Saturday, February 06, 2016

postcards: this week

So most of this week has been the same charging train, but there were good moments.  Sunday, I spent more time cooking and painting, Monday was the  premier of our first Aesthetics Zine Night, where I got to sit for a couple of hours and make something entirely new with scissors and sharpies and glue sticks. Also, our Blind Date with a Book display where I had a hard time not hoarding all the books that looked interesting for myself (and truthfully did manage to purloin more than a couple.)  Getting out orders and author books and some review copies of recent titles. A Friday afternoon making posters for our next workshop on old book pages.  A Saturday spent sleeping in and staying home and listening to music.   I'm trying to move slower and more deliberately through the world, and my weekends off are becoming more and more a part of that.  Winter is actually so far being easy on Chicago and there was even some sun a couple days this week.  Soon, the days will be getting noticeably longer and the world will start itching for spring.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

This weekend was further confirmation of my need to close up all hermit like and spend my weekend sleeping in and cooking and painting and not talking to anyone but the cats.  I feel like an asshole sometimes when I impose those boundaries but winter makes them necessary more than ever. I do feel like I'm able to handle my week much more productively and successfully when I have that carrot at the end of it, an actual weekend and not just the usual hecticness.  But I did finish a new series of paintings, plus actually cooked a bunch of stuff to eat all week, so I'm feeling virtuous and productive despite my hermitness.  I sometimes feel like I have this really great apartment that I've spent lots of money and time on and I never get to really BE there.  Mostly the cats live there, I keep my clothes there and sleep, but that really feels like all the time I spend there.  I want to change that, but given I work 40 hours / week and then another 15-20 in the studio, 10 or so going to and fro all week, most of my hometime is sleeping save a couple hours at night.  So weekends are an indulgence I refuse to give up.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

So this week has been filled with reserve collection crazy and bookstore orders in the studio and general business, but I did manage to not only bingewatch American Horror Story's latest season but also to put the finishing touches on the apocalypse book and send it off. This weekend, I've also played around a bit with my brand new set of acrylics from Christmas and hid out from the world, but it's Sunday night, and Monday means back to reality.  Back to the inbox and layouts and all hopefully a little more awake than I've been during the break's early hours.

As for the book, I am feeling pretty good about sending it out into the world.  There is also more progress on SALVAGE's release come spring, author photo and bio choosing, and a cover soon no doubt.  When I'm not doing it, writing again feels very far away (I've been tweaking and editing more than generating the past two months--necessary, but less fun).  I plan on getting back to the blonde joke poems now that that manuscript has been tidied up and sent out, and also sending out some of the new work to journals.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

It's been a busy couple weeks that started off with a few slow days at home, a few more days back at work and then I was off to New Orleans, which was beautiful and warmer and pretty for the sake of being pretty. Also seductive in that I several times considered  abandoning my Chicago life and moving down there to set up a little art/paper shop in the French Quarter.  We started the week with shopping in the Garden District, an architecture tour, visiting Lafayette Cemetery. Did touristy things like The Aquarium and a swamp tour later in the week, shopped more for vintage and art in the Quarter, had dinner on Bourbon Street a couple nights. (I ate everything I think I was supposed to--beignets, po-boys, jambalaya, gumbo, fried chicken and shrimp. Or at least what someone who doesn't actually like most seafood would. ) It was a brief repreive from January, which was coming down hard on the midwest this last week. I think my very favorite things were Hotel Monteleone's rotating Carousel Bar and the very cool Trashy Diva store on Magazine Street. I came home with mostly art prints and some other souvenirs. Of course, I also came home to winter and and it's horrible hands clutched around everything and a burning desire to go back until at least April.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

endings / beginnings...

Due to bout of recovery and some NYE's date plans held off till tomorrow night, I find myself nestled in on the couch with chinese delivery and Netflix and some time to think about the past year's creative developments.

Writing-wise, admittedly it was a slow year in terms of actually sending work out.  I had good luck with most of what I did, with only a couple of outright rejections, but I always think I should be sending out more if I actually want to be appearing regularly in journals (and not dissappearing from the publishing world almost entirely.)  I don't really have the ambitions I used to have about getting work in to X or Y-Journal (and alot of those journals have inevitably become dissappointing and uncrush-worthy sometimes)  There are still lots of favorites and new interests though and I should be sending them work.  Early on in the year, I was buoyed by the news that SALVAGE had been picked up by Black Lawrence, so there has been much in the way of blurb gathering, copy-editing, and cover design talks the latter half of this year getting ready for it's May debut.

Despite some work on a new series, DIRTY BLONDE, back in the spring, I spent alot of the summer and early fall NOT writing anything at all, which finally, like a bad fever,  broke in November, where I managed to finish the STRANGE MACHINE pieces and the final section of the apocalypse manuscript., which if my final tweaking pans out during the weekend, I may just have ready to send out soon. There were still some poems in journals--most by request--Split Lip Review, Hound, Whiskey Island.  A couple anthologies, The American Academy of Poets Poem-A Day anthology and Sundress' mermaid volume.  A good smattering of interviews and reviews of existing books, including my interview on dgp in the American Book Review.

I did make a lot of headway in terms of artwork, more paintings, more collages, trying to get things into shows and into other venues.  I've been trying out new techniques and incorporating them with collage. The only list longer than my future writing projects is my future art projects list.  I'm hoping now that poems are done to get the STRANGE MACHINE zine finished up later this month.  I also have a HUGE new set of acrylics I am itching to play with as soon as I get back from my New Orleans trip in a couple weeks. One of the more prospicious things I've been working on this year is some digital work with the Catalogue zine series, which is mostly just a little project I occasionally work on for fun, but which will be offering up some good images for prints and stationery this year in the shop.

As with any year, the goal for the coming year is to not let creative work get subsumed under the tide of other things--library work, the press, general life stuff. To create with purpose and goals, but not to let them be the master of me. To continue to do what makes me happy, not what I feel like I should or shouldn't be doing according to po-biz or others. To stay the course...

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Sunday, December 27, 2015


Somehow the bulk of December slipped down the rabbit hole of getting things underwraps for being out of town, holiday shopping exploits, and endless stupid workplace drama. I usually do a year-wide wrap up of writing related things, so I will save talking about project and news on that front for another day, but besides a bout of Christmas Day stomach flu, the holiday went off nicely--many celebrations (even though I had to miss a couple)--gifts of chocolate and booze and art supplies I can't wait to dip into.

 As we were wrapping up the last one yesterday, I was thinking of an article someone had posted on FB about the ghosts of Christmases past haunting the Christmas present--grandmothers and others we've lost over the years. There's currently a rift on the maternal side that prevented us spending Christmas Eve there and it was disorienting to not have that touchstone. Since I live out of town, holidays are the only consistent time I get to actually see some of my cousins. Last night, with my Dad's side, as another cousin was packing up her adorable 1 year old, it got me thinking of my Aunt Judy, where we also spent a few hours every Christmas Eve, who having died about 10 years, missed seeing her great-grandaughter. Every holiday like that does seem superimposed on the past ones. My grandmother on that side died when I was only six, but I still remember the chaos of her rec room on Christmas Eve, the flurry of poker games and wrapping paper. The scent of her Oyster Stew (not necessarily a pleasant thing, but a familiar one). I even attempted her vodka punch this holiday (well my own version of it.) And other grandmothers, Thanksgiving celebrations at my great-grandmother Chloe's in the basement where I was eternally relegated to the kiddy table. My maternal grandmother's own Christmas Eve chaos in her bar-room with mountains of presents and her mesmerizing tree full of shiny red glass balls (glass ornaments being verboten in our house). After she was gone, those yearly Christmas Eves (the one we missed this year) at my Aunt's house, sometimes lasting into the wee hours. (Some years it was the first destination, sometimes the last). It's weird to not spend it there, even though we had a perfectly good time with a friend of my mother's.

 Outside of feeling a little melancholy and contemplative, I intend to spend the next few days until I go back to the city relaxing and recovering from my various ailments, eating all this chocolate, watching bad televsion and not fretting. When I get back, I'll probably spend a couple free days back in the studio, do some work on the mermaid anthology project, and work on finishing some final tweaks on the slew of poems I finished back in November. We have a few straggler chaps from this year that will be making their debut in January, along with a whole new bunch for 2016 in February I can't wait to show you...

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Monday, December 07, 2015

I've been in the final stretches of late with the apocalypse book, having finished all the poems in their tidy sections.  I was not writing for months, for much of the summer and the early fall and then it sort of just all came in a rush during November.  The final pieces are still very rough and I feel like there is still ordering and such to tend to, but it feels like the house is built, the foundation is laid, the walls sound, and all that's left is to finish it up--paint the walls, lay the carpet, throw out the trash, and move in.  I'm aiming to do this during the break most likely, since I will have a little bit of free time between Christmas and New Years.  Otherwise I am pushing my way through more blonde joke poems, of which there may be more than the small chapbook I intended, and since I am making sure to write everyday (which is a challenge, especially since I am struggling to get back on schedule with chap releases by year's end.)  I may have something a little more substantial by the turn of the year, or at least something a little more hefty to work with.

Winter is dragging on me already though.  We don't have much sun, and when we do, it's that annoyingly blinding low winter sun. I hate this part of the year..I say it every winter...and yet every winter, I expect something different..We actually have had rather mildish weather, and unlike last year I am at least on my feet, so I won't complain too much.

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