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

Letting Go: What I Learned From Elizabeth Taylor

I’m working on letting go. I’ve been working on letting go for several months, actually. And probably – in recurring cycles – for several years. But letting go is hard. In part, because it feels so counter productive for accomplishing all the things I want to do. Which, I guess, is why I keep coming back to it.

I’m writing a novel. And a play. and this blog. I’m building my CultSTATUS brand with a website and Facebook page. I’m curating exclusive events in the Cultural Arts. I’m building a network of creative sponsors and contacts. I work a full time job. I make the daily effort to manage my Lupus and my overall health. I try to have a life. And every once in a while, there are those rare moments when I don’t just try to have a life, I actually manage to have one! I spend time with girlfriends and extended family and my husband. Oh dear lord, I Forgot About My Husband!!!! No, I didn’t really forget my Salomon. But there are those days when I worry that I’ve placed him last on my never ending list of To-Do’s. Please tell me y’all have a never ending To-Do list too. ‘Cause it can get really crazy in my head sometimes. Like, talking to myself in the bathroom for half an hour in my Bronx girl voice while the hubby contemplates breaking down the door to save me from intruders, only it’s just ‘lil old Me Myself & I in there. Yea, I’m a little crazy some days.

But every time I let go, it comes back to me ten fold. My sanity included! When I stop trying to fix, force, control, and pin down everything… It all falls into place. And then I feel boundless! ‘Boundless’ is my new word for the day, FYI. I used it in passing while I was on the phone with my dad earlier and it stuck with me. I didn’t plan it or strategically guide the conversation so I could use it in a sentence. Yes, I have done that before. And so have you – don’t lie! But seriously. When I haphazardly said the word ‘boundless’ today, it was the most inspired I’ve felt in a long time. I felt like I really am a novelist, business woman, entrepreneur. I’m reminded of a joke about a dog named Jett… Then again, never mind. Jett is a great dog, I’m sure, but a joke about a dog could never compete with the sheer genius of that one word. Let’s say it together. Boundless!

The bottom line is this: letting go makes room for more. And I’ve got so much more to give.

*Note* I’ve been fine tuning this post for most of the day. Crafting my Opus, if you will. That’s right, I said ‘Opus’. Opus is tomorrow’s word for the day. What? Anyway, (said in my Bronx girl voice) I got to the line above, in what had to be my fifth read through, and suddenly thought to myself ‘That’s funny. I said give…’

Now, like I said, I’ve been working on letting go for a long time. So, separate from all the spiritual and religious implications, there is personal value to be found in this process. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it has to be acknowledged that today is Ash Wednesday (the start of the season of Lent) and this Holy Day among many Christians – myself included – is all about letting go on an even deeper level.

The purists would say it’s all about mortality. And the purists would be right. Sorta.

But there are a few images that come to mind when I think of Ash Wednesday, and the one that rabbit-in-my-mind ‘hops’ out at me the most is from a promotional poster for Elizabeth Taylor’s 1973 movie Ash Wednesday. I know. Elizabeth Taylor films don’t exactly scream piety or repentance. I mean, just look at the poster for yourself.

Poster - Ash Wednesday (1973)_02

Not a smudge of ash to be found on her gorgeous little forehead. And let’s not even talk about that string of pearls she’s so blithely toying with. My materialistic heart is beyond green with envy. Still, it’s dear old Liz that taught me the most about Ash Wednesday and the power of letting go. If you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a brief summary from Roger Ebert. Better yet, rent it on Netflix and see it for yourself. It’s not exactly an Oscar worthy performance, but it’s one of my true love’s as movies go, if only for it’s train wreck cheese fest of glamour and melodrama. Think Mahogany and The Way We Were.

The basic storyline though develops into the tragic conclusion that Elizabeth’s character never learns how to let go. Her husband is having an affair. She is aging. She doesn’t feel attractive anymore. So she decides to fix things. She has a face lift along with several other cosmetic procedures. She goes to a private resort to “get away from it all”. She has an affair to rebuild her self esteem. She sits and waits endlessly for her philandering husband to show up so she can make him jealous/ win him back. And in the end, she doesn’t even get the chance to confront him the way she’d planned because he arrives and immediately dumps her. He hardly even notices the changes in her physical appearance! When I tell you it’s tragic y’all. I mean it’s bad. Downright cringe-worthy in fact. But it’s like a train wreck that I can’t stop watching because I see the humanity in it. Separate from all the moral implications of her affair, and the “rightness” or “wrongness” of her choice to have plastic surgery. I really just want to give her a hug and tell her that she’s doing these things for all the wrong reasons. All the fixing, forcing, controlling, and literally pinning [her face] won’t make things right, because it’s already broken. She needs to just let go. And maybe if she let go of the diamonds and pearls [or maybe just the philandering husband] she could see that. The material things aren’t “wrong”, and who among us hasn’t held on to someone or something much longer than we should have, all in the name of “fixing” it? But it rarely ever works. And that’s what Elizabeth Taylor taught me about the importance of Ash Wednesday. It’s all about acceptance. Acceptance of the good, the bad, the passing of time, the aging, and even death (of relationships and people). Letting go. And the oozing glamour didn’t hurt either!

P.s. Liz’s birthday was this past Thursday, February 27, 2014. She would have been 82 years old!

P.p.s. BOUNDLESS!!!

ThrowBackThursday: Rediscovering Where I’ve Been

If I’m truly honest, I have to admit that I’ve never really been a big fan of the whole #ThrowBackThursday trend. I think hashtags are a good idea in principle, although widely misused/ overused. And in general, I’ve viewed the pictures and references posted by others to document their pasts with only mild interest on my part, if I paid any attention to them at all. So, I have prepared myself for the many cries of “hypocrite!, sellout!, and poser!!!” that are sure to come from this, my very first #ThrowBackTursday post.

 

It’s going on midnight here in Atlanta and after agonizing over this decision all day, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I was wrong. Yes, hashtags and throwbacks are trendier than ever, these days. But separate from the PR implications, I’m just now realizing that I’ve been doing quite a bit of “Mental Throw-backing” – yes, I just made up that phrase – over the past few months and it’s been good for me! I’ve been looking back. A lot. And not the unhealthy dwelling on past mistakes that we all can sometimes do, but the cathartic cleansing that helps us gain clarity and move forward even better than we were. I’ve rediscovered the things from my past that worked really well; the things that represent me at my core and make me unique. And in uncovering those things, I realize that I want to share them. With all of you especially.

 

So what’s one of the first things I’m re-learning about myself? That I am a writer. Duh, you may say. And I get it. I am sitting here writing an entry for my blog, after all. It should be obvious that I’m a writer. But I don’t think I’ve always appreciated that fact. Because I’m an artist too. And the artist in me has more than a mild case of Attention Deficit Disorder (Read: Rabbits In My Mind). I’m a dancer, and a musician, and a sketch artist, and an innovator, and a creator of all things beautiful – even the ugly parts of life – and all of that ART has a tendency to blur my vision. But when I can see clearly, I am reminded that at my core I am a writer. First and foremost, to the very depths of my being, my first love has always been the Written Word. Which makes it fitting that this my first #ThrowBackThursday post should take a look back at the writer I’ve always been.

 

Late Night Snack

2:00am and I can’t sleep.

No choice but to do what I do best.

devour the Words that are running through my mind.

It is simple really;

Dissect each syllable, Fillet every letter,

then Swallow the meat of it

whole.

 

God, how I love Words!

 

And not just some Words

or a few sentences.

But I would gladly eat them all,

if it meant that I could savor

each

of the different tastes

and textures.

 

You see, English is a chewy language.

It sits

at the front of my mouth

patiently waiting to be shredded

into even strips by a pair of pearly bicuspids.

At times,

it is boring and dry.

The tough piece of steak

that requires work

in exchange for satisfaction.

But I prefer to think of it

as that first bite

into a Bubblicious square.

Listen:

“I – Want – To – Go – To – Sleep.”

True,

the Words are a little stiff and precise.

But who do you know

that ever turned down

a Jaw Breaker

for fear of actually breaking their jaw?

That

is the beauty of English.

that. first. perfect. bite.

 

God, how I do love Words!

 

Spanish,

on the other hand,

is Chocolate

balanced on the center of my tongue.

Warm and Melting,

it is a sweet reminder

of New York City;

and Home.

Bodegas and Religious Botanicas

Summer Block Parties and Errant Fire Hydrants,

and Secrets Whispered on Front Stoops

to the tune of

Double Dutch.

Not to mention the

Loud Mouthed Beauty Salons

full of Wide Hips

Dancing to Marc Anthony, and Passing

around Never-Ending Plates

of Pastelillos.

 

And all this

compactly wrapped

into the single Rolled “R”

that flows from my lips.

 

Oye:

“EstoyMuyCansado,

YSiNoConsigueSuenoPronto,

MeVoyAIrLoca!

 

Can’t you just Taste it?

The rich Flavor of

the Words

that almost makes you want to

lick

your fingers

after each bite.

 

That

is Spanish.

Chocolate,

balanced on the center of my tongue.

 

Ay! Como me encanta Las Palabras!

 

And then,

There is French.

mouthwash

at the Back of my Throat

that somehow manages to sound

Romantic.

 

“Puet-etre,

si je me ferme mes yeux

et sommeil de moutons

de compte viendront.”

 

I don’t even know

if I said that right,

but I must admit,

I am entranced!

 

Such is French!

The language of aging

Casanova’s everywhere.

 

Dieu, comment j’aime des mots!

 

I have heard

that there is nothing so perfect

as a late night snack

to cure insomnia.

But somehow,

I think This is much more satisfying.

 

God, how I love words!

Maybe,

even more

than the Elusive Sleep

I am forfeiting by staying up to write this!

 

cS – August 12 (Early AM), 2008

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