Archive for the current events Category

A quick update…

Posted in current events, on writing, Personal Notes with tags , , , on November 2, 2014 by Sarah aka Sarjé

I haven’t posted any new poetry for awhile. I spent the last few weeks editing and compiling poems for a first book prize. I’m not holding my breath, but look at it as a worthwhile effort in working to be a better writer. The process made me aware of a lot that I should work on, but I gained a little more confidence, too–just putting that envelope into the mail gives me hope in one day being a professional poet.

Now, it’s November, which of course, means NaNoWriMo. I’ll be pantsing, entirely–I have only a slight concept. But I’ve done this annual challenge for so long, it’d feel wrong not to try again, this year.

I’ll try to get back to new poems in December. Thanks for reading.

-Sarah

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Merry Christmas

Posted in current events, on writing, Personal Notes on December 26, 2013 by Sarah aka Sarjé

Christmas is basically over, but I thought it’d be nice to throw a quick update here. I’ve been hard at work in the grocery store. I spent some of November working on NaNoWriMo, but didn’t win this year…still, it was a lot of fun.

To be honest, there aren’t many new developments in my life, but I’m happy with the general progress I’ve made in 2013, and am looking forward to next year. I think 2014 is going to be a good year for more folks, but I’m a wishful thinker.

I’ve met some great people this year, and am very happy to have made new acquaintances and friends. Everyone in this world has value and is important, but I think I’ve met some who will be especially important to me both present and future. And that’s a nice feeling.

More poetry and stories are coming, but first I’m going to learn how to use my new DSLR. 🙂

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year. 🙂

Welcome Back, Paul. (An Open Letter)

Posted in current events, Opinion, Personal Notes with tags , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Sarah aka Sarjé

Recently, Paul Miller returned to the internet after a year offline.

Paul,

Thank you for sharing your experiences and feeling about your year offline. It resonates deeply with me. I too have experimented with being offline–being about the same age as you, I’ve had this secondary life since I was eleven or so. One of the things I find most interesting is that as creative, intelligent, depressive people, we desire so much. We desire information. We desire truth. We desire connection: perhaps the greatest attraction of the internet.

Ironically, I feel connected to your story and your experiences because they were brought to my attention by the internet. I’m not writing this to you in a letter, by hand. I’m posting it on a public blog.

I spent large swathes of 2011 and 2012 avoiding or simply being unable to connect to the web. I traveled a lot, I wrote a lot (yet another half-completed novel, the year I won NaNoWriMo, which I still intend to–someday–get back to). I met a lot of people. I tried some new stuff.

But overall, nothing was really that different from what it is now. Except that I didn’t have any excuse for my laziness. I couldn’t say, “oh, I meant to finish that book, but got distracted by blogs.” “I’ll work on that painting after I look at some inspiring photos online.” “I can’t work out now, I need to watch these technique videos.” “I’ll go outside and take photos of nature as soon as I’m done looking at these lolcats.”

I wasn’t doing any of those things–wasn’t getting distracted by the internet’s myriad time-sucks. And wasn’t making or doing the stuff I always think I’m going to do, either.

I did spend a lot of time around real people, which is good–sometimes. But others–oftentimes, in fact–it can be more draining. I try to be open and giving of my time. Some folks take that as an opportunity to tell me their life’s story. Some folks go further, and take advantage of good-will, as it pleases them.

Is this because good-will is rare? That people don’t know how to respond when someone is generous with their time and ability? It seems as though we’ve lost track of what it is to act with grace and good-heartedness, and how to respond to such actions. Manners are rare, but we’ve been saying that for decades, right?

And it seems, these days, we are so timid, afraid to act at all. I’ve seen people collapse in hot weather, while others walk idly by, or stand frozen, and have been the one to run for help, or help them up myself. When did we become so afraid of acting? When did we get so used to watching, and not doing?

Are we a nation of self-serving individuals, instead of the kind and generous Samaritans we would like ourselves to be? Are we a world of people that are too wrapped up with our specific experience? Do we, as people, lack empathy?

There aren’t easy answers. The questions are even more complicated than what I’ve asked–take socio-economic factors into account, take independent histories, take outliers–your mileage will vary.

My point, really, was that it’s worth it, for all of us, to take some time offline, when we can. Maybe not a week, a month, or a year–but a day? An hour or three? The internet is a real place, a whole world inside our own, and we are real people inside of it. But there are real folks living next door, down the road, across the country, who we could differently interact with in-person.

Honesty seems to come more easily in the written word, or with the barrier of distance. How many people have opted to end a relationship via phone, Skype, email, or text, rather than face-to-face? My last relationship ended face-to-face, and I credit my ex with having the humanity to choose that route. Especially considering, we met online.

I’m grateful, in a way, that the internet has finally been accepted and legitimized by most of society, considering how long I’ve been here, talking with and connecting to strangers around the world. I’ve formed amazing friendships and relationships over the last ten years, through this medium.

But it’s important to meet people offline, too. I met one of my best friends while traveling last year. She and I bonded over internet memes, television shows, and gaming culture. But we also bonded because we stayed up for hours on end, talking in swampy heat, about anything or nothing. We live a thousand miles apart, but we still talk on a regular basis.

There is truth, information, and connection to be found everywhere. In words written millennia ago. In a Google hangout. In a conversation at a bus stop. In a blog post.

So thank you, Paul, for your experiment, and for your honesty about what you experienced. It’s always good to feel connected. Online or off.

Sincerely,

Sarah Haynes

Found poem: Comments on a poem for Dzhokhar

Posted in current events, poetry with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by Sarah aka Sarjé

Amanda Palmer wrote this poem. I’m writing a found poem from the comments on it. My thanks to all whose words I’ve borrowed.

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By nature art is reactionary.

Since when was art how you got your news?

Poems are poems because they’re poetical.

poetry isn’t inherently factual.

Reportage: it’s imagination–

an act of creative response.

Don’t trust the media, trust poetry.

About form and function: people have been

butchering each other for ages, head and body–

(dead a little, just white noise).

Terrorism is not romantic.

Poetry isn’t journalism.

It’s hard for me not to think about him as a human,

as a kid, he didn’t want to lose his brother.

But in the end he did.

 

My heart breaks for the hate,

My heart breaks for him,

My heart breaks for the victims.

My heart is broken all around.

I just don’t want to succumb to hate.

Justice and vengeance are two different things.

Forgiveness does not overlook the deed: it rises above it.

I do not spend my spleen on what you consider concrete:

the world simply is much more complicated.

If only is now the story of his life.

Is it possible to know where pity is better spent?

Maybe pity is not [in]finite.

Pizza Girl: Hidden Biases in Hiring

Posted in current events, Feminism, Opinion, Personal Notes with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by Sarah aka Sarjé

I’m going to diverge from posting poems for a moment, and instead post an opinion piece. This is the first of two, which are for the sake of my application to Opine Season.

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Pizza Girl: Hidden Biases in Hiring

Everyone loves pizza. I know. I make it for a national-chain restaurant, and I’m good at it. Very good. If you walked in the door while I was spinning dough one-handed, you probably would think so, too. I take pride in my work, and I work hard.

What I don’t like so much is that most days, I am the only woman in the store.

I don’t really think that my company has an actively gender-biased hiring policy, in fact I’ve found the same to be true in most of the low-wage jobs I’ve held. I’ve operated in different capacities at several locations in the metro, and found that at best, the female:male employee ratio is around 40:60. That’s at best.

This article in the Human Resource Management Report, from 2011, discusses the need to raise awareness that there are hidden biases in the hiring practices of many employers. Interestingly, the only comment on the article criticizes its tone: “This article is solely from a feminist perspective. The feminist assumption that women know how men think and that men’s motives are selfish and flawed is found in every paragraph.”

Meanwhile, I found the article relatively timid. Of course, awareness is important–but there’s no way that you could see me surrounded by men–many of whom are competent, hard workers, some of whom are not, and suggest that the gender bias doesn’t exist. As a woman, I am inclined to see the greenhouse of myriad-leveled glass ceilings, continuing to encourage the growth of male-dominance.

The commenter quoted above is just another flourishing weed of garden-variety patriarchy, expressing in an instant that feminism is bad: women shouldn’t express an opinion with their own voices, but with the voices acceptable to men’s precious ears.

And speaking of voice, I have a deep one. Having lost my tonsils early, and done a fair bit of damage by smoking, I don’t sound like a perky cheerleader. I took a call recently where the customer accused me of lying about my gender. To what end?

I’ve likewise been told that I “act like I own the place,” which, were I a man, would be a compliment. But my competency and sense of self-possession while at work is apparently too threatening to some.

So, the industry’s a boy’s club. And I tend to fit in. I’m fat and have a Mohawk (which is not on-display while working). But I don’t suppose it’s any wonder that men might have a problem, because god-forbid I should be comfortable outside the hetero-normative standards of appearance.

The fascinating part for me is that much of my gender-queer persona was created as a way to “fit in” to the boy’s club. I never associated as well with female peers as a girl, and took to playing pool and video games in college, because the guys were more fun to hang out with. I rarely wear makeup or skirts.

I was never pushed to fit into a gender stereotype as a child: I played with dolls and trucks, just the same. I can build a bookcase, bake a cake, grill a steak, and knit a sweater.

Oh, and I can make a damn fine pizza, too. I’m not the only woman who can–but it’s hard to prove that point, if women can’t be hired and receive the training necessary for the job.

And why aren’t women encouraged to excel? I only got an opportunity to advance when I worked for a female manager.

Will wonders ever cease?

BOSTON (erasure, Jeff Miller)

Posted in current events, poetry with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2013 by Sarah aka Sarjé

For April 13, Poets and Writers suggested an erasure poem. It only seems fitting to do one, now. I cannot speak to the events of yesterday. These are the words of Jeff Miller, from the Orange County Register (link from the AP).

 

BOSTON

Two cops flew past me, blind with panic.

An entire nation — suddenly runners

filled with flashes and booms.

 

“Someone upstairs dropped something.”

Gear bags. Thousands of bags.

What was in the bags?

 

A Boston street

shattered, shut down, jammed,

dazed and bloodied, missing limbs.

 

Six, eight deep

with heart, spirit, splintered.

Mass murder. Silence.

 

Consider fortune:

“If you were slower,

that could have been you.”