Sometimes you send a pitch to a website or publication and they laugh and say, “hey this is a GREAT idea let’s use it but not tell Kasia. She definitely didn’t spend her every free hour working on that without pay, and she’s totally able to make next month’s rent! New teachers make a shit load of money, anyway. She won’t mind.”
I’m being cheated of my time, work, and intellectual property. Writing is a luxury, a rich person’s profession, and I can’t afford it.
"Poor people stay poor because they do arts degrees."
Sophomore Engineering Student (via shitrichcollegekidssay)
Poor people stay poor because other artists have allowed the industry to degrade to a level that people drastically undervalue art. In graphic arts, an independent artist typically makes below minimum wage. So many people take advantage of starting out and struggling artists, that they offer “exposure” as compensation. Or a hideously low rate. I have had people offer to pay me just $5/page for color work. And they saw nothing wrong with this offer. This is for something that I typically spend 4-6 hours per page on. And there are artists out there so desperate for ANY money, they will accept those offers. And thus perpetuate the idea that this is okay.
No, poor people aren’t poor because they take art degrees. They’re poor because there are entitled assholes who take advantage of them so they can turn a bigger profit.
Art is everywhere. Try to imagine a world without it. Without graphics. Without font design. Without logos. Everything done in the same, bland typefaces, with no images and no sense of color. Artists are more than people who sit and make pretty pictures. They are what gives companies an image, an identity. So why are they treated like the lowest possible rank?
Yeah but guys. like. Poor people can’t even afford to do arts degrees–or degrees at all. So you’re kind of missing the point. Poor people stay poor because society has rendered it near impossible to move from one class to another–it’s so bad that there is more incentive to stay poor than to attempt to better one’s life… because “bettering” one’s life doesn’t really get most anyone very far–not that most people can even think about “life betterment.”
agreed. i’d like to say that i’m a writer, but i have so little time to write because i have to work full time plus freelance with some incredibly tedious content just to pay the bills… forget making any progress on paying back those student loans or even thinking about getting an mfa. i’m literally trapped in life due to lack of financial resources. it’s infuriating.
reflections on blogust
Putting out content every single day is incredibly difficult.
I began a blog this summer with the purpose of critically investigating pop culture, the arts, among other subjects, with particular focus on the potential political impact of the arts. I began the blog for a few reasons: I miss my university classes and wanted to give my brain a work out, I simply enjoy writing, but also because I’m on track to make a career out of writing. This is a way to help me build my portfolio—creating a brand for myself, networking…all of those words that I hate!
My blog, kasiaredux, wasn’t gaining a ton of traction for the first two months, so I challenged myself to blog every day in the month of August in a project that I called Blogust (dun dun, the wordplay gorl strikes again!)
The problem is (as my father kept reminding me on his trip up to Kansas City this weekend) that I also need to support myself. I have a full-time job, but paying rent, bills, and food eats up almost all of my money. I’m a first generation American from a dirt poor family in Poland and Hungary, so I don’t have any help or inheritance or semblance of stability from my family. So I dutifully go to work, come home at 5, study for the GRE so that I can make it to journalism school, and then I write. And in the month of August, write and write and write and write. Then I get four hours of sleep, wake up, and do it all over again.
But I am so incredibly determined to realize my goals, even with my lack of resources and dumb pride that has prevented me from moving back in with my parents and saving money. Before, I’ve always struggled with the pressure put on me by my parents or professors along with my own, but this time the pressure is solely my own; I am propelling myself into full force to work as hard as possible because I’m intelligent and capable and I know what it’s like to work a full-time job that doesn’t give you any sense of fulfillment. It’s a killer of spirits, truly. This isn’t the American dream, this is my dream.
Jack Donaghy once said, “The first generation works their fingers to the bone. Second generation goes to college and innovates new ideas. The third generation goes snowboarding and takes improv classes.” Welp.
There’s also the fact that I moved into my new apartment at the beginning of August and didn’t have Internet for ten days (stupid, stupid Kasia), plus I had an unexpected Internet outage for the third week of August. So sometimes I just posted a link or some music because I had no other choice. Other times I wanted to spend a substantive amount of time researching a certain topic or post, but I only had a day to do so. Blogging every day whilst working 8-5 and prepping for grad school is a really bad idea.
But in true Kasia form, I did it, and I’m actually quite happy with several of my posts. My favorites: in one post about the Spice Girls and another about Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party, I argued that Girl Power is a legitimate form of feminism, even with its pejorative connotations amongst the circles that mock it. In another post, I responded to a YouTube video by Rosianna Halse Rojas about graffiti and legitimate/illegitimate uses of claiming space, in which I expanded upon her argument by using theories of the carnivalesque. This is the sort of topic that I might bring up in a discussion in Dr. Cotter’s class, but part of my rationale for beginning this blog and bringing theory to the Internet is to democratize that which is generally limited to those with access to higher education.
These are the posts that make me giddy to write more. I kept myself busy during August, which was necessary. Here’s to September and my favorite season (season of mists and mellow fruitfulness), and more hard work, more determination.
"… I have stolen more quotes and thoughts and purely elegant little starbursts of writing from the Book of Revelation than from anything else in the English Language—and it is not because I am a biblical scholar, or because of any religious faith, but because I love the wild power of the language and the purity of the madness that governs it and makes it music."
Hunter S. Thompson, The Art of Journalism No. 1 (via miskatonicalumnus)
I awoke at 7:30, gulped down a couple of ibuprofen, beat the rest of my hall to the showers, and nipped that hangover in the bud before it even began.
I decided that it was a center part kind of day, and then after I failed, I put on orange lipstick before heading to Hy-Vee for a successful grocery trip, during which I bought two bottles of wine and not much else. As I returned to my car, I noticed that it was 40 degrees outside (a far cry from the 80 degree high a few days ago)— So obviously I decided it was time to go for a solitary hike in the nature reserve by my school.
When I was in studying in Cambridge, I would go running through the countryside through tiny villages, past ancient churches and Green Man pubs, regularly making accidental discoveries of natural gems like Byron’s Pond. I used to hop on the train for day trips to London, where I would get lost hiking in Hampstead Heath, an entire wilderness within a city.
Usually, you won’t find a more calm, content Kasia than a Kasia who is embarking on a solo walking trip in the country, far away from the perplexing world of people. But today, despite the crisp air and the trees turning colors in typical autumn fashion, I was sad. I’m unable to stop comparing my life now to my life this time last year. Missouri versus Cambridge. The present just can’t win.
Later today, I had a Skype date with my three best friends from England. Despite the fact that it’s their last year in school, they seemed to be more keen to go out every night of Freshers’ Week than the first-years. Unabashed and un-ironic enthusiasm, that’s what I love and miss about my Cambridge babes. They were pre-drinking before the first bop of the year. It was only 1:00 p.m., but I broke out the Riesling and drank with them.
It’s fine. It’s just sadness. And this too shall pass. It always does.
language-created identity, the semiotic relationship of self
Perhaps identity is the most selfish thing on which to dwell, especially changing identity, or that identity-which-is-too-quickly-getting-older, and there are certainly one too many Thought Catalog articles whining about growing up too quickly in your twenties, but I don’t want to think of aging like that.
I don’t feel any sort of faux nostalgia for my “youth”; in fact, I like being twenty-one years old. Aging, at least aging into my early twenties, suits me. But I’ve also noticed that my identity, i.e. how I define myself, has shifted so much in the past year alone that I am constantly racing to keep up.
I am a product of language, a constantly shifting dynamic of signified-signifier. Six months ago, I was carefree in Cambridge. Without any extra commitments, I could solely focus on working hard (on literature that I enjoyed!) and playing harder. University girl, in the best college town on Earth. I was so far removed from real life, and I was happy.
But now, and with such an unbelievably quick transition, I’m an entirely different person. College senior, working woman (well, intern), somewhat bitchy editor on the newspaper staff. The responsibilities have returned, and with it that tired Kasia; there’s something new, too. I feel like an adult, or, at least, a kid in an adult costume. Two jobs, plus school. Sorting out health insurance. A lapse in my Catholicism— not the teenage existential crisis kind, the I-legitimately-don’t-have-time-for-this kind. A messy personal life, and then the subsequent convincing myself that morals are relative (or otherwise face consequences and have a breakdown). My happiness is entirely situational. I’m exhausted. Is is normal to be this exhausted all the time as an adult?
I’m still better off than I ever was during my childhood and teenage years. But even in the past month, the language of my identity has gone through so many shifts in meaning. I suppose that’s la différance.
1. Love upon Parliament Hill, London, on a cold but deliciously crisp Saturday in January 2012.
2. Self-Portrait, that same London, that same Saturday.
I had flown into the UK that morning after spending my Christmas in Germany and Poland. I arrived at the airport a whole two hours before my 6:55 a.m. flight, and was running on two hours of sleep. I planned on spending the night on my friend’s floor in London before moving back into Cambridge the next day. She was busy finishing two papers, so I set out to visit London on my own. I didn’t mind. I’m at my best when I’m alone and not lonely.
Due to the hazy mental mix of sleepiness and adrenaline, I couldn’t tell you how I ended up in Parliament Hill in the north of London, but nonetheless, there I was. I remember how I felt, though—super-thin, for one (I mean, it probably matters) …but more importantly, it was just above freezing, with no pesky clouds hindering the sun from shining brightly in the crystal blue skies, and I thought that I could slice the air if I wanted to. I listened to my playlist of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and R.E.M. through my earbuds as I gazed at the park, completely alive with couples strolling, children biking, parents shouting ‘careful!’, dogs barking, and even the sound of a splash as a brave, stupid man jumped into the pond water, protected by only his Speedo. I was so happy in that moment, just as much a part of this world as I was an observing outsider. After reaching the top of Parliament Hill, the sun began to set over the whole of London. Why anyone would deny themselves this view and instead pay thirty-odd pounds to wait in line for the London Eye, I have no idea. I found happiness in London upon Parliament Hill, and I intend to find it again.
This is just to say, though I’m bidding you goodbye for now, Tumblr, I’ll be back. My collection of moments and stories is so large that the impulse to share a glimpse of it with the world at a moment’s notice will always be great enough make me log back on.
just a moment in time i thought i might share
“happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream”- kerouac
(what can i say, i’ve been binging on beat lit & gonzo journalism lately. the more i read, the more i write.)
Happy Valentine’s Day!
No, I’m not… I’m not being facetious, I swear. Just because I don’t have a beau with whom to celebrate means that I have to lounge in my pajamas while testing out my Domino’s-Ben-and-Jerry’s combo recipe and watching JennaMarbles bitch about cinnamon on YouTube? No way, man. Replace viral videos with terrible chick flicks starring beautiful people, and I tried that already when I was 18 years old. But a lot has changed since then. JennaMarbles hadn’t been invented. I couldn’t yet buy wine for myself. And I was still living in the Midwest.
Now, I live in Cambridge, a place where all the expectations of growing up in Missouri are reversed. My peers don’t have significant others, and it certainly doesn’t bother them. They are too busy with perfecting the balance of hard work and enjoying their youth. Suddenly, I’m an a place where my perspective on life isn’t just recognized— it’s the norm! Good God, pinch me.
You see, growing in the rural Midwest, people were always suspicious non-obsession with boys. Why is finding Prince Charming not your priority, Kasia? Why are you so focused on school and books and writing? In short, what is wrong with you? Even my sister, who is still in high school, recently informed me in a Skype session that she had found the man for me to “marry.” When, in an irritated mood, I retorted in defense and asked her to stop with this unsolicited advice, she responded, “Well obviously you’re being defensive, so there is some truth to you being lonely.”
On the contrary, little sister. In my entire life, I’ve never been happier. My favorite activities are reading books on my own and dancing with friends, and I’ve done plenty of both this year. For the first time, too, my impulse to not give a rat’s ass about a boyfriend has been received as perfectly normal. Before, I felt lonely for two reasons. First, I was met with that ubiquitous response, “there must be something wrong with her.” Secondly, any “romantic” experience I’ve had so far—whether it be dating or hooking up with a guy in a club—has left me with that disgusting sinking feeling in my stomach…just pure, elemental self-loathing. If countless hours of pouring over poetry and novels (gross, English major) have taught me anything, a guy worth having should make you feel good about yourself.
But the fact is, I can finally accept myself as an independent young woman. I now understand that I was never solely lonely (I’ve got the most wonderful friends in the entire world). Instead, I was upset that I was unable to conform to expectations. Now, I know better; finally, finally, I’m becoming comfortable in my own skin. I’m happy for those who are in relationships (perhaps the most telling change of all), which is why I honestly do hope that you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. But if you’re single, this message is for you: don’t despair. If romance isn’t your priority, there’s nothing wrong with you. It only means that you’re driven in some other way, whether it be for your career, religion, family, or whatever else… and that’s just fine.
I will certainly be celebrating Valentine’s Day; I’m about to shower before cocktails and dancing with my friends. And since I’m on Tumblr, I might as well say it: my ship is Kasia x Self-Respect.
In the next week, this blog is about to undergo some MAJOR changes.
I won’t tell you everything, but I will say that the reasons are both professional and personal. So, here’s the short version: I haven’t been updating my study abroad blog for a while, which is largely because I thought I lost my mojo. I was having trouble creating my experiences into stories— but what I did notice was how much pleasure I got typing up (currently unpublished) movie reviews, social observations, and all-around pop culture commentary.
So instead of pining over my loss of ability to write a story, I’m going to publish on topics which I enjoy. I hope the more I write, the more I will be able to stretch myself creatively, and eventually, I’ll return to my roots: a good story.
In any case, this is all to say: expect some kinks on my blog for the next few days. Time for a MAKEOVER.
I plan on updating InTransit too, but probably not in the way you expect. So stay tuned, you Saucy-Faces!
(…forgive me. I just read Pamela for supervision, and my, my, that book is essentially just a collection of vulgar names to call those devious women-folk.)
Start writing. Write your own stuff because no one’s going to write anything for you. Perform only with people you get along with because life is too short. Write about what you know. Find your distinctive voice. Don’t be so adaptable to what your boyfriend thinks is funny. Remember that you’re rock solid. Make yourself laugh. If you’re funny, it doesn’t matter what you look like.