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The Useless Things We Do to Get Something Useful Out of It

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(Photo Credit: http://www.oddstuffmagazine.com)

We’ve all been there. Don’t you lie to yourself or to me. You’ve all gone above and beyond or done something useless to get something useful out of it at some point in your life. I decided to formulate a list of some of those things. I’m a writer. I make lists. It’s in my blood.

1. Leave a note under your pillow which says: win the lottery

2. Wearing your lucky underwear on exam day. They don’t get you lucky but they get you an A.

3. Owning a lucky pen. It wasn’t always your lucky pen but ever since you started getting straight A’s it’s all of a sudden earned the name.  I can relate to this one. In my second year of university I had this pen. In that year I scored straight A’s on everything. It had nothing to do with my intense studying or devotion. No. It was the pen. This pen was so ratty and old that it was on its last leg. I couldn’t let it fail me. I still had one more month of the semester left. Then I lost it. The pen. I lost the pen, not my mind. Well, maybe a little of that too. Either I lost the pen or someone conspired against me and stole it. I still don’t know what happened to it. Whoever that thief is, they’re one lucky son of a gun.

4. I make a wish at 11:11. Sometimes my wishes come true, sometimes they don’t but I usually blame it on the fact that I didn’t wish hard enough or I was distracted by a squirrel.

5. Leave unusually early to get somewhere afraid that a meteor may hit and conveniently crash into the lane of traffic I’m driving in.

6. I sometimes wish that something won’t happen, so that it happens. For example, when I applied for school, I was all like naaa I’m not getting in and then I got in! Or after a date I’ll be like, naa he won’t call and ask me out again. And then he does. And then I make a wish at 11:11 to cover my tracks.

7. Go out of your way to assist your jerk boss so that maybe one day instead of giving you chocolates, he’ll give you a raise just so that questions like this: “How do I copy and paste this?” will become more bearable. And really? I’ve showed you that a million times Mr. Boss and even wrote you instructions. My grandmother knows how to do that and she doesn’t even own a computer.

8. Smile and laugh at jokes that aren’t funny. Why? Because you want people to think you like them so that they will like you back. But in reality you should really tell them that they should keep their day job and refrain from dabbling into a career which is even remotely close to being a comedian. It’s a waste of time because eventually their jokes make you hate them.

9. Listen to a song which reminds you of the boy you fell in love with or the snack you fell in love with. Lately, having a thang for snacks has worked its way into the equation. Red Hot Chili Peppers…mmm McDonalds. Who cares about Jack. He’s old news.

10. You’re sad but you can’t cry. All you want to do is get a good cry out of the sad situation that’s just occurred, but it doesn’t happen. Now you have to start planning your cry. You put on a sad song, something like Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley and you make your way over to the mirror. You look at yourself square in the eye. The weirdo that you are needs proof of your hard work. And no one likes a heaver. Leave the heaver to beaver. Just look yourself square in the eye, in the mirror, and tell yourself you’ve got this. You’re such a strong weakling.

11. Hang out at a coffee shop. Next, creep and do not creep out the quirky handsome dude in the corner who is soooo mysterious and artsy. And you like that. Make a trip to the book store and buy said quirky books. Sit in plain view of him. If someone is sitting in the seat you had zoned for your creeping needs, execute plan B. Nonchalantly shove innocent sitter out of the seat. Position your lap top so that he sees that you’re not only a reader but also into Indie music and you loveee art. You could just go talk to him and save yourself the strategic creepy planning and pain, or pain of innocent coffee shop patrons and talk to him. No- Do.Not.Speak.To.Him. You must do unnecessary things to get the necessary thing.

12. Post some rather obvious to you and not-so-obvious to him things in your Facebook status. Oh he likes dogs. You do too, now. He’s an activist? You’ve conveniently volunteered for Save the Children.

13. You’re a woman and you have to prove that you’re strong and independent. Yeah, I’ve been guilty of this. Don’t open the door for me, ever. I hate that shit. And don’t offer to carry those heavy boxes for me. I’ve got it. And just when I think I do, the kind man who just wanted to help me is now a witness to a feminist tumbling down the stairs.

14.You read tons of advice things like: 10 signs he’s into you, 5 signs he wants to hump you, 100 signs he wants sprinkle fairy dust on you and make you his. You’re a sucker for these articles in those magazines. You’ll even spend your lunch money on them because inside those shiny pages lies the answer to all of your problems. They are after all freakin’ mind readers. Now you won’t look like a fool if you start winking at him or staring at him awkwardly because he wants you. Hormone exploiters!

15. You avoid parts of the neighbourhood on your morning or evening jogs, fearful your crush might see you. Just your luck- he decides to take his dog for a walk just as your sweaty, boob-flopping, self is jogging by. Lovely.

16. You get a head start on an assignment and miss the class it’s due in, to finish it, only to find out on the day it’s due that your generous professor announced a week extension during the class that you missed. Should have gone, should have gone.

17. You get all ready and dolled up, and even bought a new outfit for your date. An hour before you’re supposed to meet up, he cancels. Apparently he was too sick. Two days later a mutual friend posts a picture on Facebook. Lo and behold, there he is gleaming, looking healthy, and club rattin’ it up.

18. You read your horoscope. You’re all like “Oh my god that’s so me” and conveniently enough, all of the other Taurus’ seem to have had the same predicament, same kind of day, and also in store for something special in the future. That something special never happens. Stop doing this to us!

Another far-fetched post, by me, M.T.

Do you have anything to add to this list?

-m.T

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Sending Letters in the Mail? You mean Email, right?

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(Photo Credit: benevolentpostcardsociety.blogspot.ca)

I can’t remember the last time I sent a letter in the mail. Can you? I do everything online, well almost everything. I’m all about save a tree and use technology. I suppose the rule can be broken for the holidays. Tis’ the season for holiday card writing, lots of holiday card writing. No more holiday card writing, please. If you’re not into sending traditional holiday cards and you want to make your life a little easier by paying a little more, check out Handiemail. Sending letters in the mail is so out of the ordinary for modern folks, I guess, so Handiemail has tailored what used to be the only means for sending your love and well wishes and made it nifty. I have no idea why this is a neat idea and why it makes sense to spend money on something you are fully capable of doing yourself, but I like it anyway. Sometimes things don’t have to make sense, to like them. I can’t believe I just said that.

-m.T

My Soundtrack to Writing

(Photo Credit: http://www.guardian.co.uk)

What’s the soundtrack to your writing? Writing isn’t the only thing that completes me. Music does as well. Writing and listening to music is the perfect combination for getting inspired and for staying focused. Here is a list of my favorites:

Zoo Kid (song: Out Getting Ribs): It’s a strange song, but it works. I suppose it’s the mystifying qualities of this song that inspire me.

Local Natives (song: Who Knows, Who Cares): Local Natives is a band who takes me on a journey to find the right words when I can’t seem to find them.

Classical Music: This collection of classical compositions allows me to focus no matter what mood I’m in. It provokes me to think and it helps me form sentences quite easily. Before I know it thoughts are flowing and the writing I’ve produced is lucid and coherent. Classical music puts harmony into my words and carries me out into a world of thought. It’s a world I enjoy being in when I’m writing. Classical music is usually the solution to writer’s block. It works for me all the time.

Bon Iver: This entire album takes me away to my solemn place. Bon Iver is a true poet and the poetic qualities in his songs inspire me to write with grace.

Dallas Green (song: Northern Wind): Love, love this Canadian boy. His songs inspire me to write with the same honesty and authenticity in his music.

Radiohead (songs: Reckoner/ House of Cards): Thom Yorke is a musical genius. Their music inspires me to write with movement and heart.

Led Zeppelin (songs: Fool in the Rain/Thank You): These two songs, among many of their songs, inspire me to write with feeling and rhythm. It has the power to take me back to a time where rock n’ roll soothed the soul, despite me being an 80’s baby.

Johnny Cash (song: Hurt): I prefer this version over Nine Inch Nails’. The way Johnny Cash sings the words in this song sends shivers up my spine. It empowers me to contribute the same feeling and angst the words in this song have, in my writing.

Daughter (song: Youth): The solemnness and sensitivity in this song inspires me to write the same kind of feeling. The pick-me-up empowers me to write with strength and power. It triggers emotion and this emotion finds a place in my writing.  In addition to this, who hasn’t experienced heart-ache? Am I right? This song allows you to re-visit those moments with grace and inspires me to write with nostalgic qualities.

Brand New: This band takes me to a place of secrecy and wonder. When my thoughts are a little crazy, Brand New slows me down. Their lyrics cause me to think provocatively and poetically.

The Zolas (song: You’re Too Cool): I saw this band live and instantly fell in love with them. My writing has fallen in love with them too.

Kendrick Lamar: I recently added this album to my must-listen-to list after my brother introduced it to me. Kendrick Lamar’s album is an amalgamation of tiny short stories which inspire me to write with poise and creativity.

Do you have a list of songs you listen to? Share them with me in the comment section below. I’d love to hear what you’re listening to.

-m.T

A Writer with Random Questions and Thoughts

(Photo Credit: saypeople.com)

Tonight I got stuck in a daydream. As I looked out the coffee shop window, these are a few of the strange things I thought about…

Do you ever get stuck in a daydream? It’s that holy shit moment when you realize you’re alive. Tangible, heart beating, breathing you, is alive. For a moment it’s like your mind leaves your body and is looking down at you like its got eyes. Your mind stares at you and tries to make sense of your existence as if all along you felt like you never existed. It’s a weird moment of realization. A weird moment of realization I just experienced.

I sometimes wonder are birds really happy to be birds? Do they wish to be humans like humans wish they could be birds? And what about insects? Do they know that they are despised by most of us? Does an ant fear shadows? Does every shadow resemble a shoe?

Are men attractive because they’re taken or are they taken because they’re attractive? What makes someone attractive? Do the laws of attraction eliminate the laws of boredom? And what is love? Is it really a feeling or a feeling dictated by what we measure as greatness and what we value? And beauty. Is it truly in the eye of the beholder. Are we the beholder in control of what we think is beautiful or is beauty a construction? Can we live without love? Can we go our entire lives loving only ourselves and not someone else? What happens if you don’t find love? Does it mean you’re not complete? Can we find happiness in being lonely?

Knowledge is power. Is it really though? Does our knowledge allow us to exercise our power to change things? Does having knowledge mean you are better than the person who is less knowledgeable than you? Does having knowledge make you powerful because you can challenge others? Does having knowledge sometimes make you feel powerless?

What are we without our dreams? Do our dreams give us wings to soar to greater heights? What happens if our dreams don’t come true? Is it because we didn’t try hard enough or is it because life and the circumstances involved in it stopped us? Is a fork in the road so-to-speak a sign to give up or is it a sign to keep moving forward, driving you to succeed? What is success? Who determines success? Can success truly be measured by oneself and not by others? If so, is that bias?

Inspirational quotes. Do they inspire us genuinely? Or do they inspire us because they contradict who we are. Do the people who write them live by these words or are these words just a way for them to be seen; for them to be labelled profound?

…and last but not least- boxers or briefs? I’m kidding. I suppose I’ll end my cluster of random questions here. Feel free to answer any of them.

 

-m.T

 

 

Where do you store your memories?

When I was a kid I always savored the moment no matter how big or how small it was. If it was a moment that meant something to me I would often collect and keep something from where I was. I was never the type of kid to write in a diary regularly. I was the type of kid who kept a piece of something, which meant everything. I used to store birthday cards, letters, wristbands from concerts and trips, concert tickets, rocks (the list goes on) in a small drawer and when that small drawer became too full to close I decided that it might be a good idea to store those tangible memories in a box. So that’s what I did. I’ve accumulated so many things that I now have two shoe boxes stuffed with a bunch of things that most would consider crap. But it’s not crap to me and I’m by no means a hoarder. I’m what you would call a memory hoarder whose memories are safely locked away in shoe boxes. Those shoe boxes are filled with the greatest and most meaningful things, which spark some of the most wonderful memories of once upon a time.

I often wonder where the years have gone. When did I finish school? When did I turn 24? Sometimes it feels like everything that happened before today went by so fast that it’s become a blur. So when the past seems a little hazy and life is a little boring I turn to my memory box, I open it up and I revisit those moments. It’s nice to touch, feel, and have your memories at your fingertips. It triggers a warm feeling from within which often takes away from the stress of living in the now. I’ll have to admit that nostalgia is my weakness. It has the power to wrap its arms around me and give me comfort. I suppose this is why nostalgia and the importance of memories have become a recurring theme in the book I’m writing. The moments we keep as memories and the things we keep from those moments play an important role in story-telling. My shoe box of memories is a time capsule of moments and tiny little stories for what feels like a century ago. It’s important to bridge the gap between the past and present. It definitely makes you a more sentimental writer.

When my mother witnessed me on a chair reaching for the back corner of my closet she asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was looking for my memory box and that re-visiting my past would be a great way to spark some inspiration for writing. She asked me to get down from the chair and to follow her to her room. I waited outside her closet doors while she moved things around and when she was done she emerged from her closet with a box in her hands. “This is my memory box,” she said. She opened up the box and took out little bits and pieces of her past and shared what they meant. Each letter, card, ticket and trinket had a story attached to it. Those three hours became the greatest learning experience for me.  I think I learned more about my mother in those three hours than I ever have in my 24 years of knowing her.  I learned that she’s a memory hoarder like me and sentimental. I also saw a different side of her I didn’t know existed. There was a time where she was madly in love and although she never fell out of it she had sort of lost the ability to show my father that she’s still that person. She was a deep thinker who loved to write poetry and a lover of music and movies. The stories she shared with me revealed a side I had never seen before and I’m glad I stayed to listen. I suppose all it took was taking a trip down her memory lane to learn some new things about her.  She told me that she had forgotten a lot of these moments and didn’t remember that she could write with such passion and depth. These memories which were tucked away in a box helped her rediscover herself by opening up her past. It made me smile to see her smile. With her permission I asked if it would be okay if I could post one of her letters or poems. Here is a poem she wrote for my dad when they were dating.

This is a Beatles Colour Card from my mother’s childhood (it’s probably from the late 60’s). We found it in her memory box. The front of the card has a picture of the band and the back of the card has a question answered by John Lennon (her favourite member of the band and my favourite too). Her obsession with the band still exists today. She reminisced about songs she loved and recalled songs which reminded her of happy times and bittersweet moments.

Baby pictures of mom and a picture of mom in her early 20’s (bottom left).

m.T

So You Need a Place to Share Your Work?

So you have a vision and you want to share it with the world but some networking limitations have made it hard for you to do so. You have a talent for producing music, designing, creating fashionable and unique pieces and a story you’d like to share with the world but haven’t got the place to market your creations.  You breathe, dream and bleed art. You’d rather paint instead of eat; you’d rather sew before you sleep; you’d rather write than wrought away your ideas. It’s your passion; it’s your life and all you’ve ever hoped for is an avenue without a dead end. Ahh so you’re a struggling artist, a struggling writer? Well what if I was to tell you that there is a network so innovative and groundbreaking that it could possibly change all of the above. They’re called ArtRebels and are giving artists and writers and people like you and me the opportunity to engage in the creative artist’s world on a global scale. This site is so clever, eye-catching, lucrative and yes, very fun to browse on. You can be a part of this community here:  www.artrebels.com. It’s a place I may want to submit my first novel. It might also be one of the first places you do too if you’re interested in self-publishing.

Pretty cool huh?  ArtRebels is a business based on creativity and their website is a place where artists and writers can network, share and sell their work. They are revolutionizing the idea of how artists can profit and how the art community can connect and thrive. ArtRebels, a creative portal filled with all walks of art from fashion and visual art, to music and literature have created a new definition for the expression out with the old and in with new, dispelling the myth of the starving artist and promoting the growing artist as enterprising.

ArtRebels sends the interpreter, innovator and art lover on a colourful journey to find meaning and gain ownership over the various different works the website offers. The challenges the artist faced before have now been replaced with opportunities, giving the artist access to patrons and patrons access to art. What has begun to take shape is this thriving connection demonstrating that the independent artist’s art is not only of visual value but can be of monetary value too. It’s also a liberating platform for creativity and gives innovators and artists a chance to compete in the corporate world because it disables networking constraints among the creative community. ArtRebels is an intentional break from conventional ways of sharing art because it creates a new place for people to share and collect what they love, creating a new perspective on the artist. They are also giving the autonomous author, artist and designer a wonderful balance between independence and unity. ArtRebels’ website has become the artist’s gallery and the writer’s library.

So, what are the positives?

-Everyone has the chance to join their network. This site is floored with opportunity, allowing anybody (from writers to artists) the CHANCE to be a part of their movement.

-Changing the accessibility of art, ArtRebels is thinning the line between the failed artist and success, allowing the artist to get closer to people and closer to their dream.

-They’re changing how we look at the artist and the business world by providing more opportunities (jobs) for the artist to add their creative touch to a bland way of making money- could ArtRebels be the answer to boosting the economy?

-ArtRebels may be the first to fire off a movement that will push others to think outside the box and to look at art as a lucrative business, rather than a practice that is only used for entertainment.

-They’re creating a positive change by creating projects for the youth, social change and charities.

-They’re bringing back a sense of community by uniting people at art festivals they have organized for inspiration and for a good cause.

-In so many ways ArtRebels is making life colorful and fun- who could hate that?

Magnetized by what this network has to offer it is so important to see that ArtRebels have created an enriching haven of various art forms which provide the same relative freedom artists and writers have while they are creating. Inevitably they are providing texture to the business world. The artist has the power to evolve as an innovator, allowing art to take on a form of emancipation. The layering of business and creativity can show the world a different way we look at artists and business. Without a doubt the cumulative effect of artists and ArtRebels demonstrates that there can be a definite kinship between art and business. Most importantly, if you have work to contribute go for it. Submit it to ArtRebels.

-m.T