20110831

Go the F**k to Sleep


(NSFW! Especially the youtube video)

I first heard of this book when Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of it went viral. I watched the video over and over again laughing hysterically each time and passed it on to every person, especially parents, who I thought would appreciate it. Go the Fuck to Sleep is written as a children’s book only it is actually for adults. It contains colorful pictures of happy children at bedtime along with rhyming phrases full of foul language encouraging the children to “Lie the f**k down, my darling, and sleep.” I have even found myself using “now GtFtS” (acronym for the book title) as my final sign-off for conversations that go late into the night.



Imagine my surprise when at the Tivoli I saw a poster with the tell-tale cover of the book announcing the appearance of the author, Adam Mansbach. In a tri-institutional event on August 31, 2011, Mansbach spoke primarily on the creative process. He started with a bit of background on the luck that made his latest book so popular which included an accidental leaking of the the full text, including pictures, of the book. Other publishers assumed this “accident” was really an intentional marketing ploy but it was really just luck that proved that our new “freemium” economy works as seen by the explosion in popularity of Go the F**k to Sleep as well as increased sales of all of his past books.

Mansbach spoke about his upbringing mentioning that he came from a literary background that valued words and books deeply. He spent his youth writing hip-hop lyrics about eurocentricity, police brutality, institutional racism and class warfare at the height of rap music’s political apex. I loved his belief that “art should be about making the world a better place.”

His “steps” for the creative process turned out to be just a collection of euphemisms. (In other words, I liked the first half better than the second half.) Here are the steps for Mansbach’s creative process: 1. Put in the work 2. Improvisation, Play and Creativity 3. Paradox and Parameters 4. Accept failure and embarrassment 5. Community 6. Coffee. He started with four steps but by the time he finished talking, he finally landed on six.

After hearing Mansbach speak, I am excited to add one of his past books, Angry Black White Boy, to my “to-read” list. When asked whether he was going to write subsequent books in a similar style as Go the F**k to Sleep he answered quite simply, “Nah. Somehow ‘Eat Your G**d*** Veggies’ just doesn’t have the same ring.” (I think he should write it. I would read it!) Either way, I think I will follow his advice and grab some g**d*** broccoli.


20110830

Stuff White People Like

(I wrote this post one year ago. Please see About East Saint Louis for more information.)

Stuff White People Like
(not the really one...just one I think should be added to the list)

#268763 Gmail

Today I asked my coworkers to write down their names, phone number and email addresses so I could make a roster. Including myself there are 15 educational advocates. When the list made it around the table and finally back to me, I quickly scanned the list to see which of my coworkers were google users (very important to know, if you ask me). Three of my coworkers listed gmail address and, you guessed it, the three people that listed a gmail address are also the only three white people I work with.

20110824

I'm a city girl

It has taken me a long time to learn this, but I'm a city girl. I romanticize small-town living every time I'm visiting relatives but when push comes to shove, cities are the place for me. I love walking/biking to get around. I love the diversity. The culture. The access to lots of cool and free events. The people of all shapes, sizes and colors in a small space forced to interact. I love saying hello to strangers and taking note of who responds and who ignores. St. Louis was my first taste of urban living and I loved it. Now that I'm living in the heart of Denver the "city girl" in me is confirmed. I can't wait to test drive a "real" city like Chicago or New York.

20110805

3 months later...

(Note I wrote this 17Jul2011, but scheduled it to be posted the day I'm leaving. All this "goodbye" nonsense was making me sad and seemed a little premature.)

Funny. I was just rereading my last blog post. From April. Where I wrote about making St. Louis my new semi-permanent home. Times have changed. After looking at school options here in St. Louis and not finding any that fit, I've decided to move to Denver, Colorado to go back to school.

The plan is Civil Engineering at University of Colorado at Denver. (Same school system as before, but different city) I'm still interested in engineering in developing countries. (I stay "still" as I've been giving this answer for a couple years now...I think that's a good sign)

Things I will miss about St. Louis:
  • The Griffin Center: Thanks for a great place to work. More than anything I love my coworkers that supported me and always kept me laughing. (Even if they were mostly laughing at me and my crazy white-girl shenanigans.) I can't believe I wont have a 25 cent sale nearby to update my wardrobe periodically. P.S. I can dance goshdarnit! You just aren't appreciating my "unique" style ;) And thanks Americorps ESL for making this adventure financially feasible.
  • Skeptical Society of St. Louis: Great people. Great conversations. Great drinks. Great memories. Mike? You're doing a fantastic job!
  • The Ethical Society: Funny. I waited to join the ethical society until I thought I was staying so I could make a real commitment to this community and just this morning I had to tell them I was moving away. I've only been a member for two months. Whoops! Thank you for engaging my brain in a loving community. I'm sad I wont have one to attend in Denver. Deed before Creed!
Yup. Just got added to the welcome board at the Ethical Society
  • Countless New Experiences: Hopefully I'll continue this trend for the rest of my life, but St. Louis has brought lots of "newness" to my life. Too many things to list. And those of you close to me can ponder a bit and chuckle ;)
  • Long-time Family Friends--Diane, Jeff and Karen: Thank you for taking me under your wing. For being my home away from home. For inviting me over for supper. For gently questioning what was in store for my future. For letting me invite myself over for supper. For supporting me in every way. I'm lucky that my parents made such good friends and I'm lucky that friendship has continued with me!
  • New Friends: You each hold a special place in my heart! By far the hardest part about deciding to move away was you. Please keep in touch and know that you are loved.
If you're reading this on the Friday it was posted, I'm in the middle of a 14 hour drive and could likely use your company. Feel free to give me a call!