Tuesday, December 31, 2013

sayonara 2013

You were a year of watercolor experiments and household organization. Of tiki bar expeditions and lunchtime margaritas. Of writing apocalypse poems and devouring semi trashy YA novels.   Of new book releases and readings in bookstores, bars, and breweries.  Of turning 39 along the Mississippi coast. Of rabbit dresses and manuscript reading for dgp.  Of daily ice cream and August trips to the wilds of the Wisconsin north woods. Of journal submissions and new projects.  Of apple orchards and anniversary fetes.  Of early snow and perfecting my chicken soup recipe. While not hardly a perfect year,  prone to kitty losses and both romantic and technical malfunction of various persuasions, you were still a productive year, a good writing year,a somewhat healthy year (well healthi-ER anyway),  and far more good than bad...

Today, I celebrated the beginning of NYE by waiting for my groceries to be delivered and re-organzing/color coordinating my cardigan collection (Saturday's thrifting expedition went well and I scored more sweaters than could fit in my drawer as/was.)    As for the rest, I may do some painting or writing or read the last of the submissions for the typewriter anthology. I may work on some jewelry or watch SyFy channel shows or read. I may finish unpacking my holiday gift haul or I may just nap all day. There will probably be take-out and some boy-time much later after said boy gets off work, but I am determined not to leave the apartment if humanly possible.  I did get a good chunk of studio time in yesterday after I got back into town, and plan to head back later this week for a full day, and I am not library-bound til Monday, so mostly I am just relaxing.

As for 2014, lets hope it's a good one.  See you on the flip side...

Friday, December 27, 2013

In what I like to call "holiday decompression" I get to feeling a little cagey this time of year.  Some of it may most definitely be the weather, a little cabin fever, a little bit of sadness once the sparkle of the holidays wears off and all we have left is snowy bleakness til March.  From here on in, it's all dark, long, frigid nights and less celebrations to distract one from them.  Not much is happening but sleeping cats and leftovers and even the decorations start to seem a little dull and depressing.  A little less bright and shiny.   I often wonder if one could escape the feeling simply by re-locating to another climate, and that might this week be the best time to fly to some sandy beach filled island.  (Not that once could usually afford such things right after the holidays, but it could probably be done.)  So I make do with internet distractions, netflixing horror movies with my parents (even my mother who we seem to have finally brought round to our way of thinking.)  With new dresses bought with Christmas money, with peppermint bark and deciding whether or not I want to go blonde (my natural color, or something close to it.)

Monday I'll be back in the city and working in the groove and routines that keep me sane, back to some possible outings with friends and errands to run and all the usual things that distract me from the winter nasties...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas.  The one time of year when it is completely appropriate to eat chocolates and tea for breakfast. Overall,  I had an amazingly lovely time, full of so much good food, booze, and family.  My gift haul included the aforementioned fancy tea and chocolates, but also books and delicious lotions and nail polishes.  A new cotton bathrobe and various fancy kitchenwares, plus a gift card to feed my caffeine addiction and some good alcohol. We had the usual round of places to visit on Christmas Eve, and then a big dinner and some dvd's yesterday.  There's still another holiday shindig over the weekend with some of my mother's friends, but things are winding down. Today, I've mostly been working on some press plans and making a list of supplies to order for when I get back.  I've been watching the cats freak out over the birds outside the bedroom window (closer and more numerous in number than they ever see from our third floor abode in the city).    I've been thinking about new years resolutions (to be more creative, more social, more organized.)

Next week, I plan to spend a significant chunk of time in the studio getting ready for AWP (this will probably be the biggest block of solid  time I can muster over the next few weeks since I'll be working the J-Term schedule through January and February will probably fly by.  It would be nice to head into the year organized and caught up rather than my usual last-minute chaos.  In addition to books and new titles that will be debuting, I have some crafty things all set to go (mostly things I ran out of time to finish before the open studio--flasks, jewelry, some sewing projects.)  We''re planning another event in February if things are not to chaotic pre-conference.  I am already working on gathering supplies for the first zine I'll be releasing, radio ocularia, which involves transparency paper and vellum, and contains both poems and anatomical collages.  I'll likely make a few copies available outside the subscription plan, but I'm still working on the details.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I have already arrived in Rockford for the holiday, and have already been to one family gathering involving too much wine and lasagna and a gift exchange in which I scored a copy of Dickinson's The Gorgeous Nothings.  The weather since I left the city (where it was actually not horrid and a little rainy) has been icy and treacherous, the trees glistening and a thick crust of ice on the snow.  I still have some shopping to do, but yesterday, we made cookies, watched bad cable christmas movies and it finally feels a little more like the holidays after the chaos of last minute-things I've been immersed in finishing up before I left.

I am hoping to get some writing done this week if I can sneak up on it, perhaps some more ghost landscapes..  It would be nice to get into a nice concentration friendly state amidst all the ribbons and wrapping paper.  I've cleared off the desk in my old room and robbed the dining room of a comfy chair and have barricaded myself in my room with tea and oranges and the cats, so we'll see how it goes.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

dgp 2013

We're reaching the end of another great year for the dancing girl press chapbook series with so much on the horizon in 2014. At the end of February,  we'll be taking AWP Seattle by storm with a book fair table slot, some author signings,  a panel on publishing women authors, and a reading with some other great indie presses (Sundress, Noctuary, Hyacinth Girl)l. We'll also be producing a whole new slew of chaps starting in January (including some stragglers left over from this year), publishing our awesome typewriter anthology project [carriage return], and embarking the new zine subscription series.  As with every year, we are so amazed and delighted by the  quality and breadth work we get to publish each year and humbled by the support of our authors and readers. 

Many discussions have been afoot recently regarding the trials of women authors in a sadly, in places, still male dominated literary community, and we hope that with each new dancing girl press series title, we are adding yet another woman's voice to the conversation that is American (and sometimes overseas) poetry, and by doing so, helping to close that gap.

It's our ten year anniversary as well, so plan for lots of giveaways and celebratory hijinks.. Until then...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It was an early morning this morning, mostly because I went to bed very early last night and was awake long before dawn.  But there was some sun for awhile before it clouded over, and walking down Michigan, I really just wanted to curl up in the light like a cat and take a nap.  This time of year, good daylight seems far too scarce to be wasted. I am mostly in the process of last minute things before the holiday, book orders to go out, layouts to be finalized, ways to have things ready to go when I arrive back in town.  I would have loved to be caught up on books going into the new year, but there are a handful of stragglers that will debut in January in addition to some new ones.  Before I leave, I need to write a review I promised, make decisions on the typewriter anthology pieces, and queue up the winter wicked alice updates for the next couple of weeks. 

I've been excited all week by my good book news re; major characters in minor films, which was accepted by Sundress Publications and will be out in early 2015.  It's a mix of verse and prose poems, about 50/50 and contains stuff written as early as 2006 and as late as 2012, so it's a big span.  It also feels very full-circle, what with Sundress' cornerstone journal, Stirring, being one of the first litzines to publish my work way back in 2001.  In other news, things are still plugging along on the landscape poems, though I may be cheating on them just a little with a new, sexier, series of poems (they are, in fact, poems about sex ).  They might be just a fun little thing, but I also have some plans underway for a hybrid manuscript I've been meaning to get to, so it'll be nice to have some time off work to really dig in. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Today, snow and more snow.  I'll admit, it's sort of pretty, but only when I get to stay inside and safely warm and dry and not outside navgating in it.  The early dark, though, is getting to me. 4:30 and nearly completely night out there because of the clouds. As I've mentioned in years past, I never know quite what to do with myself during these hours, especially when I'm home and not working on anything in particular.  It's too early for dinner and movie watching, but too late to feel like I can do anything crafty with the afternoon.

But we've reached the end of another semester, dark or no, and this week will be filled with some goodbye festivities for co-workers, some holiday shopping, last minute press business before I'm gone for a week or so.  Last night's open studio was a success, crazy planning aside, and I'm always amazed at how many people come through (and some actually buy things!!)  We made enough to cover some paper and ink supplies for the AWP stock up I'll be doing come January, and possibly some travel money.  I'm always fretful and nervous and anxious beforehand, but it went swimmingly.

I also got some most excellent writing news last night involving the major characters in minor films mss, which I'll be sharing soon.  So stay tuned..

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

dear december,

This is always the time of year when I feel least mentally prepared to deal with things, even the slightest things that go wrong like leaky pipes and jammed printers.  It's also usually a busy time, a ragged, loose-around-the -edges time where I feel like I'm hurtling toward the new year and will only survive if I get there more or less intact. Part of it has to do with retail rushes and the open studio, but also the gift giving season and  general holiday season business that always demands energies when I have the least amount of them to give.  I've always joked that I wish certain holiday events happened in the summer when I am generally feeling content and able to take on the world, rather than now when I am most likely to be found huddling under the covers and hiding from it.  Even January seems less wearing than December, but by then, we're hitting that winter lull that drags and drags, but usually is at least, mercifully, uneventful.

Yesterday I was making my way through a number of book orders and realized I was experiencing the worst sort of rising panic that I needed to be getting more things finished up for Friday and that I couldn't possibly get everything finished up before then, and good god, could these covers print any fucking faster? And of course, the more frenzied I get, the more things seem to go wrong--crooked staples, empty tape dispensers, messy folds. It's inevitable.  It's times like these when I feel the least capable of being in the moment and enjoying things And I hate it, this feeling that I am basically constantly rushing from one place to another, one project to another.  It's not always like that, but in those moments, it often feels like that's exactly the case, which is not always a bad thing, and in my better moments, I love the productivity and the energy.  But in my worst, I get frustrated.  I have limits and am in good in not moving past them, but I am also woefully over ambitious, which sets me up for chaos.  It's pretty much like this with everything--writing, editing, my personal life...I've learned to live with it, but I sometimes think I just need to slow down and enjoy things more, or at least enjoy the process of things, rather than pushing so hard for the result.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

2013: the writing year in review

Every year toward the end of it, I get sort of contemplative in terms of what I've accomplished writing-wise and what I need to do in the new year and to set some some goals.  I'm realizing as I go through my records, that this year has been a busier year than the few previous in terms of publications and productivity. In 2012 I barely submitted anything (outside of solicited work) and only published two sets of poems, one text-heavy zine project, and one e-chap. In  2013, however, I submitted to 14 journals and had 8 acceptances, released two chapbooks (one print, one electronic) and one full-length projects (well, as soon as girl show is out it will be two.) There was one anthology, four interviews, one round table, five local readings, and a smattering of reviews.  I finished several short series of work, put together a new longer manuscript, and started a couple of new poem projects that I plan on finishing in 2014.

While it seemed chaotic as it was happening, surprsingly his last year has seemed a good balance of writing-focused work and po-biz work, two things which perpetually feel at odds (ie when I'm writing I find I can't get my shit together to submit anything and when I'm gung-ho on submissions, it's usually because I'm looking for distractions while the ink isn't flowing.) There are years that have weighed heavier one way of the other. It seems my ambitions seem to take two separate paths that I have a hard time straying from one into the other.

I'm thinking the zine project series will keep me along the creative path permanently (hopefully, at least), so my submissions and business-of-writing work, may take a backseat, so I'm looking into making a list of journals the next couple of weeks so I can just look at it and send things rather than doing all the research further down the road.  With a couple of my favorite print journals aside that I love having/would love to have work in, I'm mostly interested in online venues and feel like they suit my needs a little bit more.  (bigger audiences, linkability, etc.)  I've been bookmarking journals on my laptop all afternoon through about four cups of tea and think I have a good list, so watch out 2014, I'm coming for you.

Thursday, December 05, 2013


Today is the first day that was even slightly sunny since the beginning of the week and it appears to have clouded over as soon as I noticed.  It's been a week mired in romantic drama (always) and various pre-open studio busyness, complete with library break room makeshift barbecues and boring stuff like laundry.  There are cool writing things afoot, including the e-chap release (see below) and this interview over at Prick of the Spindle with other Noctuary Press folk.  I also managed to pull together details on the zine subscription I'll be offering in 2014, which I am excited about, particularly since I've hatched a few more ideas for projects for later in the year (both visual and written.) Poems are once again flowing on the ghost landscapes front, as well, after a too long hiatus, as well as on another little series that might wind up being part of next year's subscription plan. I'll be posting teasers and promos after the beginning of the year (you will be able to subscribe at any time along the way if something strikes your fancy & individual projects will probably also be available in limited quantities.).

The final details are also coming together for girl show's release, and the final proofs have been approved from the designer and December 10th is the official release date.  I think you may still be able to get the pre-order sales rate through the weekend if you'd like to. More soon...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

apocalypse theory: a reader

Check out The Poetry Center at SFSU’s chapbook exchange, where you will find my little chapbook, APOCALYPSE THEORY:  A READER along with some awesome projects from a whole host of other participants…

Sunday, December 01, 2013

So another Thanksgiving put to bed, and the usual beautiful gluttony of too much family, turkey, wine, and pie.  Today, I've been watching the squirrels outside my old bedroom window along with the cats, and in my head, contemplating a new zine-a-month project in an effort to wrap up and get underway some midstride text and image projects, including radio ocularia, ghost landscapes, and erasure project and some others I have been hatching in my brain.  Something that would be available at a discount to subscribers who would be interested in getting a whole years worth, mostly text and image projects, ala  shipwrecks of lake michigan or the Cornell project.  I'm not sure of the pricing, but it would kick in toward funding some of the fancier, more involved, ventures which are not always feasible using the usual budget of dgp projects.  Ideally, by the end of the year, it would include the box project, unusual creatures, as well, which is a bit more ambitious.  So often I carry these things from year to year, unfinished and uncertain of their release, and I'd like to make this year different with deadlines and accountability of some sort.  While this year has been all about books from other presses (Maverick Duck, Black Lawrence, Noctuary) 2014 doesn't have any releases in the works (though there may be some bigger projects on the horizon/in submission for 2015 possibilities),  so it makes a perfect year to focus on smaller limited edition things in the coming year.