ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-27 01:56 pm

Hearthammer

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Ziggy got up on the stage and clapped his hands for attention–a move that by then I realized he’d picked up from Josie, who’d no doubt learned it from some other dance teacher or choreographer or theater person, carrying on back through generations. Anyway, it worked.

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ceciliatan: (Default)
2017-04-26 12:40 am

Art Within Context and Why "Universal" is Literary Code for "White/Mainstream"

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole yesterday when I dug into -- don't laugh -- my archive of grad school poetry. Well, okay, laugh. I was so chipper and naive and the poems are so earnest and trying so hard. They're better than my junior high poetry but only in certain light. Some of them are actually good. Or they would be if they had been able to live and breathe within a matrix of expectations on equal footing with the literary canon.

My whole Twitter epiphany was graciously collected by Charles A. Tan (no relation) on Storify:



The gist of the thread is this: my grad school poetry professor couldn't see that there was a contradiction for those of us who weren't white, straight males when told that we had to write "universal" themes in our poems that could be understood implicitly without having to be "explained". In his view, if someone couldn't understand your implicit message it was because it was a bad poem, and if you had to make it too explicit that was also a bad poem. By extension the messages that could be received most implicitly were "literary" ones. In other words, if it was about a white man's alienation after an act of war (for example), the reader should "get" that even if war was never mentioned explicitly in the poem. The problem is that if the implicit message is something that is "universal" within a marginalized community--for example, internalized homophobia--those who have never experienced it won't "get" it. And rather than admit that there are things outside their experience, the literary establishment instead brands those topics as marginal, and only lauds their appearance when they make themselves accessible to the literary mainstream.

Short version: "literary" is a worldview that centers academia, particularly white male upper middle class academia. At the time I just didn't have the perspective to see that. "Literary" equals "laudable" in MFA programs. It's a self-reinforcing system.

I quit writing poetry because for me to perform the same artistry would require my poems to exist in a context where the implicit things that didn't have to be "explained" were things like internalized homophobia, questioning cultural identity, and code switching. And that context didn't seem to exist. My poems were "meaningless" to the literary establishment, and I had plenty of things to write instead, in other contexts. (Come to think of it, founding the English language's only erotic science fiction publishing house in 1992 was me creating my own context for my fiction.)

This introspection was all brought on by the fact that Sheela Lambert of the Bi Writers Association -- the editor of Best Bisexual Short Stories (Circlet, Amazon) and the driving force behind the Bi Book Awards -- is editing a book of "bisexual poetry." (Call for submissions here.) I'm bisexual and I figured I would look and see if there was anything obviously "bisexual" about my poetry from back in the days when I wrote poetry. If. Ha. "If."

In fact, lo, I went back and saw that a ton of my angsty metaphor-laden poems from the early 1990s are now, in retrospect, quite obviously about internalized homophobia and/or about being caught between communities, even if not a single person in my poetry workshops (including me, sometimes) could articulate that. But I wonder if these poems will read "properly" if they were to be published in a book with a bisexual or queer context? I guess I will submit them and see.
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-20 09:00 am

Words

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Don’t laugh when I tell you the thing that made me feel instantly better was playing some music.

I know. I know. This is the thing, though. I didn’t know how long that feeling would last because if I pushed too hard or went too long I knew what was going to potentially happen was my hand would seize up and, to paraphrase Han Solo, that would put an end to the trip real quick.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-18 09:00 am

Pressure

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

By dinner time the dancers had been released for the evening and we’d made some strategic and logistical decisions. For example, we cut a song from the final segment of the set and moved it to the encore.

That took a tiny bit of the pressure off me, but only a tiny bit. Considering that we made that decision while I was soaking my hand in a bucket of epsom salts, every minute helped.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-15 09:00 am

Tighten Up

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Saturday post! Enjoy! -ctan)
Flip, approaching from behind me, smacked me on the back. He waggled the granola bar in his other hand like a dog biscuit. As he came around to see my face though, his jocular demeanor changed. “You alright?”

“No,” I said.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-13 09:00 am

Sexuality

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

There was one huge thing that I had not thought about at all in the weeks leading up to our departure for South America. I knew there were a lot of things floating around in my head that I had crammed to the back because I didn’t have the bandwidth to think about them. I had a sense of those things pressing on me but I had to keep them at bay because there were more immediate things hammering my brain every minute of every day getting ready for this show.

Some of you have probably thought of it already, though. I’ll give you a hint: I barely had the bandwidth to deal with even a fraction of the emotional stuff going on between me and Ziggy. Family stuff, interpersonal stuff, other people-related stuff therefore was well outside the realm of my dealability.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-11 09:00 am

No One Can

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I woke up in the morning with Ziggy attached to me like a starfish.

“When was the last time you got off?” he asked.

The ceiling was a different color of white from the walls. Had I never noticed that before? “Um. A while ago…?”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-06 09:00 am

Shades of Rhythm

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

“Deja vu all over again.” The studio was lit only by consoles and equipment, and the dark felt cozy rather than threatening. Jordan flicked on the main lights as I dropped myself into one of the secondhand armchairs tucked in a corner of the control room.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-04-04 02:00 pm

Feel Every Beat

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

When it was just me and Chris and Bart there, the Hangar seemed extra vast.

We left our instruments and sat down together in the break room. “I have a confession to make,” I said. “I haven’t had a single brain cell to put towards this pretty much since we recorded that demo with Trav.”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-30 09:00 am

The Man With the Child in His Eyes

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We stayed until nearly nine that night, which for the dancers was a very long day and for my hand was the longest day yet. At the end of it, though, after the dancers had been sent home, Mickey and I and Ziggy sat down and agreed we didn’t have to cut anything.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-28 09:00 am

Fragile

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

It took almost two hours of rehearsal to get the three dance numbers in the first half of the set to the point that Josie, Linn, Mickey, and Ziggy were all satisfied with what they had. I discovered that when I needed to enforce a rest on my hand, the rest of the band and the dancers could carry on just fine while I stood there like dead weight–or acted like a bandleader. Me not playing on half the run-throughs actually gave me the chance to hear how the parts were meshing on the big stage.

They had rearranged the stage so the band was no longer on two separate islands separated by a sea of dancers. Thankfully. Now we were on a multi-riser section at stage right with each part of the band on their own tier, and a matching set of step risers at stage left was inhabited by the dancers at various points in their choreography.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-23 09:00 am

Bitter Tears

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The only light in the apartment came from the streelights and the bluish glow of the numbers on the VCR. I could see no colors at all.

A few feet away, Ziggy slept in the grand centerpiece bed, under a snow white duvet, his closed, lined eyes and tousled dark hair like slashes of urgent calligraphy.

I didn’t want to wake him. But I knew I shouldn’t just stand there at the window having a downward spiral, either.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-21 09:00 am

The Dream Is Still Alive

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

By the time Linn was done, every member of the band and all the dancers had some electric blue in their hair. So did Mickey, the stage manager.

Mickey was one of those guys who was going both bald and gray but that didn’t stop him from putting his hair in a pony tail. One time back at the office I’d heard his response to the suggestion that he cut it: “What, I should look like some old guy?”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-16 09:00 am

Bring the Noise

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Out in the main rehearsal area I found Jordan with another friend in tow.

“Trav.”

“D.”

We exchanged our complicated handshake and my hand didn’t even cramp up while doing it.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-14 09:00 am

20th Century Boy

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

My hair consultation apparently wasn’t only with Bernard and Linn. Ziggy was standing there between them when I pushed open the restroom door and he looked me up and down critically. Well, all three of them sort of stared at me but it was Ziggy in particular I noticed. Not the most comfortable feeling.

“Hey guys,” I piped. “My turn, right?”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-09 09:00 am

Safe From Harm

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Two days later, Bernard came by the rehearsal space with Linn and set up a traveling hair salon in one of the restrooms. I decided I couldn’t worry about what was going on with costumes or hairstyles even though underneath I was anxious about it. At some point months ago Linn had taken my measurements so I knew something was in the works but we hadn’t talked about it in forever. So I pretended it wasn’t happening and concentrated on the music.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-07 09:00 am

It’s All Too Much

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I debated whether to wear the brace for my hand to rehearsal. You know, have it on up until the last minute and then whip it off to actually play? I was debating whether it would be better to do that–and potentially have everyone treat me like glass, which might undermine my authority but might be better for my health–or to just leave it at home and try to pretend everything was normal.

Who was I kidding? The “pretend to be normal” thing never works out in the end, does it? Ever?

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ceciliatan: (default)
2017-03-06 02:00 pm

German editions of Cecilia Tan’s Secrets of a Rock Star series!

Look what is now up for pre-order on Amazon! German editions of the Secrets of a Rock Star series! Well, the first two books at least. The third one is still in production. They are being published by the publishing house Bastei Lubbei and are available all the usual ebook selling places.

I don’t read German so can’t vouch for the accuracy of the descriptions…Google translate makes them a bit hilarious. But if you enjoy reading in German, these are my latest BDSM-themed romance novels, with rock stars, heiresses, and a secret Hollywood club.

Book One: Dunkle Symphonie: Amazon | Google Books | B&N Nookstore | Bastei publisher website

Book Two: Fesselnde Harmonie Amazon | Google Books | B&N Nookstore | Bastei publisher website

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-03-02 09:00 am

Crazy

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The stupidest things can cause trouble for me. Back at the apartment, Ziggy was out. I got out my notebook and looked for where I had written down my plan for our rehearsal schedule, couldn’t find it, then decided I only thought about writing it down but didn’t actually.

That wasn’t what caused the trouble. I’m getting to that.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
2017-02-28 09:00 am

I Have the Touch

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I wanted to sleep for a week. Carynne and Ziggy let me have nine hours. That was pretty good.

I actually only got seven, though, because there were two hours in the middle of the night when I woke up thinking about all the work that had to be done before we’d be tour-ready and the only way I could convince my brain to go back to sleep was by slipping out of bed, cutting a Flexeril in half with a steak knife in the kitchen, and washing it down with water from the tap. The knife wasn’t really sharp enough to split a pill, actually, so I ended up with a half to swallow and the other half pulverized into nothing. Whatever. The sound didn’t wake Ziggy and I got back in bed and slept the rest of the night.

The medical followup wasn’t with my surgeon. It was with a physical therapy office off of Bowery. The place was like a small gym with exercise machines and yoga mats in the middle and the sides lined with cubicles with curtains for walls. Each cubicle had a flat exam table, a chair, and a stand with some diagnostic machinery on it. The therapists were dressed in polo shirts not doctor coats and they were mostly middle-aged women.

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