June 2013 pretty much consisted of our two year anniversary. I followed Stark to Seattle for a week of meetings and then at the end of the week we took a quick 24 hour trip to Vancouver via Amtrak. You can read all about it here.
Just after our trip to Seattle and Vancouver, it was just the next morning that Stark had to leave town again so I spent the next day after work with my nieces and nephew – Larrisa, Hailey, and Caleb (or as I like to call them – the Larry, Harry, and C Man gang) at the Tracy Aviary and Liberty Park. After a few hours of fun looking at birds and doing cartwheels and head/handstands in the grass, it was a last minute decision that I would drop off the car at the train station and come with them all the way to their house because they were having Carolina BBQ for dinner. How could I pass that up? So the fun continued and I went home for family night! I was able to ride the train home late that evening. It was my first time riding the train here locally and it was a quiet, simple ride. I don’t know why more people don’t ride the train all the time! It was nice to have a full day of things to do while Stark was out of town rather than a full day of working just to go to bed alone while he’s busy somewhere.
Other than that, I have been trying to ramp up my group mentoring class at the Community Writing Center by volunteering in other areas for the CWC and attending writing workshops. So far, I have attended an editing workshop to promote my Graffiti Writing class and get some editing tips. I also just finished volunteering for the first time at the Utah Arts Festival which was a lot of fun for me even though they kept having me do all the volunteer spots that nobody else wanted to do – which was passing out flyers! Little do they know my tenured days of marketing. Although I am not quick to want to go back to hitting the streets to pass out flyers once more, my ability to get people to come into their workshops “Starting now!” was far better than anyone else’s willingness to go up and talk to people. Which is sad really because I can’t say that I was super willing either. But the weather was nice. It was our last bit of breeze before our 10+ days of over-100 and it was better than spending my four hours sitting in a chair waiting for people to walk by me where half the time they didn’t even want to talk to me about the workshops, they just wanted a free program or directions to a bathroom. So I made it a personal challenge and I packed the first class they gave me flyers to. The second class, they didn’t even give me a chance to flyer. They gave me flyers and then switched them out for a “more important endeavor” so only 3 people attended that class. But hey! In the 15 minutes I had those flyers, I had three people willing to attend enough to remember that an hour and a half after I gave them that flyer they needed to show up for that class. I even set out to find one of them and remind him.
I attended two out of three days of the arts festival with my pass and a most wonderful Stark who paid good money just to come to the festival and drop me off on Day 1. He didn’t even technically attend. All he did was come in, see where I was working and show interest for me in what I was doing and go with me to drop off my sister and her kids to the kid’s section of the festival and spend 5 minutes looking at all the cool kid’s things (and seriously, every year they are so cool). We were jealous that we couldn’t spend more time because it was my time to start volunteering. We wanted to stay and play with the kids. They had a whole set of furniture in their section that they were allowed to paint and draw on! How unfair is that? For all the years we didn’t get to draw on the furniture and they get to get it out of their system!!!! But at that point it was time to say goodbye to the fam and let them play and Stark dropped me off at my booth where I was set up with my flyers. Then he was off and I was set to work.
Day 2 was much better. In the afternoon after our usual coffee and crosswords with friends at Gourmandise, we met up with Bry and Sarah at our place (Jeff was already with us) and ventured over to the festival. I had BOGO passes for everyone so the four of them were able to get in half off. When we got there, I ran into my Aunt Ilse immediately which was great. We were going to look for each other but she was right there at the entrance! I missed her birthday lunch earlier in the day because of a terrible headache so I was happy to see her and wish her a Happy Birthday. She was there with Kevin. I hadn’t seen Kevin in years – pretty much since right after I lived with Ilse when I first moved out here to get married so many years ago. I was happy to see her bright and in good spirits with enough energy to be out and about on her birthday. The three of us snuck in the exit with my festival pass so she could have a straight shot to her car on the other side of the festival. Her and Kevin were going to take a break from the festival for dinner and come back later, but we never ran into them again although Stark and I were at the festival until the festival closed at 11pm that night. We ran into my friend from Texas, Brian Norr and his friends once or twice. We made the rounds with the Beecroft’s and looked at everything and found that there wasn’t a lot at the festival this year, not even our usual favorites. The festival seemed mildly disappointing compared to years before. Our friends left us after not even a couple hours. So Stark and I grabbed a hot dog to share and looked around some more. We sat at the Big Mouth stage, we thought about getting caricatures but weren’t impressed with them at all, and then we decided to leave for dinner and come back in time for the poetry slam.
We walked down to Koko kitchen and had a great dinner. Once we came back it seemed like everyone was at the festival and the weather was ultra nice. It was nice to be done looking at everything. We just grabbed a seat at the Big Mouth stage where three comedians were finishing up the Wise Guys Comedy bit. Each one of them had their funny moments but the headliner was obviously the best. He really made me laugh. Comedians don’t usually make me laugh very much either so I thought it was great. Then it was time for poetry and at last minute, Stark and I decided to stay the entire time and be poetry judges. The slam was supposed to end by 9:00pm but didn’t end until 10:00pm. We didn’t mind. We enjoyed most of it and a lot of people were familiar to the slam. This slam was a team slam and some performed together. Only one aspect was disappointing and that’s a girl who, although performing a very amazing poem and doing it very well, performed the exact same poem she has performed at the UAF every year for at least the last one … maybe three years (because I didn’t attend two years ago but I swear she performed it three years ago as well). I didn’t think it was very cool of her to bring out old material. At the same time, I am pretty sure that there was another one, in hindsight, that wasn’t new but at least it was far more difficult to recite and was recited as a group this time (which was new) and therefore wasn’t instantly recognized as familiar. Being that the other one was a political piece, I am pretty sure it was also added to with current events. So at least some effort was put into updating it. It’s hard to judge somebody’s poetry though. That’s their inner most thoughts and my sliding scale of 1-10 started out very differently than anyone else’s. The other sides were all sliding from 7-10 it seemed where as I was using the full scale. I felt pressure to adjust. Just because someone wrote a very good poem doesn’t mean they always get a 10, ya know? They can still get a 7 if it moves you. How else is there going to be a clear winner at the end? There weren’t a lot of really “smart” seeming judges though. There was a couple who had never even witnessed a poetry slam and they were pretty… well… slammed. Then there was an admittedly Mormon couple who listed their reasoning for being qualified was because “we’re Mormon, we’re already good at judging people.” That’s great and all, but most of the material that comes across the Big Mouth stage is highly sensitive to Utah County ears. So I was a little worried to say the least. In all but two cases, Stark and I were the lowest or second to lowest score. However, that’s not to say that we were giving low scores to these poets. We were not. There were just a lot of people who were throwing out 10’s to every single person who had a rhyming scheme and 8’s if you didn’t and 9’s if you were hot- as if that’s what poetry was all about. The good news is that I did find that they all meet at Sam Weller’s for their poetry slams on Monday’s. So maybe I’ll start going to things like that. That’s if to say I’ll ever actually be up there slamming something. Doubtful.
But here’s a fun fact. You might think I’ve been a rambler like this my whole life. In fact, I’m sure my family has because I used to write in my journal a lot as a child and they’d read it out loud for all to hear. But it’s partially due to that fun fact that I quit writing all together. Since that fun time of being a laughable child all the way to my Freshman year of college, I never wrote stories or “entries” per se. I only wrote poetry. I didn’t know how to write. I remember my 5th grade teacher trying to teach me that writing was like a hamburger. I tried to write a book in Junior High and I did creative writing on the computer. But so far as my own writing, that I kept. I have only poetry/lyrics. And I have over 13 novels of them. It was only at the age of 18 that I quit writing poetry. Suddenly my life encompassed so much… too much… to put into just a few short words.