Behind the Card: “Floppy Hat” Magnolia Birthday Card

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Part of my joy in writing has been my new venture into my other passion: crafts and illustrating. The relaunch of my Etsy store has brought me so much thrill and excitement even if I never make a profit off the work. Creating for myself and sharing those weird or pretty little numbers I put out there is the only self-validation to prove you did– and you still are– trying to make each moment count towards an active, artistic life.

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So here I’ll start giving you some fun insight behind the work that goes into creating the featured items at Paris K Studio. This week I’m very happy to show you my latest greeting card, the Floppy Hat Magnolia. It’s for Birthday occasions and influenced by my little piece I wrote regarding my favorite accessory, a wine red floppy hat I have to hold myself back from over wearing too much!

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I’ve always been fascinated by hats and the implications behind wearing one for the sake of fashion. Catching your attention first, shielding off the sun second. I can’t pull off hats but somehow the charm of a floppy one makes me feel very confident, weirdly confident and happy. It’s definitely like the glass slippers to pull together the Cinderella look. I was going to draw pretty hat boxes and the original hat onto this design but somehow it didn’t hit me. There would be no symmetrical way to depict them onto the card and I like symmetry at least to round it all off.

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That’s how I came up with my usual floral depictions, and in this case I happily decided upon magnolias. Big hats remind me of the South– something I feel that any modern Southern Belle would have in her closet as a staple piece as a nod to the elegant past. So the flower of the south would be accent with my own idea of “bluebells,” literally blue dots! As I created my first card I found myself once again listening to “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. It was the same song I played in the car when I was driving up the I-95 from Florida to Savannah with my mom last October. First time ever in the South, and honestly I never thought I’d ever go to the Southern states. But I’m glad I did. Glad life just surprises you with adventures you never knew you needed.

 

And I hope you can now enjoy this dainty little card you can have as a keepsake or to give to a very loving birthday recipient that fits every bit of bloom as its flowers!

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Tonight! Ignite the Mic Live Reading

In the first time in two years, I’ll finally attempt a live reading of some of my recent works! The last time I ever did stand up reading was for my Senior Seminar piece in college, and throughout those years I was doing my best to seek out whatever coffee houses or gallerias were throwing word nights across San Francisco. And now with fresh new (and hopefully mildly improved) work, I can start diving back into the small but burgeoning lit scene here in the Bay. I am shy and awkward, but I’ll look like a fool to showcase my inner words, lest I be a bigger fool for keeping it all inside.

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I’ve never been to an Ignite the Mic event, but from what I’ve seen reviews on it the vibe is just down right fun. Enjoy the moment and each performance, usually a music act, but they welcome all and any performance work so that truly says something about the crowd. Whatever I expect tonight, I sure will tell you here!

But first, performing. Gah. T minus 8 hours until this shenanigans happens. Hope to see you there?

Ignite the Mic showcase is every last Thursday of the month from 8 to 11pm at The Center SF

Favorite Decades

After binging on Midnight in Paris it’s only expected that as a writer I’d get thinking about what I consider a golden age for me. And that would be two:

1960’s London
1950’s San Francisco

The 1960’s London is just swingin’, with the music, styles, and party life that just thinks outside of the box, suddenly breaking away from the conservatism of the 50’s. In the 50’s, Britain was seeing more the decline of their empire weakened further by the devastation of World War II, and most of the culture was focused on maintaining that sense of dignity so highly prized by the nation and figuring out what to do despite such a depression in identity– feeling dated, washed out, no longer on top of the game (a genre in Britain known as kitchen sink realism or angry young men depicted in films and stories of that decade from the UK).

And by the 60’s, the UK had figured itself out by a grand “fuck it” coming from their fashion and music. Gosh, imagine arriving on the scene of London in Carnaby Street, and embracing new trends that went above and beyond the imaginations of the black and white minds of Eisenhower America influencing the world.  What I like the most of the 60’s in England is the still very British feel to the movement– very classy, and very comfortable with me.

However, I feel that literary and intellectually I’d do so well with the Beat Generation in 1950’s San Francisco. If, like Gil Pender met Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds and Picasso at parties in Paris, I had run-ins with Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg– I’d know exactly how it’d be in Gil Pender’s position. I love the defiance and purely artistic and self-driven exploration found with the Beats. it wasn’t anything other than finding meaning in life for people, themselves, the world. In the face of the conservatism in the 50’s, San Francisco was seeding its liberal and worldly roots within Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti, etc.

Sitting here writing this I’m watching interviews of the Beats from the 60’s. Here we talk to William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac– at least talk to Kerouac most of the time. He’s pretty spaced out and wasted in his interviews, possibly high too. it’s accepted though, because it’s just the way of the Beats’ outlook. Their attitude is after all 100% concerned around themselves, and spreading this meaning of self-discovery. it’s too hilarious to be watching Kerouac close his eyes, stare blankly, or go off incoherent tangents. It’s personally not how i’d picture myself being, but he’d certainly would be a character to meet, Jack Kerouac.

The live readings, drinks at Café Vesuvio, listening to the news on the “Howl” obscenity trials– we’ve got the Beat museum now just on Broadway off of Columbus, with all the archives and precious objects belonging to these great masterminds, but if only i could see them in their exact heydays. Kerouac wearing his dull tweed jacket, the letters posted to fellow writers from Ginsberg, and the chairs they even sat on to chat, talk bullshit, write bullshit, they’re all here. And here they shall stay, preserved in this little space that holds on dearly to that golden time in San Francisco when it wasn’t just a city but the city where raving lunatics brought “mad” into a meaningless world.

Beats in San Fran– that shit really cray.

The Traits of LDR: 4 Essays for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day always has a spot in my heart for holidays, not even for the love, really. As a vintage fiend, it’s hard to resist the charms of gold foiling and lace doily hearts and bubbly cupid imagery. The romantic in me is just overjoyed in the days leading up to the 14th, but I must admit, it’s trying. For someone with their other half halfway across the world in England, you can hardly expect me to hate this time of the year. I never even write about love. As it’s the easiest thing you can write about– it’s also in my sense of it all, the hardest to approach. I’ve never been comfortable writing about it, until now, until I really start feeling the pains of being apart.

In the wake of one of the most romantic days, I leave you here these short pieces.

 

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This could be the happiest moment, were you not happy somewhere else.

 

Check In

Voicemails still matter.

They’re the only way I can still hear that accent and pretend you’re telling me something about the hair band on the radio or Saturday’s soccer match and I wouldn’t understand any of it.

You’re in another world but old technology makes me forget that.

 

When You Coming Back

The last night dreams are forgotten. Those moments are remembered but gone away. For all this pain there is the promise of that last page in our book where we’ve written a “maybe” in March. Tucked out of sight– but still there.

 

Onward

Feeling like you’re at the top of this skyscraper but oh, dreadful to be looking down the view when no one’s there to believe it, too.

 

-Paris Kim

Moving! What I Hope to Get out of Living (Again) in San Francisco

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I couldn’t have been more excited for this weekend. It was SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!!

Not. Well, you can’t deny the commercials and ENDLESS Wing Stop! True annual family tradition.

It was also the beginning to the end of my time living in the (far) East Bay and bringing it to the big city by the Bay itself! Having gone to school/worked in San Francisco for these past few years, it’s only fair that I finally get a chance to fully embrace what the city has to offer. That means, a LOT of exciting changes to my life and I really should act upon them. I’ll be closer to old friends and staying out late nights if needed. There’s so much of the city I still have to explore because there never was time before. If you had to deal with BART as much as I have, taking that last train out of the city by midnight was a tongue in cheek option to hang out.

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A little move like this isn’t really anything, but it is to me. In the last year I worked hard to build myself up from nothing out of college and to me this is what matters– being in a place I love, landing in a stable situation, finding out that I do matter. That was a struggle I dealt with coming out of college, what I’m sure everyone graduating feels– are they worth it? We go through so many trials and errors to find that stability promised to us when making our way up in this world, and for me that was on my mind throughout the whole Odyssey. I found myself on an unexpected route but I made the most out of that situation, pushing my weird introverted self outwards and building on my creativity in a new light that I wouldn’t have  known if I didn’t work in retail, or even branch out to what small but extraordinary and unique publications I could to get me somewhere with my personal work. It was a humbling process that’s made me my proudest, proud to know a good life isn’t without stumbles and feeling low at times and forcing yourself to be in those situations for the greater good and those you love.

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The past has brought me to here, and here, I list the things I look forward to the most if I’m going to find that inspiration:

Explore new neighborhoods, particularly Potrero Hill and the Dogpatch. The outer SF area consists of uncharted lands that any stranger will find something random and interesting to write about.

Do my part to write, by attending live shows and getting into writing workshops to really pinpoint my voice and what I have to bring to the literary scene. Branching out makes a difference, and with this city, you never know what local legends you may come across and you never will know them if you don’t get out. I cannot wait to go back out to the Lunada Literary Lounge, my favorite spot for live reads in the Mission that’s rich with voices from all backgrounds and cultures depicting the experience of urban life and heritage. It’s also only ever held on full moons, which is a great twist and somewhat spiritual motivator– perhaps you’re most inspired at the most mystic time possible?

Acknowledge all the lives and lows of this city. I am a part of the startup culture so controversial in this city, but I don’t really identify with it. I want to be a part of this city, not expecting it to bend backwards or offer me the best of the best. I fell in love with this city long before startup bros were disrupting, with the oddities and genuine people that showed me more to life. Just take things for how they are and make the most of them; acknowledge these truths, and as Keats put it, “truth beauty.” Be a better person to this city by welcoming all and any person you meet, especially the disenfranchised which is a shadow over the city. But I don’t hate it, I want to help. And from my experiences over the holidays it’ll always be in my mind to be in service of someone in the city. That’s how we truly enjoy this place, don’t we? Live together, support each other, even strangers. Break down walls and build up dreams together.

My personal dream is to get by and be comfortable and still find out what I want from trying to write. And being full time in San Francisco, I hope to stumble across just exactly that!