Thursday, May 31, 2012

I am making it a point to write at least something in ye old blog daily , no matter how short or banal my entry. Today, rain and more rain. I woke up from a rather sexy dream about rather innapropriate men to the racket of the tuckpointing crew below who have been working their way steadily along the north side of the building. As for this afternoon, I feel a little like I'm spinning my wheels and getting nothing much accomplished. I did sit down before lunch and make a list of everything I want to have finished before the bookfair, including the bookmarks I've been meaning to get to for about a year. In fact, I think I intended to have them done for last year's Printer's Row and they just keep getting pushed aside for other fires. Same thing with the totebags and probably a half dozen of other things I'm probably forgetting about right now. Otherwise I am speculating over non-annoying mailing list plans for the press and places to submit work since I intend to stay on top of doing it, at least to a couple places at a time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today there is technological related crankiness, but also a new poem and a couple of titles for future poems.  Also, a rejection (for beautiful, sinister individual pieces) on the heels of a gleeful acceptance for the JF series (more on this as I know it.) Also lattes and blueberry muffins and hard boiled eggs for lunch. We have been speculating over zombies at work, because what else do people who work in libraries do in the summer when there are no students and a limited number of things to do?  Perhaps we are just waiting for an apocalypse that will make all those zombie movies incredibly useful research and not just a fun diversion. All day, I have been annoyed by having to wear a sundress with a navy background with a black cardigan.  I am annoyed that this is a problem that a) seems at all significant when the apocalypse may be nigh, or b) that I feel a need to voice it. But there it is.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The last couple of days have been scorchers, which I have been mitigating with cool showers, lots of fans, and large amounts of fruit(mandarin oranges and peaches)soaked in various alcohols. Since I like to have all the windows open at home, I usually don't run the little portable a/c unless it's completely unbearable. The library is always freezing and I have a window unit in the studio, but up here, where one whole wall is basically big windows spanning the living room and dining room, I like to leave them open to catch the lake breezes from a block over. We mostly had no a/c growing up, so I remember spending alot of time outside to escape the heat in the house. One whole summer during college I read alot of Hemingway and Fitzgerald perched in front of a box fan and moved it room to room with me. Another, I spent wholed up in the second run theater at the mall watching bad movie after bad movie.

I also used to carry around a big envelope box with all my drafts and writing stuff, which I would take outside and pore over magazines deciding where to submit really crappy work (of course, I was 20, so I thought everything I was writing, mostly slender little social message poems, were absolute genius.) This was pre-internet, mostly pre-e-mail, not to mention all of my drafts were typewritten on the electric machine I bought with my h.s. graduation money, every page clotted with dabs of correction fluid from my shoddy typing skills. It was basically that way every summer during high school and college. Luckily, my undergrad years were pretty much paid for, so besides some departmental work during the year and helping my mom out with chores in the summer, I had a little spending money and never had to get an actual job, so summers were like these wide swathes of free time during which I read and wrote, slept til noon and stayed up all night. I was spoiled completely, and of course, I miss those days sometimes, that time and freedom from responsibility.

Even my Depaul years, when I was living off loans and credit cards for 2 years, I remember lots of anxiety over never having enough money during the summer and spending alot of it in the country with my parents. Even my first job for the school district, though the pay was awful, allowed me the summers off. Ever since, I've worked year round and definitely wish I'd been more productive during all those summers. Now as I rush from job to studio, to home, then back again, trying to write and create and edit in the hours between, I love taking my vacations in the summer and pretending, for a little while, that I have these endless stretches of time even if they are finite.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Leonora Carrington, Letter to Dana

Another blissful three day weekend, and one that kicked off with a couple of awesome nights out with friends, one to celebrate graduations in the archives department, another the usual every other Friday night margarita outing, this time out on the rooftop deck at Cesar's, which made it really feel like summer (well it was a little chilly, but eating outside to me equals summer nevertheless.) It was a weird week at work, full of college-wide administrative bullshit, and I was glad to end it on an upnote. This weekend again I plan to do much of nothing, maybe some writing and perhaps some more little organization projects, maybe some reading. I am getting groceries tomorrow, so perhaps a little cooking (I've been looking to make penne rosa again, but never have all the ingredients.) We will be open til 7 again in the library this week so I'll be a bit more back to normal in terms of schedule. Otherwise, there are books to lay out, readings to plan, and manuscripts to read, and my own work to fiddle with.  I'm hoping to finish off the current series, the house and bee poems before the end of June and submit it somewhere, also perhaps another short project that is forming at the back of my head. Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sneak peak

I've been working on scanning some of the second batch of shipwreck collages, determining the order of the text pieces and how to best mix them with the visual pieces, getting ready to start laying them out.  I'm still hoping to have them ready for Printers Row the second week of June, at which we'll be holding down a half table in the City of Chicago's tent with all sorts of other small presses.  We will have the usual chaps, zine things, art prints, paper goods, and hopefully maybe a few other little bookish lovelies (our postage stamp pendants always go over really well every year).  The book fair always feels like the official kick-off for summer, so hopefully there will be lots of sunshine and not so much rain (the anathema to all things papery, but rain seems to come every year..)

As for new poemy projects, I've turned my attentions back to dreams about houses and bees series and submitting things--(the JF poems, pieces and the entirety of beautiful, sinister). I'd like to make it a point to submit something somewhere at least once a week, and when I'm submitting regularly, I always seem to be driven to write more, so we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I just posted the latest little object offering in the shop, the selvedge series postcard sets.  I'm working on posting the remaining originals  as well as the framed spectacle pieces, so keep an eye out for those as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

on havoc and other things

This weekend I had a little time to think about the larger manuscript that may turn out to be book #4 and what goes into it. I'm still at work on the final section which will probably be a chap as well long before the full length is pulled together and published, but it was the havoc poems that caught my attention and which I kept coming back to.

  I try, at least somewhat, to make each series of poems different in subject matter or style from the ones that precede it, as much as I can, which is difficult when my obsessions and issues are working themselves out poem by poem and piece by piece. I feel like the first three longer books were working those issues out more indirectly and through the lens of narrative or I guess, conventions, but havoc is probably the first book I could say really captures a certain period of my life from say 2006-2010, a time when I was finishing my MFA, had some non-serious, but rather draining & persistant health problems (mono, followed by a string of various viruses that basically made me sick for a whole year), and as the book covers, some unfortunately bad relationships (well one main one in particular but it gets mixed up with some other minor flings).

  Everytime I read the havoc poems straight through, I'm like "geesh..that's fucked up.." but then I remember all of the really good things that happened in those years--actually finishing my MFA (despite basically sleeping through my Chaucer lit class beause of the mono that last semester). Also, my first and then my second book coming out, all sorts of smaller projects. dgp finally getting on it's feet, flourishing, and moving into the studio space. It was a whirlwind of a period of time and it felt good to put these poems into world over the winter, even though I was probably writing a bit less during that period than the years before.

  I was also more guarded about this work than I had ever been before, more reluctant to send them out or read them aloud. At the time I boiled it down to post-MFA exhaustion and feeling like there'd been too many people in my head and mucking about in my poems the previous four years. Except in a couple of cases, I pretty much only submitted them when solicited, but they still wound up in a lot of great publications. As a whole, they were this unrully mess of prose and verse and so very, I guess, raw that I was a little embarassed by them. It took a while before that awkwardness eased and I could figure out what I wanted to do with them.

I was also trying to decide how I wanted to bridge the gap between creation and readership and how I wanted that to look for my work, whether traditional publishing structures satisfied my needs anymore in getting work in the hands of readers. (especally after Ghost Road, who published my first book pretty much folded and canceled my contract for girl show.) Luckily the latter found a good home with BLP, but I still very much want to issue my own work, at least when it comes to chaps and smaller book objects. Maybe not everything, but some things. There is this great excitement in seeing something through from conception to writing to designing to creating that I love very much, and that is what happened with havoc and no doubt will be the same with the shipwrecks project, which I am also very exited about (and which are a whole other set of obsessions and boy drama though not so fucked up this time.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

things to do...

during the NATOcation.

*organize bookshelves and art supplies in my dining room.
* sleep until noon every single day
*make raspberry thumbprint scones and lemon cupcakes
* read The Monstrumologist
* watch more episodes of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix
*drink peach and lychee iced tea
*go on a second date six months after the first date (long story)
* remaining load of laundry
* trim Max's claws lest I be bludgeoned by overly playful kitten
* walk over to the beach
* write some new poems for the house/bee project.
* check out out a couple thrift/antique stores that are new in my neighborhood

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This is some of the aforementioned artwork for Lisa Cole's tinder // heart and the first in a new series of anatomic/science inspired pieces.  There will be many more that I'm plotting as we speak.  Meanwhile, tonight it's raining in a full on biblical way, and I had to hold out in the bus shelter to wait for it to let up. I am slightly damp and full of lemon cake and very tired, so I might just skip dinner and go straight to bed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Monday and I still wonder where the weekend goes that precedes it. Mostly, I was recovering from friday night margarita fun and sleeping alot to catch up on all I missed working this horrible schedule.  Next weekend is a long one due to the NATO stuff going on downtown (which has the entire campus, the Fine Arts Building, and it seems the whole freakin south loop, basically closed Fri-Monday.) so I'm hoping to actually get to do something with all this nice weather that actually involves getting outside. Meanwhile, this morning amidst boring data entry for the library, I am working on a couple books layout, including one cover design, and well as sending out the first batch of acceptances for late 2012 / early 2013, the pool of which is very strong and we're barely into the reading period.  Later, I might start a preliminary layout of Shipwrecks.. I have a couple more pieces (both visual) and written I am working on that I'll leave room to plug in later, but otherwise, except for some moving things around, it's almost done.  I'm going with a pretty simple more text based cover since not only are there visuals in the book aplenty, but also the cover is a really deep midnight blue that probably won't lend itself to printing all that visibly.  I am also excited about the artwork that I'm finishing for one of the next chaps (Lisa Cole's tinder // heart) since it's the first in a new series I've been plotting of secientific/anatomical-inspired pieces, some of which are 3-D and interactive, sort of in the vein of this pop-up-ish anatomy book I found some images of.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This morning on the bus ride to work I had one of those awesome creative convergence moments where one idea (a vague and formless idea/title for a short project I'd put in my notebook a year or so back)suddenly locked in with what started to be maybe a blog entry but turned into a lyric essay I was writing notes for in my head. As it developed it became less and less a coherent essay and more fragmented and suddenly I could see the whole project unfolding. I made a few furious notes as soon as I got to work in the private blog I had started for that project when it was more amorphous. Now I just need to flesh it out. f course, as usual there is a long queue of projects that I'd like to finish before that, bits and pieces of series of poems and pictures and various things. I may never finish them all but at least I will never run out of ideas. At this rate, I'm good for another decade or so.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I have been slowly pushing through this week despite the wonky schedule I'm working during the summer break and general exhaustion. I do have a bit more time to finish things at the studio in the evening, which is nice, but that still means I am getting home close to 11pm most nights, to bed maybe by 2, and then up again at 7am. With the extra time, I have managed to close up the backlog of orders that have been slamming me lately, as well as have been working steadily on new titles that should have been out a couple months ago. Also, some lingering projects of my own, including the mini-print sets for botanica automata, which have been sitting uncut by my paper trimmer for months unfinished. There is still the fashion postcards, for which I am still searching for some cool packaging, and after that, I will probably be focusing on the shipwreck book, which is both text and art, and for which I am securing the most gorgeous midnight blue cardstock. I'm still hoping to have it ready for Printers Row, as well as another event the following weekend I am still working on setting up (we have some poets who will be ambling into town that weekend.)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

There are weeks when the world seems to take more than it gives. Weeks when everyone seems to need something from me that I cannot, due to whatever reason, seem to be able to deliver. I can never pinpoint the exact sort of situations that bring about this feeling, but it's there and it comes and goes. Meanwhile, we are awash in a sea of returns at work, books everywhere and I start to get sick of looking at them for awhile. I am getting plenty of sleep, but I guess I just feel mentally exhausted but physically antsy, like I just want to tune out and do mindless things like play around on Pinterest and watch Youtube videos of trashy eighties music. I did finish another mermaid piece last night in a sudden fit of productivity, and I've been laying out new books on schedule (well on some sort of schedule). I still feel like I'm moving through a thick mental fog, though and I hope it abates. My dreams are getting weirder too, full of angry robot nurses and old crushes. Next week, I'll get some evenings in the studio at least to work on stuff without having to rush off to work, so that will be nice.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Today, I am listless and cranky and not nearly as motivated as I would like to be. I keep waking up at dawn and can't get back to sleep. It throws a wrench in my schedule and makes me exhausted earlier than I should be. I am also ravenously hungry, and in particular, hungry for soup, so wound up eating alphabet vegetable, which I don't really like, but settled for becuase I was starving and that was all they had in the bookstore. I am pre-occupied with worries about all the usual things I wind up worrying about on a daily basis--money, writing, time, love. I've been throwing myself into finishing layouts and filling orders, but I perpetrually feel as if I'm not doing as much as I should in the time I have. It's like you want to be a a warm knife carving through butter, but really the butter is all cold and everything is too slippery and takes more time than it should. Meanwhile, I am assembling books with dead Elvis characters and laying one out with foxes that masquerade as girls. I love the work we publish so much, and am excited about the new stuff I'll be taking on for next year, but even press stuff isn't helping tonight. I am hoping, as soon as I finish a couple of other things, to play with some collage bits, which will hopefully put me in a better mood (or at least trick me into thinking I am).