Friday, August 31, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Settling back in after being away is always a little rough around the edges, especially since I'm working odd hours, have more responsibilities while there, and am trying to stay on top of press things in the evening without getting even more behind. Despite spending most of the day processing fall textbook reserves, I did manage to dig away at a small segment of submissions and found some very good things herein, filled some orders, and waded through the dreaded inbox. Otherwise, I am indulging in long walks in the nice weather after dark, eating alot of strawberries, and musing over the current art series I'm in the midst of and hope to have done for one of the art shows this fall. The poem muse has decided to be an obstinate bitch though, so she might need a little shaking to just get on with it and finish the houses and bees project. I did send the finalized version of the JF manuscipt to Sundress, so the debut of that strange little project is nigh. stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This morning I woke up in Iowa (Bettendorf) with the Mississipi River spread wide outside my window, barges and bird creatures slowly drifting by and then had the most amazingly delicious hotel breakfast before heading back to Rockford. There have been many day trips, inluding a run to Monroe for beer and sub par Swiss Colony chocolate and cheese. Also, a day at the Wisconsin fair feeling like a kid again, eating corn dogs and real lemonade and longing to ride the rides without getting nauseous (a skill I lost as an adult). Otherwise, I have been doing nothing much besides making my way through a trashy Stephen King novel and taking naps. Until today, it's been decidedly fall-like and rainy, which is a nice reprieve from the scorching summer. Today, I ordered some "back-to-school" clothes--two dresses, two cardigans (a dark chocolate colored one and a deep peacock blue), and a pair of brown boots to replace last winter's casualties. I am getting ready for September and the new semester, which is already intimidating me with its business and frenzy.

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..

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

getting in touch with the chaos muppet

A few weeks ago, I found this hilarious article to be so true of most of the people I know, and in my case, perhaps a little bit of both in action. The past couple of weeks have been busy, and I've been plowing through alot of tasks, both at work and in the studio, not allowing to myself to get sucked into time and situations that remain unnaccounted for.

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.

Friday, August 03, 2012

things happening, happening things

*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....)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

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.