Katie Dixon has worked as a campaigner for the Democrats and has a degree in Creative Writing and Poetry. I met Katie through Twitter and she was kind enough to offer to answer "5 questions".
Question 1. Religious leaders say they like to "get them young" as it is more likely that the children will follow the faith. You went to Catholic school until you were 12, yet you are 90% atheist, 10% agnostic. Where did they do wrong?
I think the biggest way that my school specifically went wrong was that there was no exposure to other worldly religions, it was Catholicism in elementary, a little bit of Judaism in middle, and the break away of the protestant religions of Christianity in high. I came to resent this a lot when I got into college. Also, we had anti-abortion and anti-death penalty stances shoved down our throats, and if we questioned, we just got shot down & there was really no discussion of the issues. Also Confirmation came at a volatile time in our teens, I was questioning my faith but felt like I had to be confirmed. I had only gone to like two confirmation meetings out of about thirty but was told, "It's best if you just get confirmed."
Question 2. Your degree is in Creative Writing and Poetry. In an age of instant info-gratification where attention spans are measured in seconds, is there any hope left for poets?
I worry a little bit about teens these days, with so much social media and video games to grab their attention without them having to do a lot of thinking. But there are still those people, like me, who really gravitate towards books and poetry on the internet. There are a number of on-line poetry forums that really feel like this global on-line creative communities. My favorite, and the one that I'm the most active in is dVerse poets. Once a week they do form poetry (haiku, trimmed down poetry, etc.) and once a week they do free verse. You post a link to your blog, read others' poems & comment on them, read comments on your poetry. The Young Chicago Authors in a group that engages teens in poetry writing as an art form. And the Poetry Foundation has a really great website that makes it easy for people to look up poets and poetry. So I really think that as long as us poets evolve along with the world that we're in, we'll be able to survive. Maybe we won't be as revered as poets in the Romatic Period, or in the Beat Movement, but we'll be around.
Question 3. Can you share a poem of yours with the readers?
So many to chose from... This one's gotten the most praise on my blog:
Guitar in hand,
watered down whiskey in reach
Sitting cross-legged in a corner.
Notebook open, and a pen, in front of me.
Quiet, except for The Band playing
on low from my computer.
I lean back and smile.
This is one of my favorites:
Yesterday someone posed the question,
How are you responding to violence
I have a shirt that states,
To most, my music
is nowhere near peaceful.
It's filled with fast guitars busting out
power chord after power chord,
seemingly unending thumping bass lines,
and drummers whose arms never stop flailing.
Yet I still believe
that if more people
could take out their aggressions
in the middle of a mosh pit,
slamming into other bodies,
pumping their fists in the air,
and not giving even a single fuck
to what someone else is thinking
that they would feel more at peace.
So my answer is
that the key to ending violence
is letting your aggression Out!
Not trying to cover it
by just sitting cross-legged
letting out "Ohm" after "Ohm."
Aggression will just keep coming back
as soon as you leave that state.
Trust me, I know!
Don't try to cover it up
by smiling and giggling
and joking about injustices
that truly just make you
want to puke.
Your aggression will just keep growing.
So my solution to violence
is punk music.
Seems odd, right? But
next time anger builds up
inside of you,
go to your local record store,
grab the nearest (good!) punk album,
put it on, sit back,
and let the music in.
Your head will start to bop
and move from side-to-side,
then your arms will start flailing about;
and before you know realize it
you're trying to slam dance
with your stationary furniture!
By the middle of the 3rd song
(or 7th if you're listing
to the :30 to a minute-song variety),
you will have forgotten
that your anger even existed!
Question 4. You used to campaign for the Democrats. Did the experience change your attitude to politics and The Democrats?
The experience of being a political operative actually made me like politics even more. A friend of mine, after seeing Lincoln stated that the film showed politics as being messy and not so nice, but that's okay, because that's how it is. I appreciate the behind the scenes operations a lot more. It's fun being at a huge political fundraiser, standing with the Executive Director of your state party and the highest officials figures in your party. My attitude towards Democrats didn't change that much, but my attitude towards Republicans did. I have more respect for Republicans (or at least many of them). All politicians get into politics for the same reason, because they have a sense of duty, and they really want to make things better. Democrats and Republicans just have a different idea of what gets us there. That being said, I cannot stand politicians who say things like "Our biggest goal is to make sure Obama is a one term president." That's not a fucking goal!! And that's a huge reason I got out of politics. All the in-fighting that does nothing for the country, the state, or the city.
Question 5. You like punk. Isn't punk dead yet?
I don't think punk will ever really die. As long as there are people who feel disenfranchised, left out, and left behind, punk will be alive and well. Some bands, like Rancid, NoFX, Stiff Little Fingers, Casualties and Dropkick Murphys have learned to evolve from angry young men to older men with something to say. NoFX talks a lot about religion and their personal lives on their last album, and it works. DKM tells stories of their past, and that works. I love punk music because it doesn't put a shiny coat on the world, it says it like it sees it. The world isn't pretty, and neither is punk music. One reason I gravitated towards punk was that I was disenfranchised by Bush Jr.s administration, and Anti-Flag was great for that. Once I had a president who shared a lot of my views, I wasn't as mad, but I found punk bands who weren't as angry. I also love the punk community. I have made some really great friends just because we like the same music.