Chapin City Blues

Writing is writing whether done for duty, profit, or fun.

There’s a question I hate and it’s been asked a lot. I’ve mentioned this before. At lunch, I settled down to the stir fry. Made it the night before for lunch in hopes that my bank account will thank me later. So after reheating it, I sit at the table. My copy of M. R. Carey’s …

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Things to Come

June 5, 2017


Nothing dull ever happens at [redacted] even though most days pass at a slug’s pace. Friday, however. Man, fucking Friday. We often joke that life at [redacted] could fuel a television series for years—I imagine a cross between Seinfeld and The Office (UK or USA). And if our work life were a TV show, it goes without saying that Friday was the cliffhanger season finale. Maybe, one day, in the distant future.

Back in February, I started thinking about writing again. Something other than this blog and press releases for work. I’ve written a poem here and there. Nothing major. Just lines on the page that I hope will grow into something more. Of course, this gets me thinking about returning to college for an MFA in creative writing. It’s a thought that’s popped up several times in the past, but my bank account just doesn’t see it in the cards. Besides, there’s my relationship with Shaun that can be affected. My time is already divided between work and him with a splash of social life here and there. Throwing school into the mix will just place more responsibilities in the way. And right now, I’m trying to figure some shit out.

Then there’s the whole rust factor. This December marks the ten year anniversary of my college graduation. And all I have to show for it is a couple of press releases published in a weekly that doesn’t even hold my byline, one short story published in a college literary magazine, an essay published in a newsletter, this blog that only a few strangers read, and a job at [redacted] that becomes uncertain as the days go by. I’m not complaining. Not really. But something needs to give, right?

And, again, the realization sets in—all I do is complain about it. Complain about this stagnation. No one told me to stop writing. I chose to. No one told me to stop going to poetry readings. I sheltered myself. No one told me not to spend time on reading old works for revision purposes. I hid them away. I created the creative block—this Trumpian wall—in my mind to hinder myself. I don’t need a muse—shit, I wrote volumes of work before Jeanna. Before I even got laid in high school. And, yes, inspiration is nice; it’s just no one said it had to be romantic. Shaun inspires me every day to do things. I’ve painted more since he’s been around than I have in the years prior. I’m not good at it, but that doesn’t matter. I still do it.

Writing has always been my thing. As has storytelling. In elementary, I penned my The Munsters/The Addams Family-esque short story about a haunted house in which a family of weirdos lived. In high school, countless of compositions books went filled (and unfilled) with bad poetry. (I still have several of these, but I’m too afraid to even open them.)

It seems the trouble, lately, is getting started. That’s where the outline comes into play. In the past, I stood firmly against the outline. Writing should be a wild ride, a road trip without a planned destination. For instance, at the beginning of this post? No idea that I’d end up here. Just look at the intro paragraph. And I’ll by no means change it because that would mean changing this paragraph and I’m already done with this paragraph.

Will the outline help me? Who knows. But I’m willing to try anything. Either way, even with a road map, writing will still remain a wild, wild ride. It’s just that now I have an inkling of where I want to get to.

Op-ed

November 18, 2011

“A Pair of C’s to be proud of in college”

I never considered The Pan American – the student newspaper produced in the University of Texas-Pan American – as my go to source for the news. Not even when I was a student there. And as sickening as it was for me, I even published an article in the paper. Just one. I dropped out afterwards – the newspaper, not the college. However, earlier this week, someone posted the above picture on Facebook. It appears that Dr. Luis Rios – you can find him at 2101 Cornerstone Boulevard, Edinburg, TX 78539 or call him at (956) 682-3147 – took some ad space in the paper. Now I don’t know which imbecile thought it was a good idea to run the ad, but someone has some explaining to do. Keep in mind, it’s not so much that the paper decided to run an ad for a local plastic surgeon. That’s not the complaint. The complaint here screams off the ad – “A pair of C’s to be proud of in college” with pictures of young, college-aged women flaunting their well-endowed chests. Because the sole thing a woman should be worried about in college is her self-image. That whole studying and graduating crap, well, that’s just silly. Haven’t you heard it’s hard to find a job these days? So just stop trying. Get a pair of nice tits and snag a guy who’s on the up-and-up, on his way to the top and be his trophy wife. Problem solved. It used to be that women only attended college to find husbands and drop out afterward. Things, of course, changed for the better. My Chicana/Feminist professors used to boast about how the university was thriving with women on their way to making a name for themselves. Though it seems that Dr. Luis Rios and the entire Pan American writing and editing staff feel different. Perhaps they’d rather keep women focusing on self-image – idling celebrities like Kim Kardashian and not political women like Hillary Clinton. Defamation of Character Now it’s easy to tsk tsk me about hypocrisy. On Twitter alone, I follow Playboy, Hugh Hefner and several erotic writers such as – but not limited to – Alison Tyler – no connection to the porn star of the same name – Rachel Boleyn and Rachel Kramer Bussel. Let’s not forget that I also follow former porn star-turned-mainstream-actor-slash-musician (she’s doing music, right? I’m not mistaken about that?), Sasha Grey. Anyone with that information can state that I should have no stance on the argument because – so far as connecting the dots go – I seem to objectify women all on my own. That’s not true. If I did, Jyg would’ve pummeled me with her fists a long time ago.

Notice the tabs

Fact of the matter is, I read Playboy every once in a while. That is to say, I read Playboy. Really read it. My favorite issues being – or once were, since I don’t go out and buy them, anymore – the ones published every October. Why? Short story contests. But every guy says he reads the articles. And everyone just knows that he skips them and heads straight for the center where all the naked women lay. That’s an unfair assessment of me. I’m a Nerd – with a capital ‘N’. The last copy of Playboy I bought was the December 2009 issue which featured a sneak peek at Vladimir Nabokov‘s unfinished, unpublished work, The Original of Laura. The issue also featured Chelsea Handler, a woman I absolutely adore for her tongue in cheek humor. As for Sasha Grey. I respect her. I think she’s the best thing to come out of the porn industry since – well, ever. It’s her moxie that I admire, ever since that Entertainment Tonight piece about her when she started out. Nothing and no one will deter her from the path she’d chosen. Now that she’s out of porn, people are once again bashing her. But how many porn stars can you name that have succeeded in switching from the adult industry to Hollywood? Sasha’s once again in the news because of her determination against the people who are protesting her, attempting to keep her from reading to students as part of some literacy program. And do I really have comment on the erotica thing? And Hugh Hefner? Well, the man built something out of nothing. What’s not to respect? And if it had been any other thing, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, would we? Whatever Happened to the Chicanas/Feminists?

Meanwhile on Twitter

So I commented on Twitter. And yesterday, The Pan American replied back. I was a bit shocked that there wasn’t more of a big deal about it. Rather than hearing the roar of women, I heard my voice. So where  have all the Chicanas gone? They filled the school at one point. I couldn’t turn around without seeing one. They’re amazing people, but this is the sort of thing that used to cause them to file complaints. Instead we get a letter to the editor:

Dear Pan American: I would like to express my discontent with the last issue of the Pan American. I call all the contributors to the newspaper to ask yourselves what you think the newspaper stands for. Is the purpose of the newspaper merely to report what happens at school, or is it also to educate the student body by presenting the political issues that affect us all, provide conscious analysis of society, and above all represent the collective brain of the student body? Everything that is published should reflect your ideology. Furthermore, everything in the newspaper speaks for our university and us, the students. Having said this, I ask you to consider removing your ad on breast implants. Why contribute to the proliferation of some prototype based on superficiality? Why do you present an image of beauty that condemns the natural woman who accepts herself just the way she is? I do not mean to say that getting breast implants is wrong. I think that women should have the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies (in the case of a mastectomy I would definitely consider it). However, the ad was directed towards a specific audience: college girls. Apparently, it is no longer enough to be young, wrinkle-free, and thin. Now, we also need a “pair of C’s.” All the girls in the pictures are smiling, showing off their breasts, with the exception of one who doesn’t even show her face, due to the fact that her breasts are the central focus of the picture. Talk about the objectification of women! Is this the image of happiness and beauty that the newspaper stands for? -Lucila Lopez

Single. Just one. Why wasn’t there more? I’m sure there are other men and women out there that share Lucila Lopez’s thoughts, so why was she only granted space? Why wasn’t there a report on it? Just a single, bottom-of-the-page, almost filler letter to the editor. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disgusted with my alma mater than I am at this moment.