Sunday, September 30, 2007

I’m still convinced there needs to be more hours in the day. Of course today I slept til after 2, having stayed up til 3 am making yummy bath products. My hands and apartment smell like apples and orange buttercreme. So I’m seriously craving cupcakes and apple cider right about now (though not together..). I’ve been extra crafty lately, for a combination of reasons, one of which I’m finding I need a creative outlet that is not poetry-related in anyway, and therefore not laden with its inherent stresses. Visual art works somewhat, but I’m even occasionally self-conscious about that—is this important? What am I saying with this piece?

No one can be critical about bath oil. It either smells good and makes your skin soft or it doesn’t. No hairsplitting. I’m also hoping my craftiness will bring in some extra funds, which is nice. I’m also psyched about etsy’s vintage category. I have this perverse love of things like costume jewelry—it reminds me of my grandmother’s giant collection that my aunt and mother, in their grief after she died, sadly tossed in a bonfire with alot her clothes and personal belongings—thinking if their mother couldn’t wear it, no one should. Now with jewelry, I don’t wear on a daily basis (I’m lucky to leave the house fully clothed, let alone bejeweled.) Therefore, to avoid junkiness and clutter which is near anathema in these parts, I don’t buy it, even when I see pretty, dead cheap things I’d love. Solution? them then sell them on etsy. Therefore I get the charge from collecting objects, but they don’t live here permanently. So look for lots of brooches and such in the coming months, as I’ll be combing ebay and thrift stores by the dozen. Also my new sewing machine, bought because I was trying to fix something on a skirt I didn’t like—now I feel like I need to use the damn thing for something productive.. As you can see here, I've redone the shop to accomodate all this craftiness. It's still dgp's home on etsy, but also home for lots of other goodies.

Speaking of shopping, today I found THIS on etsy, something I’ve been looking for for collages.

Yesterday, I was stuck in the library most of the day at the circ desk, but I got a lot of stuff done for Atelier, including my lovely teaching questionnaire, which I sent to everyone local I know to have an interest in teaching in general in my address book. Anyone else out there, contact me and I’ll send it to you if I missed you. I’m trying to get a feel for everyone’s interests, strengths, and availability in the coming year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The last couple of days I've been drowning amidst budgets, tax info, my wee business plan and all that unfun stuff you need to do to get to the fun stuff. Plus, I managed to get the website up and running, which in writing the content for it, helped me iron some things out. Next week, I'm starting to plan workshops and schedules and the like. I'll no doubt be seeking out all you Chi-town poetry ladies to come teach a workshop or read or both. We're going to start out slow, but by next fall, I'd like to have something going on in the studio every day of the week. And of course, I'll be in-house at least a couple hours a day doing press business even on the days I'm not teaching. I've also been perusing the Ikea website and found the perfect table set-up.

Yesterday was actually spent more on dgp submissions. When I counted we had over 300 submissions (luckily I kept up on reading them as they came in), about 25 of which were in final contention, and of which I wound up choosing 11 (in addition to the five I'd already had lined up). So next year will be packed full of great poets (see the list here in the side colum). We also did some shuffling and will be doubling up in November of this year because of some scheduling issues. So I'm actually hoping to have those almost ready to go before the chaos of moving into the studio starts in November. Of course all this means October will be crazy as well. Despite all this, I'm surprisingly not all wired out just yet, though I end up not sleeping with all the racing in my head (it doesn't help I had an idea for a little project for my own work that I'm now so excited about I could scream). I've chosen to focus my excess energy on making things for etsy and attempting to make all my Christmas presents. I tend to have mixed results on these, so we'll see.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

women of the web

I'm there, along with an increasingly awesome group of gals.
Go see.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New poems in Prick of the Spindle.

Hard to believe it’s officially fall and September is on the wind down. Now starts that rather brisk plummet toward the holidays that goes by ridiculously quickly. (If only the yukkyness of Jan-March were similarly brief.)

I am still hashing it out over press submissions, and of course still want to publish way more than we have room for. I should be able to have final decisions this week. In other dgp related stuff, I had to make more of Simone’s Orange Girls, which flew out of here like crazy last this month and also some more Alphabets, which have vanished similarly. Meanwhile, whilst folding/stapling I am well into season 2 of Twin Peaks—it was momentarily waylaid by last season of The Office (which I loved more even than season 2 last if that’s possible) and some other horror and suspense movies, most of them disappointing.

Also, this week I need to finish getting the layout done for the next chap (it's another one of our more adventurous design projects than your standard book) and set up an official website for Atelier (right now we only have a page on the dgp site and a myspace , which actually seems to b working rather well for getting the word out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

So, all last week I was sort of casually looking for studio space for Atelier. First off, it needed to be cheap, since we'll be starting off slowly with the workshop offerings at first. It needed to be in an easily accessible location, not only for me, who needed it to be somewhere easliy gotten to by bus or train from home and work, but also for others, especially if there was limited (or nonexistent) parking. I wanted it to be safe, or at least in a secure building (either locked with a buzzer, or with a doorman, since I'd be there alone sometimes working on press stuff.)

So I've always loved the Fine Arts Building on Michigan with it's cool architectural details and artsy tenants (musicians, architects, dsigners, galleries, theater companies). I knew they rented studios to individual artists, and it occurred to me how unbelievably awesome it would be to have space there, though highly unlikely. But I also noticed the relative lack of literary tenants (though apparently there's a small press on the third floor I've since learned). A damn shame in a building that once housed Poetry magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and L. Frank Baum.

So last Thursday I sort of casually wrote an e-mail to their offices inquiring if there was any available space. The administrative assistant kindly forwarded my e-mail to the building manager. Monday, when I was still waiting to hear back, figuring it was a no, I wandered over to Craigs List and lo and behold, there was space open in the Fine Arts Building listed right there in front of me--larger and a little pricier than I'd hoped for, but still I wanted to check it out. I don't think my heart has stopped racing since. I called immediately and left a message, and on Tuesday, the building manager called and said that the big studio was being looked at that morning and would probably be taken. BUT, he had just heard another tenant was leaving--a smaller, cheaper space, and if I wanted to see it, he'd show me.

Of course it was perfect. Big enough for a decent workspace for the press and a giant table for workshops--just what we needed. 9th Floor, huge windows looking north, a reasonable nice view in a section of the city where you usually can't see the sky unless you're REALLY high. Ample shelving and a closet and sink. All high ceilings and giant windows. In other words--my dream space. Also quiet and at the end of the hall, something I was a little worried about given a number of music tenants, but with door closed, you couldn't hear a thing. Plus, the building itself is so gorgeous, all orginal mosaic tile and courtyards and beautiful murals. And seriously, you can't get a more central location. Plus it's two blocks from the library. So I was NOT going to let it slip away. I turned over an application and a deposit on the spot. (I've found it's best not to look down or hestitate when you're doing something crazy like this..)Luckily, I had proof of my income since I'd been carrying around my salary letter since the begiining of September, which was all they needed to keep the thing off the market and eliminate the potential competition.

For the last two days I've been trying to keep busy with other things, to not worry over whether they'd take one look at my paltry current salary and deny me. I even wrote the building manager an e-mail saying that if they have any reservations about renting to me whether it's my crappy salary or the fact this is a new, unproven endeavor, I'd be willing to front a few months rent. Anything they wanted. I don't think I've ever been quite that desperate.

Apparently, desperation pays off. I sign the lease next week. We're in there in November. Now I've just got to get all the ducks in a row...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Yesterday, me and little sis wandered over to the Renegade Craft Fair on Division which was in two words, very HUGE and very COOL. Well, my experience with craft fairs before has been pretty much of the variety where one finds carved wooden bears for one's yard and clothes for your concrete goose, so this was much more interesting. (I also appreciated the lack of pushy middle-aged women in turtlenecks and snowman sweaters.) I wound up buying one of these and one of these totes(except in black) and a little artist trading card from this artist (I wanted to buy something bigger, she had some really great stuff, but I was running low on cash.) And of course, I came away with so many awesome ideas for my own little projects my head was spinning.

Today was spent printing and assembling the next chap, Theresa Boyar's Kitchen Witch which is now available here. I also, spurred by all the paper loveliness at the fair, finally got around to designing some notecards to use up surplus cardstock from some chaps, and also made these votive candles holders for those who like to add a little ritual to their writing. Of course, now it looks like a small tornado hit my apartment.

Yesterday, I arrived home to find a copy of Rain Taxi in it with a short review of Jen Tyne's See Also Electric Light. Also, some shoes for me and the votive holders from a craft supply place. We are definitely getting on toward fall, I finally had to pull out one of my cool weather sweaters (I have lots of lightweight cardigans I wear all summer because of A/C, but this is the real thing-tightly knit and hooded.) The light has been different for awhile now, the shadows different. It makes me want to settle in and write.

rain taxi

Noah Eli Gordon reviews Jen Tynes' See Also Electric Light in the latest print issue.

..Tynes has created a sort of reserve pastoral, which ultimately asks whether the production and harnessing of electricity isn't itself akin to the darker side of human endeavors...

buy it here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

never fear

There will, in fact, be a wicked alice print annual this year. I've just kept pushing back actually doing it, choosing poems, notifying poets, etc. I decided to keep it shorter this year, since the online issues have been shorter and I have less time to devote to it. Usually I just go in and choose my absolute favorites and throw them all together willy nilly (well, it seems like it anyway). This year since it's smaller, I've chosen a group of poems that seem to speak to each other and possess a similar tone. It meant I had to leave a few faves out if they didn't work, but I think I've got a good group. Look for it around Halloween.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

this is only a test

Yeah, so there's this I've been thinking about for awhile now. Because I'm restless. Because I need to throw myself into something new. Because dgp is getting too big for my dining room (seriously--I can't find the table). Because I want to be out there in the community making a difference somehow. Because I want to maybe make a go at having some sort of teaching career, but an essentially non-academic bullshit one. Because maybe I have finally reached the point where I feel I know enough to actually impart some sort of info on poetry, writing, publishing, DIY, web stuff, whatever. Because I want to have some sort of space for readings and gatherings and whatnot, maybe some gallery space for literary /text/based art. Because I feel, after all this time, I need to do something with all this crap in my head and two graduate degrees. Because I want to have a day job that I feel as passionately about as my writing and editing (Granted, it will no doubt be a long while til I can quit my dayjob, if ever, but maybe... ). Because, once we find a space, I just might be able to do this . It's scary. It's exhiliarating. It's keeping me awake at night in a good way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Ask me again how happy I am to be back to working the evening shift. This morning I managed to pack up some orders, finish a poem, order ink cartridges, screw around with printing for October's chap, and make the corrections in the Kitchen Witch galley (I'll be printing those this weekend)--all before 11 o'clock. Now I will get some coffee, go to work, do some actual library tasks for awhile, then settle into my circ desk shift with some dgp manuscripts. Not a bad way to spend the day, though last night I had to refrain from reading submissions. General busy-ness, needy freshmen, people looking for textbooks we don't have (and if we have it someone already beat you to it) and public printer woes, were all combining to make me cranky. It's always like this the first couple of weeks of the semester, then oddly dies off as people settle into mid-semester laziness.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I am back in town after a wedding in Rockford, which featured pretty dresses, very delicious mashed potatoes in the entree, and a proximity to the bar that left us getting jostled and elbowed in the head by progressively drunk people all night, but which was fun nevertheless. I did not, as expected burst into flame whilst in the church, nor did I drink a drop of anything beyond soda (I seem to have no tolerance for booziness lately, it puts me out like a light.) The bride, my younger cousin, used to run around with her slip on her head like a veil with another cousin and pretend they were brides, so this was much better.

woodland pattern blog

talks about Orange Girl

...I am another woman that, "is laughing, is lost" in this book. I loved its poetic study of a specific type of girl and the ways that the world has altered her...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I KNEW it...

I'm going back to bed...

Actually no luck there. Today I had to drop the parents off at Wrigley Field (my Father's Day gift tickets), have lunch with them, then leave them with directions and train fare, like five year olds, to get back to my neighborhood where they're parked. I was tempted to pin my address to their shirts just in case.) They've done it at least once before, but they do both have terrible senses of direction in city (my mother anywhere), so I may never see them again. I myself was nearly crushed trying to go toward the Addison station when a large cattle-like stamped in blue shirts nearly pinned me against the metal railing that keeps the crowd from spilling into the street. I don't think I've ever before ventured into the thick of the circus that is Clark & Addison on game days (I have encounted both the before and aftermath on the red line unfortunately). I don't think I'll do it again any time soon.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sawbuck 1.8


this sounds like a freshman Intro to Psych project. Whenever they start talking about suicide and poets my eyes start rolling. Yes, I think people who are prone to the sorts of depression that lead to suicide are drawn to the arts more often than not, probably writing and poetry tenfold, but there are plenty of suicidal accountants and plumbers out there too...My poet friends actually tend to be the more well-adjusted people I know..there's a certain amount of catharsis to writing, even if that's not your goal.

Monday, September 03, 2007

As usual, the first day of September and meteorological fall and I felt that tickling at the back of my nose that signals a cold. Sure enough the past couple of days have included a lot of sniffling and sneeziness. I should have known since I came down last year at this time with what ultimately turned out to be mono (I didn’t know it until almost after the fact, because I’m stubborn and hate going to the doctor unless I’m on death’s door.) Since then my sinuses have been very nitpicky (I’m unusually sensitive to things that never really bothered me like everyday allergens, cigarette smoke, dry air—this from the girl who’s really allergic to nothing.) So combine that with not getting enough sleep and the weird weather shiftiness, plus a couple sick people at work already, and I’m down for the count. At least no fever this time, thank god. Of course, I’ve given myself a pass on the thorough annual labor day housecleaning I planned this weekend, since I don’t feel up to all that labor and inhaling noxious cleaning materials that will only make things worse. So instead I’m being lazy and working on poems and reading. Maybe I’ll tackle my bedroom closet and the laundry, but I’m making no promises. What really sucks is I can’t taste a thing and was planning on having some yummy baked artichoke & spinach dip with french bread I’d been wanting all week, but now what’s the point if I can’t taste it. I might as well eat PB & J and save the good stuff for when I can enjoy it.

As always, I’m a little excited by back to school, probably even more so because I don’t have to be part of it and can watch idly from the sidelines again. It’s amazing how the campus goes from ghost town (which is nice for awhile til it gets boring) to absolutely buzzing. As always it’s the feeling of starting fresh, new clothes, new notebooks, new books, new shoes, new art supplies, new instructors, new people, that’s a little seductive. At least until November when everyone’s tired of it all.

My plans for fall are not too terribly complicated. There are four more dgp chaps and the wicked alice print annual I’ve just started thinking about. Maybe broadsides if I figure out the details. Plus I plan on mastering Adobe InDesign for helping lay out in the bird museum. Other than that, just writing new stuff and maybe getting a start on another collaborative project w/Lauren. I’m not sure what to do with all this blissful freedom. Otherwise I will be loading up on trashy horror movies (tis the season, but then again it's always the season), plotting out my Halloween costume, (very important and for the first time in years I haven’t a clue.) and no doubt craving caramel apples the size of my head.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tonight, fireworks over the Loyola campus for some reason. No hardcore partying on the 3rd floor just yet, though it is only the first week. The neighbors on the other side of my bedroom are pretty quiet these days--either because they've matured a bit in the last three years, or are just now of age and can go drink loudly in bars. (I also think the DUDE! guy moved out, who was the noisiest and now it's only girls, who tend to giggle less when no males are present.) The rest of the floor, judging from the number of move-outs in May, will be newbies, probably freshmen. No doubt very soon the yelling drunk girl yelling and sidewalk fights will soon commence. I did notice when I signed my lease that there's now a pretty hefty fine imposed if you get busted for noisiness. Maybe that will deter some of it. I do miss the day when more grown-ups lived here, though...

Meanwhile I try to counter it by making as much noise as I can at whatever hour myself, which is therapeutic in a way. This includes singing along at the top of my lungs, slamming my door, noisy AM sex, reading poetry loudly in bed before I go to sleep, banging pots and dishes, blasting oh so unhip nineties grunge out the windows, and watching Buffy at top volume, along with various horror films with lots of screaming, ominous music, etc...