By Vocation, Not Profession

No, of course this is not a professional blog. It’s a personal blog. In fact, it’s “an experiment”. I figure out how to use the “machinery” as I go along. This blog is soul, not ego. (Well, can’t escape ego. Yeah, man, I want readers. That is inevitably, inherently, ego.) I write this personal blog as sort of an open, personal journal, baring

Featured and open mic poets at Voz Sin Tinta

Featured and open mic readers at Voz Sin Tinta at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco. 2/13/2014 (Photo credits to whomever took this photo. It wasn’t me.)

my soul, sharing my poems (my work), and talking smack to amuse myself.

I am not a “professional” writer. (I wish I were. I’d love to be.) I  write by vocation. I’m like the photographer who tends bar to pay his rent. If you ask him what he does, he’ll say, “I’m a photographer,” not, “I’m a bartender.” His paid work is incidental, a necessity; he doesn’t want to be a homeless, hungry photographer. His unpaid work, his real work, is photography. He’s an artist, photography his art.

Here it is, the middle of February, and this is my first 2014 post. Actually, I started writing this post last year. In November, as a matter of fact. It was still there among my various (and many) unfinished drafts. A particular issue has been bugging me, which is why I wanted to write about it in the first place. The issue pisses me off and makes me uncomfortable at the same time. My fragile ego cringes. And that makes me go blank. Going blank is “writer’s block”. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, it’s that I feel overwhelmed and can’t speak (well, write) coherently, if at all.

OK, this is what pissed me off. It’s been bugging me all this time:

Sometimes I read posts that piss me off. Like, one time I read, or most of it, a post by a Christian dude berating those of us who say we are “spiritual but not religious”. He said we thought we were superior, special, and holier-than-thou. So, he berated us with his sense of superiority and holier-than-thou attitude. Look, man, if you belong to some organized religion, well, I don’t give a fuck. I don’t belong to an organized religion. That’s all I mean when I say I’m spiritual but not religious. (And by the same token, if you are atheist, I have no beef with you, so get the fuck off my case if I am not one.) Yeah, I believe in a power greater than I am. This beef is with that anonymous dude who said he was a Christian and then berated people like me. Religious people like you (I have a sister like that) think they are superior and holier-than-thou, and you, asshole, projected your shit on us who say we are spiritual but not religious. Religion is dogma. Spirituality is a feeling and belief. No rules for anyone else to follow. That’s all. I don’t give a fuck that you are religious, except when you judge me. Then, I judge you, motherfucker. Like Mark Twain said, I meet more people who are “Christian in their mouths, but not in their hearts.” I don’t wish you ill, asshole, just fuck off. You bore me, and you piss me off. I want nothing to do with people like you.

There. Now, Estela, move on.

That anonymous religious dude is long gone. And he wasn’t talking specifically to me, but he was talking about people like me, so I took his shit as a personal attack.

It’s a dysfunctional world, full of dysfunctional people. We hear things and take them personal, even when they aren’t. We feel attacked, even when we aren’t. I don’t know man, some part of me felt that he was talking to me. I imagined that he read my blog (or at least one of my posts) and then he wrote his fucking holier-than-thou rant. But just because I felt that, doesn’t make it true. Still, I had a powerful reaction. Because I’m only human.

So, the other blog post that pissed me off was this woman who talked about how some of us “bloggers” are not professionals. Again, I started to read the post (probably the title caught my eye), but I couldn’t stomach reading it in its entirety. She is a teacher, she said, and her blog is a professional blog. I’m like, hey, bitch (well, I thought it, I didn’t say it to her), what are you, insecure? If your fucking, boring blog is a professional blog, that would be, should be, obvious. You don’t need to point it out. If you have to explain that your blog is a professional blog, well…

That professional teacher blogger wrote about meeting a dude somewhere (a party or something) and she asked him what he did, and he said he was photographer. She was impressed, and she believed he was a professional photographer. (She prob had the hots for him, prob got all creamy in her panties over it.) Then she finds out he’s a bartender, and the bitch took issue, and so she blogged about it. She wrote that he was NOT a photographer, he was a bartender! Then she went on to rant about the blogs she comes across that are NOT professional blogs, so, presumably, they ain’t worth shit.

I remember when I was working “make-do jobs”, divorced and raising three children by myself, going full-time to college, thirty-plus years old. I’d been completely dependent my whole life, and I was just fucking clueless. (Way more than I am presently.) I’d complain to my therapist about how shitty I felt having this shit job, because people disrespected me. She tried to convince me that the job didn’t reflect who I was, that it was just a job I had until I finished my education and could do something I wanted to do. But, check this out, this is what the professional teacher blogger did, measured this guy by what he did to earn his ducats so he could pay his rent and eat, not by what he really wanted to do, which was be a great photographer. (Or, so I presume, that he was an artist by vocation and prob had dreams of being great.) Now, I don’t know if the guy had/has any talent. I don’t think Ms. Snooty Professional even bothered to ask to see the guy’s work.  To her, his work didn’t count, because he is not a “professional”.

My whole life I wanted to be a writer. My whole life. But I was thirty when I took my first creative writing class. And now I’m an old bag, I’m a grammy with a fifteen year old granddaughter. Sometimes dreams get deferred, and that’s too bad, but it isn’t a tragedy. Letting dreams die, that is the tragedy. My dream lives. I still want to grow up to be a writer.

Stay Poems, by Alejandro Murguia

San Francisco’s Poet Laureate.

I’ve said it before, I’m not prolific. But I’m persistent. And I’m serious. But am I any good? Uh, well, I think so. Yeah, I think so. Sure, yeah. Yeah. Hell, yeah, I am.

If you are in San Francisco, on March 13, I’m included as one of the featured readers at Voz Sin Tinta, a monthly poetry reading event hosted by  Alejandro Murguia. (Alley Cat Book Store.) Murguia and I aren’t necessarily acquainted, but he’s seen me open mic. He did not invite me, the curator did. He has a young guy and gal curating the readings.  I’ve open mic’d there twice, since I’m peddling my self-published chapbook, and trying to “make it”. I’m also going to feature at Galeria de la Raza on April 14. I don’t consider myself an “ethnic” poet. If anything, I’d define myself as a rock and roll poet. But I’m featuring, and I need gigs, need to be a featured reader, to establish myself, to promote myself as a poet, as a writer, as relevant. I don’t belong to the local clique. Nor do I want to. Hell, I want to establish my own clique. Egos, man, egos.


About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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