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Archive for the ‘claudia akyeampong’ Category

By Claudia Akyeampong

 

Well it is official, I’m moving out of NY. I wish I could’ve blogged more but packin ur life in 12 days so it can fit in a Camry, is exhausting and time consuming. This is what I was talking about when I started this blog, life interrupting my flow. I had plans this month. I was going to go to some great readings and lectures…EPIC FAIL! It has just been one thing after the other and I have not been able to focus for 5 min to get my thoughts together let alone write. So I had to recognize that maybe I’m not supposed to be here. There is no appeal living in a place that is stressing you out. The final straw being my subletter’s bombshell and conveniently last minute, he’s getting evicted. With that, I just threw my hands up and I think I started speaking in tongues. Wait…no, I was cursing him out. I get tongues and cursing confused sometimes.

It’s funny, I’ve been holding on to this idealistic NYC life THAT I HAVE YET TO EXPERIENCE! When I lived in the Dirty Dairy aka Wisconsin, I had a job that paid enough for me to pay my bills and be comfortable, that’s all I want. I haven’t had that since I’ve been here. (Cue Inner City Blues)

One thing that might be a light at the end of the tunnel is, I finished a piece I’d been struggling with for 3 mos. I kept editing it and it didn’t sound right, the rhythm of it was off. The other day I was in a bad way. I mean tears for like 4 hrs, so I went to music. Music is a healing power, it really is. Khari Lemuel (wait…am I allowed to give shout outs on here? Or is this a name drop? I dunno. Whatever.)Anyway, Khari Lemuel is this amazing singer/musician/writer/etc out of Chicago. I should mention Chicago is where I plan to move next. So, I’m listening to him on Youtube and I catch this one video of him, a poet by the name of Harold Green, a singer by the name of Charisma, and a piano player by the name of Marcus Sims having this cipher. It was music and poetry married in this piece that shut my mouth. It literally drew me out of my funk and the poetry was like an a-ha moment. This is the rhythm, this is that sound I was looking for with my piece. I got out my poem and re-worked it, read it out loud and re-worked it some more.  YES! I was able to find something that was missing all this time I’ve been trying to write. My voice.

When exactly I started to sound different, I’m not really sure but maybe it’s the release of this vice grip I’ve had on this city that’s allowing me to get back to me. And NY isn’t me. I’m not saying I will find what I want in Chicago, I might be a nomad, not sure yet. But,  what I do know is that I’ve definitely learned a lot about people, my relationships with people and telling the real from facade. I can’t pretend to be what I’m not and this place is not for me right now. I’m learning to be ok with leaving it behind. I tried my best and I can say I survived it. Right now, I’m hoping for good things, progress and change. Yep, that’s all I want. So, the journey continues…

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By Claudia Akyeampong

 

I apologize for the scarceness of posts. I’m going to tell you the drama I’ve been going through so you can see why my mojo is interfering with my creative process and why this blog entry was typed on my blackberry. Yep! Madness!

Now,I know that obstacles are suppose to sometimes fuel the creative process but, I’m spent. I’ve been in NY for 5 years, went to grad school for the first 2 years and have been trying to make a way ever since. I was with the laid off masses during a year and a half of unemployment. Awesome times. My writing started to become sporadic and forced and when I looked at the words I started to doubt what I wrote, question my skills because hell, couldn’t find a job so something must be wrong with what I’m doing, right?

Usually random things inspire me to write. I could see someone, something or witness an event and everything that I felt would just flow from thoughts to paper. And to me, that made sense. It was natural.

As of about 6 mos ago I found a lil’ hustle job to get by, get away from the mundane world of search and destroy (me), keep my mind off of stress AND get a sista some good ol’ health insurance. But then in comes more problems. Its like I left the door open on some serious juju because it’s finding me. I became estranged from my father late last year, my mother was diagnosed with cancer a few months back, I started to not feel well (like literally, just body has no give left in it) and 3 days ago my subletter shows his con face and admits he is being evicted IN 2 WEEKS! I was like are you serious??? All this would make a great piece…hell, a chapbook. Wow, I just spilled my business to folk I don’t know. Is this wordpress run by Oprah or sumpin??? Just sayin’.

Anywho, emotionally, I’m internal…I analyze things in my head, I feel in my head. It’s a lot of bottling but that’s how I’ve been since I was a kid. My mother used to tell me in preschool I used to sit off to the side and observe people with such a calm serious face and she always wondered what I was thinking because I would get up and go back to playing with the kids like nothin’ to it.

(TANGENT ALERT)

Where was I…oh yea. I’m an internalist so all this bulls_ stuff going on is just being pushed by the wayside. I don’t even know how to process it let alone write about it. I can’t even form it into lines, words.

This brings me to explain the title of my blog Palava in my mojo. Palava is a word in Ghana that means problems or trouble. Exactly. I have problems in my poetry mojo. And honestly,I miss my relationship with poetry.

This past Monday I went to an open mic in the city. I haven’t been to one in well over 2 years. The open mic almost made me walk out, the slam…was cool. I like when poets are tellin’ a story not playing the part of a “poet” in a made for tv poem. DAMN YOU Love Jones! I kid, I kid. I love Larenz Tate. But really, wasn’t EVERYONE a coffee house poet after that flick. “No you can’t be my slave, now get the hell on!” Ugh! More on stuff like that later. That could go on for a min and I’m getting carpal tunnel from this blackberry and this keyboard obviously built for lil’ fingered people.

But once I left the set, I didn’t get that feeling I usually do. I usually just start sketching a poem(s) and take off from there. Too much going on right now but I can’t let it beat me…even though it kind of already has. I can’t let it keep me there.

(Excerpt from unfinished poem titled: The Core)

In this battle of self and city and HOME

questions

built without answers

splinter into muscle breaking down

from the strain

of hold it together

Each fragment

as lost as me

wants to allow me to fall apart at times

To not always be on the bright side

of things

not so bright…

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By Claudia Akyeampong

 

All right so I was throwing around some ideas for the title of this blog and a month later…*crickets*…yeah I got nothing. Oh, I forgot to start with the disclaimer. Although I have 2 degrees, one saying I have “mastered” English, I have very little regard for grammar “proper” spelling. I don’t turn my nose up at folks that do and its not that I can’t use them correctly, I just had my fill of it in school and choose to color outside of the lines. So if you see something that is grammatically incorrect…know that I am not stupid and let it go. Woo sah that cumpulsion to correct away or I will annoy the shitake out of you by the end of this blog period. Plus if you correct me, I probably wont be paying attention, and even if I am…I wont change it. Let’s see, what else, elipses (elipsi?, whatever) are my most favoritist (that’s a word, just made it up) thing in the world. I AM a freakin dot dot dot. Most of the time my thoughts just trail off and dot dot dot, explains it all. I basically blog the way I talk. Try and stay with me though, my attention span is short and interactive and a lil off the wall and I’m silly. All right, now that all the formalities are out of the way…

Blogging has been my only saving grace in the past few months, years. It’s helped me vent, journal my life, and focus my thoughts through the drama and what not. So I figured with this blog I would invite you all into what’s going on with me right now as a writer. Perhaps you all have gone through similar periods and can offer some advice, or just listen to my ass complain. Oh, can I curse on here? Is that allowed? I forgot to ask. (FCC me if I can’t) I mean we’re all grown right? Don’t worry I’m not Red Foxx or anything but

sometimes…@?*% just fits. Anywho, like I was saying. I am a writer struggling with MAJOR writer’s block. Hence the title of my Blog: Who’s alley is this and do you smell pee?: I writer’s journey through writer’s block. yea? no? I don’t know, I’ll work on the title.

I started off writing poetry as a kid, twenty jfjkdjlkjlkj years later here I am, poetry is still a love of mine. But alas, (alas sounds all dramatical doesn’t it) I’ve lost my zest, my passion for the word. I don’t know what happened, yes I do. LIFE! Life happened and steered me off the path with its toil and constant fockery. Okay, this is my testify moment. I might make some folks mad, but I have to say what’s on my spirit. (grabs church wig [cocked to the side] and church hat with a begonia bush on top AND let’s not

forget…patent leather hard bottom church shoes [clickity clack]).

Now, although I’m not a big open mic performer, I used to love to go to open mic poetry sets. Listening to poetry was like good food, nourishment. I would go home from a good set, sometimes even when I was there, and write. Everything would just flow. Poets inspired me to no end. Then, I went to grad school and I think that is where I lost my footing. Well, originally I’m from Wisconsin, moving to New York was a big change. The pace was different, the whole vibe was different. Not different bad (in some cases) but just different. I went to a couple venues and eh, just wasn’t feeling it. Now this is where I might anger folks. I’ve run into poetry cliques. Let me explain. Groups of poets that know one another from sets, competitions, traveling, publishers…etc. And they are

this cool lil poetry network. They meet up, hang out, cypher, its all a freakin Love Jones scene…beautiful. Which I think is awesome, but then you run into those poetry cliques that remind you of high school. Not the good part of high school, but the after school special high school. Yep. The if you aren’t in with us than fall back kinda clique. If feels as if there is a line drawn in the sand and you can’t cross it no matter how hard you write. Do I sound like I’m complaining? I don’t mean to but dammit! Its poetry, lets stop with all the bull and write, hell lets inspire one another to write.

That’s just the way I look at it. I’m observant, a people watcher. You learn so much from people by just being silent and seeing the way they interact. Like, oooh did you see that stank look she gave her on the sly, when she wasn’t looking? What was that about? I see all of that. I have no tolerance for pettiness, I’m a grown as woman.

*RAMBLING WARNING*

Sorry, I went off on a tangent. Ok ok ok, I’ve found I’ve become a more self conscious writer. I question my words, if what I’m saying is “deep” enough, or if I’m at the level to even put my work up against anyone else’s. I’ve found it more difficult to pull from that place I always have gone to when i wanted to express how I feel. Which has brought me to this dead end. I got nothin folks. I’ve written the occasional piece. You know, the ones inspired by “Im writing this poem so I don’t do all the bad things to him that I have been tempted to do that might very well get me locked up”. You know, THOSE kind of pieces. But the You Bastid poems are so overdone, and not up to my true potential. The world

keeps spinning yall, and I want to get back to writing about what’s important, what’s in my heart, I want to speak…and say something worth listening to.

So, I have…(what’s today, the 6th?) I have 25 days to get my mojo back. It’s way overdue. I’m not getting any younger, might as well get started on this list of writing goals I set out for myself. The ultimate being I have to stop being a punk ass and submit my work again. I must complete a manuscript for publishing within the next year, no matter how many times I hear no. I know, I know, rejection is a part of life. It sucks…but it IS a part of life. If you like, you can follow me on my journey. Offer me some advice, A JOB (I’m still so

serious about that), or just words of encouragement. Ok. how is this for my blog title: Palava in my Mojo: The non-writing writer’s journey.

I think it fits 😉

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 Introducing March TBR Blogger,

Claudia Akyeampong!

 

Claudia Akyeampong

 

Hello Everyone!

My name is Claudia Akyeampong, just wanted to introduce myself before I start blogging. Let’s see, a little about me. I am…no longer 29, let’s just leave it at that. It’s still too soon. Currently, I live in Brooklyn, NY. I graduated with my MFA in English and can’t wait till all that money spent is pays off,  so I can pay off these loans. I’m just saying. There should be some kind of warranty. Like if you don’t get a job in the field you went to school for, you don’t have to pay back anything. I can get down with this. Anyway, in the meantime I’m still writing keeping my head above water, making my way while I can…more on that later, as in two paragraphs away.  Yes, I’ve been in NY for the past 5 years but I was born and raised in Madison, WI. Midwest!  Before you ask…yes, there are Africans in WI and yes, our cheese is the BIZNESS!

My focus in school has been poetry but I’ve also done some article writing for magazine publications in my hometown, here in NY and in the UK. In addition to writing, I am also an artist. I draw, paint, make African masks and I design jewelry. Beads, leather, fabric and metal…if it can hang from my ear, I will rock it. I just love being creative and I try to incorporate that into everything I do.

Okay, so I graduated during the recession and had the pleasure of being laid off with the rest of the masses. It’s been rough and still looking for my way. It is stressFULL! I’ve found that the stress has definitely affected me as a writer. The ways in which I would express myself have been tapped out by things that worry me. So here I am…at writer’s block. I think every writer has that period when nothing sounds right and you just come up blank. Blogging, has helped me maintain that creative writing passion within me and helped me vent like no one’s business. I hope you all enjoy my posts. Feel free to offer advice, EMPLOYMENT (just kidding…but not really) and chocolate. I will always accept the chocolates! This intro was long. Be warned, I can ramble like nobody’s business.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

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