5 Question Friday with Creative Colloquy’s Jackie Casella

ccOne of my favorite things as a writer is the fact that I don’t have to rely on anyone else. It’s a solitary thing. So I’m not exactly known for joining or participating in writer’s groups. I prefer to sit and type away my stuff then send it out there. But recently I heard about a new local site called Creative Colloquy. It is run by an acquaintance of mine named Jackie Casella. I had a short story that didn’t have a home and so I submitted it to the site and now people can read it whenever they like. (Here’s a link.)

 

In addition to the site itself, Jackie puts on a monthly reading on the last Monday of the month. This month, I’m one of the readers. I asked Jackie to join me for 5 Question Friday but then my week got very busy and I didn’t get a chance to give her the questions until Thursday night. Jackie stepped up and got back to me right away. So I’d like to give her a special thank you for that.

Here’s Jackie to talk about Creative Colloquy:

1.What is Creative Colloquy?

The short version: Creative Colloquy is a “submission based literary site” with a focus on Tacoma and South Sound scribes paying special attention to writers of short stories, essays, and excerpts of novels. But really “colloquy” by definition means to pow-wow, or open up a dialogue so our events play an instrumental part of that. It was born from the desire to create a platform for writers to share their work and build relationships with those of like minds. Writing is typically something done as an isolated individual but connecting with those who understand the struggles or process I think can be really inspiring and necessary to the creative process. Plus it’s just plain fun.

 

2. How can someone get involved in Creative Colloquy?

The easiest way to get involved is to submit! We publish our favorite submissions every other Monday and have so far featured immensely talented and diverse content. Another great way is to attend our events. Each final Monday every month we meet at B Sharp coffee house at 7pm. Festivities begin with a line-up of 5/6 authors we’ve published on the site reading from their works immediately followed by an open mic. The dynamics of the event pretty much guarantee performances from a variety of genres and experience levels. Other events are in talks to occur over the summer and some really cool things happening by fall that we aren’t quite ready to announce.

 

3. What’s been the most interesting thing to come out of this project so far?

Any time artists gather in one place it’s interesting. The stories that are told among a group of scribes especially so. I think the most interesting thing is seeing the diverse community coming together at the events. We’ve been joined by young college level novices attending their first open mic to established published authors, playwrights, actors and so on covering so many different genres. Witnessing those interactions can be interesting. The level of support has been ridiculously amazing and leaves me feeling pretty fortunate to have begun this adventure.

 

4. What’s something you want to do with Creative Colloquy that hasn’t happened yet?

We have been in discussion of adding some texture to the site. A podcast is something we are uber excited to do and we have some fun ideas to open a dialogue and entertain our audience. I’d really love to begin doing dramatic readings with actors performing larger pieces and getting crafty with a set design that mimics a huge pop-up book too! There have been some other seeds planted that include a panel discussion at UPS and highlighting local women storytellers with a Tacoma group working towards a living women’s museum and maybe even some children themed events for the minis out there.

 

5. What would you like to see for the future of Creative Colloquy?

I’d love for CC to gain non-profit status in efforts to promote literacy. I daydream about dramatic reading events for schools and festivals and a bookmobile cruising around town. We’d really love to release a “best of” print version maybe twice yearly for distribution too. That’s more of a when not if and HOW we are going to fund the project when it’s time.

For now we are just having a great time reading local talents stories and connecting at the events. It’s been really amazing having folks turn out that aren’t necessarily in our “circle” and building those relationships based on our literary love.

 

Once again I’d like to thank Jackie for participating in 5 Question Friday. For more information about Creative Colloquy or just to check out some local writers, go to http://creativecolloquy.com.

You’re also welcome to attend this month’s Creative Colloquy reading at the B Sharp Coffee House on Monday April 28th at 7pm. The B Sharp Coffee House is in downtown Tacoma at 706 Opera Alley. Featured readers include Alec Clayton *narrated by Christian Carvajal, Titus Burley, J Anne Fullerton,
David Mucklow, and me.

-       Jack Cameron

Second Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Jayceon Thomas

JayceonThomas

On April 11th, a father brought his 8-month-old son into Mary Bridge Children’s hospital. The child had stopped breathing. Doctors noticed signs of abuse and contacted the police. A day later, 8-month-old Jayceon Thomas was dead. Jayceon’s death is Tacoma’s second homicide this year.

Jayceon’s father was not with him at the time of the abuse and is not a suspect at this time. My thoughts go out to the family of Jayceon. As always, the comments section is reserved for those close to Jayceon to share memories of him with the rest of us who never had a chance to meet him.

All homicides are tragic but the death of someone so young is especially difficult.  Here’s hoping that the Jayceon’s killer is brought to justice and that his family knows peace.
- Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With The NEW Poison Apple’s Jooley Heaps

poisonappleThis week is a first. After three years of doing 5 Question Friday we have our first three-time participant. We’d stop asking her questions if she’d stop doing awesome stuff. Jooley Heaps once ran a wonderfully strange shop in downtown Tacoma called Poison Apple. Sadly, the location wasn’t very conducive to massive sales. Since then Jooley and Poison Apple has existed by vending at various local events. But now Jooley and Poison Apple have a new home. And their grand opening is TODAY. Here’s Jooley to tell you more about it.

1. Poison Apple is back. What can you tell us about the new location?

We are now located inside Freighthouse Square, across from Sasquatch Cinnamon Rolls. Our new neighbors at The Giving Place and Vapor Works have also been very kind to us. Past the food court is Justin Winter at American Ritual Tattoo and his girlfriend Michelle. And of course my old pal Pete Lira is moving in this summer. Everyone has been very welcoming and it is exciting to start our new retail adventure here.

 

2. What’s different about Poison Apple this time around?

What we did this time was fuse together what worked for us before- a mix of rock and roll, punk, horror, etc with pop culture and a throwback to the vintage culture I adore. We have a great selection of kitsch items, clothing, shoes and all sorts of colorful fun items that can only be found here

 

3. How can people help out Poison Apple?

Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook many people have shared our event. I believe this location will be a good fit for us because there is daily walk thru traffic which what was a major issue with Pacific Avenue.

 

4. What’s your favorite thing about running Poison Apple?

My favorite thing about Poison Apple is that it is a colorful vision that we made happen. I have a dedicated crew in Jason Emmett and Jennifer Walter, and we each bring something to the table and all complement each other. While wearing ‘handerpants’ of course. I’d definitely say that there is nothing out there in Tacoma like it, and it makes me smile because it’s hilarious and always evolving into more.

 

5. What do you hope for the future of Poison Apple?

As far as the future- aim high! We are about to also start our busy vending schedule so of course the more events the merrier:) and I’d love to have success with the shop and possibly open a second location. Like I said. Aim high:).

 

I’d like to thank Jooley Heaps for participating in 5 Question Friday and for bringing Poison Apple back to Tacoma. If you or someone you know is interested in joining me for 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

-       Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Harmonious Wilbury from Advanced Stream Internet

AdvancedStreamI’m a big believer in letting fellow Tacomans know about great companies in our city. When I moved back to the Stadium District almost two years ago I needed an Internet provider and ended up choosing Advanced Stream.

You probably don’t know this but when it comes to phone and internet companies, we’ve never gotten along very well. Things tend to go badly as their rates increase along with decreased service and terrible customer service. So I was fully expecting an that my relationship with Advanced Stream would be one of unpleasant tolerance.

Instead what I got was an installer who came out on time, reliable internet connections for my computer, laptop, Roku, X-Box, and Kindle Fire, and customer service that makes me feel like one of my friends is running an ISP. 

I know this likely sounds like a commercial. It’s not. I’m simply talking about what I’ve experienced as a customer for Advanced Stream. Today’s 5 Question Friday is with an Advanced Stream Representative calling himself Harmonious Wilbury. He’s here to tell you a bit more about Advanced Stream.

1. What is Advanced Stream?

We are an ISP located in Tacoma WA. We offer Cable modem Internet Service, with speeds up to 100 Mbps, over the Click! Network. We also offer Telephone service and websites hosting, etc.

 

2. How is Advances Stream different from larger Internet Providers?

We are very “hands on”, customer service oriented company. If you call, you will be talking to a knowledgeable person that cares about you and your concerns. We always make it right and keep our customers happy.

 

3. What special offers are you currently running?

We are currently running our “Welcome Home” special, which is $19.95 per month for the first 6 months – with a free install and free modem.

 

4. How can people sign up for Advanced Stream if they want to?

You can get the deal here: http://www.advancedstream.com/online-signup-special

 

5. What do you see for the future of Advanced Stream?

Thanks! Well, “the future” will soon be a thing of the past; but, our customer service culture will forever last! We will continue to focus on being happy, spreading cheer, having a sense of humor and helping people with their issues. Basically, we will keep doing what we do best and let the future take care of itself. “I never think of the future, it comes soon enough.” –Albert Einstein

 

I’d like to thank Harmonious Wilbury for participating in 5 Question Friday. If you or someone you know would like to join me for a 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

One last note, should you choose to use Advanced Stream, please mention my customer number 14024 . Advanced Stream is big on referrals.
- Jack Cameron

A Robbery In Tacoma

pistolYesterday morning at around 6:30am, a stepfather went to the Chevron station on South 11th and Sprague. His stepson was working the counter there and soon to get off shift. Unfortunately, his shift ended with a black male in his 20s wearing a black bandanna over his face pointing a pistol at him and robbing the gas station. The robber took off on foot.

You didn’t read about this in The News Tribune. It wasn’t covered by any of the local news stations. I wouldn’t even know about it except that the stepfather contacted me about it. I asked Tacoma Police Spokesperson Loretta Cool about it. She said that there had not been any similar robberies in the area.

No one ever forgets having a gun pointed at them. During those moments you are acutely aware that your life is in immediate danger. It can be a life altering or life ending experience. And so I’m entirely sympathetic with the stepfather’s pleas that someone takes notice of this case. If someone had pointed a gun at my son, I’d want the person found immediately and non-stop police and media coverage until the person was found. I understand.

Years ago I worked for the Law Enforcement Support Agency (L.E.S.A.). I was one of a handful of people whose job was to take the hand written reports from police officers and transcribe them into the computer. In a lot of ways it was a dream job for an aspiring writer with an interest in his hometown of Tacoma. I got to read 50 new real crime stories a day.

The first thing I noticed was that the vast majority of the crime reports I transcribed were never mentioned in the media at all. Some of them were major events that I would have thought would garner all sorts of media attention. And yet, if you weren’t a part of the crime or a part of the police department you might never know they even happened.

At one point I asked how the media decides what goes in their reports. I was told that every morning the police beat person would call in and the desk sergeant would give them a group of incidents that had happened the previous night. Of course there were things that managed to get the attention of the media without the phone call, but in the two years I worked there, I encountered hundreds of reports that I felt were things the public should know about that were never mentioned anywhere in the media.

Initially, it may seem that the media and/or authorities don’t care about certain crimes. However, when you take a look at the numbers, it starts to make more sense. In 2012 there were 486 robberies in Tacoma. That works out to about nine robberies a week or more than one a day. (There were over 1,400 in Seattle. Per capita, our rate of robbery is only slightly higher than Seattle’s.) Even if the police or the media wanted to publicly post about every single robbery that occurred in Tacoma, the truth is almost no one would read it.

This brings me to this weekend’s robbery at the Chevron. A black male robbed a gas station on Hilltop over the weekend with a gun. The facts of the case are sadly so typical that it’s entirely understandable why it never made the news. Despite vast improvements from the crime filled days of the 1990s, Hilltop is still a neighborhood where crime is not uncommon. More to the point, Hilltop’s reputation from the 1990s has yet to fade. No one got physically hurt. (There’s a lot of truth to ‘if it bleeds it leads’.) There wasn’t a beautiful young woman involved. From a public interest standpoint, there’s nothing remarkable about a Hilltop gas station getting robbed over the weekend.

Having said all that, it’s important to point out that none of this justifies a criminal pointing a gun at an innocent person just doing his job and robbing him. Being the victim of a robbery is an extremely traumatic event. And it’s one that cries out for justice. I entirely understand the victim’s stepfather wanting to put a spotlight on this and find the perpetrator. And while it may not seem like it, the police department really does want to find this guy. But today they’re going to be responding to another robbery. And tomorrow another. Most of these you will never hear about. Some will be solved. Some will not. All of them will leave their mark on their victim.

The crime rate in Tacoma has gone down dramatically over the years. Unfortunately, it is not so low that the media or sites like this can cover all of the violent crime in Tacoma. Perhaps that’s not a possibility in a city of almost 300,000 people. I feel for the victims of any crime in Tacoma. I wish there were something more that I could do, but I don’t have the time or access to the information to write about it all.

-          Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Ashley Looker, Holistic Health Counselor & Coach

ashleyAs anyone who knows me will attest, I’m an atheist who tends not to believe in or endorse things that don’t have some sort of grounding in hard science. I’m not religious. I don’t rely on horoscopes. And during this past year of significant medical problems, all of the solutions exclusively involved western medicine. And so it might seem a little strange that this week’s 5 Question Friday is with Ashley Looker, a Holistic Health Counselor & Coach. But I’m someone who thinks it’s important to talk with people you don’t agree with. I find it’s often a great way to learn new things and see areas where I might agree after all.

Here’s Ashley:

1. What is holistic health?

Holistic health is an alternative way to looking and approaching wellness. Unlike going to a western medicine physician and being prescribed a pill for an ailment or symptom, holistic health practitioners look into all areas of a person’s life that could potentially be affecting their health. Holistic health is essentially “whole-body” health. With my clients we discuss not only nutrition and exercise, but also relationships, career, home environment, spirituality, joy, and purpose.

 

2. What’s the biggest misconception of holistic health?

The biggest misconception of holistic health is that people think it’s weird, quirky, and “out there.” The word holistic has somehow been associated with psychics, intuitive healers, monks, and energy workers. Many people think I am going to read their mind, wear Birkenstocks, have dreads and make them eat tree bark, which is never the case! As a Holistic Health Counselor I help people understand how all areas of their life can impact them physically and how, for example, a stressful job or relationship can manifest itself as irregular digestion, food allergies, or cravings. I teach people that food and health do not have to be complicated, and that food truly is medicine.

 

3. At what point do holistic health and traditional healthcare techniques meet?

Sadly, there are not many traditional western physicians that practice with a holistic approach. Most MD’s were not taught to ask their patients about nutrition, relationships, or work, but instead how to diagnose and the medications that will treat their symptoms. As a matter of fact, most MD’s only receive about 6 hours of nutrition training while in medical school. However, there are some amazing physicians out there who were classically trained in western medicine but through personal experience and years of helping others, have truly seen the impact that food and a positive lifestyle can have. These doctors include Deepak Chopra, Mark Hyman, Andrew Weil, and the great Dr. Oz. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that western medicine can save people’s lives and that we have some of the best treatments in the world for some people; however, I also believe that if we were taught about the importance of food and holistic health, many people could be treated without having to put synthetic medicine in their bodies, which only hide symptoms, don’t treat them.

 

4. What can someone who is interested in holistic health in Tacoma do if they want to learn more or get involved?

Tacoma is awesome in the fact that there are so many open-minded and eclectic individuals that live here, and there are many places where you can learn more about holistic health. Many of the yoga studios in the area teach from a very health-conscious approach, so that may be a great place to start introducing yourself to holistic health (and it’s cost effective as well). Another great place to learn more is to visit Good Karma Center For Joy located at 711 St. Helen’s Ave. They offer yoga and meditation classes, art classes, massage, counseling, aromatherapy, and acupuncture. This is also the space that I work out of and have found it to be so amazing because we all work together to provide many levels of self-care: creative, mental, spiritual, and physical. I love what I do!

 

5. What is the one thing you’d like everyone to know about holistic health?

The one thing I so wish everyone knew about holistic health is that it truly works, and that anyone facing weight, food, and other health concerns should look into it as one of their options.I have helped many of my clients overcome Diabetes, depression, anxiety, cravings, and improve their overall happiness. When I was 23 years old I started experiencing severe joint pain, so much so that I couldn’t even steer the steering wheel in my car. My doctor told me I had Rheumatoid Arthritis and prescribed me a medication that’s side effects included leukemia, cancer of the female organs, hair loss, chronic fatigue, and nausea. I was scared as hell but knew there was no way I could take the medication. I knew I had to look into different options, so I started with my diet. I had always thought I was healthy because I was thin and I exercised, but in reality my diet was complete crap, the people I surrounded myself with were toxic, and I was stressed to the max. Within two years of diet and lifestyle changes, my joint pain had nearly disappeared. I am living proof this “weird, quirky” stuff does work.

I’d like to thank Ashley for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. You can learn more about Ashley at her website www.uniqueholistichappiness.com. She’s also offering a free 30 minute consultation for those who are interested. Ashley can also be found on  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn.

If you think you or someone you know might want to participate in 5 Question Friday, drop me a line at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

-          Jack Cameron

First Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Charles (Chucky) Williams

chuckywillsIt was supposed to be a celebration of the life of a recent homicide victim. Unfortunately, it would also be the location of Tacoma’s first homicide of 2014. This Friday would have been Jalon Bea’s 18th birthday. Saturday night, friends of his had gathered at a nightclub in the 2600 block of 6th Ave. The party broke up around 1:30am on Sunday morning. What happened next was captured on video. Someone fired seven quick shots and ran as people scattered. Nineteen year old Charles Williams was killed in the gunfire. His friends called him Chucky.

Charles was Jalon Bea’s cousin. Police are still looking for Chucky’s murderer. They’re asking everyone who was there to contact the Tacoma Police Department immediately. I’ve posted a link to the video below. Anyone who was there or who recognizes anyone should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. There is currently a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

The killing of Charles Williams marks the first homicide in 126 days. Directly after Charles’ murder there was talk online of Tacoma’s old reputation of being a cesspool of gang violence. This reputation was well earned from the crime-filled days of the early 1990s, but it’s hardly an accurate account of present day Tacoma.

Unfortunately, violent deaths like that of Charles Williams is part of living in a city. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. We can only take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t happen often.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Chucky. Every comment is moderated.

-          Jack Cameron