My Website Is Live!!!

It is finished! It is done! (Highly sacrilegious, I know, but I’m feeling a little like triumphant Jesus right now).

The official Arts website I’ve been designing for over two months is finally ready! I can’t wait for you all to see it, share it, and love it. I’m still blogging, but this is the site where I’ll be adding most of my new content from now on.

B-Card Front Side

Check it out: www.cSArtsHaven.com

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Guess What? I’m Published!!!

WooHoo! That’s right. Yours Truly is officially a published writer. Apparently, I’ve been a published writer for about two weeks and I didn’t even know it. A few months ago, I registered to attend Georgia State University’s annual Conflict Resolution Symposium on October 24th. I also submitted one of my poems, circa 2008, for consideration in their short story/poetry competition.

Conflict Resolution Magazine

I’m guessing the notification email of my success got lost somewhere in the depths of my spam folder, because I never saw it. I attended the symposium but missed the opening awards ceremony, because of another appointment that ran late. So, here I am, over two weeks later, finally taking time to read the magazine from the event – and “what do you know?” that’s my name and poem in print!

"Internal"

The poem, as written in the magazine, was formatted to fit on a single page, but you can see the full piece with it’s original spacing intent below.

Of course, now that I’ve reached this first milestone, there’s only one thing left to be done: write my Great American Novel! I’ve got the perfect motivation too because NaNoWriMo is in full swing. It’s already day 11!

If you happen to live in the general Atlanta area and are interested in all that’s going on in the competition with our local region, check out the NaNoLanta Panda page for a full calendar of group writing events. You may even spot me at the Atlantic Station Ikea on Saturday Night! ~cS

 

Internal

I am different Today.

I woke up this morning and discovered
… and discovered Me!

but a Me that was changed somehow
and Different
from the me i had been before.

I stand staring at this Face
scrutinizing Its every pore.

trying to put my Finger
on the
exact
Gruesome
Deformity
that has maimed me.

but there is no Third Eye …
… as far as i can tell.

Everything is the Same.

the Lazy Eye is still there.
the Full Lips the Chipped Tooth the Crooked Smile

but No!

this is an
IMPOSTER
looking out of my mirror.

not my Beloved
connie.

who is
Never
Quite
Convinced
that she is pretty

ENOUGH

or even
enough Enough.

this Person
LIKES
the Flaws

Revels
in them even!

and I am Trying
to Figure out
Exactly
whatwentwrong

so that my best
Friend
would Abandon/Betray
Me
this way. True,

she was In-
-secure and
Broken
and Damaged but

We were working through
all that!

she was my Person
and my Security
blanket

in a Cold Cruel
world. I

didn’t really need her

so much as
I just miss her
… SOMETIMES,

anyway. so what went wrong?

the Hair is shorter
but that’s not it
I’ve lost Weight and made
Friends and finally
Broken Out
of my Shell

but would she really
leave me
for such Trifles?

and suddenly
it Hits Me!
she Planned this! she
Meant To Go.

each tiny Growth
has been a small Parting
and the knowledge
makes my heart
Hurt

there is a Ripping and
a Tearing
as I see that old connie

turn

to walk away
and despite The Betrayal
I want to
call out to her:

Wait! Come Back!

but I know now
that it is Hopeless
… she will not
come back.

I am stuck here
With Myself

with this Constance
who uses her
Full Name and
laughs
Out Loud
and Loves herself

and I know
that I’ve been left in Capable Hands
but it is Bitter
sweet

she could have told Me
she was Going Away
she could have whispered to Me:

“connie, I am leaving you for good, Today.”

but she didn’t
and No One ever warned Me
that it would hurt like this.

No One ever told Me.
but Someone should have warned Me
that this is what it means …

to Find Yourself.

August 12th (Early a.m.) to September 05th, 2008
Constance SHERESE

Rejection Letter #1

It’s been almost two months since I got my first R.L. from one of the Arts applications I submitted. Admittedly, I’ve been stalling about updating everyone with the results. More interesting, though? My video diary belting out a Barbra Streisand classic and tracking what I’ve been up to since I got the e-mail. Why is Babs being dragged into this? Because there’s nothing like a little drunken (yes, there was alcohol involved in the making of this video) ode to Nikki Arnstein to make me forget how sucky Rejection Letters can be! #PushOnThroughTheStruggle ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

August 20, 2014
Dear Applicant,
Thank you for your interest in the Critic-in-Residence Program. We received a number of outstanding applications and were only able to choose three finalists for this year’s inaugural program. The review committee has considered your request and regrets that we cannot invite you to participate at this time. 
We appreciate the effort you put into submitting your application and we highly encourage you to remain in touch with our organizations in the coming year. 
Sincerely,
Your Latest Motivation

Coronas and Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I have another major Arts Application coming due this week. I have a million and one contacts to reach out to and details to finalize. I have a full time job. I have a husband and a household to manage. I feel insanely behind schedule. And to top it all off, I just got a reply email from one of the applications I submitted a few weeks ago.

They said I wouldn’t hear from them until August 15th. Is it good or bad that they contacted me ahead of schedule? Would a phone call have signaled better news? Is this the beginning of Rejection Letter #1? I haven’t even read the message yet and already I can tell I’m over-thinking the whole thing. But, I’m still not stressing out the way I’d like to, because that would be bad for my Lupus. So, I have no choice but to indulge in one of the finer stress-reducing delicacies of the known world: Coronas & Chocolate Chip Cookies! Check out my update video below while I engage in a little nervous eating. #PushOnThroughTheStruggle ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

My Grand Opus of Irritation – An Open Letter To Yahoo

I’m a Writer and an Artist and a Free-Spirit and a Lover of All Things Beauty & Happy. One of my favorite pieces of street art is a Raised-Fist Afro Wielding “Power to the Peaceful” mural that once graced a small corner of the ever-changing graffiti phenomenon that is the Krog Street Tunnel in Atlanta. (I actually shed a tear when that mural was inevitably covered by newer material. Anybody out there possibly have a picture of it?) But I’m also a grown-up and a business woman and a realist. So, it goes without saying that I’m Hell on Heels if I give you a chance to do right and you screw it up. Today, Yahoo screwed up. Big Time. ~ Constance SHERESE

 

Yahoo Customer Care I am NOT a happy customer right now! I didn’t want a Yahoo account in the first place. All I wanted was to join my local community association group. The group is hosted by Yahoo, but on the log-in page there is an option to sign in using Facebook or Google. “Great!” Or so I thought. Not until AFTER I’d pressed the agree button to allow Yahoo access to my identity & contacts on Gmail did I get another screen notifying me that I’m still required to create a Yahoo Mail account anyway. What’s the point of signing in with Google & giving you all my info, if you’re still going to demand that I create another account I don’t want or need?

Then, when I say “screw it” and decide to create the new account, your system goes batty and won’t accept the password I created! Huh??? For the record, my chosen password was 9 characters in length, with upper case, lower case, and numerical symbols (as stipulated by your instructions). After 3 attempts to sign in and continually receiving “Invalid Password Format”, then voila! it finally went through.

Problem solved, right? Wrong! I was then transferred to your telephone verification page, where you told me to wait for a text message number to enter on screen to verify my identity. Only, guess what??? THAT doesn’t work either!!! I requested a text message twice. Received a text message twice. Only to have your system give me this message “Verification Failed”. I then asked for a phone call instead (hoping I might get a live person) but of course it was a recording … and that number didn’t work either.

I clicked the link for Customer Care on your website, but all that led me to was a bunch of articles on what I might be doing wrong. (Here’s a guess, I’m wasting my time trying to create an account I don’t want, with a company who hasn’t offered a decent product since 1998!) When I was finally able to locate your number – where it was hidden in a barely accessible location because you clearly don’t want to be bothered with talking to your potential customers – I was immediately greeted by this message:

“Hello, our call volume is high and you may be on hold for a while. If your call is disconnected, please send us an email by going to help.yahoo.com & following the prompts.” Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right? I’m being video-taped & any minute now someone’s going to pop out of a back corner, right? Because you can’t possibly think it’s acceptable to TELL your customers you’re just going to keep them on hold until either they give up or you hang up. What are we, playing a game of Chicken here?

It’s taken me 40 minutes to craft this Grand Opus of Irritation and guess what? I’m still on hold! On the bright side, I guess I should be happy you didn’t hang up on me?

Nevermind, I definitely won’t be getting a Yahoo Mail account after this nightmare. I WILL however be sharing this information ALL OVER social media. THIS is why Google rocks and you guys suck. It’s 2014, the United States is just starting to recover from a horrible economic plummet and somehow there are STILL big businesses who think it’s okay to treat potential customers like crap. #HowNOTToTreatACustomer #LessonsInHowToKamikazeYourBusinessReputation #GoogleRocksYahooSucks

P.s. Google, please don’t make me regret giving you this free publicity. You’re FABULOUS. Just make sure you don’t forget us little guys along the way. Thanks!

My GeeChee ♡ In Greece!

 

I’m a GeeChee Girl at heart. Down in my soul, before I even fully understood what it meant to be Geechee, I knew that I was it. So, what is Geechee? Oxford English, Wiki, and Miriam have their official definitions. And combined, it’s not bad. But like I said, I’ve been a GeeChee long before I learned the technical renderings.

Geechee

Line breaks: Gee|chee

Pronunciation: /’gi:t:CHi’ /


NOUN

1. [MASS NOUN] An English-African creole dialect spoken by African Americans in the Low-country regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Compare with Gullah.

2. A speaker of Geechee.

3. A native rice farmer from the U.S. Gullah region.


ORIGIN

from the name of the Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, USA.

from Kissi, an ethnic group living along the border area between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

A variant of Gullah, from present-day Angola or the “Gola” ethnicity in Sierra Lone and Liberia.

 

That’s what the “experts” have to say on the subject. But, I grew up on the memory of my family teasing my mom that she was “nothin’ but a Geechee … ” because she loves to cook white rice with every meal, is stubborn as all hell when she has her mind set on something, and can never be content with any one thing or place. In short, she’s a countrified wanderer. And based on that understanding, I don’t see my Gullah GeeChee ways as all that different from Roma “Gypsies”, French “Bohemians”, or S. Asian “Dombas”. That’s something I’m passionate about – finding the universality in our unique cultural differences.

So it was a dream come true for me when I started planning my first international trip last January. My husband and I had decided to go on a delayed honeymoon in the Summer and, as long as I made sure to carefully organize everything (read: not blow our budget), I had free reign to follow my hearts desire. I chose Greece because I’d wanted to go there since my college days as a business student in New York. Study abroad programs in school always said their economy was closest to ours for case study purposes – the tragic irony of which has not escaped my notice.

In true Geechee fashion, I couldn’t be satisfied with a trip to just one city in Greece. I craved a romantic beach getaway in Santorini and a historically rich tour of artifacts in Athens. I wanted to make wild, crazy memories in hipster party-town Mykonos and unwind in a refined Italian-esque village on Crete. A cruise seemed too structured and formulaic. But bed-hopping through the country like blogger Lucky/Gutsy – with no set plans except a backpack and a prayer – while tempting, was way too adventurous even for me. In the end, I spent the past seven months toiling over my own happy medium and then spent ten days experiencing it all.

We flew into Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, took the metro to the first of five hotels we would stay in, and let the island-hopping fun begin. Clearly, I was inspired by the experience because I came home with almost 3,000 photos total between each of our 2 Gig camera phones! Let’s just say I was dumping to my Dropbox app like mad. I’ve shared some of the more touristy pictures to my private Facebook page and I’m in the process of curating the rest for future photography exhibitions. But I couldn’t let this experience pass without sharing some exclusive, edited and unedited pics with you guys too.

We may have been in Greece, but it didn’t take long for me to find the “universal” parts of the culture. One of the first things I noticed was the street art. It was seedy and edgy and dirty and provocative and political and bright and bold and beautiful beyond my wildest imaginings. So without further ado, I give you: My GeeChee ❤ In Greece – The Graffiti Edition! ~ cS

P.s. Of course, all wall murals, tags, and graffiti belong to and are under the ownership of the their respective street artists. However, photographic images in their edited and unedited formats remain the exclusive property of myself, Constance SHERESE and are not available in part or in whole for copy, reproduction, sale, or other mass marketing without express written permission as solicited through post or electronic mail. (c) 2014.

The Legal Stuff. So, sue me! Better yet, how ’bout we skip that part. Deal? Thanks! 😉

 

20140531_121423-2 - Level Adj 25 Input - Tone Curve 72, 172 20140531_121321 Brightness

Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Free Kostas

 

 

 

 

Love the way someone turned this old electrical box into a "supply box".

Love the way someone turned this old electrical meter into a “supply box”.

Octopus

Never let a photo op slip away ...

Never let a good Photo Op. pass you by …

Cool Cat!

Cool Cat!

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Gonna have to brush up my language skills for this one …

20140531_150728 20140531_151637

20140531_140243 - 2 20140531_150748

(c) Constance SHERESE, 2014

Coming Through My Headphones: K. Flay

I’m back from my belated honeymoon and cranking out all the inspiration I got while in Greece. But I’m also getting back to my musical posts because there’s always something interesting pumping through my headphones. This week’s no different. I’m currently listening to music from new artist K. Flay (aka The Artist Formerly Known as Kristine Flaherty).

Listening to K. Flay’s album “Life As A Dog” my first thoughts were : Oh hell, the Lana Del Ray gravy train has officially rolled in. We all know the formula: Sultry, sex-pot voice. Lyrics clearly designed to piss off puritan mothers everywhere. The all American good-girl-gone-bad, chain-smoking image. And there’s no picture on the album cover, but I’m sure she’s got a doe-eyed baby face to contrast with her jaded tough-girl sound.

The Album, 'Life As A Dog', Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

The Album, ‘Life As A Dog’, Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

It’s a great formula, as they go. Don’t get it twisted, I love me some Lana and her raspy 60’s pop vocals – if not her necrophile tendencies. I’m a tried and true goody goody, so the bad girl sex-pot lyrics don’t exactly hit home for me, but it’s refreshing to see a young woman daring to question the status quo for what’s acceptable behavior. And K. Flay pulls it off as well as any other with songs like Everyone I Know, Wishing It Was You, Bad Things, Turn It Around, & the summer anthem Thicker Than Dust.

But let’s not lie to ourselves here – this is clearly part of a formula and nothing more. Right? Well, not exactly. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few key differences between K and her contemporaries. For one she prefers a little chronic with her flow instead of the typical menthol flavored ciggy. And speaking of flow – girlfriend’s got it! Not just the Eminem fast talking stream-of-consciousness flow that others have adopted either. Yeah, she channels Em’ well, but then she flips it and goes deeper a la Snoop Dogg, Dre, & an old school West Coast sound that I have a hard time brushing off as contrived.

Yes, she’s a Stanford graduate from suburban Illinois – and that isn’t exactly ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – but she isn’t claiming to be, so it’s all good. And with the addition of her own unique sound in the form of punk influences, 80’s video game background music, and a sarcastic, slightly self-deprecating social commentary reminiscent of Tina Fey – I’m not so sure this album is a formula after all. If it is, I’m falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Can we be ‘thicker than dust’ BFF’s?

K. Flay has a thing for saying she’s bad. Maybe. Maybe not. But if she’s good at being bad. I’m better at goin’ hard for the party. Oh, and did I mention this chick ain’t no baby-faced innocent after all. Check out the pictures and song breakdown below. I think this could work!

Chronicsweatshirt

SweatKicks

96keyboard

Everyone I Know – It has that sarcastic, light-hearted melody and dark lyrics. The dark parts are maybe a little too dark? I believe her as Tina Fey playing a character, but otherwise I don’t know.

Make Me Fade – Chronic? Snoop? Roll down the windows and dip bounce to the down beat. Okay, I’m a believer!

Can’t Sleep – Sound all her own. Current. Still borrowed from the 80’s. Belongs in a vintage video game.

Wishing It Was You – “Sucking on a bottle of Jim Beam wishing it was you.”

Yeah, she said it. Did you hear it? Take a minute to soak in the smutty innuendo. Now share it with a friend. Electronic hip-hop sound.

Fever – First 40 seconds: Who am I listening to? Tegan & Sara? Next 40: Or is it Eminem? Back & forth in intervals. Then hallucinogenic drop beat to give meaning to the title. I’m feeling feverish alright.

Bad Things – Pure Slim Shady, cleaning out the skeletons in my closet, but for some reason I wanna dance.

I’m Good – I need a blunt.

Turn It Around – “Just because you sin, well that don’t make you a sinner.”

“What I gotta figure, if it hurts is it worth it? Know that I know better. Tomorrow I could turn it around.”

I love how she alternates between all-out rebellion and level-headed repentance. Isn’t that what we all go through at some point?

Thicker Than Dust – Requisite summer anthem. Alcohol, chanting, powerful, on top of the world.

“Me and my friends … thicker than dust. I need to keep my mind, my mind movin’ on up because it’s always going down, always going down … Nobody around got a husband. Nobody around got a wife to call … Waking up to go to sleep again … Naked girls, diamond rings … money’s over-rated, sex ain’t hard to find, we’re not in-love, since when is that a crime?”

Time For You – “You got drunk and said you love me, but I wouldn’t come inside. I’ve got options, trust me. Yeah I know other guys … ”

She starts off strong, but doesn’t stay that way for long. Soon enough there’s talk of commitment and I wanna tell her “Oh honey, this is not going to end well. What happened to ‘nobody around got a husband?'” It’s bitter and depressing, but I love the vulnerability.

Get It Right – “Want you to know that I wanna be better, but it feels like it’s gonna take forever.”

K. Flay gets better with each track, and I don’t think it’s gonna take forever for her to get noticed. That’s it. Go cop the album tomorrow, folks! ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

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