Monday, December 30, 2013

Start The New Year Right

Erie, Pennsylvania - starts the year off with yours truly on January 3 @ 8:30 pm with an open mic and then my feature. If you’ve never been to Poets’ Hall then you are in for a treat. There is nothing like it in anywhere else. The best and possibly only venue dedicated to the art of poetry & spoken word anywhere in the universe on a weekly basis. Cee Williams has created a venue especially for artists who value an art-form that expresses emotion in a way that no other form can. Poetry, when read or heard, lets the reader or listener feel. You may be thinking that you’ve read books that make you sense a certain something – sad or happy, sick or well, motivated or numb, lustful or shameful and on and on. Well then, that’s poetry my friends. Poetry lets you be it, not just dream it. Oh there's room for music here as well.

photo by MM Photos
Lakewood, Ohio – begins the year January 6 @ 7:30 pm with Dianne Borsenik & George Wallace. Dianne is a favorite. I’ve never known anyone who could use hors d'oeuvres to create an exquisite poem – but she sure as hell can and does. Dianne is extremely gifted. She will make you laugh, cry and . . . well just in awe of her talent.

It’s been a few years since I’ve heard George Wallace read in person and I cannot wait to hear him again. He is an internationally acclaimed poet whose wordplay is fun and intense. Some have said he is a poetry rock star. I tend to agree.

Wallace is also a feature at Mac’sBacks-Books On Coventry in Cleveland for NightBalletPress’s start to the New Year with Ed Luhrs and Russ Green, Saturday January 4, 2014 at 7pm.

restarts on January 15 @ 6 pm at a new venue. 1011 W 38th St, Erie, Pennsylvania 16509

Written by Ray Cooney
Directed by Mark Sebastian Jordan
Opens Friday, January 10, and runs the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th at 8 pm, & 2:30 pm matinee on Sunday, January 19. For tickets visit here or call the box office at 419-522-2883 between 1 & 6 pm Wednesdays-Fridays.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Walls Have Ears

People you don’t know, from around the world, can see what you post on social media sites, apparently no matter how your privacy settings are set. This is one of several problems using social media. 

I’m sure you’ve read about Justin Carter, the teen who is facing felony terrorism charges because of
an alleged threat to go on a shooting spree. According to Justin and his father, Jack, the comment was a sarcastic response to another player over the online video game "League of Legends." 

According to CNN the court documents stated that “Justin wrote "I'm f---ed in the head alright. I think I'ma (sic) shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them." Jack Carter said his son followed the claim with "LOL" and "J/K" -- indicating that the comment wasn't serious.”

A woman in Canada saw the comments and alerted authorities to what she perceived was a threat. A judge issued a warrant for Justin’s arrest. Justin’s bail was set at an extraordinarily high $500,000. 00. Justin spent months in jail where he was beaten by other inmates, moved to solitary confinement and kept nude “for his own protection.”

An anonymous, good Samaritan posted Justin’s bail and he is now living back with his parents awaiting trial on felony terrorism charges.

This may be an extreme case but the consequences of strangers reading conversations they are not a party to can have less extreme, but nonetheless damaging results.

While living in Pennsylvania I spent an evening on Facebook conversing with people through threads and posting music from YouTube. It was an average evening for me at the time. (I’ll write about that part of my life another time as well). One of the conversations another woman and I were involved in was a match of who could outdo whom with the worst childhood. She posted something about getting hit with a switch she had to cut from a Weeping Willow tree herself and I’d post that I was hit with a 2x4 I had to saw out of the rafters myself. I posted that my upbringing was the cause of me going to bed with a box of wine every night and she posted that she went to bed with a whiskey barrel. It went back and forth like that for some time. I can see, somewhat, how someone just happening upon this thread and maybe not reading it all and not knowing the people involved would think the comments made were true. 

Guess what? That’s exactly what happened. Someone in Texas, believe it or not, happened upon it. This woman was neither my Facebook friend nor the friend of the person I was conversing with. She was the Facebook friend of a Facebook friend of the woman I was conversing with. Sheesh! Another issue with social media sites, there should be a name for people who are connected online in a weird 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon kinda-way. Maybe "first friend once removed" or "second friend" or something along those lines. Even though my privacy settings were set on only my friends having the capability
of reading my posts, I was commenting on someone else’s post and subject to her privacy settings. Someone who I didn’t know but who knew my mother reported the entire conversation to her.
It didn’t take long for me to receive an email from my mother stating that she knew what I was telling people and never wanted to see me again. I was stunned. I was completely blindsided. I had no idea why my mother didn’t want to see me again or even what my mother was talking about. 

People who know me know that I was raised one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ll write more about that at a later time too. But for now I will tell you why that is important to know for this writing. Jehovah’s Witnesses are The Patriot Act of religion incarnate. They are trained to inform on one another for a variety of “sins.” This is presumably to assist the “sinner” in turning away from the bad behavior
and return to the fold. In reality it is juicy gossip that people love to convey to intentionally wound the receiver. An “I did my job for God,” good deed. I was no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but my mother and the informant were.

The email led me to call my mother to find out why she disowned me this time. A few things had come to mind. Possibly the boudoir pictures a friend took of me recently, the tattoos, what?  That’s when she told me that she had learned
through some “third party” that I was airing out the family’s dirty laundry on Facebook. The tattoo disowning would come later. After telling her the truth about the conversation and letting her know my disgust that she would believe someone I didn’t even know over her own daughter, I realized how scary it was that someone I didn’t know, living across the country, saw something I wrote in what I considered a private conversation. I felt like my house was bugged. 

I was very wrong to think that any conversation posted on a social media site is private. I learned my lesson. But the person reading that conversation was also wrong. She had no idea what the conversation was really about and she didn’t know either of the people involved in the conversation.  And she had no business acting on anything she imagined the conversation might have been about. Tattling on a 40+ year old to her mother is pretty outrageous behavior, but as I said, that’s what Witnesses are taught to do. But she also caused a rift between my mother and me. My mother didn’t need any help in finding an excuse for a rift but help she got.  This strange episode in the Facebook saga led to a few sleepless nights and a hell of a lot of anxiety for me.

In Justin’s case, if the Canadian woman had read more of the conversation she might have seen the “LOL” and “JK” that Justin posted after his sarcastic comment and realized it wasn’t a threat. If she knew Justin personally she might have known that he wouldn’t do such a heinous act. But she was a
stranger watching a conversation from a distance.

And yes, if Justin had thought through his comment before posting it, he might have thought better of posting it. I’ve posted many things and later thought, Uh-oh that could be taken soooo not how I intended. We all have but most of us aren’t up on felony charges because of it.

to be continued . . .

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Ides of March

Women of Word/Man Made Words 
 March 13th at 6pm
A free performance, part of Edinboro’s Women’s History Month

Edinboro University’s Alexander Center.
Contact 814-873-3930 or for further information.

A dedicated group of poets performing several sets of poetic conversation.

Includes: Marjorie Wonner, Thasia Anne, Kat Wolper, Marisa Moks-Unger, and Tracie Morell, Darryl M. Brown, Elliot Smith, and Marc Smith.

In its third year, the show covers such diverse topics as domestic violence, grief processing
and human trafficking.

Pure Doctor
March 23, 2013 @ 7:00 p.m.

PACA 1505 State Street, Erie, PA

A series of original poems
themed to a medical perspective
read by a diverse cast.

Includes intermission.

Geoff Peterson
Tony Snow
Colleen Hammon
The Sarah Reed Choir
Shawn Sledzianowski
Penelope Chapman
Dennis Borczon
Dawn Joy
Cee Williams
Monica Igras
Chuck Joy

Suggested donation
ten dollars

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Erie to Tucson

I’m moving

forward.  I’ve already walked

away, you know I have. I grew up leaving

people I loved when things got hard. It’s not

a pattern but learned.

There is no working through –

just dismissal. It’s best

to stay at arm’s length or farther-

my heart didn’t listen. The word

love is looked down on in a poem

but it fits here,

for you.

I can’t leave without saying

I love you.