Kourtnie.net

Kourtnie McKenzie-Williams. Writer. Artist. Educator.

Once Upon a Time

When marketing agencies paid me to write for small-to-medium-sized businesses for a living—and I was a copywriter, then a community manager, for many years, in three different companies; nothing to scoff at,—I learned to deliver search-engine-optimized sentences that hit readers like uppercuts.

My family never understood blogging, article writing, or search engines; to them, I was still a lost girl enduring an abusive boyfriend so I could write novels all day.

And I was her, too; but only on the weekends.

Then I got dumped by the boyfriend, lost my mind, and jumped from the “evil marketing industry” into the piranha waters of graduate school. My family smelled the smoke.

Listening to Now 💆‍♀️Smooth Jazz Calms Me 💆‍♂️

edit 2 April 18

Smooth jazz and binaural beats are my two go-to music genres for finding zen. I also love chillstep (💣 but not dubstep 😅 it’s too loud 💣), nature sounds (🐋 especially whale songs 🐳), and video game orchestral. And I like feminism pop.

Writing Philosophy 🤷‍♀️ I 💙 Listing 🤷‍♂️

We list bizarre stuff. We are bizarre and we list the stars in letters, names of scientists we hardly study before graduate-level academia, which was where I was not in the 20th century, but rather

in 1999, we sent these horribly-formatted, mostly AOL’d e-mails with 100+ random questions, (sometimes repeat questions with different wording,) where we listed random trivia about ourselves we assumed others would find interesting,

how many boyfriends we’d had
if we’d kissed them or not
the licks it took to get
to the center of the Tootsie pop

and given this is what my friends and I were doing all day, while our parents assumed we downloaded porn, we grew rather protective, dare I say attached, to these “e-mail listing” rituals.

Then we decided to blog
this way, with “top 10’s”
and “best of’s,” …and we
didn’t stop so much as
fine-tuned, tweaked
re-calibrated
our universe
like a tinkerer
on her watch.

Now I wear my universe
on my wrist, turning
each bead to count
one idea after another,
lists for people
places things
commitments
dreams and
prayers.

I can’t help but love lists, love little prayers and listless souls. I write them by hand, drag them around YouTube, and even, occasionally, splatter a list-like thing on Facebook or a blog, for no other reason than 21st century graffiti.

I’m not sure if listing is good writing. In fact, when I see a website with an abundance of lists, it’s like a shark-tank warning label, poor writing found here!?which is judging a book by its cover, of course, a terrible habit no literati should do—then I tab out of that website, before someone sees my browser history, my mistakes, the things I’ve done.

I’m also not sure when tab-out replaced x-out.

My browsers look like compost
piles by the end of the night. Lists,
too many lists, faint little lights
like all the little lights winking out
behind the wall of force
behind the billow of smog

and too many other
things step-by-stepping
from bullet points of information
and broken up lines, from fragments
to coalesced weirdness, dimensia, wane.

I 💙 Keiko Matsui

I watched Keiko perform at the Tower Theater in ’16, and I’ve been in love with her ever since. She’s my favorite jazz musician—not just because she can play several with her hands, mouth, and feet simultaneously—but because she radiates with honest joy, from the moment she walks on stage till she exits.

At the time I saw her, I was just starting to date Chase. I invited him to join me at the Tower District, but he already had plans with friends, so he didn’t go. That was just as well, because I originally bought tickets to her concert to get over that weird social stigma that you shouldn’t attend movies by yourself.

I’d love to go to Tower Theater again! They frequently have jazz performers there, as well as movies, documentaries… It’s just a matter of picking a night that sounds good, bundling up in a shawl, and walking up Olive Street, toward the glittering neon light above the theater.


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