Hey there, Moon Pixie!

Wow! January is gone and half of February is almost over. I settled in my new home in Oceanside, CA at the end of January. It’s so pleasant here. Our family housing community is wonderful to us. It feels so nice to be able to enjoy movie nights, Ladies Potluck Bingo, and other housing events with our neighbors.

I finally am slowly working on reshaping my favorite passion, which is bringing community together. Moon Pixel “Open-Mic” is postponed for awhile.

I am planning on branching out Moon Pixel Collective into something spectacular this 2017 year. Visit the upcoming new site here.  It’ll give you insight on what is to come.

Elmast Kozloyan is running a new open-mic series now at Half Off Books, CA called Inside The Lantern. It is every first Friday of the month. Inside The Lantern is the replacement for Moon Pixel Open-Mic. I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Whittier, CA as a resident again. If it ever does become my residence in the future I wouldn’t mind coming back and hosting for you Pixies.

I started a GoFundMe Campaign to help me flourish the vision I have for Moon Pixel Collective. It might take a while! That’s okay. Regardless of the time it takes I am organizing everything to start community here. If you’d like to see the progress of my campaign, or donate whatever contribution you’d like just click on the link above, or below. I’d appreciate any motivation or financial support.

Seriously, e-mail me from time to time asking how my lesson planning is going, or what my thoughts, and hopes are with this project! I’d love to have someone I can check up with on my progress. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing!

I hope you are all doing well. I miss some of you very much. I am thankful that last weekend Sarah Thursday visited me. We had some lovely girl time together. It was great!

Have a blessed weekend.

Sincerely,

Raquel

 

https://www.gofundme.com/moon-pixel-collective-fundraiser

 

 

 

 

The Ugly Mug

Wednesday night I went to The Ugly Mug in Orange, California for the Cadence Collective: Anthology/Sadie Girl Press Night. I wasn’t planning on going because I’ve been going through some health issues. Also doing full-time this semester leaves me with little wiggle room to have fun. I became easily swayed into going after I finished up an essay for Anthropology. I finished my essay early because I wanted to see and hear my poetry community. Finishing the essay early also gave room for a relaxing weekend, which is why I am even able to write this post in the first place.



I hadn’t seen anyone in a month prior to Wednesday. Being there at The Ugly Mug felt like the first time hearing everyone again. It was magical. Sarah Thursday did a wonderful job. She told us the story to her cover art for All the Tiny Anchors. I’m not going to tell it because if you weren’t there you missed out! Ask her about it the next time you see her. Thursday also read a few poems she hadn’t read out loud before at the request of Terry. She also read from The Unnamed Algorithm. Hearing Sarah Thursday read after so long was a sugary sweet treat.



Terry Wright was absolutely phenomenal. She read her poems from the Sadie Girl Press Sampler: The Language I Was Broken In. Do I need to mention that she also read from Cadence Collective: Year Two Anthology? Of course she did! Terry Wright is a woman full of talent. She told us the story behind her poem Mappae Mundi. I am going to be honest I really love the last line of that poem, so when she explained how that came about I giggled. I cannot wait until her chapbook release party in December. I’m so excited to have her work on my bookshelf soon.



JL Martindale read poems from her joint chapbook with Daniel McGinn The Bottle & The Boot. I cannot explain to you how wonderful her reading was. It was absolutely raw, loud, and she exposed herself without holding back. I was swooning so hard. Seriously, it’s been well over a month since I heard this woman read her poetry. I forgot how much her poetry jumpstarted my heart with emotions. JL also read a poem by Amanda Tan titled I dazzle, even with my eyes closed. It was very nice to hear Amanda’s poem be read by JL.



I also enjoyed hearing G. Murray Thomas read. Who can get tired of G. Murray Thomas reading his poetry? I can’t. I also never get tired of his awesome hugs. Robin D. Hudechek also read her wonderful poetry. I loved hearing her read What My Hands Know. It’s an absolutely beautiful poem. It gets me every time. Michael Cantin read a poem about his very big white balls but they weren’t actually about his balls. It was amazing. His reading was flawless and it left me absolutely stunned (in a good way of course). I kind of wish he read his gold poem too. Great stuff. LeAnne Hunt also read. I always love when she reads. It’s always so good. Marc who was sitting next to me agreed that LeAnne’s poetry was too good. K. Andrew Turner had challenged Elmast Kozloyan to write a poem where she incorporates Armenian. She accepted the challenge and oh it was great. I cannot wait for her second chapbook Luna Seas. Marc J. Cid also read three poems. One of the poems he read was Inoculation, which you can find on Cadence’s website. Ben was a gracious host and closed the night reading a poem by Keayva Mitchell, Alexis Rhode Fancher, and Ricki Mandeville from the Cadence Year Two: Anthology. I got there 30 minutes late though because Bruxie’s was calling, overall it was a great night.



I am so honored to be part of such a strong, talented, supportive poetry community. It’s been the best gift I’ve received to be able to be part of it since I was seventeen. I genuinely can say they are my chosen poetry family. I don’t know when I will be able to go back to The Ugly Mug. All I know is every time I do go back I always feel welcomed. These nights are only made possible because Phil the Ugly Mug owner makes it happen. I should also tell you Phil makes the best Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups milkshake. So when you go, order one, and have it.

Explore Open-Mics: SHOUT! – Half Off Books Whittier, CA

Every artist struggles with the tension, nerves, and uncertainty one feels when going to a new venue for the first time to perform, but that is common, and it shouldn’t discourage an artist from opening up to the supportive community Uptown, Whittier is.

Half Off Books has created an engaged interest for local talent. Every month they provide a space that allows people to network with each other, but most importantly they have given birth to a safe atmosphere where people can inspire one another. Half Off Books is not only an exceptionally well run independent bookstore, but they are also the foundation that has built a dynamic, and diverse creative scene for local artists in Whittier.

Any artist neighboring in or near Whittier, California can build an audience and get feedback by attending an open-mic regularly. The best one to start off at is SHOUT! hosted by Eric Morago at Half Off Books. The beautiful thing about this venue is that this open-mic has no age discrimination. The local talent here ranges from third grade student to senior citizen. The performers that have performed at Half Off Books have been extraordinarily memorable in their own unique way.

SHOUT! happens every second Wednesday of the month and has been ongoing since 2011. Eric Morago has done a remarkably wonderful job hosting every month for the past four years. Half Off Books alongside Eric Morago have welcomed and supported many local poets, authors, musicians, comedians, story-tellers, and magicians. They are one of the many reasons why Uptown, Whittier is the ideal destination to visit. The key thing to understand is venues that provide a safe space for open-mics, as well as the hosts that run them are important, because they give rise to a healthy artistic community.

A healthy supportive community is crucial for an artist to evolve, which is necessary in order for them to succeed, because change is a big factor to growth. Change happens more easily when an artist feels they are in a safe supportive environment. This gives them the comfort to explore and experiment. An artist must show progress and the stages of improvement they have reached over time. To stay stagnant is not ideal and not an option. Every art form needs constant room for improvement. An artist must grow and keep growing. It’s an essential goal to reach and to always keep in mind. One must work hard over and over again. Practice helps one become the ideal image they feel best represents who they are. Artists change as they adapt and move through different stages of life. This is why in order for them to best represent themselves there is always constant work that needs to be put in. Being an artist isn’t easy and isn’t suited for everyone.

This is why attending open-mics allows an artist to get a good sense of who they want to become and who they are. It gives room for experimentation, for trail and errors, success, more errors, and success again. That is the cycle. It’s a beautiful one that can be very exhausting.

But there is one priceless reward that comes from performing after each and every open-mic. That is the moment that occurs when the artist realizes there is an audience out there meant for them. This happens when a stranger comes up to them and lets them know they connected emotionally to their work. That is a priceless moment.

Artists must understand there is an audience meant for them, let them find you, and look for them. Those who don’t follow and who don’t understand, let them go, keep on creating, and explore your horizons by attending a local open-mic near you.