Quote IconJuly always felt like, you know—summer hits and you fall in love and you fall out of love through all these crazy things. And then the Fall comes and September shows up and everything gets swept under the rug, and it’s as if nothing ever happened. And any real love that you had had or any real happiness or real sadness seems sort of naive.
Peter Dreimanis of July Talk in an interview with JUNOTV
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The dip don’t stop: the joy & anguish of my journalism

To paint a picture of my life right now, here’s a story. The story behind a story, if you will.

Per my latest post, I’ve been working on creating a niche for myself— writing about the intersection of food and music (music/food reviews, breakfast with the bands, etc.). My latest is up on Scoutmob today, an interview with an Atlanta/Athens band called Dip who literally created their very own genre, dip music. It’s all about delectable dips and shakin’ that booty. image

They’re opening for Big Freedia at Terminal West this Monday, so I got to thinking…what if I asked my pal Parks (Dip band member “Johnny Dip”) about his favorite places to dip in Atlanta? Kind of a pumper upper for the show, and to enlighten the masses. So I pitched it, got it, and set out on my Dip journey. 

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I met Parks at Arby’s to discuss life and dips. He’s pictured here with one of his favorites (but unlisted), the Arby’s French Dip. He was excited to go along with my goofy idea (I love it when this happens!), and provided me with a list of his five favorite dipping establishments in Atlanta. But two of them happened to be chains, not local joints, and as Scoutmob is heavily focused on local brands and businesses, the one editing note that came back was that Arby’s wouldn’t make the cut for the article.

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I started a new job on deadline day, and coming home from work, not to be deterred, I rushed over to the Goat Farm to get a new dip rec from Parks, as well as a new non-Arby’s photo. Parks was super busy working, doing lighting stuff for the Creative Loafing Best of Atlanta party happening that evening, so his windows of opportunity were brief, and I wasn’t able to get an audience with him until 6 p.m. So I boogied over to Octane to violently throw back more coffee (had no time for victuals on this harried day) and work on my other current stories. 

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I threw on my party dress in the bathroom and scooted back to the Goat Farm, chomping at the bit because I was worried the story might get killed if I didn’t get it in before end of day. As I’d already put a lot into it, and I’m eager to pad my portfolio with more food & music pieces, I wasn’t going to let that happen. Unfortunately, a moseying, clueless driver in the parking lot couldn’t make up their mind about what they wanted to do, and they slammed on their brakes, sending me flying off of my scooter, and conveniently deep slashing my leg with a chunk of gravel. My flesh was dispersed between my tights and the ground, and my blood splashed on the rocks, a virgin sacrifice to the gods in my white dress, but I HAD TO GET THE STORY OUT.

So I finally got my new dip pick with Parks, shot a couple of new non-Arby’s photos…image

And took a brief timeout to attend to my wound. My friend Tian let me in to her studio and hooked me up with bandages, tylenol, and fresh tights. She’s a designer, and often works with models out of her space, so she had an extra pair lying around. She was definitely my fairy godmother that day (we even discussed a potential story for her magazine, so there’s serendipity working its magic).

With my wound in check, I hobbled over to the closest shopping center and found wifi at Figo, where I hurriedly uploaded the photos, updated the article, emailed my editor, and texted her to confirm the deed was done. Sighing with sweet relief, I looked down to see that I’d bled through my bandage and was leaking onto my tights (and still had a puddle of blood smeared all over my boots) so I put on a new bandage, and smiled through the pain. There were editors to meet, pitches to be discussed. No way was I going to let a flesh wound stand between me and the next story.

It felt so silly and overdramatic to put so much into a short article talking about something like dips with a fun band… but I take everything I put out into the world seriously and treat it with the utmost care. My adrenaline was pumping, and I felt fully in those moments that this truly is my calling, despite all the obstacles and naysayers who have told me to call it quits.

The only thing that makes up for the five other jobs I work and the exhaustion of babysitting, caretaking, dog walking, dancing in costumes, hustling merch tables, and whatever other odd jobs I find is getting my stories out there. I thought, with a sense of hope I haven’t had much of in the past few years, that it won’t always be like this. Though the industry has very much turned over to the gig economy, and it’s rare to find a fulltime staff position, or a non-contract job at an agency or startup, I thought to myself for the first time in a while… it won’t always be like this. Until then, I will always hustle harder.    

Stay tuned for more Dip news. I think they’re a very interesting band and have been pitching to music publications to write a full profile on them. Hopefully somebody bites. IF YOU ARE AN EDITOR WHO STUMBLED UPON ME, PLEASE BITE. :)

Reminding a friend who inspires me creatively that he’s a great encouragement to me, and sometimes when I’m at a show or watching a performance piece, I get this sneaky little feeling and think of him, and I don’t know— I feel like we’re gonna make some great shit together in the future. 
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Reminding a friend who inspires me creatively that he’s a great encouragement to me, and sometimes when I’m at a show or watching a performance piece, I get this sneaky little feeling and think of him, and I don’t know— I feel like we’re gonna make some great shit together in the future. 

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some notes on being an effusive personality

some notes on being an effusive personality:

Effusive: expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner.

there are some things I would like to say to you. I’d like to say them to your face, but I know that you’ll just blush. Or you’ll change the subject. And although what I say is just straight from my Pillsbury Doughboy heart to yours, and it’s sugary sweet; it will feel as unwelcome as a cutting insult or derogatory slur.

What I’d like to say is that you’re beautiful.

And not in the base sense of the word.

My God, you are brilliant.

Light lingers on every strand of your strawberry hair.

You speak with such convictions. You speak them well, with such articulation!

I am not jealous, I am merely in awe. I am not like you in this, though I wish that I were, and perhaps you may call that envy, but I do not. I call it deep admiration. And yes, I hold you in the highest regard.

But not literally. I have not put you on a pedestal, because that is what Hebrews do, and you are not a golden calf. No, you are simply an effective scribe.

You are a talisman.

I keep you figuratively in my pocket. To call upon for hope, and for power.

In a binder full of women, in a desk full of sharpened pencils and thumb tacks that mercilessly poke and jeer at our soft, but strong trapper keeper’s covering; I look at you with a look of deep respect and camaraderie.

I don’t want to say, “get it girl,” because I know that you’ve already gotten it and you will continue to get it. You will be getting it everyday until the days run out, and I want to get it alongside you.

 

What I want to say is you’re clever. No one can craft a pun like you.

What I want to say is your punctuation is flawless. Your grammar is sexy. Your sentence structure impeccable. Your voice is unwavering.

You are doing so much, and you will continue to, I am sure.

What I want to say, I cannot say— because I throw my whole heart into everything, and for some, that is too much heart. But my heart is my truth— my downfall and my virtue. If you know that I think you are fabulous, is it so bad?

I don’t want to be your best friend. I don’t expect to cry on your shoulder, though if you let me, I might.

I just want to read and to write, and to wink at you always in that way that says, you damn, clever girl. My heart’s all a flutter in a way because of you. You are every woman I love. I am running through fields holding your hands and validating you. I am riding horses bareback and I am respecting the shit out of you. I want to write your Google, Amazon, Yelp, Barnes & Noble reviews— 5 stars. I would read you again and again.

What I want to say is you are magnificent: which really only means very good; excellent. Or impressively beautiful, elaborate, or extravagant; striking. But—Ugh— you are so much more. What I want to say is that you would know the word that surpasses magnificent. You are probably thinking it to yourself right now, and I love you for it.

You are sassy.

You are spunk and a one-way flight to Hong Kong.

You are Satan’s panties and a ring of fire to dance through.

You are a tongue twister, a provocative dreidel.

You seem to have fewer mooshgoblin tendencies than I do. You are succinct whereas I am long. You are a punch. A flash of red satin, a lipstick stained collar. A vixen lingered long enough only to taunt and draw interest, but then you are gone.

I am at the bar til last call. I am swaying like a fairy—smiling just what I feel, cooing, “tell me a story.” meaning just what I say. Not capable of a single artifice.

That heart will kill me someday.

You with your quick snap.

Your charm drips from every syllable.

I am not you.

But I adore you.

I will be your sidekick. I will try to keep in just how lovely I find you; but my God, you are brilliant.  

I want to cover you in glitter and stare at your face.

I want to eat cucumber sandwiches and sip on tea and nosh on crumpets. With you.

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Food & music make a lovely pair

Finding kooky ways of mashing up music and food for stories isn’t something I’ve just begun doing. I’ve been writing my food music reviews for a while, albeit not with any real journalistic intent. They’re just for fun. 

But I’ve been trying to build on that concept, and recently wrote a piece for Scoutmob called Breakfast of (Musical) Champions: Where Our Favorite Tune-Smiths Start Their Day. I interviewed four different Atlanta-based musicians about their favorite local breakfast spots and dishes, and what they like to cook up at home. I think people are accustomed to picturing ATL bands carousing late night in venues like the Earl and Estoria since they stay up late performing. So it felt neat to highlight their morning routines, and to hear about their breakfast quirks, like Ruby Velle’s healthy homemade smoothies and special diet regimen, and Andrew McFarland’s penchant for “fancy as f*%@ coffee.” 

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I’m working on a longer piece for a friend’s new breakfast themed magazine (inspired by Snacks Quarterly) with Lily & the Tigers, also focusing on breakfast. They had me over to their East Atlanta home a few weeks ago and cooked me up the most delectable meal. We chatted about the time they woke up in a strawberry field on tour and ate berries for breakfast, and Adam gave me his recipe for homemade granola. It was a hearty, homey meal we shared that felt so akin to the soul moving folk songs they play onstage. I’m really looking forward to putting this piece together. 

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And next up is a tour of Atlanta’s best dips with a band called Dip—(think cheese dip, crab dip, spinach artichoke—these guys sing it, live it, dip their chips in it). I think I might be onto something with this whole bonding over meals and stories with my musician friends thing. We’ll just have to see. 

Read my latest breakfast with the bands dispatch on Scoutmob, here.  

  

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Georgia travels : Milledgeville / Savannah edition

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 | never have i ever | 

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Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.”
-Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

This month, my travels took me to both the homestead and the birthplace of Flannery O’Connor—Milledgeville and Savannah, respectively. Though I have yet to crack open a book of O’Connor’s, I recently purchased “Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories,” and I feel I’ll be more connected to her words now thanks to the foundation I’ve built learning about her personal life and habits. 

It came to pass that I joined a ladies book club and embarked on a whirlwind day trip adventure to Milledgeville one steamy Sunday. Andalusia invited mysterious rains that traveled around the property—it was pouring down on the peacock enclosure, but not in the donkey cemetery. Roving rains like in the Hunger Games’ Quarter Quell. We laughed and chalked it up to good ol’ southern spookiness, passing around a bottle of Moscato picked up at a gas station along the way. 

We wondered about Flannery’s love life, a topic she kept entirely mum. But she was a hottie writer who studied at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and brushed shoulders with important writers like Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, and Austin Warren. Surely Miss Flan took a lover, even if she never wrote about one. 

For any lover of southern gothic literature, Andalusia is a little Georgia gem not to be missed. It’s perfect for book club outings and the like, but if you’re looking to indulge in some roadside antiquing, don’t plan your trip on a Sunday. We were disappointed that most of the antique shops were closed on our journey. 

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to make Georgia howl |

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Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” 
-Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

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Savannah heals my soul every time. Difficult to not be wholly swept up in nostalgia land—pirate pipes, matching turquoise rings, naked moon bathing, and The Skeleton Key. But the effect is always the same. 

A cookie sample from Byrd.

The fisherman’s sandwich at Zunzi’s

Coffee at Foxy Loxy (my favorite cafe…in the world).

Dog watching at Forsyth Park, and tree climbing too.

Beers on River Street on any day that is not St. Patrick’s Day.

Historical churches, and haunted squares.

The city has its own magic—it soothes my loneliness and broken spiritedness. At times I’ve felt that Sherman’s mission to “make Georgia howl” carried on, and in those times, I make my own march to the sea. There’s something about Savannah. 

I enjoyed a few days of city respite there this month, and felt my spirits lifted. I feel it is the most quintessentially southern town, and as I explore my southern roots and begin to love them, towns like Savannah have become particularly special to me.

Decatur Book Festival is happening this weekend, and I stopped by the Make Black Out Poetry tent—ended up making my very own blackout poem. Excuse me if the content is a bit awkward. Blackout poems tend to bring up what’s on your mind, and that’s where my head’s at. There are some incredibly beautiful collaged and painted poems for sale on the Make Black Out Poetry website, and at their festival booth. I’m thinking one of these would make a nice gift for a friend. 
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Decatur Book Festival is happening this weekend, and I stopped by the Make Black Out Poetry tent—ended up making my very own blackout poem. Excuse me if the content is a bit awkward. Blackout poems tend to bring up what’s on your mind, and that’s where my head’s at. There are some incredibly beautiful collaged and painted poems for sale on the Make Black Out Poetry website, and at their festival booth. I’m thinking one of these would make a nice gift for a friend. 
ZoomInfo
Decatur Book Festival is happening this weekend, and I stopped by the Make Black Out Poetry tent—ended up making my very own blackout poem. Excuse me if the content is a bit awkward. Blackout poems tend to bring up what’s on your mind, and that’s where my head’s at. There are some incredibly beautiful collaged and painted poems for sale on the Make Black Out Poetry website, and at their festival booth. I’m thinking one of these would make a nice gift for a friend. 
ZoomInfo

Decatur Book Festival is happening this weekend, and I stopped by the Make Black Out Poetry tent—ended up making my very own blackout poem. Excuse me if the content is a bit awkward. Blackout poems tend to bring up what’s on your mind, and that’s where my head’s at. There are some incredibly beautiful collaged and painted poems for sale on the Make Black Out Poetry website, and at their festival booth. I’m thinking one of these would make a nice gift for a friend. 

katherinestasaph:

Inspired by this, of course. (Read that.) I’ve been freelancing for a little over a year, full-time for about half that, and I’ve at the very least collected some things to learn from.

DISCLAIMER: I’m still figuring all this out, as the rest of this post should make…

Solid, solid, solid gold here. 

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Between the bushes with Samm Severin & Travis Broyles

On a casual Sunday, I met up with two friends and funny bone ticklers, Samm Severin and Travis Broyles. Samm is a stand-up comedian, and Travis is more of the sit-down type, writing uproarious Facebook statuses and scripts for Thank You For Stopping By. I lured them to the park with champagne and cheeses, and they made me giggle aplenty.  

We chatted about body hair, unemployment, and why Aziz Ansari should ask me out. Follow along after the jump. 

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