Saturday, July 31, 2010


My sinuses and upper/lower bicuspids are just throbbing the past couple of days like you wouldn't believe. It might be the change in weather/air or it might be the jalapeno bagel twist I agreed to try when the woman behind the counter at DD tried to give me one for free and I consented. I feel woozy and like I want to bite something (or someone). Otherwise, I am trying to live quietly the last few days, and have been working on new chapbook layouts, as well as most of the wicked alice issue up (I was having trouble with the featured artists gallery page and need to fix it Monday, but otherwise the actual issue is up with the poems.) I will make a more official release announcement when it's fixed.

I slept late today, into the afternoon and dreamed all night about strange animals running over me in bed. It was just the ordinary animals I usually have in my bed, but I also dreamed a new house that had walls that could dissappear in order make it feel like you were outside when you wanted but re-appear when you pushed a button. I was arranging furniture in a gaint bedroom and trying to figure out why I had so much when I had just moved in. There were also, in the rest of the house, weird art installations involving mannequins and a courtyard inside with a swingset. I always want to map these dream houses but I can never quite remember all the details. Dream houses are always more interesting than actual houses, even the ones they are inspired by. I keep finding rooms in them that I did not know were there.
Again, all very House of Leaves.

Speaking of that book, a couple of months ago, I was going to re-read it again and ILLd it, but then it never made it off my desk and was overdue so I had to send it back. A friend and I were talking about it recently though, so now I really want to read it again since it's been a few years. She also recommended Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which I requested promptly. I notice that the movie is on Netflix's watch now, so I'm not sure if I should wait til after I read the book to watch it or not.

Friday, July 30, 2010

fashion friday: lakeside

As I mentioned in the last post, I am gearing up for the typically annual trip to Wisconsin. Until they died, I had a set of grandparents living up there (and my dad was actually born in the area), so we spent alot of time in the Lake Arbutus camp ground when I was growing up, sometimes in a truck camper, sometimes in tents. It's always been a beautiful place, the pristine lake, forests of pines staight as matchsticks. I remember the tiny corner store in walking distance where we would go for candy, the cool slightly metallic water from the pumps, all the little distractions we brought along to keep us occupied, books, magazines, card games. We went through dozens of shiny neon colored rafts and innertubes at the beach. Sometimes it was just us, other times it was the entire extended family, my older cousins washing their hair in the lake, my parents sitting up all night with the others playing poker at the picnic table beneath those bright electric strings of lights that look like jujubes.

The four hours it took to get there seemed so long, though these days hardly seems long at all. It's funny how nostalgic it all makes me since I was hardly ever really sold on camping (I balked at the bugs, the dirt, the icky toilets, and the lack of shower options. Fought with my mother alot, copped the typical teenage attitude.) For a couple of years we stayed in cabins, which are actually the ideal accomodations, though for the last 12 years or so, we've been staying at the Arrowhead Lodge (a Best Western) or the the rather sterile Days Inn up the road when it's full (which is often given the popularity of the area). Still, the Arrowhead has a certain rustic charm and a big man made lake out back. Also running water and a Jacuzzi, comfy beds, and a continental breakfast, so I'm not about to complain. We still meet up usually with most of the extended family, still spend time out at the beach, still go for long rides through those pine forests. Still seek out that creepy baby grave along the road. And though our favorite restaurant, The Palms, (who had the most heavenly chicken/shrimp/fish batter you've ever tasted) sadly burned down a while back, much is still the same there and probably always will be.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Su Blackwell

I added a link down in my artists links a while back to this artist, but I was browsing her site the other day and was struck again by her amazingly beautiful book sculptures (I love in particular the Alice ones and, of course, the birds.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The heat and humidity has returned again and with it, the lack of concentration and ability to do anything in anyway productively. As much as I hate (hate) winter, I am looking forward a little to fall and it's crisp, cutting efficiency. Tonight, I am headed over to the Calfornia Clipper and the BYOP event, which should be fun, then the rest of the week will be devoted to finishing up author copies of the newest books and getting up the new wicked alice, which needs to be ready to go at least by Friday afternoon since the little promo broadside I did for The Printers Ball is advertising the new issue. It turned out lovely and there are only 50 or so, so get to the ball early if you want one. The featured photographer for the issue is Cassia Beck, who takes these dreamy cotton-candyesque photos that are absolutely beautiful.

Otherwise, I am looking forward to my next vacation, Wisconsin Death trip-country, though it's still two weeks away. I wish we were like the French and had the entire month of August off. (I suppose I could do this, but I took a week in July and like to squirrel away some time around Thanksgiving.) On the plus side, I hit the library 10 year mark this year, so I get a whole blissful 4 weeks this coming year, which means I could take a whole month off if I wished. Meanwhile I live vicariously through all those lucky writers who get to while away their summers at residencies and retreats (though I do love having the stability and benefits that full-time work provides, even if it means I end up writing surreptitiously at my desk.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

oh, Scarlett..

I still blame Scarlett for my bad taste in men, my graviation to Rhett Buttler types who say what they mean and mean what they say and will back you up against a wall before you even know what's happening. I was 16 when I found the novel, and amazingly had yet to see the movie, but after spending three straight days sprawled across my bed, sometimes in tears, despite my mother calling me to dinner and the pile of algebra and AP Bio homework I should have been working on, I was absolutely rapt. When I finally sat down to watch the movie, even more so. Maybe it's just more of the bad boy syndrome, that Byronic hero. It will get you everytime.

Monday, July 26, 2010

weekly covet: sunday morning

{clickable version}

I have become incredibly selfish with my weekend time, given it's really the only time I have to write and make things all on my own. Since my weeks are split between the library and the studio, where I am either making books or filling orders, I always need some time on the weekends to decompress and do some creating. I do sometimes feel guilty about being a hermit, and people can occasionally coax me out of my lair, but mostly I very much look forward to this time and guard it feircely against pesky things that seem too much like "work" (this includes things and even people I love, ie. poetry readings/events, friends, partners). I love Sundays thought, especially, since I usually sleep as late as I want, maybe even cook myself breakfast, then have the whole day to do as I please. Drink tea, read from the stack of books I never get to, listen to music, read decor and poetry blogs, watch bad movies alone so I don't feel guilty of how bad they turn out to be, nap, cook, play with the cats. There is nothing quite as glorious as a long, commitment-free span of time that is Sunday..

it's an absolute necessity..

Sunday, July 25, 2010


at The Experimental Arts Examiner by Dan Godston in which I ramble on about dgp, book arts, The Wasteland, postcard poetry, and my love of the horror genre:

13 things I am loving

vintage barkcloth
mandarin oranges steeped in white wine
roadside motels
sandwich clothing
40's style bathing suits
True Blood , season 2
rubber stamping
stacks of white restaurant china
EM Forster novels
rigatoni w/ andouille sausage
lake michigan

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So the other night I dreamed about AWP, except it wasn't really in a hotel but more like someone's house, and there weren't so much panels and bookfairs as there was a big party and a bbq. I was much less interested in talking to poets or about poetry than I was in seducing someone (non-poet) who had come with me. There was a reading going on in the living room where a woman who sort of looked like someone I knew was getting a backrub and reading my poems with my voice, but she obviously wasn't me. I kept worrying people thought she was me. I kept worrying that we were actually supposed to be organizing discussions and selling books, but everyone else seemed interested in hanging out on the porch. Oddly, this was not my grandmother's house that I usually dream about, but my Aunt's (which does not actually have a porch but I do dream about it sometimes too.)

Last night I dreamed of my other Aunt's house and left-over food we were trying to save in the freezer but which kept appearing out of no-where, trays full of pastel macaroons and small sandwiches that were going bad too quickly (this might be related to the garden party entry yesterday). But I was also simultaneously at work somehow and trying to close up the library for the night despite the large insects that were lingering on the wall over the coffee bar. In work dreams we are always having a blackout, a computer crash, or a natural disaster of some random sort. Either that or I have returned from vacation and someone has been moving the desks around or making weird decisions on how to best check out books. Luckily, I do not dream of shelving like I did at my job in the elementary school, but I do dream about trying to get people to leave who keep appearing everytime I turn my back and won't go. Occasionally, we also have elevators that go sideways and several secret floors that look occasionally like a department store. Sometimes there are slumber parties.

Friday, July 23, 2010

now available from dancing girl press

Between the Devil and the Deep
Lindsay Bland
dancing girl press, 2010

Lindsay Bland holds an MFA from the University of Montana and currently lives and writes in Milwaukee.

The Madre Bones
Amy Fetzer Larakers
dancing girl press, 2010

Amy Fetzer Larakers has had poems published in Near South and blossombones, and her poem “It begins in anise/and ends in Asheville” was published in the 2008 Best of the Net Anthology. She has an MA in English from the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a concentration in Latin American and Latino Studies. She currently lives in Wheaton, Illinois.

Squint into the Sun

Jessica Bozek
dancing girl press, 2010

Jessica Bozek is the author of The Bodyfeel Lexicon (Switchback Books) and several chapbooks, including Other People's Emergencies (Hive Press/Dusie Kollektiv). Recent poems appear in Action, Yes, Artifice, Guernica, and Womb. Jessica runs Small Animal Project (, a reading series based in Cambridge, MA.

fashion friday: garden party

I suppose to have a garden party one must know..have a garden, but there is something very charming about tea and cucumber sandwiches, drinking lemonade under the shade of an old tree, something very feminine, tidy, and Austenesque. In my imaginary country existence, there would be flowery dresses and garden parties galore. (and apparently, wicker purses shaped like doggies.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I realized again yesterday, watching the freshman orientation crowds on campus, that this year’s freshmen were, in fact, born in 1992, the year I graduated from high school and started college myself. I spent my first semester in North Carolina on a misguided notion that I wanted to be a marine biologist (and truthfully, what didn’t I want to be back then?) I couldn’t get away fast enough though, all that summer planning my escape. And Wilmington was gorgeous, a hothouse with moss and flowers hanging from the trees, the beach, giant pinecones, and a beautiful new-made-to-look-old campus. I was eager for my parents to drop me off and at the same time terrified to fend for myself (although even that existence seemed a little sheltered since all my meals and a little bit of spending money were taken care of.) Even though I eventually settled on studying English and moved back to live with my parents and go to Rockford College (which was a better school I’m convinced than UNCW—smaller classes, more intellectually oriented, better professors) I’m still convinced going away, even for that semester was absolutely necessary. I also feel I got a taste of what that sort of college life entailed, frat parties, drunken roomates, dorm-life, the sort of freedom that comes from being away from home for the first time really. I eventually left since it was expensive to be an out-of-state student, and a pain to get back and forth from easily for breaks and holidays, and since I could study English anywhere, there wasn’t much point in staying. I was so young, so unformed. Still blonde, so idealistic with my purple denim backpack and Clinton/Gore button, so self-conscious about every single thing with my overly bright primary colored bedspread and my bad taste in music, my kitten posters and dolphin figurines. Mostly, my awkwardness and willingness to please. A year later I was an all- black wearing Kant reading, misanthrope who hated everything. So much can change in a year.

Maybe the only thing that remained constant was the writing. I remember being happy when my roommate would disappear on the weekends and I could hide in my room with the little electric typewriter I’d bought with my graduation money. I was writing stories, though I had written poems in h.s. and a couple of years later, would go back to poetry wholly, but then I was convinced I was going to write a novel. I would spend my afternoons between classes in the library, studying their lit magazine collection (which was actually not all that big in 1992, though that’s probably changed since they have an MFA program there now.) I had a notebook I would meticulously copy all the details into. I remember liking my classes though, a history of film one where we got to watch silent, movies, freshman comp which actually had some interesting readings--Clarise Lispector and James Joyce, as well as an Oceanography seminar that I was very interested in. Less exciting were a remedial math class and an early morning American Gov't class I basically slept through with my eyes open. I ate alot of Doritos, Peanut M&M's, and canned Ravioli in those days, despite a dining card I rarely used for cafeteria that had actually really good food but was a bit too far from my dorm. I also drank alot of beer and developed an affinity for Rum & Coke, a love for Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails, and a penchant for playing gin rummy with my suitemates late into the night. There was a drunken Halloween where we all stupidly piled into the back of pickup to go to a dance club. A night we drove out to the beach and spent the night waiting for the sun to come up along with the fishermen. Played video games and hung out at the Johnny Mercer Pier (actually the old pier, the creaky wooden one, succumbed to hurricanes in the mid-90's, but there's a new shiny concrete one.) This all night restaurant called The Kettle where we spent hours over coffee, iced tea, and really good omelettes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

weekly covet: wanderlust

{clickable version}

For as much as I am terrified of flying and get stressed over traveling, I LOVE roadtrips. I can spend a whole day in a car without batting an eyelash provided I can entertain myself or have good travel company (or nice scenery to gaze at). When I was kid, my dad used to load us all into the car and go for long rides, sometimes a whole afternoon into evening to nowhere particular and back again. I have never been to California, but someday I want to drive the whole way out, eating in roadside and sleeping in questionable motels and seeing that whole span of land in between...

B.Y.O.P. - Bring Your Own People w/dancing girl press & Proyecto Latina

Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Time: 8:30
Cost: Free admission (ages 21+ plus, i.d. required - bar venue)
Location: California Clipper, 1002 N. California, Chicago

Like literary mash-ups? Like tipping back a few cocktails? Then come to our next
B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own People) Wednesday July 28th - an evening combining voices from dancing girl press and Proyecto Latina, plus Q&A and chit-chat to get to know each other better. (Snacks provided; cocktails are on you.) Cheers!

More about our invited guests:

the dancing girl press chapbook series was founded in 2004 to publish and promote the work of women poets and artists through chapbooks, journals, book arts projects, and anthologies. Spawned by the online zine wicked alice, dgp seeks to publish work that bridges the gaps between schools and poetic techniques--work that's fresh, innovative, and exciting. With a particular interest in Chicago area and midwestern authors, the press has published over 70 titles by emerging women poets in delectable handmade editions.

Proyecto Latina is a multi-media project that amplifies the success and impact of Latinas in our community. Our initiatives include a reading series and a website that allow us to: create a culture of self-empowerment, spotlight emerging and established Latina talent, create safe spaces in underserved communities, and provide a virtual platform to chronicle stories, share resources and start dialogue. Proyecto Latina Monthly Reading Series to date has featured the work of over 300 plus established and emerging Latinas in the arts.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Sometimes I feel like I used to be smarter, better, more driven (in a scary freaky control freak sort of way.) These days feel like I'm all muddy headed. I feel like a dull pencil. It might be the heat, my usual summer lull. It might just be I'm overwhelmed, and when overwhelmed, tend to revert to a certain amount of lethargy. It's been rididculously hot the past week or so. Since I can't easily dig the hoses to my portable a/c out from under the Christmas decorations in my storage closet without a whole lot of moving, I've been content to take several showers each day and sit quietly in front of a big fan. My windows are huge and plenty, and I'm only a block from the lake, so it's been bearable if not ideal. Perhaps, I've been spoiled by the window unit at the studio and the frigid temp of the library, even though most of my childhood and college years lacked any sort of a/c at all. I remember hotter summers in the 90's, summers where the storms would knock out the power quite regularly. I spent the entire summer of 1994 in lying on my bed front of a fan reading novel after novel. The summer of 1995 hiding in the cool dark of the $1.50 movie theatre at the mall seeing all sorts of awful movies (Species among them). In 1996, I was working on a play, so got to spend my afternoons in rehearsals at RC. The past few years of summers have actually been sort of mild compared to those rather dangerously hot ones (I think 95 was the year so many people died from the heat in Chicago).

Though, I also like having my windows wide open , so I may not dig them out after all...

Monday, July 19, 2010

I was working this morning to get most of the new thrifted stuff and creations photographed and added to the shop. There are still a few stragglers I will be adding over the next couple of days, but come check out the new goodies.

Friday, July 16, 2010

fashion friday: just beachy

just beachyFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

In store this weekend:

wrapping and shipping out the latest batch of wedding soaps tonight and filling some dgp orders at the studio

beachfront bbq w/ work friends

watching Season 2 of True Blood on dvd while stuffing the pillows I sewed last week, binding some more journals, making some necklaces with the most gorgeous porcelain flower pendants..

possible movement of mattress into the living room to be near the AC

copius consumption of iced tea and frozen blueberries

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

wicked alice, topside

After a few setbacks and a domain switcheroo on the part of Sundress, never fear: the wicked alice fall 2010 issue will be surfacing a little early on July 30th to coincide with Printers Ball extravaganza, whose theme this year is "Print Loves Digtital" and which will include a promo broadside that will be available at the event. Poor little alice gets a little trampled in the chapbook stampede every once in a while, but she always lands back on her feet. I closed submissions earlier this year and put the spring issue on haitus entirely to slowly work my way through the backlog, but I realized I still have some work from late last year in my clutches, so those responses will be on their way. We will be signifigantly thinning our submission period--only taking subs certain months of the year (November and April) for the Spring and Fall has really just gotten out of hand how much work we get, so hopefully this will shore up the floodwalls a little and give me a chance to regroup. And of course, the dgp inbox is overflowing this time of year on about par with last year, but I think I can handle it (ask me again in two months when I am tearing out my hair and you might get a different answer.).

Friday, July 09, 2010

fashion friday: granny chic

I always feel like so many things that I find myself drawn to in terms of shop offerings are inspired in so many ways by my grandmothers (including my paternal great-grandmother Chloe). From her, I learned to love cat eye glasses, floral dresses, velvet souvenir pillows and hardwood floors. From my dad's mom, Eileen, it was her huge collection of old salt & pepper shakers (these were split among family memmbers, but the ones I had were mostly broken along the way). My mom's mother, Carol, also wore cat eye dresses and had a great collection of costume jewelry I was allowed to organize and play with for hours. Also, a closet full of sherbet colored peignors and robes that me and my sister played dress up in. She was the most ungrandmotherly-like, having gotten married at 15 and, after being widowed in her 40's, had installed a bar room in her house, a pool table, and liked to spend her days in taverns with grand children in tow. The latter two both died before I was ten, and Chloe outlived them by a couple years, but it was still long enough to make a mark on my tastes in things.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Yesterday was another productive day in terms of thriftstore haul--a beautiful aqua rimmed plate set, some more slips, some cute alabaster deers, another plate set, an adorable woodland plaque, and a miniature painting of venice. Today yielded some more cups (more of these--my favorites) and some fabric. Five days into my vacation and only now am I starting to relax. Somehow, even vacations themselves make me feel uneasy, like wasted time, though I suppose that is the point after all.

Last night, as I was falling asleep in a very dark and quiet room, I was cataloguing other things in my head that make me inexplicably uneasy--horses, clearings in the woods, certain types of architecture, larger birds and fish. One of the thrift stores we visited yesterday is an an old restaurant and it weirded me out that you could still see the restaurant layout..where the kitchen used to be, where the main dining rooms were, the labyrinth of banquet rooms now filled with objects and furniture. Torn down, abandoned, or burned out buildings also make me uneasy, or buildings where things have been built over or covered up--doors, windows, closets. That old Sunset Drive-in is similarly creepy and unsettling, the buildings in ruin and the screen rusted through. Today, we drove by what I can only assume was a similarly rusty drive-in or walk up restraurant in the middle of a field on Rt 2, surrounded by grass, the pavement having grown over completely, as if it were never there.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bone Bouquet

I have a newish poem there along with dgp poets Carol Guess, Rachel Mallino, and Nava Fader, as well as fellow CC alum Kate Dougherty...check it out...

Monday, July 05, 2010

I think I've gotten spoiled living so close to the lake. When I come inland, it seems unbearably hot and sticky with less shade from buildings and the air barely moving. It doesn't help that, in town, Rockford is an endless expanse of shadeless stripmall parking lots. It's more bearable out in the country, where the twilights are so long when you take time to sit through them and actually pay attention. From the yard, I can see an entire expanse of sky and the stars popping into view one by one. The fourth festivities were fun, though I realized I was drinking a bit too much of that delish sangria and wanted to crawl into bed about two hours in. I have no tolerence these days for alcohol, especially anything involving wine. I am technically on vacation, but people seem to still be wanting things from me poetry-related, so it's not really. I did hit the thriftstores today and managed to pick up a couple sets of 1970s cups, three slips, a bird dish I'd once coveted on etsy but sold before I could buy it. Also, some cute little animal knicknacks perfect for shadowboxes, as well as a soap dish to replace the one Isabel is perpetually breaking. I forgot my camera at home but will post pics when I get back.

Friday, July 02, 2010

fashion friday: a little luxury

and I'm off...

for a week that will no doubt include plenty of potato salad, fried chicken, fireworks, and maybe some sangria (of this sort if we can finagle the proper ingredients). I also plan to forage in my mother's gardens for some flowers perfect for pressing and drying, raid the vestiges of my sister's herb garden for soap herbs, and maybe take a few pictures, but mostly lounge outside in the shade for hours with nothing to occupy me but maybe a book, a notebook, and my own quiet.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

sneak peaks

I was hoping to have these up and available before I headed out of town for week, but it doesn't look like it's going happen just yet, but they are beautiful books so I thought I'd show you now since I scanned the covers this morning. I am putting the final touches on the galleys, so it's looking more like July 12th when I get back into town. (It was supposed to be more like, well, June, but I was dealing with a three week book order backlog, big orders of various things (soap, paper goods) and woefully insufficient studio time due to the day job schedule. There are other books in the beginning layout stages, which will be coming more towards the end of this stay tuned...