Welcome, Readers, to the whacky world of NJ-based poet, writer, musician, artisan, jack-of-arts-and-crafts: SZ Marsh. You can call me SZ, or you can call me Shel. Honestly, I’m not all that picky about it. I use SZ Marsh for more official projects, and Shel Z. when I want to keep things more casual, but they’re basically interchangeable. I’m not that picky about it.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not my legal, given name. See, I was one of those kids who’s name never quite fit, and I’ve been adopting nicknames since I was an ankle-biter because of it. That doesn’t mean the name doesn’t have any personal meaning, though. I took a lot of care crafting my alter ego. My name is actually Shel, and the Z comes from my grandfather’s name (the subject of the poem ‘Foil Roses’). Marsh, well, that’s a combination of topography, and popular demand. I’m from the marshlands of coastal New Jersey. I know those of you from elsewhere likely think that NJ is nothing but beaches, traffic jams, and loud-mouthed Italians. I hate to break your illusions… Oh, wait. No, I don’t. I come from a beautiful state that takes a lot of crap. Yeah, we have traffic. We have a lot of people in a small amount of space. But, we also have a fantastic parks system, beaches, marshes, pine barrens, rivers and lakes and mountains. Really, guys, there’s a lot of nature crammed into this state, too. I grew up surrounded by estuaries. That’s played a big part in all of my favorite childhood memories. It’s central to who I am, plain and simple. Since I don’t like my given name, since it’s never felt comfortably like “me”, a pen name/alter ego always went without saying. I always knew I would eventually pick something that feels more comfortable to wear. So, I had a handful of variants, and surveyed a few of my friends. SZ Marsh won by popular demand. It just plain fits, so I’m going with it.

So, now that that nonsense is all out of the way, what exactly do I DO? What is Sound Waves and Spray Paint about, anyway? Well, it started a few years ago under the name ‘grrl + guitar’, where I decided I was going to blog about my progress learning to play guitar. I thought by blogging about it, it might keep my grossly unfocused attention span on track. As time wore on I picked up the ukulele. I got a bass. I started to neglect my poetry blog. I realized I didn’t have anywhere to put my art. My hiking photo folder took on a life of its own that threatened to swallow my computer whole. In short, the blog evolved way beyond it’s original scope, and ‘grrl + guitar’ just no longer matched what the blog was really about. The blog, clearly, needed a new name. That name became ‘Sound Waves & Spray Paint’; a blog about all of the artsy things that catch my interest. And yeah, I’m still learning how to play guitar. I’m still periodically talking about lesson progress, but I’m talking about a lot of other things, too. I’m talking about the NJ Parks system and sharing photos of my adventures. I’m sharing art when I draw it. My poetry and writing projects have moved here. I’m writing songs, and Sound Waves & Spray Paint is the central hub that pulls all of those things together into one somewhat cohesive whole.

It’s in a sort of constant state of flux as I try to find time for it all, or as my interest shifts between projects, but that suits me just fine. I think it’s natural that the blog is only about as organized on the outside as I am on the inside.

At this point, I’ll add in the legalese as regards photos:

Nature photos are mine and can not be used without permission.

Photos of bands/venues/events – if your venue, event, or band is in the photo, you are free to use it without asking. Go nuts. It’s a picture of YOU, so you have free reign to do with it as you see fit. If you/your venue/your event are not in the photo, ask first. Most likely I won’t care, but it’s good manners.

You can contact me at shelzmarsh@gmail.com with these and other inquiries, but understand that I have passive-agressive email habits. I sometimes forget to check it for a few days, so might not reply right away. If you need a quick response, your best bet is to contact me via the facebook page, or to maybe post a comment on wordpress that you’ve emailed me. I can easily forget about my email for several days if left to my own devices, so if you need an answer quickly, you’re going to have to use either wordpress or facebook to let me know.