Saturday, September 21, 2019

writing & art bits | september edition



My upcoming full-length collection due out from Black Lawrence in 2020  has a cover and it is a beauty! Really, what else says my work like a bit of Victorian bdsm, raw meat, and doll parts?  It's actually a modification of a /slash/ collage, initially created for a dgp cover and I love it so much! The pre-sale page will be up in the next couple months for an April release, so keep an eye out for that.

Work on extinction event continues to go well and I should have lots of material for my reading on October 9th at the Field Museum.  Apparently, I am also getting PAID for said reading and am always incredulous when I do...seriously, I would read for nothing.  And for this one, hell, I would pay to read in such an awesome venue.  I  will be headed back for a couple more visits (and just to also see some unrelated things I missed my first go round.)  I haven't started submitting any of the work around yet, but it's pretty good. Weird, but good.

Some of the {licorice, laudanum} poems, aka the HH Holmes project,  landed in a new issue of decomP. 

The third and final segment of the Nasiona Magazine editor interview is now available for reading.

Keep an eye out soon for pieces in The Journal, Typehouse, and Midway Journal from several different projects...

Thursday, September 19, 2019

paper quilling workshop



Next Tuesday night, we'll be teaching a paper quilling workshop in the library as part of our How-To-Tuesday Series.  I've been Pinteresting like mad, and while nothing I make is even half as beautiful/intricate/complicated as these, it should still be some fun experimenting with papery objects.

Columbia College Library
624 S Michigan
1st Floor
Tues, September 24, 2019
7pm-9pm


Friday, September 13, 2019

316 gardenia street



Maybe I've been spending too much time watching spooky vlogs on Youtube, but an impetus for a new project came to me last weekend that has already yielded some promising results.  I was watching a segment devoted to haunted dolls and thought about the importance of stories when it comes to all things supernatural--hauntings, sightings, paranormal activity.  How really ghosts are a kind of story, or the memory of a story after something has happened or someone existed.  And I've always found dolls, even the unhaunted ones, somewhat creepy But also very much imbued with their own stories. .  What resulted, and how it manifests, remains to be seen, but what I'm thinking is a sort of installation/catalogue of my experiments and discoveries with the dolls,  which feels absolutely right to be doing this time of year as we get closer to Halloween.   There will be the website, of course, as well as other artifacts and installation projects.  I've gotten a start on the project, which will be unfolding in real time if you'd like to follow along @ 316 Gardenia Street...


Saturday, September 07, 2019

all sugar, all milk



I was thinking about how it's the 15th anniversary of the dancing girl press chapbook series, and realized  that also makes it the 15th birthday of my first chap bloody mary.  

In the spring of 2014, a lot was going on.   I'd been editing wicked alice for a couple years at that point and had a dream of a possible print operation companion.  I was finishing out my first year of grad school getting my MFA and had started sending out my first full-length mss..  I had just won a pretty big Chicago based prize and the 1000 bucks attached to it (and thus had a little wiggle money to devote to poetry). 

The previous year, Moon Journal Press had taken my first chap, The Archaeologists Daughter, but it would still be another year before it was published.  I was doing a lot of readings locally and fending off incredibly flattering inquiries about whether I had a book people could buy.  Also engaging in a flourishing online writing community where everyone was always trading work.   I thought to myself, if this press thing was going to be a go, I might want to start with issue-ing something that, if I botched it or found it horrible, only I would be affected. It actually worked out pretty well--since I was clueless, I taught myself how to layout something that could be manually double sided (something almost comical in these days of duplex booklet printing).  I bought some nice resume parchment paper for a the cover, used the library's pamphlet stapler, and I had a book.  The cover image was courtesy of Alaina Burri-Stone, whose work I encountered in stirring and would also use for another chap of mine, my first full-length, some of the wicked alice print annuals, and a couple later chaps by other people.)

That first edition was slightly shorter than the one pictured above.  After the initial 25 were gone, I did a second revised printing of another 25 , with a few more poems tacked in and a new, more sturdy watercolor paper cover. The entire chap only exists in those 50 copies.  Where they went or wound up, who knows?  We do have a copy in the library I donated.  I traded them to a lot of other poets and gave many away.  I sold a few at Quimby's here in Chicago. When I read at the Poetry Center that fall, I sold quite a few there, along with a second chap, belladonna, also released in 2004.

Looking at the poems themselves, there is much of what went into the fever almanac here, including the title poem. An earlier version of "nebraska."  What are more interesting are the poems that never made the jump--either thematically or quality-wise.  Poems about ghostly twins, memorial photography, wicked stepmothers. An early poem about Little Red Riding Hood that would be revisited as the "book of red" project.  Some of it' s overwrought.  Over done. I had to learn to reign back on the "poeticalness."

"When you speak it's like honey.
The flutter of wings and drones
harbors in the bones of your throat."
 
from "sugar"

The bulk were written in 2002 & 2003, when I was really beginning to publish work in online journals, so almost all of them appeared in various places electronically.   I would follow it up with that second 2004 chap with some newer work and a cardstock cover, most of which also made it into the full-length, but this one holds an especially fond place in my heart for it's roughness.







on routines



As I've mentioned a few times in various arenas, the fall semester brings me back around to my ideal and preferred schedule--when my studio time is a little more productive a the the beginning of the day and my routines a little more stable.  I thought I might give you, dear readers, a peek at what goes down in any given day...


10 am:  Linger in bed until the alarm stops sounding (which negates the purpose of leaving my phone on my desk in order to propel me from bed and not keep hitting snooze, but oh well.)  Eventually, I get in the shower, though sometimes I wait for the shower to warm up whilst scrolling through instagram and lose another 10 minutes.

10:30 ish:  Finish showering, and sometimes, esp. if it's cold, crawl back into bed to warm up in my robe and a towel wrapped round my head. Get piled upon by cats for another 15 minutes while I convince myself I should get up when I would actually much rather stay here.

10:45: Get dressed (luckily I usually know what I'm wearing, and it's all just dresses, so this is easy.)
I have a lot of shoes, but usually will grab whichever pair is closest and matches and/or do not make my feet want to die. . My beauty routine pretty much only involves face lotion, deodorant, tooth paste, and a defrizz serum.  My hair is usually still pretty wet when I leave the apartment, and then I usually apply lipstick rather slapdash on the bus ride downtown. I tell myself this makes my hair look beachy and wavy but more likely I look like someone who has no mirror. I'll put it up at the studio and out of my way, and this tames it a little into something more presentable.


11-Noon:  I try to get out of the house by 11am and at the Fine Arts shortly before 12 (my commute is about 45 minutes door to door in low traffic..I spend this time planning my day or reading, or once I'm downtown, people watching on the Mag Mile). If I'm ready to go early and have proper groceries (on rare occasion) , I'll have breakfast and coffee at home before I leave and write a little.  If not, I'll get food downtown and do some writing there while I wait for my printers to start up with whatever I'm printing that day.

Noon-2pm: I'll answer e-mails and do some layout work while I wait for printing. Then assembly, trimming and such the rest.  I try to have the envelopes & package labels ready to go for things going out that day already, so it's a matter of popping them in and sending them on their way as I head out the door.  I'll get up earlier and get in more hours as needed here, but 2-3 is my standard.

2pm-10pm  My shift at the library starts, which is only a couple blocks down from the studio.  My days here vary depending on what's going on, what's priority, and what might come up.  Right now, I'm busy with beginning of the semester reserve collection processing and ILL mostly, and around those I squeeze in some A of R planning and materials design.  There are sometimes meetings and handling desk trivia. By evening, I'll usually have eaten a snack (I have dinner later at home) and if there isn't anything happening programming wise, I will either work on A of R things, or some design stuff for that or the press when things are quieter and/or read submissions. On a productive day, I might have time to work on my own creative pursuits, but these are most relegated to weekends.

10-11pm. Commute home--usually a little faster b/c there is less traffic on LSD.  I do a huge chunk of my leisure reading here--mostly novels.  When I get home I typically make dinner --sometimes a salad (lest you think it's healthy, I pile it with cheese and croutons and dressing) or more often something microwaveable. I'll read blogs or futz around on the internet while I eat. 

12pm-2am:  I usually will settle in with an episode of something while I am doing the stationary bike (pretty much the only exersize I get besides walking)  and then tidy up the apartment (clothing and papers and dishes--my mess) and then the cat boxes and sweep (their mess) then lately will watch netflix or youtube fashion vlogs until I go to sleep around 2am. I try to be religious about 8 hours, especially in the cooler less-daylight prone seasons, but in summer I get a little less.


There are of course variations, when I have the usual  phonecall with my Dad on Weds nights., when J sleeps over Thurs or Fridays, but this is pretty much my schedule during the school year.  Weekends, if I'm not working are devoted to editing work and maybe submissions and mss. plotting. Painting or collages on Sunday sometimes (though not lately). Occasional date nights, but a lot of watching streaming. (currently Gilmore Girls.  Again.)  And of course my marathon horror film watching now as we move into fall...








Friday, September 06, 2019

notes & things | 9/7/2019


We are already one week into the semester.  One week into a routine or a flow or a chaos, who knows which.  I am enjoying my mornings in the studio instead of going straight to the library, which always leaves me too tired to be really productive when I'm there.  (no one cares if I'm sluggish in the evenings--the most strenuous thing might be having to hold down the cir desk for awhile, but nothing that involves designing or answering e-mails or making books.) Tonight was our Board Game Night, always a crowd pleaser and one of our most well attended events each semester.  The weather has been cool and rainy, and next week I will start swapping the fall wardrobe in (normally I do it at the beginning of September, but we got a late start to summer this year.)  But I am already eyeing fall colored things, and have even drawn out the denim jackets a couple times this week. It's coming.

This weekend I am hoping to cut a wider chunk out of dgp submissions for next year.  We wound up at around 470 this year, which means I have my work cut out for me.  I'm hoping to have a batch of responses out soon, and the entirety done by Thanksgiving.  Since I'm busy in the library, and possibly a little busier now that I'm chairing the Program & Events Committee (where I'll be orchestrating some exhibit policies and a promotion inventory) in addition to the usual A of R stuff, my days will be packed tight with only a little legroom for press work there (which is where I've traditionally spent time reading submissions in past years.)  I'm also point person on the Artist in Residence program this year, which is going to be AMAZING (check out or resident artist here) and some other random stuff that has been shuffled over in all the restructuring. So it will be busy, but all fun creative things.  We'll also be presenting at a couple library conferences in October, one a session on zines and Chicago zine resources at the Chicago Resource Summit, and another, a poster session on curated learning at the Illinois Library Assoc. Conference.

Since this may be last weekend of freedom for a bit (I'm in Rockford next weekend and working the following.) I intend to also spend some time getting some horror movies in and drinking a lot of coffee and maybe some more work on extinction event, which has a couple more segments from this past week.




Saturday, August 31, 2019

writing & art bits | august edition



*August vanished down the rabbit hole and I didn't check my Submittable for a whole month, but was delighted to find that I had THREE acceptances waiting for me, including these pieces from SWALLOW in the new issue of Sweet Tree Review.   Other pieces from a couple different series are also due out this fall from decomP and Midway Journal.  While my 100 rejections project has fallen prey to general life chaos, it's nice I did get a few more acceptances than usual out of the year regardless.

* Part 2 of the Nasiona Magazine interview with fellow editors landed a week or so ago, with a final segment due out soon.

* cover preparations are in the work for next spring's SEX & VIOLENCE (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)..I can't wait to show you!

*I've been deep in my extinction event pieces for the Field Museum reading, which is happening in the Museum's Gidwitz Hall of Birds on October 9th.  When asked where I'd like to do it, I waffled between amidst birds and dinosaurs, but it's fitting the poet who wrote a book years ago called IN THE BIRD MUSEUM, is going to be reading in an actual one. 




Thursday, August 29, 2019

broken things



"In this box, I collect the broken things.  The twisted oak, the dusty lynx. Budgies and buntings and  speckled hawks tumbled from their nests. We are going on a picnic and can take only the most unfortunate.  The deer missing it's antler, the one eyed frog.  Like Noah, we build and build, but the space gets smaller.  Nothing can breath. least of all me, my lungs stopped up with feathers and the small animals I've smuggled inside the body for safekeeping . In the box, we rustle the feathers and bend the bones, but nothing fits, even side by side, stacked vertically in rows.  Nothing sits upright or thrives. We name them, tag their tiny feet, and still, nothing moves inside the box.  All night we soothe them with sounds their mothers make, but still they sleep and dream of trees."-extinction event


I have been working over the last few weeks on my Field Museum poem series and it's going remarkably well.  The reading will be happening October 9th, and I'll have more details soon on the where's the whens and the particulars.  I've been doing a fair amount of research on diorama artists and taxidermy methods and such and I'll be headed back to the museum itself a couple more times over the next few weeks to do some more writing.. It's funny but sometimes I feel poems pulling in certain directions--old directions--and have to reign them in.  This is not that poem.  This is not that place. But then again, perhaps there is value in the wandering from your task. 

I'm hoping to get back to my habit of writing over breakfast, which has been harder when I've been landing into the chaos of work and not the quiet of the studio daily for the past three months.  My daily writing has turned more into random spats over the weekend or in stolen hours during the week. It's still coming, just not as vigorously,which is okay sometimes. Fall always means more seriousness, more purpose, and I'm looking forward to it in spades.