Art, Evolution, Poetry

MissConceptions of a Modern Day Mash-Up

I laugh at myself (as artists often do) almost every time I practice my newfound art of DJing.  I laugh because I never thought at age 33 this is what I’d be geeking out over, but also I laugh because as a poet at heart, my DJ flow is an extension of my poetry.  Whether I am spinning hoops, weaving words or mixing tracks, I find poetry and laughter in each art form. As a DJ, the poetry flows from my own consciousness as well as from blending other people’s cherished words together (more often than not, the words accompanied by music in the background) to put together a unique and experimental set.  Call it hip hop, call it vocals, or poetry, whatever; I have fallen in love with the art of blending the sounds of other people’s words in a way that takes the listener on a new and mystical journey, and it totally cheeses me out.  And now here I am BLOGGING about my LOVE of DJing WORDS as a POET… the irony layers upon layers of “WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE DOING” seems to spin me around saying boldly that in this wild world of art, I have, and will again, come full cipher.

“How did I get here?” I often ask myself that question.  At first glance it might appear that my white girl entitlement woke up one day and thought “hey, I think I’ll be a rapper”. On a deep level, where one must look honestly at ones privileges and entitlement,  I can admit that there is an element of truth to that; however in all honesty the evolution of MissConception has really has been so much more.  Allow me to spin a tale of truth, take you back to my youth, and share why I dare be so bold as to tread instead on this blazen path of creativity.  See, I was born wanting to defy any and every stereotype imaginable, but I wasn’t always so brave.  When I look back, there are a few crucial moments in my life when I distinctly remember thinking “I am going to be an artist, blow some minds, and have a fuck-ton fun doing it”.   I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard, despite everyone’s warnings.  (Sometimes when you’re not even trying things come easiest, and then you start working at it and the challenges show face).

Safe to say, I pretty much came out of the womb dancing.  My grandmother Carol used to tell me about how she would take me to brunch on top of the Alameda hotel and I would sing and dance and put on a show for all the guests with the piano player on deck.  I choreographed and performed my own dance in 2nd grade for a talent show.  I wanted to be Aretha Franklin at age 10.  (My parents put me in singing lessons when they heard that.)  I remember my whole childhood full of adults telling me I shouldn’t sing because I was, plainly, annoying.  Nobody used that word, but I could tell they didn’t want to hear it.  I often wanted to put on shows that nobody wanted to watch.  Time and again I participated in ecstatic plays where nobody cared to hear me out.  Entire lifecycles I role played out in my head, alone.  Though my parents did offer dance lessons and school play auditions, which I readily appreciated, I couldn’t help but feeling stifled in hindsight.  I wanted to bring joy, but I was told to hush, like many children.  “Don’t be so silly,” they warned.   I distantly remember a time in 5th or 6th grade when even though I knew deep down in my heart that I was an “artist” of mystical meanderings, that the power of the universe was within me and I had all the knowledge I needed to make the world a better place, admist along all of that confusion, I decided I would put it all away, as to not bother anybody. The sadness in not feeling welcome to be ones self, I know it well.

Yes, I put it all away alright; through high school in dance team I opted to be in the back row every time. I didn’t try out for parts that had singing auditions, which were almost every part.  I didn’t want to call attention, for fear that I would be told I wasn’t good enough.  All of those things we are told as women, as children, as adults that we “aren’t pretty enough, aren’t smart enough, didn’t make the cut” echoed through my head constantly.  After all, wouldn’t we rather do nothing at all than fail?  “If you don’t do anything you can’t fail,” I thought.  (All this coming from a straight A student…). I never really felt like I fit in, or had a purpose, and it was very confusing for a child who was asked constantly “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Until I found the misfits…

I signed up for a poetry writing class at KU, mostly to avoid British Literature, and I remember my classmates seeing my love of creativity and word-smithing, encouraging me to go to poetry readings and let my words be heard.  I didn’t believe them at first; THEY thought I was worth OTHER people’s time??   As I began going to readings and putting myself out there slowly people started asking me to do it more.  The local jam band asked me to come sit in and flow during their Monday night jam sessions.  I started calling poetry circles in the park, where strangers would come to just hear words exchanged in the moonlight.  People BOOKED me!  I started attending secret midnight readings, hosting events and finding serious poetry slams, with jazz bands and professional poets encouraging me to “work harder to find the right word,” which is what a professor taught me once.  An endless cycle, nonetheless, I was hooked.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t poetry that dragged me surely out of my sh-ell (sheltered-hell), but rather, it was a hoop.  I was in college and my friends started learning how to hula hoop, this oldschool-made-new fitness craze; but these girls were learning tricks, dancing and meditating with the hoops.  Dancing, having always been a vertical expression of a horizontal desire (said Rita Dove), became an immersive experience. I had always been a lover of play and movement, so I followed right along in stride with the other hoopers, learning how to work with one, two, and up to six hula hoops at a time.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but later I would light them up, and set them on fire!

 

“The irony spins in hoops yearning to endear our ears to truth” – Stella Dreamwalker

It was using these plastic rings with a “give-no-fuck” attitude that gave me the courage to really bless the mic the way a mic should be blessed.  Well, the hoops, and many poets and artist that I encountered who each inspired me to the stars and back.  A little bit of self-confidence was the ignition I needed.  Fueled with my words of love, I combusted and in 2009 I made a decision to start taking myself seriously, as an artist.

Over the years, I’ve casted many nets and caught a lot of fish, some very lucky minnows and some sharks. I knew carving out a niche as an artist was going to be difficult. It was going to be full of disappointment, misunderstandings and with plenty of people telling me I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t be successful. I knew I was fishing in waters deeper than I had fished before. I also knew that there was no other option for me but to try. I was a guppy who wanted to move mountains with art. So first learned to walk on lands and then I learned to fly… and then, mountain hunting I went.

I remember the night it dawned on me that if I was going to do this, which is when I started diving deeper into hip-hop.  I realized I had been embodying many of the elements of this loved art form without even knowing it… DoJing and emceeing, art (graffiti/stenciling), bboy dancing, and the consciousness of it, all touched my heart; the pain and the sadness right along with the badass gladness.   “My Main MissConception” was the first spoken word performance piece I wrote and my roommate deemed me the name MissConception.  #miccheck

Special thanks to Alex Chase for recording and mastering my first track.

Since I was little I had always loved rhyming.  Shell Silverstein and Dr Seuss were heavy influences as a child , and in middle school I memorized all the words to a Jurassic 5 song and then the rap at the end of TLC’s Waterfalls.  I was obsessed with cadence and delivery.  After flaming hoops unleashed my inner confidence, I took to the stage saying the thing that nobody at least nobody who lied like me) wanted to say.  Passion and truth flowed naturally like water from my lips.  Largely, I wasn’t the most popular act in town, especially in the thick of the spoken word and rap scenes, despite my emphasis on social inequality, the environment and gender equality.  I wanted to change the world, and again it seemed nobody wanted to listen. Eventually a local producer, DWILL, offered to make beats for me and record my first album.  In  2008 he helped me to debut my dream, Self Titled: MissConception; I was ecstatic.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be making a hip-hop album. He believed in me, and that is sometimes still hard to believe.

Since then, I’ve performed on hundreds of stages, hosted showcases, self-produced several more albums (Ostentation, Saraswati, Saratonin, Serendipty EP, and my new release coming in 2020 titled: Saramony); I’ve worked with some very talented producers, and I even had the opportunity to release my first chap-book of poetry in 2016 entitled: Class Action (because who really wants to go to law school anyone when you can be a poet). #poppoetry #12poetsin12months.  (I still have a very limited amount of 2nd edition signed copies left #classaction)

Yes, it all looks so pretty on a website, and yes I have wanted to give up over and over.   The truth is for an artist, it is a constant internal battle of your mind as to whether or not to keep going or give up, and an external battle with everyone else.  Almost every day I doubt myself.  And almost every day I have someone reach out to me telling me that my words changed their life.  “Have you considered getting an agent?” is the most grateful and yet painful question; lord I wish I could find an agent who would understand this hot mess of an artist.  But just knowing that so many people now believe in me; what a blessing. On the other side of the same token, I receive more messages than I’d care to admit that my work is trash, founded in ignorance, and  I have no business as a white woman in hip-hop, or that I’m chasing a dream that no longer serves me or my lifestyle.  One thing these hoops and ciphers have taught me is that each of us has our own fires to burn and our own lessons to learn.

I learned long ago to not chase the dream.  Follow it. Show up for it.  Be ready for it when it comes knocking, but don’t chase it.  Desparation is a heavy stench. The thing I keep coming back to as an artist is that it doesn’t matter who likes or doesn’t like my art. The art is made FOR ME, by me, because of me, and through me.  It’s there if you want, take it or leave it.  You don’t have to understand it to appreciate it.  Sometimes the parts of creativity that we MISunderstand are actually the POINT of making the art.  The more healthy discussions that spark from these dreams come alive the more fuel for the art.

More often than not I wake up lyrics in my head from a dream and scribble them down before I forget.   I am not necessarily a writer, dare I say that I am a channel? I always tell people that although I may write down the songs, they don’t exactly come from me, they come through me.  I didn’t plan for this. I didn’t ask for this.  I just simply cannot help myself; and thus another misconception was born.

Saramony Album Art 2020
Album Artwork painting done by Wieteke Waterborg, 2008
Ceremony | Saramony Release Day January 1, 2020
– A projection of desire and reflection of the fire –

In preparing for my new album release, Saramony | Ceremony in 2020, I collaborated with a group out of the Twin Cities called the Gypse Freq Circus for one track; several of the tracks were written by a producer named Eisenhauer, and a few parodies in the mix that just fell out as well.  (Parodies are my favorite!)  Recorded and mastered by Jonathan Larson of the Tenderloin Studios in San Francisco, this is some of my darkest and most conscious work yet dare I say?  It is set to release on January 1, 2020. #2020vision

I’ve always said that there are two rules of ‘Show Business’: 1. Shock Value –  and 2. Always leave them wanting more.  Say the thing that they don’t expect you to say and then leave them hanging on the edge of their seat baby so they come to your next show. These 8 tracks I am hoping will tug on your heart strings just enough to help me fuel the next round of creativity, whatever that may be.  I’m always paying attention and ready when the universe calls.

Another professor once taught me that “Poetry is the art of paying attention” and he could not be more right.  Paying attention in a century where attention-spans are the length of twitter tweets is a nearly impossible feat.  It’s asking a lot of people these days to cut through the clutter and really give your mind to one train of thought for more than five or ten minutes.  How about, just one song even?   Listening may or may not save your life per say, but it’s CERTAINLY saving mine.  Here is a sneak peak of the title track off my new album, entitled: Gypsy Freq Circus

Gypsy Freq Circus 

Being an artist and performing original work to an audience that appreciates said art is truly the greatest give in the world; the highest of highs abound.  It has become my mental health lifeline.  Booking an artist is somewhat akin to saving their life in a sense… it’s our purpose, striving art. It’s what we live for.

“Art is why I get up in the morning,” said Ani Difranco, “but my definition ends there you know it doesn’t seem fair that I’m living for something I can barely define…and there you are right there in the meantime”.  Art is the process of defining what there is to get up in the morning for.  Whether it pisses you off or inspires you, at least it’s doing something!

 

❤ Thanks for the love during the last decade ❤

If I’ve realized anything about the beauty of performance art, it’s that it’s an incredibly hard sell, almost especially so when your tool-kit is full of a variety of tricks; often people don’t know what to do with me as an artist.  I’ve been told, “I’m too spiritual for the hip-hop heads and too hip-hop for the yoga teachers.”  I don’t write my own “music”, I write the  words.  I take other people’s music and words that flow through and mash em up often serenditiously.  When they ask about my work style I tell people, “If you put Ani Difranco and Jurassic 5 together, you get one hell of a MissConception”.  And I suppose I’d have it no other way; after all, my name is MissConception; the element of mystery and elusivity is part of the practice.  You’re supposed to interpret art, not be told what it is.   “Just what is she trying to do?”  Truth is the magic is in the mystery.

In closing, I just want to say a seriously great big thank you to anybody and everybody who has ever supported MissConception, myself, or any other artist that inspires you on any level.  Thank you for also sharing your art with me. Special thank you to my dear friend and editor,  Stella Dreamwalker, for believing in me and writing with me along the way.   I will be forever grateful for your love, and I will continue to offer my creativity and love to any and all who wish to share.  The only way out is in-word, and we are all in this wordy world together, spinning circles.  Let’s keep rockin’ into the twenties!

THANK YOU 

Love,
MissComeOn

Miss Concept Ion

www.themissconception.com

Art, Evolution, Health, Poetry

Healing Feelings

“Creating all this drama while running from our trauma” Professor Nightlife Jones

“Despite all my rage, Im still just a rat in a cage!” – Jai Love

I’ve come to love the sound of the recycling jingling in and out of cans outside my bedroom window on the street below…. not because of the environmental implications, I mean, but because it sounds like home. My home, now. Life on Clement. 94118. I chose this very place, of all the towns and cities in the United States, I picked here. The Inner Richmond. Why?  Many reasons. Fate. Chance.  Coupled with my proximity to work in Tiburon at the synagogue, and for a variety of other factors involving landscape, environment, proximity and creativity, this is my home of choice.  My sanctuary. My center. The eye of my storm.   

That’s not to say I don’t doubt myself everyday. Did I make the right choice? Pick the right city? The right job? The right part of town.   I KNOW that I picked the right partner, thank goodness, and I am grateful everyday for that clarity. So why have I been so…. disillusioned?  So unhappy.  What more could I want?

Yes, I do miss my family. But I like it here. I like who I have become.  I’m not as sweet as I used to be, but much kinder and smarter, I’d like to think.  Rougher.  More careful with my energy and time and space. Protective. A mamma bear.  I work out now, sort of.  I actively DON’T eat cheese at every meal.  I don’t smoke… near as much as I used to.  I don’t weigh myself down with unnecessary bullshit and small talk with people I don’t care about.  So where are these giant waves of sadness coming from? Are they a part of me? Or maybe much bigger than me? Generations larger than I can possibly comprehend, it seems.

And I am open to it.  I asked to understand, the human condition. I remember at six-years-old asking for answers of the universe.  I read Conversations with God and the Four Agreements at an early age, and lots of other spirituality self help type books that seemed reasonably informative.   I remember adults protecting me from the truth, for the same damn reasons we protect our own hearts and tune out our own minds when it’s convenient, which is more often than not these days.  Every night we feel the need to turn the volume up or down, it seems.  To alter our current state, because reality is not pretty. 

And sure, we can blame it on mercury in retrograde, or the solar storms, or claim we are just products of our environment, and that’s nice, to put a name on it. A blame. “Survival of the fittest”, gone wrong.  Of course, I am not niave enough to think it is all outside consequences no, I am open to it being all my fault. By no means is my life perfection; though I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  The amount of beauty and joy I have been shown far outweighs and exceeds the haunting of mistakes and misdeeds, that me and those who came before have scored. Everything we know is constantly in a stage of flux and transition; growing, changing, building, maintaining.  Disruption. Creation. On repeat. New twist.  Developed plots thicken. We grow sicker. We discover a cure.  It is true, that I have grown sicker, weaker, sadder. And it has been very hard for me to admit that to myself, because once you give it power, then it changes, right? 

Upon reflecting of my past, my relationships gone wrong, friendships failed, I have grown discouraged. Though admitting your mistakes is the first step to changing the future.  Please know that if I haven’t followed through or reached out to you lately, and I was supposed to, please forgive me. Life has been like a god damn tornado. I  lived my whole life in Kansas thinking I’d never seen a tornado, until I got to San Francisco and realized that the tornado was all around me. I was the calm. 

Somehow, I’ve thrown myself out of orbit. What was once an eye is now a limb, a gust, an upheaval of old foundation crumbled to new. As I continue to stumble down this dumbfounded road, seeing new walks of life, some pristine and some soot, I recognize my own depression is a result of years of neglect and emotional instability, from my own actions but also from the gusts of wind from other storms, other atmospheres, colliding.  Exhausted.  Worn. 

The storm comes and goes, and so does my vulnerability.  As I continue to try and be as present and available to others all the while taking care of my own sanity.  I want to do more. I aim to do more.  I will not give up on doing more, for myself and for my community. 

Sometimes it is as simple as switching your medication.    

Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying something.  Speaking up. 

Saying I’m sorry if you have to.  

Admitting your truth and finding your next step. 

Sourcing the pain, so you can work on healing the wound. 

My friend taught me a learning recently. She said “Sara, you’ve been so open, you’re forgetting to protect yourself”. And then she taught me to clear.  After years of being an empath, I now am aware of the consequences of neglecting that power. 

“Thank you (insert higher being here)
for clearing all draining and negative energy chords
in all directions of time. “

» three deep breaths – then follow with «

“Thank you (insert higher being)
for shielding me with 1000 feet of silver light
in all directions of time. And so it is”


-From April King_

Ripples that we make go everywhere, in all directions. We make them constantly- some microscopic and some so big we can’t even see that it’s a wave.

I Invite you, to be careful what you put in motion, as it may not turn out like you thought. You may not even be thinking about it consciously at all. Luck is chance and fate is a game. Back and forth. Sometimes you win sometimes you loose and you don’t have to play. You choose to feel it all or feel nothing. Both have consequence. Balance is only possible with out attachment and then constant upkeep of the body soul and mind / space we occupy. None of it matters and it all matters we all could argue reasoning for both. We are that enlightened. And yet we are our own enemy. We hold each other back. We fight the way of nature. We protect what we have know we hold onto tradition and the sacred for dear life maybe for a good reason maybe not. Sometimes both. The complexities of chance and fate and intentions at work here are astronomical unpredictable. The equation is long and the ripples are strong. Waves so big you may not even notice it.

In this day of age we are all ripe and raw.  We are BOTH sides of the coin and the paradox. We are all misconceptions. We could all argue both sides of the fence. So be careful what you say and always tell the truth. If you have the facts and integrity and kindness you will come out ahead and if for no one else but yourself. Be your own karma. Don’t forget to breath through it all. I love you. I’m working it out just as you are.  Maybe you’ve learned something and have something to teach me.  Don’t hold back; please, we need your voice.

“It’s about planting a seed, letting it grow
Nourish it, flourish is, give it grow, flow,
Water it down until the roots take hold
from the leaves on the trees to our breaks get old
Cultivate relationship millions of years,
Keep it strong, erase thereof fears.
Don’t you let no producer tell you that you can’t,
Just make sure you’re careful which seeds you plant” 

-MissConception, 2009, Plantin’ a Seed-

Art, Evolution, Poetry

A Shortcut to Love

I used to think falling in love was the key to happiness… you think you learn every thing you need to know as a little girl… “he’ll be on a horse, just before midnight;  I’ll be wearing white, and it will be happily ever after”.  Right?

And then… you grow up.

Reality smacks you in the face, and if you’re paying attention, you realize that if you really want to fall in love in a HEALTHY way, you must find that happiness and love within yourself first. Quintessential, yes, just as the love itself is.  A perfect mix of idealism and reality.   There are no shortcuts.  There’s no magic pill or perfect weight that suddenly grants you the divine agape soulmate twin flame type of love you read about in the romance novels.  You do the work for you; you get to that place where you are SO ecstatic to NOT be in a shitty to relationship, to be FREE, and that’s when true love finally has the opportunity to open itself to you.  Even then, it’s not a guarantee.

In the meantime, while it’s incredibly difficult to wait it out and trust yourself in this divine plane,  in all actuality, if you are not madly in love with yourself, then you have no business trying to love or support another human, a partner, let alone a child.  Even if it NEVER happens in this lifetime, don’t you still want to be THAT happy, that it doesn’t even matter?   I do.  And every day is an effort to meet myself in that place.

So many people are miserable in relationships, and also miserable alone. Loneliness is a slow death that will kill anyone’s spirit faster than it will kill a body; but what good is a body without a spirit alive? Falling in love with yourself, all the while letting go of attachment to things and places and ideas that will in theory ‘make you happy’ requires a good dose of proactivism; meaning, you’re going to have to go out and get it.  You can’t sit passively and wait for love to find you.  FIND yourself.   I dare you.

We look at couples who have been together for years and think, “Why them? How come they get to be so happy together and in their relations?  Why do they deserve it?”

First of all, if you are still thinking like that, then you’re not there, or ready.  You still have work to do within loving yourself.  Once you’re there, you won’t CARE who has what relationship or why they deserve it more than you.

Also, what we often fail to see are the sacrifices, or choices, one makes to be in love, truly. It requires a selfless that comes from selfishly loving yourself first; then that selfishness turns INTO selflessness for others. Loving another means not always doing exactly what you want because you’re putting someone else’s needs right up there with yours, which can look like a chore, but one that shouldn’t ever bring resentment.   This applies to familiar love, and the same goes for romantic love; there comes a point when someone else’s happiness becomes just as necessary for your happiness, though not dependent on it.  The second you depend on another to fill up your cup, that is the moment your cup will drain, and continue to drain, unless you re-learn to fill it up yourself.  This happens on a micro and macro scale.

So, how do we will up our cups?  One bite at a time. With a daily dose of self love and self care.  Eventually, when you start giving yourself SO much self love, you will begin to expect it.  You deserve it.   You already know all the ways; don’t let it overwhelm you.  Remember your worth; stop giving your power  away to other people – that is never true love.  YOU live in your power and in your own divine agape love.  Once you’re there, then we can talk matchmaking. 

Anything you would give a partner, give to yourself.  Anything you would WANT from another, choose to be that.  Too many people are sitting around waiting for love to find them, wondering why it isn’t happening. When was the last time you went to the gym, or got yourself a pedicure?  “Money’s tight,” you say?  Work out a work-trade for your local gym membership, or take up a part time job with all the free time you have not dating somebody and start saving those pennies for a well earned vacation and spa retreat.  Take yourself somewhere exotic.  Push yourself to harness your creativity and freedom to make the most of this trip around the sun, even if it’s alone.  We are born alone.  We die alone.  And in the meantime, we have all of these fabulous souls to get to know and experience on a daily basis!  Start inside.  Work your way out by walking your talk.  The only thing you’ll have to regret, is your own disappointment.  Start now before it’s too late, and remember, it’s never too late to love yourself! 

And Happy Valentines Day,

MissConsumed

 

IMG_1734

www.themissconception.com

Art, Evolution, Poetry


Do you have change for a button sir? 



Imagine there’s this red shiny button, with no label on it… do you push it? Or not? Even if you don’t know what it does. 


See lately, I’ve found myself pushing buttons. Lots of buttons. All the buttons that we must push…

Including but limited to, my own and yours. For example:
I get up, and hit the alarm, first thing, snooze is on, twice or three times AT LEAST I’m gone back to sleep, to push that button again maybe catch another wink. Flip the lights. Then push a series of buttons and knobs, facets, electronics and different kinds of tabs, showered, dressed and ready to brave the street. I unlock the car with a button chirp, jump in the seat, ignition switch and hit the sun roof, then radio, then gps, then reverse, lights, mirror angle, gas action, and we’re down the highway bend.


Across a bridge, pusha button to pay the toll, my mother calls, do I answer the phone? Or click ignore?


Push the button to the gate at work; a code to enter, buttons to remember, systems of order and cognition, passwords to recall, and change as one forgets, don’t we all? Tapping the keys all day, buttons and letters and numbers all in array, combing through pages and emails online, I hit the send button, often to soon, I’ll admit it. I’m hot on the buttons, pulling the trigger out of impulse, and release.


Turn on the fan


Turn down the music, turn it back up again.

Microwave your lunch and then the copy machine parades it’s multiverse of button wizardry all afternoon.



Hit the lock button on the bathroom door, which sometimes I forget, yeah that’s happened before. You want more buttons, we got more in storage…



I am so tired, of fucking pushing buttons, and of people pushing mine – will we ever just chill the fuck out, let the buttons rest for a time?




Yes, maybe, just maybe I’ll let you push my buttons a little, on purpose, if you’re nice, but don’t rush it, until I trust it, otherwise you won’t be pushing it twice. 


Pushing buttons…
Clock out.
Wrap it up.
Take it home, I’m done,

But not before
I reset the buttons back for tomorrow’s pushing some more.

<3,
MissCompissed

Art, Poetry, Sacred Space

Mountain Earth

I study the mountains
like I study the curve of a woman

Like the way I stare deep into your eyes
looking to lift the disguise from your gaze

Like how we listen to old stories the
the mountains tell it…

Every rock and groove a lifetime of moves and slip.

Each hill a gift to the present.

Every dry river bed has a past documenting the history of lifetimes,
and oh, how I’ve missed you.

<3,

Miss Constance

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www.themissconception.com

Art, Happenings, Poetry, social justice

Poetry as Personal Power

What helps you get through tough times in your life?

Poetry for Personal Power is a Midwest based non-profit organization designed to do the virtually unheard of.  Poetry for Personal Power, or P3 for short, provides health care messaging via community prevention info that manifest through paid gigs for sponsored artists.  Essentially, P3 has been allowing artists to use poetry and music to address mental health and wellness in the community, in order to improve the community at large… and it’s working!

Specifically focusing on  youth audiences and underprivileged communities, P3 hosts workshops, poetry readings, performances, and events of all shorts to get young people talking about mental health and wellness and what it means for them to deal with the struggles and complications of life.  Also known as peer support, P3 strives for a 70% hospital reduction rate, while intimating health care advocacy and research.

“What helps you through adversity? We are now in our seventh year with over 150 events per year, 75 sponsored artists and advocates in 7 regions, and research and peer support programs in full pilot trial modes! We are building a national replication process to share health care messaging, promote resilience in nonprofits, and increase the number of peer support programs. We are becoming an evidence based resilience messaging campaign with sponsored artists. We are also increasing Wellbeing Impact in host organizations with sponsored advocates.” -Poetry for Personal Power Website

So how can you get involved?

In 2017, the Kansas Mental Health coalition (KMHC) has a $120K grant to teach artists how to become citizen lobbyists. They are looking to pay stipends to people to learn to use arts and advocacy together to support social justice. Poetry for Personal Power and KMHC are doing a free one day training on March 14 for artists and advocates. P3 would like to invite anyone to attend, especially youth or young adult advocates. You can apply here to attend that training: http://kansasmentalhealthcoalition.onefireplace.com/event-2168073

Also, Poetry for Personal Power has a $5,000 grant to support youth and young adult artists from Kansas who want to become tobacco prevention advocates.

You can apply here: http://poetryforpersonalpower.com/artist-entrepreneur-supports/event-replication-application/

If you are interested in the Poetry for Personal Power initiative, you can always email corinna@poetryforpersonalpower.com for more info, or text 816-392-6074.

One of the best parts about Poetry for Personal Power is that the organization is actually paying artists to facilitate these actions and events.  You can check out artist profiles on the website here.  Get involved.  Get excited. And get ready, because P3 is about to revolutionize the way we look at healthcare, via ART!

Always,

MissCompassion

Art, Poetry

Concept of Insanity

Hello.

I would like to introduce you to myself … and all of my friends.

You know, the ones there living up inside my head, and they would tell you that they do believe that…

I have gone mad.

Started talking to myself imagine that imagining the cracks in my head are crumbling past corruption, mass destruction in-between my earlobes.  What’s if, my story goes untold?  If the path doesn’t unfold?  WHAT IF…. my brain starts to erode before it ever takes hold?

What if I am nuts?

The future so unclear.  I was always taught not to live in fear.
Keep it sweetly sincere and yes, I know, I am I am fucking WEIRD.

I mean look at me

I’m almost 32

and have what to show for myself?

Except an abundance of these memorized narcissistically sized ramblings considered a hobby. Who really cares?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and doing the same thing over again and doing the same thing over again and expecting it to end differently, and I would say that true insanity doest ever end at all.  It just keeps going on and on and going on and on and going on like a black hole stuck

Overwhelmed and brainsick with what I COULD be, what society thinks I should be, what my degree said I would turn out to be… well sorry ma, but confined lines just won’t do this time around. I’m through feeling crazy because I’m too racy to do it the same old way you say.  Same old sing-song… ding dong ding bat, I’ve defiantly gone mad.

Dementedly disturbed by all of these nouns and words and verbs I’ve yet to compose formally, the message is intensely clear so maybe immensely sheer when most of the time I can’t remember what I just said, I am an idiot at best, densely depressed but at the same time, the intensity suggested of my highly demented state has got me smitten with my own fate.

Maybe the best of them are crazy by default…

and a lot in life can be a lot of life that doesn’t have to make sense.  When you press two opposites together they are often more interesting than the present tense….

My digressional defense mechanism have become so unusually chatty, daftly unsound.

I like to think, that when a screw goes loose inside the mind, does it matter if anybody is really around to witness such maniacal madness.  Because if you don’t see it, you can pretend like it’s not happening.  Ignorance still torn between the two sides of my split person, personally, what a buggy fucking mess.

Call it art!

Asinine and insane as all nonsensical hell erupts.

I’ve got a one-up on the unusual. Shining on like a crazy diamond.  Allowing the delusional to override on auto pilot down the rabbit hole on a crazy train.  yes, my screws are loose.  Might as well let em all hang out together….

And though I don’t remember exactly which crazy night when or where or why I went mad in the first place, now that this crazy bitch is gone… there’s no looking back.

_MissConfused_

Art, Burn

Split Hairs – the Lessons of Burning the Man

Next year we’re going to have to start calling it by a different name because at this point, everyone whom was not there is sick of hearing about it and everyone whom was there can’t stop talking about it..  It was epic.  It was introspective.  It was dusty.  It was definitely expensive. It was… a way of life.

When you’re dealing with a wild animal, it’s usually best not to look it directly in the eyes… Some storms you just have to wait out.  Some parties too epic for pictures.

Burning Man.

Yes, I made the pilgrimage this year.  And, yes, it was worth every ridiculous trade-off.

Short parable: Going into Burning Man I decided to braid my hair,  you know, like every other long haired chica on the playa; to keep it from knotting up, naturally. After two weeks of looking ‘fly’, not showering, and spending ten days in the dust, I’ve never combed out such a mess of knots.  Ironically, I felt the burn and, just like my hair, I felt that the knots tied in the fabric of our unique burn culture needed a conditioning treatment of their own.

I debated posting this blog because I am somewhat ashamed of some of the things I have witnessed online and on the playa.  If you’ve been keeping up with the burn word on the street, then you are aware there was plenty of drama to go around this year.  I’ve watch what I’ve grown to call ‘my community’ appear to fall apart over some very specific issues.  This has created a sense of self-doubt in my own choices, let alone in my faith in this community.

I spent much of this year at various burns weighing the two sides… Is the stress worth the comb-out?  Does the carbon foot print outweigh the time, money and energy spent? Are the principles worth the autonomy we give up?    Does radical inclusion justify the split in our community?  Lastly, is deciding to shop at Wal-Mart over-ridden by the notion that we get to party seamlessly for a week in the middle of no where kicking dust?

The biggest question is are you proud to be a part of this scene?

I say, sheepishly, it was worth it.  Every dollar, scrape, burn and bruise, missed deadline and job quit because of Burning Man was worth the epic nature of this event and I can’t get it out of my head!  That moment when I looked around at the vast expanse and see nothing but art and smiles for miles, I KNEW in my heart it was worth it.  No one can shut up about it, and the question at hand becomes “what’s next?”

We’ve certainly outgrown our roots at this point, and now the Burning Man Organization is expanding!  How “fly” of them; it’s about time!  I feel like I’ve been ready for this since before I knew what even was a burn.  Now that the org has purchased a permanent location, Fly Ranch, what should be done with it?

I wonder just how many of us would quit our jobs at the drop of a top hat, depart the default world to arrive in Gerlach ready to colonize #forreal. To Settle. Prepared to work. Ready to practice what we preach.  Ready to surrender.  Ready to stand up for what we believe in.  Ready to chop the dead ends and grow fresh roots.  The land is there. The ten principles are in place. Are we ready to uphold them? Isn’t this what we all want – to live the burner life fully and permanently?  Or perhaps it is just the ideal with which we are in love?  Alas, the conundrum that comes with all serious relationships, “are we ready to commit?”

So far the org has not said much in terms of what Fly Ranch is supposed to be, and the word on the street is that they are open to the community’s vision (you can insert your own thoughts here).

I want to think that this community is one I can be proud to represent, and realistically, be okay loosing my hair over on a regular basis.

So….

Should we quit our jobs yet?

Maybe volunteer with Burners without Burners?  Burners without Borders is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems.  (Which, I will add, I am headed to volunteer for a week in New Orleans next month).

What I desire most, is that I could head back to Black Rock City, TODAY, with all of the other die-hard sick-of-this-default-shit burner radicals and get settled on Fly Ranch as my heart imagines our community could be living.  If we gave it a real effort to colonize and revolutionize the way we envision our lives, image what we could do for ourselves, and as a model for the world?  I am unsure if it is time for that, yet, but I do know that I am ready.  Are you?  Should we?  This is a group decision, not just for one or two people.

If it’s too soon for you personally that’s okay. The task at hand is clearly upon us; to spread what I believe is a common love and respect all around the world, including within our own community, but specifically outside of our inner circle, and to be proud of this energy.

We are a hefty network.  Think of the global mouthpiece we could amplify should we chose to deliver an intentional message.  What message is worth delivering, and how shall we say it? Perhaps we speak softly, with grace, radical inclusion and exquisite creativity; definitely not with exclusivity.  Let us find the voice of the radical burner spirit that drew us all together in the first place.

I challenge us to a  radical international game that Americans know by the name of telephone.  Allow me to whisper something into your ear, and you into the ear of your neighbors, and so forth.

May we whisper words of creative kindness into our consciousness, let it permeate our lives and the lives of our community and remind us of our roots.  May every action be an opportunity to spread some burner light with others.  Let every grocery store encounter set the stage for intent and radical expressive interaction.  Everyday put something moopy back in its place. :et civic responsibility realign the burner attitude we once sought with pride and inclusion.

Please continue to spread the magical dust on every level and know that our utopia is not as far away as we think, if we want it to be.  The questions are, what role do you play,  and how do we fully practice the art of burning?   #loveyourburn #spreadit #missconcepttour

Sincerely,
MissConception

 

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Burning Man 2016

Art, Burn

Burning Mannerisms Part I

Four groundscore and seven fests ago, I was partying (too often in vain), when a dear friend turned me on to a little big thing called Burning Man.  ::scoff scoff::  Oh, the stigma!  After doing some serious research and digging deep within my own principles to see if it was a good fit, I was hooked… on the culture, on the curiosity, and of course on the crazy!

I took a good look around my festie scene, and while I do love the live music and wacky vibes, I craved a deeper connection, fueled by community and creativity.

So I turned to burn.

I embarked upon my first burn in 2013 in the middle of Missouri called Interfuse…. that year, it was commonly referred to as Winterfuse; to say the least, it was cold. FRIGID.  It was miserable.  It was exhausting.  And I STILL had the BEST time. Ever. Scratching my head, I had to know more.

I decided it was time to do Burning Man proper, as a seasoned festival goer, and so late 2013 I dove in head-first for Cargo Cult.  Not fully understanding the past enough to help create the future of Burning Man still, I thought I was ready.  Though I had done my homework and was as prepared as us newcomers can be, it was still terrifying.  Not because of the dust (that was hardly the biggest challenge), not because of the cold (I slept outside every night on a cot and was never uncomfortable really…we got VERY lucky I am told), and it wasn’t because of the lack of food or camp infrastructure.  It was scary because as an eccentric performer coming from the midwest I was virtually invisible.

Everyone had their tribe, their camp, their art car, their shtick, and I did find it a bit of a challenge for a newcomer to incorporate myself into existing relationships and bonds.

It was just the challenge I needed, to be fair.

Pushed outside of my comfort zone and into the ‘real world’ of the creative vortex I better understood my self and my environment.  The biggest lesson I learned from the experience is that you don’t go to Burning Man, or anywhere sacred for that matter, without taking with you those with whom you want to share the experience.

“Sometimes you don’t get the burn you want, you get the burn you need,” my partner Michael reminds me, as we head into the abyss of this year’s 2016 Burning Man “DaVinci’s Workshop” of choosing your own adventure!

I am grateful to have a partner who is as open and flexible and free as I feel, especially going into such a journey.  I have come so far from being that innocent hippie jam band free lovin’ festival chica I used to be, and now I walk forward with the 10-principles engraved on my soul.  “Party with class, pick up your trash!” It’s a group effort to leave no trace.  Consent is always fresh in my mind, especially with new people.  Radical creativity and self expression combined with civic responsibility means doing what you do best, while not interfering with anyone elses’ experience.  Burning is a way of life, a beautiful way at that.  Walking this path with integrity, confidence and compassion is my modus operandi, and I could not be more excited to see what unfolds in the Black Rock galaxy this year.

If all of this jargon is a total mystery to you, I encourage you to start researching.  Look up the 10 principles.  Watch videos of what it means to burn with heart.  Most importantly, don’t ever underestimate the power of your own intentions.

So many people have said to me, “oh, I could never afford to go to burning man, it’s so expensive”, and I too said the same thing.  Until I just decided to go.  Never mind the low-income ticketing program (worth looking up, if you’re on a budget) but the rule of thumb with Burning Man tickets is that if you are supposed to be there, you will make it.  If you decide you are going pack your bags and the ticket will find you.  The biggest challenge for most people is getting the time off work.  Last time I went to Burning Man I quit my job before I went. (Sorry about that CBT).  If you decide this is going to be the most life changing epic adventure you’ve ever known then it will be, and quitting your job may be just the catalyst you need to make it happen.  If you show fear then you will be met with fear.  “Attitude is everything” my mother taught me as a little girl.

My attitude is ready to kick some artsy ass; in 24 days we burn the man.

Amen.