Sunday, June 12, 2011

Creative Impotence

For all twelve of you that read this (the majority of which are related to me or to my boyfriend) you may have noticed this two month hiatus I’ve taken. While I am not notorious for much of anything, let alone reliable blogging, this has been the longest I’ve gone since I began forcing my very important opinions onto the unsuspecting readers of the interwebs. Though I’d like to say I’ve been busy traveling Europe, taking in new experiences, and living life the fullest, I’ve actually just been sitting around, feeling sorry for myself about where my “writing life” is going—nowhere. Like most full-time employed “adults,” at the end of a long work day  I am tired, grumpy, hungry, and more inclined to watch four hours straight of other people’s creativity on 30 Rock rather than try to come up with something of my own.  If you’re a creative person, you most likely understand the rut this routine can become: before you know it, the laptop is literally gathering dust (no seriously, cleaning this thing off required a mask and a lot of Claritin) and the deli below your apartment is thriving from all the Crunch ‘n Munch business you’ve been giving them.  In the past few months I drank approximately 27 root beer floats, used my old college email to get one free month of Hulu Plus, cried when my crappy internet connection interrupted Netflix, watched two full seasons of 24, and wrote absolutely nothing. 
As much as I’d like to continue turning this blog into a LiveJournal entry, there is a punch line to all this self-pity.  I’ve come out of my creative impotence, or at least am actively looking for an inspirational Viagra to help me come out of it, and have woken up to all the creativity that’s constantly buzzing around self-involved whiny me in this very cool seaside city. Portland has really come to thrive on the arts. There’s an entire community not just of writers, but of musicians, painters, dancers. And while not everyone can write something, sing something, make something, there’s the overwhelming support of Portland's many art appreciators. For me to sit around, borderline-crying to reruns of Dawson’s Creek (God, I did a lot of bad TV watching these past months) and lamenting over my inability to get my imaginative shit together, is just pathetic. And as my friend Caroline knows, if there is one adjective I would wish never to be called, it’s pathetic. Ugly I can handle—I had headgear, acne, and bangs so hairsprayed they literally cracked in middle school.  Stupid is even OK. We’re all a little stupid sometimes—just yesterday I asked my boyfriend what sports team the “Cong Rats” were when I saw a car parked outside the Bonny Eagle High School graduation at the Civic Center which read “CONGRATS 2011.” But pathetic? I don’t think so. Therefore, I’ve picked myself up off the futon, and am re-emerging into the creative life, at the risk of making a fool of myself. Whether I have to listen to criticisms for my poor choice of syntax, receive rejection letters, or deal with whatever other trials any aspiring writer faces, at least I won’t be pathetic. Maybe. I hope.
So, if you’re self-involved enough to think you’re creative, rock on. Here’s a few cool things happening in the near future in Portland that encourage Maine writers to keep on truckin’. For all you dudes cruising for ladies out there, these readings, book signings, etc. are really a great way to meet insecure women with bad high school memories and daddy issues. Jokes, jokes. But actually, it is a wonderful way to network and get inspired for your own writing. I am personally going to make it my mission to get my tired ass down to many of these, so I encourage any of you who are interested in what the Maine writing community has to offer to show up as well. To return to television, because that’s all I seem to have in my head these days, maybe Red Forman had it right: sometimes to get shit done, all we need is a swift kick in the ass. 
(Disclaimer: I took all these events from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance I did not re-write the write-ups because I thought the original ones pretty much summed everything up perfectly. I repeat: I did not write these. I said I was looking for my inspriational Viagra, I did not say I'd found it yet. Baby steps.)
Wednesday, June 15 at 7 PM Join the University of New England’s Add Verb Productions for a reading and book signing of its first book, Out & Allied Anthology, featuring youth-written monologues, short plays and poems at Longfellow Books in Portland. The material focuses on the experiences of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) youth and the importance of allies. Included is a guide for directing, producing, and writing original pieces and other resources. FMI or contact Cathy Plourde, Director Add Verb Productions 207-221-4493 office/ 207-653-4554 cell.

Friday, June 17 at 12PM Helen Rivas-Rose reads from her new memoir Brave about overcoming shyness at the Portland Public Library's new Friday afternoon series, downstairs in meeting room 5.

Thursday, June 23 at 7PM Maureen Stanton reads from her brand new book, Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-market America at Longfellow Books in Portland. FMI

Saturday, June 25 at 12PM Join Caitlin Shetterly for a very special book-signing event at Salt Water Farm in Lincolnville with Annemarie Ahearn. A three-course meal—based on the food in Shetterly’s memoir Made For You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home—is being offered for $45 per person. Seating is limited. FMI

Saturday, June 18 at 7PM Join the celebration at Mayo Street Arts for the inauguration of newly appointed Portland Poet Laureate Bruce Spang. Megan Grumbling will emcee the evening, the Gay Men's Chorus will perform, and poets Annie Finch and Russ Sargent will also read. FMI
*Side note: I know this isn't in Portland, but I included it anyway because Lincolnville is beautiful, only two hours away, and this event sounded way too cool to leave out.

Saturday, July 9 from 12:30PM to 3:30PM The sixth annual Books in Boothbay: Maine's Summer Book Fair (formerly Books & Blooms) will be held at Boothbay Railway Village in scenic Boothbay on Rte. 27 South. The event is cosponsored by and benefits the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library and the Boothbay Railway Village. Forty authors from around the state will attend to sign their books, discuss their writing, and meet their fans. The event is free. Confirmed authors include: Charlotte Agell, Elizabeth Tova Bailey, Crash Barry, Liza Blakewell, Cheryl Blaydon, Sarah Braunstein, Holly Chamberlain, Richard Shain Cohen, Melissa Coleman, Susan Conley, Katherine Davis, Sandra Dutton, Cathryn Falwell, Adreana Hamlin, Hannah Holmes, Shonna Miliken Humphrey, Lily King, Cynthia Lord, Tammy LR Meserve, Lillian Nayder, James Nelson, Jim Nichols, Maria Padian, Van Reid, Michael S. Sanders, Caitlin Shetterly, Susan Hand Shetterly, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Jim Taliana, Harrison Thorp, Lea Wait, and Val Walker. FMI

I know this last one is also not in Portland. I included it for four reasons: Boothbay is amazing, especially in the summer. It's a nice little drive up the coast. It's free. And, Book Fairs are awesome. I hope to see some of you at a few of these events this June. Until next time...and hopefully that's not another full two months away.

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