Reflections on Writing and The Past Year

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* Note: Slightly Rambling Blog Post *

Hello Readers,

I’ve not written a personal blog post in quite some time, but thought I’d write one to share some thoughts I’ve had with writing/publishing/blogging and my other interests.

2014 was the first year I spent more time reading and writing non-fiction. This happened as I continued noticing a gradual (and sometimes, not-so-gradual) decline in eBook sales.

My heart has never been in commercial fiction, and it probably never will be. For that reason, I am unlikely to continue eBooks publishing as a business (because as a business, it’s commercial forces one has to consistently observe and adapt to). I have some other personal reasons for no longer having the drive for writing fiction as I used to several years ago when I first ventured into digital publishing.

Towards the end of last year, I had a very strong need to switch directions entirely in terms of profession. I’ve listed some of the things I’ve been / am involved with on my about.me page. It’s a refreshing change and I’m grateful for the new work experiences. I like doing things that have some level of originality/innovation/analysis, and I felt indie publishing was not the right place for me anymore.

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‘Reflection’ photo by Arthur Davison, used under a CC License.

I should add that I almost gave up my interest in socio-political blogging for the sake of a close friendship/relationship (let’s just say that my views were “very divergent” from the other person’s). Regardless of the topic, my personal belief is that people who respect each other would be able to sort out their differences. At the end of the day, I concur with activist Brooke Axtell, who said during the 2015 Grammys:

“Authentic love does not devalue another human being.”
(– activist Brooke Axtell)

To me, a friendship/relationship isn’t worth it if either person feels no guilt/shame/remorse in belittling or disparaging the other person, because they disagree with the other’s views and sentiments. (Perhaps this is partly due to the “Venus Scorpio” in me that highly values self-respect and mutual respect.)

I guess quitting self-publishing (or “turning my professional attention elsewhere” for the time-being) gave me an additional sense of closure to that whole chapter in my life. It just felt like everything had reached a dead-end and that it was time for me to try something new, on both the personal and professional level.

That being said, I’ll always like writing, so you’ll see some of my copyediting material online this year along with socio-political blogging book reviews when I can get down to it (once my current schedule has settled in a little bit more). Writing socio-political blog posts helped me access an “analytical” side of my mind I hadn’t really accessed before, which is why I’m keen to continue those independent/unsponsored blog posts.

I’m thankful for the readers/customers I’ve had and heard from over the years, particularly the readers of my earlier erotic material. I guess that’s a part of my life I’m leaving behind too, in a way (since my early erotic fiction was largely due to my own sexual neuroses!).

I appreciate others’ appreciation of my writing — somehow it feels like that will be something which will inspire me with future projects I get up to. It gives me a sense of comfort/satisfaction to know that my efforts were not completely wasted on meaningless things, since I like to focus on one thing at a time and give my all to it if I’m passionate about something.

I guess my main website (jessINK) may “morph” over the next few years, to reflect my personal interests and projects I’m involved with along the way. I initially branded myself as an “author/artist/non-conformist,” a label I’ve since updated to “writer/blogger/analyst” (the practical Virgo in me loves anything of an “analytical” nature…).

Side Note: It is also this practical Virgo in me that keeps me from enjoying the label/lifestyle of “starving artist” (a label my artistic Pisces moon doesn’t quite mind)…I guess I have a rough idea re: career path (I do best with something that combines creative and analytical skills).

Have you had a similar experience where you just felt you needed to drop (almost) everything and try/do something new? Send me a note via email! (I’m keeping the comments ‘off’ on this post in the spirit of intimacy/privacy.)

Stay happy and healthy in the meantime.

— Jess.

Author Interview, Nathan Daniels

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Interview #71, with writer/survivor, Nathan Daniels!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Understanding, Respectful, Honest, Strong, Loving.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

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EXCERPT FROM SURVIVING THE FOURTH CYCLE – CHAPTER 32:

“I would fill my torso with long, dripping, lacerations by the dozens. Often, I’d do this while watching the disturbing reflection in my bathroom mirror. I remember Hailey sliding her hand up the front of my shirt one night; only to gasp… shut her eyes… and whisper:

“What did you do?”

On that particular occasion, I had cut myself twenty-eight times. Twice across the throat, and I was aware of myself doing it, even if it was a distant awareness.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

EXCERPT FROM STEPHEN KING’S ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT:

“Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction, can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

For me, the writing comes very natural. I’ve been doing it most of my life and it’s a great creative outlet, as well as being an excellent form of therapy. The entire publication process is new to me, and understanding all the aspects is a challenge, but I enjoy learning more every day.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Be it a textbook, memoir, or work of fiction the reader should never have to “push” their way through the text. Instead, you should feel “pulled” along by the words on the page.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Read something and write something EVERY day!

Your websites/blogs/etc:

You can visit me at… http://survivingthefourthcycle.com/index.html
Be my friend on Facebook… http://www.facebook.com/Nathan.daniels.56863
Follow me on Twitter… https://twitter.com/NathanDaniels75

* * * * *

Much thanks to Nathan Daniels for stopping by — do visit Nathan’s Website for more info on him and his projects!

NATHAN’S BIO (in his own words):

My name is Nathan Daniels and I’m a dedicated father, stepfather, partner, and mental health awareness advocate. I’m also a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have recently overcome a twenty-year battle with suicide, and I currently live with psychological disorders like… Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD, and Depression.

I have a website dedicated to my experience with these widely misunderstood issues, and I want to share my story with as many people as possible and do my part in raising awareness as well as reducing the stigma associated with these ailments.

My website has 5 pages where you’ll find articles, interviews, photos, videos, quizzes, movies, poetry, books, blogs, and other websites devoted to mental health in general. I would absolutely love it, if you would just check it out… and perhaps pass it along.

Thank you so much :)

P.S. Check out Nathan’s guest post here! (June 2013: Flashback to Abuse)

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Poem by Babaji, Himalayan Saint

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I came across this poem in an astrology book by James Braha (fantastic writings — check out his books online!).

I have many favorite lines from this poem. Two of my favorite lines can be inferred from this accompanying image.

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Anna Ignatieva – Demon and Angel, 2005]

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A Poem by Babaji, A Himalayan Saint

Love and serve all mankind. Assist everyone.
Be cheerful, be courteous.
Be a dynamo of irrepressible happiness.
See God and good in every face.
There is no saint without a past.
There is no sinner without a future.
Praise every soul.
If you cannot praise someone, let them pass out of your life.
Be original, be inventive.
Dare, dare, and then dare more.
Do not imitate. Stand on your own ground.
Do not lean on the borrowed staff of others.
Think your own thoughts. Be yourself.
All perfection and all virtues of the Deity are hidden inside you — reveal them.
The savior also is already within you – reveal Him.
Let his grace emancipate you. Let your life be that of a rose.
Through silence it speaks in the language of fragrance.

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Poet Interview, Amber Decker

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Interview #58, with the funny, blunt and nerdy: Amber Decker!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Nerdy
Industrious
Romantic
Funny
Blunt

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

amberdecker_lostgirlsbookcover

True Beauty (excerpted from Lost Girls)

Her dead father once told her
that dead things are beautiful
because they have given of themselves
and in their death show the living
the truest form of beauty.

Once, she fell in love deeply enough
to let a boy stretch himself through
the wilderness of her body.

When he surfaced as if from under oceans,
he licked her nectar from the flowers of his fingertips
and told her she was beautiful.

And when she opened her mouth to reply,
only dead things fell out.

That’s deep — well-done! Share an excerpt of your favorite poet’s work (10-100 words):

Bluebird (by Charles Bukowski)

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.

Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry, or was it an experience?:

Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve been writing since I can remember, but I think I really started to take poetry seriously in high school. Someone gave me a copy of Verses that Hurt: Pleasure and Pain from the POEMFONE Poets, which was the first poetry anthology I’d ever owned up to that point. Before that, I hadn’t experienced much poetry outside of an English class — mainly Whitman, Poe, Frost and Dickinson.

Verses showed me what poetry could accomplish and how it could be used to take snapshots of places, people and experiences. It taught me about abstract images and how to open up worlds with fresh new language. After that, I was reading anything poetry-related I could get my hands on, and suddenly I was writing my own poetry. Now I can’t seem to stop.

Oh yes, Poe and Dickinson ;) Good thing the Verses anthology somehow founds its way to you. What goal do you seek through your poetry?

My main goal is to take my readers into a moment, to create images that stick in their minds even after the poem is finished. I also try to be as relatable as possible. I don’t want to be one of those elitist, academic poets with no clue how to talk to or write for people who are not also academics. I believe that poetry is like good fiction; it’s meant to be enjoyed — not decoded.

Yes, the best type of art is perhaps memorable as well as accessible. Please share your #1 tip for poets/writers:

If you want to write poetry (and do it well), you need to READ poetry. There are many fledgling poets out there who just don’t do this…and I’m afraid it’s pretty obvious when a poet hasn’t done their homework. Also, while I think that the classic “master poets” were (and still are) quite fabulous and should certainly be added to a list of poetic “must-reads”, remember that a lot has changed since these poets were alive and writing. POETRY has changed..a lot. Read contemporary journals. There are tons of them out there, and the range of the poets published in those journals is amazing. Try different forms, experiment, and find your own unique voice.

ITA — language is something that evolves along with the human species (for better or worse). Your websites/blogs/etc:

http://roughverse.wordpress.com

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[Sweet Relish, by Amber Decker]

Much thanks to Amber Decker for stopping by! Be sure to check out Rough Verse, where she talks about life and poetry :)

Steve Jobs’ Advice

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[Young Steve Jobs | Zillionarts]

I recently came across a very nice post by Kelly at The Maximum Customer Experience blog.

The post was inspired by the following quote:

I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.
— Steve Jobs (BusinessWeek interview)

Here’s what Kelly learned from Mr. Jobs, the iconic leader-guru of Apple Computer:

How to be like Steve? Just Don’t Do It!

Don’t go for the easy short-term dollars over long-term loyalty.

Don’t compromise quality to follow fads.

Don’t complicate your message.

Don’t overthink.

Don’t overdesign.

Don’t underprice.

Don’t make decisions by committee.

Don’t walk forward while looking over your shoulder at the competition.

Don’t pay staff one penny less than your company’s growth is worth to you.

Don’t abandon a fresh idea when you know the customer is ready for it—find a better way to communicate it.

Don’t scream when speaking plainly will do.

Don’t pay for flounces.

Don’t give up.

===

5 Oct 2011: RIP Steve Jobs | http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/10/jobs/ | “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Project Runway, Gretchen, FAIL

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This post is a Project Runway, Season 8 rant. I would format certain things a little better, but I have some exams next week, so don’t have the time to prettify the post up too much. Excusez-moi. Also, it’d be easier to understand this rant if you’ve been watching Project Runway for some time :)

P.S. I tend to “react” when my aesthetic senses are violated, lol.

P.P.S. (Update 1 Nov 2010): Gretchen fans who want to diss me for not having “good taste,” can read this comment.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (this post got to be a little longer than expected…):

Part 1: The Top 3
Part 2: E-mail to the producer
Part 3: “Project Piperlime.com”?
Part 4: Official PR Rebel Page on Facebook
Part 5: Make Your Voice Heard + MK & Nina Garcia…Prejudiced?
Part 6: Message to the PRPR (Project Runway Public Relations) team

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[Part 1: The Top 3]

I try not to whine/gripe/complain about things too often. And I don’t usually get too worked up over the results of a reality TV show.

HOWEVER, I really cannot understand how Gretchen Jones won Project Runway Season 8. Strictly speaking from a fashion perspective (never mind her “questionable” character — she even got on Tim Gunn’s nerves. TIM GUNN!!) — how are her designs runway worthy, and the epitome of the “now” in fashion?!

I’m not an “industry person” in the fashion industry — but as a female / clothes buyer / person who likes fashion and design, I am drawn to the designs of Andy, Mondo, and Michael C. They are exciting/aesthetically beautiful/elegant/well-made/inspiring. I want to buy them. I want to wear them (if the sizing/fit is suitable, heh).

* Everyone has different opinions/tastes. Personally, I would’ve really loved to have seen Andy, Mondo, and Michael C. in the top 3, so I have included a shot of one of their designs below. The other designers’ works can be viewed here.

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Diaper wear is the "now" of fashion?!?! | Winner: Gretchen Jones, Look #1 for Fashion Week. EPIC FAIL.

Andy South’s entire collection was casually, flippantly dismissed by the judges, presumably for being too “cultural.” WTF? How does that factor devalue other elements of a design (style, aesthetics, technique)?

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Colour might not be everyone's favourite, but the DESIGN = understatedly stylish, elegant, and very sophisticated | Andy South, 2nd Runner-up

Mondo’s! Fun, fresh, vibrant, happy/positive.

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Mondo's First Look. Holy !@#$! Look at the vibe / pop of colour! | Mondo Guerra, 1st runner-up

Michael Costello.

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CHIC! | Michael Costello, kicked out of the Top 3

LINKS:

1. Gretchen Jones / Fashion Week RTW 2011
2. Mondo Guerra / Fashion Week RT! 2011
3. Andy South / Fashion Week RTW 2011
4. Michael C. (should’ve been in the Top 3!) / Fashion Week RTW 2011

LINKS #2:

I enjoyed both Mondo (1st runner-up) and Andy’s (2nd runner-up) exit interviews from the show. Both guys were incredibly classy. And you can bet that Gretchen wouldn’t have been as “polite” to the winner, if she came in 2nd/3rd place!!

Quote from Mondo: “Gretchen’s designs look like they came from a 1970s Sears catalogue.”

Quote from Andy: “I think that Mondo’s — and my — collection, speaks volumes more than Gretchen’s aesthetic (HELL YEAH!).”

Mondo’s Vid: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/season-8/video/exit-interviews/2-episode-14

Andy’s Vid: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/season-8/video/exit-interviews/1-episode-14

What Mr. Tim Gunn said about the finalist (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaSPipl8-z8

My Verdict: TIM GUNN should be one of the judges!! Best wishes to Andy South, Mondo Guerra, and Michael C. That would’ve been a real fashion show.

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[Part 2: E-mail to the producers/TV network!]

I was so pissed that I wrote an email to Ms. Abbe Raven, who is “in charge of” (she’s the president/CEO) AETN, which oversees the A&E Network, History Channel, and Lifetime (which Project Runway is now under; formerly PR was airing on Bravo).

If you’re ticked off with this season’s PR, you can drop her an email at Abbe.Raven@aetn.com

I got her email/name from one of the comments on PR’s facebook page. Close to 95% of PR fans are NOT happy with the results. Do these network people bother to look at social media, to view their viewers’ sentiments?

My (rant of an) email (wanted to write it while I still felt strongly about certain things, lol) / I usually keep the caps to an absolute minimum in my blog posts, and writing material. But not when I want to MAKE A POINT, via email:

Dear Ms. Raven,

I am writing with regards to the outcome of Project Runway’s Season 8.

1) I found it incredibly ludicrous that Andy South’s collection was so flippantly and casually dismissed, for being too “cultural.” His collection was sleek, understatedly stylished, polished, and sophisticated. And I personally thought his designs and selection of models of mixed ethnicity were very refreshing. For being individualistic, he was automatically not considered for the top spot, because he did not conform to the WASP (white, anglo-saxon, protestant) stereotype. I do not mean to insult the entire demographic of middle-class White Americans — but I DO take offense when people who have authority in the mass media allow this type of SHIT to go on, in the 21st century. You are the people that can make a difference in terms of racism, sexism, etc. Instead, YOU PERPETUATE STEREOTYPES!!! And “punish” those who try to be different. What kind of message is this sending out to viewers?!

2) Did Mondo/Andy/Michael C. not win because they were male / NOT-100%-White/ NOT-HETEROSEXUAL (I’m not sure about Andy) / HIV-Positive (Mondo)??? These are BIASED OPINIONS that should not factor in when in comes to objective judging. If the designers were going to be judged according to these criteria, I for one, would have appreciated a notice of some sort, at the beginning of the season (so that I could prepare myself for the thoroughly distasteful outcome).

3) Michael C., Andy South, and Mondo should easily have been in the top 3. That would have been a real FASHION SHOW. The fans of Project Runway watch it because they enjoy the beauty/innovation/vision/creativity that goes together with fashion. Why call it Project “Runway” if the clothes are meant to be COMMERCIAL?!?!?! Commercialism = commodity = no excellence = death. Last year’s runner-up should have been the winner of that season, if this year’s criteria were applied!

4) I used to enjoy watching Project Runway because of the reasons I listed in #2. I like watching the designer’s vision and CREATIVITY AT WORK. Why would fashion fans want to view/buy something “safe”?! Why encourage the designers to have their own vision, when the judges/network is the one that DICTATES THE RULES / CRITERIA TO WIN, IN THE END?!?!?!?!?

5) THE VIEWERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO VOTE / ALLOWED A SAY, IN THE FINAL TOP 3 SPOTS. OR FINAL TOP SPOT.

I hope you “look into the episode/issue” (Project Runway Season 8, final episode). AETN also runs the History Channel (which I have always loved). It’s a great pity that this show has become what it was, in Season 8.

P.S. Please Ask Mr. TIM GUNN on how to make Project Runway “WORK” again (to quote his famous catchphrase)!!

Jess.

Disgruntled viewers #1: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/29/project-runway-finale_n_776029.html#comments

Disgruntled viewers #2: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=161172210582786&id=104812021201&notif_t=like#!/projectrunway/posts/161172210582786

* In one of the comments, I read that Gretchen Jones said she’s better than Diane von Furstenberg, and that she’s going to move to NYC (winner of PR = $100,000 to start their clothing line). The comment linked to one of her interview clips online. Gag.

</rant>

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[Part 3 (October 30, 2010) / AN IMPORTANT FIND!]

Just had a look @ Piperlime.com (a Gap company, which sponsors Project Runway). No wonder Gretchen won. SERIOUSLY, then change the name of the show to PROJECT PIPERLIME (or Project Garcia & Kors, or Project Off The Rack). Then people wouldn’t be so angered.

That 70’s Girl Line: http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=61950

The PR winner’s line is showcased there. There’s a line called That 70’s Girl — HELLO?!?!

Judges, please change the name of the show to “Project Piperlime.”

Or just make Piperlime the final “challenge,” where the designers have to design a RTW (ready-to-wear) commercial line. List the criteria properly, so us viewers know what the designs are based on (definitely not on aesthetic appeal, this round).

If I wanted to watch drama > fashion, I’d watch The Jersey Shore instead!

Corporate Sponsorship = $ellout = Not Impressed.

P.S. In the SeenOn Private Show (sale lasts for 2 days — where you can purchase the actual designs from the final collections made by Gretchen, Mondo, and Andy), here are the stats. Mondo’s entire collection = sold out, 10/10 items. Andy’s = half sold, 5/10 (I would buy 1 or 2 if I had $500+ to spare, LOL). Gretchen = 4/10, the most expensive item at $999 [did a network person buy it? / is it because of comments like:

“Too late for Mondo’s…Andy’s is going fast, too…Gretchen’s is sitting collecting dust (Finny Oak).”

“Two more outfits from Gretchen sold out? Wow! Nina Garcia is doing some serious shopping (Marissa Thomas).”

“Have the judges seen this? ALL of Mondo’s clothes SOLD OUT. Gretchen’s clothes? Many of them haven’t sold out. Wasn’t one of the arguments for Gretchen winning that she had her finger on the pulse of where fashion is going today and that she was very commercial? Wouldn’t the SeenON sale provide some evidence to the contrary? The Project Runway judges lost credibility with their decision this season. What a mess (SamosasForOne).” — comments from <a href="PR Facebook].

Also, Mondo’s collection is placed above Gretchen’s. So congratulations to Mondo + Andy (+ Michael C. and the non-dysfunctional contestants), and of course the wonderful judges for awarding the designer whose “vision” aligns with Piperlime.com. Booyah!

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[Part 4 (November 1, 2010) / NOTICE!]

Okay, don’t mind the long drawn-out post (I have tried to keep the superfluous things out) — just a short notice about “The Official Project Runway Fans Rebel” page. Gathering people to show up in large numbers so the network will HAVE to listen…the group’s purpose and intent is NOT TO BASH anyone…they are just trying to come together collectively to do the right thing, so that future seasons of PR won’t be a repeat of the outcome of Season 8! It’s not my page. But mass market commercialism triumphing over originality/creativity is something I’ve always reacted strongly to.

* Official PR Fans Rebel: http://www.facebook.com/TheOfficialProjectRunwayFansRebel

500 members, and counting. The more, the merrier…(stronger voice to the network).

Remember –> no viewers = lower ratings = no sponsorship = no show. Don’t you think the judges should respect/listen to the viewer’s opinions, too?

* Group #2 — The “BoyCott Project Runway” Group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BoycottProjectRunway

// BTW, another thing people are ticked off by: Nina Garcia’s and Michael Kors’ attitudes.

Quoting (from Facebook post, by Darell Eads — it’s an accurate quote because I watched the PR8 episode): “Kors said during the judging: ‘Galliano makes ball gowns, and then there is Michael Kors. What I show, I make.’ Kors is delusional comparing himself to Galliano, who is head and shoulders above Kors in the genius of vision. Kors tramps out this ladies who lunch at the resort collection every season. This season was an epic FAIL on so many fronts it’s not even funny. That’s why people are so ticked-off.”

Ding-ding-ding.

# # #

[Part 5 (November 2, 2010) /  Make your voice heard if you have some time]

From a member of The Official PR Rebel page: These are some ways to contact people “involved” with PR, to make sure viewers are heard (all these numbers/emails were in public domain, so be my guest and sue/kiss my a**…).

+ I got some inside from an unnamed source after MUCH hard work. Lifetime will not respond to anything but postcards. Send Postcards to:

Lifetime Television
309 W. 49th street
New York, NY 10019

P.S. Ask that Tim become an Executive Producer and Rich Bye the Producer vs. Bunim/Murray. Then we can have Project Runway Back. Send Postcards in masses NOW!! (posted by admin of Official PR Rebel page)

+ The Piperlime no. is (1.877.747-3754) (owned by Gap / Piperlime sponsored Project Runway, this season)

+ Editor in chief of Marie Claire Magazine (Nina Garcia’s boss)JoannaColes@hearst.com (The magazine gives readers information about women around the world and their needs, struggles, and stories of life. Nina Garcia’s prejudiced comments towards Andy and Mondo were NOT in line with the vision of Marie Claire magazine — she repeatedly made references to Mondo’s collection being “circus-y,” after Mondo clearly stated/shared that the inspiration was his Mexican culture. Andy’s collection was similarly very quickly dismissed due to having too much of a “cultural” touch. First, Ms. Garcia said Andy’s collection had too much of a “warrior princess” look; when he tries something that is Asian-sophisticated, she changes her mind again. Nina Garcia is the fashion director at Marie Claire magazine).

+ Some comments on Ms. Garcia’s “prejudices”:

1. “So talent had nothing to do with it Nina? By your own admission it is because Gretchen listened to you and Mondo didn’t? Is that right?” (Adrienne Ayala Warner, Facebook comment)

2. “So it was about yours and MK egos? The designer that was best didn’t win..it was you egos that got in the way. You and MK have destroyed the creditability of the show. You based your judgments solely on because some one didn’t listen to you. However, Gretchen used the same monotone color scheme that you eliminated Michael Costillo for the previous week. Gretchen OBVIOUSLY didn’t listen. Instead you rewarded her for not listening and punished Mondo for not listening. Doesn’t make sense.” (Lori Fugate, Facebook comment)

3. “I am very sad that you have supported Target with your appearance for their fall fashion tips even though Target have supported bigotry and marginalized equality.” (Anthony John, NG’s Facebook page)

4. “What I found really annoying was how Nina Garcia and Michael Kors praised Mondo’s work throughout the show, and then ragged on him in the end for not editing the long-sleeved polka dot dress according to Ms. Garcia’s and Michael Kor’s advice. At the end of the day, it is STILL the designer’s work/vision. And Nina Garcia and Michael Kors bashed Andy for his edgy warrior looks, and when he took things up to a sophisticated level, Nina Garcia disses him for “not having enough of the Andy edge.” Wow, there’s such a thing called versatility and DIVERSITY (both ethnically/culturally, and creatively!!).” (Facebook comment on Nina Garcia’s page)

5. “I think Ms. Garcia is ashamed of her Latina roots! “Too cultural” my *ss. My Marie Claire sub has been cancelled.” (Adrienne Ayala Warner, NG’s Facebook page)

6. “She looks like…Miss Guatemala.” ~ Nina Garcia [on one of Valerie Mayen’s design on this episode (Valerie was one of the PR8 contestants)]. Funny thing, Miss Guatemala was among the top 10 this year! [And what I say] is not about opinion, it is about respect.” — 25 Sept 2010, Renato Lopez, Facebook comment

7. “Wow! I’m just hearing about this. If its true, I feel terrible as a Colombian that another Colombian would express themselves that way about the Guatemalan culture or people. The nicest people I’ve met are from Guatemala and the sweetest and best looking men are from there too, and correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t a priest recently leave the priesthood to marry a Guatemalan woman. GUATEMALA EQUALS BEAUTY!!! Furthermore, Guatemala was referred to as: “CENTRAL AMERICA’S RISING STAR Impressing international agencies with its investor-friendly, socioecononic reforms,” in the “Panorama” insert of the Miami Herald September 15, 2010. Need I say more? Oh yes, don’t mess with Guatemala!” (Elizabeth Lopez, Facebook comment)

8. “The fashion industry is designed to tell women they are inadequate the way they are need to CONSUME in order to look attractive and be attractive to men. It is a system of cruel, unkind, racist, sexist and homophobic comparisons. Nina Garcia’s comment (on “Miss Guatemala”) is as offensive as Michael Kors comments about models looking like streetwalkers is as offensive as Heidi making fun of models’ boobs. There are SO MANY THINGS that go on on this show that are terribly offensive. There are SO MANY THINGS that should be causing you outrage.” (Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Facebook comment).

* Actually, I (Jess) am pretty tired of racism, sexism, and homophobia too (and I try to counter all this via my works of fiction: my writing manifesto explains more). If you and your friends are tired of these things as well, send them to this page ;)

P.S. Nina Garcia / her rep has been deleting “unsavory” comments on her page, so I am unable to retrieve all of them.

P.P.S. Nina Garcia is Colombian (online comment from findlegaladvice.org: “BTW I have many Hispanic acquaintances and they tend to be very racist about Hispanics of other Hispanic countries. Mexicans look down on Hondurans, Colombians look down on Guatemalans etc…” — Nina Garcia is Colombian / the Guatemala–Mexico border is the international border between Guatemala and Mexico / Mondo has Mexican roots…coincidence?).

P.P.P.S. I am not trying to “attack” Ms. Garcia — but these are things she has really said on TV/in the media, etc. She might not be aware/conscious of how it’s coming across — in which case, she should be!

“I wonder how much Nina is paying someone to constantly check this page for negative remarks. Every time I post one it is taken down within seconds! Bad Nina! Bad, bad!” (Janet Kramer Townsend, Facebook comment)

* LINK #1: For a blog post that says it better than I do [re: Michael Kors AND Nina Garcia’s lack of tact with regards to diversity (both ethnically, and creatively)], head over to this post from OUTSIDE.

* LINK #2: Tom and Lorenzo also have a very good discussion of the final judging @ Fabulous & Opinionated.

+ Abbe Raven, Abbe.Raven@aetn.com [CEO of AETN, which oversees the A&E Network, History Channel, and Lifetime (which Project Runway is now under; formerly PR was airing on Bravo)].

+ Sara Rea (Executive Producer of Project Runway) | Twitter Account @sarakrea

+ Kannie Yu LaPack, Senior Director, Publicity @ Lifetime TV (which airs Project Runway) (1-310-556-7582) | kyu@lifetimetv.com

+ Michael Kors, inquiries@michaelkors.com [who carries his lines: Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Nordstroms].

+ Olivia Doyne, livia_doyne@gap.com (Media Contact for Gap Public Relations / Gap owns Piperlime.com)

+ Kimberly Terry, kimberly_terry@gap.com (another media contact at Gap)

+ Alisa Greco, L’Oreal Paris, Assistant VP of Public Relations, (1-212-984-4908) | Agreco@us.loreal.com

+ Garnier, Consumer Affairs (1-800-442-7643) | (Garnier Fructis is owned by L’Oreal Paris / one of the sponsors of PR; also sponsored American Idol)

+ VOGUE Magazine / Send VOGUE a request for a photo spread of Mondo’s/Andy’s/Michael C.’s work | Contact Form

My short email: “Would like to request that VOGUE showcase Mondo’s, Andy South’s, and Michael C’s work (from Project Runway Season 8). It would be very refreshing for VOGUE to showcase something both culturally and creatively diverse.

These 3 designers are very talented, and have great aesthetics. Their vision would go in line with VOGUE’s vision of being at the forefront of fashion.

Jess.

P.S. I can’t be the only person writing. 1 person’s email = delete. 1000+ daily emails/complaints in an inbox/phonecalls = public outcry :)

# # #

[Part 6 / Blahx3: “Jess, why’re you going on and on about this? It’s OVER! It’s just a reality show! Can’t you get over it?”]

I happen to be one of the people who spent 13 weeks watching a PR season.

I do not mean to bash PR or the judges — but the judges aren’t exactly being respectful to contestants and viewers, by not stating their judging criteria clearly. Michael Kors was very rude to Jessica Simpson too (“HELLO? HAVE YOU SEEN A MAGAZINE RECENTLY?” She was so calm/gracious. If I were her, I’d have replied, “Yes, Michael, I have been in a few magazines recently.”). It’s funny how when Kors goes off on national television, it’s ‘entertainment’, but when he hears back from the fans, it’s “rude” (Paul Kane, Facebook comment).

The judges should have CLEARLY stated that the final challenge would be for a commercial line (specifically for Piperlime.com, “one of the sponsors,” nothing wrong with mentioning that). And maybe there could be a separate challenge for a finale, where each designer could showcase their own line, which showcased their own unique vision.

If not, the judges are leading on viewers + PR contestants into believing that the finale collection is judged based on design elements such as originality, etc, with commercial viability being a less significant factor.

“I thought that Heidi’s show had credibility. As my father pointed out decades ago, the ‘best’ person is not the best, it is the one who the ‘people with the money’ want. Very true. I hate reality shows. PR used to be more about the ‘art’ than the commercialism. Obviously, I was wrong. Another viewer whose television will not be airing ‘Project Runway’ any longer. (Not that I think you care. We are just the audience.)” — Anna Juran Kelley Nina, Facebook comment

PR judges/publicity/public relations team —

* ARE YOU LISTENING?? *

Drawing Confidence

Standard

japanese rock hairstyleJapanese Rock Hairstyle, 2
–> Ballpoint pen — was flipping through a Japanese hairstyle magazine for guys (sooo much better than the one for girls!) | first pic using the ‘cutout’ filter, second pic maybe using ‘dark strokes’ filter on PS

I’ve been a private tutor in the past (very fun) — there were a couple of kiddies I used to teach (who are now 11 years old, if I’m not wrong — WOW, that was fast). I think they were one of the few people I knew who truly enjoyed drawing/illustrating/doodling, in a pure kind of way. They didn’t have a whole guilt and/or negative complex that many adults seem to have when it comes to creating artwork (myself included, for a time).

I remember the first “proper” sketch I attempted, back in 2003 when I was 16+:

elf sketch, legolas
–> Legolas from LOtR | referred to an Orlando Bloom pic.

I drew a lot more when I was 17-18. I remember being quite diligent about it, because:

1) Those years of my life were very dismal and miserable — drawing calmed my nerves down, A LOT.
2) I used to compare drawing to my attempts/experience with writing. I wrote poems + stories throughout my childhood and teenage years — not so with drawing. I always wanted to draw though, I don’t know why.

So I kept drawing, despite people (teachers/lecturers) telling me not to (if they weren’t so boring as facilitators, maybe I wouldn’t have been doodling?)…despite feeling overwhelmed at times by all the crazy artistic talents out there…despite many trial-and-error type drawings that couldn’t be salvaged…

It’s quite strange to look back on, coz through it all, I think the whole process helped me gain confidence in not just drawing, but writing, and myself, and living life itself…it’s quite strange all this could come from “dirtying the paper delicately” (John Ruskin’s fine definition of “drawing”).

Side Note: If you want to buy just one drawing book, make sure it’s John Ruskin’s The Elements of Drawing.

john_ruskin

I think confidence is very important if one wants to do something/anything…confidence to try in the first place, confidence to keep going when it gets tough/sh*tty, confidence to say ‘yes’ even when the whole world is telling you ‘no’ (or the other way around, whichever)…

It’s what allows me to press forward with my next book (and I’d like to do some drawing, if I can slip that in somewhere. I can do those things now because I managed to clear out all the files from my thumbdrives and external hard drive, blahx3, email inboxes too. So everything is really nice and decluttered — just like an uncluttered blog, lol. Just a little bit more packing/cleaning to do with my room — THAT, completed, would be a bonus).

I could write/journal everyday — I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to do one drawing per day (no matter how small / seemingly insignificant). Long ago, I used to think it’d be an impossibility, but right now, it’s a matter of discipline and keeping to a schedule (unless one feels really burned out, in which case some rest would probably be most beneficial).

End Note: There is, however, a difference between confidence and foolishness/arrogance. One is progressive (and not necessarily loud/highly visible/detectable), whereas the other, well, essentially lacks substance. I hope I’ll always know/be aware of the difference.