IT'S MY BIRTHDAY

So I turned 40 today. First thank you to all of you who sent wishes via FB, text and voice. I'm on the road (I'm always on the road on my birthday) so it gets kinda sad but all of you who reached out made me feel at home.

Yesterday, I was at the airport and the bartender at the lounge looked at my ID and said, "Wow, happy birthday. You're gonna be 40? Really??" And of course, I gave the ol' "Don't remind me!" answer. It seems like that's the answer we like to give when we are reminded it's our birthday. It's the go-to. Then that cues the person to say, "well you look great" and we thank them and go about our way.

Funny, when we were kids we couldn't wait to grow up. So much so, we would add fractions to our ages. "I'm not 5. I'm 5 and three quarters!" It's like we just couldn't wait. Then somewhere along the way, that turns into, "No! I refuse! I wish I could be 21 again!"

But ya know (and this is not just me trying to make myself feel better)...I LOVE having birthdays. I love becoming a year older. Because with all the things in the world that could take us out, each year is an accomplishment. It says we've survived in a world that's out to get us. Like, as primitive animals, we are constantly in a state of attack. Diseases, hunger, weather, calamities...credit card bills. Lol. So statistically, the odds are always stacked against us and every day is actually a miracle if we make it.

And I love beating statistics.

Problem is we take things for granted. We don't stop to remind ourselves of what we have in the moment. We don't stop to bask in the blessings in our lives because we are too busy trying to survive. We go about our day like the day before and then we look back wondering where it all went and so we regret our birthdays because it tells us we've been wasting our lives and now it's going too fast.

How easy we can slow our lives down if we stop to actually live it.

Because the truth is, we WILL die one day. And I know that sounds grim but it's true. So what are we doing? Why are we just trudging along and dragging our feet and then complain that time goes too fast and we're getting old? 

If we live always at the edge- if we live breathing in the air around us and marveling at the amazing things in our lives- if we stop and take an inventory of the awesomeness that surrounds us- I can guarantee that every second will feel much much longer. 

That's why today, when I turned 40, especially since I lived half of that acting stupid and reckless, I am grateful to still be here with an amazing family, loving friends and a pretty badass career. And on top of that, growing older affords you wisdom. It affords you a clearer vision on life in general. And wisdom should be coveted! It should be cherished and respected. 

So keep growing. Stop fighting it and get old. Attain wisdom. And live bad-assly. Let every stage of your life be what it is and love that moment with everything. Because life, as a whole, is a beautiful wonderful thing.

Happy birthday to me.

NOKIA MOBILE

I CAN FINALLY TELL YOU ALL THE AWESOME NEWS!

A few weeks ago WE were contacted and commissioned to write a new poem about the 2000's era (almost as a sequel to my 90's poem)...by Nokia Mobile!! You have no idea how honored I am to have done this for such a recognizable and iconic brand!

Poetry has taken me to so many places and as poets I am excited with the direction we are taking it. All of us, finding new ways to interject our art into everyone's lives.

So whatever you're doing, keep doing it. Keep writing. Keep pursuing. Keep pushing the envelope. And above all, practice and be prepared because when the world comes calling, you better be ready!

Shout out to Jollan Aurelio for the music...to Jace Oner for cancelling his day just to collaborate on the video...and also to Michael Pavlov for coordinating this whole thing. 

Let's get it yall!

SN: I would REALLY appreciate you guys sharing this with everyone. I am so proud!

Watch it here!

ITS ABOUT THE WORK

Last weekend, right before the Words United show, I was backstage seriously nervous. We had been on break for about a month & a half so I haven't performed for awhile. And when you get back on stage after a long break, it's easy to stumble over your poems no matter how well you know them. The week before I stumbled very badly at one of my features so now I was really nervous.

Then I had a conversation with my friend and colleague Lizz Straight before the show & we talked about how the work has to always supersede the artist. In other words, sometimes we get so caught up in our persona- we get caught up in "who we are" & the image we portray- that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to maintain that image when we hit the stage.

However, if we can only remember that we are simply messengers of art- that our work is really the spotlight- then we can get on stage & just let the work do its thing. 

So many artists are caught up in who they are that they forget the work is what people came out to see. They want the praise. They want the recognition. And when they have it they have to maintain it but when the work no longer matches the persona, they realize quickly that fame is fleeting like a motherfucker.

Me, I don't want that anymore. I don't want someone saying, "You are awesome! I'm a huge fan of you." Instead, I would rather hear, "I'm a huge fan of your work. Your work has gotten me through some hard times." That's really what's important, you know? 

Maybe if we focused on the work & not how we look delivering the work, then perhaps we wouldn't be so nervous.

Yeah, that show turned out to be awesome.

See you all on the road...

WE CONTINUE

2016. Wow, what a year.

Professionally, for us, it was successful. We hired a new agency- one that has represented a ton of awesome bands- and they took us on as their only spoken word poetry act in their roster. With this move, we got back into heavy touring, having just finished a 3 month stint on the road this past fall. We're also writing a bunch of new material for our 3rd album and are excited about the tour taking place in the spring. 2016 was definitely great for setting all of that up.

But all of that doesn't take away from the fact that for many people, including myself, 2016 was a difficult one personally. There were deaths of iconic celebrities, deaths of close friends, a lot more divide between people and many times throughout the year we had to ask ourselves what the hell is wrong with us as a nation? There are people hurting. There are people afraid. There are people uncertain about the future.

What's important to realize is that we've been here before. We've all had our shares of trials and tribulations in our past. We've all faced fear and uncertainty. And yet, here we are, survivors of ordeals we didn't think we were strong enough to handle. Here we are, alive with our breath in our lungs. And we continue.

That's all we can do sometimes, really. Just continue. Just persevere. See it through, as I always say. It may not get better tomorrow or the next day or even the next year but it will get better. We just have to focus on knowing that everything that happens to us shapes us in some way. It molds us into stronger individuals. It creates in us a fighting spirit we never thought we had.

So I wish that for all of us- that we may not give up too fast too soon. Let's journey together amongst good people with the best intentions at heart seeking more for others than we do for ourselves. And just maybe, we can turn this whole thing around.

See you all on the road.