free to create as desired and not have to worry about whether he/she will succeed, sell, etc.

I’d like to think that I’m not alone. I’d also like to think that one day, I won’t be judged by competitions and sales dollars, but by my contributions to society based on my job skills but mostly by my art. A girl can dream, can’t she?