In 2013, my resolutions are the usual ones: Be productive. Be healthy (or healthi-ER anyway). Be fearless. Be in the moment more. Lets hope every year I get a little closer to fulfilling them...
In 2013, my resolutions are the usual ones: Be productive. Be healthy (or healthi-ER anyway). Be fearless. Be in the moment more. Lets hope every year I get a little closer to fulfilling them...
As usual, it was a holiday filled with too much booze, too much fudge, and all sorts of awesome presents, including some art supplies, lots of household goods, and a whole bunch of yummy bath products. Meanwhile I am trudging through that last week of December and trying to keep in mind that even now, the days are on their way to getting longer. There is a fair amount of napping and catching up on sleep, a little mss. editing and fine tuning, which I am hoping to polish off and get started on something new in the next couple of days. I'll be headed back to the city on the 1st and plunging back into a great number of things, new projects, new books, and my annual attempts at January massive housecleaning and organization. I'll be back in a day or so, though with the yearly round up and some new writing and art related resolutions, so stay tuned...
Pretty much everything about today is that pallette, from the light outside the library windows (what there is of it), to the churny waves on lake michigan, to the color of my dress and my desk (though that is actually more beigish than greyish). The day started out with chocolate, progressed through some library tasks, some quick shopping for gift cards for the more difficult giftees, and landed with buying a (yes, grey) vintage embroidered Italian bedspread off of ebay for under $50 (an amazing and completely chance find in itself--I went looking for snow boot possibilities). I will be heading to my parents' house tomorrow after all, so will be doing most of my shopping there I plan to hit the B&N for books for the little ones (yes, I am that relative..) Tonight, I have to finish up author copies on one book and the last few days of orders and then I'm outta here til January (or indefinitely if the world ends, whichever comes first.)
meeting one of our future authors, Megan Burbank (who's chap Notes on Lee Miller will be out next spring) as well as some other new poets I encouraged to submit to the next reading period and wicked alice.
The woman who asked me what I though the of the poems in havoc in an offhand way not knowing it was my book (I was waiting for her to tell me she hated them and they weren't her thing..her tone was completely unreadable.)but then she said, she really thinked she liked them but didn't know anything about poetry.
giving an impromptu demonstration of chapbook construction at the very end of the night to a guy who had made saddle stapled menu's for his restaurant before, but had no idea you could do such things with literature..I'm pretty sure I was trying to convince him to take workshops at the Book & Paper Center by the time they left.
That strange little houses and dreams and bees project (which has actually been retitled since I ditched the bees entirely as the shared properties of water and stars) has been occupying my time of late and has, as of this afternoon, been met with some good news regarding its publication. In many ways, it's a narrative thing like beautiful, sinister, and like that project, more prose than poetry. The writing of it seemed alot like that manuscript, though this feels more fairytale-like, more allegorical and less novelesque. The characters don't have real names. There is an ambiguity between reality and fantasy. There's are alot of riddles and twisty braidedness to the narrative. I found myself struggling between opaqueness and clarity (deliberate opaqueness hopefully) I feel perhaps like it's a lot rougher, a lot less "cooked" as someone once described a certain piece of work I had written. I had been invited to send it to a new little press venture and the edtor liked it, thankfully. It feels good to find it a home since it's been shoved aside so much over the last couple of years while I worked on other projects (the moon letters, the JF thing). It's looking like it will be coming out at some point in 2013, so watch for details.
Alas, it looks like I was getting sick after all and had to miss the book fair, which sucks since the money I would have made might have been good to by some last minute supplies for things I'd like to finish up by Friday. On the plus side I was stuck inside all day and made some progress on the new book project. I hate December, I really do--it always feels like the ass end of the year and it starts getting dark a little after 4, which means there is only about 10 hours of daylight. January is just as bad, but at least that feels like the beginning of something new and not the end of something all used up.
I spent yesterday in the studio working on some packaging for various things, so am in better shape for Friday's shindig, with only some jewelry stuff to finish and some paper odds and ends. I do have Friday off, so can hopefully avoid the major rush when it comes to pricing and tagging things since I will have some time beforehand that day. It gets a little too crazy that night with a steady stream of people in and out to actually finish anything once it's happening. I still never have everything made that I originally plan out or would like to have. We've been funneling alot of proceeds back into new titles, so my budget for new ventures things is a bit more limited in favor of the tried and true. Of course, I've been spending my own money frivolously on clothes and shoes and such that could have been earmarked for creative things, but ah well..If a pretty new sweater dress keeps me from feeling sad on these dark, dark days, then so be it..the same goes for good coffee and a bit of daily chocolate.
Despite my winter funk,however, I am counting down the days til holiday break, which seems all too short this year at only a week and a half. There is much betwixt me and that time off however, including our semesterly deluge of returns and some slow 9-5 days next week once classes end. I am getting some new ILL training and plan on having the new reserve books at least on order to get them in January before we leave (ideally by this Friday actually, but the list is slow going).
The weather turned colder again and with it, a downturn in my mood. I also feel off and feverish and could possibly be getting sick (given that I haven't even had so much as a cold in about a year-very rare). There are weird tensions at work and ickiness (not necessarily mine, but a general unease making things less fun.) I've been holding to the rails and beginning to work on the reserve textbook list for spring and getting ready for the yearly December deluge of returned items. As for press-doings, I think I'm about ready for the book fair this weekend, but for the open studio next Friday, not so much. I've learned I'll never be really ready for such things, so I just need to relax. I'm also trying to clean up a manuscript I promised a prospective editor, but it's slow going amid the general chaos.
There are 5 books set to release in the next couple weeks (books by Alison Armstrong-Webber, Jen Tynes, Caroline Klocksiem, Mary Stone Dockery, and S. Whitney Holmes, and possibly a couple more if things fall together as I like. If so, I will pretty much be caught up, a mystical idea not unlike a unicorn, so I'm not quite ready to believe it's going to happen. We are, however, quite close to releasing the 200th official dgp title, which will necessitate some sort of celebration book giveaway on the FB page, so keep an eye out there for that. I do admit, I was surprised we'd issued so many titles in just 8 years (and we seem to be moving even faster lately since I've upgraded our production means (the double sided printer and the format flexibilities, the new guillotine trimmer.)I've streamlined the workflow for each chap as well and the system seems to be working well. Today, I was able to assemble and trim about 50 chaps in just under an hour, now only if I had more hours(admittedly I'd probably been moving even faster if I hadn't been scrolling through facebook and a couple articles simultaneously.)
Meanwhile I'm feeling very Joni Mitchell about Christmas this year, wishing for rivers and awayness sometimes..
Another week, and already biting into December. I spent the weekend, as planned, in the studio assembling books and packaging, and at home, making jar candles and working my way through the amazingness that is American Horror Story. I feel like the next two weeks are tightening up with obligations and I'm trailing a finger along panic mode but determined to keep hold. I do have some new papers and dresses on their way, as well as some more soap base (I'd like to make another couple batches of the fruity varieties--blackberry and maybe pomegranate)...Today, I spent some time trying to take an author photo for the back of the Black Lawrence book, one which doesn't look too old style authory but not too artsy/hipsterish (and also one that doesn't look like I took it myself, even though I did.) We're getting inside of a year, and already the book has an ISBN, some blurbage, and an awesome cover design. It's exhausting thinking about what needs to happen in the next year in terms of promotions and setting up readings and releases and all that stuff.
I have been feeling strange and contemplative the past couple of days, mostly due to weird chance elevator encounter from the not so distant past and a note slipped under my door (or a note that was supposed to be slipped under the door but instead wound up in my hands.) It would be sweet if it weren't quite so bittersweet, but it was also also bad timing, muddling up my thoughts as I was rushing about like mad right before leaving town. I don't know what it means, or what my thoughtful reaction to it means, but it's been on my mind a lot since Wednesday. Otherwise, there has been turkey and ridiculous amounts of stuffing, and today, a little thriftstore perusing (though the big, new place, yielded a whole lot of nothing.)
I have some new dgp books set to release very soon and also at least one wicked alice update on it's way over the next couple of days. Otherwise, I am just waiting out the workweek, which ends Wednesday, and then it's off to Rockford for a few days. Despite all that's going one (not one but two TG dinners, belated family birthday dinners, thrifting excusions, trashy Vampire Diaries viewing with my Mom), I'm hoping to put the finishing touch on a writing series I've been playing around with a little for awhile and keep abandoning in favor of other things (well there's actually a few things like that), plus get some more new words down on paper.
I'm not liking the dark though. Riding out to Elmhurst on Saturday night for a friends wedding, I was reminded how depressing the landscape really is this time of year and how dark it gets so early. I think I forget it in the city, where every street and window is so well lit, especially now that the holiday lights are appearing strung on all the fences and trees. The suburbs, though, are filled with these random dark patches that are downright spooky when driving. And I don't even want to think about that creepy country road darkness. I get sort of lost this time of year, those hours between when the sun sets and when it's really feels like night (roughly 4-8pm.) Like I don't quite know what to do with myself. Like it's still technically the afternoon and I'm not really ready to do night sort of things (watching movies, writing, reading, going to bed.)
Tonight I am reading at the Book Cellar for the Fifth Wednesday release, the recent issue of which contains a couple pieces from beautiful, sinister. I'm finding it hard to decide which additional pieces to read from the project, though, since it is predominantly narrative and harder to excerpt, but I'm sure I'll decide on something before I leave work at 5pm. Meanwhile, I am sneaking glances at the latest kitten cam and loosely plotting a paper puppet project of some sort. This weekend is busy, but I'm thankfully not headed out of town til Wednesday night, which gives me some time to finish up some things early next week before I'm basically out of commission for a week in Rockford. I do hope to get some writing done perhaps, but not much else beyond that except eating leftovers and watching trashy tv.
Mid-November and I have finally made it through the last of the dgp submissions an entire week earlier than I expected (there were 500+ considered, but I broke them up into bits and pieces throughout the summer and fall, so this reading period was actually a little more manageable than past ones.) There was lots of mint tea, some handwringing, some quick budget projections, and some twitchy eyelid stress. But there is also so much goodness scheduled for the coming year, including some second books from past dgp-ers like Emily Lindemann, Brandi Homan, Cati Porter, Leah Browning, Eva Schlesinger, Sarah Sloat, Lisa Cole, Erika Lutzner, and Erin Bertram. And indeed so many books by new authors, all of whom we will be previewing over on the dgp facebook page over the next few months so watch that space.
I once again took on so many books we will probably always be slighty behind schedule (lately, I aim for about a book releasing a week, but it usually happens more in clusters of two or three, with some short breaks to recoup). But then a deluge of amazing manuscripts is not exactly a real problem to have. I still have some titles coming in before the new year from this past season mixed with the new books (see above comment about always being behind) but business is brisk, books are selling faster than I can get them out the door, and things are good in our little corner of the small press world.
Which of course means that I am progressing slower on other things, but trying to be more diciplined about working on projects. No actual writing yet this week, though, and it looks like any creative ventures on my own will have to wait til I head off for Thanksgiving and maybe sneak some time in among the turkey comas and holiday hustle bustle. Again, so many ideas and plans. Again, not a bad problem to have.
This is my last open weekend before things get crazy with readings and weddings and Thanksgiving plans and then we are sliding crazy fast toward the new year...
As I'm getting ready to fill the shop with all sorts of new things for the holiday season, I'm marking down some of the older lovelies to make room for the new. All of our hand-dyed vintage slip dresses are currently 30% off the usual price, perfect if you're feeling a little Cat on A Hot Tin Roof...
But then I really sort of do like the idea of the poems existing only in their own little chap projects and wonder if I shouldn't just leave them there and not try to corral them into something longer and, I've been feeling lately, somewhat redundant. Full-lengths seem to lend themselves to more longevity than chaps historically, but I've been thinking a bit of making some pdf's available on my website of out of print things (this has expecially been the case since I know that the fever almanac is now officially out of print, and beyond a small stash of copies I have, sorta hard to get.) That way, things like the andromeda poems and maybe even older work would have a second, digital life. (there's even been rumblings about Dusie e-book versions of in the bird museum at some point.)
This also ties in with what I've been thinking about the career necessity of full-length books, the emphasis and weight placed on them in terms of that whole ridiculous "legitimacy" issue (and po-biz in general that mostly just makes me yawn.) I love my full-length books, but there are actually chapbook projects, even self-published chapbooks, that I am infinitely more proud of in terms of the actual work.) And since I'm not really in the market for teaching positions or grants/awards and such nonsense (thank god), I have a bit more freedom to do what I like in terms of distributing work however I see fit. (Heck the JF poems, by virtue of being available for free online, were probably read by more people than either of my book books, which makes that probably my most successful project to date).
I've also been working on a lot of projects that don't lend themselves to traditional book format really, stuff like shipwrecks of lake michigan (images/text), radio ocularia (diagrammatic and pop-up poems), and unusual creatures (writing in the form of letters, ephemera, and diaries). I feel like traditional books and traditional publishing have become less and less useful to me as someone who just wants to write and make things and go on about the business of doing so.
So it is Halloween and I find myself incredibly nostalgic for childhood trick or treating episodes and the subsequent horror movie marathons with my Dad (even if Halloween fell during the week, we were allowed to stay up as late as we wanted both watching trash and eating candy like it was going out of style.) I remember a few costumes, particularly those vinyl tied wrap around costumes with the uncomfortable masks..things like Cinderella and Strawberry Shortcake. In kindegarten I remember I was a devil in red pants & turtleneck with plastic horns and pitchfork. Later I was getting too cool for kiddie costumes and opted for "punk rocker" several years in a row, which basically meant I dressed like an extra from a Motley Crue video and put spray dye in my hair. I don't remember dressing up at all through most of junior high and high school, but did quite a bit in college (the possibility of drunken costume parties seems to have rekindled my creativity). I still do most years as an adult, though, especially since we've started doing Theatre Bizarre every year.
Tonight though, I'm library bound, though I have managed to finish up the manuscript of moon poems and send it off into the world in time for the chap deadline I was aiming for. I also managed to get all of the new collages framed and delivered for the next Art of the Library show, which opens in the next couple fo weeks. Yesterday, the waves on the lake were huge and grey and Atlantic-like even inland in wake of the hurricane on the coast, which meant the wind coming in from the water howled all night outside my windows, setting the perfect stage for spookiness.
The coyotes walked the porch last night and my hands are anxious. Three nights and at dusk, the yard darkens, the room darkens. Small animals move along the baseboards, howling and mewling in tandem with my heart. Two loggers were lost today, and I mourn according to the condition I find myself in. The lawn is a strange artifact. I dress in black. Make plans to go south in the winter. Still a white powder coats the window sills. I dreamt my hands held a bundle coddled and clotted. I passed the sugar, passed the salt. Am ever fluent in distraction. From the bed, hope looks like a shadow moving along the wall.
I've been working a little the past couple of days on the project using the cabinet card and old photo images. As I was making them, I was thinking it might make a cool box project, reproduced / doctored photos and maybe letters, postcards, calling cards, ephemera, etc. I'm hesitant to do another Victorian themed project since I feel I've already exhausted that impulse, but somehow these images seem to be begging for it and I've been waiting to do something in a box for awhile now. Of course there is still the pop-up thing, and a couple of poem-only projects I am in the midst of and never enough time to do everything (even the cards have taken me over a year to get to properly).
Detroit, however, was good, despite some travel diffulties and logistics. Theatre Bizarre was the strange amazingness it always is. So much cool stuff, including a huge diorama of the original grounds, lots of fire performances, a "sinema" featuring scare films, and a disorienting layout of rooms opening onto rooms. I always feel creatively inspired by what I see there, as well, in terms of the way John Dunivant creates this little (well,sorta big) world and invites others into it. It makes me want to create things like that (well on a smaller scale anyway..)
I am working on another box project for Rebecca Dunham's Facsicle, which is a collection of poems and prints from Dickinson's Harbarium. And there is still the long overdue tarot project that will be finished at some point.
Otherwise, the world is a flurry of tiny yellow leaves and a lot of rain. I am waiting for a promised bout of Indian Summer..
And so we move further and further into autumn and I am anxious about all sorts of things, but now am just pushing through to the end of the week and the awesomeness of Theatre Bizarre, which is its own little world away from everything for awhile (be it a world of flame swallowers, burlesque dancers, sideshow performers, and debauchery.)I need to get away for a couple days to restore my sanity and blow off some steam.
Meanwhile, I am making good steady progress on finishing out the last of the 2011/2012 season of books and plotting the next. I still have more than a few submissions still unopened in the inbox, but I plan to finish them off before the end of the month, plus iron out something like a structured schedule for next year's titles, most have which have been accepted already. There are also other things coming before the new year (a box project from Rebecca Dunham, the tarot deck, my radio ocularia artist book thingy.) And of course, preparations for the big holiday open studio in December.
I'll be finishing a couple manuscript projects during this time also and winging them off to certain open reading periods, so here's hoping someone likes them. My productivity in the writing arena waxes and wanes, but I've been pretty steady lately and have some interesting things to show for it.
I would love to undertake & finish projects maybe on a monthly basis, this month including the moon poems and the radio ocularia images. Also make some new crafty things with the supplies I've been hoarding, but time gets swallowed up in the day to day, in library tasks, in books, in bus rides and random errands. And sleep, which is a thing I need more and more of as the weather turns colder. In the summer, I'm usually hopping from bed bright eyed and bushy tailed, but now, I have to bribe myself with coffee to even get out of it, let alone into the shower and dressed (and that doesn't always work.) I did hear the radiators kick in at dawn this morning for the first time this season, that endless clunking followed by warmth and definitely didn't want to get up when my alarm went off at 8. I'm also hungrier when I'm colder, which is annoying when I'm stuck at work so late and am starving by the time I get out of here, let alone an hour later when I get home...One of our former student workers, who had been living in San Francisco, was talking about the low there usually being in the 50's at most. If it weren't for potential earthquakes, I could SO deal with that.
The past couple of days I have been trying hard to think of everything as a learning experience, as some trial that teaches me more about myself, more about what I want, what I need, what I can tolerate and what I can't when it comes to relationships. Second chances are all well and good, but they probably only make it harder to walk away a second time. Yes, it was good, but there are boundaries I have to keep for my own sanity, my own autonomy, and once again it was too much, too soon. I like to think I at least tried, was open, and I was, but there were too many expectations.
It's not even about monogamy, which I can take or leave, but more about feeling in control of my own life and time. Yes, it's probably selfish, and self-centered, and overly control freaky, all charges that have been leveled at me in the course of the last month or so at various impasses. (and whenever someone calls me a control freak I'm like "Duh..do you even know me at all?") And it's almost a relief, the letting go without reservation, even though it's a little sad. I don't want to put myself in a position to hurt people, to mean that much (or at least be told that I do) to someone that I feel responsible for their well-being. Which also seems like a manipulative thing in some ways.
But I am finding solace in other things, new poems, galleys to proof, new projects in my notebook, other random fall plans. I was suddenly very anxious for Thanksgiving to get here (equal parts missing my family and being really hungry for something besides Chinese food, salad, pasta and frozen pizza.) I am moving on again, and this kitty pretty much always lands on her feet whatever you throw at her (or throw her off of.)
It's finally getting colder and I had to pull my black coat from the studio closet where I stuffed it away in March. Today, I am attempting to organize my bedroom closet into something like funtional and finally moving all the summerish dresses toward the back and the winterish ones forward. plus trying to persuade myself to wear some of the ones I rarely do, simply becuase I keep rotating the favorites. I also have my eye on some new lovelies, but I need to wait til they go on sale or until I have more money in my bank account, whichever comes first. And then there are the shoes, of which I need to do a serious purge on the overly heeled one's I never wear at all (if I were driving they would be fine, but they are way too uncomfy for the amount of walking to and fro I do.)
Otherwise, I am mostly sleeping, reading, and watching a little of season 2 of Walking Dead on Netflix, which reminds me that I need to start queuing up my Halloween horror list as we get closer..
It's rainy, chilly day, and I waited for the bus interminably, but I think the whole romantic drama issue is sorted out and moving in the right direction, which frees me up to be all angsty about other things like art projects and half completed manuscripts and whatnot (and that's a good creative angstiness and not a sad, crying sort of angstyness.) I also got some news that the release of I*HATE*YOU*JAMES*FRANCO is nigh, as in coming in the next 24 hours, which is exciting, so stay tuned...It's a busy week with this and the art opening on Friday(another sneak peak of that series above), then preparations for the Open Studio next week. I did manage to work on another piece of the moon project last night, so it's looking possible it might be finished by the end of the month as I planned...
Today, there are hazelnut lattes and book trimming and a stack of new texts for library reserve to process and already, halfway into my day, I am tired and worn out. I am sort of unfocused and unrpoductive compared to usual Tuesdays, distracted and all sorts of wonky. If Tuesday feels like this, I fear Thursday. But am forging ahead, slowly, and determined to get the backlog of dgp titles out during October, so much good stuff, and especially since there is so much other amazing stuff coming for the 2012/2013 series. I have also been neglectful with wicked alice, which is sort of ridiculous, since I do have content queud up and waiting, but so little time to mess with formatting. I need to just get it all ready to post and then schedule it for busier times. Meanwhile, there are other mundane things I've neglected to get to, like dying my hair before the blond at the roots takes over actually drying the load of laundry I started last night before it gets smelly (for some reason the laundry room was hopping at 1am and no free dryers, so I said fuck it.)
But I'm liking this warm mild fallness right now, not quite Indian summer, but tolerable, and the trees turning yellow over in the park and the afternoon light that filters over the buildings at dusk and makes them explode in color. The sidewalks are dotted with leaves and I am on a sweater dress buying kick again and putting together my TB costume (and figuring out how to make a peacock feather fan).
My mother is always fond of qualifying statements with the phrase "if it's meant to be, it will happen.." which usually drives my Type A control freaky Taurean self absolutely bonkers. This usually has to do with the sort of things that fall mostly beyond your realm of control, not necessarily chance things, like winning the lottery or getting struck by lighting, but more mundane things like getting a job or a promotion or winning a prize or whathaveyou. To which my usual response is "NO! NO! NO!, YOU have to MAKE it happen.." I am never one to wait for serendipity, which is sometimes incredibly frustrating when things involve the will & whims of one or more other people. Nothing bothers me worse than "wait and see" or "play it by ear"..Of course I am also occasionally guilty of putting off decision-making until it either works itself out or is to late to really decide, thereby wallowing in indecision, which is what I have been doing for a couple of weeks. The jury is stil out on the outcome of this particular situation, and perhaps I waited too long deciding what to do. I've been leaving alot to portents and signs and auspicious revelations. I haven't gone so far as to do anything wacky like pull out the tarot cards, but I have engaged in some coin flipping and pencil spinning. I've made decisions like this before, and sometimes my best decisions have been about whim and chance and excellent timing. All I can do is sit tight and wait to see if it works out...
Meanwhile, I am about to move into turbo mode to get the last of the 2011-2012 dgp chaps out before I start the next season sometime in November. I have streamlined my workflow a bit and shaved some production time off with the new printer and it's ability to do booklet printing (as opposed to the old departed Brother with it's even/odd manual flip) so we'll see how it goes. I feel like I've been behind the production schedule nigh upon 5 years but there's always hope I'll get it pinned down (I've learned to give authors a window rather than an exact date.) It's all about chiseling away at it little by little.
I am still working my way through the thick of the moon project, having momentarily abandoned yet again, my the houses and bees thing. Sometimes, as the JF poems illustrate, my distraction projects turn out interesting in an of themselves. (ie, the projects I cheat on my other projects with.) I am trying to keep at it daily, but its harder as the press makes more demands on my time.
In other, non-poetry news, the Theatre Bizarre / Detroit trip is all lined up and booked. I am looking forward to not only festivities, but also the trip there (while I try to avoid the el in favor of the bus, I love actual train rides, especially since the trip through Michigan is sort of pretty this time of year.)
Today was an odd day in which I swiftly wrote several pieces of the moon project and then got frustrated in planning my Detroit trip itinerary next month and left work feeling like I'd whittled away the whole day like a dull pencil, but was actually in retrospect pretty damn productive. The prose poems need work and it's just a tiny series that may, god willing, one day be a chap, but I like them and the concept behind them. Yesterday, I did wind up spending a good chunk of time giving a last look over girl show, which occasionally feels like something someone else wrote a long, long time ago, and certainly not me. It will pass, the dijointedness, but for now it's sort of freaky and unfamilar. Five years is a long time, especially when you consider 5 years before that I was writing the bulk of the fever almanac poems and how they are very different from the 2006 poems. Meanwhile, there are promotional questionnaires to be answered, hype to build, buy-my-book dances to be performed (I do intend on having a big release party possibly with both bread and circus aplenty.) And this, the cover design which turned out so ever lovely.
So I waffle, and fuss, reconsider, then dismiss. Meanwhile am matting and framing things for the alumni show in a couple weeks (see above), designing covers, laying out books, reading manuscripts. It's colder now, and I realized today I have a lack of wearable footwear on the scale between sandals and riding boots, so I binge shopped six discount pairs of various styled/colored ballet flats (they are delicate, thin soled and lovely, but they never last long with daily wear and the amount of walking I do on concrete on a daily basis.) I am getting ready to pull out the tweeds and retire the sundresses. Swap my iced raspberry lattes for warm ones. Already, the city is different. All summer I did alot of nightly walking up Michigan, and last night, even the sidewalk passing Millenium Park was mostly a ghost town after 10. It was cool and clear and beautiful though. I am thinking about sweaters. I am thinking Halloween costumes and Theatre Bizarre (possibly some peacock-esque feathery regalia). I am thinking about poem projects I want to finish before the end of the year. I am thinking I had better get to work...
So in the midst of Friday's romantic meltdown, there actually was bit of culture (and well later there was copius amounts whiskey at Kaseys with my favorite library folks) but earlier there was a trip to the Art Institute since I had yet, despite a couple years since completion, been inside the Modern Wing. I knew they had moved the Cornell boxes, so we went in search of them, and I was sad to see how they wound up, all locked behind a glass case that not only didn't allow you to get that close, but also didn't allow the sort of one on one experience the previous display strategy had. It was like they lost something by all being grouped together, like the eyes couldn't focus on them individually anymore. I remember my first encounter about 10 years ago, coming upon the tabletop boxes, wandering into the blue room, the separate boxes wall mounted in a brighter room. Each box it's own little room. This case felt chaotic and dark and dissappointing. Overall, I found myself eager to leave the modern wing and go see the impressionists and all the vivid colors of the older paintings and the furniture galleries...which is where I usually end up on most visits...
at work, we are in the midst of making a gazillion paper flowers for an upcoming Day of the Dead event. I was in the studio the other day and decided to play around with some of the old dress patterns in my paper stash and they turned out really lovely. I am totally making some for every party I decorate for in the future..
Otherwise, I am neck deep in dgp manuscripts and have finally cracked the last 100. there is so much goodness there, I think you will love the books we'll be publishing next year so much. I'm hoping to have all decisions made by the end of the semester. There were a little over 500 total, so I've actually done a decent job keeping up as they came in so things aren't too hairy as of yet. In other press news, there is an interview up with moi at side b magazine, as well as a number of books coming soon that are in the layout process.
I was excited to learn that some pieces had been accepted for an alumni show at CC, all segments from my anatomy series project (it's going to be an interactive/pop-up sort of project with text and image.) And in other visual goodness, I finally got a sneak peak of the girl show cover, which I will share soon. It's just one of my collages, but the designer did such lovely things with it I loved it even more than the original.
I finally caught up at work but the next few weeks will be a steady flow of reserve processing (and since I am officially claiming it as my own, it will continue to be like that). This week is always a frenzy with everyone back on campus and actually excited (for a little while) about their classes. Inevitably, I start looking longingly again at the Book & Paper program and idly toying with the idea of enrolling. Mind you, I usually talk myself out of it by the time the deadline comes around for applying. About midway through my Poetry MFA, I decided I was really too old for this shit, but I finished it off anyway, even though I questioned whether it was worth all the the bad stuff for the kernal of good. I have to remind myself of that whenever I gaze logingly at the Book & Paper Center brochure.
Today is one of those rainy late summer Sundays in which I slept very late trying to recuperate from 9-5ing it this past week. There are still stacks of reserve books to be dealt with there, a slew of interviews this week for the department openings to sit in on, and general new semester chaos, which begins next week. I am looking forward to the three day weekend however, though I don't really have any plans beyond Friday night. I'm probably a little odd in that I've been hoarding my newest clothing aquisitions til it's officially September and back-to-shool, so there is something to new to be excited about like I was all those years ago (seriously, sometimes back to school was more exciting than Christmas.) Brand new trapper keepers and lunchboxes. New glossy textbooks with your name written meticulously inside the front cover. While this year I'll probably settle for a big pack of gel pens and maybe a new sketchbook, it's still a little fun.
As with every fall, though, I do feel a desire to get down to business after slacking all summer, at least in terms of finalizing poems, sending out work, actually pulling together the art projets I've been idly musing over. I've been good the past couple of summers about staying on top of dgp business, but alot of other stuff falls by the wayside as soon as things heat up and my brain goes to mush. I've been on productive autopilot mode through most of this summer, getting alot done, but more surface tasks, so I'm looking forward to tuning back in a little.
I have been avoiding writing/press related things this week, though I still have a couple chaps queued to release before I get back. I will have entire evenings in the studio after 5pm when I get back for a couple weeks, which will be nice. Preparations are also afoot with Sundress on the JF chapbook and I am putting the last touches on girl show before I send the final version to BLP. What seemed to be forever before it would be published is narrowing and narrowing. I am also beginning to muse about fall art projects and open studios and possible dgp readings, all very exciting things..
I wouldn't go so far as to say I do crazy things like make my bed every day, but I'm thriving in all that orderliness and feeling super productive and responsible. On the other hand, amidst all the schedules and to-do lists and well-laid plans, there isn't much room to create. To make things. To think about making things. While my order muppet likes to smugly check-off lists, eat salads, and wash the dishes, the chaos muppet she's shoved into the closet wants to wallow in bed, go on tequila binges, eat too many tacos, and drunk dial ex-boyfriends. But she also, after she's done that, wants to write, to make things, to make a mess. Chaos muppet loves tension and moral ambiguity. To sit with a pen hovered over a pece of paper for hours and just daydream. Sure, chaos muppet is also an attention whore. And sometimes leaves the dishes unwashed for days becuase she's writing, or watching 90210, or just can't stand the idea of getting her hands wet and then touching paper. She forgets to write the check for rent, pay the electric bill, goes on spending sprees that result in ramen noodle or canned ravioli dinners that order muppet watches dissapprovingly while she'd rather be organizing the bookshelves.
I realized that my order muppet has been running the show lately and tamed some of the chaos, but it all seems a little dry and hollow and, dare I say, boring. I was trying to get my mind into the poem zone last night and found I couldn't get there at all. I am off for the next week and a half, hopefully to garner a little writing time, so I'm hoping to let my inner chaos muppet do a little damage.
*Lollapalooza is happening across the street and for some reason every year it just makes me feel old. I had a chance in 1992 to go the weekend before classes started in Charleston SC, but I figured it wouldn't be wise to spend the only $60 my parents had dropped me off with a mere week in. Regardless I still wouldn't be able to afford it now and am so out of touch when it comes to music anyway. Besides the older acts like Black Sabbath and the Chili Peppers, I've only really heard of Florence & the Machine, which I'm not really that gung-ho about. Grant Park is filling up though as we speak and I might be able to hear some music out the window at the studio later on if the a/c doesn't drown it out. Mostly, it just makes traffic all snarly and sidewalk navigation annoying.
*We're settling into late summer and I know it's coming, that day, usually mid-August when you wake up and it just feels like fall. Something in the light or the air that foreshadows the actual season. It makes me start thinking of back to school clothes and supplies (luckily I've worked in schools and colleges ever since I graduated from them, so I still get to indulge even if just a little.) I'm still waiting to scrounge up actual cash to buy them, but I am plotting out fall wardrobe options and pinteresting all sorts of loveliness in anticipation.
*I did go on a recent mini-book buying splurge and procured Claire Hero's Dollyland and pre-ordered Brandi Wells' Poisonhorse, both of which I am looking forward to reading and possibly reviewing for wicked alice. I am still really digging the new format, which not only feels more engaging I imagine as a reader, but I feel it engages me more as an editor in the selection of work and curation of content.
*We also have some new chaps on the horizon, books from Florencia Varela, Sarah Colona, and Caroline Brooke Morrel. We also recieved a standing order from another library for all of our titles, which is exciting--to know that someone (besides me) has an archive of all our books. (I've considered donating a complete set to CC, but we are seriously strapped for space both in the 811's and in Special Collections--at least until we move to the new building, so it will have to wait....)
With orientation going on at CC this week and last, I was startled to realize the other morning that it has been 20 years exactly since I was starting college, packing up my stuff and heading away from home the first real time to North Carolina, which was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Granted I only stayed a semester (it didn't make financial and logistical sense once I'd ditched my marine biology plans to stay there when I could study writing and english anywhere). But it was the first time I'd ever really been away from my parents for an extended time, the first time I had to do everything for myself. I think there were several moments during the trip down (we drove down to Wilmington in a huge rental towncar with a giant trunk full of stuff) when I wondered if I could really do it. Do everything that grown-ups do.. On my own and so far away from the familiar. (There was also moment in a hotel when I freaked out over a big southern bug and thought about packing it in right there). We were in Wilmington almost a week before I was due to move into the dorms, so we did the family vacation thing--going to beach and the aquarium, strange tours of Civil War battlegrounds. All the while I was anxious and impatient to just get on with it.
Once I was on campus and the family had pulled up stakes and headed back to Illinois, there was this weird period of disorientation. I've always said that the season premier of Buffy in the fourth season has that experience down pat--that everything is so overwhelming, you seem to be behind everyone in terms of choosing classes, choosing friends, buying textbooks, even getting your school ID pic taken. That fall of 92 though was pretty much chaos from the get go, from the first night I spent at a frat party with my roommates (the only frat party I have ever attended thank god) to the day I left in December, throwing everything hurriedly into the car after my last final and driving to the beach for the last time. I have a hard time remembering my classes, though I know I went to them (well most of them) and got pretty decent grades--enough to get me a good scholarship at RC. In a film class we started with Birth of a Nation and watched a slew of and silent movies. I spent the night before my first American Government test at the beach til sunrise and still got an A. I skipped Algebra every chance I got, did really well in what was basically Freshman Comp, and loved my Oceanography class. Did stupid things like pile drunkenly into the back of a pick-up truck driven by one of my roommates back-home army friends. Played drinking games, went to cheesy dance clubs. Ate alot of Doritos and canned ravioli. Tried to run for freshman class president (this seemed like the thing to do, since I was still super over-achiever girl in those days) and lost. Drank alot of malibu rum and cheap beer . Played alot of gin rummy with my roommates. Discovered Pearl Jam and NIN. Fell for closeted hilarious actor types and long haired surfer types from Delaware. Mooned over someone else who who wound up dating my suitemate.
Everything was so fraught and emotional in those days. Or maybe I was just more unstable. I remember spending alot of weekends typing really bad stories on the electric typewriter I bought with my graduation money. I don't think there were many poems yet, those came later. I also remember spending time amongst the periodicals in the library, looking for places to send work, though I don't remember if I actually sent anything out during that time. I remember waiting for the mail, but that might have just been waiting for letters from friends, care packages from my mom, etc. Wilmington was beautiful, though, and practically winterless, and smelled like oleander and ocean air. Since I consider RC to be where I actually went to college, that span of time seems almost dreamlike. December came and it was back to the midwest, back to snow and icy roads and classes at the community college so I didn't fall behind while I applied to other schools. There were poems then though, lots of them, and submissions and general restlessness. By fall, I'd enrolled at RC and was ready to start the next chapter.
I mentioned to co-worker that I don't think I could handle starting everything like that. Being again at the beginning of things. How the future must look--both limitless and shiny bright, but also so very scary and uncertain. Also hard to know who you are or what you really want at that age..I think I wanted everything then, only later did I narrow and refine and get downt to what was important to me to spend my time doing.
beach going. Every year I vow to go to the beach more often and actually stay there for a sustained period of time. Besides a couple cookouts every summer, I barely even ever get over to the lake, which is ridiculous since I live a block and a half from it. I'm thinking of investing in a giant portable umbrella to solve the baking sun/fair skin issue, so I hope that changes.
fair and carnivals. I've been promised a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair for the last couple of years and it never pans out. We would go almost every year when I was a kid, and I'd come home exhausted and filled with corn dogs and salt water taffy and leaden with cheap drinkets and blow up animals. It was great. I've determined though that it's much more fun to go at night and also to be slightly inebriated from drinking giant hurricanes in flourescent pink glasses, at which point the pressing crowds barely faze me at all.
outdoor movies I used to love the Chicago Film festival that went on every summer in Grant Park, but it was axed due to city budget cuts. The movies in the parks still happen every year, and that would do just fine if I ever managed to get to one, but I will eventually wrangle someone with a car into taking me to one of those very rare existing actual drive-ins if it kills me.
mini-golf. Though I've never been much of an actual golfer in any way, shap, or form, in highschool I was pretty much an ace at putting. No doubt, years out of practice I've lost my touch, but once I get back into it, by the 6th or so hole, I'm actually pretty good at it.
getting involved in lukewarm relationships that are more about habit and familiarity than affection.
regular soda, which you realize you are far too addicted to when you wake up to 6 empty cans of Dr. Pepper you do not remember drinking lined up on the desk.
developing sad and hopeless crushes on friends and co-workers.
that moment where you are faced with too much to do that you can't possibly fit into the time allowed and so instead wind up surfing the net or hanging out on facebook instead of actually accomplishing anything.
drinking too much and too expensively in bars, not because you are really having fun, which is good and fair reason to get sloshed , but because you are trying to forget about abovementioned hopeless crushes while they talk about their current relationships, which are, alas, not with you.
Coming home and throwing clothes on the bedroom floor, over chairs and benches and the top of the door instead of hanging them up or putting them in the hamper.
reading too much into things men say or don't say.
reading too much into what anyone says and being suspicious of motives and slightly paranoid about people trying to secretly undermind you.
spending too much money on fancy coffee during the day and delivery food at night because you are too tired to cook something.
drunk dailing / texting / emailing exes after being rejected by anyone or anything. Otherwise known as tipping over into the darkside where chaos and the Id reigns and consequences be damned.
There is the usual chaos of re-entry, the unpacking, the arranging, the trying to sort out the triage of tasks that have piled up in my absence. Yesterday was mostly a wash concentration-wise, but I am a little closer to getting wicked alice on its way (you can see my editorial entry here, and poems & such will be landing there Thursday or Friday this week). I decided to go with the tumblr format, which seems to be on the rise. It also makes it easier to follow for updates and such, reblog, etc.
I've also been working on the freebie broadside I am doing for Printers Ball, which is rushing up faster than I anticipated. the design is finished and I just need to decide on the paper stock. Otherwise, there is good news in the way of acceptances for poems and good press for the press at the Harriet Blog, which reposted a recent interview.
Tuesday are the days I've determined "Editorial Tuesdays" as opposed to "Marketing Mondays" and "Design Wednesdays" (the alliteration doesn't work for everything sadly.) Which is to say I will be delving into dgp submissions this afternoon.
Yesterday, there was such much gorgeous chicory growing alongside the backroads we were taking coming back to the city I nearly wanted my dad to stop the car to pick some. Today, I am obsessed with that blue lavender shade that borders on periwinkle.
While the heat seems to have broken completely in Chicago, it has only somewhat here, and not with the thunderous calamity I was really hoping for. I love watching storms move in across the flatness here, the clouds building on the horizon, the wind that picks up crazy fast. How it smells afterward. In the city, they just sort of appear over the buildings and usually move on out over the lake pretty quickly. Because it's really been too warm to spend much time outside or even have so much as a window open, I'm getting that same cabin-fevery unrest I get in winter and am anxious to get home and back to my routines. I have been working a little on books that need to be done and shipped Monday as soon as I get back, but not nearly as ambitiously as I'd planned. And distracting myself otherwise with 80's movies and internet diversions. But tonight, we got to sit outside for awhile and dinner was filled with perfect summer foods like bratwursts, lemonade, sweet corn, pasta salad and rootbeer floats for dessert, all the sort of stuff I never make myself and miss about home. There's little to nothing happening in the writing arena this week, mostly since my head feels full of other things (wistful lingering boy drama, press business, to do lists, etc.) If only I could switch my brain over to vacation mode every once in a while.
(I also took a round of pics in my mom's garden, and was amazingly able to get a good shot of a fluttering target we noticed near the driveway.)
I had planned to have the new format launched for wicked alice before I left, but it looks like it won't be happening till I get back next week. There are also some new books that will be dropping later in the week. Stay tuned....
Otherwise, I have been partaking in buying some new summer dresses and assorted frilly unmentionables. (I've been trying to lower my daily budget on things like meals and coffee to save for fun things like clothes, books, and boozey nights out.) Though, Max will be getting a trip to the vet and coming back with a little less in the reproductive arena while we're in Rockford, so I can't go too crazy spending money (plus I had to buy a backup printer that will be my main printer until the mystery of the bad paper feeding is solved with the Epson.) I also had to buy a new guillotine trimmer after I cracked the rotary one I've been using since 2007. The new one, however, goes through chaps like butter and doesn't make my shoulder hurt when I cut to many books, so it's already a win.