The Rock House

This is a profile I wrote as an assignment paper for my English class last semester. I had a good time so I’ve decided to post it here, too.

Outside

Part of the indie culture in El Paso, Texas, has a few places to share their works; music, poetry, stories, and some good jokes are a few things shown at The Rock House. You can see it from a few blocks away. A small house connected with a long wall full of graffiti that yells art instead of gang activities. The smoke of some expecting cigars can be smelled, and the chimney being its counterpart invites all of these non-smokers. Really weird considering the stereotypes of these places.

From folk to rap. From poetry to comedy. The place was already opened by 8:30pm. Everyone had a nice welcome; open doors for everyone. Richie, one of the hosts and professor at El Paso Community College started: “This is an open-mic, a free event where you can just sign on the list if you want to participate, spread a word among poetry and music.” And yes, he recognized some coming faces, and said “What’s up!” to most of them. At first, you don’t think the place could be fully crowded. Compared to most ‘sophisticated’ places it may be true. However, the vibe was really natural; friends hanging out together, aligned in front of a scenario, talking, laughing, and remaining silent while some performers do their jobs showing talents.

It started with a few laughs. A stand-up comedy with a guy with a pony-tail and glasses. He received a positive clapping from the small crowd in front of him. Then, some drummers started bringing some rhythm to everyone. Who doesn’t love music? People were happy by listening to them. Both comedy and music warmed the crowd, just to give them something to start with.

A quieter guy brought a few papers. Some poetry written on every sheet. His words spread some thoughts and reflections of life. He made a fantastic work pulling people’s attention from the beginning to the end. You could hear some whispers of every poem; what was the meaning for each one. It would have been greater if each person shared their thoughts in front.

Some more comedy after poetry came. A brave kid cheered up the life reflective group in front of him. Small and innocent jokes draw smiles everywhere. A big clapping was heard at a distance. He left the scenario feeling happy because he have done it.

And one of the biggest highlights of the open-mic that night. Jorge Guzman. A man from Puerto Rico who shared a few folk classics with his accordion. Everyone just called him “the accordion man”, but no one will deny the magic that he made out of his fingers and the instrument together. More than one person just ran to the scenario just to have a closer recording of each song. And no one said a single word until he finished his performance. It was a huge disappointment that he didn’t last too long, or maybe time went really fast when he captured everyone’s love and attention. Who knows?

If you visit El Paso, Texas, make sure to visit The Rock House. 400 W Overland.

Inspiration? How Do I Eat That?

Sometimes it is really hard to start with some artistic project. Music, literature, photography, and others. I had a really hard time when I recently started with my writing. Every single story came at the worst moment; when I TRY to sleep, or when I am walking alone the streets at night (call me crazy, sometimes I do that). It wouldn’t be a problem if my stories remained intact the next day, and when I return home. No, they vanish completely, and it’s hard to remember a small part of what the story supposed to be. With everything gone, I had to find another source of inspiration. However, with daylight, people outside, and “happiness” spreading around, it’s hard to concentrate. I tried my best to ignore everything and start creating a short story; a universe in my head and new life outside real life. Real life kind of sucks, by the way.

Lucky me, I’ve always had something that made me escape from everything after work: Music. I love music, but there’s a small flaw when I try to write something while music is loud. Lyrics. The melody of my favorite songs are good to hear while I write, until the artist starts singing. Don’t take me wrong, of course I love to hear them singing, but when I am trying to write, and all the words mix together is really annoying.

Variety is something you find everywhere, you just need to take a look outside your borders and there’s a whole different perspective. I’ve found video game soundtracks. I love video games as much as I love my other hobbies, but I never had paid attention to its music until my kind of games became more story-focused. Role-playing games, adventure, and others turned out to be so special to me because there are many good stories within, and the soundtracks are excellent for any kind of mood.

I’d like to share a few favorite songs from video games, and even if you’re not into games like me, I am sure some of the songs will be interesting for you. I am not posting any link, though, since most of them are being posted by users on YouTube and they don’t own the rights for the songs. I’d feel bad if I do it. The only thing I’m going to say here is that you should look for all the Shin Megami Tensei soundtrack series; you may find something really interesting for your writing. Who knows?

  • The Fear of God (Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey)
  • Opening (Persona 2: Eternal Punishment)
  • 2D Field (Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers)
  • Large Map ~ Real Universe (Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne)
  • The Battle for Everyone’s Souls (Persona 3)
  • Seven Sisters High School A (Persona 2: Innocent Sin)

And a many more.

Just to be clear, the intention here was not to talk about video games, I’ll save that for another post. This is to talk about my own way to get inspiration. Feel free to tell me how you get yours! It’d be interesting to read from others.