Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Oak and Gorski must raise $10,000 by this week (Oct. 1st).

They’re at around $9000. It’s pretty much an all or nothing deal. Please help them not fail. Thanks.

Oak and Gorski Album/Music Video/Press/Tour KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN.

After you make your “contribution,” watch Ed shave his luscious locks and donate it to a charity of your choice. And/or have Ken come to your place during their tour and give you a private cello lesson. (No innuendo. It’s an actual cello lesson.) Hell…BUY Ken’s cello off him if you can. These guys have. no. limits. Nor shame for that matter.

Help them out if you can. Please. It’s for a good cause. =)


Originally published in the Daily Trojan. (No longer archived on the DT website.) This is also the unedited version I originally submitted. I didn’t have any problems with the changes my editors made…except for them altering the entire perspective of the article by changing it from present tense to past tense. (Also, they asked for 1000 words. I gave them 1900…so yeah…cuts/edits obviously had to be made somewhere.) But yeah…this is how it originally felt.

Ken Oak, in a white long-sleeve shirt, jeans, and slightly messy hair that covers his face a bit, sits in a dimly lit, small, cozy Los Angeles cafe near Koreatown, nervously fidgeting just a bit. Ed Gorski, his bandmate, dressed in a moderately wrinkled grey button-down, cargo shorts, and a scruffy beard, leans back casually in his seat, one arm hanging loosely behind his chair. Both have faint but noticeable bags under their eyes — effects of the successful release of their new album at the Hotel Cafe in downtown Los Angeles earlier this month.

They are waiting for this interview, and this article, to get started as the cafe barista very slowly prepares the three mochas. The drinks arrive, Oak sits up, Gorski remains in his casual pose, and the interview gets underway.


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Awkwardness comes in many infinite shades,
like pretty faces.
Or homely ones.
Or senses of humor.
Or laughter.

And it’s merely a matter of finding a shade
that catches your eye.
Or mind.
Or taste.
Or touch.

Your awkwardness is what drew me in,
from your hidden corner, valiantly hoping against all hope
that no one will notice your very personal shade.

For now, this is all I need to find enjoyment.
I could see what other wonderful shades you have

Songs of the Day:

Matt Nathanson – “I Saw”
Stars – “My Favourite Book”

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the night
sky, offering
up glowing
balls of
varying size arranged in systematic
constellations. Meteors with cone-shaped tails travel backwards
in long, predictable two-way paths. As the aeroplane soars higher
into the cold clouds of the night, I stare at civilization,
slowly but
surely, being
reduced to
lights next
to dancing darkness.

Songs of the Day:
Teitur – “Poetry and Aeroplanes”
Elton John – “Rocket Man”

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Random Numbers (#1)
“Random Numbers (#1)” 2002, by Mel Bochner

This is a post of randomness.

I was surfing the Internets recently (like I do for most of my waking hours), and I came across this nugget of wisdom:

Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% not being distracted by the Internet…

I cannot emphasize enough how true that statement is for me (and too many others). When I have something important to do (usually a big paper, or story, or article, or report, or something related to my increasingly useless-looking major), I freakin’ waste time in every way imaginable — everything from blogging, music, driving around after I convince myself I have to go somewhere, doing laundry and not folding the clothes for hours, etc.

Half the time, the internet and my computer are what keep me occupied. And I’m either blog-hopping, reading about music and bands ad nauseum, or going on a never-ending train of “Hmm…I’ve always wondered about that, I’ll look it up!” Then I go to bed cussing myself out for wasting the whole day away, and I vow never to do it again. The next night usually ends the same way.

* * * *

On another note (pun most enthusiastically intended), are there any songs with “Michael” in the title or lyrics? (more…)

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It’s Christmas Eve. All your shopping better be done by now…mine is. Fortunately, I don’t have many people to buy stuff for (or is that unfortunate?). Anyways, Melissa, a fellow blogger in the blogosphere (I like that word), wrote an excellent post inspired by the holiday madness. After I read it, I proclaimed it as “the bastard love-child of Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis”—and Melissa agreed with my description. (I also really like the phrase “bastard love-child,” especially when I come across it in otherwise serious book/movie/music reviews.) This is her lovely story, titled “How the Wench Stole Christmas”:

It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags! He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more….

I remember the first time I saw the Grinch get an awful idea. His Grinchy wonderful, awful idea. His smile grew and grew and grew until he should have run out of a face, but his face held a trace of a smile that made me brace, brace, brace, brace.

As a little girl, I thought he was just awful, stealing those poor Who presents, making their Christmas as empty as a Who peasant’s. But as I grew older, and wiser, and grim, I sort of made a anti-Who-shopping hero out of him.

That grinch who hated material wealth, who despised bee-bobs and doodads, and empty wishes for good health. The grinch became a hero, a green man in tights, who boycotted Who darkness by putting out their lights.

I hoo-rahed and hoorayed and snipped my own debt cards, feeling somehow more righteous for judging those Who-hearts.

And what happened then? Well, I grew up some more – and I realized something I’d never quite realized before. While Whos like to shop, like to shop til they drop, like to head to the store and hop hop hop hop. Deep down inside, I think most Whos will tell you, that Christmas is not about what the department store sells you. I believe that we Who-mans are not as dark as some naysayers say, but still largely believe in the Spirit of the day. There is an old saying, as old as the sun, about inner battles, since time was first spun. About lights shining in darkness, just like Old Tannenbaum’s, and giving, not getting, being second to none.

But I think in the stink of the inner cesspool of man, the lights sometimes go out, though that isn’t our plan. We Whos find ourselves working – working ever so hard – and in working, working, working, we forget the first part. We forget why we gift-wrap gifts in our houses, why we open our doors and even give cheese to the mouses. We forget Who first gave, and then gave some more, not out of His debt, but out of His store. While we Whos frantically try to honor his rule, that we love our family, our neighbors, and even the fool, we forget the Rulemaker in the midst of our Yule.

In our effort to serve, we go overboard, we sink in our own goodness, and become what we deplored. We buy what’s not needed – we buy what chains – we buy things for others so that our own identity gains. We buy for those who can likewise return, and then they buy us back so that we don’t feel spurned. On and on the buying goes so that no one remembers the end of their nose, or the simple cheer that came from a Christmas that snows.

But if we should wake and find the baubles gone, I believe man, in his better parts, would go on. Whether eventually, or at the first, I believe his hands would clasp those beside him, whether or not a gift was inside them – that he would welcome to this meeker feast, even the smallest in line to share the roast beast. I believe when you meet man, he can be angel or demon, and what he becomes may hinge on how you greet him. The war is inside, though Christmas is without; we may put out our own light, but the Star of Christmas will never go out.

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand. ~ the incomparable Dr. Seuss

Song of the Day (follow link to download page):

Sufjan Stevens – “Get Behind Me, Santa!”

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comedy-tragedy-mask.jpgArtwork by Guy Haley – title unknown

“We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes —
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties….”
Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear the Mask

“It’s all impersonation–in the absence of a self, one impersonates selves, and after a while impersonates best the self that best gets one through.”

“The treacherous imagination is everybody’s maker—we are all the invention of each other, everybody a conjuration conjuring up everyone else. We are all each other’s authors.”
-Phillip Roth, The Counterlife

I have this thing with assumptions: I hate them. There’s really not much you can do about them though. It’s just that some people make assumptions far too much and place far too much confidence in them — that’s what can be annoying. In many cases, the less you give people to go on, the bigger the leaps they make about you. But of course, assumptions are what we do. We all do it to varying degrees. We all hate them, yet we all make them.

I think assumptions are part of the reason why it’s so hard to really know someone these days. And it doesn’t help that people are more insecure than ever — insecurity is one of the defining characteristics of our post-modern condition, no? So we create multiple selves for ourselves, choosing a mask for each aspect of our lives.

Truth is relative — that is also one of the epiphanies of post-modernism: the most blatant of lies can carry more meaning than the starkest of truths; it can be a more profound “truth” than any real truth could have been. And this “truth” can help us get closer to finding and broadening the beautiful spectrum of our identity as humans…and can hurl us ten steps backwards by also serving to fracture and refract it even more.

In this age of personal blogs, myspace pages, user profiles, and polished, carefully designed resumes, we are always busy creating our various fictions that make up our identities, hoping against hope that it is the poignantly true type of fiction. So we create this fiction — some complete fiction, a lot of non-fiction, and much more a combination — for the world to read.

Boy, do people read. They read into everything we say or convey through our actions and expressions. So it’s probably understandable why we create these fictions for ourselves. People are constantly reading and counter-reading each other, and conclusions, no matter if they are true or not, are reached. Because, fuck, truth doesn’t matter. It’s the essence that’s of utmost importance. And really, it’s so much more intriguing when a lie or a series of untruths are able to convey a concrete, undeniable truth. (Perhaps we have fallen so in love with doing this that now we only get mostly flat, dull, boring untruths that don’t mean anything.)

We not only create fiction for ourselves but we also create fiction for those around us in our lives. And the conclusions we draw from our palette of suppositions — with their many nuances and varying shades and colors of truth, emotion, envy, love mixed in — are what we use to paint the people who surround our lives as well.

And it looks like I am in the same boat as all the people I get annoyed by — all the people who misread me, misinterpret me, and create their own fiction about me; all those people who I in turn misread and misinterpret, sometimes out of spite; and my self, who misreads and misinterprets me as much as the worst of them. Who am I? I have no clue really. I guess I’m writing my own fiction for me to read and say, “Ah, yes, this is me. I’ve found myself.” This of course is different from the fiction that I consciously and unconsciously write for everyone else to see. That fiction is the one that provides the hard covers for me to hide my “true fiction” within. And who knows how many other fictions are hiding in those? After a while, you can’t tell which is which.

We’re all writers, then we’re actors, in a continuous, alternating pattern, and life is just a matter of finding the best scripts to act out in the most convincing fashion. Ideally, that script would come from yourself, but it could come from a script someone else makes for you.

The idea of a “true identity” may only be an unreachable mirage of an ideal, only possible in a work of fiction.

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”
-Shakespeare, As You Like It

Songs of the Day:

Fugees – “The Mask”
Radiohead – “Fitter Happier”
Radiohead – “Karma Police”
Belle and Sebastian – “Storytelling”


….We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!”

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