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Posts Tagged ‘taking risks’

MarryMe1dabstext2 sharp

Marry Me Mandala, for Elizabeth on her birthday, hand-drawn mandala photographed with Canon Powershot & edited with PhotoShop Elements, Golden Valley, Minnesota, January 29th, 2012, photo © 2011-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




On the day you were born,
it's plain to see, the Moon and the Stars
aligned with the Sea—
a wild heart so caring and free
a better Aquarius you could never be!

If beauty rises from the love we carry
I see no reason why we should not marry
let the rest of the world fight over what it all means,
I know our love is everything it seems.

I want to live with you all the days of my life,
through thick and thin, amid hardship and strife,
from deaths and births and the long Dark Night
spring Joy and Art, and a good snowball fight.

Last night when we danced on the studio floor
I felt your love swell inside once more.
In bearing witness, here for all to see,
it's your birthday, Elizabeth, will you marry me?






-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, January 29th, 2012, for Shug

-related to posts: Gratitude Mandala — Giving Thanks

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'Break Me' Music Video Shoot of Alexx Calise, photo by Luigie Gonzalez




You might not have ever heard of singer-songwriter Alexx Calise, but someday, hopefully soon, that will change. Alexx is a young woman who in her short career in a hard-as-nails industry has managed to release a debut album, Morning Pill; rack up over a dozen endorsements from music gear and clothing manufacturers; get featured as a Boston radio’s “Hot Up-and-Coming Indie Artist”; and have one of her songs used in a promo for TV series One Tree Hill. Those are just a few of her accomplishments.

We were curious about how Alexx landed on her unique sound of electronica, hard rock, and urban-edged pop, as well as what drives her to work so hard to achieve her dream. She took time from working on her two next albums to give us these insights.


* * * *




Interview with Alexx Calise, February 2010, red Ravine


red Ravine: By way of introduction, tell us a little bit about yourself and your music. How would you describe your music to someone who’s just getting to know you?

Alexx Calise: Well, I’m a bit of an enigma. I’m too alternative to be considered “normal,” and I’m too “normal” to be considered alternative. Sometimes, I don’t even get myself. I’m extremely introverted in person yet unabashed and raw when I get on stage. I think that my material is an accurate portrayal of my personality. The music is high-energy and adrenaline inducing yet the lyrics are esoteric and thoughtful.


red Ravine: You’ve worked hard toward the goal of being a musician, which is noteworthy given that many people your age are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. How did you get so focused and how do you stay that way?

Alexx: Thank you! Fortunately, I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a writer in some form (over the years music started to accompany those writings). Knowing what you want to do early on makes all the difference in the world. Essentially, I had my whole life to hone my craft. Not everyone is that lucky. Being focused and motivated has always been kind of innate for me. I’m always striving for perfection (which is also my downfall), and I’m constantly pushing myself to be better in every sense of the word. No one else is going to do this for me, so it’s up to me to make it happen.


red Ravine: Making it as a musician must be challenging. What specific actions or milestones have you found to be most significant in moving you closer to your goals?

Alexx: There are a few specific things that have helped propel my career, like when my music was featured on One Tree Hill, or when I was Frostwire.com’s featured artist for a while. But I’ve found that hard work, dedication and perspiration created those types of opportunities. The more you put yourself out there, the more you get back. I always have 10,000 different poles in the ocean. If one thing falls through, I don’t dwell on it because another opportunity is bound to come up. I’m constantly moving, and I’m always attempting to generate momentum and interest. I think of my music career as a business, so like Donald Trump or any of these successful entrepreneurs you’ve seen or read about, I’m constantly thinking of new and innovative ways to market myself. I’m always researching and I’m always trying to make my “product” better.


red Ravine: I read in an interview that your father was a musician and an early influence in your musical life. What did he say when he found out you wanted to be a musician?

Alexx: I think my father loved the fact that I wanted to be a musician as well, because it became our way of communicating. We’d spend our father-daughter time playing or talking music, and he even ended up playing a few shows with me when I needed a bass player (by the way, he rips on the bass!). I think some of the most special and memorable times in my life were those moments. You really can’t buy moments like those.


red Ravine: Who are your other musical influences?

Alexx: I grew up listening to silverchair, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Toadies, STP, Soundgarden and Buckcherry. My forthcoming album, In Avanti, incorporates a lot of my electronica influences, such as Archive and The Dust Brothers. I think the best way to describe the new sound would be “Alanis meets The Prodigy.”


red Ravine: What do you think of shows like American Idol or America’s Got Talent? Are these credible venues for musicians who are starting out or who haven’t found other means of making it big?

Alexx: I’m personally not a huge fan of those types of shows, but that’s not to say they’re not credible launch vehicles. I don’t have a problem with anything that doesn’t compromise someone’s artistic integrity.


red Ravine: Do you like to read, and if so, what books or authors?

Alexx: I’m actually a voracious reader. My favorites to name a few are Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Janet Fitch’s White Oleander, Downtown Owl and Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman, Girl by Blake Nelson, anything Stephen Covey, and Bully by Jim Schutze.


red Ravine: Describe a typical day in your life.

Alexx: Depends on what you’re definition of typical is! (Ha ha!) Lately my days consist of interviews, recording for either my solo project or Sound of Cancer (my other new album/project with drummer/songwriter Dennis Morehouse), doing photo and video shoots, tracking vocals for commercials, writing, practicing, marketing and promoting, and spending whatever little time I have left working out, hanging with my kitten or sleeping.


red Ravine: Talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a young woman in this industry. Have you had to make any adjustments, or do you find the industry to be equally challenging for men and women?

Alexx: I think it’s a challenge for everyone these days. There are thousands of distractions, like social media and other technologies, so that it’s difficult to stand out and be seen as an artist in general. To be a successful musician nowadays, you need to do some serious out-of-the-box thinking. As far as adjustments are concerned, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that people aren’t buying CDs anymore—hence you have to come up with alternative ways of generating income—and that you have to do everything yourself. No record label is going to save you from a lifetime of poverty and obscurity, and most importantly, no one is going to care about your career (or you!) more than you.


red Ravine: I have a ten-year-old daughter who has been playing guitar since age 7. She’s recently discovered the joy of playing for others. What advice would you have for her (or for me, as her mother) in nurturing her love of music and performing?

Alexx: Scatter as many law books around the house as you can before it’s too late! Just kidding! As far as advice goes, I would encourage her to follow her dreams and to reach for the stars. There is nothing on this Earth that you can’t do so long as you put your mind to it. Sure, it’s a long, hard road, but if it’s in your heart and that’s all that you know how to do you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The worst thing you could ever do is give up or let fear get in the way of your love.





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Live at Swinghouse (Los Angeles, CA), photo by Lucinda Wedge

About Alexx Calise: Alexx Calise grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she spent her childhood mostly alone or in the pages of a notebook, finding comfort only in her parents’ vast record collection, which included everything from Mozart to Led Zeppelin.

At 11, she picked up the guitar to emulate her father, also a talented musician, and began fusing the melodies she heard in her head with her own poetry and recitations.

She lives in Los Angeles, California. You can learn more about her at her website, plus follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/alexx.calise and on My Space at http://www.myspace.com/alexxcalise.

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I have not come close to death. But I have feared it. Taunted it, too. Repelled down the sides of cliffs. Spelunked in the bowels of caves. Flown over the Arctic in a small plane that landed on a short gravel bar on the banks of the Nahanni. Once I drove through the mountains on a cold snowy night, joyriding with friends. We ended up stranded in a ditch, no coats, no water, no food. Another night I got lost hiking in Arches National Park. But I sat tight with the bats, two camera bodies, flickering distant desert, until rangers whispered my name.

I was younger then, took more risks. I feel more cautious. Older and prone to safety. It’s boring to lose that sense of adventure. The bones creakier. The face more wrinkled. The risks emotional.

Who do I know that has come close to death? A girlfriend in high school told me she had meningitis as a baby and nearly died. She was scarred from the shots, said it was a miracle that she was still alive. What must it be like for a parent to lose a child? My grandmother lost her son, my mother her brother, at the age of 18. There are ways I would not want to die. I wouldn’t want to be in a fire or drown in the ocean. I don’t think I’d be fond of a shark bite ripping me in half. Car accidents don’t sound like a way to go either. Maybe there is no good way to die. To imagine death.

There have been times when I felt like I was a millisecond away from making a wrong turn with the wheel, a swerve of a bald tire, and something righted the machine. The hand of Fate? A God or Goddess? Is there something bigger, unimaginable to the mortal brain, there to intervene? I believe so. What if reality turns out to be only what we believe. I watched a movie recently called Paper Heart. It was an exploration of love. What is love. When was the first time you fell in love. Have you ever been in love?

I was thinking of the broken heart. In the movie, a faux documentary, the experts said love wasn’t in the heart, but chemical reactions in the brain. How then to explain the tight chest, crackling near the ribs when someone suddenly says goodbye. When I think of death, I wonder about being ready to die. Will I feel like I’m ready when my time comes. And when will that be.

It’s unpredictable, a good argument for living in the moment. And here I am writing about death like it was love and love like it was death. And on the screen in front of me a shark swims next to a narwhale, elusive creatures of the sea. You could go your whole life and never see a narwhale. Yet there he was, the National Geographic photographer who spotted the ivory tusked cluster from the air.

And when he zoomed in with the telephoto, face to face in the water, who was closer to death, animal or human. Do skeptics believe in love? Maybe they don’t need to. Dense and blue. I think love is blue. “In love” is that bright color mix of powder and turquoise. Broken love, a deep blackberry navy. Death. What color is death? In the end it does not matter. The one thing we share besides birth is death. I haven’t come close to it. Yet skin cells continue to shed. New skin, new me. Haggard and prunish, a raisin in the sun.




-Related to topic post WRITING TOPIC – 3 QUESTIONS. [NOTE: This is the first of three questions mentioned by actor and writer Anna Deavere Smith in an interview with Bill Moyers (see link). She talked about the questions in the context of interviewing people and listening to them. The three questions came from a linguist Smith met at a cocktail party in 1979; the questions were, according to the linguist, guaranteed to break the patterns and change the way people are expressing themselves. QuoinMonkey, ybonesy, and frequent guest writer Bob Chrisman take on the three questions by doing a Writing Practice on each.]

-Also related to posts PRACTICE: Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (by ybonesy), PRACTICE: Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (by Bob Chrisman)

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pseudonym

Definition: false name
Synonyms: AKA, alias, ananym, anonym, assumed name, handle*, incognito*, nickname, nom de guerre, nom de plume, pen name, professional name, stage name, summer name
Notes: an allonym is a pen name that is borrowed, not made-up like a pseudonym
Antonyms: name



The time has come. For three years I have blogged and doodled under (and behind) the pseudonym ybonesy. When we started, the alias was for protection; we didn’t know what kind of weirdos might read the blog. (Now we know, and I’m pretty sure I can best any of ’em. Well, except for one, and she knows who she is.)

The nom de plume served me in other ways. It made me freer than I might have been early on in my writing. It’s strange sending your words out into the ether of the Internet. There were times when I thought, Well, no one gives a damn about turkeys who mate on the patio, or a snake who bathes, or my stress incontinence, but who cares? No one knows it’s me!

OK, I exaggerate. There were enough friends and family who knew it was me such that I was never truly anonymous. And I knew the kinky among you would appreciate turkey sex, wet snakes, and bed-wetting. (Going back to read that one, are you?)

But I’m ready to merge. I’m already a Gemini; having a pseudonym is like being four people. ybonesy has become me and I have become ybonesy. Time to take off the mask.



first, the facts


My name is Roma Arellano. I’m married to Jim. My daughters are not really Dee and Em, but since they’re not old enough to choose to go public, we’ll keep calling them Dee and Em. Sony the Pug, Baby the Bullsnake, Otis, and Rafael have used their real names from the beginning. They can all bite; thus, they never have worried about protection.

I work in high-tech. I love my job. I used to be a workaholic. It took almost burning out to finally figure out how to work and write in the same lifetime. My other big accomplishment is that I haven’t puked since I was 11; I’m now 48. I have emetophobia, so called because those who suffer are afraid of others emeto-ing all over us. Other than that, I’m like any other corporate writing painting wife mother blogger.



next, the hair


Why did God give us hair anyway? Didn’t he realize we’d figure out how to knit? I have the worst hair. One hairdresser used to call it Schnauzer fur. Then I’d pay him $85 to turn me into a retriever.

Long? Short? You get to decide which is better. Voting is anonymous, or you can vote using your pseudonym. I will not be crushed and depressed for two weeks if you hate my new hair. (After all, I still have my no-puke streak, and you can’t take that away from me.)




BEFORE: Looking like a raptor that just spotted a mouse in a field.


roma long hair 1



AFTER: Aw, I am so shy. Haven’t I proven myself to be shy?















lastly, the stuff


The biggest reason for taking off the mask is that I’m selling my goods and I want to claim them as my own. Part of embracing myself as a creative being is embracing my creations. So instead of ybonesy being my pseudonym, ybonesy is my muse.

And it’s the name of my new Etsy shop. If you haven’t heard about Etsy, it is “your place to buy and sell all things handmade.” You’ll need an Etsy account to buy there, but you will find great items from so many different vendors that it’s worth the trouble setting up an account.


http://www.etsy.com/shop/romaarellano


Wallinga Design, the same graphic design company that created the red Ravine logo, also created my new logo. Professional people and fun to work with. We were aiming for something quirky, bold, emetophobic. Wow, you’re still paying attention?


ybonesy (that's me)


If you have any questions about my shop, you can ask them here. I have more items to add, and more to make. Keep checking in. I haven’t made a sale yet. I might just shave my head when I do make one.



epilogue


If you want to keep calling me ybonesy or yb, that works for me. Or you can call me Roma. Or you can call me Emeto-dork. Or just dork.

QuoinMonkey, who I fondly call QM, is not taking off her mask right away. But eventually, and she doesn’t look anything like a hawk going in for the kill.

OK. All done now. This feels good.




See? I told you I was a dork.

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By Patricia Anders

 

 

 

Envy, Drawing © 2009 by Patricia Anders, all rights reserved

Envy, drawing © 2009 by Patricia Anders. All rights reserved.

 
 




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Patricia Anders received honorable mention in the Out of The Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest at red Ravine for her drawing Envy.

You can find out more about Patricia and her artwork here and here.


Congratulations, Patricia, from Out of The Blue Films, Inc. and red Ravine!




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red Ravine is not liable for any actions by Out of The Blue Films, Inc., nor the Film. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for any outcomes from the contest.

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By Anonymous

 

 

As unaccountable as feeling, as inevitable, inconvenient and beautiful as tumultuous weather, a circumstance has arisen in which I am envied by a woman far more successful than I.

The Woman Who Envies Me, or let us call her WWEM for short, like a radio station, decided at some point that my life, my spirit, I don’t know what, I don’t know what, I don’t know, my circumstances, were, in their beauty, a source of personal torment to her, a sign of the complete arbitrariness of the universe in the handing out of sweet things, and began to torment me mercilessly, even as she tormented herself, with outbursts in my direction. As we were frequently thrown into artistic situations together, working on the same movie, being in the same play (both of us are comedians and actors), she would never come to the workplace intending to torment me. Rather she would be overtaken by this feeling of envy, never the master of it. Envy has no master! It operates with a terrible independence, diminishing the spirit even as it enlarges and bloats the sense of self! Once, during a rehearsal, the WWEM shrieked, without warning to herself or to me that anything was coming:

O who do you think you are! With all that! With all that! Just because you went to some Ivy League school! You think you’re all that!

I was obliged to point out to her that it was she who had attended an Ivy League university; I had been a high school flunkie who barely got into any college, and would be shaking a cup in front of the F train were it not that my father had been a professor at a college that felt more or less obligated to admit me.

Another time, having attended a solo show of mine at a New York theater, she followed me around the lobby of the theater after the show whispering frantically in my ear, wherever I walked:

fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you

The woman in question is a known screenwriter and actor, a mother, a wife, the author of two successful books, a person of financial means and connections, and enjoys excellent health.

Except for her envy.

The beauty of this story, the lesson for me, lies in its mystery. It is quite clear that she envies me desperately (the symptoms are all there; I recognize them from my own inner life). If I could find her in a moment of quiescent spirit, I could try to ask her why. There is no doubt in my mind that the answer would educate me deeply. No doubt whatsoever.
 




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An anonymous writer received honorable mention in the Out of The Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest at red Ravine for the short story Envy.


Congratulations, Anonymous, from Out of The Blue Films, Inc. and red Ravine!




__________________________________________________________________________________________

red Ravine is not liable for any actions by Out of The Blue Films, Inc., nor the Film. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for any outcomes from the contest.

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By Eileen Malone

 

 

I’m phoning you, pick up, I say aloud
I know you’re there, I’m driving by your house
damn it, I see your car parked in front
there is no answer, not even a machine click
then I remember that you are dead

how I begrudged you winning first prize
when I couldn’t even earn an honorable mention
getting published when I was rejected
then the delirious joy when it was my poem
that they chose over yours, hah!

on and on we went, an abbreviation
of small black-winged envies
drunkenly sucking each other’s blood
holding us connected enough to scoff
and mock the achievements of other poets
deigning them lesser, mundane, trends

all we wanted was to one-up each other
but you one-upped, repaired your glory and died
and oh how I miss you, my beloved rival
your relentless push that I pushed back

now before whose earnest tight-lipped face
do I wave my award winning poem?
who do I phone, fax, e-mail, brag to?
no witness, it seems, matters as much as you did

for you, beloved rival, all that poetry
it’s as clear as a mathematical formula
all of it, even the unfinished, dismembered
it was all for you, and I never knew.

 
 




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Eileen Malone received honorable mention in the Out of The Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest at red Ravine for her poem Beloved Rival.

You can find out more about Eileen at her website.


Congratulations, Eileen, from Out of The Blue Films, Inc. and red Ravine!




__________________________________________________________________________________________

red Ravine is not liable for any actions by Out of The Blue Films, Inc., nor the Film. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for any outcomes from the contest.

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