Calling all Writers& Artists– Submission Call: 8-West Press!

Hey there!

I’ve been kinda MIA on this blog for a bit, once again, and I’m here to explain myself!

One of the reasons I haven’t been posting to this blog for a bit, is that I’ve started up a new project. This project is an independent Poetry press, 8-West Press. We will be publishing a variety of poetry and art. In light of recent events, I think we might all agree that we need art more now than ever, to make sense of and find beauty in this world we live in.

A little bit about 8-West: We aim to devote space to the voices of a diverse selection of writers in the work we feature, and have a strong desire to highlight the work of underrepresented groups, particularly people of color, members of the LGBTQIA community, and women. We look forward to 8-West functioning as the route which connects dynamic voices into one richly textured poetic landscape. Read our full MISSION STATEMENT here.

If you’re interested in submitting, please visit us on our website.

Submissions are OPEN! Click here for our Submittable Page.

Our social media links are below:

Twitter

Facebook

We can’t wait to hear from you!

In Case You Forgot: Let Me Remind You.

This morning, blessed by the visit of the breeze tiptoeing its way from the yawning shoreline, along with the light percussive rhythm of my alarm clock, slowly increasing in tempo and volume, I woke up.

For the first time in days, weeks, months, I woke up. Out of my literal and spiritual slumber. I woke. I didn’t turn off my alarms until the last possible second for the first time in months. I chose to rise.

I’ve spent weeks to months of attempting to navigate through a multitude of different situations, some troubling experiences, adjusting to changes in schedule and workload, and feeling at times, scatter-brained, confused, uncertain of what course of action to take next.

Finally, and miraculously, I arrive at today. Right here, right now. This moment.

Most people who know me relatively well believe me to be an eternal optimist, someone who truly believes in the power of positive thinking.

That said, we all have times in our lives when we struggle more heavily than others, not only with meeting all of our responsibilities, but also fitting in time to do all the little things we enjoy that keep us entertained, happy and at peace with where we’re at: physically, emotionally, perhaps intellectually, and spiritually. These past few months have been one of those times for me.

When I think about who I am as a person, I often introspectively tell myself that the seeds of worry and over-thinking are innate in me. I accept that, and I’ve spent the formative years of my life recognizing it, grappling with it, and learning how to change my patterns of thinking, or rather, just to sometimes STOP thinking, and just be.  Over the course of the past few years, I was able to really embrace being mindful, allowing time to meditate and be present, making a point to drop my worry and over-thinking tendencies, whenever I started to feel slightly overwhelmed. I was in control of my life. But, naturally, we can’t always be totally cool, calm, collected and in control of every aspect of our lives.

Lately, due to a combination of personal experiences and increased responsibilities, I’ve done the opposite of what I’ve always found most helpful in times like these: I’ve allowed myself to become consumed in my barrage of non-stop thought, not allowing myself time to slow down and to just simply be. I’ve been aware of falling into this pattern for the past few weeks or so, and I started setting little goals in my mind to help get out of my head and back into living in a more centered way. One of those things included to start waking up a few hours earlier, whether it’s to plan for work, to get a work out in, to just sit and take my time waking up and drinking my coffee, and collect my thoughts and get organized before starting the day.  This morning, I did just that.

 Somehow, the chill of the morning ocean breeze, seeming to signal what Southern California calls “Fall”, shook me awake and whispered something about a fresh perspective.

Thankfully, I was awake enough to hear it. 

Today, I reaffirmed a conscious choice for my life: no matter how much I am dealing with, personally or professionally, I am going to do my very best to allow myself the time to be centered in all that I do. 

For those of you who may be struggling with similar issues, in case you’ve forgotten your way as well, I’ll leave you with this quote, that speaks to the root of this issue in the most simplified and best way I know:

“The blue sky is always there, above the clouds.”-Rumi

 

-AK

NATIONAL PARK CENTENNIAL!

For those of you who don’t know, this summer is the National Park Centennial (the date is actually August, but I will be on the move in JUNE)! How exciting! What a better way to celebrate than a road trip to a bunch of state parks in the Western U.S. ?! I’m so thrilled to say that I’ll be traveling for close to three weeks, taking in the natural beauty, hiking, camping pretty much the whole way (save 1 or 2 nights). I will most definitely blog about each place. Take off is in just 35 days and I could not be more ecstatic! This will undoubtedly be one of the coolest things I’ve done, to date. I can’t wait to share the experience with you all ! Stay posted for a more detailed post about the places on my list. Road trip 2016, here we come!

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm

10 Reasons Why Living in SoCal Paradise Must be Temporary for Me

Hey there. It’s been a while. I’ve allowed my blogging digits to get rusty. So here is an impromptu post that has been in my thoughts today.

1.Because it’s too much of an idealistic dream I followed since I was a tween. I grew up on the East Coast, every summer spent on NJ beaches, occasionally Delaware, Maryland Virginia, a few trips to Florida. But the Golden Coast called for so long. I finally made it a reality and it’s coming close to two years. My graduate program will keep me here one longer, but after that, it’s time to try on a new location for a while. There’s a difference between going on vacation somewhere beautiful and FEELING like you could live there forever and then actually moving there and trying it, which brings me to #2.

2.  I’m a tourist. You’re a tourist. We’re all tourists here. San Diego was just recently named the #1 Travel Destination the U.S. No real surprise there. What does that mean? More Tourists! The numbers of people traveling here and eventually deciding to move here to get themselves a slice of the California Dream seems to be increasing. All the time I meet people who “literally just moved here last week”. I rarely meet anyone who is a real native San Diegan which is somewhat unsettling.

3. Vacation Mentality.  America’s Finest City is filled with natural beauty and a million and one things to do on any given day, at any given time. People love SD because for its gorgeous beaches, museums in Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and its NIGHT LIFE. Whether it’s downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter or our famous Pacific Beach, SD knows how to party. Every.Damn.Day.All.Year.Long. Because people come here from all over the world to vacation, but also to study at SD’S universities (SDSU, UCSD,USD to name the main ones). When you’re no longer an undergrad and also very-not-single, you get over the heavy emphasis on night life/going out drinking every night/ and the noise that comes along with drunks running around town constantly. Many have said this is a place people come to never grow up. I don’t want to live in a mythical land of living like we’ve all just turned 21 (even into our 40’s & 50’s). I see people drinking at and before 9am at the bar down the street on the daily. Old and Young. This should not be a thing.

4. Homelessness. Homelessness in California is unreal. Except, only it is. Most unfortunately. So real. And it’s on the rise. I see it so many times a day. San Diego ranks 4th in the country for highest homeless population. There are so many thousands of people here who need help and are not receiving the assistance they need.  It’s unsettling. Especially when there’s nothing you feel you can really do to help such a complex problem. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows here; this city and region needs lots of changes, that’s for sure.

5. Sky Rocketing Rent & Cost of Living in General.  No doubt It’s a sweet trade off. You get what you pay for…Well, sort of. With this city and general area in such high demand, of course rent is going to plummet. However, San Diego has ranked constantly among most overpriced cities, least affordable and one of the most expensive cities (especially in terms of housing in the U.S. and in the world. I’m lucky enough to have found a sweet spot super ocean close, and probably at one of the most ‘reasonable’ prices you can find around here, but you can bet I ain’t leaving this spot until I leave Sunny SD for good!

6. Job Market. What goes along with lots of people migrating to one place to live the California Dream? LOTS OF COMPETITION for jobs and housing. Just sayin’. While the job market has had a good deal of a boost since the recession, they tend to be certain types of jobs. High-skill science and business jobs. This does not apply to my area of expertise. For me, there does not seem to be a whole lot of opportunity for long term employment around these here parts. Also, “Industry” (food/beverage/hospitality) jobs as they call them out here, get snatched up faster than you can blink, since it’s a HUGE part of our local economy. I’m not sure if there’s any place that could rival how difficult it can be to get a job working in a restaurant.

7. Traffic, Traffic, Traffic. If you never have to operate a vehicle on a California Freeway, I highly suggest you don’t. I’ll just put it simply: I used to love to drive back on the East Coast. You’ll see why if you do a simple Google image search for San Diego Traffic or just look at the traffic radar at any normal time of day. I now hate to drive and often fear for my life while I driving, because of the crazy shizz I see some people pull out here on the road! GET THEE BACK TO THE DMV.

8. EARTHQUAAAKE! What?! Did somebody say “Earthquake?” Yes. Yes they did. And they’re not going to shut up about them any time soon because y’all may need to evacuate. Or else. There was a time this past Fall when I read an article with an opening sentence that haunted me: “California is Never Far from the Precipice of Disaster” (Fire,Drought, El Nino, Earthquakes, Oh my!). Seriously a great hook for a weather article, but I think it hit me then how much of a real concern disasters are here. In fact the other day, news outlets started fueling my anxieties again by claiming that San Andreas Fault line is a ticking time bomb as well as the Cascadia Fault. I’m not really sure if I’m willing to wait around for “The Really Big One” to blow us all to smithereens.

9. The “Culture” Referring back to #1, so many people want to experience the “California Dream”, many do, whether it be a short stay, or a more permanent move. Many people also see moving to California as moving towards a peaceful lifestyle, maybe take up yoga (see #6 on the list of this link), smoke a lot of weed (medical of course) and just be a happy hippie forever and ever. While that’s nice and all, when that’s everyone’s idea, it does become a bit old when every person you meet is simultaneously talking about becoming a yoga instructor living all “OM SHANTI OM” by day, going out and partying their ass off and taking a bunch of drugs and going to electronic dance festivals by night. I’m sure that doesn’t need any further elaboration.

10. Man Buns…Okay, so all of these other reasons are pretty serious, so this one is a little bit of a joke, yet not really. No, I am not a fan of the man bun, in fact, over time, they have come to be a great annoyance. I mean, of course some guys can really rock the bun, but, some I know just do it out of irony of how strange it looks, and the ironic hipsteryness is just a lil’ much these days! Lawl. Anddd, CUT.

That’s all folks. No place is perfect, but California is perhaps one of the most over-idealized and as much as I’ve loved it, it’s clearly time for me to start planning my move for the next adventure.

-A

 

New post(s) in the works: The Story I’ve Been Needing to Tell for a Year…

I have one really long draft that I’m committed to be publishing in the next few days! It will either be one longer post, or a series of posts, depending on how I decide to organize it.

For now, it is a whole lot of thought and feeling with little structure, but promise!

Right now some of the main ideas are: new beginnings, “The California dream”, graduate school, becoming a slight workaholic in order to make said new beginning work and also to low-key distract oneself from stressful and tragic life events.

So, You Want to Conquer the World…

There’s no denying it’s always been a dream of yours, since you sat near the fire in your grandfather’s living room, spinning the globe in your tiny fingers, as he told stories of the ancients: of war, of peace, of colonization, of culture. Wide-eyed and curious, you began to yearn to venture past the places you’d been raised.

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