Friday, February 17, 2017
I am typically not really a makeup person. Maybe it was a slight failure to launch when I outgrew the novelty of playing with grownup makeup and was supposed to move into my teen years. I always had a marked fascination with my mother's rather large-ish nail polish collection--which eventually became my own collection hoarded permanently in my bedroom from age 10 on. Mind you I rarely actually used them, but I liked having them lined up prettily on my dresser, liked to line them up by rainbow color formation . Similarly, I had a bunch of mostly unused cosmetics stuffed in drawers and kaboodle organizers. Would buy cheap Wet & Wild glosses and lipliners every once in a while and vow to use them, but rarely did. I kept them, though, until they fell apart or dried up, as if they were some sort of magic potion. There if I needed them, but usually tossed in the trash eventually My mom has always been a full-on makeup person, so maybe my aversion to actually using the thinsg I hoarded was slightly a rebellion against that--the time daily I watched her applying foundation, mascara, eyeshadow and lipstick (and she was actually far less maitenance than other women I have ecountered who go full eye makeup and lipliners and such) I liked the colorful bottles and the shininess of the colors, the slick packaging of cosmetics in general, but they seemed like something I could rarely be bothered to mess with in that brief 10 minutes after the snooze button-shower-throw your clothes--barely brush your hair beauty regimen. (which is pretty much my routine still.)
I liked playing with them and marveling over them, but whenever I actually applied them, I didn't like how they altered my face--it felt so stagey, so over the top, a diminishment rather than an improvement. While I decided early on that eye makeups weren't for me at all, I liked lipsticks, but hated how they rubbed off, or dwindled to nothing and would have to be replied. (which I really didn't have time or patience for.) Lately, I've been a tinted lip balm kind of girl--Burt's Bees being a favorite, though I have very recently come to appreciate some super-long staying lip stains.
Nail polish is my one beauty indulgence, however, and the one self-care things I probably do on the regular every Sunday--always the toes, sometimes the fingers. Granted my nails take a lot of abuse (pulling out crooked staples, ink, general damage) so they usually are looking pretty rough by Weds and need to be redone, but I do rather deeply enjoy the girly ritual of choosing a color, removing old polish, filing and trimming and repainting. I've never been one for manicures since I find other people touching me to be kind of annoying and I rarely want to sit still that long (and paying someone for something I can so obviously do myself), But I do like having rather spotless nails for a couple of days (unless I've somehow already gotten paint all over them Sunday night, which happens now and again.) I usually will go one polish color each changeout, but sometimes I'll do more daring or bold colors on the toes (sometimes, bright colors annoy me on my fingers since I'm looking at them so much. ) My favorites, of course are red (Opi's I'm Not Really a Waitress is a fave), since they seem to go well with my skin tone, but I love a dusty pink, sometimes just a jet black in the winter months.
Friday, February 10, 2017
As time goes on, I've realized that sometimes the very things I find myself obsessing over and loving may have, in fact, been one of the things I once hated. About 5 years ago, I found myself in the midst, at least among plus size retailers of an animal print renaissance. I hated it so much and had a hard time hunting down dresses that did not look like I'd just returned from hunting big game. , And while I am not generally very fond of most animal inspired patterns (snakeskin and zebra leave me cold.) for the past couple of years, I've been just a little obsessed with leopard print things--handbags, ballet flats, throw pillows. I basically stalked a faux fur leopard coat on overstock.com for two years until it hit a price I could afford. I splurged on a Ralph Lauren dress a couple years back (above) that is one of my go-tos. I have at least one other dress and two other skirts, and have recently scored a lighter weight trench on ebay. Granted, leopard is best used sparingly, but I feel very 50's pinup vixen when I wear it (or psychotic crying spurned girl).
Thursday, February 09, 2017
At the same time, dang, that shit is expensive. Travel , hotel and registration, even if you make it onto a panel is costly. Book fair tabling--egads, even if you split. I've done it, but it's always like this huge chunk of money out of pocket (and my pockets aren't that deep) And I rarely am able to make it back, even the years that books are selling like gangbusters. My student loans funded my 2007 jaunt to Atlanta. and in 2014-Seattle , it helped to be staying with friends. The Chicago conventions I attended were easier since there was no travel or accomodations involved (I split a table with Switchback books in 2009 and in 2012--I opted just to host an open studio down the street instead of a book fair table, and luckily was able to register as a panelist otherwise.) A couple years back, I had all intentions of going--travel and hotel booked, a table slot paid for, and a financial setback at the last minute prohibited it.
And even money considerations aside, there is also the whole getting time off work issue (more difficult now because we're understaffed at the library), the getting places without a car and extreme anxiety around flying. The stress involved in making 80 lbs of books and carting them cross country alone on Amtrak (which I did for Seattle and will likely never attempt again.) The making the 80 pounds of books in a short period of time also stress-inducing--making sure we have enough of each thing, but not too many. Deciding where to draw the line on what to bring and what won't possibly fit on a table when we publish so much.
And there is also my mixed feelings on the mfa-cation of writing..AWP being the mothership of the academic-creative industrial complex and what that means for people outside it. The people who feel like they do not fit in / cannot afford / do not feel welcome at at AWP. AWP's reluctance to furnish childcare or offer a diverse enough array of panels. Also the pure bloat of it--the all consuming monster of it over the past 10 years.
Part of me wants to be there because all my friends are. Wants to work it some way that I could avoid the actual conference hall but still hang out with other poets and do off-site readings and maybe even sell some books somewhere outside the book fair. Maybe host a big dgp reading and party off-site while all the writers are in town. But then there are so many readings and parties and it's impossible to actually get to all the things you want to.
I attended my first conference in 2004, in Chicago, pretty much only becuaue I was still an MFA student and it was free. I remember how small it was relatively, tiny enough to fit in the Palmer House alone, but how overwhelming it was at the same time. I sort of drifted from panel to bookfair and back to panels. I know pretty much no one in those days outside of a handful of fellow CCC MFA-ers. The poets I did know outside of school, locally and from online were mostly non-academicly oriented and just not there. Or maybe they were there, but I didn't know where to find them or connect in that pre-facebook world. I was still pretty much totally under anyone's radar, as a poet, as a publisher. DGP was only a glimmer in my eye, and I wouldn't issue our first title til that fall. (though admittedly I was leaving thick piles of wicked alice pliers on all the free tables as I went.) I'd been publishing for a couple years regularly in online journals, but the book fair was mostly print pubs,so the editors weren't familiar faces. I hadn't published any books or chapbooks and no one really knew my work. I also was only beginning to read widely of my peers, so I didn't really know who anyone was--the authors reading, signing books. I was completely invisible and it was at the same time both wonderful and terrifying. I didn't feel in any way a part of that world and yet I wanted it.
It was actually probably the first and only time I got to go to a lot of panels that weren't my own (by 2007 I was bound to the book fair table almost the whole time.) My choices were scattered--Publishing chapbooks, Hypertext Poetry, Blogging. I went to one off-site reading up the street at Rain Dog Books that actually sparked my obsession with Diagram / New Michigan Press (where I only remember that Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis read and it was amazing. I proceeded to stalk NMP until they published my chap three years later and Sophia until she submitted work for dgp. (and we've published her twice..lol..).) Mind you, I was still too meek to introduce myself to anyone, so I watched and observed. I wondered downtown with my little black and orange totebag and felt like I was the most seriously writerly creature in the world.
By the time 2007 rolled around..I was a little wiser in my ways and not so invisible. (I ran into my as-yet-unmet-in person Ghost Road Editors in the lobby six months after the book came out and felt like such a celebrity. I knew more blogging poets, more poets in general, forthcoming dgp-ers, whose list was growing every year. More journal editors who were publishing my work or people who had encountered either my poems or my blog or the press.. I definitely felt more at home, more in my element--as a poet, as a publisher. What a difference three years could make. Mind you, I still feel really introverted and awkward, but alcohol helped .(I'm pretty sure there were only a few sober hours at the book fair in Seattle 2014 my last go round. The rest of the time I was raiding the amply stocked bar at chez Menacing Hedge and double fisting Jack & Cokes through my Friday night reading. )
And that's the stuff I miss most about AWP--not so much the book fair and the panels, but more the social and community aspect. And maybe I do need to find a way to get the good stuff without the expensive and too-academic-ness of it all. One could (and some have) go to AWP without actually, ya know, going to AWP--be it taking advantage of free day at the book fair and going to all the offsite stuff. I just might have to do that next year.
Monday, February 06, 2017
Today was all about a quick studio tidy (I can almost see the countertop, so it's a success) as well as printing a big order of chaps for Berls Poetry Shop and another larger author order. Things get a little harried sometimes, with covers and books and paper trimmings pretty much on every available surface. I've been thinking of some furniture rearrangement that will maximize some free wall space for hanging (particularly if I'll be opening up the studio in the coming months.)
I am trying to ease into my week, which is always a rough. bumpy experience after having the weekend off. I'm succeeding in my obligation-free weekends, at least for the last month or so, my mini weekend retreats, which are paying off in some good new work, both visual and writing-wise, so we'll see if they can continue. It's nice to have that slight pause in the whirlwind to look forward to every week. I've been pushing myself harder during the week to get as much done as I can to guarantee that bit of breathing space, so it's extra necessary.
Friday, February 03, 2017
I tend to save many of my shorter dresses & skirts for the winter season when I'll be wearing tights, mostly since I don't like having to constantly make sure my ass isn't showing in the sort of wind updrafts and downdrafts that haunt Chicago year round. I have many babydoll cut dresses that work well with tights and boots and have lately been indulging my 90's nostalgia with things like burgundy velvet, small ditzy florals, and lace up boots. While my actual 90's attire tended toward loose flannels and worn sweatshirts over leggings or jeans and the occasional long hippy skirt as the 90's wore on (ala Friends) I like to think these are the sort of clothes I might have coveted were I were not in my early 20s and very poor. (and also doomed to stage set endless messy painting while I was in college.)
I'm particularly loving rich fabrics--the velvets, the waffle knit dresses, the furs and flannels that dominated the decade, as well as the smaller, more winter/fall florals. Granted vintage was having a hayday then, so a good amount of 90's fashion is actually earlier decades in disguise, particularly 30's, 40's and 70's, but there are certain lines and looks that seem definitively 90's. kind of makes me want to dig out my Hole CDs and dance around the apartment wearing fishnets and Doc Martens (but I probably won't.)