Thursday, October 3, 2013

From Pakistan to Peru to the USA: An Audio Showcase


Published:


  
In May of 2013, Erica Eichelkraut Zilbauer, owner of Main Studios in Buffalo, New York, asked me if I wished to hold Creative Writing Workshops at her studio. 

I have never taught any workshops, hold no degree in writing or education, yet I agreed, hoping there were a way I were able to bring something different to the workshops instead of the typical courses that really do not teach you about what being a writer is like, let alone the creative process as a whole. Most classes based upon writing focus on literary giants throughout history and works of immense international praise, leaving out the various styles of writing, as well as the diverse ways one creates in their everyday lives. 

Immediately, I started contacting organizations and writers and artists in my city for their experience and assistance and what occurred as a result blew me away.


Starting with the support of Poets & Writers.org, Just Buffalo Literary Center, Delizon Publishers, Think Twice Radio, Publish America, and Big Marker, six different entities provided continuous free books, magazines, web space, and audio production. 

Locally, people began donating supplies, and most importantly, their own experience as writers and educators. The literary community of Western New York is immense and supportive, yet the response I received was something I did not expect.

Through the organizations and people, I were able to provide not only a forum for creativity, but full print journals, personal books, memoirs, supplies, print magazines, and quarterly publications and hand them to the attendees once a month. It felt great to be able to give to those who took the time to be interested in even one workshop.

The ideas overflowed as to what I wished to present that will be interesting, fun and useful to share for all people and ages. I put together a quick syllabus based upon my writing experience and what I have learned through the guidance of those who helped me through the years. It was extremely difficult to bring the most essential information to people in only three workshops, spaced out monthly, so I focused on what is most important in my everyday life as a writer.



Three words: To simply create.



Every workshop was an open forum for discussion, there were no rules, everyone had a chance to voice what they learned, accomplished, and to share their work and experience. My only hope was that I were able to guide correctly without being boring. My greatest hope for an end result was that people created something, anything, that they were happy with and to record their work as a publishing credit for spoken word.

As I began promotion for the workshops, nationally and globally, people were interested and wished they were able to attend. From that point, I made the workshops virtual. This way anyone in the entire world can attend and be a part of creating something they can be proud of. Once again, the response received from holding a virtual classroom was astonishing. 

From New York to Peru to Pakistan to Tunisia, people were interested. Before I knew it, these little workshops were turning into much more than creative writing lessons.

Instead of having people sit for hours watching video, I audio recorded the workshops, took photos, and created an online virtual network that includes over 70 free books, audio from each workshop, photos, and the same information used in Buffalo. As a radio producer, audio is easier to download, stream, and listen to when ever one had the time. I asked the virtual attendees if that was okay and it was and off we went on a journey where all involved taught me so much more about writing.

Each workshop, I invited a guest speaker, everyone of them different. Jim Petretta spoke about storytelling, Kenneth Feltges about poetry and education, and Janna Willoughby-Lohr about speaking your work and finding that creative place inside. Every week I received emails from people telling me how they had never written before until now, have never spoken their work, never recorded their voice, and how they had a piece published. People were actually enjoying the workshops and feeling good about what they were doing!




Although this began with Erica and myself, what ensued is due to the people who created and gave to the workshops. Through their continuous emails, support, suggestions, in class insights and online correspondence, I became enlightened and understood that these workshops never belonged to me. We created them together and in turn, created pieces of work that I am proud to display to the world.

To those who attended, to those who have written, to those who have recorded their work and to those who have donated their time, guidance and assistance, it is due to all of you that I am able to sit here and know in my heart that there is indeed so much beauty in our world.

To everyone reading, please, create . . .

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Words Are Nothing More






words are nothing more
than the sky
crying
thunderous crystalline bolts
of pure esoteric passion
from the deepest crevices
that hide beneath my ribcage
as it expands
gently, rising
with each breath,
delicate


as my lips, purse
just so
perfect, like dreams
like pictures in magazines,
like art


like the sun and moon
how they love,
and the wind and rain
how they cry,
like the oceans and lakes
the rivers and seas,
as they quiver and quake
on the very edge
of a vortex of unbridled passion


exploding

like no nuclear fission ever fragmented
like no storm that has ever touched upon Earth
like no angels that have ever been heard singing songs of choir


like nothing
any human
has ever
experienced


except for the the rain
as it falls
ever so gently upon the roof
when unable to sleep


and like words
that are nothing more
than the sky


crying



© Susan Marie

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Fates of Nations










To those who decide
the fates of nations
lives
loss
blood
life
and bone


To those who do nothing
but complain
about their

good 
life

To those who never go
without
in order to give to those
who do


To those who realize
precisely what one is doing
with every action
thought
breath
with their wailing tongue
and blackened heart
paying homage to
greed
power
money
and nothing remotely
humane


To those who think prayer
is pointless
and faith

is an empty well

I echo my forefathers
when they escaped from
one nation
just to be treated harshly
in another


Crossing waters
on wooden ships
with disease
rats
no food or shoes


I echo their cries
as their newborns died
in arms of Mothers
from hunger


When sons died
fighting
age 12
for their birthright


When finally
they landed
the ones who survived
and set foot upon land
just to be made slave


To those who do nothing
and sit 

complacent
apathetic 

and ignorant 

It is for you, I pray
For you.


From the mouths of those
you step on -


from the souls you crush 

daily -

from the cracked and bleeding mouths
of our people -


All people
That suffer.


They pray -

For those who decide

the fates of nations.


© Susan Marie 


* Papa Francisco asked to bring peace to those who decide the fates of nations. Now that's righteous.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This Is Nothing New


Repost in wake of issues in Syria and other related world issues. Please educate yourself rationally on history for it repeats itself constantly, we just never truly learn from it . . .

Published in:

Kabul, Afghanistan Press .Org 
WGRZ NBC Channel 2 News
The News Tribe UK 
Harlem World NYC 


My phone rang. I was told to turn on the TV. I stared in abject horror at the screen as a plane flew directly into the 2nd tower of The World Trade Center. I thought: How is this possible in America, let alone New York City, the most populous city in the U.S, the largest metropolitan area in the world?

All I knew is that people were dying. 


After 9/11, every available person volunteered to assist NYC ranging from the health care field, firefighters, police force, and everyday people. The attitude in America was one of solidarity. No one fought about religion and politics. Diversity in race, financial status or sexual gender was not an issue. People stood together. Not apart. 

What followed as a result was and still is, global mass hysteria.




"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times." - Machiavelli



1941: Pearl Harbor

 

• Pearl Harbor Naval Base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters in 2 crushing waves. 2,402 men were killed with 1,282 wounded.
• Pearl Harbor led the U.S. into World War II. The intention behind the attack on Pearl Harbor was for Japan to conquer Southeast Asia without interference.
• 1942: Japanese Americans and Japanese were brought to camps called "War Relocation Camps." There were 3 types: Civilian Assembly Centers [temporary], Relocation Centers [internment] and Detention Camps [people of interest to the government.]
• 1945: The United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan killing 80,000 people under President Truman’s Executive Order 9981. To date, this is the only use of nuclear weapons during war.
• 1988: Congress passed legislation and President Ronald Reagan signed, apologizing for the internment of Japanese on behalf of the U.S. government.

1979: Afghanistan

 

• During the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, UK, Pakistan, Israel, Taiwan, Indonesia and China all offered "unofficial" military and/or financial support [Operation Cyclone] to the people in the struggle. The USSR supported the government of Afghanistan against the Afghan people and Arab- Afghan volunteers. Soviet occupation had an opposite effect. It did not pacify the people, it gave them power in strength and number.
• Foreigners wished to be a part of this global movement including a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden.
• 1985: National Security Decision Directive 166: The CIA and ISI pressured Afghan militants to attack government strongholds. The CIA began programs for training militants in techniques such as car bombs, assassinations, and cross border raids into the USSR. Pakistan’s ISI and SSG, U.S. Special Forces and British Air, supported the training.
• 1989: The Geneva accords allowed for withdrawal and Soviet troops left Afghanistan. US President Carter stated: the Soviet incursion was "the most serious threat to peace since the Second World War."

Osama bin Laden

 

• [wealthy Saudi bin Laden family] believed in the need for fighting for injustices against Muslims by the U.S. and other non-Muslim states, to eliminate the state of Israel and to force the U. S. from the Middle East. What may have began as a resistance movement, turned into a strategy against the USSR and the U.S. to lure them into long wars in Muslim countries.
• Osama attracted large numbers of jihadists [people in the struggle] who would never surrender. bin Laden believed this would lead to economic collapse of a nation. bin Laden were a part of Operation Cyclone during the Soviet-Afghan War.

Al-Qaeda

 

• [The Base] is a global military group initially formed as a resistance movement, that turned into global extremist groups with various disconnected movements. Al-Qaeda’s network was built from the bottom up, eventually with bin Laden as Commander and al-Zawahiri as Deputy until Osama’s death. The number of well trained militants inside and people supporting the group is unknown.
• The latter goal of "Al-Qaeda" was to weaken America by involving the nation in too many engagements, collapsing political stability, resulting in economic downfall.
• 2001: U.S. forces recover a videotape from a house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan with bin Laden speaking to al-Harbi [Saudi Nationalist] admitting to having foreknowledge of the attacks. Al Jazeera broadcast Bin Laden stating, "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation."
• 2001: 2nd Bin Laden video released stating: "Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people", yet bin Laden never admitted responsibility.
• 2004: Before U.S. Presidential elections, bin Laden said he had personally directed his followers to attack the World Trade Center.
• 2006: Al Jazeera shows bin Laden making preparations for the attacks.

Pre 9/11

 

• 6 WTC housed the U.S. Customs Service and Commodities Exchange. Beneath was the NYC mass transit subway system and Port Authority. The Two Towers were in the heart of NYC’s financial district.
• The North Tower was designed for housing telecommunications: all NYC television and radio broadcasters.
• The 7 structures of the WTC consisted of: The State of NY, financial firms of Wall Street, Morgan Stanley, Aon Corporation, Salomon Brothers, Cantor Fitzgerald, and the Port Authority.
• Underneath the WTC, one of the world’s largest gold depositories were stored, owned by commercial banks.
• The Port Authority leased the WTC to a private entity, Silverstein [$3.22 billion] that added the WTC to the city’s tax rolls and private funds for Port Authority projects.

September 11, 2001

 

• Two American Airlines 767 jets crashed into the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center in New York City. The South Tower burned for almost an hour, collapsing, followed by the North Tower.
• American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
• American Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The supposed target: The Capitol or The White House.
• 1,344 people were trapped. 700 people were killed instantly.
• People made their way toward the roof but the doors were locked.
• 200 people fell or jumped to their deaths.
• 411 emergency workers died as they rescued people.
• All the deaths were civilians, except for 55 military personnel at the Pentagon.
• The medical examiner’s office collected 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that can’t be matched. 1,122 of the victims remained unidentified.
• The death toll was estimated over 6,000.

Post 9/11

 

• President Bush’s approval rating soared to 90% before 2002 elections and the U.S government began the "Global War on Terror" targeting the government named culprit, "Al-Qaeda."
• Hate crimes against Muslims and Southeast Asians ensued: verbal abuse, attacks on mosques, religious buildings (including Hindu temples), assaults on people, and in some instances, murder. Anyone perceived to be "Middle Eastern" were victims.
• One month after the attacks, the U.S led a coalition of "international forces" to attempt to remove the Taliban for training of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
• Pakistani authorities provided the U.S. with access to military bases, arresting and handing the U.S. over 600 "suspected" Al-Qaeda members.

Guantanamo and Bagram

 

• The U.S. set up "Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp" to hold inmates they defined as "illegal enemy combatants" currently holding 172 prisoners in Cuba.
• 2600 men are still being held indefinitely in Afghanistan at Bagram Air Base.
• During the Bush Administration, Bagram prison held up to 650 prisoners. Since the Obama Administration, the number has doubled.
• The Dept. of Homeland Security was formed. Congress passed "The Patriot Act" that allows law enforcement to invade the privacy of its citizens.
The U.S. never formally indicted bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.
Bin Laden was killed by American forces in Abbotabad, Pakistan.


In the end, tens of thousands people were killed.


To think critically, one must study history, politics, culture, tradition, and socio-economic structures of nations. There are no absolutes, the only truth apparent regarding 9/11, is that many nations had roles in all events preceding and post 9/11. None of these events were in the interests of the citizens of each nation.


We must attempt, in the very least, to discern the reasons behind each action. We must stop judging one other based upon the actions of our governments. We must think rationally in order to understand what has, is and will occur in our world.


"Terrorism has no face, no race, no religion, no culture nor nation." - Susan Marie


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Death does not discriminate





Death does not discriminate.

There is no sexual
racial
religious
or political
bias

Death does not stifle
a solitary
human
right

Death comes riding
upon sweet summer's breath
and the scrying cries of eagles

Death does not laugh nor cry

It does not
hate
just as it does not
love

Like the universe
death is an unsympathetic force
neutral to all that exists

and unyielding
to human
suffering.



Unlike life.

Life is blood pumping
from atriums and ventricles
splitting atoms of breath
to capillaries, veins, and arteries

a massive systemic loop
bringing what is
not
needed
to the tree of life
the body
being
lungs
a pulmonary roller coaster
like the wind
whistling through pines
settling in leaves
sprawled
as innocent bystanders
in the earth and dirt

Life is subjective.

Unlike death.

Death 

does not discriminate.


© Susan Marie

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Help revitalize Main Street on August 3rd and 4th at ChalkFest!



On


Help revitalize Main Street on August 3rd and 4th at ChalkFest!

This two day family festival focuses on the use of chalk as a medium for art. This is an exciting format that brings thousands of people to Main Street while remaining true to the mission of turning the 500 Block of Main Street into an artistic and cultural destination.

Everyone is welcome, professional sidewalk chalk artists, children of all ages who simply wish to have fun, as well as adults, who may wish to try their hand at sidewalk chalk, at the same time, enjoying the diversity of downtown Buffalo, New York.

This free, family fun event will take place on the 500 Block of Main Street in Downtown Buffalo!

Young Audiences is the main beneficiary and Chalkfest is looking forward to collaborating with their talented staff.  

With this collaboration, Chalkfest will be able to offer more to the youth who will be attending, especially teaching through the arts that Young Audience’s strives to achieve. This type of alliance is the key to group ambitions, not only referring to ChalkFest, but also our mission to bring people Downtown and continue the rejuvenation of the city. 

Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2013, Young Audiences (www.yawny.org) mission embraces the idea of making the arts a part of young people’s lives in order to enhance their development as creative and productive human beings. Located in the Central Library at One Lafayette Square, Young Audiences goals and objectives also include the desire to promote Downtown Buffalo.

Join ChalkFest as an entire city block is transformed into a colorful playground with music, food, games and various events for children and adults.

To view some pictures from Day 1, 2013, click here

To view pictures of 2012, click here & here.

For more information or to reserve squares for fun or to compete, please visit www.chalkfestbuffalo.com.





ChalkFest Buffalo 2013

August 3rd & 4th, noon-6pm both days 

Festival beneficiary – Young Audiences of WNY (they will be receiving all proceeds and donations  made during the festival, this includes all the vendor fees we collected but will not include water bottle sales as these are still going to the SPCA).  Sidenote: Young Audiences is trying to steer clear of being referred to as YAWNY, which was their old “nickname”.

Sponsors (this continues to grow but these are the great folks who have donated or sponsored festival supplies so far):

The Fruitbelt Coalition, Inc.
Hyatt Regency Buffalo
Try-It
R&P Oak Hill Development
Viridian
Carmina Wood Morris, P.C.
Allpro Parking
Tetra Tech
M&T Bank
Sanderson Wealth Management
Delish!
Towne Auto
Dobmeier Janitor Supply, Inc.
Eastman
Alternate Information Systems
Wegmans
KeyBank
Main (ST)udios
500 Block Association

Festival Supporters:
Buffalo Place
The City of Buffalo

Food Vendors:
ECafe
The Black Market Food Truck
Amy’s Food Truck
Rolling Joe’s CafĂ©
East Park Pops

Merchant Vendors: There are a variety of merchant vendors that will be attending. We will also have the City of Buffalo Cosmetology Program which will be offering free manicures (quick ones of course)…this is the newest adult education program to come out of the city.

Live Music & Entertainment:

·         Dan & Leanne (https://www.facebook.com/DanandLeanne)
·         Olivia Frances (www.oliviafrancesmusic.com)
·         Diamond Ricelli (www.diamondricelli.com)
·         Differential Flava Crew (http://yawny.org/ensemble/2295)
·         Converge Dance Troupe

Activities:
·         Hopscotch Tournament
·         Double Dutch (mostly for the fun of it)
·         Beer Tent

SPCA: They will be there with some animals (I believe kittens and dogs) for folks to adopt.

Literary Theme: This year we decided to add a theme to the festival, taking it beyond the live storybook, and thought Alice in Wonderland was the perfect classic novel for us to work with, and the following are our “Alice” themed activities: 

·         Michael Macaulay (http://www.michaelmacaulay.com) is joining us again this year and he will be drawing a 3D version of Alice falling down the rabbit hole.

·         Alice’s Tea Party: FOR FREE, although there is a limited space, both days we will be hosting a “tea party” for the kids with cute little cups of juice and treats donated by Delish! One of the 500 Block members will be dressing up as the Mad Hatter and we are hoping to get someone there dressed up like Alice.  There will also be roses for the kids to color-in.

·         Mad Hatter’s Hat Making: FOR FREE, although limited space, the kids will make paper hats and decorate them with chalk.

·         Live Storybook:  We have broken down the story of Alice in Wonderland into ten squares, this unfortunately meant we had to cut out part of the story but we were limited on space and artists to do it all. 
o   David Pierro, the ChalkFest 2012 Adult Artist Winner, will be creating the cover page of the story, and then we have other local artists filling in the rest.
o   We have been attempting to get a “celebrity” narrator but have not been successful…Erin Carminas' brother read last year and was so amazing and captivated everyone that he will be returning again this year!
o   There will be judging done for these squares, with a $250 prize, and there was no age limit or requirements for interested artists (they just had to contact us). We were also hoping to find “celebrity” judges for this…not sure who will be judging yet though.

·         Chalk Making: FOR FREE, although limited space, kids and adults will learn how to make handmade chalk!

Please contact Erin Carmina [ecarmina@gmail.com] for more information and during both days of the event.

  


Sunday, July 21, 2013

just let go





Silent,
I sat

before me he
stood

virile
handsome
vibrant

he smelled of leather
and fresh linen

his eyes bore into
and above me

and I stared in awe

at this magnificent creation

of God



© Susan Marie


Friday, July 19, 2013

"Jack" in Fiction 365



 
Published on ---> Fiction365



Today's Story by Susan Marie


Jack

 

I greeted the day curled up in the back seat.  Spending the night in my car was not what I had in mind when I agreed to take this job.  It was only supposed to be for two nights.  It is now going on day five.

Damn her, I thought. 

It was still dark outside. I lit a smoke and cranked down the window whistling some Dylan tune. I saw lights on in a window up the street. Hopping into the front, easing into the driver’s seat, I cursed her for leaving me in this town.

Then I saw the note. It was lying on the dash, her usual manila envelope with thick, black scroll on the front, my name, what she liked to call me:  Toni.  I tore it open, thinking how much I loved and hated this woman.

Toni, my love,

Get something to eat, wait for my call.

Love,

Jezelle

There was a twenty-dollar bill inside, crisp and pure.  Like Jezelle.  I snatched the smokes and headed up the street to Bobby’s.

Nobody stared at me when I strolled into the diner.  A good sign.  I could really use a drink, I thought. There were five people that I could see, not counting who might be in the kitchen or getting their jollies in the john.  Two men in the back booth, an old man at the counter, and a girl in her teens.  She looked new.  You could tell by the way she sat all hunched over looking cold.  She held her cigarette as if she were posing for a picture. I had to laugh. That was me three years ago. I felt sorry for her.

When I turned my gaze from the girl, behind the counter stood Bobby.  God, how I had missed her.  She smiled. I headed for the bathroom. I took off my coat, gave my face a quick rinse and stared straight ahead.

Nothing scarier than staring into your own eyes.

When I came out, Bobby already had my coffee ready, black, as usual, and a plate of toast.  I pushed the plate away and sipped the coffee.  The elderly man mumbled to God.  Egg yolk dripped down his stubbly chin.  I turned away, focusing on the two men.

This is how bad it’s gotten.  Two men in a diner, a twenty-dollar bill and a half pack of smokes.  So this is where it ends.  I couldn’t even drink my coffee thinking of the grimy hands that would soon be groping my breasts.

Bobby nodded.  It was time.  I choked down the cup and took a shot from the pint in my coat.  Nothin’ like ole’ Jack to give you a hug when you need it.

I sat down next to the blond guy and whispered,

“Hi, I’m Toni.  Jezelle sent me.”

They both grinned and the mulatto slid in next to me. Bobby quickly pulled down the shades.  I wanted to scream.

The white guy rubbed my thigh and I closed my eyes.  

I thought of Jezelle.  I always thought of Jezelle.  And at this moment, it was her lips upon mine, her hands on my body and my eyes searching for her, once again, in the darkness of Bobby’s diner.

——-

To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page

Thursday, July 18, 2013

every waking thought







every waking thought
is the flight of a monarch
before each bud that blooms 


she gathers
from both hemispheres
left and right,
like her wings
birthed twins,
where every waking thought
begins
- as a first breath
- and the last gasp


where dreams become life
beneath the cloak of midnight
gaining momentum
churning vortexes
of hurricanes


such raw passion

complicated
never simple


a thought
is the genesis of energy


the subconscious of the artist, insane,
writing words such as this
solely to prevent the skull
from bursting,
spewing bits of memories
and rivers of tears, endless
that never run dry


a place where angels reside
sitting upon clouds
of sentences


the most holy poets -

sending telegraphs
to the chosen. 




© Susan Marie 2013 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

IDENTITY : A Group Show Presented by MAIN (ST)UDIOS





BUFFALO, NY – JULY 12, 2013, 6-9PM

MAIN (ST)UDIOS downtown art center presents a group show conceptualized by resident artist John Dunklemann and curated by resident artist Trinton “TrinityHawk” Garrett around the concept of identity. Work from several different artists of many different mediums will be exhibited.

Reception is FREE and open to the public with open mic on the Identity theme and special performance featuring energetic and emotional spoken word art from Pure Ink Poetry and unique refreshments provided by Mixology.

Featuring work by Brigid Jaipaul-Valenza, Cari Feltz-Abdo, Heidi Lynn Farrell Brown, Kathryn Eulella Shiver, and Katt Dunsmore, Paul Rybarczyk, and Trinton “TrinityHawk” Garrett .

Show runs from 07/05-07/18/13.


MAIN (ST)UDIOS is located at 515 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203. Open hours are Tue-Friday 11AM-5PM and Wednesdays until 8PM. 





 More information --> www.mainstudiosbuffalo.com



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