Day Job: By day I work as a cashier at the local Circle K. I am also a licensed massage therapist, and do that gig on the side whenever I have the time.
3 favorite authors: Ray Bradbury, Charles Bukowski, and Agatha Christie.
3 artists I admire: That is a tough one. I have always wished that I could have Marina Abramovic’s courage and passion. I am constantly mystified by Bernini’s sculptures. I have visited the Borghese Gallery several times and I can’t figure out how someone could make something so perfect. Lastly, I admire Dali— he embraced his weirdness.
Bragging rights: tell us about something you’re really proud of. I’m proud that I have finally learned to love myself. It’s taken a while.
What’s the toughest criticism of your work you’ve ever received? How did you respond or deal with it? I once sent a sonnet I wrote to an online magazine. They told me it was too rhyme-y. How did I deal with it? I stopped rhyming.
Must-have item for my workspace: Quiet.
Where do your ideas come from? What can you tell us about your creative process? My ideas come from what I see at my tedious, stressful, and crazy job. I get inspiration from my interactions with others. For example, I had a male customer recently tell me that I should re-paint my nails—he could see the polish was chipping. So I wrote a poem about how women are seen as the property of others; how some men see it as “okay” to tell a woman how to look, dress, or simply be.
How do you know when a piece or project is finished and needs no additional work?I never really know if a piece is done. It just comes out of me, and that’s that. Sometimes I go back and change things around or edit. But then again, sometimes I don’t.
Tell us about an under-appreciated artist, gallery, writer, or bookstore do you think people should know about. My friend from high school, Nick Sirotich. We rode the bus together for 2 years, and we were really good friends. He is an illustrator and tattoo artist; he’s the coolest guy ever. You can find his work at nicksirotich.com.
3 things that will be obsolete in 10 years: cursive writing, CD players, ugg boots (I hope).
Any fun plans for the summer? My plans for the summer are to work, write, garden, and to finish up the courses I need to become a licensed body piercer.
Vol. 14 POWER AND CORRUPTION: Risica Caputi - "Keep Your Left Up & Chin Down"
"The piece I’ve written is about how backward American society is. Although we have made incredible advances in technology, medicine, and so forth, our country has the mental attitude of a four year old. We want to be cool. We want to be perfect. We want everything, and we want it now. This poem is a bit cynical, but who isn’t nowadays?"—Risica
Welcome to America Land of freedom and prosperity Where the old are forgotten Shut away inside graying walls So we are not subjected to their slow decay Where the prosperous ascend to the top On the broken sweating backs Of the middle class
This is the land where vanity is god Where we starve and cut and die To meet impossible standards Where higher education is for everyone As long as your pockets are lined with gold We are deluged with images of the beautiful people Leading lives that we wish we could have Famous for nothing and loving it
Welcome to America Land of freedom and acceptance Where you are judged not on the goodness of your soul But on the price of your Louis Vuitton handbag Where some struggle and toil just to make it to next week While the one percent sip champagne over breakfast Watching the rest of us work ourselves to death.
3 favorite authors: Oscar Wilde, Orson Welles, Henry David Thoreau
3 artists you most admire: Marc Chagall, Gustav Klimt, Theo Jansen
Bragging rights: I brag about everything…
What’s the toughest criticism of your work you’ve ever received? "I could do that"
How did you respond or deal with it? "Go right ahead"
What is the must-have item for your workspace? Other than myself and paint… Lots of wine.
Where do your ideas come from? Usually people who piss me off.
What can you tell us about your creative process? It’s never really the same twice so I just put my self in a position to create and sometimes good things happen and sometimes they don’t.
How do you know when a piece or project is finished and needs no additional work? When I roll it up and start the next piece. I can’t leave work out or I’ll keep messing with it until its a completely different work so I just have to put it away.
Tell us about an under-appreciated artist, gallery, writer, or bookstore do you think people should know about. Steven Powell. He’s an amazing glass artist out of Danville Kentucky.
Name three things that will be obsolete in 10 years. Wish were obsolete or actually? I wish: Ugg boots, reality TV and religion.
Any fun plans for the summer? Some friends and I are in the early stages of starting a clothing company so hopefully we can get that up and running this summer.
"This image deals with the type of predatory behavior exhibited so often in recent years by corporations. They’re literally crushing people so that they can turn a profit. This, of course, has become so common place that no one really seems to notice or care unless it is happening to them, which I believe is symptomatic of a general indifference in the world."—Jon
Once again, we have the obligatory blog post about what you need to do at this year’s ALA Annual Conference. If you want more information you can check out the official ALATT party list from Lauren Bradley and my partner Jp Porcaro already put together his list of…
“I like to think of what happens to characters in good novels and stories as knots—things keep knotting up. And by the end of the story—readers see an “unknotting” of sorts. Not what they expect, not the easy answers you get on TV, not wash and wear philosophies, but a reproduction of believable emotional experiences.”—Terry McMillan
“The old adage is true—writing is rewriting. But it takes a kind of courage to confront your own awfulness (and you will be awful) and realize that, if you sleep on it, you can come back and bang at the thing some more, and it will be less awful. And then you sleep again, and bang even more, and you have something middling. Then you sleep some more, and bang, and you get something that is actually coherent. Hopefully when you are done you have a piece that reasonably approximates the music in your head. And some day, having done that for years, perhaps you will get something that is even better than the music in your head. Becoming a better writer means becoming a re-writer. But that first phase is so awful that most people don’t want any part.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates (via theatlantic)
This has been such a hectic time for Team Ink Well! Thanks to everyone for your patience - we know we’re taking longer than usual to get back to you on submissions, and we’re working on improving that.
“Think of the novels you have loved most. Do you remember a character who lived with page after page, perhaps hoping the book would never end? What do you remember most clearly, the characters or the plot? Now think of the movies you’ve seen that affected you the most. Do you remember the actors or the plot? There’s a book called Characters Make Your Story that you don’t have to read because the title says it all: Characters make your story. If the people come alive, what they do becomes the story.”—Sol Stein
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”—
“If you are a student you should always get a good night’s sleep, unless you have come to the good part of your book and then you should stay up all night and let your schoolwork fall by the wayside, a phrase which means “flunk.””—Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
There is consternation at Wikipedia over the discovery that hundreds of novelists who happen to be female were being systematically removed from the category “American novelists” and assigned to the category “American women novelists.”
The debate that broke out when Filipacchi’s opinion piece appeared is still running, and the issue appears to be more general and pervasive than most had originally thought. Throughout Wikipedia, in all kinds of categories, women and people of nonwhite ethnicities are assigned only to their subcategories. Maya Angelou is in African-American writers, African-American women poets, and American women poets, but not American poets or American writers. Many editors are saying that people need to be “bubbled up” to their parent categories.
“There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, as if something is there, beneath the surface of my understanding, waiting for me to grasp it. It is the same tantalising sensation when you almost remember a name, but don’t quite reach it. I can feel it when I think of human beings, of the hints of evolution suggested by the removal of wisdom teeth, the narrowing of the jaw no longer needed to chew such roughage as it was accustomed to; the gradual disappearance of hair from the human body; the adjustment of the human eye to the fine print, the swift, coloured motion of the twentieth century. The feeling comes, vague and nebulous, when I consider the prolonged adolescence of our species … Perhaps someday the revelation will burst in upon me and I will see the other side of this monumental grotesque joke. And I’ll laugh. And then I’ll know what life is.”—Sylvia Plath
3 favorite authors: Cassandra Clare, Charles Bukowski, Augusten Burroughs.
3 artists you most admire: Artemesia Gentileschi, Henry Asencio, Henri Matisse.
How do you get going with your work?: Either to pass time on the bus or procrastinating an assignment.
If we googled your name, what would we find?: An organization I volunteered for once, the online copy of my school’s cultural newsletter that I write articles for and profusely advertise, my name listed under “Honorable Mention” for pieces I had submitted to the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.
What’s your favorite way to waste time at work without getting caught? Daydreaming or conversing with friends… I don’t really waste a lot of time. I take my work very seriously.
Name two words you always misspell: Definitely and conundrum.
What’s the last song to get stuck in your head? "You Know I’m No Good" Amy Winehouse Ft. Ghostface Killah.
What’s a movie you can rewatch or a book you can reread over and over again?Forrest Gump.
Describe your dream workspace/studio: Near Center City, where there is a lot of hustle and bustle, cultural crossovers, varying age groups, and history, all in one convenient location. I need culture and chaos in order to flourish in art and writing. Ideally, my inner studio/ workspace will have three rooms, all with wooden floors. One room will be my living space, complete with a cabinet full of candy. One room, the largest, will be my workspace, with my desk and computer set up on one side of the room and artworks in progress on the other side. A huge stereo system will be in the middle of the rooms. There will be a few windows for ventilation and lighting, but that’s it. The third room will be a storage space.
“It is about two friends who are in some unspoken, petty argument. It relates to the theme of momentum because there is a need to move on: either the friend can apologize to mend the friendship or they both go on to see new, unplagued people.”—Cali
You sneezed and filled my head with a thousand pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, so a sneeze must be worth a million.
The point is, I don’t want your sickness anymore, your lack of self-control to PLEASE cover your nose or at the VERY least bring with you a goddamned box of tissues, it’s an issue when your runny nose drips onto that doorknob, the one I gripped just yesterday so it didn’t hit this sultry lady’s heels.
Those fine, red heels.
Now she has it too, the flu. All thanks to, well, me. See I too am plagued by your friendship, it’s difficult to quarantine myself from a commitment built over ten whole years, a commitment you had “accidently” forgotten, so willingly threw away, just like that tissue you never seemed to get hold of.
And what am I to do? Perhaps I could be like you, abandon everything. I’d rather follow this sultry lady with red heels, I trust that when she gets sick her sneezes aren’t so carelessly lethal, that she keeps them calm and contained and somewhat friendly.
Or maybe you could swallow your pride like that glob of phlegm that just made its way down your throat and utter the two millionths of a sneeze we need to repair our friendship:
Cali Chesterman, a senior at Central High School in Philadelphia, spends her time people watching. These mundane observations develop into fictional characters that she uses in art, writing, and film projects. She plans to study digital animation in college.
“We must try to contribute joy to the world. … That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”—From Scott Simon’s tribute “Roger Ebert: Elegance and Empathy.
“Poetry is a life-cherishing force. And it requires a vision— a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes to let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed.”