Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jasen Sousa Interview Text

J-Rock interview

JRocked: A sit down with Jasen Sousa, Author and founder of J-rock Publishing.
A few years ago I heard rumors of a kid from Somerville putting out his own book of poetry. It was a shock to me; there just wasn’t anyone where we grew up writing poetry (admitting they wrote poetry.) It would be another couple years and a few more books released by Jasen before we started the email game. Having become friends he was generous enough to allow me some time to dig into his head and put it down on paper…
MindGames: Can I ask how old you are?
Jason Sousa: 25
MG: When did you put out your first book?
JS: The first book came out in 99’

MG: How old were you then?
JS: I was working on that book between 18 and 19 years old

MG: Was the first book mostly poetry?
JS: Yea, the first book published was Life, Weather and that was a collection of like 70 poems, that’s got some illustrations to go along with them, real nice by a friend of mine from here in Somerville. Basically the concept behind my first book was to introduce it as kinda like a hybrid between a poetry and a comic book, to get young people more interested. You know pencil sketches that are real, but also kinda have some surrealism to them.

MG: With the first book were you writing it during 18/19 or had it all been written before deciding to put a book together?
JS: Actually I wrote it before…The way I got the idea to put it into a book format was I would bring it to some of my friends who were like in mental facilities and things like that, trying to get through certain problems in their life and I would bring them these poems and stories and they would say that it helped them get through it…So I guess I got the idea that I should put it a book format, you know, to better present it rather than just some loose paper. That was really what gave me the first idea to turn it into a book.

MG: Were you shy at the beginning about putting out your writing?
JS: You know what, not really. As far as my ideas and thoughts I never really was, I kinda put things out there cause, my experiences and things that I go through could always help people. So as far as putting my things out there that I’m embarrassed about and things like that, at first it was a little weird to do, but as you go through it you know…Your readers will recognize if you’re not being truthful to them. So right from the beginning I just decided to lay everything out there.

MG: How did you go from the idea of “I want to make a book” to having the final product?
JS: I did the research on what would be the best way for me to put my book out there, so I went through all the steps in terms of trying to get an agent and trying to get a publisher to accept what I have to offer. I came across the self publishing route and kind of fell in love with that because I can put it out there without anyone saying whether it’s good or bad and I can make my own, which is very important to me. So I did the research on how to get ISBN numbers, bar codes, different presses and software and things like that to put the book together. Really I went from there and my first book was really just an experiment. We did the whole thing on Microsoft Word, which turned out to be kind of a disaster, but you know we continued from there and just kept learning along the way…

MG: Any advice for someone that is thinking about the road of self publishing?
JS: Yea, well my advice would be to someone trying to put out their own writing is believe in it. It’s a long process and the publishing industry is cut throat and so many things out there that never get to see the light of day. With people that want to get it out, there are so many venues with your own computer and things like that. So people now really have a lot more ways to show their ideas and work to the world.

MG: Who helped plant the seeds in your head that you could and should go ahead with publishing your own book?
JS: You know really, personality wise, I’m a person that stays to themselves a lot and I just came up with idea on my own really and just went with it from there. Like no one knew what I was doing and if anything I got more negative feedback than anything from people because no one in my family or that I know has done anything like this. To tell you the truth no one in my family really reads. So to do something like make books for myself they were like are “you joking?” especially with friends and stuff. It’s one of those things where you believe in it with all your heart and you get these pictures in your head and they start to come into shape in real life.

MG: How much does the feedback from your books help inspire the next?
JS: The feedback for me deffinatley has an effect for me, you know. When I get my books out there a lot of my material is written for young people who are going through tough times. When I get feedback and I give a book to a young girl who reads one of my stories about another young girl who made a bad decision and got pregnant at a young age and maybe didn’t use protection and things like that and because of that story the young girl says “I don’t want my life to turn out like her,” and she’ll tell me that your book was an inspiration to make decisions that will help me in my future. Things like that help push me to keep going, no matter what happens, whether it be low money issues or things like that.
As far as the negative feedback and things like that, basically as I started going to school the feedback got more negative because the style of poems I write is more hip-hop. My poems are not traditional, so when I would bring them to School at Emerson and they would get checked out by professors, maybe there would be negative feedback as far as my style. So I just kinda keep going on and trying to get better.

MG: Most young people have trouble figuring out how to express themselves and a lot of times they turn to drugs and alcohol as an outlet. Do you find that people get inspired to open up when they see you open up?
JS: You couldn’t be more exact with that question. I have people come up to me when I’m doing these things, whether it be a book signing or things like that who pour out their life’s story and terrible things that have happened to them, like being abused as a child or things like that and they tell me these things like I’m their best friend because when they read my books, like I said before, me being truthful to them with everything I’ve been through. When they come up and tell me their stories or cry on my shoulder. It’s a very powerful experience to go through when you can connect like that when it’s a total stranger and you can develope a relationship with them for the rest of your life…

MG: We came from the same area growing up where so many people fell into the traps of drugs and alcohol. At what age did you find it went from being, kids just playing around to something a little bit darker?
JS: Well there were a few different ages, but some kids, once they got past sophomore year in high school tend to experiment with a lot of things. They’re experimenting with their identity who they are and who they want to become. When I see things get more serious is when people graduate high school. Sometimes they don’t teach kids well enough how to plan for what they want to be and it’s kinda like they’re on their own. So if they don’t have enough money to go to college and find out what direction they want to go in college, they end up finding out what they want to be on the street and that can be dealing drugs and things like that. I’ve found that in the environment that we grew up in, establishing who you are as a person is very important. I found my identity early on through sports and basketball. That helped me stay strong with who I was, but writing can be a way for some people to help them figure out who they are.

MG: Do you do any drugs or drink alcohol?
JS: One of the things I’m most proud about is that I’ve been around drugs my whole life and have never had a smoke, a shot, a sniff or anything. I’ve been next to people who sniff coke or shoot heroin and you might think that someone like me could go into that very easily, but I was able to stay disciplined through sports and even more found my self through writing. I knew who I was, so even though I was around that stuff my whole life I always stayed away from it because being sober you see what it does to people and it scares you seeing that so much. Watching it makes you see it so much clearer and it just makes you stay away that much more.

MG: Because you were outside watching it happen did it make you feel pity for those people or was it more like, “these people are disgusting for what they do to themselves?”
JS: It’s an interesting question because there’s a lot of people I talk to who think that because being in a situation like this you would ignore these types of things, but being a writer and seeing things like my friends and what they go through it’s just something you can’t ignore. I’m someone that’s routed in this stuff and never want to turn my back on it. Poverty, drugs are things that people go through and I’m not just going to move away and ignore it. Because it’s there. I feel like being through everything that I have, I can be someone who can help with things like that.

MG: With all the work that you do to help people, do you find that more often than not you’re able to help people? Or do people usually end up hurting themselves?
JS: I think it’s one of those things where it’s 50/50 each way. I done a lot of things where I’ve been able to help people who have been in a bad situation. I’m a person who’ll give you the shirt off my back if I have to, I mean I’ve given people my whole paycheck just so they can pay their rent and stay in their house. It also backfires too because a lot of the people you deal with have major issues too with addictions and one of the things I’ve had to go through in my life is trying to figure out where people are in life and how you can help them because sometimes I can’t be enough and they need professional help. I just try to be someone in the personal life that can help them get through the day as best they can.

MG: The thing that impresses me the most about you is your motivation and how hard you work to do what you think is right. How does it affect you to see friends and other people around you give up and just say “fuck it.”?
JS: Well basically the things we’ve talked about and a lot of people in my life that passed away from those things serves as motivation for me and gives me energy. Honestly I don’t think I ever would have been able to do the things I’ve done without seeing some of my friends that passed away and feeling like they’re inside of me pushing me. I feel like I’m in the position now where I have to keep a lot of people’s memories alive that never got to reach their potential. Especially I had one real good friend of mine and I’ve never really been a person to have a best friend, but he was the closest thing I’ve had and it’s kinda like he’s always in my mind and I always feel that I’m talking to him and things like that. The bad things that people do just make me want to do the most positive things for myself and for others.

MG: We’ve seen so many people fall through the cracks, that there is obviously room for improvement. With kids and education what do you think is missing?
JS: I agree with that, as far as things that they’re teaching in schools in literature classes where kids need to latch on to stories I feel like it’s important to study the classics, to learn them and understand them, but there need to more books and authors who look like these kids, dress like these kids and tell stories that talk about things that they’re going through. When kids are leaving a house where their mother might be a junkie, it’s hard to focus on a story that was written over a hundred years ago. There needs to be more stories that are routed in today’s society and deal with things that young people today are going through.

MG: Boston is a University City; with all the students in the city do you think it adds to the exploration of the arts? Or does partying and drinking overshadow it?
JS: I’m glad you brought this up because it’s definitely something that really disturbs me because I just got done going to Emerson College and it happens to be in downtown Boston in a place right near the inner city so there are a lot of things going down there. It disturbs me when I’m going to college and I see all the people there and they’re the same color as the walls. Everyone is the same in college, like a bunch of robots, who go there all learning to become the same thing, which I think in the long run will be bad for the world. There are all these kids from Boston around college age just hanging out on the corner and why can’t they have the opportunity to go to college and learn about the same things as people from wealthy back rounds come from. So that always upsets me and I want more people from the city to be going to college not only people coming from other places and taking up space where we can fill up the room.

MG: J-Rock Publishing is known for putting books out for young adults. Over time do you think because it’s so important you’ll stay with that age group?
JS: J-Rock Publishing was founded on young adult literature and I feel that J-Rock Publishing will always be known for young adult literature. Maybe in the future we’ll branch out and do imprints of other types of books, but I always feel that as far as J-Rock Publishing and the material that comes out of it will always be for young people who are going through things in their life and looking to find themselves because there’s not enough literature out there for them. I want J-Rock Publishing as before, now and always to be for young people.

MG: Do you have any projects coming up in the near future?
JS: Yea, one of the projects we’re working on right now is the Somerville Renaissance, based on the idea of the Harlem Renaissance because in Somerville there are so many young creative people around here who are rapping, writing, doing things with movies, drawing and being artistic. All these types of things like the Harlem Renaissance, in a city of transition and a lot of young artists trying to express that. For a long time I’ve been encouraging people to put out their own work and it was one of those things where you have to have enough material and enough discipline to sit down and want to do it, so I got the idea with Somerville Renaissance to put a lot of young people’s work together to try and send the message that it’s the same throughout the whole city. I’m really excited about this project for myself and for young people who are able to let their voice out to the world.

MG: How could someone submit something to the Somerville Renaissance project?
JS: If you’d like to submit something to the Somerville Renaissance you can go to I got links on there to check things out and submit your work to be reviewed and maybe be included in the book.

MG: Where can people find some more info on you, ordering one of your books or about your company?
JS: Basically the best way to find out about me is log onto the site or We got a lot of information on their some cool videos, articles. So definitely check those out and find out what we’re up to.
To see photos or watch the video from the extended interview go to

Friday, March 20, 2009

Neighborhood Jim’s

I take a razor out of my back pocket and slice a hole in the side of a trash bag. A bunch of rice spills to the floor. Some slimy stuff sticks to my wrist as I dig into the bag.
I pull out two rolls in the palm of my hand. I take a bite out of the bread and begin to chomp away, barely able to breathe. Dough climbs up my gums and sits above my upper teeth like a mouthpiece.
My untied Nike laces float in a puddle. I tear apart more bags and empty trash all over the loading dock trying to find more scraps to quiet my stomach.
Two large hands dig into my shoulders.
“Get off me!” I scream.
I am pulled into the backdoor of the kitchen and thrown onto the floor into a pile of wet towels. Door slams. Lock clicks.
“I’m sick and tired of you coming to my loading dock and making a mess of everything!” Blue veins emerge on the large man’s forehead. Pockets of perspiration begin to leak through his white shirt.
“I have had to work overtime to clean up your messes. I even had to call an exterminator from all the animals you’re attracting. For weeks you’ve been emptying trash all over my property turning my restaurant into a complete pigsty!”
I stare at the fat man, sweat drips off the sides of his face like he just finished playing a pickup game.
He stumbles toward me, picks me up by my sweatshirt, my legs like jelly as he tries to stand me up.
“Stop hiding from me,” he screams. He pulls the hood off my head.
“A girl! I am being terrorized by a girl. I don’t believe this!”
He drags me out of the kitchen like old laundry and plops me down onto a stool, spins me around. I stare at the old Knick players hanging on the wall of his diner. Frazier. Monroe. Reed. All of my grandfather’s favorite players.
“Pretty nice joint you got here.” I say. B-Ball is my favorite sport too. I play, I mean, I played on the freshman team. Starting point. How come you don’t have any of the new Knick players up there?”
He speaks with his large back facing me.
“They haven’t earned the right to be hanging up there yet,” he grunts. “Overpaid bums.”
He turns around and drops a plate of scrambled eggs and toast on the counter, I catch the fork before it falls on the floor. I bite the toast, fit about half of it in my mouth, try to slide eggs through the side.
The fat man places his hairy hands on the counter close to my plate.
“So, what’s your name, what’s your deal?” asks the man.
“Why have you been making a mess of my place for the past few weeks and driving me crazy? Why are searching through my garbage for food?”
“Just am,” I mumble, spitting out a piece of egg.
“Look, don’t make me call the cops on you. What’s your story?”

“Man, I just don’t have a place to stay right now, ok? I live, I lived with my grandfather. He died a few weeks back and the rest of my family is trying to make me go live with my crazy uncle in Florida.”
“Parents? Friends?” he asks.
“Well, I never knew my mom. I guess she left when I was young, to be a singer or something, I don’t know. I was raised by my pops until he died of lung cancer when I was 6. I’ve been living with my grandfather ever since. He used to run a joint just like this in his younger days down by the Garden. And my friends? They’ll rat me out, please mister, don’t call the cops!”
“Look, until we figure things out, maybe I can help you out.”
“There’s a cot in back where you can stay. You can earn your keep by washing dishes. I could use an extra pair of hands around here, my back can’t carry as much weight as it used to. As long as you agree to stay out of my way, I like to run a tight ship. Don’t touch anything I don’t tell you to touch. Just stay back here in the kitchen and we won’t have any problems.”
I roll the sleeves on my hoodie up and dip my hands into soapy water. I wash pan- after-pan and plate-after-plate until my back feels like it is going to snap.
I work with the fat man all day and all night until there is no food left to serve and no customers left to feed.
The fat man, worn out and covered in grease, looks as though he wants nothing more than to get the hell out of Neighborhood Jim’s for the night. He throws his apron on the counter, locks the front door and flips the sign so that open stares him in the face. He puts on his hat and jacket, gives me a glance before he leaves.
“Have a good night.”
I mop the now glistening brown floor and take out the trash. I smirk because I now know which bags contain all the good scraps. I hose down the loading dock until the concrete is darkly drenched.
I make my way to the register. Ding. I start with the ones and work my way up to the 20’s. The poor stupid fat man. I place the money in a brown paper bag and slide it into the pouch on my sweatshirt, pull my hood over my head.
I grab cushion off the cot and leave the same way I was dragged in.

Ten years later I enter Neighborhood Jim’s through the front door for the first time. I sit on the same stool at the same spot on the counter in my suit. A large man flips pancakes on the grill. I notice a picture of Patrick Ewing hanging on the wall next to Frazier, Monroe and Reed. The large man turns around.
“What can I get ya?” he asks.
“I’ll take the scrambled eggs and toast please.”
The large man makes motions with his arms like a magician. He drops a plate of scrambled eggs and toast on the counter. I finish quickly. I stand up and slide a wad of cash underneath the empty plate.
My heels echo as I walk towards the front door.
“Hey, you have way too much money here lady.”
“It’s just my way of saying thank you for making the best food in the city.”

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We'll Be There! Come Check Us Out If You're In The Salem Area...

Second Annual Literary Festival

J-Rock Publishing will have a table on the 28th!!!

March 27-29, 2009
Salem, Massachusetts
From March 27th through March 29, Salem, Massachusetts will take the weekend to celebrate the literary arts with author readings, writing workshops, open mics, word-game tournaments, parties, and more!

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN SALEM will provide the setting for Literally Salem, Salem's annual literary festival, with events taking place at several centralized downtown locations.

Preview of Events
(Below is a just partial sampling of what we have planned)
See the Schedule Page for the complete listing of events!

Author Readings
Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader, Harper Collins, 2008)
Hannah Tinti (The Good Thief, Dial Press, 2008)
Adam Braver (Mr. Lincoln's Wars, Divine Sarah, November 22,1963 and others)
Jan Elizabeth Watson (Asta in the Wings, Tin House Books, 2009)
Laurie Stolarz (Deadly Little Secret, Project 17, Blue is for Nightmares and others)
Stacy DeKeyser (Jump the Cracks, Flux, 2008)
The Best Women's Travel Writing 2009

Other Events
Thursday's Theater of Words & Music
(Emerging Writers & Artists showcase their works, followed by open mic)
Scrabble Tournament (back by popular demand!)
A Tribute to John Updike
Salem Theatre Company's An Evening of Pinter

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Genevieve Weekend Newsletter ...

Just wanted to get in touch again about events coming up ... and promote the new track up on MySpace ::: "Days Like This" :::

O-Ry-N and I recorded this track on tour, while in St. Pete. We performed at Club PJ's and after the show we hung out in back, found a beat, did a lil' writing and this happened ... check it out at ... So far people seem to like it

MARCH 18, 2009 @ the MILKY WAY in JP ::: WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH!!! ::: 9pm, $5 ::: Catch me as one of the featured acts celebrating SISTAS DOIN iT FOR THEMSELVES and closing out the last SOULKORE STARDUST OPEN MIC @ 403 Center St, JP *** BUT WAiT, THERE'S MORE *** THE MILKY WAY WILL BE RELOCATING to The Brewery - in JP after this event, so SOULKORE WILL PRESS ON from month to month!!!

For this event, we will be having a BRiEF open mic to make room for the rest of the festivities, so GET THERE EARLY TO SiGN UP!

As always - backed by a LIVE BAND, so NO CDs are to be used by artists ... but bring your songs, rhymes, comedy or poetry to the mic and do your thing!!!

Milky Way serves delicious food till 10pm. 21+ $5. for more info email or go to for directions

Music and socializing after the show
with melodies provided by:
DJ Nomadik spinning:
Classic Hip-Hop, Reggae, Funk, House, Soul & more...


NEXT UP!!! On the Soulkore tip, big ups to DJ NOMADIK for putting these events together ... Cuz on MARCH 31st ... you ready???

X-CLAN & MEDUSA are gonna rip the stage at HARPER'S FERRY ... And yes, your's truly will be blessing the stage before hand, along w/ Metaphorick ( and Kiki Breevelife ( !!!

For those that aren't familiar with either X Clan or Medusa ... please ... GET FAMILIAR (check the links below)!!! X Clan (Zulu Nation) is a big movement in hip hop and have toured with the likes of Public Enemy, ICP, Damain Marley and more ... and guess what, I got tickets for sale (and I'm even willing to deliver them to you ... LET ME KNOW) !!!

X Clan music ::: and

Medusa music :::

CATCH ME WHiLE I GOTTEM, they're going fast ::: $10 presale ::: Tellafriend to tellafriend and help support the movement.

Below is a list of upcoming shows (as always you can keep up with show dates and more details at

3.18.09 STARDUST LAST OPEN MIC @ the Milky Way
3.20.09 Sammy’s Patio
3.21.09 9 Ale House
3.25.09 ART EXPO - The Artist Jump Off
3.27.09 SPOKEN WORD NiGHT - The Artist Jump Off
3.31.09 X CLAN & MEDUSA - Harper’s Ferry
4.03.09 Sammy’s Patio
4.08.09 SPOKEN WORD EXPO - The Artist Jump Off
4.10.09 The Artist Jump Off
4.25.09 Matt Murphy’s

As always, hope all is well and look forward to seeing you all at some of these shows!


~* Miss Genevieve *~
R&B/Soul/Jazz/HipHop songstress

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Save My Place Bookmark Samples


"Gotta Be" OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO from Kogainon Films on Vimeo.



---UPCOMING M-DOT SHOWS----(try to attend an upcoming event)

3/5/2009 08:00 PM – The Middle East w/ Joe Budden (Cambridge, MA)

3/20/2009 08:00 PM - Cape Boulevard (Pocassett, MA)

3/29/2009 08:00 PM - Krumbsnatcha Release Party @ Vibes Uptown (Hartford, CT)

4/20/2009 08:00 PM – Dover Brick House (Dover, NH)

5/1/2009 08:00 PM - Cape Boulevard (Pocassett, MA)


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Humming Eternity Press Release

Humming Eternity By Jasen Sousa, ISBN 978-0-9714926-6-0, Trade Paperback, $12.99

New Young Adult Poetry Book Explores the Unique Relationships of a Young Man Coming of Age and the Positive and Negative People Who Impacted His Life

For Immediate Release
Company: J-Rock Publishing
Contact: Debbie Senesi
Phone: 781-254-9123

This new collection of poems by Jasen Sousa, Humming Eternity, is sure to bring excitement and interest to young adult readers in your location.

This book is especially geared to young readers in urban areas who do not normally have literature which they can relate to. Written fresh modern narrative, these poems and tales of people in the inner city give respect and justice to characters who are often ignored by society.

Jasen Sousa is the founder of the highly successful press in the Boston area, J-Rock Publishing. The publishing house was created to get young people from urban areas interested in reading and writing. Jasen’s perspective and voice is one young people immediately find honest and trustworthy because he has lived through and experienced the subject matter which he discusses.

This book has proven to be an inspirational hit with young people around the world and will make a great addition to the young adult section in your library.

Full Contact Information:
Debbie Senesi
J-Rock Publishing
45 Francesca Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144

Oryn Ghafur
United Front Company Distribution
318 Squire Road
Revere, MA 02151

Web URL:

Humming Eternity By Jasen Sousa, ISBN 978-0-9714926-6-0, Trade Paperback, $12.99

Book Description

Humming Eternity By Jasen Sousa

In Jasen’s 7th collection of poetry he pays homage to people who have had a tremendous impact on his life. As you read this book you can almost hear Jasen humming his thoughts and ideas as he experienced these visions up until the moment he was able to find a pen and paper and masterfully capture glimpses in time which couldn’t escape his mind. The situations, experiences and descriptions of the characters who appear in Humming Eternity will live on in the mind’s of readers for eternity.

Author Bio

Jasen Sousa was born and raised in Somerville, MA. where he grew up as a successful basketball player. Being an athlete helped him stay away from the drugs and crime that plagued the rest of his peers. Being surrounded and growing up in this type of environment and seeing what was going on with sober eyes, Jasen knew that something was terribly wrong. To deal with his own sadness and frustrations, Jasen turned to writing at the age of 17. Writing started as a hobby, but after losing some close friends to suicide, writing became a need to tell a story of what was going on in his neighborhood.

Eloquently embodying all of their emotions and eventually becoming a voice for his generation, Jasen founded J-Rock Publishing. J-Rock was founded and created with the purpose to give young people a voice with the written word. To date Jasen has written 7 Hip-Hop inspired poetry novels. Life, Weather, A Thought and A Tear for Every Day of the Year, Close Your Eyes and Dream With Me, Almost Forever, A Mosaic of My Mind, Selected Poems of Jasen Sousa, 17-24 and Humming Eternity.

Jasen has sold thousands of his books throughout the United States. He frequently travels across the country making guest appearances at book shows, high schools and colleges to talk about his life, his writing and future visions he has for his company. Jasen has just recently graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing and is currently enrolled in graduate school at Pine Manor College on Chestnut Hill to attain his MFA in creative writing.

Humming Eternity By Jasen Sousa, ISBN 978-0-9714926-6-0, Trade Paperback, $12.99