Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The humidity has blissfully broke, which led to remarkably excellent sleeping weather.  I was awake early and lolled in bed for awhile reading blogs on my phone and pondering my day.  I'm feeling calmer and more organized, though eventually even that becomes a little short-lived and I wind up in the chaos swirl again.  This is the crazy part of summer, where the temps & humidity rises and breaks every day at the end of the day like clockwork, where the storms come sweeping over the city from the west (and occasionally setting of tornado alarms like last week) but it looks like we're in for a bit of mildness for the next week or so, clear skies and 70's which is exactly where I like it.

Today included a little press business, but the bulk was planning a little bit of shenanigans for the The Aesthetics of Research series in the library in the form of a hidden art exhibit / scavenger hunt / geocache that has participants solving riddles and clues and using the library resources. (The library is pretty slow in the summer and we need something to amuse ourselves with...)  The cache at the end is a box filled with all sorts of art goodies for the taking and trading..(right now, to start off, some photo prints, mini-drawings, and some pendants.)  We're hoping to fine-tune and repeat it in the fall and for it to grow  (and also help us curate artists for future Aesthetics shows.)

The other bit of art-related business was the re-emergence of errata, a chap I published about 10 years back in a very limited edition and which comprised a section in my second book , in the bird museum, but only exists in its full form in the chapbook itself.  It explores all sorts of Victorian genre conventions. Since it's out of print, I put it up as a pdf file for your reading pleasure.  2005 was around the time I feel I was really beginning to write the sort of things or the sort of ways I do now and this project was sort of the hinge between pre-2005 writing and post.-2005 style.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A humid, greenhouse-like start to the week, but I plan on filling it with layouts on new books, mermaid anthology project submissions, and general studio business.  There are collages and paintings that need matting, author copies that need folding, orders that need processing.  The weekend was a relaxing one and I only left the apartment once to wander to the store, the weather not exactly being condusive to outdoorsy sort of fun, so I gave it over to lazyness and debauchery, to reading and napping and binge watching Pretty Little Liars on netflix.  I am already making plans for another trip away, this time for Independance Day hi-jinks and another short camping trip to Wisconsin. I did manage to sign the contract for the new book over the weekend and send it on it's way back to Black Lawrence, which  kicks off all sorts of prep work on the book, including gathering blurbs and such, since next spring will be here before we know it.  In the realm of books already out in the wilds, there is a really good sale on major characters in minor films at the Sundress store for a limited time, as well as a Spotify list up for  music that informed my writing/mindset/aesthetics while I was working on the book.


Music is this weird thing that is less important to me sometimes and more important to me others, but I do consider it an element of creative process.  Sometimes, certain things have soundtracks. I wrote most of the poems in major characters...over the course of about 5 years (2006-2011), years in which a lot of things were shifting in my life. (and during which writing actually took a backseat to other things like the press and the studio, so it took a bit longer to actually pull the book together.) Nevertheless, this is the soundtrack  that formed it, or maybe the soundtrack that it formed during those years.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I woke up this morning thinking about summer camps.  My sole experience was not at all positive and even less positive in retrospect than while it was actually happening (I was a counselor for one week at one of the MDA camps,  and not really at all prepared to deal with the campers who needed far more emotional maturity and experience with disabled kids/teens than  a 16 year old can provide.) I realized with a start that it was 25 years ago, which seems highly impossible, and yet it was.  There was a lot of crying about not being able to cope.  First kisses behind boathouses and a general tendency to freak out about things. It was also the summer I got my driver's license. The summer of 17 year cicadas.  The summer where storms kept taking out the power like clockwork.  Where me and my sister learned to make strange hybrid peanut butter cookies that were more like peanut brittle than like cookies.  Beyond those first weeks, the summer loses focus and I remember maybe one of two more things..tent slumber parties with my friends. An awkward cookout with other camp counselors later in the summer.  There are definitely summers I remember better, but it struck fear into me that I've no doubt forgotten so much of the less impressive moments.

Last week, my mother was talking about my father and the journals he used to keep/ possibly still keeps.  Simple daily records.  My grandmother, as well, was prone to small diaries with rather short, ordinary entries like "Ironed L's shirts.  Went to the store."  They were dispersed among the family, but I managed to land two of them--one in peices and since repurposed in collages and another small diary sporting a kitten playing with a ball of yarn.  As someone who has pretty much always kept diaries or journals, even if rather halfazardly and inefficiently  of some sort since I was 15, those small brief entries seem woefully insufficient and yet somehow more effective at capturing ones' life than the sort of writing I've always done---more in depth but also far more sporadic.

Every once in a while I get it in my head that I am going to blog everyday and fill this space with more detail and everyday, such blogging gets pushed back by other obligations until the next thing I know it's been two weeks since my last entry and so much of life has passed I may have already forgotten half of it. There's also that tension between public and private and how writing in this space (or any online space beginning in 2003) and writing in those old Mead composition books I used to fill in my 20's.  While I am hardly one who would censor myself really, there is a different feel to writing for any sort of audience vs. writing for my eyes only.  Not in the details maybe, but in the tone, the subject matter.  And maybe the internet has thinned that membrane between public and private to barely a film anyway. We live our lives much more publicly these days, and it's hard to even remember what not doing so was even like at all anymore.

Those print journals felt more like space for working things out inside the self and the blog has always felt maybe a little like that but more about expressing the self.  But I do still long a bit for the mere documentation of life.   Like the fact that I was thinking about camp and later,both of my grandmothers on the ride to work.  Like that a couple of days ago, I put a charming strawberry colored streak in my hair.  That I am mid-point on the apocalypse manuscript now and should have it finished by the fall.  That I just got the contract for the next book in the mail as well as a case of Raspberry New York Seltzer. There is some darkness at the edges, but things are mostly good.  Oh summer, you spoil me.  Over and out.

Monday, June 15, 2015

In the realm of interesting little side projects, I've been sort of idly working  working on an illustrated zine project of text/image pieces that entail by google search engine history during a given span of time....here is a list of what I have to work from from April and May...

fata morgana

superior mirage
tea tin containers
fancy cats tumblr
cat sipping coffee
milkmaid caramels
chicago fire map
derby hat
strawberry sweater
what does jack steal
vintage doll
cupie doll
evil otter eye
pinstripe dress
red pinstripe dress
space cat meme
piano made of books
plus full-length cream slip
wraps and scarves organization
famous spinsters
Dean Winchester jacket
butterfly clip
chloe sevigny
olive oil hair treatment
caramel blonde hair color
rhyming dictionary
peach cocktails tequila
peach cocktails vodka
embroidered vintage purse
writers who are polyamorous
wisconsin state fair
mermaid tattoo
plus bandana dress
Aveeno sunscreen
Viewmaster viewer
handmade book fair
sloths in space
pigs in space
koalas in space
makers mark and coke
Tennessee Williams

Friday, June 12, 2015

We're hitting Mid-June now, and the weather has been alternating cool and hot but seemingly muggy either way.   It's chilly outside, but very greenhouse-like inside everywhere I go.  I spent last weekend at a bbq in Iowa and then a couple nights under the stars up in Wisconsin, briefly wandering through some old stomping grounds that exist mostly in childhood memory--the beach near the campground where my grandmother's camper resided all summer every summer.  Now recognizeable only by the hilly horizon, the sand having given way to boat docks and a bar.  But I'd know it anywhere, having spent a good part of my early summer floating on intertubes and rafts staring up at it.  We didn't visit the old campground this time around  (which actually hasn't changed all that much--the same worn covered playground, the same dingy showers, the same, narrow sandy gravel paths.)  But did take a brief drive down surrounding roads and into tiny towns, and for a second, with my cousins in the car and the Eagles on the radio, I was 5 years old again, in that murky area of remembering/not remembering.

Because my grandmother parked her old Jayco up there, we spent a good part of my summer weekends up there until she died, my parents and I first in a truck camper and later in our old blue ford van, where me and my sister would spend hours with candy and coloring books and magic slates while my parents played cards underneath the awnings colored plastic lights.  This time, we were in another campground and slept in a tent, but that sky is still so blue and clear and the nights so amazingly starlit.  I did have a couple of Friday the 13th flashes when I went to take a shower up at the bathrooms alone, but it was a good trip and hopefully not the only one this summer (we have our eyes on some cabin rentals).  I'm hardly the outdoorsy type, but as long as I have access to a shower and a reasonable comfy place to sleep, I'm good, and it was actually refreshing to be rather cut off from technology for a couple days (there was reportedly wi-fi available, but only in certain hot spots.)  There was a swim beach and ice cream, a campfire and s'mores and good times with extended family (my Dad's) I don't get to see very often.