I Was A Busker For A Day–Or More Like Four Hours–But It Was Busking Awesome

I Was A Busker For A Day–Or More Like Four Hours–But It Was Busking Awesome

You're days are numbered, WRDSMTH.


People are strange but curious. They do things we never thought of and we see how different yet interesting they can be. Reasons not our own cannot always explain why they do the things they do.

Personal cliffhangers, all of us, everyone so different and the same, from the first to the last. If we can look past our differences, and see what makes each of us unique, people would be more tolerable and open to who you are and others are.

Most sing a song, play an instrument, or both for anyone who can hear. Some juggle while performing improvisational rhythmic gymnastics or bang out speedy percussion on empty, upside-down baseball buckets and paint cans.

Few do something rare and niche, something that has not met eyes in a long time. Like a roller derby at a disco rink, an arcade next to a drive-in movie theater, or a game of marbles and Pogs in the park.

No, I didn't grow up in the sixties, seventies, or eighties, nor do I claim to be "born in the wrong decade." I do what any sensible person would do: I write and send messages via typewriter.

Anachronists, classicists, modernists, this is for you.

Typing next to Sion Dana, the sculptor of Steampunk Curiosities. - Joseph Aubrey Wiggins

I had an inkling of doubt growing up that I was not so much a friend to others as much as I was an acquaintance. Kids my age came to me with their questions, and I would give my answers and two cents, but sometimes it left me two cents less.

An outsider is not labeled, but unlabeled. An outsider is misunderstood but understood by himself and by others like him. An affection for mysterious and lonesome characters like Batman and the Incredible Hulk grew on me. "I Play Chicken With The Train" by Cowboy Troy is one of the first songs I unashamedly bought on my second-generation iPod nano.

Whatever everyone else liked, I liked questionably or not at all, and the status quo treated me unanimously with its indifferent, same old roll of the tide. I couldn't explain myself either, since talking meant drawing attention to myself. But not talking meant not getting the attention I deserved and that was the paradox I was comfortable and uncomfortable with.

I confided in the authors and books that I read, people and stories that defined themselves with as much inspiration as they liked. Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, and more were responsible for my introduction and future love for writing.

Metaphors became different pairs of glasses to see and explain the world I lived in and around. Or more literally, the reason I began to wear glasses; I got my glasses doing something smart... reading in the dark.

My thoughts were like slow, meticulous fish and now they had another vessel to play in rather than swim and sink inside my dense and condensed aquarium mind.

I started a blog freshman year of college, which laid dormant for years until I found a renewed love for writing with the typewriter. I always wanted to know how writers made their living with these hand-operated, office machines.

People used typewriters out of necessity back then, but who used them now and for what need?

This Dorothy, a 1955 Smith-Corona Skyriter - Brent Mitchell Wiggins

Quite a few typewriter enthusiasts have their reasons, like mechanist Joe Van Cleave from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and poets Jacqueline Suskin and Rebecca Rimmer Givens, who do the very thing I dared to do, something rare and niche.

The typewriter is a tool that runs on willpower where instantaneous and permanent work resides. The computer is a tool for instantaneous but endless and persistent revision, a glutton for any and all information, questionable, reliable, and otherwise.

The typewriter creates, the computer manipulates.

I bought my typewriter from a Michigan woman named Dorothy who recently passed and decided to get her out of the cold and under the Florida sun. A coffee shop or a bench in the park would be too distracting, but a fall festival of artists and patrons of the arts felt right.

I made my sign, my modest attempt at marketing myself, bought a chair and TV tray, and the rest depended on the curious halt of festival goers. Five minutes later, a woman named Virginia Silberstein and her father, the artist, Sion Dana welcome me to their shop, Steampunk Curiosities.

Thank you for the typewriter, Sion! It works like a charm. - Virginia Silberstein

The festival started early morning, and I didn't attend until late afternoon, but it was perfect timing. I shared the space with the French family and bought a beautiful sculpture from Dana, a typewriter, a steampunk dream.

Four hours later, and I typed eleven poems for eleven people, each with their own stories.

Busking was never something I thought of doing. The hesitating fear of wandering eyes and backhanded compliments that turn into uninformed or unfair judgments rested comfortably with its feet propped up on the back of my mind.

There was nothing that would bring me to use my typewriter out in public. Drawing attention to myself was a death wish. That and the fact that a busker always felt like a fancy word for pilferer to my unenlightened mind. I know now that couldn't be further from the truth.

Buskers make it look easy. The street corner is their neighbor and second home. They peddle their talents for as long as they can sit or stand. No matter how infrequent their side hustle is, they are back at their usual spot with newfound discipline each time.

With Dorothy and people who need the right words to say, I think I can busk just the same, or different, with the best of them.

Busking makes everything a work in progress, and the true busker's work is never done.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps." -JohnGreenBooks.com

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." -Goodreads.com

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew." -Johngreenbooks.com

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read." -Goodreads.com

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!" -Goodreads.com

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. " -Goodreads.com

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another." -Goodreads.com

10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"- Goodreads.com

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)." -kateesiegel.com
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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The Problem With Having To Be Creative

Writer's block exists.


For Miami University's Odyssey community, my deadline is to write an article once a week. Of course, articles can be about anything; I've written about everything from politics to personal life. Although, there isn't a news story every week worthy of commentary, and I only have a limited amount of personal stories that can flow into an article.

So then, I have to result to creativity — which can be a problem.

If you're like me, you're left-brained. Left-brained people are more focused on organization, logic and numbers. If you're right-brained, you have creativity and art flowing through your head. I don't have that. So when it comes to posting on Odyssey, it can be tough to get a creative article out when I feel like there's nothing to write about.

So, this is what I've resorted to: writing an article about how tough it can be to actually write an article.

If you've ever had a "job" or requirement that forces you to crank out a creative twist on something or an authentic article, you understand how real writer's block is. It's even real for the left-brained people like me who have to write a paper; that's something you'd expect people to be good at if they love logic and organization. Writing is unique, though. It requires a sort of finesse that focuses you on writing creative yet structural papers.

So what do you do when you have writer's block? To me, there's nothing that can help it. Sometime's you just have to stare at the computer screen or piece of paper before the right approach comes to you. It's frustrating, but that's how it goes. So for all of you Odyssey writers or writers and general — when you feel exhausted with having to be creative, write about it. Turn your frustration and exhaustion out on the page. Whether it's complaining like me, or complaining metaphorically in a story or ranting about a news article that made you think a little longer than usual. Writing requires you to be able to use your emotions to manipulate your story, and those stories are the best ones.


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