Saturday, December 29, 2012


was a year filled with art & design endeavors and new poems and all manner of related goodness--readings, open studios, panels, art shows and book fairs. A year of black and white kitties, Friday night margaritas, mermaid poems, zine projects, trashy Stephen King novels, nightly walks, strawberries, submission reading, paper flowers, sundresses, bittersweet impossible relationships, ballet flats, chapbook printing marathons, raspberry lattes and and bacon and egg sandwiches aplenty. I turned 38. I finished four small writing manscripts and one larger one (all but one of which has either been published already or found a good home.) I took to cooking more and eating more fruit and salads and gave up regular soda, which has dropped me a few dress sizes and no doubt gotten me much healthier. (Though, b/c I spend less on takeout, I've spent more money on dresses and shoes and sweaters to the point where closet space is becoming a problem again.)

In 2013, my resolutions are the usual ones: Be productive. Be healthy (or healthi-ER anyway). Be fearless. Be in the moment more. Lets hope every year I get a little closer to fulfilling them...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

As usual, it was a holiday filled with too much booze, too much fudge, and all sorts of awesome presents, including some art supplies, lots of household goods, and a whole bunch of yummy bath products. Meanwhile I am trudging through that last week of December and trying to keep in mind that even now, the days are on their way to getting longer. There is a fair amount of napping and catching up on sleep, a little mss. editing and fine tuning, which I am hoping to polish off and get started on something new in the next couple of days. I'll be headed back to the city on the 1st and plunging back into a great number of things, new projects, new books, and my annual attempts at January massive housecleaning and organization. I'll be back in a day or so, though with the yearly round up and some new writing and art related resolutions, so stay tuned...

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Pretty much everything about today is that pallette, from the light outside the library windows (what there is of it), to the churny waves on lake michigan, to the color of my dress and my desk (though that is actually more beigish than greyish). The day started out with chocolate, progressed through some library tasks, some quick shopping for gift cards for the more difficult giftees, and landed with buying a (yes, grey) vintage embroidered Italian bedspread off of ebay for under $50 (an amazing and completely chance find in itself--I went looking for snow boot possibilities). I will be heading to my parents' house tomorrow after all, so will be doing most of my shopping there I plan to hit the B&N for books for the little ones (yes, I am that relative..) Tonight, I have to finish up author copies on one book and the last few days of orders and then I'm outta here til January (or indefinitely if the world ends, whichever comes first.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today, there are strange candy canes, strawberry cream cheese slathered bagels, and finalizing several projects I'd like to get under wraps before I head out on Saturday. Last night, I was working on the above image in the studio for one of the January books, Margaret Hanshaw's Yellow Ripe. I am amazing well-prepared for the start of the new year in terms of the press and it's schedule. I have a couple of stragglers, but we're primed to go for 2013. I will also be turning my attention, book-wise, toward radio oculari, and perhaps sending some visual/text pieces out both for a journal and an upcoming art show. I'd love to have it done in January, but we'll see how it goes. There is apparently bad weather on the way, which of course, hits right about the time I was thinking of starting my Christmas shopping efforts, which means I might have to wait til the weekend to actually get any of it done..(yay for last minute procrastination!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

giving it away for free

In honor of releasing our 200th chapbook title in the dancing girl press series, Caroline Klocksiem's Circumstances of the House and Moon, we are doing a giveaway drawing...visit the dgp facebook page for details..

Monday, December 17, 2012

This is one of those awful waking up at pre-dawn weeks in which I am cursed into working 9-5, which not only means I have to spend half my day comatose and unproductive (or hell, most of my day) but also have to commute with the herds (aka the great sheeple migration) As such, I am cranky and unfocused and am only now starting to wake up at 1pm.. I have dinner plans later with one of my favorite poetry people later though, and afterward am hoping to squeeze a couple hours in at the studio, but I’m not sure exactly how productive I’ll be. Not to mention I have to go home to get to bed so I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow (I’m not sure how early risers do this everyday without offing themselves in some grisly way.) And of course, this week will be lllloooonnnnggg with the break looming at the end of it. I’m headed to Rockford on Saturday for the usual cookie baking, last minute gift wrapping, and pre-holiday frenzy. I’ve bought absolutely nothing in the gift arena so I should probably get started on that (it’s just not Christmas if I don’t leave everything to the last possible moment, right?)There are still lots of things to do this week, including sending out some author copies, releasing a couple more 2012 titles (books from Alison Armstrong-Webber, Caroline Klocksiem, and Mary Stone Dockery), and finishing up work on some stuff that will be coming out that first week of January (books from Margaret Hanshaw, Lisa Marie Basile, and Ashley Inguanta). There are a handful of stragglers, but mostly we will be beginning the year pretty much on schedule for the new books (which almost never happens..)It's going to be an awesome year though in terms of getting my own work out and about, with 3 different projects scheduled for release from other presses along with a couple more image-laden projects I'll be releasing myself (radio ocularia and unusual creatures.) The new Noctuary press will be publishing the shared properties of water and stars early in the year, followed by Maverick Duck's release of beautiful, sinisterover the summer, and then, of course, girl show in the fall. I'll probably be doing alot of readings and promotion type stuff this year so it will be a busy one. I've been much better about sending out manuscripts this year, but am still sort of lax on individual poems (which are necessary if I actually want to get people interested in my work, so I need to make more of an effort there in 2013.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

the best things

about last night's open studio:

meeting one of our future authors, Megan Burbank (who's chap Notes on Lee Miller will be out next spring) as well as some other new poets I encouraged to submit to the next reading period and wicked alice.

The woman who asked me what I though the of the poems in havoc in an offhand way not knowing it was my book (I was waiting for her to tell me she hated them and they weren't her thing..her tone was completely unreadable.)but then she said, she really thinked she liked them but didn't know anything about poetry.

giving an impromptu demonstration of chapbook construction at the very end of the night to a guy who had made saddle stapled menu's for his restaurant before, but had no idea you could do such things with literature..I'm pretty sure I was trying to convince him to take workshops at the Book & Paper Center by the time they left.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Join us on friday evening for our annual holiday open studio, part of the A Night at the Fine Arts event, which includes stuff going on in every corner of this awesome building. We will have all sorts of things, old and new, including a big selection of chapbooks & book projects, zines, original art, prints, paper goods, accessories, soap, candles & more.

That strange little houses and dreams and bees project (which has actually been retitled since I ditched the bees entirely as the shared properties of water and stars) has been occupying my time of late and has, as of this afternoon, been met with some good news regarding its publication. In many ways, it's a narrative thing like beautiful, sinister, and like that project, more prose than poetry. The writing of it seemed alot like that manuscript, though this feels more fairytale-like, more allegorical and less novelesque. The characters don't have real names. There is an ambiguity between reality and fantasy. There's are alot of riddles and twisty braidedness to the narrative. I found myself struggling between opaqueness and clarity (deliberate opaqueness hopefully) I feel perhaps like it's a lot rougher, a lot less "cooked" as someone once described a certain piece of work I had written. I had been invited to send it to a new little press venture and the edtor liked it, thankfully. It feels good to find it a home since it's been shoved aside so much over the last couple of years while I worked on other projects (the moon letters, the JF thing). It's looking like it will be coming out at some point in 2013, so watch for details.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Alas, it looks like I was getting sick after all and had to miss the book fair, which sucks since the money I would have made might have been good to by some last minute supplies for things I'd like to finish up by Friday. On the plus side I was stuck inside all day and made some progress on the new book project. I hate December, I really do--it always feels like the ass end of the year and it starts getting dark a little after 4, which means there is only about 10 hours of daylight. January is just as bad, but at least that feels like the beginning of something new and not the end of something all used up.

I spent yesterday in the studio working on some packaging for various things, so am in better shape for Friday's shindig, with only some jewelry stuff to finish and some paper odds and ends. I do have Friday off, so can hopefully avoid the major rush when it comes to pricing and tagging things since I will have some time beforehand that day. It gets a little too crazy that night with a steady stream of people in and out to actually finish anything once it's happening. I still never have everything made that I originally plan out or would like to have. We've been funneling alot of proceeds back into new titles, so my budget for new ventures things is a bit more limited in favor of the tried and true. Of course, I've been spending my own money frivolously on clothes and shoes and such that could have been earmarked for creative things, but ah well..If a pretty new sweater dress keeps me from feeling sad on these dark, dark days, then so be it..the same goes for good coffee and a bit of daily chocolate.

Despite my winter funk,however, I am counting down the days til holiday break, which seems all too short this year at only a week and a half. There is much betwixt me and that time off however, including our semesterly deluge of returns and some slow 9-5 days next week once classes end. I am getting some new ILL training and plan on having the new reserve books at least on order to get them in January before we leave (ideally by this Friday actually, but the list is slow going).

Friday, December 07, 2012

As I mentioned, this Sunday we are taking the dgp show on the road. I'm hoping to have as many of the new titles as I can carry along with my portable table. I'm happy to be back to my old craft fair stomping grounds (Handmade Market still is happening, this Saturday actually, but I lost my helper when B moved back to Rockford, so we haven't been participating for a couple years.) There will be booze and bands and books of all persuasions, though, so if you're local, you should check it out...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The weather turned colder again and with it, a downturn in my mood. I also feel off and feverish and could possibly be getting sick (given that I haven't even had so much as a cold in about a year-very rare). There are weird tensions at work and ickiness (not necessarily mine, but a general unease making things less fun.) I've been holding to the rails and beginning to work on the reserve textbook list for spring and getting ready for the yearly December deluge of returned items. As for press-doings, I think I'm about ready for the book fair this weekend, but for the open studio next Friday, not so much. I've learned I'll never be really ready for such things, so I just need to relax. I'm also trying to clean up a manuscript I promised a prospective editor, but it's slow going amid the general chaos.

There are 5 books set to release in the next couple weeks (books by Alison Armstrong-Webber, Jen Tynes, Caroline Klocksiem, Mary Stone Dockery, and S. Whitney Holmes, and possibly a couple more if things fall together as I like. If so, I will pretty much be caught up, a mystical idea not unlike a unicorn, so I'm not quite ready to believe it's going to happen. We are, however, quite close to releasing the 200th official dgp title, which will necessitate some sort of celebration book giveaway on the FB page, so keep an eye out there for that. I do admit, I was surprised we'd issued so many titles in just 8 years (and we seem to be moving even faster lately since I've upgraded our production means (the double sided printer and the format flexibilities, the new guillotine trimmer.)I've streamlined the workflow for each chap as well and the system seems to be working well. Today, I was able to assemble and trim about 50 chaps in just under an hour, now only if I had more hours(admittedly I'd probably been moving even faster if I hadn't been scrolling through facebook and a couple articles simultaneously.)

Meanwhile I'm feeling very Joni Mitchell about Christmas this year, wishing for rivers and awayness sometimes..

Monday, December 03, 2012

Another week, and already biting into December. I spent the weekend, as planned, in the studio assembling books and packaging, and at home, making jar candles and working my way through the amazingness that is American Horror Story. I feel like the next two weeks are tightening up with obligations and I'm trailing a finger along panic mode but determined to keep hold. I do have some new papers and dresses on their way, as well as some more soap base (I'd like to make another couple batches of the fruity varieties--blackberry and maybe pomegranate)...Today, I spent some time trying to take an author photo for the back of the Black Lawrence book, one which doesn't look too old style authory but not too artsy/hipsterish (and also one that doesn't look like I took it myself, even though I did.) We're getting inside of a year, and already the book has an ISBN, some blurbage, and an awesome cover design. It's exhausting thinking about what needs to happen in the next year in terms of promotions and setting up readings and releases and all that stuff.

Friday, November 30, 2012

happy friday

My camera is finally back in working order, so I thought I'd share some snaps of new projects and new shop offerings...
Rebecca Dunham's Fascicle


new prints in the shop, including octopi, roaming pears, and wee balloon girls..

Otherwise, I will be spending some time in the studio getting out some orders on Saturday and much of the rest of the weekend working on some more jar candles (honey almond pear and cranberry orange.) I think I am forgoing the tree decorating this year due to Maximillian and his tendency for chaos (I forget sometimes he's barely out of the kitten stage since he's HUGE, but given the gingers tipped the tree a couple years ago, I'm thinking I'm safer just not putting it up till he's a little calmer..)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So I am back in the saddle after my Rockford sojourn and trying to stay productive and organized, despite prep for the open studio and the pop-up bookfair in a couple of weeks, a largeish library order, and several batches of author copies I have to get out this week. The last few days were filled with more holiday related festivities, some more thrifting (I scored a huge number of old wood & gilded frames for the unusual creatures project), and general napping and loafing. Today I've plunged in with final edits on some mid-process books by Caroline Cabrera and Alison Armstrong-Webber, and will begin laying out another batch tomorrow. This afternoon, as I worked, I was amazed, yet again, by the awesomeness of the work we get to put out into the world on a reglar basis. We have so many new titles coming out after the new year (and actually before, as well) that will knock your socks off. stay tuned...

Friday, November 23, 2012

I have been feeling strange and contemplative the past couple of days, mostly due to weird chance elevator encounter from the not so distant past and a note slipped under my door (or a note that was supposed to be slipped under the door but instead wound up in my hands.) It would be sweet if it weren't quite so bittersweet, but it was also also bad timing, muddling up my thoughts as I was rushing about like mad right before leaving town. I don't know what it means, or what my thoughtful reaction to it means, but it's been on my mind a lot since Wednesday. Otherwise, there has been turkey and ridiculous amounts of stuffing, and today, a little thriftstore perusing (though the big, new place, yielded a whole lot of nothing.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

So it is back to the grind after a good weekend full of great readings, gorgeous weddings, and lots and lots of glorious sleep. Not much accomplished in the way of press or shop stuff, but I am pulling doubletime over the early half of this week to get orders out and supplies ordered and readied for when I get back to the city mid next week.

I have some new dgp books set to release very soon and also at least one wicked alice update on it's way over the next couple of days. Otherwise, I am just waiting out the workweek, which ends Wednesday, and then it's off to Rockford for a few days. Despite all that's going one (not one but two TG dinners, belated family birthday dinners, thrifting excusions, trashy Vampire Diaries viewing with my Mom), I'm hoping to put the finishing touch on a writing series I've been playing around with a little for awhile and keep abandoning in favor of other things (well there's actually a few things like that), plus get some more new words down on paper.

I'm not liking the dark though. Riding out to Elmhurst on Saturday night for a friends wedding, I was reminded how depressing the landscape really is this time of year and how dark it gets so early. I think I forget it in the city, where every street and window is so well lit, especially now that the holiday lights are appearing strung on all the fences and trees. The suburbs, though, are filled with these random dark patches that are downright spooky when driving. And I don't even want to think about that creepy country road darkness. I get sort of lost this time of year, those hours between when the sun sets and when it's really feels like night (roughly 4-8pm.) Like I don't quite know what to do with myself. Like it's still technically the afternoon and I'm not really ready to do night sort of things (watching movies, writing, reading, going to bed.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tonight I am reading at the Book Cellar for the Fifth Wednesday release, the recent issue of which contains a couple pieces from beautiful, sinister. I'm finding it hard to decide which additional pieces to read from the project, though, since it is predominantly narrative and harder to excerpt, but I'm sure I'll decide on something before I leave work at 5pm. Meanwhile, I am sneaking glances at the latest kitten cam and loosely plotting a paper puppet project of some sort. This weekend is busy, but I'm thankfully not headed out of town til Wednesday night, which gives me some time to finish up some things early next week before I'm basically out of commission for a week in Rockford. I do hope to get some writing done perhaps, but not much else beyond that except eating leftovers and watching trashy tv.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mid-November and I have finally made it through the last of the dgp submissions an entire week earlier than I expected (there were 500+ considered, but I broke them up into bits and pieces throughout the summer and fall, so this reading period was actually a little more manageable than past ones.) There was lots of mint tea, some handwringing, some quick budget projections, and some twitchy eyelid stress. But there is also so much goodness scheduled for the coming year, including some second books from past dgp-ers like Emily Lindemann, Brandi Homan, Cati Porter, Leah Browning, Eva Schlesinger, Sarah Sloat, Lisa Cole, Erika Lutzner, and Erin Bertram. And indeed so many books by new authors, all of whom we will be previewing over on the dgp facebook page over the next few months so watch that space.

I once again took on so many books we will probably always be slighty behind schedule (lately, I aim for about a book releasing a week, but it usually happens more in clusters of two or three, with some short breaks to recoup). But then a deluge of amazing manuscripts is not exactly a real problem to have. I still have some titles coming in before the new year from this past season mixed with the new books (see above comment about always being behind) but business is brisk, books are selling faster than I can get them out the door, and things are good in our little corner of the small press world.

Which of course means that I am progressing slower on other things, but trying to be more diciplined about working on projects. No actual writing yet this week, though, and it looks like any creative ventures on my own will have to wait til I head off for Thanksgiving and maybe sneak some time in among the turkey comas and holiday hustle bustle. Again, so many ideas and plans. Again, not a bad problem to have.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A few images from the unusual creatures series will be hitting the walls in the Art of the Library series here at Columbia which opens on Thursday. You however, can get a glimpse of them here...

Today was a rather productive day filled with rain and coffee and bookmaking and all other sorts of press and shop related tasks. In the studio, I also managed to reoganize some shelves, take inventory of supplies, and figure out my pre-holiday soap and candle making strategy--what I need to order, what scents I have and want to try, etc...Right now I have a batch of delicious smelling apricot goats milk underway with some leftover base from last winter. I am trying to start early in preparation for the big December open studio night, which has been pretty successful in past years. Since leaving etsy, the b&b sales have slowed down a bit from a couple years ago (I'd say this is good since I like to make soap when I want to, not like an assembly line wholesaler, which is sort of what it was blossoming into circa 2010) but this event moves more soap and cadles than anything else, even more than paper goods. I'm working on some new jewelry as well, new papery things, possibly some other lovelies. It always catches me unprepared it seems, so I want to be ready.

This is my last open weekend before things get crazy with readings and weddings and Thanksgiving plans and then we are sliding crazy fast toward the new year...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

As I'm getting ready to fill the shop with all sorts of new things for the holiday season, I'm marking down some of the older lovelies to make room for the new. All of our hand-dyed vintage slip dresses are currently 30% off the usual price, perfect if you're feeling a little Cat on A Hot Tin Roof...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

a sneak peak at the unusual creatures series pieces in their frames..

to book or not to book

Among the melee, I've been glancing occasionally toward what is (or was) intended to be full-length book #4, which brings together most of what I've written in the past 5 years. There are certain things that make it book-like no doubt, certain threads and themes that bind everything from the havoc poems to the brief history poems to the random newer pieces and possibly even the JF poems.

But then I really sort of do like the idea of the poems existing only in their own little chap projects and wonder if I shouldn't just leave them there and not try to corral them into something longer and, I've been feeling lately, somewhat redundant. Full-lengths seem to lend themselves to more longevity than chaps historically, but I've been thinking a bit of making some pdf's available on my website of out of print things (this has expecially been the case since I know that the fever almanac is now officially out of print, and beyond a small stash of copies I have, sorta hard to get.) That way, things like the andromeda poems and maybe even older work would have a second, digital life. (there's even been rumblings about Dusie e-book versions of in the bird museum at some point.)

This also ties in with what I've been thinking about the career necessity of full-length books, the emphasis and weight placed on them in terms of that whole ridiculous "legitimacy" issue (and po-biz in general that mostly just makes me yawn.) I love my full-length books, but there are actually chapbook projects, even self-published chapbooks, that I am infinitely more proud of in terms of the actual work.) And since I'm not really in the market for teaching positions or grants/awards and such nonsense (thank god), I have a bit more freedom to do what I like in terms of distributing work however I see fit. (Heck the JF poems, by virtue of being available for free online, were probably read by more people than either of my book books, which makes that probably my most successful project to date).

I've also been working on a lot of projects that don't lend themselves to traditional book format really, stuff like shipwrecks of lake michigan (images/text), radio ocularia (diagrammatic and pop-up poems), and unusual creatures (writing in the form of letters, ephemera, and diaries). I feel like traditional books and traditional publishing have become less and less useful to me as someone who just wants to write and make things and go on about the business of doing so.

Monday, November 05, 2012


With the time change, the dark is a little darker this week. Lately, my mondays are all crankiness, mellowing out midweek, and today is no different. Mostly, my tasks for this week are wrapping up the submission inbox, a bunch of orders, and finishing up some layouts for books by Alison Armstrong-Webber, Caroline Cabrera, and Cat Jones. I am also planning on getting some photos of recent studio doings (new chaps, the box project, some new art pieces) as soon as I get some batteries for my camera. With the moon mss. out of the way, I am trying decide whether to delve back into the older project or start something new writing-wise. I keep stalling out and then treading water on things for what seems like forever.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So it is Halloween and I find myself incredibly nostalgic for childhood trick or treating episodes and the subsequent horror movie marathons with my Dad (even if Halloween fell during the week, we were allowed to stay up as late as we wanted both watching trash and eating candy like it was going out of style.) I remember a few costumes, particularly those vinyl tied wrap around costumes with the uncomfortable masks..things like Cinderella and Strawberry Shortcake. In kindegarten I remember I was a devil in red pants & turtleneck with plastic horns and pitchfork. Later I was getting too cool for kiddie costumes and opted for "punk rocker" several years in a row, which basically meant I dressed like an extra from a Motley Crue video and put spray dye in my hair. I don't remember dressing up at all through most of junior high and high school, but did quite a bit in college (the possibility of drunken costume parties seems to have rekindled my creativity). I still do most years as an adult, though, especially since we've started doing Theatre Bizarre every year.

Tonight though, I'm library bound, though I have managed to finish up the manuscript of moon poems and send it off into the world in time for the chap deadline I was aiming for. I also managed to get all of the new collages framed and delivered for the next Art of the Library show, which opens in the next couple fo weeks. Yesterday, the waves on the lake were huge and grey and Atlantic-like even inland in wake of the hurricane on the coast, which meant the wind coming in from the water howled all night outside my windows, setting the perfect stage for spookiness.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I am continuing to push through the fall weather doldrums (the barren point at which most trees have lost their leaves and everything is brown and grayish and terribly uninteresting) and immersing myself in so many projects I can't keep everything straight. First there is the chapbook manauscript of moon poems I'd like to finish and submit by Weds. Also the unusual creatures collages (see below) that I need to have in their frames this week for another library show ( the box project and text pieces will come later, but the images, or at least some of them, need to be done asap to get them on the walls). I also have a bunch of author copy orders and the assembly of Fascicle, which means getting everything trimmed and in their boxes and on their way. Yesterday, I mostly napped alot, made pasta, and then went to another Halloween party (at which I drank way to much Stella Artois and am today tired and sluggish.) Later I am planning grocery shopping, pizza making, and horror movie watching. This week, more Halloween and Day of the Dead festivities at work. I do have my weekends free for a couple weeks to the middle of the month, which is nice, though I feel like time speeds up during the holidays and the end of the year will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

from unusual creatures

Dear Margaret,

The coyotes walked the porch last night and my hands are anxious. Three nights and at dusk, the yard darkens, the room darkens. Small animals move along the baseboards, howling and mewling in tandem with my heart. Two loggers were lost today, and I mourn according to the condition I find myself in. The lawn is a strange artifact. I dress in black. Make plans to go south in the winter. Still a white powder coats the window sills. I dreamt my hands held a bundle coddled and clotted. I passed the sugar, passed the salt. Am ever fluent in distraction. From the bed, hope looks like a shadow moving along the wall.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I've been working a little the past couple of days on the project using the cabinet card and old photo images. As I was making them, I was thinking it might make a cool box project, reproduced / doctored photos and maybe letters, postcards, calling cards, ephemera, etc. I'm hesitant to do another Victorian themed project since I feel I've already exhausted that impulse, but somehow these images seem to be begging for it and I've been waiting to do something in a box for awhile now. Of course there is still the pop-up thing, and a couple of poem-only projects I am in the midst of and never enough time to do everything (even the cards have taken me over a year to get to properly).

Detroit, however, was good, despite some travel diffulties and logistics. Theatre Bizarre was the strange amazingness it always is. So much cool stuff, including a huge diorama of the original grounds, lots of fire performances, a "sinema" featuring scare films, and a disorienting layout of rooms opening onto rooms. I always feel creatively inspired by what I see there, as well, in terms of the way John Dunivant creates this little (well,sorta big) world and invites others into it. It makes me want to create things like that (well on a smaller scale anyway..)

I am working on another box project for Rebecca Dunham's Facsicle, which is a collection of poems and prints from Dickinson's Harbarium. And there is still the long overdue tarot project that will be finished at some point.

Otherwise, the world is a flurry of tiny yellow leaves and a lot of rain. I am waiting for a promised bout of Indian Summer..

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

And so we move further and further into autumn and I am anxious about all sorts of things, but now am just pushing through to the end of the week and the awesomeness of Theatre Bizarre, which is its own little world away from everything for awhile (be it a world of flame swallowers, burlesque dancers, sideshow performers, and debauchery.)I need to get away for a couple days to restore my sanity and blow off some steam.

Meanwhile, I am making good steady progress on finishing out the last of the 2011/2012 season of books and plotting the next. I still have more than a few submissions still unopened in the inbox, but I plan to finish them off before the end of the month, plus iron out something like a structured schedule for next year's titles, most have which have been accepted already. There are also other things coming before the new year (a box project from Rebecca Dunham, the tarot deck, my radio ocularia artist book thingy.) And of course, preparations for the big holiday open studio in December.

I'll be finishing a couple manuscript projects during this time also and winging them off to certain open reading periods, so here's hoping someone likes them. My productivity in the writing arena waxes and wanes, but I've been pretty steady lately and have some interesting things to show for it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Another week, another Friday. I have been making last minute preparations for tonight's open studio, which mostly means cleaning up the book-making tornado that seems to have hit the past few weeks, which entailed paper trimmings about a foot deep beneath the work table, 4 empty coffee cups, multiple strewn envelopes, a half dozen empty boxes, and about about 30 unfilled covers. Since I've been focused on the poem stuff of late, I don't really have anything new or exciting to debut tonight beyond some of the book fair leftovers from this summer (many of which I am still waiting to post in the online shop, including new prints from the shipwreck collages and a whole bunch of bookmarks of various images). Days, weeks, entire months seem to be getting away from me. I realized today that it's about time to get started on an art project that I first concieved about a year ago, and beyond scanning in some images for old cabinet cards, I haven't done much else with them in the meantime. I'd like to say the whole thing was germinating in my mind the past year, but it's more that I just hadn't had much time to think about it and it was overrun by the day to day.

I would love to undertake & finish projects maybe on a monthly basis, this month including the moon poems and the radio ocularia images. Also make some new crafty things with the supplies I've been hoarding, but time gets swallowed up in the day to day, in library tasks, in books, in bus rides and random errands. And sleep, which is a thing I need more and more of as the weather turns colder. In the summer, I'm usually hopping from bed bright eyed and bushy tailed, but now, I have to bribe myself with coffee to even get out of it, let alone into the shower and dressed (and that doesn't always work.) I did hear the radiators kick in at dawn this morning for the first time this season, that endless clunking followed by warmth and definitely didn't want to get up when my alarm went off at 8. I'm also hungrier when I'm colder, which is annoying when I'm stuck at work so late and am starving by the time I get out of here, let alone an hour later when I get home...One of our former student workers, who had been living in San Francisco, was talking about the low there usually being in the 50's at most. If it weren't for potential earthquakes, I could SO deal with that.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The past couple of days I have been trying hard to think of everything as a learning experience, as some trial that teaches me more about myself, more about what I want, what I need, what I can tolerate and what I can't when it comes to relationships. Second chances are all well and good, but they probably only make it harder to walk away a second time. Yes, it was good, but there are boundaries I have to keep for my own sanity, my own autonomy, and once again it was too much, too soon. I like to think I at least tried, was open, and I was, but there were too many expectations.

It's not even about monogamy, which I can take or leave, but more about feeling in control of my own life and time. Yes, it's probably selfish, and self-centered, and overly control freaky, all charges that have been leveled at me in the course of the last month or so at various impasses. (and whenever someone calls me a control freak I'm like " you even know me at all?") And it's almost a relief, the letting go without reservation, even though it's a little sad. I don't want to put myself in a position to hurt people, to mean that much (or at least be told that I do) to someone that I feel responsible for their well-being. Which also seems like a manipulative thing in some ways.

But I am finding solace in other things, new poems, galleys to proof, new projects in my notebook, other random fall plans. I was suddenly very anxious for Thanksgiving to get here (equal parts missing my family and being really hungry for something besides Chinese food, salad, pasta and frozen pizza.) I am moving on again, and this kitty pretty much always lands on her feet whatever you throw at her (or throw her off of.)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

from Pinterest

It's finally getting colder and I had to pull my black coat from the studio closet where I stuffed it away in March. Today, I am attempting to organize my bedroom closet into something like funtional and finally moving all the summerish dresses toward the back and the winterish ones forward. plus trying to persuade myself to wear some of the ones I rarely do, simply becuase I keep rotating the favorites. I also have my eye on some new lovelies, but I need to wait til they go on sale or until I have more money in my bank account, whichever comes first. And then there are the shoes, of which I need to do a serious purge on the overly heeled one's I never wear at all (if I were driving they would be fine, but they are way too uncomfy for the amount of walking to and fro I do.)

Otherwise, I am mostly sleeping, reading, and watching a little of season 2 of Walking Dead on Netflix, which reminds me that I need to start queuing up my Halloween horror list as we get closer..

Thursday, October 04, 2012

And it's here, the e-chap in which I talk about my Cloverfield theory of romance, crush on Ryan Gosling, my affection for dance movies, and all other sorts of randomness...

and best yet, it's absolutely free and downloadable from Sundress Publications..

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

It's rainy, chilly day, and I waited for the bus interminably, but I think the whole romantic drama issue is sorted out and moving in the right direction, which frees me up to be all angsty about other things like art projects and half completed manuscripts and whatnot (and that's a good creative angstiness and not a sad, crying sort of angstyness.) I also got some news that the release of I*HATE*YOU*JAMES*FRANCO is nigh, as in coming in the next 24 hours, which is exciting, so stay tuned...It's a busy week with this and the art opening on Friday(another sneak peak of that series above), then preparations for the Open Studio next week. I did manage to work on another piece of the moon project last night, so it's looking possible it might be finished by the end of the month as I planned...

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Today, there are hazelnut lattes and book trimming and a stack of new texts for library reserve to process and already, halfway into my day, I am tired and worn out. I am sort of unfocused and unrpoductive compared to usual Tuesdays, distracted and all sorts of wonky. If Tuesday feels like this, I fear Thursday. But am forging ahead, slowly, and determined to get the backlog of dgp titles out during October, so much good stuff, and especially since there is so much other amazing stuff coming for the 2012/2013 series. I have also been neglectful with wicked alice, which is sort of ridiculous, since I do have content queud up and waiting, but so little time to mess with formatting. I need to just get it all ready to post and then schedule it for busier times. Meanwhile, there are other mundane things I've neglected to get to, like dying my hair before the blond at the roots takes over actually drying the load of laundry I started last night before it gets smelly (for some reason the laundry room was hopping at 1am and no free dryers, so I said fuck it.)

But I'm liking this warm mild fallness right now, not quite Indian summer, but tolerable, and the trees turning yellow over in the park and the afternoon light that filters over the buildings at dusk and makes them explode in color. The sidewalks are dotted with leaves and I am on a sweater dress buying kick again and putting together my TB costume (and figuring out how to make a peacock feather fan).

Monday, October 01, 2012

My mother is always fond of qualifying statements with the phrase "if it's meant to be, it will happen.." which usually drives my Type A control freaky Taurean self absolutely bonkers. This usually has to do with the sort of things that fall mostly beyond your realm of control, not necessarily chance things, like winning the lottery or getting struck by lighting, but more mundane things like getting a job or a promotion or winning a prize or whathaveyou. To which my usual response is "NO! NO! NO!, YOU have to MAKE it happen.." I am never one to wait for serendipity, which is sometimes incredibly frustrating when things involve the will & whims of one or more other people. Nothing bothers me worse than "wait and see" or "play it by ear"..Of course I am also occasionally guilty of putting off decision-making until it either works itself out or is to late to really decide, thereby wallowing in indecision, which is what I have been doing for a couple of weeks. The jury is stil out on the outcome of this particular situation, and perhaps I waited too long deciding what to do. I've been leaving alot to portents and signs and auspicious revelations. I haven't gone so far as to do anything wacky like pull out the tarot cards, but I have engaged in some coin flipping and pencil spinning. I've made decisions like this before, and sometimes my best decisions have been about whim and chance and excellent timing. All I can do is sit tight and wait to see if it works out...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sometimes I feel like each week is a deep pool I dive into on Mondays planning to swim the entire length and then stall out and drown sometime before Thursday. The weather is getting cooler and there are mornings when I really just want to sleep and sleep and sleep. I get a three day weekend coming up though, so I intend to indulge the impulse to linger in bed all day and read novels without guilt.

Meanwhile, I am about to move into turbo mode to get the last of the 2011-2012 dgp chaps out before I start the next season sometime in November. I have streamlined my workflow a bit and shaved some production time off with the new printer and it's ability to do booklet printing (as opposed to the old departed Brother with it's even/odd manual flip) so we'll see how it goes. I feel like I've been behind the production schedule nigh upon 5 years but there's always hope I'll get it pinned down (I've learned to give authors a window rather than an exact date.) It's all about chiseling away at it little by little.

I am still working my way through the thick of the moon project, having momentarily abandoned yet again, my the houses and bees thing. Sometimes, as the JF poems illustrate, my distraction projects turn out interesting in an of themselves. (ie, the projects I cheat on my other projects with.) I am trying to keep at it daily, but its harder as the press makes more demands on my time.

In other, non-poetry news, the Theatre Bizarre / Detroit trip is all lined up and booked. I am looking forward to not only festivities, but also the trip there (while I try to avoid the el in favor of the bus, I love actual train rides, especially since the trip through Michigan is sort of pretty this time of year.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Today was an odd day in which I swiftly wrote several pieces of the moon project and then got frustrated in planning my Detroit trip itinerary next month and left work feeling like I'd whittled away the whole day like a dull pencil, but was actually in retrospect pretty damn productive. The prose poems need work and it's just a tiny series that may, god willing, one day be a chap, but I like them and the concept behind them. Yesterday, I did wind up spending a good chunk of time giving a last look over girl show, which occasionally feels like something someone else wrote a long, long time ago, and certainly not me. It will pass, the dijointedness, but for now it's sort of freaky and unfamilar. Five years is a long time, especially when you consider 5 years before that I was writing the bulk of the fever almanac poems and how they are very different from the 2006 poems. Meanwhile, there are promotional questionnaires to be answered, hype to build, buy-my-book dances to be performed (I do intend on having a big release party possibly with both bread and circus aplenty.) And this, the cover design which turned out so ever lovely.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another early Saturday morning in the library, but I do have a double chocolate muffin and some coffee, so I'm content. It's been dreary and raining and fallish the past couple of days. I am determined to pin down the final version of girl show for Black Lawrence today, as well as maybe work a little on another shorter project. I am also making plans for our next open studio event the second week of October (providing I can actually find the floor and counters amidst all the paper trimmings and chapbook fixings.) In other non-poetry crafty related undertakings, I am working on some more vintage costume jewelry hair accessories, bobbies and headbands and maybe some new soaps (I have some lemon lavender base that's been sitting around for awhile that I've yet to cut into bars and package since I'm trying to think up a new packaging scheme.)Since the press has been going full throttle since the second half of last year, my crafty urges have taken a backseat to the bookmaking, so I'm hoping to at least accomplish a little in that arena to stock up the shop before the holidays.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So I waffle, and fuss, reconsider, then dismiss. Meanwhile am matting and framing things for the alumni show in a couple weeks (see above), designing covers, laying out books, reading manuscripts. It's colder now, and I realized today I have a lack of wearable footwear on the scale between sandals and riding boots, so I binge shopped six discount pairs of various styled/colored ballet flats (they are delicate, thin soled and lovely, but they never last long with daily wear and the amount of walking I do on concrete on a daily basis.) I am getting ready to pull out the tweeds and retire the sundresses. Swap my iced raspberry lattes for warm ones. Already, the city is different. All summer I did alot of nightly walking up Michigan, and last night, even the sidewalk passing Millenium Park was mostly a ghost town after 10. It was cool and clear and beautiful though. I am thinking about sweaters. I am thinking Halloween costumes and Theatre Bizarre (possibly some peacock-esque feathery regalia). I am thinking about poem projects I want to finish before the end of the year. I am thinking I had better get to work...

Monday, September 17, 2012

So in the midst of Friday's romantic meltdown, there actually was bit of culture (and well later there was copius amounts whiskey at Kaseys with my favorite library folks) but earlier there was a trip to the Art Institute since I had yet, despite a couple years since completion, been inside the Modern Wing. I knew they had moved the Cornell boxes, so we went in search of them, and I was sad to see how they wound up, all locked behind a glass case that not only didn't allow you to get that close, but also didn't allow the sort of one on one experience the previous display strategy had. It was like they lost something by all being grouped together, like the eyes couldn't focus on them individually anymore. I remember my first encounter about 10 years ago, coming upon the tabletop boxes, wandering into the blue room, the separate boxes wall mounted in a brighter room. Each box it's own little room. This case felt chaotic and dark and dissappointing. Overall, I found myself eager to leave the modern wing and go see the impressionists and all the vivid colors of the older paintings and the furniture galleries...which is where I usually end up on most visits...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

pedestals and cages

So it's been a weird week. Every once in a while I complain about men and how I feel I'm always chasing, never really being chased. (it's a control freak thing and probably a Taurean thing) I've been pursued occasionally in a sexual way, but it never felt all romantic and flowery and heart fluttery (well maybe except with R , but we all know how that turned out) And maybe that's a myth anyway, instilled by Disney and fairytales and old movies. Maybe it doesn't exist and maybe it's all about mashing our bodies together and taking comfort where we can, But there's a teeny little romantic in me that wonders if it does exist. Something else. So when someone starts off the relationship by saying outright they really want a serious exclusive relationship, it catches me off guard. In those first few dates, usually I'm still wondering if I want a relationship, mostly whether I want a relationship with this particular person. And then said person says all the right things, like they love poetry and art and know about architecture and estate sales and old trains, and suddenly I'm swept up in it. And the e-mails are probably the most beautiful letters anyone ever sent me. And the physical chemistry is sweet and tenative in all the right ways. And its all so serious so very fast and I fail and keep failing, am not engaged enough, invested enough. There are still difference between us in ways we see the world that clash and grate. He gets impatient that I am still trying to figure things out. A friend says women always dump nice guys for jerks, and sometimes it's true. Nice men seem breakable, like eggshells. They crack. It feels better when someone fails you than when you fail them. It's far worse to hurt someone and know it than to deal with being hurt yourself. Still, it was probably the most intense breakup for the shortest relationship I've ever undertaken. So we move over and on and begin deleting numbers and messages (its too painful to read them again, so I want them gone.) I try to distract myself with disaster movies and house cleaning and by Monday, I'll just move past it and get on with other things..

Friday, September 14, 2012

happy friday

at work, we are in the midst of making a gazillion paper flowers for an upcoming Day of the Dead event. I was in the studio the other day and decided to play around with some of the old dress patterns in my paper stash and they turned out really lovely. I am totally making some for every party I decorate for in the future..

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sometimes my head feels a little bit like the inside of a cotton candy machine, whirly and pink and full of fluff and spinning so fast I can't keep up.

Otherwise, I am neck deep in dgp manuscripts and have finally cracked the last 100. there is so much goodness there, I think you will love the books we'll be publishing next year so much. I'm hoping to have all decisions made by the end of the semester. There were a little over 500 total, so I've actually done a decent job keeping up as they came in so things aren't too hairy as of yet. In other press news, there is an interview up with moi at side b magazine, as well as a number of books coming soon that are in the layout process.

I was excited to learn that some pieces had been accepted for an alumni show at CC, all segments from my anatomy series project (it's going to be an interactive/pop-up sort of project with text and image.) And in other visual goodness, I finally got a sneak peak of the girl show cover, which I will share soon. It's just one of my collages, but the designer did such lovely things with it I loved it even more than the original.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Today was the first cool sort of blustery day that really felt like fall and had me scrambling for longer sleeves and an extra blanket for the bed. I am working all weekend (I prefer to get most of my obligatory weekend shifts out of the way early in the semester when getting out of bed at 7 on a Saturday doesn't make me hate my life). There are good poetry things afoot, however. Maverick Duck Press has just agreed to publish my chap beautiful, sinister (aka the narrative project) next summer. They make a lot of gorgeously designed books and covers, so I was thrilled. Between that and the JF chap, which will be rolling out soon, and girl show's release next fall, it will be a busy year in getting work out there, which I need after a couple years of sitting tightly on things and submitting work getting sort of lost in the melee. There are other projects that are nearly there, dreams about houses and bees, a little chap of moon poems, plus full length book #4 and nearly #5 completed which I will be sending out sometime next year.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Another Labor Day weekend come and gone and there's another slow impending slide into autumn..well at least I hope it's slow. And despite unearthing my fall clothes from the back of the closet, I am planning on holding out in my sundresses and flip flops for as long as I can anyway (we won't even think about winter, I have no clue where my coat is). Otherwise it's been a laid back weekend that began with a friends birthday celebration and a little too much whiskey, but is finishing with some house cleaning and movie watching most likely. Yesterday, I procured some groceries and attempted my own bbq chicken pizza, which turned out deliciously. I did a little poem notetaking, but I'm a bit too scattered of late to actually make something coherent and poem-like (or even incoherently poem like). I will be back to working evenings finally, which means I will be back to being more awake in general, which is good for the muse who tends to shut down when I don't get enough sleep.

I finally caught up at work but the next few weeks will be a steady flow of reserve processing (and since I am officially claiming it as my own, it will continue to be like that). This week is always a frenzy with everyone back on campus and actually excited (for a little while) about their classes. Inevitably, I start looking longingly again at the Book & Paper program and idly toying with the idea of enrolling. Mind you, I usually talk myself out of it by the time the deadline comes around for applying. About midway through my Poetry MFA, I decided I was really too old for this shit, but I finished it off anyway, even though I questioned whether it was worth all the the bad stuff for the kernal of good. I have to remind myself of that whenever I gaze logingly at the Book & Paper Center brochure.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today is one of those rainy late summer Sundays in which I slept very late trying to recuperate from 9-5ing it this past week. There are still stacks of reserve books to be dealt with there, a slew of interviews this week for the department openings to sit in on, and general new semester chaos, which begins next week. I am looking forward to the three day weekend however, though I don't really have any plans beyond Friday night. I'm probably a little odd in that I've been hoarding my newest clothing aquisitions til it's officially September and back-to-shool, so there is something to new to be excited about like I was all those years ago (seriously, sometimes back to school was more exciting than Christmas.) Brand new trapper keepers and lunchboxes. New glossy textbooks with your name written meticulously inside the front cover. While this year I'll probably settle for a big pack of gel pens and maybe a new sketchbook, it's still a little fun.

As with every fall, though, I do feel a desire to get down to business after slacking all summer, at least in terms of finalizing poems, sending out work, actually pulling together the art projets I've been idly musing over. I've been good the past couple of summers about staying on top of dgp business, but alot of other stuff falls by the wayside as soon as things heat up and my brain goes to mush. I've been on productive autopilot mode through most of this summer, getting alot done, but more surface tasks, so I'm looking forward to tuning back in a little.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Settling back in after being away is always a little rough around the edges, especially since I'm working odd hours, have more responsibilities while there, and am trying to stay on top of press things in the evening without getting even more behind. Despite spending most of the day processing fall textbook reserves, I did manage to dig away at a small segment of submissions and found some very good things herein, filled some orders, and waded through the dreaded inbox. Otherwise, I am indulging in long walks in the nice weather after dark, eating alot of strawberries, and musing over the current art series I'm in the midst of and hope to have done for one of the art shows this fall. The poem muse has decided to be an obstinate bitch though, so she might need a little shaking to just get on with it and finish the houses and bees project. I did send the finalized version of the JF manuscipt to Sundress, so the debut of that strange little project is nigh. stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This morning I woke up in Iowa (Bettendorf) with the Mississipi River spread wide outside my window, barges and bird creatures slowly drifting by and then had the most amazingly delicious hotel breakfast before heading back to Rockford. There have been many day trips, inluding a run to Monroe for beer and sub par Swiss Colony chocolate and cheese. Also, a day at the Wisconsin fair feeling like a kid again, eating corn dogs and real lemonade and longing to ride the rides without getting nauseous (a skill I lost as an adult). Otherwise, I have been doing nothing much besides making my way through a trashy Stephen King novel and taking naps. Until today, it's been decidedly fall-like and rainy, which is a nice reprieve from the scorching summer. Today, I ordered some "back-to-school" clothes--two dresses, two cardigans (a dark chocolate colored one and a deep peacock blue), and a pair of brown boots to replace last winter's casualties. I am getting ready for September and the new semester, which is already intimidating me with its business and frenzy.

I have been avoiding writing/press related things this week, though I still have a couple chaps queued to release before I get back. I will have entire evenings in the studio after 5pm when I get back for a couple weeks, which will be nice. Preparations are also afoot with Sundress on the JF chapbook and I am putting the last touches on girl show before I send the final version to BLP. What seemed to be forever before it would be published is narrowing and narrowing. I am also beginning to muse about fall art projects and open studios and possible dgp readings, all very exciting things..

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

getting in touch with the chaos muppet

A few weeks ago, I found this hilarious article to be so true of most of the people I know, and in my case, perhaps a little bit of both in action. The past couple of weeks have been busy, and I've been plowing through alot of tasks, both at work and in the studio, not allowing to myself to get sucked into time and situations that remain unnaccounted for.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I do crazy things like make my bed every day, but I'm thriving in all that orderliness and feeling super productive and responsible. On the other hand, amidst all the schedules and to-do lists and well-laid plans, there isn't much room to create. To make things. To think about making things. While my order muppet likes to smugly check-off lists, eat salads, and wash the dishes, the chaos muppet she's shoved into the closet wants to wallow in bed, go on tequila binges, eat too many tacos, and drunk dial ex-boyfriends. But she also, after she's done that, wants to write, to make things, to make a mess. Chaos muppet loves tension and moral ambiguity. To sit with a pen hovered over a pece of paper for hours and just daydream. Sure, chaos muppet is also an attention whore. And sometimes leaves the dishes unwashed for days becuase she's writing, or watching 90210, or just can't stand the idea of getting her hands wet and then touching paper. She forgets to write the check for rent, pay the electric bill, goes on spending sprees that result in ramen noodle or canned ravioli dinners that order muppet watches dissapprovingly while she'd rather be organizing the bookshelves.

I realized that my order muppet has been running the show lately and tamed some of the chaos, but it all seems a little dry and hollow and, dare I say, boring. I was trying to get my mind into the poem zone last night and found I couldn't get there at all. I am off for the next week and a half, hopefully to garner a little writing time, so I'm hoping to let my inner chaos muppet do a little damage.

Friday, August 03, 2012

things happening, happening things

*Lollapalooza is happening across the street and for some reason every year it just makes me feel old. I had a chance in 1992 to go the weekend before classes started in Charleston SC, but I figured it wouldn't be wise to spend the only $60 my parents had dropped me off with a mere week in. Regardless I still wouldn't be able to afford it now and am so out of touch when it comes to music anyway. Besides the older acts like Black Sabbath and the Chili Peppers, I've only really heard of Florence & the Machine, which I'm not really that gung-ho about. Grant Park is filling up though as we speak and I might be able to hear some music out the window at the studio later on if the a/c doesn't drown it out. Mostly, it just makes traffic all snarly and sidewalk navigation annoying.

*We're settling into late summer and I know it's coming, that day, usually mid-August when you wake up and it just feels like fall. Something in the light or the air that foreshadows the actual season.  It makes me start thinking of back to school clothes and supplies (luckily I've worked in schools and colleges ever since I graduated from them, so I still get to indulge even if just a little.) I'm still waiting to scrounge up actual cash to buy them, but  I am plotting out fall wardrobe options and pinteresting all sorts of loveliness in anticipation.

*I did go on a recent mini-book buying splurge and procured Claire Hero's Dollyland and pre-ordered Brandi Wells' Poisonhorse, both of which I am looking forward to reading and possibly reviewing for wicked alice.  I am still really digging the new format, which not only feels more engaging I imagine as a reader, but I feel it engages me more as an editor in the selection of work and curation of content.

*We also have some new chaps on the horizon, books from Florencia Varela, Sarah Colona, and Caroline Brooke Morrel.  We also recieved a standing order from another library for all of our titles, which is exciting--to know that someone (besides me) has an archive of all our books. (I've considered donating a complete set to CC, but we are seriously strapped for space both in the 811's and in Special Collections--at least until we move to the new building, so it will have to wait....)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

With orientation going on at CC this week and last, I was startled to realize the other morning that it has been 20 years exactly since I was starting college, packing up my stuff and heading away from home the first real time to North Carolina, which was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Granted I only stayed a semester (it didn't make financial and logistical sense once I'd ditched my marine biology plans to stay there when I could study writing and  english anywhere). But it was the first time I'd ever really been away from my parents for an extended time, the first time I had to do everything for myself.  I think there were several moments during the trip down (we drove down to Wilmington in a huge rental towncar with a giant trunk full of stuff) when I wondered if I could really do it. Do everything that grown-ups do..  On my own and so far away from the familiar. (There was also  moment in a hotel when I freaked out over a big southern bug and thought about packing it in right there). We were in Wilmington almost a week before I was due to move into the dorms, so we did the family vacation thing--going to beach and the aquarium, strange tours of Civil War battlegrounds.  All the while I was anxious and impatient to just get on with it.

Once I was on campus and the family had pulled up stakes and headed back to Illinois, there was this weird period of disorientation.  I've always said that the season premier of Buffy in the fourth season has that experience down pat--that everything is so overwhelming, you seem to be behind everyone in terms of choosing classes, choosing friends, buying textbooks, even getting your school ID pic taken.  That fall of 92 though was pretty much chaos from the get go, from the first night I spent at a frat party with my roommates (the only frat party I have ever attended thank god) to the day I left in December, throwing everything hurriedly into the car after my last final and driving to the beach for the last time.  I have a hard time remembering my classes, though I know I went to them (well most of them) and got pretty decent grades--enough to get me a good scholarship at RC. In a  film class we started with Birth of a Nation and watched a slew of  and silent movies. I spent the night before my first American Government test at the beach til sunrise and still got an A.  I skipped Algebra every chance I got, did really well in what was basically Freshman Comp, and loved my Oceanography class.  Did stupid things like pile drunkenly into the back of a pick-up truck driven by one of my roommates back-home army friends. Played drinking games, went to cheesy dance clubs. Ate alot of Doritos and canned ravioli.  Tried to run for freshman class president (this seemed like the thing to do, since I was still super over-achiever girl in those days) and lost. Drank alot of malibu rum and cheap beer . Played alot of gin rummy with my roommates. Discovered Pearl Jam and NIN. Fell for closeted hilarious actor types and long haired surfer types from Delaware.  Mooned over someone else who who wound up dating my suitemate.

Everything was so fraught and emotional in those days. Or maybe I was just more unstable.  I remember spending alot of weekends typing really bad stories on the electric typewriter I bought with my graduation money.  I don't think there were many poems yet, those came later.  I also remember spending time amongst the periodicals in the library, looking for places to send work, though I don't remember if I actually sent anything out during that time.   I remember waiting for the mail, but that might have just been waiting for letters from friends, care packages from my mom, etc.  Wilmington  was beautiful, though, and practically winterless, and smelled like oleander and ocean air.  Since I consider RC to be where I actually went to college, that span of time seems almost dreamlike.  December came and it was back to the midwest, back to snow and icy roads and classes at the community college so I didn't fall behind while I applied to other schools.  There were poems then though, lots of them, and submissions and general restlessness.  By fall, I'd enrolled at RC and was ready to start the next chapter.

I mentioned to co-worker that I don't think I could handle starting everything like that.  Being again at the beginning of things. How the future must look--both limitless and shiny bright, but also so very scary and uncertain. Also hard to know who you are or what you really want at that age..I think I wanted everything then, only later did I narrow and refine and get downt to what was important to me to spend my time doing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

productivity, or something like it

I've always noticed that I get far more done productivity wise when I actually have more to do.  Not only that I have more to do, but that I know that my time is far more limited and I have to push on through regardless of what else might be beckoning. 

Case in point, we are down a couple people at work and I've taken on a load of more responsibilities at least until we hire a replacement.  Right now, it's adding about 2 hours per day of work work (it won't always, but it's crunch time before the semester starts on course reserves).  As such, I have less time to tinker around with poetry/press related work while I'm officially on the clock.  But damn if I'm not moving at a slightly brisker pace on these things since I know I have really only about an hour after lunch to do them daily (not counting my evenings in the studio, which is mostly printing, assembling, and processing orders anyway.) I made a huge dent in reading manuscripts on Tuesday, dealing with wicked alice submissions, and will be finishing a couple layouts tomorrow afternoon.  I feel spare and organized and less overwhelmed.  I even managed to get mostly through everything I planned to do in the studio this week.  Of course, I sometimes hit a critical mass point and freak out and then get nothing done, but I'm trying to stave it off by scheduling my tasks on an hourly basis.

I am, however, really liking the way the new format at wicked alice allows me to accept work on a more rolling basis and not in huge chunks.  Since were updating constantly, it also probably gives us a little more room (I never liked issues that were too large, though we sometimes wound up doing them).  Plus I can keep up with submissions more readily than waiting to do them all at once like I usually wound up doing no matter how I planned otherwise.

I even managed to submit some more work from the dreams about houses and bees project and am considering the format and length of the project since I'm writing sort of aimlessly and erratically thus far on it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


It has been an eventful week amidst the usual press and library work, including a whirlyball outing(basically a basketball/lacrosse hybrid played in bumper cars) that made me feel like a kid again and today's reading at WomanMade, which went off well, introduced me to a awesome poet I had never met before, and allowed me to share some of the work from the shipwrecks project, most of which I hadn't ever read from previously. Otherwise, there are several books in production, getting ready to load more content onto wicked alice, and some plotting in terms of the anatomy project. I am also looking forward to some more time away and a trip to Wisconsin the first couple weeks of August, but getting there is still a couple weeks away, alas...

Monday, July 16, 2012

oh, summer

There are a few things I need more of in my life every summer, not limited to, but including:

beach going. Every year I vow to go to the beach more often and actually stay there for a sustained period of time. Besides a couple cookouts every summer, I barely even ever get over to the lake, which is ridiculous since I live a block and a half from it. I'm thinking of investing in a giant portable umbrella to solve the baking sun/fair skin issue, so I hope that changes.

fair and carnivals. I've been promised a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair for the last couple of years and it never pans out. We would go almost every year when I was a kid, and I'd come home exhausted and filled with corn dogs and salt water taffy and leaden with cheap drinkets and blow up animals. It was great. I've determined though that it's much more fun to go at night and also to be slightly inebriated from drinking giant hurricanes in flourescent pink glasses, at which point the pressing crowds barely faze me at all.

outdoor movies I used to love the Chicago Film festival that went on every summer in Grant Park, but it was axed due to city budget cuts. The movies in the parks still happen every year, and that would do just fine if I ever managed to get to one, but I will eventually wrangle someone with a car into taking me to one of those very rare existing actual drive-ins if it kills me.

mini-golf. Though I've never been much of an actual golfer in any way, shap, or form, in highschool I was pretty much an ace at putting. No doubt, years out of practice I've lost my touch, but once I get back into it, by the 6th or so hole, I'm actually pretty good at it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


It's been a busy one until today. A friday night bon voyage fete for a friend at Fountainhead with too much beer (and a remarkably delicious ham, apple slices, and brie sandwich) And then yesterday, most of the afternoon in the studio finishing up the broadside (see above pic). Today I am determined to do nothing but hang out with the much neglected kitties, wait for my groceries to be delivered, eat more hummus, read a bit more of the semi-trashy Stephen King book I'm working on, and plan out the course of the week in things I need to get done. So far the fans have been fending off the heat and bringing coolish air inside, so it's actually decently cool here in the living room (thank god for big windows, northern exposures and lake breezes.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I am doing my annual clearing out of old artwork to make room for new...all individual collages are only $10-$15 now through the end of July, including several of the flight series and the dictionary pieces.

things that are happening, happening things

*wicked alice's new bloggish format is now live and features new poems by Kristin Lueke and a link to a great discussion about the work of Francesca Woodman. Keep your eye out for upcoming work by Sarah Kearns and Karen Terry, as well as all sorts of other goodness there in the week to come. *A week from Sunday, I will be reading with some other fine and well organized ladies at WomanMade Gallery for the Poets Who Open Doors reading , probably reading a bit from shipwrecks of lake michigan and maybe some of the houses and bees poems. WomanMade is one of my favorite places to read, so that whould undoubtably be fun. *I am still working on the Printer's Ball broadside, which will feature a piece from J Hope Stein's from [Talking Doll:], and since it's a project about science and historical inventions, I thought it might be a good fit for the Ball's Time Warp theme. New books are also due out very soon from Natasha Marin and Tzyna Pinchback, so stay tuned for those. *I have made a slight dent in the houses and bees project this week and plan to start submitting them in earnest on Friday (which is my day designated for focusing on business related to my own work--which in my new daily organizational structure, I'd ideally call it something fancy and alliterative, but I have nothing.) I also keep losing the little lists of new journals I want to send things to, so it remains to be seen how well that will actually work out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

10 bad habits I am in the process of kicking

getting involved in lukewarm relationships that are more about habit and familiarity than affection.

regular soda, which you realize you are far too addicted to when you wake up to 6 empty cans of Dr. Pepper you do not remember drinking lined up on the desk.

developing sad and hopeless crushes on friends and co-workers.

that moment where you are faced with too much to do that you can't possibly fit into the time allowed and so instead wind up surfing the net or hanging out on facebook instead of actually accomplishing anything.

drinking too much and too expensively in bars, not because you are really having fun, which is good and fair reason to get sloshed , but because you are trying to forget about abovementioned hopeless crushes while they talk about their current relationships, which are, alas, not with you.

Coming home and throwing clothes on the bedroom floor, over chairs and benches and the top of the door instead of hanging them up or putting them in the hamper.

reading too much into things men say or don't say.

reading too much into what anyone says and being suspicious of motives and slightly paranoid about people trying to secretly undermind you.

spending too much money on fancy coffee during the day and delivery food at night because you are too tired to cook something.

drunk dailing / texting / emailing exes after being rejected by anyone or anything. Otherwise known as tipping over into the darkside where chaos and the Id reigns and consequences be damned.