San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival

Last weekend was the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival. The first year of this festival of wonderful literariness went very well, if I do say so. Poets, authors, children’s authors, all sorts of writers attended and read or performed their work in front of other writers and a curious public.

I read several times at open mics, and I also read for Creepy Gnome Magazine reading and Bank Heavy Press reading. My work was well-received and I even had the chance to submit more work to Bank Heavy Press. I’ve got a bio to write for Creepy Gnome Vol 3, and I have more poetry to send to Re)verb magazine. There were awesome readings and awesome people. Though I mentioned it and invited a lot of people, I’m surprised more of my friends did not attend. Alas, there is only so much facebook and twitter can do.

Anyway, I met the wonderful Danish writer Simon Fruelund and heard him read twice from his book Civil Twilight (available from Sprout Hill Press). What I hear was absolutely superb writing. He’s a nice guy too. I also had the chance to reconnect with another poet-friend T. Anders Carson, a great guy and a wonderful poet as well. Not to forget hearing two of my favorite poets read: Tamara Madison and Donna Hilbert.

I could list names for ages and still have only tip of the iceberg. It was seriously worth it. I don’t know why more writers weren’t there or why more of the reading public wasn’t. As John Brantingham said, “This is the greatest thing to ever happen.” And he wasn’t lying.

ejrlogoIn other news, I started an online literary magazine East Jasmine Review that I’ve been waiting to do for a while, and submissions are open for the inaugural issue forthcoming in April/May 2013. Please submit to


Standing Up

So I was watching this YouTube video (here) last night, and that sparked some thoughts about standing up for myself. In the past I wrote about deserving and deservedness. I still maintain the idea that I’ve done nothing to merit a “reward.” The reward for living, put simply, is life.

This video mentions “getting what you think you deserve.” While that makes sense, in the mind, I thought I’d bring out the handy thesaurus and mention a few words/phrases that come up: merit, earn, justify, be worthy of, be entitled to, have a right to, etc. The only phrase that catches my attention is “be worthy of” and worthy means deserving attention/respect/etc. So we have a round about right?

Words are important in how we view the world. While I have no entitlement to anything, as all of life—and thus boyfriends, colleges, friends, etc—are all given. They are gifts, not something that can be bought or earned by virtue.

I think the video does point out issues in self-esteem and how we allow others to treat us is important—and one of the reasons I’m writing this blog. I’ve allowed others to walk all over me. I’ve offered myself as a mat; I won’t deny that. But the time has come for me to stand up for myself, to stand up for what I believe and be assertive. I can’t demand respect or demand that life gives me what I want. I can only ask for what I need and, perhaps, what I want.

I’ve had an issue most of my life of feeling the need to please others to get them to like me. I would often go out of my and put my needs and desires behind what others needed of me. I have to put myself first. I’ve been much better at this in the past few years as I have learned to love and respect myself more and more. Hold a moment and let’s return to me putting myself first. At a glance this seems very self-centered, self-serving, etc. I have discovered that if I do not put myself first that I will be taken advantage of, that I will be put down, that I will be used. I’ve found that I will be give until I am empty (and that doesn’t help anyone). I will still give, but it will come from a different place. I will not give to demands that I cannot satisfy, that will break me down and destroy me in the process. I cannot anymore. I cannot give more than I have. Our culture demands that we take from wherever we can, whenever we can to advance ourselves and our interests. I do not subscribed to this point of view at all. We must give and always give, but when there are those willing to destroy me for everything they can take—I have to be careful.

Pleas note this is not about a specific person or people, but something that has been weighing on my mind for several years.

Sharing a little vitality with my mom.

Anyway, this video prompted me to think about how to respect and love myself more, to attract people people into my life. While I have a circle of people near to me that is much more respectful and loving to me than I’ve ever experienced in the past, I know that I need to expand this circle and fill it with more people who will treat me with respect. For me to do this, I need to respect myself and love myself more. This in turn will “teach” others how to respect and love me. In the past, I have been very hard on myself and how I feel I look. I’ve struggled with a negative image and I’ve struggled with being cruel to myself—saying I deserved the negative events in my life. This turned into a cycle, as stated in the video, that turned me against myself.

Over the last few years, I’ve loved myself more, been more respectful to my limits, been better to me. I need to continue to treat myself well (not indulgently) and love myself more, value myself as a human being and not something less-than. I will stand up for myself and I will stand up for me and I will communicate my needs and desires better to others. I know my life can only become brighter when I do this.

I hope you all have an excellent week. I hope this has helped out—this little gift of words to you.

Literary Festival +

Sunset in downtown Glendora
Sunset in downtown Glendora

This weekend is the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival. I’ll be reading at sometime, but I’m also volunteering for the entire 3-day event (after which I will want to sleep for a week!). Check out the website! It’ll be full of writers and poets reading, publishers talking about publishing, all things writing and it’s close to home: West Covina. Come check it out! It’s FREE. Yay free!

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Order and Chaos

I’m sure I had a really good blog post in mind when I woke up, but that’s long gone from the halls of memory. Perhaps it will resurface another time.

Anyway… I tend to live my life in an orderly fashion—or at least that is what I trick myself into believing. I do similar enough things most days that constitues order. Breakfast after I wake up that varies little day by day, and then a little time on the internet before heading off the gym. That’s most mornings for me.

Ocean waves!
Ocean waves!

But the order is never really there, and chaos is what happens every day. Different times that I wake up, routines interrupted by a meeting here or some other thing that happens—and then I get shocked out of my habits (never a very pleasant feeling). A messy room because I feel I have no energy left over to move things about. And sometimes simply because I don’t care.

The thing here is, that nature, by it’s definition really, is chaos. There is no order, no “design” behind the way things work. They simply are and do. And has humans, we are part of nature and thus bound by the same rules of chaos. However, we like imposing our will and such on the world, thus making order. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a place for order and a place for chaos. The fluctuation of both creates a constant change in our life.

If you’ve ever seen that show about pack rats with boxes and boxes of stuff or just piles and piles of things, you’ll understand they have as little change as the person who keeps their place meticulously clean at all times. It is this change that promises defeat to them. Change is dangerous and must be avoided at all costs.

For most of the rest of it, this balance is played out in daily changes and an awareness of our spaces and lives—though on the smaller scale—keep us thinking about what we are doing and how we live. We come to crave the change, the need to re-order everything and find something new from the chaos to, yet again, let it all slip into a mess. Big changes are always a bit scary, but if we have such little changes all the time, perhaps they will come a bit easier.

P.S. If you live in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please come check out the San Gabriel Vally Literary Festival in West Covina (

P.P.S. Check out my website for freelance editing, creative writing courses, and creative mentoring!