Friday, June 14, 2013 | By: Brianna

Things I've Learned and Some Things I'm Grateful for...

There's a lot that's been going on in my life right now, which would be a pretty good reason why I haven't written a blog post in about a week.  I'd say that it was because I got a job, but unfortunately that would be a falsehood.  But really, lots of good things and lots of just things have been going on, and so it feels about time for another list.  I have a list of things I've learned at home...but I'm thinking I'll post that after I've been here for six months.  One more month to go.  Well, half a month.

Anyway.  Here's a list of things that I've learned recently, and a couple of things that I'm grateful for.

1.  Everyone in the Chicago artists community knows one another.  I'm convinced that if I mention the name of somebody artistic and based in Chicago, my boss at Here's the Story will know them.  (See: Robbie Q. Telfer)
2.  You really should drink that super tall glass of water and swallow some sort of painkiller after a night of drinking, and then your hangover will magically either not exist or be manageable.
3.  Superior is the name of an ambulance company and they like putting their name on the backs of their EMTs.
4.  You shouldn't be surprised if you make someone feel/look awkward if you ask them if you can write a poem about them.  This is not a normal question!
5.  The most actively energetic booth at a street festival will be the one that performs literary related things rather than the people selling books.  Go figure.
6.  "Where are all the college aged people?"  Oh wait.  It's summer.
7.  Knowing that someone (for example, your boss) appreciates your writing abilities is really awesome.
8.  Apparently Tuesday evening is a popular time for traveling by train.
9.  It doesn't matter what it's for, being asked for an autograph will always make me feel like a rock star.
10.  Oh, you want me to read the poem I wrote aloud?  Why yes, I will do that for you.
11.  Poetry dispensed from a gumball/vending machine will be the most popular poetry.
12.  "I read your poem yesterday, and it was the most beautiful thing I've ever read.  And I'm a librarian!"
13.  You will get hugs when your poetry is deemed good.
14.  The most terrifying experience is watching someone read your poem while you're standing right there.  ("Do I watch their face for a reaction?  Do I pretend I'm not here?  Do I ask them about it when they're done?")
15.  There are some people that you make friends with and you just want to punch your fist into the air over your head in triumph when you succeed.
16.  Third party outsiders are usually the best for relationship advice.  Even better when the asking for this advice or the venting doesn't make them feel awkward.
17.  Spontaneity.
18.  You have no idea how many different interpretations can result from the instructions of "eat lunch with a stranger."
19.  I am not hitting on you if I ask how old you are.
20.  When you manage to pack three days worth of clothes in your purse that can apparently eat the world...this will be a gigantic accomplishment, and you have full rights to gloat.

So Saturday and Sunday I participated in the Printers Row Lit Fest where I stood at the Here's the Story table and sold poems from my Poem-A-Day Project out of this gumball/vending machine that I'll have pictures of soon.  It was a really neat experience because so many people walked by and commented about how cute the idea was, and a TON of people stopped to buy poems.  Some of them asked me to read them aloud, so the performer in my obliged, and some asked me to sign them in case I ever get famous.  I was overwhelmed by the people who told me they were good or beautiful or fun or funny because, well, for some reason I didn't expect to get much except a couple quarters.  I set my expectations low so I don't get disappointed.  Another thing that came out of Lit Fest was the experience of hanging out with other people from Here's the Story, and talking to them really made me feel more a part of the Here's the Story family.  Strange how hours under the sun out on the street can bring you closer to people.  Shared experiences for the win.

One thing that disappointed me was a father tugging on his son's hand at Lit Fest and telling the little boy, "No, those aren't candy, they're poems.  You don't want those."  I'm not saying that because I wanted to sell a poem to a small child, I mean to say that I was disappointed because to me, being at a lit fest means exploring new literature, new ways of reading, or creating written work.  If an 8-year old kid wants to buy a poem out of a gumball machine, he should.  If he wants to read a poem at all, he should.  It's stuff like that comment, that tugging arm, that make me sad.  I was surrounded all weekend by people who love the written word and who love writing or reading, and so to stop someone from reading something feels like one of the worst and most violent actions you can take towards a person.  We're not really talking literally, so we're ignoring maim and torture.  I just kept thinking that if that kid had bought a poem, what would have happened?  Maybe he would have thrown it out at the next trash can (though I would hope he would recycle).  Maybe he would tear it up and use it as confetti.  But maybe he would have read it and it would have inspired him to write something, whether it be a poem, an essay, a story, or a grocery list.  Maybe, just maybe, that little kid was a writer in the making but he had a father telling him that he "doesn't want those" poems.

"My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody."
- Wilkie Collins


T.M. said...

So, old are you?

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