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30 Day Poetry Challenge - A Few Poems 

 

So I just wrote my final poem for the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, and I thought that I would share some of my poems from this process with you. I was proud of myself for actually sticking with it and writing 30 poems in 30 days!


Free

She's the kind of girl no one really knows--dancing
alone at weddings with violets
in her hair.
She's everyone's friend
and no one's
as she presses a cigarette
to her chapped lips
and looks right through
all of them.

She's always a tourist, the permanent
visitor--collecting them all like souvenirs.
She keeps a shrine of red plastic cups
in her pick-up truck
to remember a life that was once hers.

All of the boys think they're in love with her,
but no one can be sure.
No one can be sure.




Untitled Limerick

There once was a man in MacCrackens,
Whose tact was severely lacking.
He sat on my knee,
And whispered to me,
“You’re hot, but you could use a smacking.”



Sleight of Hand

He flips through the deck of cards, flings his colored scarf.
I’m singing for absolution, getting lost in a Muse song.
He would know what this meant if he paid attention.
“Dream about me,” he whispers. My defenses are up.

I’m singing for absolution, getting lost in a Muse song.
He’s painting false visions in the air for his audience.
“Dream about me,” he whispers. My defenses are falling.
I see the white dove fly into the distance.

He’s painting false visions on a canvas. I am his audience.
They’ve tried to impress me before. I never fell for illusions.
I see the white dove fly into the distance.
I hold my breath, counting stars in the sky.

I know this is an illusion, but I can’t make myself see it.
The colors are changing, the shades are shifting.
I’m shutting my eyes tight, counting stars in my mind.
I’m getting dizzy. I can’t remain standing.

The shades are shifting, the colors are changing.
I would know the truth if I paid attention.
I’m getting dizzy, can’t remain standing.
Fling your colored scarf at me, let me pick a card.


Conversations With the Sky

The violet petals flew in the wind,
late into the day
when the sun was beginning
to make its way to the other
side of the world.
We are so egocentric, I thought.
In the silent mist of evening,
I sat on my porch, staring
at the overwhelming sky
in all of its spacious longing.
Wait for me, I thought. I can be
a little slow sometimes but I promise
to remain still if you help me
stay protected.
The teal sky faded into
tranquil darkness, the cautious stars
making an appearance, winking at me.
And for once, I was calm.



Carpe Diem

In a crowd of strangers,
you caught my eye.
I remember that now
even though it makes me
cringe to know how it
ends
Carpe diem
is being able to say
“I’ll do it anyway.”


Sparks

The Virgo lighter
sits on my coffee table
(even though I'm not a Virgo,
not even a little bit.)

It's running out of lighter
fluid. When I try to ignite
the flame, it half-heartedly
attempts to form sparks.

It looks like a normal
cigarette lighter that
you might hold up
during the epic hair band love song,
with your drunken arm
around your girl
pretending you'll still be together
when the song ends.

Once the flame was burning as brightly
as the power chords that played
while the lead singer wailed
with his wild hair in all different directions
smearing his eyeliner with beads of sweat.

But now, it's just a shell, a memory
that tries so hard to produce sparks
but can't.


Sundown

The sun sneaks out from behind feather clouds, shining shyly. Its radiance doesn't touch my skin and I pull my silver sweater over my chest. It's full of holes, I notice with a sigh. I hear the neighbors hiss at each other through hushed whispers on the patio and somehow I still miss someone, a stranger I've never known. When I close my eyes, I can still hear his voice speaking softly in a foreign tongue, whispering words of wisdom I can't yet understand. If I searched the smoky spring sky, damp with disappointment of half-hearted promises from the night before, would I find him sulking in the corner or shining with a vibrant spirit I've never seen before? The sun sinks down behind the feather clouds, dimly fading into a star-soaked evening, leaving me shivering, still searching.



My artistic process - the 30 Day Poetry Challenge 

 

I’ve been in a bit of a “waiting for something to happen” phase lately, mainly because of my novel. I just finished another round of revisions, and I am waiting for responses from literary agents--some of which are actually reading my full manuscript. I wanted to wait until I got feedback from them/the second round of beta readers before I started on more revisions so I'm not actively working on a larger writing project at the moment. 

I’ve also learned that I think I really need to be involved in two projects at once: one writing project, and one artistic project that is collaborative in some way, like a band or a play. This is really how it’s always been, but I’ve realized how anti-social I get when I am just writing, and I don’t think that’s healthy. I need the inspiration from being around other artists. I need inspiration from just being around other people in general. Everyone is beautiful and everyone inspires me in some way.

I think this is one of the big reasons I did Godspell. I was really burnt out on the Atlanta music scene so I didn’t want to be in a band, and then my church just happened to be doing this musical that I loved. I had an amazing experience, and it has inspired me to do more theatre. I’ve actually even been going on auditions again. (Well, just one so far, but we’ll see how it goes.) Theatre is the perfect thing to do while I am in limbo with my novel. It gives me the opportunity to be artistic, creative, and collaborative, but it doesn’t take quite as much out of me as writing all of my “rage against the ex-boyfriend songs.” (And anyway, I’m really in a pretty positive place which means I haven’t even been writing many songs lately -- I guess I only write songs when I’m upset about something.)

Luckily, while I'm sort of in limbo with other artistic projects, the 30 Day Poetry Challenge on Facebook has started back up. It was started by a few of my fellow grad students from the University of New Orleans (all poetry majors), and this is the third year. To celebrate National Poetry Month (which is of course April), the idea is to write a poem every day based on prompts posted on the Facebook page. Poets are encouraged to post their poems on their own Facebook pages or the 30 Day Poetry Challenge page, but it’s not required. I have participated in this the past two years, but I never got through all 30 days. (A poem I wrote is actually even appearing in an Anthology of the first two years of poems.) So far, we’re on day 9, and I have written a poem every single day. I’m hoping I actually get to Day 30 this year. (And I'll be sure to post the favorite poems I've written in the challenge this year here on the website when the month is over so stay tuned for that.)

Not every poem every day is going to be golden, but that’s not really the point. I love exercises and challenges like this. It reminds me a little of the writing marathons I used to do. In those, you get prompts and you HAVE to write for 5, 10, 20, or even 30 minute intervals. The point is just to write. You might not get anything usable out of the whole day, but you will exercise your writing muscles. And sometimes you have to write 18 pages to get to one really great sentence. But it’s all worth it, because in the end it’s not really even about the sentence. It’s about the process. And that’s how I feel about the 30 Day Poetry Challenge. It’s a challenge in the truest sense of the word. It is forcing me to step outside of my normal writing habits by making me do things I wouldn’t normally do. 

The most important part of writing (or any art form really) is just to do it. If you want to be a writer, write every day, even if it’s just two pages in your journal about how you stubbed your toe. Who knows? The emotion from that might lead to a poem or a short story. You never know where you will end up if you don’t start somewhere. Put the pen to the paper. Type on your keyboard. Write anything. Don’t care if it’s good or if people will enjoy it. Write for yourself. You can always edit and revise later if you want to make something more structured. Just get it down on the page. That is the best writing advice I’ve ever been given, and I think that is what sets those who want to write apart from those people who have writing inside of their blood.



Click here to purchase Ready For Consumption: An Anthology of Poems from the 30 Day Poetry Challenge

A poetry project - Driving Downtown to The Show 



Atlanta by jkelley1 on deviantart

As many of you know, I've always been one of those artists who must be doing multiple things at once. Writing plays, writing songs, playing music, sometimes acting, writing screenplays, sometimes film making, writing poems, decoupaging tables...there's really nothing I won't at least try when it comes to art. I've decided lately, though, to kind of put everything on the back burner and focus on music, specifically Pocket the Moon. I spend most of my time promoting, booking, writing music, practicing, recording, etc. (Well, Geoff's really doing most of the work on recordings. I just show up and play/sing. He's the one who makes it sound badass.)

I am still doing my grad school program, though. I'm pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Playwriting. And while I'm sort of taking a break from writing plays specifically to really concentrate on Pocket the Moon, I am still working on poetry for my poetry writing workshop.

My professor in this class, though, wanted us to come up with these incredibly elaborate procedures. We are basically writing enough poems over the course of the semester to have a chapbook of poems at the end, and he wanted us to come up with "rules" that decide the content, length, and writing schedule. He also wanted us to come up with a title for our books.

I decided that since I am focusing so much on music right now, not just my own music, but also being a part of the Atlanta music scene that my procedure (and my book title) would incorporate this theme.

Here’s my procedure:

Writing schedule: Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, I will write a poem after band practice.

Content: I will look up the bands on the bill of a certain music venue, and in my poem I will have to use one of those band names in the first five lines of my poem. (Tuesdays - The Earl, Thursdays - Star Bar, Sundays - Drunken Unicorn - because those are probably my favorite venues.)

Length: When I sit down to write, I will put my iPod on shuffle. Whatever song plays, I will look up the lines of lyrics and that is how many lines my poem will be. If it is an instrumental song, the length will determine my line count. (i.e. a song that’s 4:57 would be 57 lines in 4 stanzas.)

Title: Driving Downtown to the Show


This is obviously not how I usually write poems. I might start with a particular form in mind or even a writing prompt, but never something as elaborate as this. But so far, I am really loving the work that is coming out of it. And having to write three poems a week after coming out of a period where I haven’t written any poems for at least two years was definitely a challenge at first. But now, I’m right back into the swing of things.

These are some of the band names I’ve used so far:
Hip to Death
Wild Nothing
How I Became the Bomb
Dead Rabbits
Quiet Life
The Future of Airports

Another reason I'm loving this project is because it further reinforces the idea that all of the artistic projects I am involved in are connected. I can never just be a poet, playwright, musician. I am always all of the above. My poetry is greatly influenced by music, my music is greatly influenced by theatre, my plays are greatly influenced by poetry, it's all connected!

I’ll leave you with one of the poems I’ve written for this project. The band name I had to use that day was Siberia My Sweet (which is also one of my favorite local bands ironically.)


Frozen Tundra

Last August, when the salty, suffocating air
nearly strangled us

as we crept through the Deep South
you took my hand and said,

"Let's travel to Siberia, my sweet
and become one with the frozen tundra.

We can become snowmen with
little black hats, and at least we'll

know that we'll never melt away,
our hands frozen together

in miles of ice and snow." You smiled
at me and kissed my cheek.

I untangled my fingers from yours
and kissed the night air of the Deep South.


NEW songs, Leapfrog on TV, upcoming shows, upcoming poetry book release! 



Origin by Manami

I have a lot going on recently, so I thought I'd post a blog about it :-)

Recently, I got the opportunity to play an acoustic set with Be Atlanta. First of all, these guys are freaking awesome. They're doing all of the things I love(d) about groups like Have You Heard, Atlanta Guardian, and 4th Ward Heroes, promoting local music. They host local music shows, they promote local bands, they're constantly posting videos, songs, show listings, etc. Even at their shows, in between sets, they play a playlist of local music. Definitely check out their website - http://beatlanta.com - And check out their shows, too. They have another show tomorrow - Friday, August 27th - with Before the Solstice and Capibara.

They posted a blog about the acoustic show I played the other night, and they even included a couple of videos of some new songs I've been working on:




This one is called "Don't Try So Hard." (Ironically, I was trying way too hard to remember the whole song. It's that new, people!)



And here's "Rooftops." It's about my experience in Mexico.

In other news, my band and I have been trucking along, working on a new EP that we're hoping to release in October. The EP will feature the songs, "You Told Me," "Irresponsible," "Tangled," and the crowd favorite, "Hipster Haircut." Have I also mentioned that my band is ridiculously awesome? These guys amaze me every day with their versitility and talent. I have so much fun practicing with them, and I can't wait for our next show!!

Speaking of shows, I have a few coming up:
  • Acoustic set at the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival - Saturday, August 28th - 12:30 - Historic Bandstand Stage - FREE - All ages - I will be playing an acoustic set this Saturday at 12:30. I am so, so, SO excited to be playing the same event as so many incredible Atlanta musicians! (Like Wade in the Rhythm, The Goldest, and Lindsay Apple to name a few!) I will be hanging out all day after my set checking out the music, so come out to this FREE festival and enjoy some great bands!
  • Sara Crawford and the Cult Following at Smith's Olde Bar - Atlanta Room - Friday, September 3rd - 9:00 PM - $8 - 21+ - My band and I will be returning to one of my favorite venues, Smith's Olde Bar, to rock your face off. Come check it out!
  • Sara Crawford and the Cult Following at MINT Gallery - Friday, September 24th - 10:00 PM - $4 - All ages - This is part of the Rock Science Revival music series! A lot of great bands have been playing these shows recently, and I'm really excited to be joining them!
In other non-music happenings, I recently got some very exciting news about Leapfrog, the short film that I wrote, directed by Michael Tillman. On September 4th at 1:00 AM and September 5th at midnight, Leapfrog will air with some other short films created by Atlanta filmmakers on the show, Atlanta Shorts. The show airs on PBA 30, Atlanta's PBS station. So make sure you tune in for that!

Also, my chapbook of poems, Coiled and Swallowed, will be released through Virgogray Press on September 7th. I will be having a poetry book release night at Cool Beans in the Marietta Square. The date is TBA, but it will be in mid-September! The first half of the evening will be a poetry open mic night, and then I will read a few poems from the book and have copies available for people to purchase. So all of you poets out there, definitely come and join us for this! Read a few poems, bring copies of your books, and we'll have a night celebrating poetry!

Once again, I just want to say thank you all so much for your continued support of my artistic projects! I hope you will all also continue to support other local and independent artists in Atlanta and all around the world. Trust me, we all need your support! (And I will be posting a blog soon with my September artistic event recommendations, so send me those if you have any you'd like me to include!)

And now I'm off to the Star Bar for an awesome FREE night of music brought to you by 4th Ward Heroes and Mixtape Atlanta featuring Tyler Lyle, Little Horn, and Richard Sherfey!

More from Mexico, my upcoming events, and a night of poetry you shouldn't miss 



Photo by me from Guanajuato, Mexico

Hey everyone. I'm still in Mexico! Coming into the last week here. I can't believe it! I will be happy to come home to Atlanta, but sad to leave San Miguel. It's really beautiful here. And I'm definitely changing and growing. As a writer, as a person. I'm finding myself. Finding myself on the rooftops and the terraces with the mountains on the horizon, among the mariachi bands in the Jardin of San Miguel, in the silence of the Catholic churches, in the cleansing waters of the hot springs, climbing the pyramids, in the dancers on the streets of Guanajuato, in my Form and Idea class where our final project involves plaster elbows, listening to the other students read their work, in late night chats at the hostel - drinking wine on the terrace, in the workshops of my playwriting class, in the margaritas at La Cucaracha, on the buses to excursions riding through the rural parts of Mexico, in the markets where a language I don't know buzzes all around me...This has truly been an amazing experience. I've met so many incredible people, so many talented poets, playwrights, screenwriters, non-fiction, and fiction writers. I've learned so much about writing, about art, about another culture, about myself. And I'm incredibly grateful for that.

Well, I'm definitely going to be jumping right back into my crazy busy life when I get home, and I'm really excited about that! I have a lot of exciting upcoming events:
  • Wednesday, August 4th - solo/acoustic show at Actor's Express - A night of theatre and music! - Working Title Playwrights presents Essential Shorts - new short plays written by WTP affiliates presented in concert readings - as part of Essential Theatre's Festival of Plays! I will be playing an acoustic set after the show. See both for just a five dollar donation! The show starts at 7:30 pm - 887 W Marietta St NW # J107, Atlanta, GA 30318
     
  • Sunday, August 22nd - solo/acoustic show - Be Atlanta's Acoustic Sundays - 10:00 pm - FREE - all ages - 197 Howell Dr. SE, Atlanta, GA
     
  • Saturday, August 28th - solo/acoustic show - Grant Park Summer Shade Festival - Historic Bandstand stage - 12:30 pm
     
  • Friday, September 3rd - Sara Crawford and the Cult Following - Smith's Olde Bar - The Atlanta Room - 9:00 pm - $8 - 21+
     
  • Tuesday, September 7th - Release of my chapbook of poems, Coiled and Swallowed, through Virgogray Press

So that's what's going on with me. I hope all of you back in Atlanta are having a great summer full of good times and wonderful art of all kinds! :-)

And I thought I'd pass this onto you, from Kyle McCord (who was featured in my Poem of the Week back in September). For those of you in Atlanta, you should definitely check it out!

Sunday, July 25th come hear Dream Horse Press authors Kyle McCord and Keith Montesano read from their recently released books. They will be joined by special guest Kara Candito. The event will be at 6:00 p.m. at Beep Beep Gallery at 696 Charles Allen Drive, Atlanta. The event is part of the DHP First Book Tour, with readings in seventeen different locations across fourteen states. For any questions about times or directions, contact: kfmccord@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook.

Kyle McCord's book, Galley of the Beloved in Torment, was the winner of the 2008 Orphic Prize. He’s received awards or grants from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Iowa Poetry Society. He has work forthcoming or published from Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Columbia: a Journal of Art and Literature, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Volt and elsewhere. He currently lives and teaches in Des Moines, Iowa.

Keith Montesano’s, Ghost Lights, was published this year by Dream Horse Press. Other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, American Literary Review, Third Coast, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, Sonora Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He currently lives with his wife in New York, where he is a PhD Candidate in English and Creative Writing at Binghamton University.

Kara Candito is the author of Taste of Cherry (University of Nebraska Press), winner of the 2008 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Her poems and reviews have appeared or will appear in such journals as Blackbird, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, The Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Sycamore Review, Nimrod, Contrary Magazine, The Rumpus, Best New Poets 2007, Diode, New South, and The Florida Review. She has received awards for her poetry, including an Academy of American Poets Prize and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.


So there you go. Make sure you check that out! It should be a great event.

I hope all is well back in the USA.

June/July events! 



Summer - Oil on canvas - by Bisat from DeviantArt

It's summertime! Oh, how I love Georgia summers. :-)

So, if you are a new reader to my blog/website, here's the story. A few years ago, I started a Facebook group called Atlanta Bohemians, a group for any and all kinds of artists in the Atlanta metro area to promote their events, post about auditions/calls for entries, or where art supporters can find information about independent and local musicians, actors, playwrights, screenwriters, film makers, painters, sculptors, poets, authors, and any other kind of artist you can think of. I started sending out monthly lists of different artistic events around the city, and I got a great response.

When I started this website, I thought I would move those lists over to my blog. Because I wanted the website to not only be about me promoting my own artistic projects, but I also wanted to promote and support other local and/or independent artists. I try to do that in other ways too, sharing poetry that I like in my "Poem of the Week," posting photography and art pieces from independent artists on my blog entries, posting music sharing podcasts where I share independent music, etc. I just love art so much. And I think there is nothing more powerful than going to that show where the band plays a song that reaches out to you or going to a play that just completely speaks to you or hearing a poem that just sucks you in or staring at a painting and being incredibly overwhelmed by the complex beauty in life. Art is a reflection of life, art helps us appreciate life, the good, the bad, everything becomes beautiful. I know nothing has helped me more in my own life to really be in the moment, to have real spiritual experiences, to really feel a universal love for everyone and everything than a perfect piece of art at the perfect time. And actually, you don't have to sit in the audience of a hugely popular Broadway musical or go see paintings by artists who have been dead for centuries or turn on the radio to find this art. It's everywhere. It's all around you. And there are tons of living, breathing artists who are writing songs, painting paintings, taking photographs, writing screenplays, making films, performing spoken word, etc. in spite of their 9 to 5 day jobs or their waitressing jobs or their bartending jobs or their low-paying non-profit jobs. And these artists truly inspire me. Working at places like The Georgia Ballet or Horizon Theatre and seeing these people work 60 hours a week for very little pay just because they love art. And if I can inspire one person to go out there and see an original, new play or see a local, unknown band or see an art exhibit from a living Atlanta artist or see an independent film made by a local filmmaker, then it's completely worth it to me.

SO! With that in mind, here are a bunch of awesome things you can do in June and July to support the local artists! And of course, if I have forgotten anything, please leave a comment.

Visual Arts




June 5th - 27th - Young Blood Gallery - "Interior/Posterior" with 6 women artists Megan Kimber, Merrilee Challis, Daisy Winfrey, Chrystal Chan, Jennifer Davis & Lesley Reppeteaux



June 12th - July 4th - Beep Beep Gallery - "The Big Bang" a solo exhibit of new work by Matt Relkin



Friday, June 18th - ASI Gallery - works by Laura Rubio - Opening reception June 18 , 2010 - 7 - 9:30pm - Free admission - Exhibition will run from June 18 - July 18, 2010



July 9th - September 19th - Atlanta Contemporary Art Center - Amy Myers: Feminine Space

Friday, July 16th - Art Party. 30+ artists showing. No theme. Its an art show that morphs into a party with Bands & DJs. Free drinks, $10 donation. 21+. More artists are always welcome. Visit www.dooGallery.com for more information.



Music


Saturday, June 19th - Five Spot - Wade in the Rhythm, Cloudeater, Dan Marshall Project with special guests including Dre-Money - 21+ - 9PM - Advanced Tickets: 7$

Saturday, June 26th - Star Bar - Howlies - Coathangers - Balkans - Mermaids - 21+ - 8$ - 9 PM

Thursday, July 1st - Star Bar - FREE THURSDAY SHOW! - Abby GoGo - Carnivores - Grenadines - 21+ - FREE - 9PM

Wednesday, July 7th - Smith's Olde Bar - James David Carter- Glen Pridgen Band - Brandon Perry - 21+ - 8PM

Saturday, July 10th - Wonderroot - Littlefoot, Cloudmouth, Revo - 9PM

Saturday, July 17th - Star Bar - The Selmanaires - with special guest, Adron - 21+ - 8$ - 9PM



Theatre



Tuesday, June 15th - WORKING TITLE PLAYWRIGHTS Presents Theroun D'arcy Patterson's SEMBLANCES - Staged Reading - Academy Theatre 119 Center St., Avondale Estates, Ga. - 7:30 PM - FREE to WTP members / $5 suggested donation all others at door.

June 12th and 13th - Harvest 2010 The Backyard Plays - Onion Man Productions - A new collection of nine 10-Minute plays by local playwrights!

June 11th - June 27th - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - Atlanta Lyric Theatre

June 9th - June 27th
- Reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute - Pinch n' Ouch Theatre 

July 7th - August 7th - 12th Annual Essential Play Festival - Featuring three plays, Qualities of Starlight by Gabriel Jason Dean, directed by Peter Hardy, Darker Face of the Earth by Rita Dove, directed by Betty Hart, Sally and Glen at the Palace by Peter Hardy, directed by Ellen McQueen



Call for Entries/Submissions

Seeking bands and artists! Children's Restoration Network is trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest concert by multiple artists at the Red Rabbit in Johns Creek. They are still looking for bands and artists who want to participate, people who want to volunteer to be witnesses, and just people who want to come out and enjoy it all. It will take place from July 10th - July 24th. Learn more at www.worldslongestconcert.com or email Richie Tyre at richie@childrn.org.



Other

Java Monkey Speaks - Open Mic Poetry - Every Sunday at 8:00 pm - Java Monkey coffee shop - Decatur

Friday, July 2nd
- DODEKAPUS PRESENTS: CARNIVAL FUNDRAISER FOR LIVING WALLS - A carnival themed event with games, prizes, food, booze, bands, kiddi pools, a kissing booth, tarot booth, giant twister, screenprinting on site, and much much more - 5:00 PM



There you go, guys. Lots of awesome events to make your summer fun :-)

And I'll leave you with a poem. It's sort of my ode to summers in Georgia.


Georgia June Outside of a Coffee Shop

by Sara Crawford


Thursday night in Georgia June,
outside sitting,
sipping on hot coffee,
with a splash of hazelnut.
Everyone around me sweats bullets, slurping
on smoothies and iced lattes.
To me, the night air is a warm
blanket covered
in stars and fireflies that twinkle
through the sheets.

My bones are growing as we all rotate
through space, but I don’t feel
any older
than the teenager sitting next to me,
her bare feet propped on the chair
in front of her,
toenails painted neon green, her flip-flops (practically made
of straw) are scattered
lazily on the ground beside her.
She laughs, and I laugh with her as if
I am a part of the conversation,
peering at her feet from behind
my magazine.

A couple exits the coffee shop,
opening the door
behind me.
The air conditioning escapes
from inside, whispers to my skin.
Goosebumps rising, I shiver.
The door closes.
I sigh with relief and wrap myself
up in the night, sinking into
Georgia June.



Thank you for the support with the new backing band! And with life, in general. :-) 



Sara Crawford and the Cult Following...and the ZomB Nation...5.20.10 Smith's Olde Bar - photo by Kyndal Foshee


Hey everyone!!

First of all, thank you SOOO much for all of the awesome support for the first two shows with my new backing band, the Cult Following. Both the show at Lenny's last weekend and the show last night at Smith's Olde Bar in the Atlanta Room were definitely successful, and we all had a blast!! I am so grateful to have so many people in my life who are so supportive of new and local music. I try really hard to thank everyone individually for coming to the show, but there is always so much going on at shows that sometimes I miss people. And I'm really sorry for that! I never do it intentionally. So if you're at one of my shows, make sure you come say hi to me if I don't say hi to you! I'm not trying to ignore anyone. I just get REALLY distracted by everything that I have to do at shows, and sometimes I need people to be like "HEY! SARA! I'M HERE!" for me to notice them. Haha. I'm slow, what can I say? Anyway, though, I just want to say thank you so, so, so much to all of you who take the time to make it out to my shows. I appreciate that more than any of you will ever know. It's not easy to be a local original musician sometimes, and we definitely need all of the support we can get. So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. One day I will make cookies for all of you! (Haha. And special thanks to the ZomB Nation. ZOM-BIES! ZOM-BIES! ZOM-BIES!)

I put photos up from both shows on the photos/videos page for those of you who want to check those out. (Photos taken by the awesome Kyndal Foshee.) Also, there are three tracks from the Smith's show (courtesy of Z-Man!) on my music page if you want to check those out! And there will be a couple of videos up in the near future as well so stay tuned for that. Also, if you haven't gotten a chance to see us, we will be be playing another show at Cool Beans in the Marietta Square, Saturday, May 29th at 9:00 pm. This show is FREE, all ages, and Goodland and Strangelove will be playing as well! Music starts at 7:00 so get there early, drink some coffee, and have a fun night :-)

I have a lot going on lately! I recently got some news about some upcoming poetry publications! My poem "Coffee Roaster" will be in the fall issue of Aries, the literary journal from Texas Wesleyan University, and my poems "For Frank" and "Visiting" will be in the fall issue of Illogical Muse. This is very exciting to me, especially with my first ever book of poems, Coiled and Swallowed, coming out on September 7, 2010 from Virgogray Press. I'm also thinking about doing some sort of poetry night event at Cool Beans or somewhere for my book release. Have the first half of the evening be "open mic" with various poets reading their work, and then I'd read some of my poems from the book and have copies available. And also, I'd encourage all of my awesome poet friends to bring their books, too.

In other news, I was listening to this Wayne Dyer tape the other day, and he was talking about how one day, he received two letters from two different readers talking about one of his books. The first guy was just going on and on about how great it was and how it saved his life. The second guy told him it was the worst book he ever read and he wanted his money back. So he mailed the positive letter to the negative guy and the negative letter to the positive guy and just wrote them both back with, "You might be right." I really loved that story. Because other people's opinions are just other people's opinions. That's definitely something you should be fully aware of as an artist. I'm faced with harsh criticism and rejection quite often, but I'm also showered with compliments and have quite a bit of artistic success. It's completely subjective.

I've been told that sometimes I "beat my readers over the head" with my message, but I just think it's so important! And it's worth repeating. Create art, express yourself! And support other artists! Or even just support other people in their endeavors. Even for non-artists, I just think it's really, really important to believe in yourself. I think it's important to not let your music die inside of you. Everyone is here for a reason. You all have some gift, some talent, something to offer to the world. So find it and do it! That's really all I'm trying to say. I just want to encourage people to live the lives that they've always wanted to live, ecourage people to be kind to each other, encourage people to be happy. It's a message of love. And I'll say it over and over and over again and use 18,000 exclamation points because I'm just so passionate about love and life and happiness and art!!!! And if other people have a different opinion, well, that's just their opinion. They own that, not me. And often, criticism/judgments have far more to do with the person criticizing that the person receiving the criticism. That's a good thing to remember, too.

I feel like I'm just at a point in my life where I'm really growing spiritually, and I'm really figuring things out. It's a constant journey, and obviously, there's still a lot I don't know, there are still many mistakes that I've made along the way. But I try to own up to my mistakes and learn from them. Even negative situations, feelings, thoughts, etc. have within them something you can learn. Every situation offers personal growth if only you can see it! And I guess I'm just really excited about my own journey and the growth that I've been experiencing. I've gone through a lot so far this year, with the ending of a very long relationship, shifting of artistic projects, getting ready to begin grad school, and I feel like it's caused this huge shift in my perception, in the way I think about things. And once again, I am SO grateful for all of the people around me who encourage that growth, people who support me and love me no matter what crazy mistakes I make. I can never tell you how much I appreciate you. And I think that's worth repeating myself over and over again! Because I love you guys. Everyone who is reading this. I love you!

Now, here, listen to some Tom Petty!


April events! 



Photo by Beverly Crawford

SPRING IS FINALLY HERE! I couldn't be more excited. I always feel like spring is the most hopeful time of the year. For me, anyway.

So. I was at Lenny's last night seeing The Judies, and I was thinking (as I do often), "Wow, there is so much good music going on in Atlanta! I'm so glad to be here right now." Seriously, guys. You can go to any venue in Atlanta virtually any time of the week and see incredible musicians. They're everywhere! And there's music for everyone! The Atlanta music scene is such a great one. You guys should all go take advantage of that!

On that note, there are a lot of great things going on in April, and I thought I'd share my picks for the month with you so you can go check them out! :-)

MUSIC
THEATRE
  • Lookingglass Alice at the Alliance Theatre - 3/31/10 - 5/2/10 - Defy logic – and gravity – in a topsy-turvy, timeless tale of a little girl who journeys through the looking glass to become a queen. Marvel as Alice floats, falls, and flies overhead in a radically reconfigured Alliance Stage. It’s a dizzyingly playful feat of ingenious wonder, peppered with playful acrobatics certain to awaken the kid in all of us. Once you pass through this looking glass, you may never want to come back out!
     
  • THE SHOW! - Out of Hand Theatre - at Horizon Theatre - 4/2/10 - 6/18/10 - A 60 minute late-night Freak Show, Out of Hand style. The Show! is never the same twice because the audience runs The Show. A ridiculously interactive Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Event, The Show! is wild, big fun!!!!
     
  • 100 Saints You Should Know - Actor's Express - 3/18/10 - 4/17/10 - The lives of five people collide in this emotionally charged drama about unraveling faith and the redemptive power of human connection. While Matthew is on an enforced furlough from the priesthood, he seeks refuge at the home of his curious and devout mother. He is followed by Theresa, the rectory’s cleaning lady, who is desperately searching for meaning and completion while trying her best to raise her unruly teenage daughter alone. Through vividly poignant character sketches, we find sometimes that God really is in the details – even when those details get messy. Featuring Carolyn Cook.

VISUAL ARTS
  • Fight or Flight - New work by Kelly McKernan - Beep Beep Gallery - Opening Saturday, April 10th 8:00 pm through May 2nd - In this newest body of work, Kelly McKernan continues to explore her psychological responses to the stresses and struggles of reality. While much of her previous work commented on the consequences of using idealism as a coping mechanism, “Fight or Flight” takes a more direct and personal approach by addressing these responses in terms of biological survival tactics.
     
  • Cartoon Madness 5 - The Lunchbox Show - Alcove Arts Gallery - Opening Saturday, April 10th 8:00 pm - For thirty-five years, metal lunch boxes were a critical accessory for school kids. Starting with the Hopalong Cassidy model in 1951, a lunch box could be a child's most personal statement. While the exterior let everyone know what was the coolest new TV show or pop music group, the interior neatly housed a meal of your choosing (with help from Mom).
     
  • Conor McGrady - On Foreign Soil - Saltworks Gallery - March 19 through April 24 - SALTWORKS is pleased to present On Foreign Soil, featuring new works on paper by New York-based artist Conor McGrady. The exhibition will be on view from March 19, 2010 through April 24, 2010. This is the third solo exhibition on McGrady's work at the gallery.


OTHER EVENTS
  • Collective Conscious Art Show - Friday, April 9th - 8:00 pm - 431 Fair St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30313
     
  • Extremity Experiment - Open Mic Night - Saturday, April 24 - 6:00 pm - Atlanta Contemporary Art Center - As always, we welcome singers, poets and musicians to bless the mic and those looking to network. This experiment will be sure to enlighten and entertain all of your senses.
     
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show at Frolicon - For all of you convention goers out there, make sure you check out Rocky Horror Friday, April 2nd at Midnight (Technically Saturday...). I'll be playing Janet this year and it's carnival themed! Should be a lot of fun!!
     
  • Talking Back to the Muse - Saturday, April 17th - 8:00 pm - Composition Gallery - Poetry Atlanta and Composition Gallery in Candler Park team up for this special evening to celebrate National Poetry Month on Saturday, April 17, 8 p.m. Favorite Atlanta poets will be reading a classic poem followed by a response, rebuttal or rant of their own. It's sure to be a unique evening of poetry.
     

There you go, guys! Lots of incredibly awesome things to check out. I'm definitely going to be at several of those events! So get out there and support your local and independent artists! Share the art! You never know what you'll experience. You could go to a show and the band could play that perfect song that you need to hear, you could see a painting that really touches you, you could see a play that makes you laugh your ass off. There is all kinds of wonderful art going on in Atlanta, so get out there and experience it!

If I missed an event that you'd like to share, make sure you leave a comment here on the blog!

A poem - Watercolor Saturday 



After Rain by Aneta Anna Saks

I rarely post my own poetry on here. I wrote a poem on Saturday, though, and I thought I'd share it with you because I liked it.

Watercolor Saturday

It’s a vibrant sky.
One minute,
the clouds are blinding
brush strokes, so white
they leave neon green
orbs when you close
your eyes,
trickling down slowly
like the purple smiley face
stamp on your hand
from last night
at the reggae bar
(where you danced
like it was the end of the world)
washing off of your skin
in the scalding shower.
The next minute,
the clouds shift into darker
shades of grey, like
a black and white film
dripping down hopeful, heavy
rain drops
that slide
down
the
windowpanes
as the bare trees
rush by in a
watercolor blur
of a Saturday
from the backseat
of your grandmother’s car.
It’s a shame you
don’t still believe it can fly
when she asks it to.

To my fellow artists 




Photo by Beverly Crawford

There is always going to be someone somewhere who doesn't like your art. There's always going to be some asshole who says that all of your songs sound the same and they're bored out of their mind when listening to them. There's always going to be the poetry editor who calls your poems "trite" and "cliche" and "amateur." There's always going to be the film festival who doesn't accept your film. There's always going to be the director who doesn't want to cast you in the play because they don't like the way you performed that one scene. There's always going to be the people who scoff at your paintings and turn up their noses. For every single piece of art that you put out there, whether your a singer/songwriter playing a show for five people at a coffee shop or Steven Spielberg releasing a new blockbuster film, someone somewhere is going to think that it's shit. (I have even been this person before! I've definitely been harshly honest about art I haven't liked before. But I said those things only after giving a disclaimer that the artists should take my opinion with a grain of salt.) That's because all art is completely subjective.

And for those of us who haven't had a "breakthrough" yet, for those of us who are unknown by most people, there are going to be way more rejections and criticisms than there are selections and praise. The trick is getting rejected over and over and over again and not caring. The trick is to keep going, to keep creating art, to stay true to yourself and your vision, no matter what anyone might say. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're famous. It doesn't matter if that breakthrough moment ever comes. You do it because it's who you are. It's what you love to do. I can't say I've gotten there completely. Every now and then I'll get a criticism or rejection that still stings. But I could never, ever stop writing or playing music or creating, no matter what anyone thinks.

There are moments, though, that make it all worth it. Standing ovations, getting an acceptance letter for once, when one person tells you that your song helped them in a way that so many songs have helped you. And I just wanted to say that even if no one reads this silly little blog of mine, I think it's important. Because there are so many artists that have helped me and inspired me over the years. And not just big artists like Radiohead and Neil Labute and Morrissey and Stephen Chbosky, but local playwrights and actors and theatre groups, local bands and musicians, local painters and photographers. There have been many moments, here in Atlanta, sitting at open mic nights at coffee shops and bars, watching bands at The Earl or The Star Bar or the Red Light Cafe, looking at art on the walls in Octane, sitting in the audience at Actor's Express or the Horizon Theatre, moments when art has inspired, touched, moved me, changed my perspective. Many local, independent, and unknown artists have caused these moments for me--too many to even name.

And I just wanted to say that. If you are an artist of any kind, and you're reading this, and you ever have those bad days filled with rejection letters and criticisms just keep in mind that probably somewhere someone had one of those life-changing moment with your work. And don't stop making your art. Don't get discouraged. Because there is a place for it. And you are someone's Morrissey, whether or not you know it.