Here you will find my personal blog where I will talk about my artistic projects, things I'm diggin', and whatever other random shenanigans I feel like posting about.

If you are looking for a more informative blog about writing including writing tips, writing exercises, and some of my own personal writing experience, please have a look at my writing blog: 

http://crawfordwritingblog.com




Reaching Out To Musicians Who Inspire Me: Lanterns on the Lake 

Lanterns on the Lake
 
I decided to start reaching out to bands whose songs I have *moments* with while driving around. I sent the following e-mail to Lanterns on the Lake the other day:


Hello,

My name is Sara Crawford. I stumbled across your album somehow. (I think I just saw it on the Metacritic list of new releases and listened to it on Spotify, and then I purchased it on iTunes). First of all, let me just say I have basically been listening to it obsessively since I discovered it in January. 

I love all of the tracks, but "The Buffalo Days," "Until the Colours Run," "You Soon Learn," and "Another Tale from Another English Town" are among my favorites. My absolute favorite song, though, is "Green and Gold." I love the lyrics, I love the somber piano, I love the vocal melody. I love how the emotion is practically dripping onto the notes that are being sung. I love heartbreaking songs, and this is an incredibly emotional song for me.

I really relate to the lyrics on a personal level. This has been my favorite sad song lately. I have been going through a very difficult time recently, and sad music really helps me in times like these. One of the most therapeutic things for me to do is drive around and blast a really emotional song. Over the past few months, "Green and Gold" has been that song for me. I put it on repeat, and when it gets to the "I live along, but I'm still doing the music" line, I almost always tear up. These drives and moments with songs like your's are really important to my emotional process though, and it's the only way I can start to heal. And when I feel all cried out, I let it go to the next song, "You Soon Learn." The guitar that begins that song is brilliant. It's as if you knew some chick would be having an emotional breakdown to "Green and Gold" and really need an uplifting guitar part that said "everything will be okay." 

I am also a musician, and I write a lot of sad and mellow songs. I have gotten really discouraged because it has felt like people don't really appreciate my music. When you write music that doesn't exactly inspire strangers to dance around and party at the local dive bar music venues in Atlanta, it can make you feel like that. But the other day, I was driving around having one of these moments to "Green and Gold" and I thought "these people have no idea that someone in Georgia is driving around listening to their song on repeat and having a moment to their song." And then I thought what if somewhere, someone is driving around having a moment to one of my songs and I just don't know? And that thought made me feel a little better. 

And I really felt compelled to reach out to you and let you know how your album (but especially that song) has affected me. And how I think sad songs are really important, and the people that write them often don't get much appreciation. But I really, really appreciate "Green and Gold." And I appreciate the entire album!

It looks like you're mainly touring in Europe, but I hope that you make it to the US at some point, and I really hope you play a show in Atlanta. I guarantee you I will be in the audience singing along to your songs. 

Thank you for making music. 

Sara



Today, I got a response from them. It was a great way to start my day.


Dear Sara,

Thank you for taking the time out to write to us. It means a great deal to receive your email and hear that there are people out there who find something for themselves/of themselves in our music. 

We hope to play in Atlanta sometime. We have just returned from our first US tour actually and we had a great time. We played New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC. New York was my favourite. We are desperate to go back and play the cities we didn't get to this time around. Hopefully Atlanta will be one of those cities and we can say 'hello' in person.

All the best with your songwriting, even if it doesn't inspire people to sing and dance in mindless fun it will connect with someone somewhere on a different level. Charles Baudelaire once said "I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy".

Keep the faith,
Hazel


Check out their tunes below and go buy their album:





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Singing "Rooftops" in My Spiritual Home... I'm Excited! 

This Sunday, I am going to be the featured musician at my spiritual home, Unity North Atlanta. This may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but it's a big deal to me, and I couldn't be more excited.

The first time I came to Unity was in 2003 when a friend of mine was singing. I grew up Southern Baptist so let's just say I had a very different idea of what church was supposed to be. I remember thinking what the hell is this? about most of the church service. There was hand holding, there was hugging, there were happy people talking about love. Where was the guilt and judgment? Where were all of the people telling me I needed to be saved? Where were the people judging me for breaking the rules?

I was maybe a little weirded out by the "new age" vibe, but I went back in 2006, and I had to admit, I really loved the sense of acceptance I got as soon as I walked in the door. I liked their way of looking at things. I liked their saying, "One God, many paths." I liked the idea of visualizing and manifesting and attracting positive people and situations into your life. I liked the idea of appreciating everything and making gratitude lists. Every time I went there, the spiritual leaders gave inspiring talks, the singers sang uplifting and moving songs, and it just felt like a place I wanted to be. I liked the idea of church being a celebration, a love fest. I liked the idea that everyone there could have their own unique experience of spirituality and God, and there wasn't a "wrong" way to worship.

I attended on and off and I joined a few groups here and there in an attempt to get to know people, but I didn't really get involved until I was cast in their production of Godspell last year. That led to me singing in the choir, the worship team, ensembles, and generally being a very active volunteer in the music ministry. I even started hosting an open mic night in January to give other people the opportunity to express themselves. 

Of course, I always wanted to be the featured musician--it seemed like something I would do, right? But I always felt that I had to keep my own music separate for some reason. How could I be both the Sara that sang uplifting positive songs on Sunday mornings and the Sara that poured all of the sadness and anger in the world out into unrequited love songs in music venues? How could I sing "I Am So Blessed," and "Peter's Lament"? It felt like two different aspects of myself that I needed to keep separate. I was also insecure about whether or not anyone at Unity would want to hear my mellow indie folk songs or whatever.

Then I realized that living the Unity principles does not mean I have to be happy all of the time. It doesn't mean I can't sing sad songs. And it sure doesn't mean that I shouldn't share that side of myself with the people I have come to know and love there. If I've learned one thing from my time at Unity, it's that all of the emotions and experiences in this life--both positive and negative--are beautiful. And having a spiritual experience doesn't mean we should completely ignore everything that makes us human. If anything we should celebrate it. And the Unity principles have taught me that I need to accept myself--sad songs and all.

This also is a big deal for me because not only am I singing an original song, but I'm singing "Rooftops." In 2010, I was going through a horrible breakup, and I was depressed. I mean, collapsing and screaming at the moon depressed. I got to go to Mexico that summer to start grad school, and it was coming together with all of the other writers there and celebrating our creativity that got me to the point where I knew things were going to be okay--where I could start to see the beauty in life again. When I got home, I wrote "Rooftops" largely about this experience--especially how we would sit on the rooftop of our hostel and all read our writing out loud to each other--but it has come to represent something larger.



"Rooftops" is a song about taking fear and sadness and using them to create something beautiful. It's about how we can create something new when we come together. It's about how when we see that we are all connected, we become infinite. And then we never die because we all live inside of each other. We are all one.

It means a lot to me that I get to sing this song at Unity because it almost mirrors everything I have learned on my spiritual journey. And Unity has played a major role in that journey. 

Not only that, but Geoff Goodwin will be joining me along with the Unity band and even some of my favorite singers doing background vocals! We're even going to have an organ. Pocket the Moon and then some! It's going to be the most epic version of "Rooftops" ever. (I get to sing another song, too, which is a cover that I won't give away, but let's just say you will probably need to clap along.)

For those of you who are in the Atlanta area, I hope you will join us at 11:15 AM this Sunday. If you don't live in the area, they actually broadcast the service live on the internet so check it out at http://unitynorth.org

Last Day of the 30 Day Challenge! 

Well, there you go. 30 consecutive days of blogging!

This 30-day blog challenge was a lot of fun for me, and there were definitely days that it was a *real challenge*. I wrote about a number of things--lots of literary topics and music posts. I even got a little bit personal with my posts about being awkward and sometimes feeling like crap as an artist. I even revealed to the world which 5 fictional characters whose fictional babies I would have. (Fictional babies: the only kind of babies I will EVER be having!)

Most importantly, though, this challenge kept me blogging for 30 days and it kept me thinking about what kind of content I want to post on my blogs. I acquired some new readers (hi!) because of some of these posts, I was more engaged with the online community as a whole, and it gave me a chance to practice what I preach, which is important to me--especially when I just released an e-book asking participants to write for 30 days

So thank you for following along with my 30 days of blogging! Below, I have included a list of all 30 days and links to the post for each day. (I split up my posts between this blog and my writing blog.) I have even bolded the best posts so for those of you who didn't get to read all of them, those are the best ones! 

Day 1 - Reconnecting with Music
Day 2 - Is There a Wrong Way to Cover a Song? 
Day 3 - Go Experience Some ART!
Day 4 - Empathy and Point of View – Stepping Outside of Your Cultural Identity as a Writer 
Day 5 - Being Comfortable With Being Awkward 
Day 6 - 5 Places That Make Marietta, Georgia Awesome
Day 7 - Celebrating Our Social Progress on MLK Day
Day 8 - To Self-Promote or Not To Self-Promote? Marketing Tips For Writers and Artists
Day 9 - Four Ways an English Degree Will Help You In Any Job
Day 10 - The Art of Doing Nothing
Day 11 - Thoughts on Self-Publishing: Where Do You Stand?
Day 12 - It's Effing Cold Mixy
Day 13 - Enthusiasm for Young Adult Literature
Day 14 - 5 of My Favorite Well-Written TV Shows
Day 15 - Things I Learned From My Parents
Day 16 - SnowJam 2014 - Grateful For All The Helpers
Day 17 - Cabin Fever Writing Prompts
Day 18 - 10 Signs You Are Meant To Be a Writer 
Day 19 - 5 Young Adult Books I Want To Read in 2014
Day 20 - stream of consciousness
Day 21 - Being an Artist Even When It Makes You Feel Like Crap 
Day 22 - Open Mic Night: Finding Your Voice
Day 23 - A List of Things I Could Write About
Day 24 - Why Do You Write?
Day 25 - My New E-book: The 30-Day Writing Challenge
Day 26 - My Top 5 Literary Crushes
Day 27 - 4 Blogs You Should Check Out
Day 28 - My 10 Favorite Songs (Currently)
Day 29 - The Ultimate Self-Promotional List of Art I Have Created So Far
Day 30 - Last Day of the 30 Day Challenge!

 

The Ultimate Self-Promotional List of Art I Have Created (So Far) 

30 day blog challenge - day 29

Alright, here is the ultimate self-promotional blog.

I tend to get a lot of comments like "I didn't know you had a poetry book!" and "Wait, you have a CD?" so I figured I'd talk about all of my projects to date on one blog post. And I needed something to blog about today. Why not make an artistic resume blog post?

Painted (play) - 2007
 

The Story: In 2006, I wrote a play for my undergraduate playwriting class at Kennesaw State University. In spite of MANY obstacles, I produced and directed a production of the play at The Art Place with the help of The KSU Underground  Theatre and Film Movement. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I created the characters, Vincent and Izabella, who I am still writing about today.

Synopsis: In Los Angeles, California, the famous actor, Matthew Morris, lives with his sister, Amber Morris, a famous painter. Amber has been in the same room for ten years painting portraits of the muses she has created, Izabella and Vincent. Matthew brings over his friends Brandon Thompson, the beer-guzzling drummer of a famous pop-punk band, and a coke-sniffing stripper named Mercedes. When Brandon invites his lead singer, Ian Mason, over to Matthew's, Ian sneaks into Amber's room, and her world is completely shaken.

The Status Now: All in All Productions filmed the original production along with a short documentary about our experience putting it on. You can watch the documentary here, and I believe All in All Productions still has DVDs featuring the play, the documentary, and even commentary from myself and Rachel Marshall (which is pretty ridiculous and funny). 

The play has only been produced once so far. There was supposed to be a second production in Augusta a few years ago, but that didn't end up happening. The script is still available for productions.


Leapfrog (film) - 2009

The Story: I wrote a screenplay for a short film. Michael Tillman directed it, and we pulled together a tiny cast and crew. (Everyone was involved. I was the screenwriter, and I held lights in some scenes. We all helped where we could.) We had a blast making this film in the summer of 2008. It ended up being screened at a few film festivals, including the Macon Film and Video Festival, and it was featured on Atlanta Shorts on PBS. 

Synopsis: 
Cameron, a young man who has just graduated from high school, ditches a job interview his Dad set up for him to climb a mountain and write. While there, Lacey, his old best friend, calls him and they decide to spend the day together. Much to his dismay, he learns that she has drastically changed during her time away at college. They spend the afternoon catching up and things start to turn out okay, but then she takes him to a college party and his world comes crashing down around him. Leapfrog is a poignant look at the bittersweet pain of growing up, asking just how much we have to leave behind and what we can take with us.

The Status: I am no longer officially selling this film. (There is a bunch of music in the film that we never legally obtained the rights to. I was the Music Supervisor so I will take the fall for that one!) So I don't think it's a good idea to sell it. However, if anyone is interested in seeing it, I have a ton of copies. A scene from the film is also available here.

Unsent Letters (solo album) - 2009

 The Story: I had been writing and playing songs since 2004. In 2009, I decided it was finally time to record some of them. So I busted out my lap top, got my best microphones, and I made an album. It's very low fi, obviously, but I am still proud of it in many ways. It features songs like "Cyclone," "Rainwater," and of course the title track, "Unsent Letters." It has been featured on many internet radio stations and college radio stations. 

The Status: Well, I used a company to produce these CDs that has since gone out of business. Which means that it is only available in digital form on my website for now. (And I still have a few copies left.) I am hoping to re-release a re-mastered (or... you know, mastered for the first time!) version of this album that will then be available on Spotify and iTunes. For now, though, you can listen to it/download it on my music page.






Coiled and Swallowed (poetry book) - 2010

The Story: In 2009, I assembled a collection of my best poems, and submitted it to Virgogray Press. They decided to release it as a chapbook in 2010. It has since been reviewed by Black Heart Magazine.

Synopsis: Though Coiled and Swallowed by Sara Crawford begins with a poem anxious and questioning in “Spinning,” readers will find this collection of poetry by Sara Crawford to be honest and even light-hearted, a contrast represented dutifully by the second poem in the book, “Ode to Carpet.” As the book progresses we begin to see the personal and personable experiences whether in regards to love or excesses, adorations or musings; these poems seem to be questions and answers within themselves. 

The Status: I only have a few copies left of the original printing. I don't seem to be able to get anymore copies from Virgogray Press and the owner of that small publishing house has not been in touch with me when I have tried to contact him. I also didn't sign any contracts or anything so I am planning on doing a re-release of this one as well with photographs to accompany some of the poems. I will hopefully release this in print and e-book formats.





Pocket the Moon (album w/band) - 2011

 The Story: In 2010, I was in a project called Sara Crawford and the Cult Following. It was basically a backing band for my solo songs. When two of the members of that project left, it left Geoff and I to re-group and Pocket the Moon was formed. We collaborated to produce the self-titled album in summer of 2011. Geoff and I wrote all of the songs, played all of the instruments, and he recorded and mixed the album. This was an indie release to the max. With songs like "Rooftops," "Victoria," "Tangled," and "August," this album easily represents my best work as a musician and as a songwriter.

The album has since been played by many internet and college radio stations, and it has been featured in a few indie films. Geoff and I played all of my favorite Atlanta venues, and we even went on tour. We also made a music video for "Rooftops."

The Status: Pocket the Moon is available on iTunes, CD Baby, and Spotify. You can hear it in its entirety and download it (you name the price) at Bandcamp.





Driving Downtown to the Show (poetry book) - 2012

 The Story: Driving Downtown to the Show is a project that came out of a poetry writing workshop I took in my MFA Low Residency program at the University of New Orleans. Our professor, Bill Lavender, had us come up with a poetry writing procedure, consisting of rules that we would set for ourselves which would determine our writing schedules and content. We were to decide on a title before writing any poems, and the goal was to have a cohesive collection of poems by the time the semester was over. Because I was taking this class at a time when my main creative focus was my music career, I decided to use music as an inspiration for my procedure, particularly the Atlanta music scene.

The Status: This book is available for sale on my website and Lulu. I am hoping to release an e-book version soon.








The Snow Globe (play) - 2013

The Story: 
I started working on The Snow Globe, the play that would eventually become my thesis play, in Scotland the summer of 2012. I worked really hard on it all fall semester 2012 to make it good enough to argue that I deserved a Master's degree as a playwright. Luckily, I succeeded and finished my MFA in December 2012, thanks to this play. I then submitted it to YouthPlays, and it was published in 2013. 

The Synopsis: When a young girl, Tabatha, finds a snow globe in the woods, she soon discovers that a witch named Lavetta has enchanted the snow globe, created her own world inside with talking dolls, her snarky Cat, and an honorable crow. Tabatha enters the snow globe to find a neighborhood boy, Ethan, trapped inside. Together, they have to overcome obstacles to find a way out of the snow globe.

The Status: Although this play has not yet been produced, I am hoping that I will be able to self-produce it this year or next year. I am also hoping it will be picked up by other theatres. It is available via YouthPlays. I also made a video where I talked about my writing process with the play.




The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Begin or Enhance Your Daily Writing Habit (creative writing e-book) - 2014
 
 The Story: I literally just released this last week! It came out of some of the writing exercises and prompts I was writing for my writing blog. I was getting a lot of traffic from those, and people seemed to be enjoying them. People are also frequently asking me writing questions. So I have answered a number of them in this book. :-)

The Synopsis: The 30-Day Writing Challenge encourages beginner and advanced writers alike to stretch their writing muscles and create or enhance a daily writing habit. Each day, a new writing exercise/prompt is presented in an inventive collection that focuses on technique, inspiration, and craft by taking a comprehensive look across multiple forms and genres of writing.

The Status: The 30-Day Writing Challenge is available on e-book for $2.99 from Amazon










The Muses (young adult novel, part 1 of a trilogy) - 2015?

The Story: The Muses is a young adult novel I have been working on since fall 2012. In August 2013, the novel landed me a literary agent, who is in the long, arduous process of trying to secure me a book deal. The Muses is essentially a Painted spin-off, including Vincent, Izabella, and a few other characters from my original play. I have written a longer blog entry on my journey with The Muses if you are interested.

The Synopsis: 16-year-old musician, Sylvia Baker, has always been able to see Muses—mysterious beings who give artists inspiration—though they seem to be invisible to everyone else. After a near suicide attempt, Sylvia manages to climb out of the darkness of her mind by exploring her own musical abilities with the help of Travis, inspirational guitarist and classmate, and Vincent, the alluring British Muse who becomes Sylvia’s obsession. As she travels further into the world of these immortal beings that influence art, she finds herself in the middle of an epic battle between the modern Earthly Muses and the Original Greek Muses—some of which want her life. 

Set in suburban Atlanta in present day, Sylvia’s story is a journey of self-discovery told through the lens of a teenage girl finding herself through music and love. This Twilight meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower novel includes thought-provoking themes such as the purpose of art, the negative effects of alcohol and drugs, and crippling depression all while remaining true to the teenage experience with tales of love triangles, high school chorus concerts, and anxiety over driving.

The Status: I'm going to go ahead and be optimistic and say you can look for my book to be released by Scholastic in the fall of 2015! ;-)

My 10 Favorite Songs (Currently) 

30 day blog challenge - day 28



It's been a while since I've done a post like this.

Most of the time, I'm listening to new music these days. I try to keep new albums in the rotation. I like to listen to music that doesn't remind me of anything. But there are still songs that stick with me and have an affect on me - songs I can't shake. Here they are. 

(The majority of them would be considered "sad" by most of you. But I don't think they are.)

In no particular order:

Mayonaise - The Smashing Pumpkins



747 - Kent



Wait - M83



Sing for Absolution - Muse



No Surprises - Radiohead



Silver Soul - Beach House



There Is a Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths



Hyperballad - Bjork




Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in space - Spiritualized



When the Sun Hits - Slowdive

My new e-book: The 30-Day Writing Challenge 

30 day blog challenge - day 25

Sara Crawford2  

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Begin or Enhance Your Daily Writing Habit, my new creative writing e-book is now live on Amazon for only $2.99! If you are a writer or have ever wanted to try writing, this book is for you! Please check it out and share with friends.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Begin or Enhance Your Daily Writing Habit on Amazon

More info on the book: The 30-Day Writing Challenge encourages beginner and advanced writers alike to stretch their writing muscles and create or enhance a daily writing habit. Each day, a new writing exercise/prompt is presented in an inventive collection that focuses on technique, inspiration, and craft by taking a comprehensive look across multiple forms and genres of writing.

I use everything I have learned while getting my BA in English, my MFA in Creative Writing, my playwriting apprenticeship at Horizon Theatre, and my years of experience with writing, publishing, and producing my work. At the end of 30 days, you will have a much better idea of the type of writing you should be doing and how to write better than you've ever written before. :-)

Special thanks to Shaunnon Drake, Arlen Crawford, and Melanie Stephens for editing help and A.D. Sams for designing the cover.

A List of Things I Could Write About & Summing Up 30-Day Blog Challenge So Far 

scratchthehead
Alright, I have to admit that I am struggling with the blog challenge today. Coming up with an interesting blog topic 30 days in a row? Tough.

While I was trying to figure out what to write about today, here's a list of ideas I came up with:
1. Why do actors keep overdosing on heroin? (RIP PSH)
2. E-books or paper?
3. February is my least favorite month.
4. Dealing with change and how I think I've gotten better at it since I was a teenager, but probably not.
5. Are we all hypochondriacs in America?
6. I can't really spell without spell check.
7. Working out at the gym always makes me feel better.
8. The Vampire Diaries is my guilty pleasure teeny bopper show. (It's like Dawson's Creek with vampires. I mean, come on!)
9. Who are these people who are constantly saying ridiculously stupid things on Twitter? I don't know them. Do you?
10. My obsessive list-making habit: OCD or quirky?
11. Getting nostalgic for things that happened, like, two months ago.
12. I wish all of winter would be a snowpocalypse and Atlanta would remain shut down for the whole winter and then when the snow melted and it got warm outside we could all emerge and get back to real life.
13. Who are these guys that hit on girls at the gas station? When has that ever worked? "Oh, let me tell you kids about when I met your grandfather at the Chevron. It was love at first sight!"
14. I thought I might make a list of all of the blogs I've done so far and maybe that would count as an entry.
15. I have seen all of the episodes of Friends so many time that I have an appropriate Friends quote for nearly every situation.

Alright, well. I may as well make a list of the blog entries I've done so far.

Day 1 - Reconnecting with Music
Day 2 - Is There a Wrong Way to Cover a Song? *
Day 3 - Go Experience Some ART!
Day 4 - Empathy and Point of View – Stepping Outside of Your Cultural Identity as a Writer 
Day 5 - Being Comfortable With Being Awkward *
Day 6 - 5 Places That Make Marietta, Georgia Awesome
Day 7 - Celebrating Our Social Progress on MLK Day
Day 8 - To Self-Promote or Not To Self-Promote? Marketing Tips For Writers and Artists
Day 9 - Four Ways an English Degree Will Help You In Any Job
Day 10 - The Art of Doing Nothing
Day 11 - Thoughts on Self-Publishing: Where Do You Stand?
Day 12 - It's Effing Cold Mixy
Day 13 - Enthusiasm for Young Adult Literature
Day 14 - 5 of My Favorite Well-Written TV Shows
Day 15 - Things I Learned From My Parents
Day 16 - SnowJam 2014 - Grateful For All The Helpers
Day 17 - Cabin Fever Writing Prompts
Day 18 - 10 Signs You Are Meant To Be a Writer *
Day 19 - 5 Young Adult Books I Want To Read in 2014
Day 20 - stream of consciousness
Day 21 - Being an Artist Even When It Makes You Feel Like Crap *
Day 22 - Open Mic Night: Finding Your Voice
Day 23 - A List of Things I Could Write About

* These are my favorites so far.

​Open Mic Night: Finding Your Voice 

30 day blog challenge - day 22

I love open mic nights.

When I was first getting started as a musician, open mic nights gave me a place to get some experience performing, which was great. They also gave me a place to meet other artists. And I found that every time I went to an open mic night, I left feeling inspired, often with ideas for poems and songs. 

I started hosting open mic night at my favorite coffee shop, Cool Beans, in early 2012, and they were SO much fun. We had some really cool moments there. And when I heard stories from artists who had NEVER performed before, I really felt like I was giving people the opportunity to explore their art and gain performance experience, and that made me feel good. Like I was passing the open mic night torch.

I have started hosting open mic night again at Unity North, my church. So far, I've only hosted one, and it was a great experience with a wide variety of acts. (It also gave me a chance to play some of my songs--something I hadn't done in nearly a year.) As I am gearing up for the February open mic night there, I was just thinking about how appropriate it is to have open mic night at Unity.

So many of the talks on Sunday mornings at Unity are about finding your voice and expressing whatever it is about you that needs to be expressed. Open mic night is the perfect manifestation of this idea of self-expression. I am so grateful to have a loving, open, and accepting community where everyone is encouraged to speak their truths, and my open mic night feels like a nice way to give back--even if just a little. :-)

February's open mic night will be on Friday, February 28th at 7:30 (come at 7:00 pm to sign up). Unity North is located at 4255 Sandy Plains Rd, Marietta, GA 30066. The event will be free with a suggested $5 donation that goes to Unity North. And this month, we will also be raising money for the new Family Promise ministry. Family Promise is an organization of volunteers that help homeless and low-income families achieve lasting independence.

I hope those of you in the Atlanta area will join us for open mic this month. :-)

Being an Artist Even When It Makes You Feel Like Crap 

30 day blog challenge - day 21
Almost every artist I know goes through an almost cycle of mood swings. We all have seasons.

There are times when it feels like we are totally rockin'. When we get standing ovations or it's 3 am and we've just finished that last round of revisions on the novel or we're singing our hearts out in our apartments or someone says "I heard your band on college radio and I had to come see you play!" or someone else says, "your play made me cry," or when we get a fat check or sell a bunch of CDs or when we just feel like artists

Then there are times when we play shows for 2 people or when we get rejection letter after rejection letter or when we have to sit through a half-hour talk back where every person in the audience tells us how much our play sucked or when not even our own playwriting professor wants to produce our plays or when some pretentious asshole guy tells us our poems are too "didactic" or when we go in crazy debt to get degrees we can never practically use for employment or when we just feel like artists

I go through these ups and downs so often as an artist, I'm sure it drives everyone who knows me insane. I was having a "down" day today, and then I thought I would turn it around and write a blog for my fellow artists. 

So what do you do when you're having a "down" day? When you can't figure out why the hell you are still writing or singing or acting or painting or creating art? When you just feel like giving up? 

Allow yourself the meltdowns.

There is no easy answer for this. It's not going to magically go away. Let yourself have a good cry and write down all of the reasons you hate life in your journal. Half of the time, when I'm feeling down, if I just let myself write out all of the bad thoughts--even though I know half of them have no basis in reality and are probably not true at all--I will almost always feel better. So have some ice cream. Listen to Morrissey. Give yourself 20 minutes to cry and write and cry again. And then take a deep breath and remember why all of the things you wrote in your journal aren't true.

Just keep swimming. 

Once you've had your meltdown and taken a deep breath, all you can do is just keep doing what you're doing. Just keep writing. Keep singing. Keep painting. Keep creating. Don't let anyone get you down, don't let anyone convince you to stop, and above all, to thine own self be true. You are an artist. This is what you know, this is what you do, and this is what you are.

You're going to do it anyway.

Even if no one ever wants to hear your songs, are you really going to stop singing them? Even if you keep getting rejected, are you really going to stop writing? There is always someone who will appreciate your art. You will always have a reason to create art. And if it really is in you, you will keep doing it in spite of what anyone says or how miserable it sometimes makes you. Because at the end of the day, you are an artist.

So chin up. 

(And I'm writing this blog to myself more so than anyone else.)

SnowJam 2014 - Grateful For All The Helpers 

30 day blog challenge - day 16

Photo from the AJC

As most of you probably know by now, the entire metro Atlanta area is experiencing a Snow Jam. It's snowmageddon out there. Now, it's true that we only got 2.6" of snow yesterday, which may seem like nothing to you Northerners. However, let's also keep in mind that we pretty much have NO preparations in place to deal with this in Atlanta because it doesn't happen often enough for it to make financial sense for us to invest in these things. Also, yesterday morning, everything was normal so many people went to their jobs. School wasn't cancelled either. (There was, however, snow in the forecast, but no one was predicting it would be this bad.)

When the snow started coming down and roads started icing over yesterday afternoon, everyone left work and school at the same time. This resulted in many vehicles not being able to get around on the icy roads and other major highways and roads being completely JAMMED UP with traffic and stalled vehicles for HOURS. I have heard horror stories of people taking 8, 10, even 16 hours to get home in commutes that typically take 30 minutes to an hour. My dad was one of the lucky ones. His commute usually takes him around an hour with normal rush hour traffic, and he got home in 4 hours. I was even luckier in that yesterday happened to be one of my freelance from home days. (I have a "day job" three days a week, and the other two days, I do freelance work.) 

After hearing all of the horror stories of people who were stranded at gas stations or grocery stores all night, students and teachers who were stranded at schools where busses were unable to take them home, and motorists stuck in their cars in the traffic ALL NIGHT (some of which are STILL on the road), I couldn't help but be grateful for the fact that I was safe in my parents' house with my parents, my brother, and my cats. As I was scrolling through my social media, I also couldn't help but be touched by all of the stories I was seeing.

Nearly everyone on my friends page was offering their home as shelter to those who were stranded near them. My church, Unity North, was open to motorists, and they were serving coffee, food, and giving people a place to wait it out. My dad told me how people were all helping each other push vehicles so they could get past the hills. There were even people in our neighborhood going door to door collecting hot chocolate and other helpful items to give to stranded drivers. 

So I just wanted to take a second to write about my gratitude. I am grateful to live in a city where people are willing to help each other. (Although, I think that people in any city would have done the same. You always hear these types of stories in situations like these.) And to anyone still stranded, I hope that you eventually get home safely! Hopefully, next time this happens, we will err on the side of caution and not expect our students and employees to go to work and school!
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