Thursday, May 23, 2019

in a dark wood

As I was revisiting my plump series and the accompanying collages, it got me thinking about magic in my work--the fairytale kind of magic. I've always considered myself a writer that wanders into the supernatural ever so often (seen in obvious places like the Resurrection Mary poems of archer avenue, the ghosts of the fever almanac, many of the things that happen in girl show.  Even my more grounded, autobiographical work goes there frequently--salvage has it's urban mermaids, for example. even  major characters in minor films is populated with ghost and haunting mentions.  It's probably too many horror movies and books in my upbringing, and, of course, hysterical since I see myself ultimately as a skeptic. 

But my more fairy tale oriented work seems to have a more everyday sort of magic happening.  About 20 years ago, when I first began writing anything that was of quality, I turned to fairy tales quite often--Rapunzel, wicked stepmother stories., Little Red Riding Hood. My book of red project was about the latter, and my first attempt, for reals, at an artist book.  (though you could argue my junior year Scarlet Letter book was the inadvertent first.) It was followed, of course, by my longer project, the shared properties of water and stars, which was loosely based on Goldilocks and her three bears, told through math problems, but was more a riff on a certain suburban angst than about the fairy tale itself.  plump, of course, being the most recent example. 

I think becuase they are ingrained so much in the human consciousness, it's hard not to fall into them sometimes.  I've been working on my "artist statement" series of late, and there is one poem about mothers and daughters that touches on fairy tales and writing

"Fairy tales tell us that the daughter must die.  Or more often, the mother.  Light softening to violet and then the red from all that blood.  No one could tell who was bleeding more until the prince freed us from the castle."

Sometimes, even when I am not writing about magic, I sort of am. 

for a little more discussion on fairy tales & my work, read here...

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

writing & art bits | may edition

* I've had a couple weeks off in my daily writing endeavors, mostly because things got super crazy and now I have to adjust my schedule a bit for summer work hours.  (which means I either do some writing when I land at the library or wait til I get to the studio this evening--though my brain power by then is never as good.) The artist statement project up til then, however, is humming along and already I've placed some pieces in an upcoming issue of Typehouse. 

*I did put some single copies of necessary violence up in the shop. I'll be soon sending out subsciption bundles with the latest offerings, so it's a good time to join in if you want all the fun this year will certainly bring--including the taurus series w/ accompanying art and the print manifestation of the strangerie pieces.

*In my ongoing digitization efforts, I recently put up e-chap versions of the science of impossible objects and plump. Since so many of the smaller books are limited edition, I figure why not get them readable to a far wider potential audience, especially given how successful things like my james franco  series has been as an e-chap. While some of the pieces wind up in online journals, this gives you a chance to see the text segments alongside the visuals in a way you usually cannot.

*My 100 rejections attempt has led to a few rejections, but 100 seems a long way away, so we're probably going to be going for about 20.  It's 1/4 of the way through the year and I only have about 6 of them). There's still another dozen or so out there and I have had 3 acceptances with another one on the horizon w/ some edits. I also have some solicited work from the {licorice, laudanum} coming up in Tupelo Quarterly. 

*I am steadily working toward getting ready for my open studio event on June 14th, which will be here before we know it.  The studio is still a mess, but I am slowly working toward ordering the chaos and am hoping to have a good stock of old things available, with an eye toward some new things (prints, paper goods) come July if things go well.

chicago cryptozoological society

Another successful seller at Zine Fest on Saturday were our Chicago Cryptozoological Society zines..which are sort of just for fun and not at all serious, but they seem to be popular (and tend to dissappear from the Library Zine Exchange like hotcakes whenever I add a stack.)  It's hard to believe that little project is going to be two years old this summer.  We conceived of the project as part resource/part shenanigans, and it included along the way some pranks and hijinks (including a little trolling on reddit) , but mostly has produced the zine series this far. I have some more serious creative projects, in line with last year's Cryptotaxonomy series from last year, so keep an eye out for that. There are also some prints we initially debuted at last fall's Indie Press Fest available soon from that series. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

curvy girl fashion: ditsy all day long

Somewhere, my 90's self is extremely happy that not only are fluted sleeves back, but so are ditsy prints.  Not that they went away completely, but finding a good floral is not always easy--much of what I've stumbled across is either ho-hum or garish.  Whenever I find one I like, I usually snatch it up immediately, whatever the retailer.  There's something always classic about a subdued floral. This year, so many ditsy prints are everywhere (see my last entry on old Navy for a couple I recently picked up.)    I also recently ordered this one on sale from Modcloth, since I've been stalking a plus size version of a similar dress on Pinterest.  Today, I came across a plus size dress feature on Buzz Feed about Walmart's on  point dress game and spotted the above bit of lovely for ridiculously cheap and bought that (and two others, one paisley, one navy striped).  I now have no money and may be eating ramen this weekend, but really, I'm okay with that because these are GORGEOUS.  And these look to be light enough weight to not only be wearable this summer, but with enough coverage to work in other seasons as well. I've got a couple other Walmart dresses, bought in store sometimes when I'm Rockford, and they're actually pretty good quality for so cheap. I've been wearing a navy blue cotton sundress I paid about 8 bucks for on sale for about 5 summers now and it's still a favorite and hasn't fallen apart yet.

whose story is this and why?

The internets are aflutter with discussion and memes about Sunday night's Game of Thrones finale.  I was neither less nor more less disappointed than I've been all season long.  That is, after we passed the point where things began to feel rushed and half-assed .  I think there is much to be considered as to exactly WHOSE story this was.  In a show with so many characters and locations, as you wind to a close and begin to zero in on events in one place and among a select group of characters, who is in the scene begins to reflect who the story is mostly about.  At times toward the end, this became harder to discern.  Was it Tyrion?  Was it Jon Snow?  Was it Daenerys?  Who are we following?  Who should we be rooting for?  (this I think is why many people were really frustrated with the Mad Queen scenario, they thought it was her.)

And what of those characters whose story it once seemed to be (I'm thinking primarily of Cersai here) who become merely the antagonist in the final season, and not a very layered and carefully drawn one at that.  Obviously, since she got very little screen time and an unspectacular end, it wasn't really her story.   Or Jamie's.  The closest you might come is Tyrion.  Who are you supposed to hail as the hero of things?  Not Jon Snow, surely?  And certainly not Bran.  (I would argue the only two people with a lick of sense in the whole damn show were Sir Davos & Sam--interestingly one who could do nothing much but read and another who was being taught how to read.) They kept saying that Bran was the person who held all the stories and the memory, but surely Sam, with his refrain "I read it in a book." was just as knowledgeable.

There is much in there about the importance of reading and knowing history in order to avoid repeating it. think of  Joffrey's reluctance to read the history of the Kings. The entry on Jamie Lannister that Brienne completes. Sam's book at the end. It brings t mind the quite that history is always told from the side of the conqueror. Had Dany not gone awry, it would have been her history to write.  So who then do we look to as our hero?  I was really pulling for Sansa to end up on the throne, because it would make sense for it to be her story, given how badly she fared through much of the journey.  

Monday, May 20, 2019


This week I am working on the year-end zine project for our Book to Art endeavors based on War of the Worlds and it got me to thinking about how lovely last year's result, Dark Forest, the Grimm project, which included my little chap of Hansel & Gretel poems, as well as a couple of separate collage pieces.  As someone who once enjoyed writing greatly about fairy tales (and still do) it was immensely satisfying to visit this particular one-espec. since I planned on including it in my FEED manuscript eventually, particularly with the witch as a semi-sympathetic figure.  The visual pieces also turned out similarly well--I was going for a paper doll/puppet feel, something I am working with for other projects.

You can see a sample of the work at Tupelo Quarterly where a segment of them were published last year.  I've also put up a full electronic version of the project.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

just lie down and it will stop

One of the debuts yesterday at Zine Fest was the print incarnation of necessary violence, which I did manage to pull together in time despite a crazy week (I was working half days in the library and spending lots of hours in the studio working on a couple large book orders, so very little layout time, which I usually do when it's quiet in the evenings.) It turned out lovely however, and seemed to be reasonably popular yesterday, people seeming to gravitate toward it before they even knew what it was.  A small distro bought a few copies at discount, so it's good to know it will be reaching another audience (that doesn't already know me & dgp.)   It the culmination of a series/project that started about a year ago when I began research, so it's exciting that it was able to shape in that time.   I always say poetry doesn't go over that well at Zine Fest, but I think they were stealthy enough as prose that they snuck in under the

Friday, May 17, 2019

Tomorrow, A of R will be holding down table G8 at the Chicago Zine Fest with all sorts of goodies, including free resource zines and some of our creative projects from the past two years like Breton's Birthday and the Grimm project, Dark Forest.  We'll also have some crypto publications courtesy of The Chicago Cryptozoological Society, our little spin-off endeavor, and a few other selections from A of R affiliated artists.  I'll be personally  bringing my newest subscription series offering, necessary violence (aka the slender man stabbing poems) and some other assorted zines and mini prints (plus I'll be giving away some zodiac scrolls leftover from last year)

In honor of our AofR focus topic coming in the fall, we also made up these--a serious of cards devoted to our very favorite ladies of true crime.  We plan to continue to grown the deck, so look out for individual cards coming to our vending machines in the lobby maybe later in the summer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

curvy girl fashion | old navy

In the past, my experiences with Old Navy have been a mixed bag.  Years ago, when I shopped mostly in stores, I would occasionally hit up the store on State Street and make the long journey to the back corner where the plus size offerings--what there were--lived.  Mostly I would buy solid or novelty t-shirts to wear with the long skirts that were sort of my uniform (long skirt, t-shirts, sometimes layered, cardigan).  I don't remember if there were dresses, and if there were, I don't think any appealed to me.  I did buy a peacoat I was tremendously fond of. Eventually, they took the plus size offerings out of the stores entirely, I heard. but by then I was shopping mostly online anyway, and I did buy a few cute dresses over the years, including a couple sheer ones bought when I was heavier and pinned to fit properly now I liked them enough.  Other things came and went, and in recent years, I would comb through occasionally, and they had some solid staples like knit sundresses and maxis (which I can't do) but nothing I didn't already have or couldn't find elsewhere more appealing.  They occasionally had dresses in cute prints, but for smaller sizes only.

A couple weeks back, I was randomly browsing Poshmark in my size and came across a couple cute NWT sundresses that were Old Navy and bought them, not expecting much, but feeling like I needed a shot of warm weather clothes to combat the gloom. When I got them, they were really, really nice.  Good material, good fit, perfect;y knee length (a rarity, everything is always so short on me).  Twice as nice as things I'd paid double and triple for elsewhere, so I went hunting on the actual Old Navy site and found many similar dresses and ordered a handful with what was left of my birthday money, including a navy gingham that is a nice, textury, almost seersuckery cotton that will be perfect if we actually get a spring or summer. I was raving on social media and made the mistake of going back and found the black tie neck, that I just had to have in all 3 varieties (these are more year-round staples than the sundresses--or at least that's what I told myself as I typed in my credit card and bought three of the same dress--black, red, & navy polkadot. )

Whether or not it will be warm enough this month to break them in, I have no idea, but they are definitely even nice than they look online, which is a rarity...