Monday, March 25, 2013

An early-to-rise spring break week and the best thing about it is that it will be a short one.  I am headed out of town on Wednesday night, but today, I'm feeling sort of dark and underslept and wavery at the edges.  What little sleep I did get was riddled by odd sorts of formless, forgettable dreams and annoying cat antics.   I do get some extra studio hours tonight and tomorrow, in which I intend to finish up copies of Emily Carr's book and send out a big batch of orders from late last week. 

I was in the studio Saturday finishing up some other stuff (some work on a library order, matting and photographing some of the square collages.)  But otherwise, I did little over the weekend but watch Les Miserables a couple times (which made my 18-year-old girl self very happy)  and make homemade pizza with sweet Italian sausage and a lot of mushrooms and garlic. I have a bunch of stuff due to finish when I get back to the city, but otherwise I am taking a few days off to indulge in some chocolate bunny eating / easter egg dyeing festivities, a day trip to Wisconsin,  and maybe some thrift store shenanigans.

From the light and lionish wind outside, I can tell it really wants to spring, but the temperature just doesn't seem to be cooperating.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

While spring seems a long way off here in the chilly midwest, we're offering three chapbooks for $10 to help you through the weather related blues.

Just note which 3 you would like in the comments section of your order.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

circularity series


I just finished some prints of the circle collages and added them to the shop.  There will  be more, but I was excited to get these posted...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

teen movie geek-out

When I was 12 or 13, I remember one entire weekend when, left to our own devices, me and my sister pretty much watched the same two betamax movies in rotation--Pretty in Pink & Labyrinth (I believe my parents were dealing with placing my step-grandfather in a nursing home, and it never would have happened had my dad been in control of the tv.)  Labyrinth has always been a fave, and my appreciation for its quirkiness (and sort of twistedness) has only improved with age. Pretty in Pink is definitely one of less played Hughes movies though (Sixteen Candles & The Breakfast Club are satellite/cable regulars), so I probably watched it the last time at some point maybe in high school.

 At 12 though, I was smitten with pouty Andrew McCarthy and remember loving the final sequence, the prom, and it's OMD playing drama. Last weekend, I discovered it was on Netflix and gave it a whirl only to discover it had not aged quite so well.  It's really sort of bad, and pretty much all the characters deeply annoying in some way.  I think I remember there being, just MORE to it, that isn't there.  While my sister says the real tragedies watching it now are her ditching the Jon Cryer character and the vintage prom dress massacre, I zeroed in on something else I never would have noticed as a teen--Andie's older confidante Iona (played by Annie Potts) who spends most of the film being quirky and unusual and wearing wild out there clothes, but who by the end, sacrifices it all for some bad eighties shoulder pad monstrosity. 

It was depressing, and amusing to me, that suddenly I was identifying with the grown up and not the teens (who were, as teens often are, pretty much clueless.)  But also that there was something telling in that 80's conformity message.  It felt very different as a teen movie from some of the late 90's incarnations, where the quirky individualism usually won out. There are definitely teen movies from the 80's that buck this, Say Anything is a fave, also Cant' Buy Me Love (which also got constant VCR play a couple years later when I was in highschool.)  At some point, I probably could have recited the dialogue by rote from both of these movies.  (Which is also true of Goonies from a couple years earlier.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday, and still all this dreary, cold grey weather (even though it is technically spring in a mere 48 hours or so, apparently nature hasn't gotten the memo.)  Still the early dark has dissipated enough to cheer me, even if I can't yet crack a window. So far I've made some progress on a tricky layout for a chap,  released a new title, and have made a list of supplies I need to get in the next couple of weeks. In the studio, most of my week will be spent mostly on getting some author copies out the door and a sizeable library order.  We have some new books about ready to drop as soon as I finish the layouts, and I have a couple cover designs to map out later in the week.  April is so close, I'm sure the this week and the half of next before I head out of town, will fly by, so I'm already in panic mode to get things done, including listing some new little crafty things (there's a sneak preview of new offerings above..)...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

go ahead and pinch me

So once again, they dye the river green and downtown is clotted with emerald clad drunken tourists, but I much liked it better, last night after dinner & drinks in the south loop walking nearly alone on the park side of the street at only 10pm with the entire city laid out in front of me and a little drunk. I was very happy in a way I haven't been happy in a while about certain things. (also pear martinis are amazing.)

 Today, you couldn't pay me to be downtown, but I slept late and plan to spend some more time with the book doing some minor tweaks.   Meanwhile there are kitties and cinnamon toast and sunday evening boy related plans.  (and the usual house tidying and grocery shopping, but those are much less fun.)  Since I am waiting on a linen stock order that won't arrive til Monday, I was saved briefly from some more studio hours this weekend (which I try not to do, but sometimes it's necessary.)

Friday, March 15, 2013

The weekend is once again upon us and another week put to bed.  I did manage to whip major characters... into some sort of shape and will be sending it off shortly. I also intend to submit some more pieces from the apocalypse series tomorrow, maybe hunker down with some other writing related things on Saturday. Preparations are also afoot for the impending release of my prose project the shared properties of water and stars due out next month.  (you can see a sneak peak in this interview with Kristina Marie Darling, the force behind Noctuary Press.)

Editing-wise,  I made some significant headway on laying out Christine Herzer's I Cheated on Chanel No.5, which is a text & image project that will be stab bound  and depending on how quickly my sewing progresses, it will be out soon.  Other books under layout currently include Emily Carr's series of tarot lyrics, Resurrection Refrains, Colleen Abel's Housewifery, and Ashliegh Lambert's Ambivalent Amphibians, which will be coming in the next few weeks.  I am also, after much formatting indeision, working again on the photo/poetry collab from Robyn Art & Robin Barcus-Slonina.  It's been put on the back burner for a while, but I am determined to get it out in the world this summer now that we are a little more caught up on regular chaps.

In other news, I am also taking part in this awesome rountable discussion @ delerious hem with all sorts of other amazing women powered presses, check it out...there are already two installments with much more to come.

Meanwhile, I put together a little collage of some of our recent books and their gorgeous covers (some mine and many other artists/designers.) Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So already two days into the week and things are progressing along dgp-wise and otherwise.  We have new titles ready for release this week (a meadowed king by Sarah Cook and Fugue in the Key of Machine from Meghan Brinson).  We have new wicked alice updates all lined up. I have groceries and clean laundry and shiny, near spotless windows. I have new dresses and poems and a manuscript just about ready to show a potential publisher.   And moreso, at least yesterday, a little bit of spring peaking into the world. I'm sure by the end of the work, chaos will have blown through and I'll be left hanging, but so far, so good.

Monday, March 11, 2013

tiny pretty things

In my reorganization of my home workspace in January, I unearthed a tiny set of ACEO's I had completely forgotten Id' made.  They are awesome if you are looking for a small, inexpensive piece of orginal art.  Baseball card size, I used to buy alot of them from my fave artists on etsy and pin them to my bulletin board, but some people frame or collect them in binders.
check out more, here....

Saturday, March 09, 2013

major characters

Having decided that the moon poems, since they reference movies & media, etc, a lot might fit in the larger  major characters in minor films, manuscript, I have been very busy today playing around with the entirely of it, which encompasses the bulk of the havoc stuff, the brief history poems, the JF letters, and a series I've been calling the hunger palace.  I've inserted and pulled a lot of pieces in an out over the past 4 years, but I'm thinking of perhaps starting to submit it, so I earmarked an entire day to shuffle things around and read through everything .  Fortified with a pot of blueberry tea and  some cinnamon/sugar tortillas, I managed to fend off the cats and actually get to some serious uninterrupted poetry work, which I feel like I've been missing amidst my home projects and bookmaking adventures the last few months..

I've realized that while pulling together a larger book manusript would have seem to get easier everytime around, it really sort of hasn't.  I like chaps better..twenty or so poems feels really clean, but larger and I feel like I am all over the place.   I've wound up splitting the havoc poems into two sections for symmetry's sake (I currently have 6 sections of anywhere form 10-15 peices.)  I changed a couple titles in the moon poems to make them make sense in the manuscript.  I think the James Frano pieces are good as they are, but the hunger palace poems need tweaking.

I found myself thinking about my adventures in manuscript arranging, starting way back in 1999 when I tried to put the long and blissfully unpublished Taurus project together.  I was only 24, sort of clueless about contemporary poetry outside the Plath/Sexton arena , maybe a little Louise Gluck, a little Sharon Olds.  I was big on Eliot then, but it was only starting to manifest in my work. I was writing alot in my second year at DePaul in the MA in Lit program, and reading P&W religiously at that point, so somehow, I though I'd be able to put a book together.  Oddly, it seemed pretty easy since I had no clue what I was doing.

In those days, I was typing everything on a Brother word processor and saving it on floppy discs, so I pretty much only have printed drafts in my records, but there were alot of poems about mythology, literature, history (thus the title).  That spring I wold get my first real acceptance for a poem.  I would start writing a few pieces that later wound up in The Archaeologists Daughter (which is some ways could be seen as the much more accomplished sequel of that book.).  And  I think I sent only sent the book to the Yale contest, and of course, didn't stand a chance.  But I did enjoy the process, staying up late with that wordprocessor balanced on my lap, my back against the futon, X-Files reruns on tv.   I was just at that point talking myself out of a Ph.D in Lit and towards a career in writing, and probably figured if I at least had finished a book before age 25, I would be well on my way, no matter what job I had to take to meet ends meet along the way.

That book was scrapped, of course, the decent parts harvested and a couple survived in that first chap.  I would then put together a couple of other shorter books before pulling together the first version of what would become the fever almanac in 2003-ish.  This time, it was different.  I was older/wiser, had been reading and publishing signifigantly in the intervening years. I was just starting an MFA program.  The first version left alot to be desired, but by mid 2005, I had polished it to the point where it was making finals in contests and was picked up that fall.  If that process evokes anything, it's numerous hours I spent hiding out in a downtown B&N starbucks and going over the poems with a fine tooth comb to determine where they went.

Luckily, in the bird museum was much easier since the shorter series already existed in their own order.  girl show had alot of imput from my thesis seminar folks as to ordering and such, and once I had the sections determined and their titles, things sort of sorted themselves out.  the shared properties of water and stars sort of had it's own narrative order as I wrote it.  These last two were also on the shorter end of full-length, compared to this which may hit 70 pages. This feels harder an more scrambled a process.

A few hours of it, and I'm tired.  I think I will call it a day and reward myself with some stuffed pizza and bad television for awhile.  If I'm lucky some solutions will occur to me when I'm least thinking about it.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

treading water

This is beginning to feel like one of those treading water weeks, a week where I am doing enough to keep from sinking. but not really pushing ahead on anything.  I haven't done any writing at all since the weekend, though I did send a few pieces out to a journal and compiled a list of places to send in the future.  I've worked a bit on getting together my review copy list for Noctuary Press (I realized last week that April is a mere month away and the the shared properties of water and stars will be making its way into the world sometime hence.)  And though I've been filling orders and making some requested author copy batches, I haven't completed any layouts or designs or readied the books in process for release (which however means we'll be doing alot next week, expect books from Emily Carr and Sarah Cook.).                        

But I feel like maybe I need a bit of a catch up week for my brain, which has been overworked lately  There are alot of things I'm avoiding--a trickier project layout, my taxes, various odds and ends of things.  But soon we'll be mid-march and I'm planning on being at my parent's over the Easter weekend, and then a Mississippi stay /New Orleans day trip sometime in April around my birthday-ish. And then May and then summer and then more books and nice weather. I just need to get through the hard stuff to enjoy the good stuff.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Today, I was up early and down to the studio in order to make up for two missed days of bookmaking, which of course, sets me back in productivity a few notches (Yeasterday, while it was a nice lazy snow day vacation filled with napping and homemade chicken primavera and whiskey, but I took a hit in available work time.)  I've given up on hoping winter will just dissipate, since it seems intent on sticking around for a few more weeks.  Meanwhile, I hold on whilst eyeing my spring and summer clothes and plotting new shoe-buying exploits as if I could just conjure spring into being via mindwork. 

Meanwhile, everyone is in Boston for AWP, or at least it seems like everyone.  I vascillate between gah, thank god I don't have to get ready for AWP! to wah..everyone is having fun without me!.  It demands a lot of work, but there is also a lot of fun in there.  I'd really like to try to make it to Seattle next year, though. Last year, besides the open studio, one reading,  the chapbook panel, and  some Palmer House bar carousing, I pretty much worked my way through the conference getting ready for our event on Saturday and suddenly it was all over and had passed me right by. No matter how early I start preparing, there is always so much last minuteness (though this could be said about life in general in these parts.

So meanwhile I fold and staple and hide under the covers waiting for that day very soon when I can throw the windows wide open.  I know it's coming...

Monday, March 04, 2013

Today, had an excellent time reading at Harold Washington College in a room where the lake/ rooftop view from the 11th floor was probably far more gorgeous than my poems, but it was a good reading.  I also got to talk a little about the dgp mission and and women's voices (it was actually a reading to kick off their Women's History Month events.)  Of course, I forgot the newest poems I intended to read Saturday in the studio, so I read a few from havoc, some of the mermaid poems, and ended with some James Franco action.

 But I've pretty much otherwise been rather unproductive all afternoon, bracing myself for another bout of bad weather with Cadbury caramel eggs and wishing for spring.  I'm tired of snowboots and frozen fingers and too many layers of clothes.  Of closed windows and hot, dry air.  I'm tired of the frozen over lake and sidewalks and freezing at bus stops. I really need an early-ish spring, so bring it on.

Friday, March 01, 2013


Of course, it being payday, I tend to make wild and frivolous purchases (or do things like drop 60 bucks in a bar on giant margaritas and mexican food).  This time, however, it's been dresses.  Adorable print dresses from a store that damnedly keeps sending me discount coupons and I just can't stay away.  I've bought a couple from them before, a simple black more summery one obtained in the fall that I've yet to really get a chance to wear and, one of my favorites, a brown candy colored poladot shirt dress I wear all the time.  This time, it was tiny rabbits and horses that undid me. Mind you this is in addition to the few pieces I've been picking up (mostly on ebay at discount) for springtime anyway.  I tend to have a lot of wintery sweater dresses, lots of black & grey & fallish colored things, lots of sundresses and summery patterns, but very little springish feeling wearables--colors like lavender or pale yellow, or to my own horror, not enough pink. I am more than ready for warm weather, now if it would only actually get here. 

I'm also thinking I would love to wear the rabbit dress for whatever sort of release shindig I do for the shared properties of water and stars in April or May (there are rabbits and just luckily for my wallet, they did not have a dress with bears.)  In other reading news, I will be joining dgp-ers Sarah Tracey and Sacha Siskonen on Monday for a lunchtime reading at Harold Washington College. I think I'll read some havoc poems and some of the very newest prose series I've been doing. So if you like poems about homewrecking and apocalypse theories, you should come.

Otherwise, I am in for some studio time tonight, making up copies of a book to make its debut in time for AWP (Sarah Cook's a meadowed king),  printing copies of Cati Porter's latest, The Way Things Move the Dark  (check out this amazing cover design courtesy of Amy Payne) and some other art related miscellany.  It's the weekend though, so I am planning on some more work on the new writing project, installing some closet hooks (for my cardigan situation that is beginning to rival the dress one and we won't even talk about shoes), and maybe making some soup if winter is just going to keep persisting like this.