Following Freedom: Spontaneous Poetry with Cubs the Poet

If you follow along on instagram you’ll recall that I recently spent a few weeks in New Orleans on a project exploring what it means to pursue a passion. On the first day on the job day I was assigned to interview Cubs the Poet. Yes! What a treat this would be. 3 years prior I’d snapped a photo of him doing his thing in the French Quarter - that photo ended up hanging in my kitchen, a daily reminder to consider the passions we each have, and to get out there and share them with the world. Cubs' art form is what he describes as “Spontaneous Poetry” - I’d call it downloading his gift and giving his beautiful vibe to each person he connects with in the world.

Poetry Still Matters // Oui We & Cubs the Poet

I’m lucky, now to call Cubs a friend, and to have had a poem written for me that day about the pursuit of happiness! Read on for my interview with Cubs the Poet. 


AE: Let’s start with talking a bit about what you do and how you got started doing it:

Cubs: What I do is called Spontaneous Poetry - I write poetry on the spot for people. I use a vintage typewriter and a few questions to spark the conversation.

Typically the poem is written for them [the person he meets on the street], they give me a theme, I interview them on that theme and then type a poem on the spot and read it to them after I write it.

I’m originally from Baton Rouge, LA - my parents moved to Maryland and when I would leave college and go home for the summer I would ask myself: what do you want to do when you’re done? One day I asked myself, without any intention - what do you want to do - and poetry came to mind.

I wrote a poem, it was called Do You Like Poetry? - I would recite it to everybody on the street. Anybody that walked by I’d ask “Do You Like Poetry?” - they'd answer yes or no and I’d recite the poem. I did that all Summer. 


Cubs' break came that Summer when he was invited into a shop to share poetry with the shop clientele. The shop owner had a typewriter… Cubs borrowed it, from there he went out into the street and started creating poems for people as they passed by.

His next move: Royal Street in New Orleans.

 

Cubs the Poet via Oui We

AE: When you’re out here each day what do you find to be the best part of your day?:

Cubs: Well first, I chose Royal Street because it’s full of art, architecture, galleries, and historic landmarks. As I’m walking down the street as soon as I set up, I’m behind my typewriter, and I look out and I tell myself everyday I chose to be here

Walking down Royal Street, galleries are open, artists are present... I like to stop in and say hi to the artists, asking a question of the day - there’s a sense of community as I walk down the street. I’m asking people questions that provide content for the poems I'll write that day. I like to involve the community.

AE: What makes it all worth it for you?

Cubs: The level of connection with other people. When people realize no one is telling me to sit out here, no one taught me how to do what I’m doing… it’s an entirely different way of connecting and communicating.

When people see me writing poetry in the middle of the street, they see that I love to do it and can hear the tone in my voice -- it’s creating a more whole connection.

AE: If someone was considering pursuing a dream and wanted your advice about taking a leap to do their own thing, what would you tell them?

Cubs: First, it’s great that they’d be considering [pursuing a dream] - that they’d have that thought. I'd say “trust yourself before you can explain yourself.” As soon as you start to question yourself you start to take yourself away from the dream, so trust yourself!

AE: How do you measure success?

Cubs: If I’m not questioning anything before I fall asleep at night - that’s a successful day.  

Following Freedom by Cubs the Poet

Here's my poem written that afternoon, it sits on my desk, another beautiful reminder that pursuing a passion is a true path to happiness.

happy. feet, following freedom. 

a smile-similar to the horizon. a sun, blushes.

happy.

hands holding hearts. 

love, laugh sounds alittle like

the birth of bubbles, bursting with being - 

being happy. 

Thanks Cubs!

This post was written in partnership with Go Daddy. See more of on this project via the Go Daddy instagram and blog

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You do WHAT for a living?

I sometimes get asked what my job is. Specifically, as a writer: where/what do you write? How does a writer make money? Are you paid for your blog? Is there a day job we don't know about? Those sorts of things.

 hey girl, get a job!

It's a funny little gig. I worked in the corporate world for years and years and never had that "dream" of someday making it as a writer. My dream was to feel inspired creatively. To work with people I love. To continually train my 'eye.' To learn about art forms of all types. And, eventually that lead to writing. 

Honing in on what that truly meant for a j-o-b took a little time. 

Something I don't specifically "advertise" much (in whatever meaning that word has these days) is the other part of my job. Consulting work. I've grown that part of my business organically, word of mouth mostly. 

So truly here's what my job is:

  • As stated: I'm a writer. As lots of you know I have a book coming out this fall (and published book #1 in '14). I write this blog, which means I have sponsored posts both here and on instagram too, and those sponsorships are specific to brands that I already love and am thrilled to share with you all. Plus I occasionally contribute to other sites or publications too. 
  • Secondly: I'm a creative concepter. So what exactly does that mean? Well first I'll back up. In 2011 I launched a company (which I've talked about in previous brand posts) that produced fashion events. My team produced upwards of 50 fashion & design focused events a year. Our targets: influencers, media, buyers and tastemakers. Before that my corporate job was with a beauty brand for 10+ years. I worked in sales, marketing, operations and more. 

In 2016 I shifted my focus. I believe the future for creatives often lies in the digital world and experiential concepts. 

So presently: As a creative concepter I have clients of all types: authors, educators, bloggers, and beauty brands to name a few, of which I create digital strategies for. Some days I'm coaching them on their digital presence. Some days my team and I develop websites and some days it's look books, Instagram and Facebook pages, and it's all with a goal of attracting new business directly through the digital space. 

Here's a few examples of our clients whose stuff I'm just loving right now.

 Instagram page for @butteryourlife

Instagram page for @butteryourlife

First is Life Butter Radio. Life Butter is a podcast and blog out of London dedicated to both celebrating and demystifying wellness and beauty. It's a place where science meets lifestyle. For Life Butter our focus is to develop aesthetically brilliant social media pages filled with copy and images that speak to what the host of the show shares on the podcast and blog. 

 Cinderella Chats website

Cinderella Chats website

Second is Cinderella Chats. Cinderella (yes that's her real name) is an author and creative, whose talents include not only writing, but wedding planning, workshop and event hosting, speaking and more. For Cinderella our goal was to build a website filled with girly sparkle that will attract women of all ages to celebrate each other. Cinderella's mission was key to our strategy: encouraging women to keep their heads up and standards high!

 Paris Parker Salons & Spas website

Paris Parker Salons & Spas website

Third is Paris Parker Salons & Spas. Paris Parker is a beauty company with 9 salon and spa locations: their mantra: “be your best self, live your best life.” Our work for Paris Parker involves image concepting, seasonal look book development and social media strategy and execution.  


I'm sharing this with you today for a few reasons. I'm often asked what first steps to take when building a brand strategy if your budget is teeeeeneeeensy.

Or, how to build a strategy when you're starting from scratch or relaunching your business for example. Or, how to create a blog when you can't pay a developer tens of thousands of dollars, and even if you can, how do you get people to actually read it?

I'm excited to speak on this exact topic at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (p.s. this part's a shameless plug and I beg all of you in New Orleans to pretty please come to my class and hang with me, we'll have fun I promise). Plus, I've started an e-book series on the topic as well. 

So whether it's developing a website, a digital look book, or creating a social media plan there's a strategy to it all. My first e-book covers the basics. (There's a link below to get it!)

Building Brand Me: Part 1

It includes an overview on the most popular social media channels, questions to ask yourself when determining your market, an overview of the apps I recommend for iPhone photos and a few do's and don'ts when creating social media posts. 

Part 2 is coming next, it'll focus on developing your brand voice. No matter what you're doing: launching a new blog, building your instagram page, creating an online shop, you're voice is key. How your potential readers/followers/shoppers 'hear' you determines what conversation they'll be willing to have back.

A note: what we don't focus on is how to reach 10K followers on instagram for example, because our goal is dedicated and engaged customers for our clients. The real deal brand "you" takes time and commitment to content and relationships, we believe the "followers' will come with a commitment to being your best digital self (and your best IRL self too, of course). 

If you're interested in receiving part 2 and other brand strategy tips sign up for my e-mail list here!

I hope the e-book is helpful to you all! Feel free to share it with friends and let me know how it's working for you. In the meantime, my team (all #girlbosses in their own right) and I are working quickly to get Part 2 ready for you. And! Be sure to give a listen to Life Butter, a hello! to Cinderella and a follow to Paris Parker

Plus, here's a few goodies to dress up your office. 

Thanks for being here you guys!

xo,

Andi