My name is Sara. I live in Portland, Oregon.
I'm a poet and a musician. I'm the sole constant member of The Dykings.
I like: non-fiction, poetry, indie rock (whatever that means), quotes by artists I admire about their creative process and their work, talking about my own creative process, public art, talking about what it means to make art as a non-straight non-male artist, trying to make great things.
I also secretly dream to be an advice columnist.
• Ask me anything
Michigan & Huron
I love these Forgive scrawls (and also the “Nothing is Permanent” chalk drawings) in Chicago. I don’t live in Chicago any more, but my best friend still sends them to me when she finds them. Except she just moved away from Chicago today! So. You know. If you are a Chicagoan, and you find one of these, I would be ecstatic if you sent it to me with details on where you found it.
5:43 pm • 1 February 2012 • 1 note
Have you, like everyone else, heard this Ira Glass quote?
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me … is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
This quote makes the round on the Tumbland frequently, and for pretty good reasons. It is a lifeline when you are heads down in your work and going nuts about how it’s still not good enough.
I started this “make a short song every day, Monday-thru-Friday” phase last week. Here are some principles I am trying to follow: create obstacles. Don’t bore yourself. Let it be bad! Savor mistakes.
I have eight of these things so far, and part of me wants to post the best of them here to prove that I’m a real musician (Look, guys, I really do stuff! I promise!) but part of me knows that I’m not quite there yet, and it’s better to wait until I make something that is so awesome I can’t stand to do anything BUT share it.
5:35 pm • 1 February 2012 • 3 notes
Sometimes I buy myself flowers. It’s pretty rad.
11:19 pm • 21 January 2012 • 5 notes
1000x better than “It Gets Better.” Stop lying to kids, it doesn’t get better unless we make it better, and we can only make it better by utterly destroying heteropatriarchy.
*destroying racist ableist (all the -ists) heteropatriarchy (kyriarchy?)
THANK YOU. “It Gets Better” was a well-intended but incredibly problematic campaign. It will NOT “get better” until we MAKE IT better.
Oh my god, I love this so much.
3:12 pm • 19 January 2012 • 4,127 notes
Last year, I had a Project. I was always working on it. It was invigorating and fulfilling. I felt direction. I could see where I was going and I could see where I needed to go, even if I didn’t always know how I was going to get there. One day, I finished it, and I haven’t had a Project since.
It’s a hard space to be in. I still work really hard. I write every day; I practice; I read. I take guitar lessons. I’m in a poetry program. There are little things that excite me about what I’m doing but it’s hard to not be able to connect them to an overarching Thing. When I’m in the trenches it’s easy to feel like I’m not digging forward, I’m just digging down.
Harder still, I have a lot of people in my life right now who do have Projects, and they’re blooming. It totally inflames this part of me that says, “They’re Real Artists. They’re Better. You’re the Worst Who Ever Was.”
I just had a meeting with my mentor who assured me that these feelings are pretty normal, and to not listen to that crazy voice. There’s room for everyone, and you have to work at your own pace and develop on your own schedule. Even if you are digging down, eventually you’ll end up in China.
5:35 pm • 13 January 2012 • 44 notes
It feels like I didn’t do anything in 2011 but that is a lie. Here is a list:
- played five shows
- attended six shows
- wrote ten “real” songs
- wrote three birthday songs
- recorded over 4 hours of improvised songs with friends
- ran a Ragnar Relay
- moved to Portland
- visited Seattle, Hawaii, New York
- went to Burning Man
- taught at the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls
- started a poetry program
- acquired housemates
- gained a creative community
- read at a poetry reading for the first time
Things I want to do in 2012:
- continue to get better at guitar / songwriting / poetry
- finish a chapbook
- release an album
- build a foundation for a healthy life
- work, play
- love people
- let people love me
3:55 pm • 31 December 2011 • 1 note
“Marguerite Duras didn’t publish The Lover until she was seventy. There’s no formula. Try to live a creative life.”
— Stephen Elliot, The Daily Rumpus 12/29/2011
9:59 pm • 29 December 2011 • 3 notes
Oh Tumblr, did you know that today is not only the day after Christmas, the first day of Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and the feast of St. Stephen — it is also my birthday? Yes. It is. I have managed to turn 27.
This morning my aunt asked me on the phone, “What does 27 mean to you?” Which, honestly, kind of a weird question, so I said, “Uh… in astrology it’s the year of your Saturn Return? And uh, I guess I’m officially in my late twenties now, I feel pretty good about that…”
And that’s true! I do feel good about being in my late twenties. I feel good because life is getting better. I’m getting better at writing and playing guitar. I’m getting better at dealing with difficult times (because let’s face it, there will always be difficult times). I have friends and family that I love. I’m not afraid of having peaked; I’m not actually convinced I ever will peak.
I’m excited to see what I can do this year. I have a feeling whatever it is, it’s going to be great.
8:11 pm • 26 December 2011 • 6 notes
“What’s the worst that can happen? You never get published or the book of your heart tanks, and you never reach your goal, but at the end of your life you look back and say, “I had a dream and I fought for it, I believed in myself and my work, and I never, ever gave up.” That’s a life well lived, folks, a helluva lot better than, “I had a dream but it wasn’t realistic so I quit and watched television.” Do not let reality push you around, do not be sensible and kill your own dreams, and for the love of God do not let people who are only guessing about what’s going to happen next tell you that you’re a fool for believing in yourself and your stories.”
— Jennifer Crusie, “Rats with Islands: How To Survive Your Publishing Career”
7:30 pm • 21 December 2011 • 3 notes