Thursday, April 17, 2014

writing process blog tour

(Erin Elizabeth Smith tagged me as a brief stop on this cool little blog tour.  Enjoy~)


A writer and visual artist, I am the author of several book, chapbook and art zine projects, including the shared properties of water and stars (Noctuary Press), girl show (Black Lawrence Press, 2014) and the forthcoming major characters in minor films (Sundress Publications, 2015).   I live in Chicago, where I run dancing girl press & studio and spend much of my time writing, making papery things, and curating a chapbook series devoted to women authors.


Right now, I’m working on a visual/text project involving a series of epistolary poems I wrote last yearcalled lunarium, which will hopefully manifest as a box project involving the letters, envelopes, postcards , and various ephemera.  I am also working on a series of dream poems, a novel-like mss.. in prose fragments about a creepy hotel, and some text pieces to go hand in hand with a series of postcard paintings I’ve been doing.  There are also some projects still in their infancy I occasionally turn over in my head, including things like monsters, pinup girls & the atomic bomb, ransom notes to my former self, and other fun stuff.


Since I tend  to float a bit between genres,  it’s maybe hard to pinpoint.  Most of what I have been writing lately has been more prose-like , but I suppose it still sounds a bit more like poetry than most prose.  I think with every new project , I try to something different, be it with language or with narrative or voice. Lately, a lot of things work in conjunction or in dialogue with visual art—collages, paintings, found objects, so those things influence my work in a way that varies from a lot of writers.


I tend to write toward my passions.  My little pet obsessions.  On the other hand, I sometimes feel like I’m writing around the same sorts of subjects but with different approaches with every new manuscript—the body, language, a particular kind of female danger/transgression, the gothic, transformation, place and locality. Each one is probably an attempt to get a new understanding of the same sorts of things.


Since I work both a full-time job and tend to the press another 30 or so hours a week, my writing happens in bits and spurts rather than any sort of disciplined framework.  I am always reading though—be it novels, poetry collections,  dgp chapbooks I’m working on, so I write down a lot of notes and ideas that eventually go into poems once I can sit down and make something of them.  Over the years its sort developed into a collage-ish process  where I never know for sure what I’m going to end up with at the end, or the direction in which individual pieces will wind up taking.   I also sometimes try to trick myself into writing by pretending what I’m doing is just for fun—my I*HATE*YOU JAMES*FRANCO pieces came from such antics, as did my recent series of apocalypse poems.  It sort of takes the pressure off and helps avoid pesky creative blocks.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

The weekend has been full of rain, but also packing book orders, reading poems, coffee.  Also, beginning to migrate the winter things (sweater dresses, tweeds, autumnal colored fabrics) into the trunks and bringing some of the spring/summer stuff out of hiding (at least the sundresses that look good with all those damn cardigans). It's a little early, but I've painted my toes a bright pink and ordered a new pair of sandals (though it'll be a couple months before I'll probably actually get to wear them).

 This week will be much of the same, hopefully with less rain (though they are threatening snow tomorrow, but I'm going to pretend I didn't see that.)  I'll be working on new books this week and releasing a couple more into the wild. The week is also bisected by a copyright workshop for libraries in Wisconsin, and then a trip home for easter at the end of the week.  And there are other unpleasant things like taxes and laundry before it's finished and all no doubt keeping me away from doing other fun, more writing-oriented things I really want to get some traction on.  I've finished edits on the lunarium poems though, and obtained some lovely glassine envelopes, so I'll be posting some peeks at that later in the week..Until then..

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014


And so with the night sky the past couple of nights that velvety blue with it's perfect half moon, and with an urge to to make another box project, I've once again turned my attention back to the little moon chap, some of which was gobbled up in the forthcoming major characters in minor films, but most of which I intended to be a zine with something of a visual component (what I wasn't sure of until a couple of days ago.)  Since the poems are, in fact, love letters, I'm amusing myself with thoughts of making them as such and involving all sorts of cool things like moon-related ephemera, diagrams, charts, old stamps, glassine envelopes, stereographs and postcards.  The timing is perfect since I am running a bit slow on the zine I was working on for this month and these things, the letters anyway, are already finished, so I can focus more on the visual aspects while plodding away on those other poems. It will probably be a smaller edition (maybe only 25) since my materials are limited, but I am excited about it. It will be a box thing, sort of cross between what I did with the Cornell project and then later, the Billet Deux missives. All sorts of little pieces to be opened and discovered.  Stay tuned for more details...

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Monday, April 07, 2014

of fire eaters and ordinary monsters

And so it is the cruelest month, but it's not all bad.  Warming weather. Tulips in the beds on Michigan Ave. An excellent weekend, that while I was studio bound on Saturday, found me Sunday first at WomanMade Gallery, reading a bit from girl show and the underground house series, and then at a cool sideshow performance in a very-20's era basement jazz club in River North abouts (so very speakeasy--the entrance was actually tucked down the alley in the middle of the block..)  There were, of course,  burlesque dancers, sword swallowers, and firebreathers aplenty, and also an example of very improper use of staple guns.  Mondays are always hard, and today I've been slowly pushing off several tasks til Tuesday/Wednesday and deciding that sometimes I am way too overambitious at the beginning of the week to actually finish the things I plan right out of he gate. 

Friday, as I was musing over some cover ideas for upcoming dgp books, I was struck with a new idea for a series of poems built around Monstrorum Historia, which I've encountered in many vintage image galleries in individual pieces, but hadn't actually seen the whole of it.  They probably would be more modern in focus and just inspired by the drawings, but it's an intriguing idea   Of course, this project has to get in line behind a few others I have in the hopper at the moment, but I'd love to start working on it at least piecemeal later in the month.

Otherwise, I am enjoying tacos and cupcakes and new plaid dresses and all this extra glorious daylight...

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A brief bloggerly excursion from the trenches of dancing girl press lands me here, but it's been hard hacking a clearing through the overwhelmingly wonderful pace of orders and work on various new releases since getting back at the beginning of the month.  I survived spring break, but much of it was spent in tandem either working, in the studio, or having cocktails with co-workers, sometimes one or two of these things at once.  Much of life is sometimes one or two or possibly three things at once, so thus, I am sleeping well whenever I get the chance to crawl into bed.  We've also been getting a little kinder, though still chilly weather, but warm enough that I can go without boots or scarves, which is a first since early Novemberish.  I noticed the harbors and the lakefront are nearly completely thawed, which means the boats will be soon returning , and once that happens, the leaves are not far behind.

In the realm of writerly news, the dreams about houses and bees zine project and its poems are nearly finished and ready to manifest, hopefully over the weekend.  There is also another series of fun poems for next month underway as we speak (text only).   I have a reading coming up at WomanMade Gallery this weekend, for which I plan to read some girl show poems and maybe a few bits and pieces from other stuff.  There are also, @ Blood Lotus Review, some pieces, an interview, and a review of the shared properties of water and stars, as well as a short review of it at OONA.  I also have interview up with me at MonkeyBicycle, in which I talk about writing, the press, and other artsy endeavors.

Yesterday, I packed up the very last unclaimed copy of at the Hotel Andromeda (besides the single one I am keeping) to send to a buyer and was thinking how much I want to get cracking on the next box project, unusual creatures. (I would love to include it as part of the subscription series later this summer if I can finish it.)  Sadly it's one of a dozen or so things stuck inside the starting gate that I've yet to make much progress in. I did finish a set of collages last year for it, but there are many more, plus most of the written stuff.  I am finding the subscription series is keeping me moving forward, even with only a handful of them going out and keeping me accountable.  (Incidently, there's still a chance if you want to get in on the action.)
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Sunday, March 23, 2014


We had the slightest taste of spring late this week, but I awoke to a dusting of snow this morning and an overly chilly apartment.  I've been busy righting the listing ship that AWP left me with, projects behind schedule, a slew of orders to get in the mail.  I have a number of spring season titles that are ready to make their debut, and a couple that already have (books by Min Kang, J Gay, and Amy Wright.)  I am mid way through this month's zine offering, a set of collages and the house poems and hope to have it wrapped by the end of this week.  There are big library orders almost ready to ship to Yale and Buffalo.  Contributor copies ready to go out on [carriage return] --which sold out at the conference and I had to make more.  Mostly I am just plodding along and trading my boots for shoes and watching the magnolia tree near the bus stop for any sign of bloom.  It's technically spring break this week, so my schedule will be off no doubt, wanting sleep when I have to be awake, wanting to eat at all the wrong times.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

terrestrial animal

You can now get your very own copy of this weird little prose poem chap filled to the brim with underground houses, dysfunctional housewifery, and cold war anxieties…  I am willing to swap for pretty much anything (chaps, books, lovely paper things, ephemera, postcards, tiny art pieces.) 

Just shoot me a message at dancinggirlpress (at ) yahoo and I will send one your way…

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