Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Though my green dress/ grey cardigan combination today resembles (a little too closely) the library's décor scheme, it's been a good day so far, with some galley editing and manuscript reading this morning in the studio (still waiting on my laptop, so I am paper bound on some final decisions).  Also chocolates and submission plans (like to actually send some out).   The weather was as grey as my sweater and a little drizzly, but November is peeking over the horizon, so it's to be expected.  In terms of the months, it's sort of always my least favorite--the darkening, dragging lull between Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Second only to March, which is the impatient dregs of winter (unless it's oddly warm and an early spring).

But Halloween costume plans are nevertheless afoot (no party this year or contests, but I'm dressing up for work anyway.) I am also turning my attention towards AWP travel plans and getting my train tickets squared away and  starting to make some sort of schedule.  It looks like the panel I'm on happens Thursday afternoon, and I'll be reading for one press that evening, and possibly another TBD.  Since it's been moved back another month to December, girl show will still be fairly new then, so there will be much to celebrate.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I am oft convinced, that if I am unable to make a decision for myself, fate will usually step in and make it for me.  In this case, the home laptop I have been waffling over whether to purchase has been sped up by the studio laptop's apparent demise (she lasted a good long 6 years in my possession and was actually older and refurbed when I got her.)  This means I have no choice and had to order a new one as soon I as I got to a computer today at work.  I should have a nice little Acer Chromebook sometime this week.(I still have to either buy a Netbook for home or a regular PC for the studio, but I still have some more time before I can afford to buy either.)

 This means chap printing is out of commission for a couple days, but I still have a load of books printed and not yet assembled that I finished up before I left town (author copies of the last couple of releases), so I can still finish those.  It is especially pissing me off since I just got the new Epson before I left town and planned to dive back into work at the studio tomorrow morning.  Still, even with no computer access outside the library, there is much to do--blurbs to write for past authors with new full-lengths, wicked alice submissions to read, new content to queue up for the next week or so. . Also,  new book to release (Eireann Lorsung's Sweetbriar which I still plan to start printing Friday,) and the final decisions on the 2014 series, of which decisions are proving more difficult than I'd hoped.  I'm still aiming to have all responses out by November 1st, so if you haven't heard from me, you will be shortly. 

The party went off splendidly yesterday afternoon, and the weekend was, as always filled with way too much food and a considerable amount of alcohol. I am back at the library and still knee deep in chaos that always comes with a week away--e-mails to answer, things piled on my desk to deal with.  I am hoping to make a path through it and turn to some press work later after the dust settles.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today, a rather epic grocery shopping trip in preparation for Sunday's festivities--a cart filled with yummy things, but still the usual grocery-store uneasiness and confusion.  I've gotten used to my neighborhood store, and I pretty much can breeze through in under 5 minutes, mostly because I rarely vary from the usual list as I wind through the store--bread, tortillas, salad, chicken, turkey sausage, pasta, hummus, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes. Tick. Tick. Tick.  Sometimes cheese and croutons and salad dressing.  (I get cat food/litter and cleaning/household stuff delivered monthly) I'm a creature of habit and pretty much eat the same things every week.  But put me with a list in unknown terrain and I'm completely lost as to where to start. Endless shiny  rows of choices and always money worries and uncertainty.  I am far from the domestic goddess who intuitively knows which mustard is best, which sour cream, which type of sandwich bun. Nevertheless, we are stocked up and ready with plenty of food and wine and red frosting-ed cupcakes. (40 is the ruby anniverary, though we opted for expanding to a more fall-ish color palate including the red.)

Already I am making a mental list of what needs to happen Monday when I get back. Author copies to finish assembling that I ran out of time for last week. Orders to get out. Stocking the shop for the holidays once November hits. I try to consider it in small bits or it becomes this overwhelming thing I want to run from. to drown myself in distractions from. Autumn is always this slide downhill and I struggle to find an opening in it or a foothold, especially in light (or lack thereof) of the impending time change.  I will no doubt self-medicate with chocolate and shopping (which prove both fattening and expensive, but what can you do?). This week I found a lovely teal corduroy coat and a pair of crimson mary janes that are making me very excited...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

oh, nostalgia

So much of Rockford is forever the same, like I've stepped back into my childhood routines effortlessly. And yet, so much changes--a huge addition to my elementary school, rampant build outs on certain thoroughfares, entire new neighborhoods filled with identical houses in various shades of beige.  I'm still convinced my junior high has the exact same worn out blinds hanging in the band room that hung there in 1987 (my mother says they may be the same blinds that hung there in the early 60s when she went there.) Am convinced that the ghost of my child self is still walking down into the woods closer the river to catch the school bus every morning and every afternoon walking the winding road back out of those same woods.  Am convinced that if I knocked on any door in the neighborhood, the kids that used to live their would answer. (kids who I'd lost touch with before we even left high school, some to rehab and reform schools)

Summer is about different memories, and so are spring and winter, but fall (and especially the pre-Halloween season) reminds me of yards thick and deep with damp leaves, the rich smell they gave off, especially when the temp dropped.  Pumpkins ruined by early frost. Leaf collections and haunted houses in stripmalls and fire stations and abandoned grade schools. How dark the street was trick or treating (the sole light is actually at the park entrance across the street from the house, so it's entirely black the rest of the length of it. (and actually, my dad would usually drive us to a close-by subdivision since there are only a handful of houses on the street and  my parents were wary of sending us down into 'the glen', the wooded area of ramshackle houses and trailers in the woods at the bottom, where it was equally dark populated by god-knows-who.) Even still, it's a neighborhood populated by people my mother grew up with (the land was my grandmother's and split among my mother's siblings.) People grow up and grow old, but then their children move in, move away, and more take over the houses or build bigger ones.  I am not sure I would live here, (Rockford in general is gross and I love Chicago) but sometimes I think about it, about roots and land and a sense of place and how tethered I feel sometimes.

We drove out to the orchard for donuts and apples on Monday, and then back through the state park we spent many a summer camping or fishing in tents and pickup campers.  The same state park where I trekked around the lake for a girl scout badge in 1984.  The same state park that's still a landscape filled with beautiful autumn trees. It's all about nostalgia lately, so I bide my time watching horror movies with my dad like old times, eating mallowcreme tiny pumpkins, sleeping well and deep in my childhood room with the closet door I busted , the nightstand that belonged to my grandmother, the view out over the horse paddock next door (actually, there haven't been horses in years.)  It makes the ghost child of me happy n a way the child-me never would have been (I was moody and difficult and demanding in those years..)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

writerly bits

*  Lisa Cole shares an awesome review of the shared properties of water and stars this week on her blog.

*Verse Daily was kind enough to give a nod to some pieces from the apocalypse series over at their weekly web feature..

* My bookshelves at home get little face time over at the Sundress Blog..

Sunday, October 20, 2013

a month of sundays

There is something very comforting about a chilly grey fall afternoon, all cozy inside with dinner cooking and smelling all wonderful (in this case, pot roast) and nothing absolutely to do but nap intermittently and read. Particularly if it's my parents house and I'm looking at a week off work.  It makes me nostalgic for those long Sunday afternoons of childhood & adolesence.  As a grown up, my Sundays are usually filled with errands and housework and sometimes even work.  Usually, it's the only day I'm not at the library or in the studio.  But here, outside of some emails to send, I'm obligation free and it feels incredibly nice.  Nicer to be an adult and revel in these things (rather than a cranky teenager, I guess, who felt like I was always at war with something (my mother, my body, my own identity).

It feels more like autumn here, even, moreso than the city. The lake always has a slowing effect on seasons, whatever they are --warmer in the cold weather, cooler in the heat--)  Here it is cold enough to crank up the heat and very, very dark at night.  I usually don't get home this time of year until Thanksgiving, so sometimes I miss the real thick of fall entirely.  By then, it's verging on winter and the trees already  leafless. But now, some are just turning and others piled on the ground.

Next week, I'll be back in the middle of the storm and adrift in projects and editing and chapbooks to make, but this week, it's quiet...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I am spending some time this afternoon determining what to read for tonight, and have decided that I'll probably go with some shared properties... segments, some apocalypse poems, and end with some from IHATEYOUJAMESFRANCO . I'd initially though I might trot out some girl show pieces, but I'm feeling in a sillier, less "serious"  mood (and no doubt as soon as it's out, I'll probably be reading mostly from that for a while.)

So far today, there has been dreariness, rain, and a morning hard to pull myself from the cozy bed. But there has also been some hazelnut hot chocolate and some Panera soup, so I'm full and happy, and though I'm technically working, I'm not really getting anything done. Tonight, the brewery reading, and then probably home to bed early since I want to get some serious studio time in the morning before I have to go to work, then I leave for Rockford tomorrow night.

 Me and my sister have been working on some surprises afoot for the anniversary party, including a 1973 mix CD as a take home favor (luckily my mother never reads my blog).  Granted 1973--not a great year for music (and my mother's taste falls a bit on the cheesier side anyway) but it ain't half bad (there is also a longer, broader, more rock laden mix for during the party itself.) 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Amidst the pre-vacation chaos, there is a little space to breathe and thus a little time to blog. I don't tend to it well enough (the blog), or often enough, but there are so many things this is probably true of.  Good things happening in real space, including amazing apple pie from the Hilton next door  with cinnamon sprinkled ice cream.  The other night, listening to some 20 years olds talk excitedly about Anna Karenina (granted there is a recent movie but apparently all is not lost on/with these millennials.)  I have never been a Tolstoy fan (not the Russians in general, but Chekhov is another story altogether)  But it's a good sign that we are not doomed.  I have more and more moments where I feel very old indeed, and perhaps I am, which is very odd considering how mentally, I feel stuck somewhere in my mid-twenties (which is probably why I make such disastrous choices like dating people ACTUALLY in their mid-twenties.  Or worse, mid-twenty-somethings that have serious alcohol problems and post-college career issues..)

But onward and upward. It's dropped into the fifties this week, which means thicker sweaters and knee socks and maybe some boot wearing.  I kind of like the dreary days (though I will be sick of them by the end of this month.) It makes me crave apple and pumpkin-related things--pie and cobblers and donuts (which I should be partaking in at some point next week.)  It makes me want to roll around in a pile of leaves (probably unwise, due to dampness & mold.)  It makes me want to read and write VERY SERIOUS THINGS with a lot of seriousness.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

dgp news and notes

New releases this week include Lisa Cole's sophomore chap with dgp, The Bodyscape, and Nissa Holtkamp's minima and maxima (incidently, I'll be reading with Nissa at Revolution Brewery Thursday night if you happen to be in the Chicago area this week).  We also have new books from Andrea Spofford, (Everything Combustible) and a dance experiment inspired series from Kristin Fitzsimmons titled all these bone bowls.  We are at the height of our catch-up before the year is over, so we'll be releasing books at a pretty steady clip the remainder of the year, so there will be more new releases this coming week and next. We will be getting a new printer as well (well, another new printer) and we will probably wear the poor thing out by Christmas if all goes well.

We are also having one of our seasonal sales, 3 books for a mere $10, which is more than 50 percent off the regular price and a good opportunity to stock up on your favorite authors.  The funds will also go toward helping fund our trip to AWP in 2014.  We've already been making travel plans and setting up some book signings at our table (we'll be joined by Nicole Steinberg, Sophia Kartsonis, and Yu-Han Chao, all of whom will have second books hot off the presses after the new year.)

wicked alice is once again on a roll and updating regularly after our mini-hiatus.  Rumor has it, we'll be doing some mini reviews and books to watch out for lists very soon, so look for those.  Meanwhile, we have new poems up from Andrea Quinlan, Jillian Mukavetz and J. Gay, and amazing flash fiction from Audrey Colombe.

We are  also making our way through the very last of the submissions from the summer open reading period and getting started on the submissions for the typewriter anthology.  (check out announcements regarding upcoming authors at our facebook page or on twitter.)  It's really settled into fall around here and we're excited about all that will be happening in 2014.

Monday, October 14, 2013

While I feel that slight dryness at the back of my throat that usually precedes a cold, I am just ignoring it and hoping it will go away.  There is no time for sickness, not when there is so very much that has to be done before the weekend when I head out of town. The weekend went as planned.  Saturday. most of the day in the studio, printing covers and hating the Epson, which has gotten even worse in it's jamming behavior (the HP and it's booklet issues we won't even talk's pretty much good only for it's scanner/copier and basic printing).  So I ordered a new Epson (same model, new printer), which will render me broker than usual this week, but I'll survive and be able to work faster.  I've been struggling through since May when I replaced Frankenprinter, but this one has a sticky duplexer. I'm so tired of printer issues and technological mishaps and the things which foil me at every turn.

Nevertheless, I made some progress on covers (and hopefully the insides will follow this week.)  I am working through a couple other titles just about ready for release as well.)  Sunday, I made more soup and bought groceries for the week, hemmed a dress (though sometimes I think I do better by hand than on the machine.), cleaned the apartment, played with the cats (Zelda is getting bigger and crazier all the time.)  All I really managed to accomplish in the evening was finishing off the latest season of Supernatural on Netflix.  Not much creative work, but I still blame order muppet mode.  The net that holds everything so tightly in place doesn't allow for much freedom or imagination.  I seem to be able to be both extremely productive and extremely creative, but rarely these two things at the same time.

Today, however, I am wearing the violet dress and feeling rather out of control, so there may be some poems in me yet...

Friday, October 11, 2013

It feels like I've been working straight for two weeks without a break, and yes, dear reader, I guess I actually have, but I'm also studio-bound at least tomorrow to finish up some things, so I am planning on being lazy on Sunday (which of course means that I plan to do some writing then, since that's as close as I get to downtime these days).  I also stumbled upon some lip balm base I hadn't even opened and think I may make a batch of that (I'm planning to do a bunch more soap and candle making, both for gifts and for the shop/open studio in November.)

Tonight, there are some beercade hijinks afoot for a friend's birthday, so who knows how late my day may start tomorrow, but I intend to get  the author copies on their way for this week's new releases and have a few books wrapping up and almost ready.  I am on a mission to actually be on schedule by year's end, which is always a noble undertaking, but rarely happens. Aready there are a couple book designs underway for early 2014 titles, not to mention more AWP planning happenings, reading for the typewriter anthology project, and the last of the submissions to wade through.

This week brings readings and work lunches and the usual pre-vacation panic mode. Next weekend, I am off to Rockford for some fall respite and party preparations, which has been promised to be rife with fall festivities and apple orchards and home-cooked meals. Since we are forgoing our usual Detroit trip this year, Halloween celebrating is still up in the air, but I do have a couple costume ideas should some plans materialize.  More soon on that..

Sunday, October 06, 2013

So far, it's been a Sunday morning of delightful discoveries...a book with an amazingly lovely cover in the return drop called The Collector by John Fowles, "hailed as the first modern psychological thriller" according to the back cover and which sounds right up my alley.  Glorious weather, sunny and cool and clear after a couple rainy, muggy, schizophrenic days.  The discovery that the Trib has apparently been publishing little fiction supplements as chapbooks (someone dumped a bunch on the free table).  Also, the discovery that Zelda apparently thinks she's a mermaid and has decided that frolicking in the bathtub is a fun and not terrifying thing. The other cats, however, were horrified at the sight.

I've been destined for my last library shift this weekend, , but it's a little more bearable and less tedious than usual..  Yesterday, we were testing some games for a future library-sponsored game night, so the day went much faster. Today, I am determined to get through the end of the submissions and wind up some more layouts.  Even though I was headed downtown, I managed to indulge my new Sunday routine which involves a stop for café au lait and an almond croissant from Metropolis ( the first I've found that even approaches the ones they used to sell at my lost, beloved Rain Dog cafe.)  So I am caffeinated, sugared up, and ready to work (well, as soon as I stop wasting time on this blog.)

There are some more writerly bits, though, including this feature at Omniverse about Noctuary  Press, which includes an audio file at the end of me reading briefly from the shared properties of water and stars. (I now have a microphone, which I didn't, so I might get to be annoying with the number of recordings in the future.  I am also trying to figure out how to make book trailers.)  Also a review of that book at Poet Hound and one of the I*HATE*YOU*JAMES *FRANCO pieces in amongst some awesome offerings of Poetry Crush's feature on celebrity crushes. 

I am also planning this week to upload a pdf version of my archer avenue chap just in time for Halloween, which has been out of print for a long while (there were only 50 of them originally and most were just given away/ traded with other poets).. It's one of my favorite projects as far as process--all ghosties and chicago history bits. As me and a co-worker at the library have been working on a exhibition about creative research, I've been remembering how much fun I had working on those poems back in the fall of 2005--the researching, the ghost tours, the fun of not only immersing oneself in legend and folklore, but in some ways, through art, making it and adding to it. girl show was similar in it's research, and I've always loved that element of what I do.  I'd have made a poor academic since the part I loved was the research part and not the dog and pony show of writing it up into a boring essay.(and yes, even with graduate degrees during which I wrote a lifetime's worth of essays, I pretty much hated every second of it.)

Saturday, October 05, 2013

dgp news & notes

Much has been happening behind the scenes as we prepare to launch a slew of chapbooks this month (fall offerings and some stragglers from summer) including books currently underway from Lisa Marie Cole, Nissa Holtkamp ,Kristin Fitzsimmons, Eireanne Lorsung, JSA Lowe, Amber Nelson,  and Leia Wilson.  November has quite a few others coming as well we've yet to start working on just yet but will very soon. And then of course, we're nearing the end of the year and onward to 2014, our big 10th Anniversary year.  I'm still making my way through the final batch of submissions and making final decisions from the summer reading period, but I promise you what we have taken is all sorts of awesome I'm continuing to offer sneak previews at the Facebook page.). Submissions also just closed for the typewriter anthology [carriage return], so I'm looking forward to delving into those in the next few weeks.

Recent releases since our last update included Shanita Bigelow's artwork-accompanied Whatever Clarity is Necessary, as well as Kate Falvey's What the Sea Washes Up, which featured a beautiful cover design courtesy of Michael Kellner.  We also launched two books by Tuscaloosa entrenched poets (I've found that there seems to be really exciting stuff coming out of that MFA program in particular)  Katie Berger and Laura Kochman.  We also have a new chapbook courtesy of Abigail Waltrausen, In Memory of Category,  who describes her series as:

" a collection of poems about tools and viewfinders, the mind’s ways of interpreting the world by tailoring nature and industry around each other. The mind is a master curator, and the objects that inhabit these poems orbit universal preoccupations: sex, commerce, sights, apocalypses. My project is to find these themes in the fading and obsolete object. The antiquated tools for cataloguing and experiencing the world, things from claude glasses to stereographs to gunter’s chains to astrolabes, inspire from their places in cabinets of curiosity and museums of early Americana. Just as these places accumulate objects, I map the euphony of verbal "artifacts" from my reading in my long-time practice of keeping a commonplace book where I copy striking images and sounds. I write both with William Carlos William’s words "no Ideas but in things" ringing in my ears and with an abiding love of early explicators of all "things" -- the metaphysical poets. "


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

bits & pieces

1.  The other night I dreamed that my mother was washing dishes in an overflowing sink, but also that she would occasionally shift dimensions or down and just disappear.  We were distraught, but also knew that this sort of thing happened occasionally and not to panic.  In fact, people in general could just shift dimensions and time at will and no one was really all that concerned. It may have had something to do with my wish for time travel vacations, like say if you wanted to visit Vegas in the brat pack days or Chicago in the 20's..

2. There is a rather lovely awesome review of the shared properties of water and stars up at Heavy Feather Review.  I always get this lovely sort of vertigo when I hear people talk about my work as if I'm not in the room (well and I suppose it would be rather different if it were bad things they were saying, but in this case, its favorable.) It almost feels like a real things that is entirely independent of me and my sense of self, like some strange little child that goes gallivanting out there in the world occasionally without me and is actually doing things.

3. There is still some time to get the pre-sale price on girl show, which will also be galivanting out there in the world in a few short weeks. This feels like the little book that took forever to come into being, so I'm definitely feeling both relieved and excited. You can read a little about it here, and see some poems from it here and here.

4.  I've been invited to take part in a digital chapbook archive project and have decided to use the apocalypse series of poems as my contribution.  I'll have more details as it evolves and am working on the cover and layout as we speak. I've also been thinking of digitizing some other chaps and making them available on my website, maybe archer avenue and errata, the cornell poems, various out-of-print projects.  Some of the early stuff in the first three chaps has better versions in the full-length books, but I would like to have errata, which was truncated a bit for in the bird museum, to be available in its entirety. Eventually even havoc and shipwrecks of lake michigan after they've sold out the limited run. I loved how people responded to the JF poems in an e-chap in an immediate way that print doesn't always allow.

4. I am starting to get excited about a reading mid-month, which features some of my very favorite poetry ladies.  I don't think gs will be in hand by then, so I might read some other things instead...There might be another one in the works in December, provided I get cracking and finish up the ghost landscapes poems..which is what I should be doing now instead of blogging, but we've reached the Tuesday fall-out point where I do amazing things out of the gate on Monday and get super-lazy before rebounding Weds.  Happens every week...