Monthly Archives: February 2014

Kicked In The Pants

I feel like I was kicked in the pants yesterday– in a good way. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, and I don’t really know why. I just haven’t been performing or writing much, partly because of school, and partly because I’m lazy. Yesterday, though, a realization came over me. I’m not going to get anywhere if I don’t do anything. It seems obvious, but sometimes I start to fall asleep in the co pilot seat, and I just wait for good things to happen instead of making them happen.

Yesterday, though, I decided I was going to change. I’m going to more actively seek out gigs and opportunities to play music, and I’m going to make sure I have my cards with me so I can promote myself wherever I go, and I’m going to try and put myself out there one the internet more; i.e. set up a Twitter account (even though Twitter is stupid).

I also decided to dedicate a portion of every day to music; whether it’s practicing, or writing, or networking, or what have you. I contacted a few venues yesterday, and practiced my songs for a while, and today I sent out a craigslist add for band members. I’ve done that once before, and I didn’t get much of a response, but this time I was much more specific about what I was looking for, so I’m hoping I’ll get some takers. I’m also going to make sure I pray about it too.

I’ve also written a to-do list for myself with what I need to do once my album gets really close to being finished. My thinking is that in this order I need to: Form a band, find a venue for the album release party, get my album copyrighted, and get it on iTunes. Those seem to be the most important things to get done in the near future.

I’m really hoping this random kicked-in-the-pants feeling doesn’t wear off, because I’ve been awfully productive in the past two days.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Super Happy Obsession Type Things

I looked at my music page on Facebook a minute ago, and realized that I am now up to 70 “likes.” Of course a large percentage of these people are close friends and family, but you know what? 29 of them are people I don’t even know, which is super cool! Since a lot of you guys who follow my blog are interested in my musical shenanigans, I thought I’d ask a favor: if you’re on Facebook, would you mind going to my music page and hitting the “like” button? You can totally ignore anything I say, but sometimes I post pictures or YouTube videos or random happy things that you might be interested in.

Here is the link:
Katie Rose Curtis Music

In other news…

I played an open mic on Friday (Valentine’s Day), and I met a very nice young man by the name of Nate. We got talking during intermission, and we’ve decided that we’re going to do a musical duo! Last night Nate came to my recording session and put a viola track on my song “Passenger,” which can be heard (without the viola, unfortunately) here:

We’ve actually done quite a lot of work on it since I’ve uploaded this video, but at least you’ll be able to get a sense of the song.

Nearly all the tracking is done for my album, but there’s still quite a bit of mixing to be done. It’s almost time to start planning for the CD release party, which I’m very excited about. I’m thinking about having it possibly in Portsmouth New Hampshire since a large percentage of my fans are Maineiacs. Then again, it could end up being anywhere between Portland and Boston.

In terms of actual work that still needs to be done, almost all of the songs are finished or close to finished, but they need a little extra help from Brian, who works at the studio and plays keys, or Nate on strings.

I’m really hoping at some point to have a music video made for my song “One,” which is essentially a love peace and harmony manifesto. I don’t really have any great ideas for it yet, but if I get it professionally done (which would be ideal) I’ll probably have to save up for a while first. Hopefully I’ll make a bit of money from the CD release and iTunes sales.

I also really need to look into copyrighting this stuff as soon as it’s finished.

Realistically, though, getting out and performing more will be the most difficult part of this whole package at first. I don’t drive, and I can’t have my parents drive me all over creation all the time. Hopefully that problem will be somewhat solved if Nate and I end up performing a lot together, but getting from point “A” to point “B” is less of a problem than having help with the restroom once I get to wherever it is I’m going.

Another concern is balancing my last year of college with making sure I get out there and perform as much as possible. Ideally I’d like to get signed to a label because that should be a help with expenses and could help solve the travel problem. I have a lot of research to be doing in the next few months, but it’s all very exciting.

Something that I always have to keep in mind is that I’m doing this project for God, and I’ve been praying that he leads me through it and leads me with it. I also hope he will use it to lead other people to him. A long time ago, when I was just learning to play guitar, I asked God to help me have success with music and in return I would use it to glorify him. That deal seems to be working out quite well, so I’m thankful for that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Other Leftie

Last Sunday we went up to Maine and crowded into my great aunt Lucy’s kitchen to hang out with my mom’s cousins and their kids. The rest of the kids (most of them much younger than me) and my brother and I played Minecraft while the old people chatted and then we all went out to dinner. There were 20 of us in total, so it took quite a while to get our food.

At dinner I ended up sitting next to my six year old cousin Alyssa. She and her brother, Andrew together are gremlins, but on her own, Alyssa is actually pretty mellow. While we were waiting for food, she and I ended up playing games on the kids’ menu, and I noticed that she was left handed, like myself. I think she and I are the only cousins on my mom’s side who are left handed. We’re also the only girls on my mom’s side who are close (my extended family includes over 100 cousins, and Alyssa and I are actually second cousins once removed).

I remember when I was 15 and Alyssa was a baby. I told her that it was up to her and me to keep all these boys in line. She does a pretty good job with her brother at least. Last summer we played a boys vs girls game of Capture the Flag, which ended up being big kids vs little kids by dint of the fact that all the boys in our family happen to be a lot younger, and somehow we lost. It was embarrassing and depressing.

It’s weird to think about, but Alyssa will be 15 when I am 30. Are we going to have anything to talk about? My cousin Nicholas (Dinkens) and I are very close and have things in common, and he’s 9 years younger than me. I’ve never been very girly, though, and he and I have video games and nerdy card games in common. Will Alyssa be into cheer leading? Will she be gushing over boys? What kind of music will she like? I don’t see her nearly enough to ensure that she’ll be nerdy cool. It seems weird to be almost a generation older than her and not be. I’m going to be ancient by the time she has kids. Then again, I’ll probably be ancient by the time my brother has kids.

As of a few weeks ago I am officially a generation older than one of my cousins. He’s actually my half second cousin. My family is complicated. His mom (my half cousin) is around my age (20). It seems weird to think about even the idea of kids at this point in my life, partly because I don’t want my own, but partly because I have so much going on and so much I want to do. The idea of “settling down” in any way just sounds downright repulsive to me. This is not to say that I blame my cousin in any way. She really wanted a kid, and I’m happy for her.

All these little kids make me kind of crazy sometimes, but I really do love them. I also love that I don’t have to deal with them 24/7. I have a hard time with little kid culture because I’m a snooty intellectual type, but I also remember being a little kid and how insane and awesome it was. Between the ages of 5 and 6 or so, I literally thought I was a dragon. I also had a plethora if imaginary friends, including a black cat, a dragonfly and a pink alien. In middle school my friends and I created an imaginary world that we would explore and hang out in every Friday night. Admittedly, as a junior in college I still do this kind of thing in my head. The whole growing up thing never really appealed to me entirely.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Dedicated To Harris Curtis

Harris Curtis was my grandfather. He passed away in November, and I still think about him. Anyway, I was thinking earlier today about how weird it is that Grammie-and-Papa has been just Grammie for several months now, so I wrote a poem about it.

We See Things In Our Sleep

Life is not a sitcom.
It was weird
when Grammie and Papa’s
phone number became Grammies’
phone number.
It was weirder still
when Grammie and Papa
became Grammie.

After the fall
things just fell apart,
And he had to leave home.

I remember reading somewhere
that life comes and goes
full circle.
We are born small and
speechless, and he died
small and speechless.

I wasn’t there
for the two-day vigil,
when my father dreamed,
and his father breathed
his last breath.

I was there for the funeral,
to play a song and send him off
wherever he was going.

We see things in our sleep.
My father and grandfather
walked amongst the trees
and strange creatures, until
they came upon the lantern man.

I walked with Death, who smiled
and said it would be fine.
Another night I heard angels sing.

Grammie saw her husband
kiss her son goodbye.

I saw him smile in a perfect photograph.

The Stupid Man: A Critique Of Sexist Advertising From A Woman’s Perspective

A while ago my dad mentioned that commercials on television were often demeaning to men. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I started to pay attention, and I think he’s right. The scenario in many commercials is usually something like this: guy is trying to do something and can’t. Girl comes over and gives him X product or X advice, or even just does whatever it is herself. Some narration about the product. End of commercial. There are hundreds of variations of this, but it seems to all point to one thing: advertising has become sexist.

Something I have noticed about the generation of people approximately between the ages of 15-35 seem very interested in women’s empowerment. Obviously people have been working towards that for years, but now, along with the gay rights movement, it is more socially acceptable. What I often see as a result of this however, is a tendency to take it a bit too far. For example, it is socially acceptable to make jokes about the intelligence of men, but it is not as socially acceptable to make jokes about the intelligence of women. It does, however still seem to be socially acceptable to poke fun at the moodiness or emotional sensitivity of women, and interestingly, it is still okay to make jokes about overly sensitive men. This obviously raises the question of whether or not our society has a problem with sensitivity in general, but that’s a topic for another time.

The question in advertising, comedy or anything else is, at what point does something become sexist? Often when people observe that something is sexist, they notice that it’s sexist against women. Not many people seem to take into account, however, that things can be sexist and downright offensive towards men. I believe vehemently that women and men should be equal, and when it comes to portrayals of the sexes in advertising, they are not. We seem to be at a precarious place at this point in time. There is still plenty of inequality for women in this country and all over the world. In America, however, we are equal in terms of what we can say and do, and we must be careful that this does not lead to animosity between men and women.

Social norms are changing at an almost overwhelming rate. Groups who were oppressed throughout history, women included are gaining immense power and freedom very quickly, and we are having to learn how to use it very quickly. Sexist advertising is not empowerment. It is irresponsible, and frankly, immature. I can guarantee that if commercials were shown with men helping women with things, someone would call them out as being sexist. The main problem with this kind of advertising is that it is one sided. If half the commercials showed men helping women and half showed women helping men, there would be nothing wrong, but the constant portrayal of men being weaker and less intelligent than women is offensive and unfair.

The fact of the matter is that women are better at some things and men are better at others, and this is okay. Furthermore, every individual has different interests, skills and talents. It is okay for Sarah to be physically stronger than Tom because he happens to be a physicist and has decided that solving the mysteries of the universe is more important than working out. It’s also okay for Miles to be a body builder and Nancy to be a fashion model. I can be slaying zombies one minute and gushing over cute puppies the next, and there’s nothing weird about that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

A Blast From The Past Of Mythological Proportions

Some of you may remember that when I started this blog I wrote a seven part mythology story. I haven’t written much in the fantasy genre since then, but I had an idea that I might either incorporate into the mythology somehow, or write as a standalone story. Anyway, here are the links to parts 1-7 of the mythology if anyone is interested. I’ll be posting the first instillation of my new story shortly.

Mythology Part 1
Mythology Part 2
Mythology Part 3
Mythology Part 4
Mythology Part 5
Mythology Part 6
Mythology Part 7

Why Should We Care?

Something we talk about a lot at school is 1) what is beautiful and 2), why do we/should we care? I’ve recently decided, as mentioned in a few previous posts, that there is good in everything. Something good can be found in every event, situation, person, place and object in this world. Of course, goodness and beauty aren’t exactly the same thing, but I do think that beauty is inherently good. I would also like to clarify that horrible disasters, for example, are not good in themselves. They do, however, tend to bring out the good in people. Sometimes, it’s impossible to see good in things, but it is there. God has a plan, and his plan is insanely complicated and confusing and indiscernible, but it is inherently good.

There is a line in “You Do All Things Well” by Tenth Avenue North that says, “You work in beauty, even out of ugly things.” God uses people and things in completely unexpected ways to change the world and do miracles. It is partly the unexpectedness of these miracles that is beautiful. Whenever we see something that is beautiful, we can identify it as being so. However, there are things that one might not immediately label as beautiful, but some people still call them that.

I do not think however, that Beauty is so subjective. I do believe in absolutes. I have trouble identifying them, but they do exist, and it is best to adhere to them if possible. When I Googled “beauty in the Bible,” I found a whole slew of verses talking about how we should worship the Lord for his greatness and beauty, but that earthly beauty is dubious at best. There are so many commercials on TV featuring women with fake foreign accents flopping around, acting “sexy,” with bright lipstick and shiny hair. The word “sexy” triggers alarms in my head. For me, “sexy” is synonymous with “superficial,” and “superfluous.” These women, to me, are not beautiful.

Something that really freaks me out is when women who are 50 try to look 30. It’s just not “natural” to me. I get that some women do it because of insecurity issues or what have you, but it’s still kind of freaky. I suppose it’s a little judgmental of me to think this way, but I’ve always thought that one should look their age, as well as act their age. I’m not trying to bash women who are into looking pretty, and if it honestly makes them feel good about themselves, awesome. Good for them.

The point is to talk about what is beautiful. I believe that we are given examples of beauty on Earth so that we can understand God’s beauty, to a small degree. We mostly find beauty in visual art (paintings, sculpture, etc), music, and stories. Many times we call emotional sentiments beautiful. Beauty, therefore, seems to be understood primarily as an emotional response to stimuli of a certain kind. Some people, scientists in particular, call things like mathematics “beautiful,” perhaps because it gives them an understanding of something they would not have known before. In a sense, art does the same thing in a different way. We often understand love, for example, in terms of metaphors. Without these metaphors, we would only understand it as an abstract, and somewhat removed emotion.

If beauty is an emotional response, then is it an important one, or is it superfluous? Is it generally harmful or helpful to individuals or society as a whole? Why should we care about art or bother to nurture our sense of beauty? I tend to think that beauty is an important emotion to nurture. If we think about jealousy for example, we find that it can often be a motivator for positive action. I am jealous of the way my friend sings, so I strive to be a better singer. Although rather indefinable, beauty is also a positive motivator. If we can’t find it, we create it. It also seems to be a catalyst for other, stronger emotions and actions such as love, joy, or empathy.

My brother has been assigned “Hamlet” for the second time in high school, and he is thoroughly displeased. I love “Hamlet” because of the beautiful language and deeper issues within the play. Sam hates the idea of looking for deeper meanings, artistic devices, or analyzing the emotional states of characters and relating them to real life; English class type stuff. He argues that it is pointless and unproductive and says that the United States should sacrifice a generation of Children and only teach math and science in schools because our country would be so much farther along in terms of solving problems.

It’s true. We would be much farther along in those fields if a generation was sacrificed. However, would this generation understand love? would they even be able to relate to one another? Would they be able to work together to solve problems? It’s possible to a degree if part of the curriculum involved classes on cooperation, but the whole idea just sounds very stark and lonely. What would our culture be like? What would people do in their free time? If everyone was working in scientific innovation, there would be no one writing books or making movies or composing music. These are the things that people talk about and enjoy together. This scenario sounds extreme, but entertainment media is a huge part of our culture, and in terms of curing diseases or figuring out how the Big Bang happened, it is pointless.

We learn about literature and art in schools so that those of us who enjoy it can create more, quality art. At least that’s my take on it. What about religion? Would religion be banned from this society of math and science? Perhaps not if the purpose of excluding art is to solve problems more efficiently, since religious groups are often concerned with helping others and solving problems. Then again, religion and science sometimes tend to be in contention, so it might be a precarious friendship. Lastly, art and beauty often bridge gaps between cultures and create empathy between people who may not otherwise be prepared to accept each other.

Obviously, I’m very biased, but I just can’t imagine a world without art and beauty since my life revolves around it. One last question I would like to pose is, does it really matter what happened before the Big Bang? As interesting as they may be, I feel that some scientific “innovations” are just as unhelpful as our favorite movies. It’s all relative, and we all like to have our fun.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!