Wednesday, January 17, 2007

UPDATE (01.15.07)—Twice a Month Indie, Third World Asheville, and Mumufuku Ando

EVERYBODY’S STILL talking about New Year... As Janis Joplin exhorted, “It’s all a f—in’ day.” True. But it sometimes it does help to try to do better each time a new year ushers in. So before I ramble on with my second Update for 2007, let me quote one of my “patron saints” who just passed away at age 96, Mr Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles AKA ramen noodles: “Peace prevails when food suffices.”

[1 ] REPEAT: Editorial meetings every 3rd and first Saturday of the month.
First meeting – Jan 20, 4pm-6pm at 61 Dunwell Avenue, West Asheville (or our house, otherwise known as The Bonfires Abode). This kickoff meeting starts a bit earlier because we also have a Traveling Bonfires poetry reading on the same night at Malaprop’s (see Item #4). On the next meeting, Feb 3, we will start at 6pm.
Editorial meetings are not just confined to/with active writers or contributors to The Indie (or Wander and Blue Sky). I enjoin other interested people to come share us some ideas and suggestions how to make this little “ramen noodles-fed” magazine a better rag and/or community mouthpiece (that could reverberate in other cities/places and cultures, as well).
Main agenda should be: (a) Discussion about the preceding issue or the issue that just came out, and (b) Discussion about the upcoming issue and future stories/subjects to tackle. But the meeting should not just focus on these two items. We can also discuss marketing, distribution, fundraise, networking etc.
I try my best to make our house a comfy crib for each and everyone. You are welcome to bring food/drinks, potluck-style, otherwise just bear with whatever me and Marta The Nicer could offer (most of which come from our supporters and advertisers). I have a lot of new hardbound books and DVD movies, and we’re wireless, so in case you plan to come early and enjoy the place, you are very welcome.

[2] SUBMISSION DEADLINES: Communication counts a lot.
Rules-wise, today (Jan 15) is the deadline of submission of articles for the Feb 1 to 15 issue, but sadly, only two writers were able to beat that deadline. That is okay—please don’t imagine me as a growling, caricaturish editor pushing for ALMIGHTY DEADLINE! I do understand, believe me.All I am asking is, please let me know (emails or call the number, 505 0476) if you are working on a story for a specific issue so I could save space for it/them or let’s see... “ll treat each “late” submission on a case to case basis. If it’s an important fastbreaking story, I am willing to wait till the last day or night of absolute deadline (to printing submission). When is that? I’ll let you know, email me individually.
However, submitting stories every 15th and 31st of the month will make my deskwork a lot better and more “professional.” I’d like to discuss articles with writers—in case, I deem it necessary to revise or rewrite or do more research. But if you submit stories two days before I go to the printing press, I may just reject or hold the article for “future” considerations. Of course, this reminder does not apply to those whose work don’t need editing or thorough review.

[3] NEW VOLUNTEER STAFF: Heather Miljour from Chicago.
We also would like to welcome Heather Miljour to the “rock journeys and sublime madnesses.” She is deeply/seriously considering moving here in Asheville, from Chicago. Right now, she’s simply hanging out, chillin’ with me and Marta—“acclimatizing” (sic!) herself with the mountain, downtown, and my eccentricities. I haven’t pushed her to eat my “boiled pig ears on mayonnaise” yet—which means, she’s okay, so far. But I already admonished her to watch slasher/gory movies with me on regular basis... We just watched “Saw II” on DVD, by the way, and I plan to see “Apocalypto” with her tomorrow.
Will she stay? The Blue Sky God/dess shall bless her, and will definitely keep her safe in the company of the squirrels and bugs in my front and backyard.

[4] MALAPROP’S READING: Five poets with diverse voices.
This Saturday, Jan 20, from 7pm to 8:45—the Traveling Bonfires will be back at Malaprop’s for our regular poetry reading. I will be back with Matt Mulder and Brian Sneeden, plus Megan Hislop and Walter Dinteman (fresh from their European trips, separate journeys). We also welcome Michael Hefner from the Tuesday Writers Group (of Robert Kelley).Please try to be there and enjoy words...

[5] THIRD WORLD ASHEVILLE: A women initiative.
As I previously announced, the Traveling Bonfires will be focused on the supposedly sideproject called Third World Asheville this year. We launched this program at the Grey Eagle in Dec of 2005 through a concert that featured women performers and poets (including Glenis Redmond, Carrie Gerstmann, Laura Blackley, Vanessa Boyd, Kimberly Summer, and guests from San Francisco, Nashville, Canada, and Boston). But since then, we haven’t really followed up or followed through.
No apologies... but this year, most of The Bonfires activities shall put emphasis on TWAsheville. I also plan to write/draft a funding proposal for this one... In case, you are interested to help me write/research this, let me know. We can probably strike a compensation deal, or something.
To kick things off, we are having TWAshe meetings here in the house every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, 5 to 7pm. The first meeting will be on Jan 26. Interested souls, please let us know... although TWAsheville is a women initiative project, this does not necessarily mean that it’s an exclusively all-women project. Let’s try to build a synergetic relationship with opposites sexes (whatever sexuality you may belong).

[6] KICK OFF NETWORKING. Finding new links and connects.
I would like to restart or reenergize ideas and plans and brainstorms that we haven’t really applied into action or implemented in the past three or four years. I don’t intend to ramble about specifics of such plans, at this juncture, but rest assured that the fire and the madness will be heightened albeit systematically/methodically (eg less spontaneous) this year.
For starters, I have scheduled separate meetings (this week and next) with Gerri Solomon of International Link, Debra Kiliru of the Black Mountain-based nonprofit, Motherland International Relations, and Dustin Rhodes, Students Activities Director of Warren Wilson. (Debra and Dustin were recommended by Molly McMillan, who actively writes for Blue Sky Asheville, The Indie’s partner magazine.)
In case you wanna know, Motherland International Relations serves as a bridge to Africa through service oriented educational programs. The organization supports appropriate technologies and sustainable agricultural programs in Africa and the Diaspora. Motherland International Relations seeks relationships with complimentary organizations in order to renew all through co-operation.
Meanwhile, Marta The Nicer has also been talking with the husband and wife team behind Playcademy Learning Community Preschool, just our next street/block neighbor here in West Asheville. Gaither Stewart (The Indie’s senior writer, based in Italy) has also recommended a number of WNC-based writers and organization/marketing people who may be interested to join the fold, either as volunteer/contributing writers, marketing advisers, or just cool souls to hang out with. (My friend Rebekah Konieczka, based in Pittsburgh, has also started a “feel-good” column for The Indie.)

[7] Lastly, WEBSITE WOES. In dire, dire need.
I have emailed a number of people who could possibly work on an organizational website, but so far, no luck. But I must admit that our main drawback is that I don’t have money to pay a $65/hour website artist. But there might be a way to work out a mutual benefit deal, or something... I just need a worker who, despite obliging to a “love-offering” budget, is also willing to adhere to a deadline.

SO THAT’S IT, so far... I hope y’all are having a great start of 2007 day. I hope that most of us won’t be saying, “A lot of things are going on with my life these days” anymore, and that, we are able to get over the funk and blues, and – as Mr Momofuku Ando puts it (revised by me), “Live good, love good, and eat only good food!” (That’s including, especially ramen noodles.)

West Asheville NC


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