Saturday, October 14, 2017


I have this incredibly lofty goal to both write everyday and make some sort of gesture toward art everyday and usually I end up failing.  The writing happens in fits and spurts and sometimes a mad dash toward either an external or personal deadline.  So much falls into the path on a daily basis that I end up cutting myself too much slack and the next thing I know, I get that itchy, dissastified feeling that I'm not devoting sufficient time to my own creative pursuits and too much directed toward library and press things, and just time wasters and general life stuff.   It's easier with art--to just dive in and make something happen on the fly, but writing is an altogether different beast--one that has to happen under the right atmospheric circumstances--sort of like a tornado, the correct science of air masses and currents to actually get spinning, and sometimes even when it's spinning, it doesn't always meet the ground, let alone do the sort of good damage you want it to.

So thus, there's always this overwhelming feeling of not living up to potential (I just mis-typed "poetential" there and that seems incredibly fitting.)  Projects that have been conceived, and sometimes even named with titles that are waiting to actually happen.  And we won't even talk about the writing-business side, the work that is done and very little time/energy to send it out in the world in any sort of effective way.  Just getting the writing done seems hard enough when your juggling dayjobs, and editing/bookmaking work, not to mention commutes, housework, errands, and lately trips out to visit my mom on the weekend  (and even I admit it's so much easier than for other women because I don't have children and am entangled romantically with one of the only people I've ever met with more creative & work time commitments than me).

Granted I wrote & submitted more in the early 2000's (both before and during grad school, the former because my obligations both inside and outside the day job were simpler, and the latter because I HAD to. )  But then there was the press and the crazy etsy shop ride , and then just the press but steadily growing all the time and still growing.  And then more creative fun opportunities library-wise with A of R, things that I also work on sometimes on my own time but also make my experience in the library far more rewarding than it used to be just pushing papers around and supervising the circ desk.

Even still I've managed, as I occasionally have to remind myself, to produce pretty well, even since finishing my MFA 10 years ago, maybe not at first, but the last 6 years or so finishing about a book a year and making lots of artist books, chaps, and zine projects that at least make me feel a little more productive.  But then there is so much unwritten or half written or merely conceived as a tiny glimmer at the back of my brain. And so much more to do and it feels like so little time (not just daily time, but approaching / possibly already middle age at 43, and so, you know , facing my own inevitable mortality kind of thing.) It's this sort of low-key, but steadily building, panic sensation.  What if I never get to the end of the project to-do list?  What if all those things go unwritten?

Of course, today. my only rare  day off and obligation free, I wake late to a cloudy overcast day, drink too much coffee, and waste time on social media and pen this blog post instead of a poem.   But maybe I'm just sitting here waiting for the right winds that make one possible.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

While the temps this week have been in and out, up and down and weirdly humid, this afternoon, fall seems to have arrived in a fell swoop of wind and rain that set my apartment door rattling in it's frame and leaves spinning from trees and into the air.  Some trees are already yellowing & dropping, but I feel like the major turns are set to happen in the next couple weeks and by month's end, all will be gone except the tree outside my bedroom--the one that takes a really long time to get full in the spring and a long time to go bare. As such, my mind turns to fall things--apple pie, hazlenut hot chocolate, horror movies.  Tonight, I'll make my mother's ghoulash recipe and watch something spooky (though sometimes, it takes some starting and stopping and flipping aimless through Netflix.  Tomorrow, and early trip to Rockford again (my mom's foot is looking good according to the surgeon and her personality back to more normalish, but she's still going to need a lot of physical therapy to get her on her feet again.)

Library-wise, the latter part of this week has been devoted to getting ready for Wednesday's Zines in the Classroom workshop.  I was I was reminiscing over my passion for book arts and was thinking about my high school English class junior year and our teacher's predilection for interesting arty projects vs. boring essays and how much that year influenced me as someone interested in more creative manifestations of the written word (and thus the possibilities inherent in zine-making for classroom projects and how much more engaging those are for students.)  We're also about to go into full scale preparations for the Little Indie Press Festival, so I'm lining up readers and thinking about which dgp things I'd like to make available at the table. And then, hell, it will be nearly Halloween, and my yearly indulgence of double feature action in the library (this year, Bucket of Blood and some delightful mermaid horror, Night Tide.)

Art & writing-wise, I'm looking to transcribing the last text parts of UNUSUAL CREATURES out of the spiral and into the computer.  Also, making some more progress on /SLASH/, which has brief distracted me from some other poem projects, but it seems, seasonally , to be the best option. There is still a few more poems to write in the last section of the big book manuscript in the works that pulls together some of the smaller projects, but I'd like to finish and maybe start sending it out by the end of the year.   Meanwhile there are collage experiments and ad-hoc zines  (see above) and art projects aplenty.  (We' also having a paper mechanicals workshop next week Jen is leading that may prove fruitful--particularly for something I'm thinking of doing for our Grimm selection for Book to Art Club. )

As for dgp, mostly making big batches of books for a couple authors and slogging through the latter half of summer manuscripts, which are so good, they make me anxious about decision making when the time starts to start winnowing down.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Perhaps it is just the heaviness of the world lately--the violence, politics, politics that are a sort of violence. Perhaps it's merely seasonal fervor, but I am working on a new poem series of cut-ups of old slasher movie shooting scripts.  A different kind of horror, and making some new collages to go along with those poems.

I was recently reading an article about how women should be most afraid in this world of violent, angry, white men, and the comment resonated through so much of what I've been witnessing in the world lately---both at large and in the smaller literary arena.  There is some of this in my love poems series, that started out as a gesture toward the love poem, but ended up being more about women and men and how can love even happen when the world is the way it is.   And yet somehow it does. I probably do fear and try to avoid angry white men more than anything else on a daily basis (they are the ones who are, at best,  either ignoring your voice in meetings, or at worst, shooting up a public space.), and yet, as a straight woman dating men (men that have been, with a couple exceptions, mostly white) it's kind of hard to avoid men altogether.

My literary world is mostly small and circumscribed by women--by the press, by the publishers I send my work to.  By the poets I know in real life and FB.  But I hear the horror stories--the web trolling, the nasty responses to rejections, the general creeping on women writers--most of it committed by one demographic.  I do not know what to make of it--and have had many men in my life  (both actual and literary) who were not angry white men, but in this I am far more fortunate than others. As a woman, I am more likely to be killed by a man I know  in my own home than I am in a mass-shooting, but this isn't exactly a comforting fact.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

My library work week began with poetry, in the form of our Written on the Body reading Monday night and ended with cocktails with co-workers Friday, but in between there was an amazing round table discussion with artists from the Tattoo exhibit and a watercolor inking workshop, the conception of a new zine project Really Bad Idea, and gaming-related publication action @ both Library As Incubator and the ALA Programming Blog.   I'm now prepping for my zine workshop next week, and further in the month, Little Indie Press Festival, my favorite event  of the year, which is already shaping up to be bigger than last year in terms of the publisher/artist showcase.

dgp-wise, there are some new releases underway and lots of layouts as well as some acceptances and rejections as I make my way through the summer submissions (and try to hold desperately onto my 3-month response minimum.)  There is so much goodness there in the coming year, and so many chaps still left in 2017.  I am struggling to keep my head above water and still feel some things getting lost in the morass--wicked alice updates and the mermaid anthology are the saddest neglected children, but am hoping to get on top of them by year's end.

I recently had a discussion with another artist about never feeling truly caught up with one's life--of always being under the wheels and overwhelmed--creative or non-creative, and have pretty much felt this way my entire life, so am not sure if there's a fix.  As long as I keep hatching projects and schemes, there will probably never be an end, or sufficient breathing room or pauses to catch my breath .  This is the way it goes, so I suppose if you can't find a way out of the fire, you live in it, find a way to thrive in it, and do with it what you can.  I have writing and art projects in the works for YEARS, titles and concepts for books I haven't even really started writing yet. I have ideas for AofR programming, for library-related writing projects  that are in limbo until I get a grasp on some time to do them.  Press anthology projects and broadsides and paper goods I am looking to get a start on, but can't until I finish what's on my plate now. All of it is really exhausting, so I try not to think about it too much. When I think about being afriad of death, it's not the hereafter that scares me, but all the things I'll never finish if I don't get cracking.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

This week has been marked by much prep for the TATTOO : INK, ART, & OBJECT exhibit and events, but also by unseasonably hot weather that does not dissipate overnight so my apartment is sticky and overheated all the damn time when I am mentally not in the mood for summer anymore , but for fall-things like apples and horror movies and sweaters and being cozy.  It's the August we never got come back to town a month late and annoying as hell.

Yesterday I formatted questions for Tuesday's artist panel and finalized details for Monday night's reading, as well as hung most of the pieces on the second floor---one of which is an amazing tattooed plaster death mask. I'll also be hanging the prints I came up with as variations for the poster--the lucky cat and the ouija board and maybe something else if I can finish it Monday.

I am off to Rockford again tomorrow for an overnight...where my mother is steadily improvng--her mind better and more like herself, but still a long way from being back on her feet.   The nursing home seems nice, though the elderly folks just sort of littered throughout the hall unnerve me, mostly becuase I cannot guess whether they are there because they want to be there or rolled through the hallways, or because some aide has just abandoned them there. The facility dining room was also sort of unnerving, most people just staring into space and waiting, no one talking to each other or passing time in other ways..a strong dose of what it's like to be elderly in the world and the sort of loneliness that is enough to kill you even when other things haven;t.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

unusual creatures

I've been working a bit more on transcribing bits of UNUSUAL CREATURES into type from the notebook version, as well as plotting out the elements that will go into the finished box project..the letters, the diary portions, the typed notebook pages.  Also the images (see above), the various faux ephemera--newpaper scraps, maps, etc--all that create the little world of the project.

I was thinking the other day about how long this thing has been in the works--how long the visual pieces took from the time my aunt gave me the photos,  How long those existed before the written portions just completed this summer.  How some projects are a slow burn and others (like the Plath Centos and the love poems series) are faster at coming into being. I would love to have the whole project finished by winter, but am unsure of how much can be accomplished before then.  Also how much I'll have to fork over in supplies to make it happen and whether that is in my budget.

I was also thinking about the dynamics of storytelling and whose story this is.  There are three main parts written by three women in different generations of the same family--a day book, a sheaf of letters, and a more scientifically oriented journal. These are the women that speak, but the main character actually speaks nothing of her own.   Her story is present in the words of the other women and comes together in fragments--the letters written to her by her sister, the diary entries of her mother, the notebooks of her niece.  The things that are said about her as well as unsaid.

I was also thinking about our Creepy Curiosities installation from a couple years back, how that installation in many ways inspires and reflects the visual elements, just as much as the animal mask collages (and in fact was created as a companion piece to the framed collages)  I want to find a way to inorporate the visuals from that exhibit, maybe as the "cover" art of the box if I possibly can.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

we all float down here

Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the afternooon typing up one large segment of UNUSUAL CREATURES--the Rose letters.  They will be the ekphrastic element of the box project, most likely enveloped and tied with a ribbon.  As I was retyping, I was revising, and feeling that ever-present tension between narrative--relaying sufficient information to convey the story (in this case the story of a woman who runs away from home to pursue a dream and a marriage and a child in the 1920's, but ends up in madness and depression and prostitution) and being artful with language--poetic and innovative.  Sometimes, I don't care about narrative at all, but it seems important here.  When I initially was writing, I was composing longhand in a spiral notebook and away from the computer, so when I sit down to type, it feels rougher--in need of tweaking--moreso even  than usual.

Thursday night, I got a chance to see the IT remake, and was thinking yesterday how King tells stories, and the world he creates and recreates that overlaps sometimes and feels like it's a part of the same universe, either intentionally or unintentionally or just by circumstance.  I liked it better than the mini-series, though the actual novel is not my favorite Stephen King piece  (which would be Carrie, or maybe The Langoliers). Whenever I think about his work, there is always the tension of the horror fiction genre and more serious types of writing, and I feel King treads that line quite nicely.  While I was in college and studying LITERATURE (tm) I would have written King off as a purely guilty pleasure, but after reading his On Writing book, I had a new appreciation for what he does, and though his less horror-driven books aren't my bag (w/the exception of 11-22-63) I have mad respect for someone who can do popular lit well and still have the least writerly integrity (in this Twilight / 50 Shades of Grey world).

I also like how his books become part of the cultural fabric--how his characters and storylines are recognizable tropes.  Everyone equates highschool with Carrie. Even walking back from the theatre and crossing the deserted north branch of the Chicago River, I mentioned how perfect it was a place for Pennywise, that dank & dark water, and half expected to see that single, ominous red balloon floating over the bridge above our heads.

Tomorrow, another trip to Rockford, where my mother seems to be improving and has been moved to a nursing home for some rehabilitation work before she can be sent home. Though she is still out of it and having a problem distinguishing between reality and dreams and some possible hallucinatons, ( two little girls seated at the table in her room, more butterflies on the wall)  her motor skills are improving, as is her appetite.   She's kind of freaky in a horror movie way, and I joked with my father on the phone that maybe her infection made her able to see ghosts.  I am less troubled by her ghost-sightings than her crying, which seems to be less prompted by pain and more by frustration or sadness.  (ie..if she is talking crazy, that's fine, but I don't want her to be in distress). As the infection  / pain clears, most likely so will her mind , so we are hoping for the upturn soon.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

I am headed tomorrow to Rockford for a hospital visit, but today I am doing my best interpretation of a cat--sleeping late into the afternoon and staying close to home.  This morning, I dreamed my mother was a fish or mermaid and kept diving into a pool and reappearing until she didn't.  I also dreamed that she lived in a house where the walls were cracking collapsing but that she one day woke up and was completely cured of her ailments. I also dreamed I was at a wedding or a high school reunion, it seemed to be both at the same time, and my most recent ex was there, drunk as per usual, and trying to make things happen again.  Also, later that I went for cocktails with my sister at a mint-boothed swanky 50's bar I wished existed in real life, also populated with badly behaving exes, but then, rushing out, lost her out on the street. Perhaps this goes back to my mother's ominous "Take care of your sister" before she went into surgery last week. (all very funny since I always see my sister, though four years younger, as the more adult of the two of us.)

Today, I will drink coffee with too much sugar and maybe play with paint markers and write some. We had a glorious start to the Gaming Society season yesterday with Old School Board Game (which I didn't get to even play because all the tables and chairs were full--a good problem to have.)  We have our first zine night coming up Monday devoted to coloring book zines, and I may be working on a #2 to Botanical Zine series.  There are other plans underway, including our Tattoo Exhibit and week of events, the Little Indie Press Festival in late October.

I am adrift on delayed summer dgp titles and will be soon moving into fall, so watch for a scattershot of releases happening in the next couple of weeks.  I am also steadily wading in the submission pool and sending out more responses. Writing wise, I am just beginning to type up everything in the Unusual Creatures project notebook. I'm also finishing up the art zine for IN | VERTEBRATE, which is the belated August installment. September's offering will be the trio of Crypto Zines, so keep an eye out for those.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Despite hurricane craziness in the south and the fact that the west is burning, here in in the midwest, we are getting a firm dose of fall temperatures, sunny clear days that top out in the 70's and drop into the 50' seems more October weather than September, but then again, August seemed more like September.

My mother is back in the hospital, and I am pretending things will, as her doctors seem to think, be okay and moving in the right direction, but am ignoring the little voice at the back of my head that tells me she every well may not be.  Her heart appears to be fine, but a wound on her heel from a fall earlier this year resulted (despite precautions and wound treatment) in an infection that resulted in a terrifying bout of delerium--hallucinations, aphasia, general weakness and confusion.  She had surgery on the foot Sunday, and seems to have good days and bad days since. It kills me that a woman who can survive a heart attack without batting an eyelash, has been rendered to nothing by a cut on her foot. When I was home the weekend before last, before she finally was hospitalized, she kept obsessing over certain things, my sister's husband's whereabouts, their dog, another dog that doesn't exist and that she worried was all alone somewhere.  Dorothy's ruby slippers, the neighbors, tiny bugs on the carpet, strange people on the ceiling.

While I teased her that I would be reminding her of all the crazy things she said when she was better, it was impossible to watch at the same time.  She also was barely able to eat, barely able to stand. would get confused when we instructed her to move her feet. But then I realized it had perhaps, though less severe, began a few weeks back when she'd occasionally  lose track of day vs. night.  When she laughingly mentioned on the phone she said it seemed like people were coming into the house and moving things around while she slept. We worried, before the diagnosis of the infection that she was having a breakdown, she'd had alot of pain with her legs in general (a latex allergy had blistered her legs earlier in the spring).  She'd gone in for two heart procedures, nothing invasive, but still requiring short hospital stays. .  Shed been cooped up since February, and add in my aunt's death in June, and who know's what the mind can endure. (and the family history includes a lot of crazy in general on her side of the tree.). Even so, when I was home in early July, she was good, and getting around better, and in a little pain with the foot, but not incapacitated. We even went out on a couple trips and restaurant outings.  But it seemed every time she seemed to be getting better, she would have a setback, and this seems so much the story of so many elderly parents (she just turned 70 this year.)

So I've been going back and forth on the weekends, manaicly trying to balance,  keep to my routines and structures to keep the entire house from falling down but also to spend some time with her, even though sometimes she might be confused as to who I actually am. .  If I keep myself occupied, I can keep certain thoughts at bay, but only for so long.  To even write them here seems gut-wrenching. No matter how prepared you feel you are for these things, you realize that you are so very not.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

cover love

We've been moving full-on through summer releases for dgp, and I've gotten to design a few more cover designs from scratch since the last batch.  These were all done digitally from suggestions from authors what they were going for,  and I am a little bit  in love with all of them, but especially those twins, tho...

all of them are available now in the shop...

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Yesterday morning found me at the Field Museum, getting a chance to see oversized dino fossils and some of the collection in the museum's library, including the giant Audubon (that needed an Audubon Ottoman it was so big) and some gorgeous botanical books that set me dreaming of flowers and itching to break out the new markers I've yet to christen. I'd initially planned to spend the afternoon at the museum, checking out the Specimen's exhibit, but my feets were tired and I was lured away by dim sum, so it will have to await another day and another visit.

Next weekend I will be in Rockford for a visit and then the week after that, getting ready for the semester to begin and summer will be gone just like that. I always am of mixed feelings about this time of year, or maybe it's the last month of any extreme season (summer or winter), anxious to get to fall or spring and my more favorite parts  I'm a spring baby, so I probably prefer it more than fall, but I also love fall's colors and coziness (and the clothes are always the very best--I once again have my sights set on rich fall florals and boots and sweater dresses, oh my!)  Of course, remind me of this in February when I am whining about winter...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

a peek into dgp

Summer is slipping out from under me, both swiftly and slowly at the same time, and I am reaching the point where I am approaching a third of the way through  the incoming dgp submissions for next year.  There are days when I have to stop reading because I want to take everything.  There are days when I stop reading because I'm flipping through and nothing is catching my fancy. Somewhere there is a happy medium and on those days, I make hard decisions about what I can possibly fit into a given month. By now, we are already chock full for January, February, March, and most of April, which is where I want to be at this point.  There are also a stack of maybes that languish until the end and I fill in where there's room, though the past couple of years, my maybes had to be rejected. We'll see what happens this year.

I would like to say I read everything cover to  cover, but with coming up on 500 books, I know that's not possible.  So I read about 5 pages into each, longer into the ones I'm digging, all the way through the maybes and the yesses,  Some are easy--a quick no--usually not due to any sort of manuscript integrity  but more do to writing style. I don't even get a lot of really bad cliche stuff anymore (maybe 20%) , but some are definitely more straightforward lyrical or narrative poems that don't really excite me all that much (another 30-40%.)  Stuff in this vein only when it surprises me or gets weird, or the voice is fractured or unruly somehow. There's another 10-20 % that don't seem to work as chapbooks, or are too random in their construction where I usually like a tighter focus. Another 20% that are structurally sound and well wrought but are not my favorites.  And then the 10% or so that knocks my socks off and comes down ultimately to whether a not when I look at the book, I wish it were something I had written.  All of which sounds horribly subjective when we think of editors choosing the "best" of any batch of submissions, but truthfully, it's a very subjective task.

Yesterday I was having a day when nothing pleased me in the first hour of reading, but in the second  I managed to find a three yesses--(one this strange language collage of Tiana Lavrova (something so unusual to me that I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but by the end, was certain I kinda loved it) and chaps from Sarah Jones and Erin Salughter.  All very different books and voices but somehow all very undeniably dgp, which is very much about me and my tastes and also the collective voice that has developed through over 600 books. (and it's crazy to me to realize that's how many we've published in 13 years, and by the end of this year, even more.)

I always have been dedicated to going the maximum route rather than the scarce (go big or go home)--so we do take on a lot of books, probably way more than most  similarly sized presses  but I feel like they all somehow are animals moving in the same direction, maybe differently in terms of style and subject matter, but of the general species.  I determined that I would never put myself in the position of having to say not to anything I really loved .  Also that a flood is more effective in getting noticed than a trickle. Sometimes this means I fall behind, or freak out in the studio over time, or get behind on orders when things are moving briskly, but it's all good solid work and I am honored everyday to be able to continue to do it.  And probably it feels more important now than it even ever did before--to be getting women's voices out there and into the conversation, all 600 of them (well less because of of authors with multiple titles with us, but you get the gist..)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tiki Madness

Our current exhibit in the library is a love affair with all things Tiki, and for which I tried some pochoir technique prints and they didn't turn out so bad...Below, is the promo film I cobbled together as a sort of experiment/promotion for the exhibit.  It did turn out bad, but it's a good kind of bad...enjoy!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Summer seems to have swallowed me whole on occasion and this is one of those occasions.  Still there has been chocolate cake for breakfast and an acceptance for an article on our library gaming program from Library As Incubator.  There has been mothman / Lolla mashups (the two most notable things happening downtown at the moment.)  There has been ALA panel brainstorming and another programming writeup on murder mysteries. There has been folding--so much folding--in the studio getting out orders and author copies and right now it looks like there very well may have been a tornado come through.   Today, some manuscript reading and some responses (good and bad) sent along.

Tomorrow, Friday, and the day I focus on my own writing.  Mostly I'll be typing up and submitting the last of the love poems that have been languishing in my notebook since I came back from vacation.  They're good.  Frightfully good.  And though I know the shiny usually wears off on whatever project is newest, right now I am reveling in them. There is also the notebook full of UNUSUAL CREATURES pieces to tend to and type up, easier now that I have a laptop at home. I am also very close to getting out the DIRTY BLONDE zine for the zine series (see above), ..collages and poems and blonde jokes for it in the shop soon..

Friday, July 21, 2017

frivolous friday | vintage obsessions

I've been thinking a lot lately about collections.. Since pretty much the entirety of my household has come either via thriftstores or  secondhand over the years I've managed to amass some pretty cool stuff, including two mid-century avocado media cabinets, a battered old workbench I use for painting, a small collection of industrial stools and office chairs that are much much  cooler than any new dining room set.  I do have a few pet collecting  passions I've been taking  some shots of recently, including mid-century dishware, vintage purses and framed flowers and crewel work.  I'm fast running out of room to indulge the hoarding, but I did recently procure another leopard print bag and a cherry print needlepoint purse, on top of a couple more pyrex mixing bowls.  I also indulged a new fascination with black velvet kitch paintings, that may become an entirely new obsession.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Image may contain: plant, bedroom, table and indoor

Long time, no blog, but things have been insanely insane for the past few weeks that were filled with many things  (vacation time with my folks, 4th of July festivities, all sort of prep for the fall semester in the library,  lots of bookmaking in the studio)   I  came back to the city still reeling from losing Zoe, one cat half of the gingers, trying to catch up on work I'd missed during my time away, and have been just trying to keep my head above water.  

Things are slowing back into their normal routines, and I've been doing a little studio re-arranging (I did a huge supply buying binge over the weekend and picked up a new partition to hang artwork on since the wall space is pretty much occupado with shelves and furniture these days,  a rack for prints, ample cardstock and all sorts of other supplies like printmaking ink and paper. It was the first time I had a little financial breathing room since my New Orleans trip in the spring, so it was a bit cathartic. This of course was a bribery strategy to force me into doing an open studio in the fall--probably in October--so more on that as it gets close.

While I was in Rockford, I was able to put final touches on the HOW TO WRITE A LOVE POEM IN A TIME OF WAR series AND dig quite deep into the pieces that accompany the UNUSUAL CREATURES collages that will eventually be a sort of box project.   I was writing longhand, mostly since all I had access to was my small tablet and no keyboard, but it was an interesting variance for someone who mostly, outside of initial notes, composes on a screen and has since around 2005 (though I less looking forward to all the typing of drafts--it's a hefty chunk of text. )  I was able to get into a certain zone on the second project that I can't usually manage when I'm working all the time, so hopefully it was fruitful (I haven't yet looked at it since I got back, it all may be garbage.)

Plans are afoot for the fall term, and so far include a week devoted to tattoo art, zine night, a black light painting workshop, and a street vs. studio art battle and that's just September. Plus some fun gaming shenanigans on the side, including an Old Hollywood themed murder mystery in December.

In press doings, I am soldiering on through the summer releases (which I am only slightly behind on as usual) and looking toward fall.  Also doing some reading in the submissions queue, which is looking promising (and already worrisome in its size and bulk).

Summer has been alternating between oppressive and mild just enough to be mostly comfortable, and, to boot, has been extra stormy this year, which I appreciate (unless I'm trying to go out in it and wind up umbrellaless and drenched like last week on the way to the library) There's something exciting about a certain kind of heat that breaks every night with crashing, calamitous weather (well, not too calamitous.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

dgp : recent cover designs

In addition to a few collage covers, the ones I have been working on for dgp of late have largely graphic or typographical in nature and a lot of fun to create. Here are a few of the most recent...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

summer obsessions

The last few days have been coolish, mild delight and the perfect sort of summer weather.  Meanwhile, AofR is gearing up for our summer tiki exploits (including an exhibit, a matinee of trashy old tiki horror films, and some pop-up workshops.)  Meanwhile, I have been obsessed with atomic era tiki patterns like these and determined to work them into some collage action and maybe some dgp cover designs.

Image result for TIKI ATOMIC


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Over the weekend, we lost my Aunt Ronda, my mother's sister and only remaining sibling after a few months battling some heart problems and other complications.  She was pretty much my default grandmother figure, mostly since my actual grandmother died sort of early but also probably because my sister and I were also close in age to her own grandchildren. Before my sister came along, my aunt lived in this strange farm house out in the middle of what was, and mostly still is, the middle of nowhere.    It was an age where details and my memories are fuzzy..I'm pretty sure she had birds that were always loose and flying around at the tops of the curtains.  A cat that I chased incessantly.  Also, like my grandmother, an actual bar in the house. (I have no idea if this is the home decor trend of the mid-seventies or everyone was just a bunk of drunks in our This same bar, later occupied the basement of her other house, the one that still stands behind that of my parents on my grandmother's plot of divided land, and me and those cousins played down there every party and holiday until we were teenagers, mixing fake drinks and pretending to perform on a small wooden stage my uncle had built. .

The basement also housed her beauty shop business, where I spent long hours while she permed, cut, and later colored my hair periodically, where all of us would congregate even while she working and probably bug the hell out of her.  Enormously generous, she was always sending us way with things--sodas, ice cream bars, later clothes she didn't want, anything else she thought we'd like or or put to better use. Over the years, there were countless sleepovers, camp fires in the thin strip of woods behind the property, shopping trips to the mall, movie outings.  Countless holidays where she always went just a little too far but it was always good--copious amounts of fried chicken, Easter baskets full of candy, hundreds of Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. Halloween trick or treating exploits even as adults where we left with bags stuffed with treats (and once a giant pink stuffed elephant--a long story..)

I always say that my favorite Christmas present ever was maybe when I was around 5 and she gifted me a canvas tote bag full of notebooks and different colored pens and pencils, which I proceeded to fill with squiggly lines I was certain was "writing". Fast forward 35 plus years and the last few Christmases she'd bought me painting things--this last year a set of Chinese watercolors I've been using a lot. It occurred to me over the past few days that while she always seemed to be sending us away with things, these things are mostly now, outisde of memories and photographs,  what's left now that she's gone --a set of watercolors, her giant blue loveseat that sits in my living room and is still one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture I've every had. A couple dresses she insisted on buying me when we were shopping and I couldn't afford them.  Somewhere there is a pink and white afghan she knitted about a decade ago tuucked away.  My high school class ring which my parents could not afford at the time, so she took me to get it. Her predilection for Elvis and the Beach Boys.  My mother's tendency to occasionally say to me.."You sound like your Aunt Ronda."

She was unruly and outspoken in the very best way, and as we all agreed at the memorial service, always right even when she wasn't. Even though some static with my uncle  has had my mom& dad avoiding some of the usual larger family gatherings anyway, I imagine, if those gatherings continue to happen on the regular , there will be this great gaping hole in the center of them. A great vaccuum at the center of everything that she so much used to be the center of. I told a friend in Chicago that while I was sad here, going home for the memorial service would be even sadder.  The house visible from my bedroom window where she once always was and was no longer in.  That particular group of family that she was always the middle of now without her.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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It's that kind of heat that borders on oppressive, as June does sometimes, but I am plugging away steadily this week so far on some new love poems and have even sent a couple off in the submission hinterlands. A couple weeks ago, I finally compiled the disparate pieces of my most recent manuscript project into one document and it's already cresting at 70 pages, and there are still a few more poems to be written. I'd like to maybe finish it by the end of the year and before little apocalypse makes its debut next year.

I've been thinking about book manuscripts in general and how they work--different approaches with my own books, ie the project vs.compilation books. the fever almanac was definitely a compilation of singular poems  that was then divided up into sections accordingly.  in the bird museum was a compliation of several small projects, as were major characters in minor films and salvage. (as well as the upcoming book.)  girl show and the shared properties of water and stars, however, were more tightly woven projects from the beginning.

Those projects books are always somehow harder to bring into being, to stick with for the long haul and not lose some sort of momentum.  Usually the smaller projects sort of constellate around similar ideas or themes or feels and suddenly you have a book on your hands.  I have two such compilation manuscripts in the works now, the one I mentioned earlier, currently titled  rough weather, and the half-completed animal, vegetable, monster book. There is also the hotel poems--a project book--that is sadly much neglected of late but I have hope to turn some attention to it later this year.  Also, the planned expansion of the beautiful sinister poems into a longer project I'd like to do. (I've been feeling that, as a chap, it's woefully unfinished and there is so much more there in the story.)

Friday, June 09, 2017

Summer has moved in full force, and the days are stretching longer and longer into twilight for a couple more weeks.  I've been keeping my eyes to the sky (mostly because the moon has been full and pretty and the night sky a velvety blue, but also because I may be subconsciously Mothman hunting (see entry below).  Last night I had an excellent time reading with three other poets at City Lit Books in Logan Square.  There was a moment where I saw copies of my book on one of the featured titled shelves and had this weird, euphoric "Is this my life?  OMG!  My Life is Awesome!" , especially when I get to thinking about 20 years ago when I was just beginning to publish and send out work an write anything even close to worth reading. I read almost the entirely of the "radio ocularia" series, which I had never really done outloud, not even one, not while they were new and I was working on them.   Next week I have a Poetry Center benefit reading where I'll probably be reading mermaid poems (somehow since mermaid poems always seem appropriate for reading in bars. )

I am also eyeing the dgp inbox, which just crested over 250 and we're barely a month in, which means I have a lot of reading to do to stay anything like ahead of the game and at this point I've barely dipped a toe in. This weekend, I'm hoping to get to some of those, also some cover design plotting on upcoming manuscripts, also maybe some wicked alice submissions, which I'm always behind on reading. 

Last weekend, I stumbled on a writing scrapbook, pretty much my whole writing career--highschool editorials on the environment and culture, indie film reviews from the college paper, awards and certificates, clipping about successes and readings, various writing and art related memorobilia.  All of it ends around 2004--which is not coincidentally the year I started dgp and everything has been a whirlwind since.  I also use to carefully keep printouts of every online publication starting in 2001-2004 and realize that stopped around the same time. It may have also been that I finally had a laptop at home and didn't need to print things out to read them quite so much.  Those scrapbooks were under other detailed scrapbooks-my school years (filled with feild day ribbons, picture day and class photos, all the shit I did in highschool--french club, student council, theatre.  My first smester of college in North Carolina.  Somehwere in my parents house, there are also ones for all the college theatre productions I participated in.  Another one for college in general. It seemed really important in those days to document things, though oddly less important now, though maybe this blog itself and facebook and such are a different sort of documentation and just a different species of the same.  

I also came across a few remaining penpal letters from highschool--a boy in Ireland, another in Germany, a girl in France.  Mostly I only held onto the interesting envelopes/pretty stamps, and the others were gone long ago, but they are interesting for their cultural & entertainment references, for the German boy talking ecstatically about being able to cross the Berlin wall for the first time. I remember excitedly waiting for letters to arrive in those pre-internet days, something that seems quaint and dated and yet lovely in a way things aren't anymore.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

the chicago cryptozoological society

When I was a junior in high school, I was charged with the task of writing a paper for my American Government class, and me being me, I, of course, chose not the legislative branches or the the amendments or judicial system, but, UFOS.  That is, American Government and its responses to UFO's from the 1950s on up.  It was great fun doing the research--which in those days meant not merely hopping on a laptop but instead tracking down every volume on UFO's in my high school library and at the Cherry Valley Public. One of those latter books contained a small section on Mothman lore  (a West Virginia cryptid from the 1960's mostly)  As someone who was just learning to drive on dark country roads at night, I was a little spooked., but merely added it to a long list of things I was learning to fear roadside--Resurrection Mary, random ghosts, hitchhikers, suicidal deer. 

Later, in college and beyond,  I heard about, but did not see the adaptations of the Mothman Prophecies book, but being a lover of all things cryptozoological, I would occasionally see mentions and it made my 16 year old self gleefully happy (probably the same teenager who for a while was convinced jackalopes were real because no had told me they weren't). Fast forward to a couple weeks back when someone on FB posted a weird news outlet siting of flying, winged, humanoids right here in Chicago--near the lakefront to boot.  It prompted a lot of library googling on the part of me and my AofR cohort Jennifer Sauzer, but then we saw this map and an idea was born.

Back in the spring, during our HOAX! week artist panel, the subject of documentation came up--how objects can create worlds and exert authority within those worlds. Particularly vintage sorts of media--VHS tapes, newsprint, old photos. (see Jess Weal's work from the show below)..  Further, I felt how amazingly interesting this was as I worked on the murder mystery documentation--police reports, newspaper clippings, yearbook photos. . For a subject like cryptozoology, which is steeped in pseudoscience and folklore and hoaxes in the best way. it seemed entirely possible that you could tap into that world and create something really awesome--a mixing of all things--part art project, part social experiment, part resource that could manifest in multiple ways--a blog, art pieces, public installations, folklore creation and documentation.   So we purchased a domain and designed a logo and took it from there. 

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We've  started with some cryptozoological conjecture on the mothman story and some cool articles and legit resources (because of course, with any amount of shenanigans, you need some respectability alongside to lend things credence).  We are also hoping to open a fun little shop component to sell things like t-shorts and prints of some crypto related work to buy art supplies keep the project rolling...we also hope to bring on some other writers and artists to play with us. 

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

I just want to drink coffee create stuff and sleep Art Print:

Memorial Day weekend, marked not only by the official kickoff to summer, which so far has only meant horrible traffic and way too many tourists on Michigan Ave, but also beaches opening and summer clothes coming out of storage (though the actual temperature belies it). I am going to spend the weekend like all the very best weekends maybe doing some painting and writing and lying about watching RIVERDALE, which is my latest Netflix binge object of affection. (and of course as per above drinking copious amounts of my yummy New Orleans chicory coffee and sleeping.--you would think those too things would be mutually exclusive, but I am oddly usually pretty immune to caffeine's wakefulness, though it does help me concentrate and focus on whatever I am doing.  No matter how much coffee, I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat if given the chance..  )

Writing wise, I would love to get some more love poems down on paper or at least in my head if not down on paper. I am also getting the Surrealist coloring book tidied up and ready for release in the next week as part of the zine series.   And maybe some more of the drippy floral paintings I started a while back.  Next week, I plan to move on to some printmaking adventures for our  A of R Tiki Madness summer exploits (we'll be doing an exhibit/display and some fun workshops) stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We are a only a couple weeks into May and submissions are trickling in at a good pace already for our summer open reading period, which bodes well for a beautiful batch of titles coming your way next year.  Before I dip my toe in that pool and actually start reading those , I've been lending a hand this month with submissions for Tupelo's Snowbound Series contest, and making my way though a batch of blind submissions, some of which are also awesome and I hope at least one of them goes on to win..(I'm not familiar with the work of this year's judge, Lawrence Raab, so I'm forwarding along what I like anyway from the submission and maybe one of them will stick.)

Otherwise, more correcting galleys and making books and such. I'm on an earlier library shift now, so my bookmaking switches to evenings, and I'm less fresh than at the start of the day, but hopefully I'll keep chugging along nicely.  There is also the mermaid anthology finalization, which I am determined to make happen by the end of summer hell or high water.   Plus other little projects of my own--new zines, the surrealism coloring book, florographia.    I am also hoping to do some restocking on paper goods by June and host an open studio once I do a little rearranging in the studio space, which will be happening over the next couple of weeks ideally. I'd also like to make some new prints and postcards happen (including maybe some glossies of the new collage above.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

#educating yourself means you know that there is almost something new to learn  #school #student:

"My poems are typically only parts of a greater whole, be it a chapbook, or a book, or just my body of work. Mine is more a cumulative, fragmented, disjointed effect rather than a striving to write one great complete POEM (The Wasteland or The Odyssey or somesuch). No one is probably ever going to look at one of mine and say this is an important, single life changing poem. But maybe they'll say it about a book, or my work as whole. And that's not how I think of them, not one big, honking rock that lands on your head, but a collection of interesting stones, glinting and relecting off each other."   (2007)

Today is Manifest, that perennial cap-off to the academic year and send-off for graduating students.  It occurred to me yesterday that is has been exactly 10 years since I finished my MFA, and while I didn't throw down for the pomp and circumstance of actual graduation (not being the ceremonial type) we did have a very nice reading of the graduating MFA-ers that even my parents came to.  It was one of the very few Manifests (including today luckily) where it wasn't pouring much of the day, so despite my perpetual weird whenever family & writing compartments cross into each other, it was a nice day.

I was trying to think about what I was writing then, what I was doing, what I would be doing.  The press was just beginning to get some footing--a good amount of submissions to choose from, people learning about us, our first AWP trip that spring, a small profile in Poets & Writers that Fall.  I was just about to move into the Fine Arts Building, just about to amp up the publication schedule from about 5 books yearly while I'd been in school to 15 (which has now increased even more).I was also building the Etsy shop then and diversifying the offerings (paper goods, jewelry, soap, reselling vintage)  in order to afford the studio space.

My thesis manuscript GIRL SHOW, was mostly done by that final semester except for some tweaking to appease my advisor (and most of those tweaks were scrapped before it was published after further thought.)  I was working on some new stuff that semester, what would become parts of MAJOR CHARACTERS (some of them can also be read in my Dusie Kollectiv chap that I sent out that year.).  I was also finishing up the Cornell poems and making that collab project happen with Lauren Levato that summer.  (which is still one of the most satisfying pieces I've put out in the world and the one I am most proud of.)

I still have all the old mixed feelings about my time in the program.  I still feel it was helpful, but I sometimes wonder financially (now, as I still pay my students loans each month, both from that program and my earlier MA in Lit) if it was actually, truly worth the expense. I started the program already publishing quite a bit in journals, already running wicked alice for a couple years, already had a chapbook slated to be published.  I never quite felt like I fit in, a combination of these things and others that aren't really all that important now in hindsight--my attitudes toward self-publishing, decentralizing,  Certain weirdnesses about the fact that I worked for the school (I called it my Good Will Hunting Complex)   Certain shit-talking that got back to me.  I was also too old (almost 30) and set in my ways to fall into certain mentor-mentee dynamics that worked for others. I had some great courses though with the visiting poets--Karen Volkman and Stephanie Strickland most noteably.  Other classes were useful in widening my reading and spawning projects (errata, archer avenue).  Others for introducing me to students who were invaluable as readers & editors (some of whom I would later go on to publish through dgp.)  While I hated the group workshops in general (I've often thought of it as a whole bunch of people who can't even decide what a poem is trying to tell you what to do with your poem.), between those and the craft seminars,   I did produce a whole heck of a lot of work during those years, the last of what went into the fever almanac, all of the in the bird museum and girl show.)  While I wouldn't exactly do any of it differently if given a re-do, I do wish there were things I'd know and certain bullshits I wouldn't have bought into during those years.

It's almost though that final semester was a brief frenzy of writing related activity right before a post graduation lull--a feeling that I hadn't liked all those fingers in my poems and now that no one was looking over my shoulders, I wasn't sure what to do, where to go next. (I called it post mfa syndrome)  Granted, I was busy with other poetry and non-poetry things, with the chapbook series, with the Etsy shop, so I only worried about it in certain moments of panic--like when people asked me what I was writing. I was technically writing a little, but not reugularly and barely at all compared to all the years before.  The press and visual stuff was enough to keep me feeling reasonably productive, but it was more like treading water creatively somehow. . As I've often said it took the James Franco poems to knock me out of the funk--and after that I was fine and even able to finish some of the projects that had been floundering before.

And admittedly things have actually worked out pretty well since then, or at least since I've gotten my groove back--more books, more publications, more writing-related opportunities.  I'm managing to both publish and write just about a book a year, which makes me feel much less like a failure with my time, which always seems to be a struggle--ie, despite having a full-time job and running the press and all the regular daily-life things that get thrown at you like commutes and errands and tiny mishaps. . Today is, after all, Friday, the day I devote to writing-related tasks, and while I don't have anything new to send out due to my self-inmposed April break, I did have two acceptances for new work in my inbox this week and a request for a blog feature. Plus new poems in HOBART today form the love poems series.  plus finally finishing assembling  the little book of Dali poems earlier in the week.  I'd say I've been managing well the past 10 years.  So, here's hopefully to 10 more..

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I have been moving like a shark through the week, or maybe more like a porpoise with a purpose, but I am reading manuscripts (a little for dgp and more for another chap series I've volunteered to help a bit with some preliminary reading) , correcting galleys, forging new layouts. I am assembling copies of the new zine project. I am preparing a couple big chap orders and getting them off for shipping and some smaller author copy batches I still owe people. It's Wednesday, and I still have tomorrow for more press business and then Friday for my own writerly hijinks. In that writerly news arena,  I had an acceptance today for some text/image pieces that were solicited from Tupelo Quarterly and my pieces in Hobart are due out very soon.

Last week, I did a little bit of culling in the HONEY MACHINE manuscript and feel I have something tighter and leaner and now chapbook length, so'll see what happens with it down the line. I'm trying to ease back into writing practice, but it's rough when I'm a bit rusty.  Again, I had the conversation in my head about whether or not I could just give it up entirely, having not really been able to say that I missed it terribly the past month and a half, but to be honest, as soon as I stopped that would be when I most definitely would need to keep going. It was nice to be free of the OBLIGATION to write, but the yearnings to do so, had I little extra time were still there. Those instincts don't go away no matter what I've allowed or disallowed myself.

Monday, May 08, 2017

I've talked a bit before about my short little series of Dali-esque poems and finally, at long last, have it all laid out, designed, and printed and ready to be read. It's the first in the 2017 zine series, which took 4 months in to make it actually happen, but it's finally ready. You can get a copy of your very own in the shop, or you can subscribe to a whole year's worth of text & image projects courtesy of moi. There are other goodies coming down the pipeline, including my surrealism coloring book, a zine of the CREATURES pieces I've been working, the blonde joke poems, and the florographia project, as well as other things I should be finishing before the end of this year, so stay tuned...

Saturday, May 06, 2017

It's been chilly as hell this week, even though the calendar says spring. I am coming up on the first day in over a month entirely and gloriously to myself and am feeling the drain of a lack of similar days.  But summer is coming and with it, the usual slowdown and weekend freedom in the library at least , though things in the studio will no doubt still be hopping.  I'm planning and open studio in June and a quick rearrange of things there, plus the usual chaos.  I desperately need those obligation free days on the regular or otherwise I feel especially ragged around the endges in the mental health arena and like I can't even get some time to breathe.   

Yesterday's prom murder mystery went off quite well, with only one group being able to nail down the correct answers entirely.   I was thinking on the way downtown this morning, that I will be missing all these characters now that we are done with them. the prom queen murder victim dating the closeted football star with a violent streak, the weird, drugged up, ex-bff who may or may not have been pretending to be the ghost of a friend killed a year earlier in a car accident that was the prom queen's fault, the sweet little brother of the dead girl who was in secretly love with the prom queen, the football star who was in love/ semi-stalking the cool, pot-smoking English teacher, incidently married to the Principal, who stabs the Prom Queen repeatedly with a letter opener to save her husband's and her own career, . The crochety Librarian who sees all. All with allusions and clues about Lolita and Cat on A Hot Tin Roof and music by the Police.  

it was a bit more complicated and complex than the Bundt Cake Bump-off mystery that  created for Edible Books last year, and I had this sudden real fear that I had overcomplicated things and made it to hard to solve, but apparently it was easy enough for one group out of four to get the right answers (motive, murder weapon, and murderer.) It was also all sorts of 80's music goodness in general and ton a balloons--a bit of low-key fun I desperately needed.

This Friday is Manifest, the end of the semester, and then summer.  I feel like I have been dragging my poor bag of a bodyover the rocks since winter, so I am just looking for a little bit of a reprieve. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

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I am struggling to gain some sort of equilibrium after landing back in town on Tuesday, the general chaos of re-entry, and then a flurry of activity leading up to last night's ACRL celebration.  Tonight, I'm headed to Rockford to collect the cats and spend the weekend there, with maybe a bit more birthday celebrating.  It was a weird actual birthday, mostly since it began on a train standing still in the pitch dark somewhere near Memphis waiting for a fright train to pass and ended with me falling exhausted into bed at 9pm.   I also managed to pick up a cough on the way to New Orleans, so I've been dragging that around with me, which doesn't help for general energy levels.

Of course, NOLA was lovely, and very warm for a couple days there. Our hotel, La Galerie, was right on the edges of the Quarter and had beautiful lofty ceilings, exposed brick,  and super soft beds. My reading at the Poetry Fest came off nicely and people liked the Shipwreck poems (despite me leaving Chicago with none of my own books and having to read off my Kindle like a douche.)  There was much, much walking--down to Jackson Square & The French Market to shop and loiter, over to Bourbon Street (though in small doses--the crowds are a bit much and it kind of smelled too much like garbage in the heat.)   There were Hurricanes and beignets (even though we weren't willing to brave the Cafe du Monde lines). We also hit up the Museum of Death, which was a trip.  I came away from the weekend with two new prints from Clay Davis (I picked one up last year, but wasn't sure who the artists was til now.) Also a poster from the Anne ric-ey vampire store and some chicory coffee. I did get a chance to walk around some of the less populated streets of the Quarter, all candy colors and wrought iron balconies. and into Marigny (including a near encounter with Banksy's umbrella girl if only I'd been paying attention (and had eyes in the back of my head.)  I did, however, get to finally ride a street car on the way back from the reading.

By the time we were leaving, I was ready to go and ready to just be home and back to my routines.  I usually find that as much as I like the idea of travel, it kind of wears me out. There's an inordinate amount of comfort in doing the same things everyday and the Taurus in me needs that more than sometimes remember.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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As I leave tomorrow evening for New Orleans, I am in that mad panic dash to finish some things up before I go, including a whole slew of new chaps that will be assembling when I get back to town--some stragglers from 2016 and some spring books from this year.  I am almost on schedule, or at least close to it, so watch for those books in the shop this week. Despite the mad dash, which is exacerbated by wonky printers and general chaos, I am trying to focus on getting ready--deciding on weather appropriate dress options, the music soundtrack for the train ride, what to read for Friday's reading at the festival, how many hurricanes I can drink before getting back to the hotel proves difficult.  

We are finally getting some spring-like weather, so Chicago may not in fact be dumped for NOLA  entirely this trip through--blossoming trees and tulips in the beds along Michigan.  By the time I get back, I should be able to shed those cold-weather coats for good.  It will also be my birthday the day I get back into town, so I'm hoping for just a little celebrating a la tequila and tacos and maybe some cake before its back to the grind on Wednesday.  

In writerly news, I've gotten some more good results from my submission binge last month from Sweet Tree Review, who will be publishing some more of the  Plath centos (the first of which just came out @ Pretty Owl Poetry. )  The manuscript itself is still out in the wilds in a couple places, so hopefully something will come of that.  I have been mulling over more love poems, but have been sticking to my permission not to write until I get back in town.