Cabbage exhibits a beautiful geometric pattern.
i don’t especially like cabbage as a food but i have always thought that it’s so beautiful <3
• 1 October 2014 • 34,165 notes
“recently i stumbled across a blog by somebody i used to know who’s in an MFA program now. this person mentioned offhandedly that, in finishing their thesis, they realized that their writing was “safe” and they weren’t taking any risks at all. they sounded blase about it, like that wasn’t a big deal, as much a problem as a few misplaced commas or a tense shift or something.
this person was a big influence on me when i was younger precisely because she was so unafraid to say what needed to be said, even if it made her seem completely crazy. and the idea that anyone would spend so much of their time writing a safe project, what the professors want to read, what might get published in a literary journal, what will get approving nods around the workshop table…that stunned me.
i have no plans to get an MFA, for many reasons besides the one listed above. but i do have a B.A. in creative writing. i went to a state college, which was fairly relaxed and middlebrow. maybe a little too relaxed, but even there, we were constantly encouraged to write in a way that would be acceptable to literary journals. the “successful” writing path that was pushed on to us went something like: literary journals-MFA-book contract-plush teaching/editing job. here is what i never asked, but maybe should have: why was it considered a perfectly acceptable use of my energy to submit my work to literary journals, but a total waste of my time to make zines? i’ve had a few pieces published in literary journals. i spent hours making sure that my poems were in the correct font and format, writing a cover letter, mailing them off; and then six months to over a year waiting to hear back from the editors. and then i’d either get rejected or i’d get accepted. if i got accepted, if i was lucky i’d get a free copy of the journal, and i’d skim it, occasionally reading a poem or story that caught my eye, but very rarely finding anything that moved me, inspired me, made me feel connected to something larger than myself. also, a lot of literary journals have very low circulations, and there’s very little audience feedback. did anyone actually read that poem or story that i agonized over? who knows. it could have disappeared into a landfill for all i know.
my zines have a fairly decent circulation, and occasionally i get emails or letters from total strangers saying that my zine helped them feel less alone, and that’s so amazing. one of the best parts, just feeling less alone. i often read things in zines that amaze, inspire, move me so much—words that get me out of bed in the morning; words that keep me going. but, in terms of the academy, getting a poem published in even the most obscure, low-circulation literary journal was considered a better use of my time & talents than making a zine. & why, exactly? i mean, i still feel stupid declaring “i am a writer!”, but let’s face it, i am. even if the rest of the world doesn’t want to give me any credit for it because it’s mostly been self-published, i still am. been doing it since i could hold a pen. people have told me that things that i wrote have made a difference in their lives, and that’s all i ever wanted to do. & right now it’s after midnight. i have to be back at my desk at work in about eight hours, but here i am. i don’t notice the tiredness or the lateness or (let’s be real here) the pointlessness; it’s what i’m fuckin’ here for.
and yet, when people ask that infamous What Do You Do question, i usually say, “i work at the welfare office,” or whatever i’m doing for money at the time. true, but not the whole truth. if i say what really gets my blood pumping i have to justify myself. in the land of “real,” “professional” writing, it’s all about publishing and credentials and conferences or else i am just some starry-eyed teenager in a late-20’s body, so stupid, so naive. don’t you know it doesn’t count if there’s not a paycheck, if there’s not an advance, if it’s un-resume’d? well, fuck that. i don’t need to pay $40,000/year to have fellow students & teachers misunderstand my work. i don’t need to be told that my writing is too obscene, too feminist, that i use too many f-bombs and too much italics—all real workshop comments i have gotten from people who i’m not writing for. i don’t give a fuck if straight white men like my work. i don’t give a fuck that it’s never going to see the submissions desk of the new yorker. i am writing for the ladies & the queers, the urban cyclists & petty thugs, the gender-policed and the girls whose hair just won’t stay combed. i am writing for me, and for the people i love, to give us something, to (borrowing a phrase from Michael Cunningham here) explain ourselves to ourselves.
also, a common reason for people to get MFA’s is to “buy some time” to work on a really lengthy body of work, which would be difficult, if not impossible to do while holding a full-time job. well, i wrote a book; i just moved to a hella-cheap city, got a $400 2-bedroom apartment, and worked for $ as little as i could, for as long as i could. just me and my clock radio, writing late into the night, and even though those times were broke & lonely they were some of the happiest times too.
and now i’ve got a bouncing baby novel and a whole garden full of zines. i’ve gotta hustle to get my baby published, but the zines, they take root on their own. i just throw little handfuls around the country, and they get me friends and letters and odd connections with strangers. they make me feel and they allow me to contribute something to the universe. they are my messages in bottles. been throwing them out into the world for years, and people are still reading them. you’re still reading them. thanks.”
Ocean Capewell, “On Writing Safely (and the joys of writing outside the academy, hating on MFA’s, and some other things too)” (from High On Burning Photographs #6)
I don’t know if High On Burning Photographs #6 is available for purchase any longer, but you can visit Ocean’s blog here and find out more about her novel, The Most Beautiful Rot,here. Hey agingriotgrrrl - I hope it’s okay that I posted this whole piece! I just really relate to all of it. If you want me to take it down, let me know, and I will.
• 29 September 2014 • 44 notes
I’m sorry, you must be at least a level 4 friend to unlock my tragic backstory
(Source: pkmnprofessor-sycamore, via dion-thesocialist)
• 29 September 2014 • 528,300 notes
I think I stumbled on the Internet’s greatest Yelp review.
• 28 September 2014 • 51,673 notes
I just got this movie in the mail and I’m sooo excited. I love this movie. And I love you Will!!!!!😉❤️💜
ugh.. such a score… i need a copy this is like legit one of my fav 90s movies
• 26 September 2014 • 2,546 notes