Tara Lyn Armstrong

Tara Lyn Armstrong

Self-Proclaimed Mayor, writer, event organizer

January 14, 2013


Themed Poetry Series


Toledo is a more literate city, no small thanks to Tara Lyn Armstrong. Considered "The Mayor" in some social circles, and mostly at the Glass City Cafe, Tara has been organizing Toledo's Themed Poetry Series since 2011. She is also responsible for the annual Erotic Literature Night, which takes place again on February 15th, 2013 (this time at the Davis Building). We asked the wordsmith about her inspirations and thoughts on Toledo. Don't miss a special reading by Tara on Tuesday, January 15th at Launch Pad Cooperative.

Tell us more about some of your past projects:    
I’ve organized the Themed Poetry Series since February 2011 and have hosted more than a dozen theme/genre specific literature readings mainly at Glass City Café with support and encouragement from Steve Crouse.

What current projects are you working on?
I’m currently organizing a third annual erotic literature event which brings not only dirty talk but true eroticism to the open ears of people who already enjoy sultry and sweet nothings, as well as to the open minds of those who are willing to give it a listen. Look for it on Friday February 15 in the Davis Building.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?
Think local! There are amazingly talented writers with unique voices to share experiences, thoughts, and observations—all walks of life from the privileged to those who seem endlessly down on their luck—and the moment someone is willing to listen, the willingness to write and share feels that much more worthwhile. The appreciation for this city grows daily, but the continually growing support for the movers, shakers, and go-getters never ceases to amaze me.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?
Anything that brings people back around to reality: cynicism, criticism, nihilism, and sexuality make great inspirational tools. But, I suppose listening and watching folks meander through their lives is inspirational in its own way. The mistakes they make, the successes, the outrage, the idiocy, and the immensity and greatness of the ride.

Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Oak Harbor but was raised in Toledo. Holly, my mom, was never a small town woman, but she made sure my brother Brandon and I attended a great high school while maintaining wide open options for our lives. I lived in Dayton for a few years where my twenties served as a late blooming adolescence. Coming back to Toledo has clearly served me well. No matter how far away I travel in the future, I’ll always be proud to call Toledo home.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?
”Nobody likes Sober Tara.”

I’m too much of a realist, so I tend to go with Nike’s famous tag, “Just do it.” You may fail, you may never succeed, you may not even try, or try again, but you have to just do it or you’ll never know much about anything.

Favorite place for local culture?
There are so many ways to immerse yourself in local culture: art walks, literature readings, live local music shows, festivals, TMA exhibits, the farmers’ market, baseball and hockey games, bar crawls, pub rides, wandering, observing, living, et cetera. Toledo culture is everywhere whether you bother to notice or not.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 
…swimming around in a bottle of Smirnoff Ice surrounded by friends who make fun of me for not drinking beer.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.
It’s a tie between Dr. Susan Shelangoskie, English professor at Lourdes University, and Dr. John L’Heureux, professor at Stanford University.

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.
Amazon.com because I can buy the CDs and books I don’t want to live without. And Facebook because I’m a tool of the social networking powers that be.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .
Cynical, realistic, outwardly internal. That’s four.

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.
”Graceland” Paul Simon

“Vegas” The Crystal Method

“Chutes Too Narrow” the Shins

“Wincing the Night Away” The Shins

a personalized and picky mix of various artists that makes some people sing and others yark.

My biggest vice is . . .
Smoking, drinking, socializing, creatively criticizing, grammatically correcting, and probably tennis shoes.

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.
An amazingly huge bank account with my name on it.

What’s the last dream you recall having?
Probably something treacherous, violent, and centered on money.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .
Academically speaking, dissecting the lyrics of “Very Busy People” by The Limousines consistently inspires cultural and societal awareness. On a personal level, a friend told me I’m a hopeless romantic. I don’t know if the observation threw me for a loop because it isn’t true, or because it is. As much as I want to believe I’ve escaped that damsel in distress drivel, I am lately captivated by a few tunes on “Codes and Keys” by Death Cab for Cutie.

I want my last meal to be _______________.

Several bottles of Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante, a pack of Camel menthol Silvers, a stack of blank paper, and a Pentel RSVP medium point black ink pen.



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