Archive for January, 2007

I Love Aht

Media, Random No Comments »

Mike Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Arkansas, was one of the guests on Meet the Press this morning. Huckabee was speaking to Tim Russert about his potential run for President; normally, this would be my cue to walk away since I’m already sick of hearing about the 10,000 people who are running in 2008. (As an aside, I’m deathly afraid of finding a candidate I like because I’m sure the media will ruin them before its even time for the primaries, a la Howard Dean). I gritted my teeth as the conversation focused on Huckabee’s conservative views on civil unions, gay adoption, abortion but I have to give credit when credit is due—he had some amazing things to say about the arts. When asked about his love of music, Huckabee stated, “one of the things that I’m very passionate about is music and art and education because it was life-changing for me. I think in a creative economy we’ve got to have a whole group of kids coming up and a generation whose left and right brains are stimulated. And it’s something we’ve got to address because the future economy is dependent upon a creative generation.” In the five years that I have religiously watched Meet the Press, I don’t ever remember another guest mentioning the importance of the arts in education and the American economy.

My teenage clients are screaming for creative opportunities because many of them go through high school without ever taking a music or art class. Since most of them live in poverty, they don’t have the opportunity or supply money join the drama club, take a drawing class, or even spend a few minutes writing in a journal. Some of our most successful workshops and field trips over the last few years have included crocheting, jewelry making, improv acting, and other arts-related activities that most kids participate in from birth (through extracurricular activities like the Girl Scouts). 

I was thinking about all of these things because tonight is our party for Ahtspot. I am so proud to be a part of a business that values the creativity and hard work of artists. If you’re in the Providence area tonight, come party with us!

Kerri’s Writing Soundtrack

Random, Writing 1 Comment »

Today’s Writing Prompt: If a record company put together the soundtrack of your writing life, what songs would it include? List 10 songs that inspire, excite or compel you to put the pen to the paper. Start it off with “(fill in your name)’s Writing Soundtrack.”

     Since I cannot think of anything constructive to say at the moment, I thought I would rely on Writers Digest magazine and their daily writing prompts to get my brain flowing.
     I just want to preface this by saying that one of my biggest pet peeves is the simple-minded music that television and film creators choose for their stories. It is so obnoxious to watch a really touching moment when, for example, a main character is deep in thought about his love life and is having trouble falling asleep. Suddenly, this horrendous music that completely doesn’t match the mood starts playing and the lyrics are something obvious like “I can’t get to sleep…I’m thinking about her love…” Duh. Music is about so much more than just the lyrics—as a writer, I can’t believe I am saying this. But it’s true.

Kerri’s Writing Soundtrack

1. “Denied” by Andy Moore. Andy is a superb folk singer/songwriter that I had the pleasure of hearing during an open mic night in Provincetown. This song is all about the struggle between working to pay the bills versus doing what you love. Whenever I am down about the size of my bank account, this song always inspires me to keep writing.
2. “Little Plastic Castle” by Ani Difranco. Besides being fun and upbeat, this song encompasses the characteristics that I aspire to as a writer—in your face, intelligent dialogue. Extra points for being the only song I know of about a woman with a shaved head.
3. “Not a Pretty Girl” by Ani Difranco. What can I say? I just love Ani. When I have a particularly infuriating feministy topic to write about (like the abomination that is Joe Francis), I break out the version of this song from her So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter album…although the original is excellent as well.
4. “The Misere” by Joyful Company of Singer. This song can be found on the Buddha Bar compilation albums, which contain some of my favorite relaxation music. After a hard day at my full-time job, I like to unwind by listening to this song as I transition from Kerri the stressed-out director to Kerri the super-hip writer.
5. “Born Too Late” by the Clarks. After living in Pittsburgh, PA for a few incredibly depressing months, I was convinced that nothing good could ever come out of that city besides a decent football team and one of my favorite buildings in the world. Most of the Clarks’ music is about drinking beer, chasing women, and many of my other least-favorite activities. But “Born Too Late” really struck a chord with me because it questions who you could have become if you had been around to witness the works of visionaries like Martin Luther King Jr. and Williams Shakespeare.
6. “After All” by Dar Williams. As an incredibly busy person, I often have trouble stepping back from my life long enough to appreciate all that is around me. Most of Dar’s music speaks to me about the richness of life (if you just take a moment to breathe it all in), but “After All” is my favorite. When I’m truly stuck on new story ideas, I listen to this song to remind myself that so many story ideas can pop out at us if we just take the time to observe.
7. “This Is Me” by Girlyman. In all honesty, anything written and performed by Girlyman makes me want to be a better writer and an overall better person. Their harmonies, vocals, lyrics, etc. are just absolutely beautiful and I try to see them live as often as possible.
8. “Fill It Up Again” by the Indigo Girls. In my daydreams, I am a yoga practicing, environmentalist, vegetarian, coffee drinking, free-flowing writer/gender and cultural studies activist/professor. In actuality, I’m a stressed out work in progress who currently “forgets” to exercise, throws away more paper products than all of her neighbors combined, loves chicken, loathes coffee, barely finds the time to write and is several years away from becoming a professor. “Fill It Up Again,” a love song with eco-friendly analogies, lets me escape to the life of my alter ego and makes me feel closer to my dreams every day.
9. “The Perfect Drug” by Nine Inch Nails. Since junior year of high school, I have really enjoyed listening to this song during my more manic writing phases. This song has the perfect combination of hammering rock music, slower interludes, and the haunting voice of Trent Reznor never hurts my creativity. I also really love this music video because I have a bit of an obsession with “all things weird,” according to my mother.
10. “Bouncing Around the Room” by Phish. Besides the fact that I have never experimented with illegal drugs (which should give me an automatic pass for presidency!), I consider myself to be a hippie. I love the Grateful Dead, Phish, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, etc. This song really gets me into a great mood and is a perfect for when I want to dance around the office as I wait for the inspiration fairy to hit me.

I’m Back!

Pop Culture, Writing No Comments »

I survived my first real semester of grad school (the summer session was only about a month long) and it was really enjoyable. I’ll let you know how much I really enjoyed it once I get my grade on Thursday…just kidding. The workload was very intense—hours of reading each week, regular response papers, and a lengthy final paper/presentation. I feel like all of my hard work paid off and that I am well on my way to becoming more educated in the fields of gender studies, sexuality, race relations, etc. For my final project, I studied the television show Queer as Folk and used some queer theory from class to analyze the text. I had quite a bit of fun with my project, but watching 65+ episodes of one show in the matter of two months was a little insane. I also had the chance to socialize with some of my fellow classmates and they are all great! 

Next semester, which starts in a few weeks, I am taking Theoretical Approaches to Cultural Narratives. This semester’s version of the class is focusing on “Sequels and Series, or What Television Can Teach Us about the Novel.” It sounds like something that is right up my alley! For the final project, each student will be choosing one serial text (TV show, novels, etc.) to follow—maybe this time I can focus on a show that doesn’t have so many seasons and episodes! Maybe Flavor of Love 1 & 2? Or Dead Like Me? I thought about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she’s a little outdated and I think there are seven seasons to that show…yikes! 

In terms of writing, I just sent a query letter to Bitch about an article idea that occurred to me after looking at some of the new “tween” sensations—particularly a store called Libby Lu. This boutique for pre-teens has managed to creep its sparkly way into most states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, and includes overpriced clothes, spa products and even makeovers. Yes, I said makeovers…for girls under the age of 14. At the ripe old age of 26, I have yet to feel the need for a makeover but apparently life is really tough for privileged girls growing up in suburbia. The makeovers include special packages like the Rock Star makeover (complete with a rhinestone head set) and the Pink Twinkle makeover, which includes enough pink makeup and barrettes to make Paris Hilton jealous. 

I am also in the process of completing a really short article about Second Life, a virtual reality game in which players spend money to create an alternate life of their choosing. In Second Life, players create a character and use their money to build houses, play sports, interact with other people…and apparently even to purchase the ability to rape others. For more information about this, please read here. I don’t want to say too much more because this really is going to be a short article, but after doing some research I realize there may be more that needs to be said about this game. Scary stuff I tell you. 

Finally, I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year…some astrology lady on TV said that this is the year of the Cancer, so I’m going all out! After much consideration, my resolution is listed below. I spent quite a bit of time making lists, contemplating plans of action, mapping it all out when I realized that it all boils down to one thing: To be a healthier me. This includes the usual stuff such as daily exercise, watching what I eat, remembering my vitamins every day, etc. But it goes far beyond that. I always put myself last in an effort to please so many other people. I burn myself out on tasks that I don’t even enjoy so others can benefit from my hard work. This year, I want to focus on me and if I get burnt out, I want it to be from tasks that I enjoy/love/choose—pursuing my education, writing more articles, spending time having fun with Dan and my friends. The world is in my hands and I think I’m finally ready to do something truly great with it.