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Passion Through Pain: The Unexpected Epiphany of a White Collar Poet

By Annie Murphy

Human beings are hardwired to crave emotionally satisfying experiences. We all yearn for genuine connections with one another that will bring this about, and no matter how hard our capitalist society drives its point home, we’re not getting this fulfillment at work.

It brings to mind that widely repeated phrase, attributed to the late great Harold Kushner, “No one ever said on their deathbed, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’”. Yet, for many of us who don’t have the luxury of quitting our 9-5’s Jerry Maguire style in hopes of doing something more meaningful, we turn to artistic expression.

One such story is that of Richard Scribe, a peculiar, yet all too familiar character who spits schema-shifting poetry on the streets of Vancouver. You can throw out whatever preconceptions of a rapper you might have. Richard, the star of KoldCast TV’s hilarious and heartwarming series, White Collar Poet, would be the one sporting a business suit, reading lyrics from his blackberry.

You are watching Episode 1 of White Collar Poet: “Epiphany”

My credit is like my poetry, there’s no limit.
Episode 2 of White Collar Poet: “The Business of Art”

Richard discovers his artistic side after learning that his wife is leaving him for a broke creative type, who apparently brings more passion to the table. Her betrayal leads to Scribe’s epiphany that he has been living in a cubicle cage, devoid of any genuine passion.

With newfound confidence, Richard opens up a world of insight into the otherwise monotonous life of the faceless white-collar worker. He boldly declares that a person cannot understand what an epiphany is unless they’ve experienced one themselves.

Epiphanies are a rare form of self-discovery that can’t be predicted or planned. It’s their spontaneity that makes them so enlightening and deep. The solutions to our biggest problems are answered through realizations that have been lurking under the surface all along. In Scribe’s case, the epiphany that led to his self-actualization came from a hard emotional blow. Somehow some way, all it takes is a change of perspective.

“Mixing business with an art is a tightrope act.”

We start Scribe’s lyrical journey with the Pilot Episode of White Collar Poet, “Epiphany”, wherein he loses his poetic virginity to a bunch of strangers at an open-mic slam session. It must have been quite the release, because it’s only the beginning of Richard’s journey from insurance broker to street poet.

You may think it would be more dashing for him to quit his job altogether and live the bohemian life of a struggling artist. In reality, this would be nothing short of Scribe’s destruction; he would lose his identity as the one – the only – white-collar poet. That’s what makes Richard Scribe a true artist. He takes his slice of the world, with all its blemishes and contradictions, and then translates it into poetry. In the business district of Vancouver, Scribe drops rhymes so poignant you’ll have to hear them to believe them.

“No ghosts on this baby.”

Lets continue with a look at Episode 4, “Banging On The Couch,” where Richard is forced to battle the ghosts of his pre-epiphany past. The issues in his marriage were never so glaring until he walked into his home one day to find a shirtless, tattooed, clawed-up “Tim”, sitting on his couch after a romp. Scribe’s wife wanted adventure and romance, but sadly his focus was always on climbing the corporate ladder.

As we all know, facing up to our mistakes is a grating exercise to say the least. Scribe overcompensates, doing more than merely rap about his personal flaws. There’s a new couch out there for him, and without spoiling anything for viewers, Richard’s going to test it out. We all have unique ways of dealing with painful memories, but let’s venture to say no one’s done it quite like this. Out with the old and in with the new, Richard. Keep on truckin’ brother.

“We are so in sync.”

Taking on a risky performance hobby like slam poetry could drive your friends away. After a bad show, you’ll see them disperse, awkwardly speechless and embarrassed for you. If you have the strength of foresight, the artist in you may also open doors to new, altogether unexpected friendships. In Episode 6, “Confession”, Richard makes a new friend at work who’s also hiding a secret talent, the ever affable Oliver Henry.

Scribe’s courage to recite a poem in the middle of a business meeting leads most of his colleagues to think he has simply lost his mind, except for Oliver. Richard’s new friend offers him the genuine praise he is seeking out in the tougher crowds of the streets. Later episodes will find Richard and Oliver entering some unchartered waters that cement their budding friendship into an all-out artistic bromance.

“Turning people on with art.”

While an epiphany is usually associated with a positive change in one’s life, sometimes the painful impetus that precedes the “ah-ha” moment can leave people feeling blue. In Episode 8, “The Erection Situation”, Richard comes clean about how his wife’s cheating has affected his sex drive.

While attending a hot tub party, he meets a unique group of women who perform a reverse strip tease underscored with poetry. Needless to say, this annoys the guys around him, who were expecting some T&A, but ignites the dormant passion Richard felt when he recited his first poem.

Yet again, Richard surprises himself and those around him with his own tender reaction to something seemingly unattractive by normative standards. Slowly but surely, by following his heart, Richard Scribe becomes a white-collar poet; a true artist who knows that turning others on means flipping his own switch first.

Click to watch Episode 3 of White Collar Poet:
“Served & Witnessed”

Word to your broker.
Episode 4 of White Collar Poet: “Banging on the Couch”

Annie Murphy has been obsessed with writing since she learned English at age seven. Originally from Burma, Annie’s unique background gives her a fresh perspective and voice. She has an addictive personality, mainly with TV shows, Flaming Hot Lime Cheetos and gangsta rap.

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Must Reads 9/17/2014