Our first featured winner is kind of a double feature of transformation and generosity. Cory, who wrote the poem below, offered her story with the knowledge that she would not be able to make it to LIB this year. But even still, she wanted to share her story, and offered to donate her tickets if she won. Tonya was one of our first submissions, but she had never been to LIB so instead of telling a story, her submission was more of a heartfelt request for a chance to experience her own LIB story.
So we matched the two up so one incredible story can help create another! Read below for Cory’s inspiring story of transformation followed by Tonya’s request for an amazing story of her own.
A story of tattoos, love, and transformation. With extra special thanks to Nick Warren.
By Cory Kantin
We had a choice.
We could break up
Or go to a music festival
Electronic. Yoga. California
Heaven. Here we come.
carrying all the confusion that is
4 months of losing
to the black hole
of our differences
Even if it was her trip, that she invited me one day when her arms wrapped round tightly.
But I’m a fighter
and a lover
and we needed
a vacation more than
we arrived on two rockets
aimed as far from the new york we were living
maybe there we could
connect the void,
And arrived she did
To this utopic make-believe
Forest of new friends, pretty lights
I saw it all
Through a tv screen
Divided by an ultimatum for joy
or bust heart
I knew no one, but her and I wasn’t sure
she knew me, my love as she watched me awkward
as a cut/copy image from
New York. Thrown into California
Pain is so obvious in the sunshine
And is especially unattractive
when it was once yours
Despite me. She was calm, charismatic.
Connected as a deep breath
She couldn’t understand
how I could acknowledge Disneyworld
Yet I could not enjoy the rides
She encouraged me, with polarizing grace
She had her whole life to find a seatmate.
But! I’m a lover and a fighter
A meditator. A yogi. A visitor
of the temple of consciousness
The dance floor. At the top
of the ferris wheel with an open mouth.
No hands. I begged my body to join the consciousness
But my energy collided each time the wheel
And I kept on spinning,
Further away. My frequency,
Out of sync. Vibration, Spectrum
Till it was obvious. I was vanishing from the picture
There she was Harmoniously
Blended within the costumed tattoo clad
Freaks, gasp. I sat alone.
Stirring, within a bottle of my own shit
Judgement. while the others, played
Alone I saw the strife was ME
Lurking deep in the roots of my eyes
I saw we were not losing to a black hole of our differences
I was losing love to judgment
She was a garden full of weeds
A body full of tattoos
A woman walking away
My love, I saw her as she was walking away in a beautiful crowd of freaks
Did I mention, she’s tattoo clad
But not looking for attention. Not silly. Not vain and immature.
Just expressing. I wanted to tell her,
“Babe! Come back! I get it”
But it’s not so easy this moment
you realize the problem. The rotten you smell
comes from inside of you
you have to touch it.
cut the diseased thoughts like a cancer
Without killing yourself
Skip shame. Find liberation.
I returned on the final night.
Pumpkin on the Woogie Stage
An ultimatum for my vibrance
I started dancing as hard
As I could to shake it out
into the songs I knew
I broke free beneath-my-sunglasses-tears-as –I- saw –you-see- me –return-and –dance. All-the-faces-recognized-me.
But, my love was sleepy
The all night before filled her limbs
And on this eve, she retired.
Me. Awakened. Released. Connected.
I needed no one. I danced
Everywhere I could feel everything
The highest high of a ferris wheel
How my vibration had been too low to connect
Too compromised. Now contrasted
like a sunrise
And then the universe itself greeted me
Outside the port-a-potty
“What’s up? Where are you from?”
“Brooklyn,” I reply.
“That’s so cool– do you want to come back stage? I’m a friend of Nick Warren’s”
Sidenote: Nick Warren was my favorite DJ at LIB
I wish I had a photo but it can’t be captured. Transformation. Raw energy.
The music emanating to the crowd, to the mountain
The crowd, the nature flowing back
filled my openness completely
This night. For me. The festival. The name. The lightning.
And the black man with heart shaped glasses standing beside me
As I danced watching the energy swirling the crowd into one
In the end. The last set of LIB.
Nick turns around. Picks me up
and spins me
into the whole world.
I shit you not. I let the negativity out
and lightning came
to release me
from the bottle.
On the busride home the next day. I looked at my love and thought.
She’s gonna break up with you now. She doesn’t see you yet.
You’ve stained her bottle and it will take time for her to see past it.
But don’t worry. She will. You’ll get her back
And you’re going to marry her.
Tonya Kinchen’s request for an LIB story of her own:
I don’t have a story, because I have never been to a festival quite like this. I am 31 years old. I am recently single. I have experienced great loss, as my Grandmother whom raised me has recently passed. I live alone, in a small town, and am a big promoter. It comes with quite a bit of angst as other promoters are constantly trying to take me out. I do my best to stand above it and push my events in a positive way. I work at a very small indie rock bar that caters mostly to UC Merced students, The Partisan. I don’t make much money, as I do it more for the passion, and to keep myself going through the months. I have never been someone that has experienced life on the right side of the tracks. I have never been on a vacation. I may not deserve to win with some really great story about my past experiences at Lightning in a Bottle, but I would be ever changed if I did win. I would be grateful and feel extremely blessed to be able to get out of this town, and experience new people, and a life altering music festival such as this seems to be the medicine to cure this wounded soul. I would really like consideration to win, but am happy for those that are chosen if I am not qualified. Thanks so much for your kindness and time.
Thanks so much for sharing your stories and congrats to Tonya for her pair of tickets to LIB 2013. Stay tuned and keep those stories coming as we still have 3 more pairs of tickets to give away!