Singing: The Ultimate Detox

Image courtesy of thehoopla.com.au

Image courtesy of thehoopla.com.au

Perhaps it is because I’ll be singing karaoke in January or maybe I just need to howl at the moon—whatever the case, I’ve recently found myself singing loudly, well, everywhere. I do most of my singing on my commute to any one of the three colleges I teach at, but I also sing at home and while running errands.

A while back, I wrote a post on the link between grief and song, but my current penchant for belting out various tunes has me wondering what other connections there might be between singing and everyday life. Here’s a short list of possibilities I’ve come up with:

  • I just like the feeling of being loud
  • Singing acts like a catharsis, a release of frustration (I am a teacher, after all) and, as previously mentioned, grief (I recorded a podcast about my very recent journey with grief after the sudden death of a family member.)
  • I’m super serious about prepping for karaoke
  • One of my not-so-secret wishes is to be a rockstar, and singing loudly helps me live out this dream, even if only for a pretend audience

Whatever the reason (and the list above is by no means exhaustive), I find I always feel refreshed after indulging in some screamo or holding an extra long note. I’m not super into regular “cleanses” that involve only drinking juices or other dietary restrictions, so maybe singing is my detox and way of giving voice (no pun intended) to all that is not language within me yet.

Your turn: Do you like to sing? If so, what are your reasons? Is it for fun or might there be another purpose?

Rearview Mirror: A Look at Bucket List Items I’ve Accomplished

Road

Road (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

In yesterday’s post, I focused on my bucket list.  A few days before that, I posted an article about my goals for the new year.  Now I’d like to focus on things I’ve already done.

Ambition is great, but sometimes you’ve got to focus on how far you’ve already come, the road you’ve left behind. Here are some of the highlights from my 26 years (in no particular order):

  • Done a photoshoot with a band

    Yup, I took this :)  The band's name is JPT (short for Just Passing Thru)

    Yup, I took this 🙂 The band’s name is JPT (short for Just Passing Thru)

  • Met two of my fav bands – Coheed & Cambria and RED
    Me and Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria

    Me and Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria

    Me and the guys of RED

    Me and the guys of RED

     

  • Learned to shoot a gun
  • Mastered the xbox 360 controllers (There was a lot of time spent either looking at the ceiling or my character’s butt, but I eventually got the hang of it)
  • Became the first person in my family to get a Master’s degree
  • Participated in a dildo relay race (Rocky Horror Picture Show. ‘Nuff said.)
  • Moved out on my own
  • Had my first poem published
  • Survived high school
  • Found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with (He’ll deny it, but he’s the absolute bestest 🙂 )
  • Visited 10 states
  • Led poetry workshops and talks at two high schools and a senior citizen center
  • Made my own pasta from scratch
  • Dressed up for a convention (several times!)

    Me as Rocker Nana from the anime, Nana.  This costume was made mostly by a friend of mine and she kindly let me wear it.

    Me as Rocker Nana from the anime, Nana. This costume was made mostly by a friend of mine and she kindly let me wear it.

  • Me as Trinity saying "Dodge This" to one of my friends.

    Me as Trinity saying “Dodge This” to one of my friends.

  • Made a costume that I’m proud of, most of which I made by myself

    Me as Patti from the anime, Souleater.  I made the hat, tie, and shirt.

    Me as Patti from the anime, Souleater. I made the hat, tie, and shirt.

  • The actual Patti

    The actual Patti

  • Pumped my own gas
  • Read my work at several open mic nights
  • Taught at the college level
  • Started a freelance way of life

I’m pretty excited about that last one.  This year should prove interesting since I’m going to be freelancing full time.  It’ll definitely be a ride!  But that’s what life is about, right?

What are some things you’ve accomplished that you are proud of?

Kicking the Bucket: Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this is the second article on the theme of bucket lists.  I  found my list a little overwhelming, so I broke it up into age categories to make it a little more manageable (at least in my mind!).  Here are a list of things I would love to do before I hit certain ages.
Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon (Photo credit: Eric Lim Photography)

Before 30
  • Act in an off-Broadway play
  • Build my own study/studio (I love books and art and wide open spaces.  For more of an idea of what I mean, check out the Pinterest photo album I’ve dedicated to this dream.)
  • Get my first tattoo
  • Get my motorcycle license
  • Get tattooed with my mom (We’ve had a sort of pact that we’d both get tattooed on her 50th birthday, which is fast approaching.  I guess I should think up a design…)
  • Go rock climbing
  • Go skinny dipping
  • Have a picnic in Central park (basket, wine, the works!)
  • Have coffee (or hot chocolate) with Don Miller (I know the saying goes, “Never meet your heroes.”  I’m willing to take the hit on this one.)
  • Learn to play guitar proficiently (I define this as being able to read the music and pick up the tune easily.  I’ve started taking guitar classes, so I’m on my way!)
  • Learn to use a sewing machine
  • Make Cheetara costume (as you’ll see in tomorrow’s post, I’ve dressed up for conventions a few times.  I want to go with a few people to a convention as the Thundercats at some point.)
  • Ride a zip line
  • Run a successful Etsy shop (I define this as 5 or more sales per month in both Roaring Out and Lady Velociraptor)
  • See a Broadway musical (My mom took me to one when I was a baby, so that doesn’t really count)
  • Take a dance class
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Take a road trip where the only parameter is to get back home before I run out of money
  • Take part in a writing residency
  • Try frisbee golf
  • Visit Portland, Oregon
  • Visit Spain
  • Write a fan letter to Jason Statham and see if he responds
flamer

flamer (Photo credit: olaerik)

Before 35

  • Adopt a chimp
  • Fly an airplane
  • Get married
  • Go on a missions trip
  • Gut a fish
  • Have my photography published in a magazine or book
  • Have one or two kids
  • Have publication credits from at least 10 different lit mags
  • Make my own beer
  • Publish my first book
  • Raise $5,000 to drill a well with LiquidWater.com
  • Swing from a chandelier
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Travel to Israel
  • Try blowing glass or working with hot glass
  • Visit Montreal
  • Visit the Globe Theatre in London
  • Walk away from an explosion in slow motion (like the movies!  or Gangnam style)
Flamenco culture is native to Andalusia.

Flamenco culture is native to Andalusia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before 40

  • Be in a band
  • Be in at least one episode of a favorite TV show of mine (preferably Dr Who, but I’d be cool with Supernatural, too)
  • Flamenco dance in Spain
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine (not necessarily go to the gym, but maybe still spar and such)
  • Make my own wine in Napa Valley
  • Read a book a week and write a review for each (I finished a 25 @ 25 photo challenge earlier in the year.  Perhaps I can do a 40 @ 40 book review challenge…)
  • Read at a Poetry reading where I am the headliner
  • Ride a gondola in Italy
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Visit all 50 states (alternately, have sex in all 50 states. A friend of mine mentioned that she had done this and it sounded like a fun, unique challenge 😉 )
Laurel wreath

Laurel wreath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before 50
  • Become Poet Laureate of the state I’m currently living in
  • Make a habit of traveling abroad each year

I must give credit where credit is due.  I would not have written out a bucket list were it not for the blogs of these two lovely ladies: Lesley Carter and Julie

Check out their blogs.  They do some pretty incredible stuff 🙂

What is one item on your bucket list?

Simple Question. A Myriad of Possibilities: A Book Review

MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD

MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)

I don’t always publish posts in a series, but when I do, I like them to have a theme.

I thought it would be appropriate to begin the new year by publishing three posts that have to do with bucket lists. A while back, I found two blogs that published their bucket lists. I wrote down mine, and they have sat as drafts in my WordPress account for far too long. I’ll be unleashing the goods later this week.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

I’ll start with a book review. Some of the best books I find while randomly browsing library shelves.  A few months ago I browsed the “New Book” shelf at the library and found “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?”  The cover intrigued me, and I found myself not really knowing how to answer this question because so many ideas came to mind.

It turns out that this book came about because four guys, who named themselves “The Buried Life,” became dissatisfied with how their lives were going (graduate college, get a 9-5 job, etc).  They decided to forge their own road and go on a road trip armed with a list of 100 bucket list items.  This trip turned into a movement. Everywhere they went, they not only tried to cross off items on their list, but also on the lists of strangers they met.  They’ve asked countless people “What do you want to do before you die?” and the answers are by turns comical, outlandish, and heart-warming.

The Buried Life

The Buried Life (Photo credit: University of Central Arkansas)

The book is a mix of Buried Life testimonials giving account about how these four guys have achieved their own bucket list items as well as how they helped others achieve something of their own.  Some accounts are directly from people they have helped.  But what I found most interesting is that most of the book’s pages are comprised of collages illustrating a single bucket list wish.  Pages and pages are filled with wishes, both extravagant and simple, rendered in a very quirky ways.  I loved flipping through this book again and again just to look at the artwork.  A few of these wishes have even made it onto my bucket list because they sound like so much fun.

This book is a fairly quick read, but  it’s so rich.  I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for inspiration, both personally and creatively.