Sunday, October 25, 2015

Yesterday was one of those really, truly perfect fall days, not because it was sunny or mild, but really because it was it was rainy and cool and the trees in Grant park were in full color and just about to drop, and what had already fallen was littering the sidewalk picturesquely.  I was downtown early in the morning for Parent's Weekend mask workshop, which followed a rather successful Wabash Arts Corridor Crawl, where we unveiled the Creepy Curiosities, exhibit and the attendant installation, as well as the entirety of my unusual creatures series and some similarly themed dgp work. What delights me so much about it I think is it's prettiness and, at the same time, it's darkness.  But I feel the pull toward sleep that this season dictates, so I came home and slept away the afternoon, then got up and caught up on Vampire Diaries cheesiness.

It was a good week, filled with getting that on the walls and the amazing delight of my full-page interview on dgp in The American Book Review. I'm anxious about all the things I am usually anxious about--money, time, not falling behind, but am still saying afloat.  The words are still elusive, but I'm giving myself a pass until November since I am busy with other things.  Halloween is next weekend, and while I don't have any definitive costume plans, I do have one blank paper mask saved from yesterday that may wind up useful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


This Friday, the last of the unusual creatures collages made from old family catalog cards will be going up on the walls for the Creepy Curiosities exhibit, along with the work of dgp poets, some photography, and an interactive exhibit of  creepy odditiies.   There will also be some collectible cards in the small works vending machines. We'll be hosting a little informal opening on the 1st Floor with some Halloweenish snacks during the Wabash Arts Corridor Crawl , so you should stop by...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Had to work on some questions today for a class that are studying my James Franco poems and felt a little of the writing spark starting to return.  Mostly, I am hella-busy, with makes me anxious with all the not-writing happening.  Art seems easier and faster and not as much of a commitment when I'm swimming through a sea of press-related doings (layouts, orders, cover designs, manuscript reading)  AND library-related tasks (the general fall reserves rush, performance evals, and Aesthetics planning/happenings.)  But talking about things I've written, while sometimes they feel very far away helps.  Re-reading and remembering I'm actually a writer helps (sometimes, I swear I forget or seem to want to forget). Remembering the WHY and the HOW helps too, especially when I'm stuck mid-project and wanting to bail.

One of the questions they  asked me was about being the creative misfit in a family of non-artists (actually both me and my sister are) and I started thinking about my mother and her painting all those porcelain or bisque figures when I was a kid.  Large white persian cats.  Clowns, Victorian ladies. (Figures and statues that many of my relatives and my mom's friends still have, though I actually don't think any of them given to me survived past adolescence without getting busted.  I'm not even sure my mom has any of them anymore. ) Both me and my sister begging to paint with her (usually to no avail--the supplies were sort of pricey to be wasted on kid antics.)   She would paint things FOR us though, walking us through the OFF THE WALL store picking out the things we wanted. For our bedrooms.  For her frends, for various relatives.  I remember how they smelled, the tiny colorful smooth jars. . Both the paints and the stinky varnish you put on them afterwards.

Of course this was prior to her going back to work when I was 11 or so, when she mostly babysat other people's kids for extra money while my dad worked, but was home all the time and aside from keeping an eye on the kids and making lunches, could do as she pleased. .  Once my dad was laid off and she went back to work, the painting mostly stopped and she'd arrive home exhausted, fall asleep in her chair with the tv on.  I never made the correlation til just now, but it makes sense.

As I grew up, that was perhaps the thing I feared without knowing that that was what I was really afraid of.  How much the things you have to do take away from the things you love to do. I've got it relatively good in that my day-job demands outside of time are lighter than hers, I'm only taking care of myself, not a husband and two kids,  and and I fight like hell to make both things happen, but it's never easy.

But I do find that talking again about writing makes me want to do it.  Thinking about it.  Being immersed in it.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Today was one of those dark clouded over fall days where it's really hard to pull yourself from the warm bed, so it was a late and disorganized start to the day, but I did manage to finish the framing I was doing in the studio and turned my attention to filling a batch of orders ready to go out.  It definitely feels like fall now, the leaves having given up the ghost and most changing if not already falling. They've put the wooden erosion fences up along the beaches so I suppose there is no going back. Mid October already and today I spent some time doing some catch up on layouts (we are always behind on releases by fall, so actually compared to some years, I'm ahead of the game.)  We released Carrie Bennett's third dgp chap as well, The Affair Fragments.  I always feel fortunate that we have a strong stable of repeat authors and there are more of them to come, both this year and next.  My other task has been working my way through the remainder of July submissions and sending responses.  I still have August, which includes the swell that came in right before the deadline, but I've definitely made a dent in them.  I was hoping to have everything cleared out before the end of this month, but that might be more like the end of November.

The remainder of this week is plotting out our Creepy Curiosities exhibit which needs to be up by the end of next week, as well as fine tuning more details on our other Aesthetics events coming up in November and December.  I've been trying to focus on one major thing each weekday (well, the press gets two days..Tuesday and Thursday, but Aesthetics biz on Wednesdays, Art on Mondays, and Writing on Fridays.  (though my Fridays keep getting eaten by other days, so I might have to rethink that. )

Monday, October 12, 2015

As I mentioned in my previous post, much is afoot in the visual arena, including some pieces up in the Columbia Alumni on 5 Show (see above) and some zine projects on display in the Words|Matter show @ Art on Elston (below).  I've also been working on the reminder of the Unusual Creatures pieces made from old cabinet cards that will be going up as my contribution to the our Creepy Curiosities exhibit (which also incldes some dgp poets and an interactive installation involving creepy artifacts (real and faux).  I've also been working on some amazing dgp covers I can't wait to show you...

I've been making a concentrated effort to get more artwork out there, both into the world and just out of my hands.  A lot of it is design work, either for the press, or for the library, but there has been some collages, some watercolors (both paints and pencils, which are my new love.)  That said, while I've done a little clean up on the dirty blonde pieces, not much has been happening with the manuscripts in progress.  The scary thing is I sometimes feel like the writing goes away so far that I am almost relieved with the thought of it not coming back.  It does, eventually something moves, something catches my fancy, and I can't not persue it.  But NOT being a writer sometimes feels like a a good space to inhabit.  There is always that quote about writers HAVING to write, that you shouldn't unless you feel absolutely compelled to do nothing else.  I can think of a million things I would rather do than write sometimes--paint something, make something, read something. Go somewhere, do something, eat something. Sleep, which I have named chief among pleasures and indulgences lately--more than sex, and definitely much more than words.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

We've hit the first cool snap of the season, with voracious howling winds that last for three days and not only moan outside my windows all night, but send serious waves crashing in off the water that speak more to the Atlantic than Lake Michigan.  Except for those rare trees that change suddenly and drop all their leaves in early September, everything else only has that slight tinge of yellow to it that foretells the fall colors.

Again, I have been remiss in my blogging, and time itself seems this whirling, howling thing I can't quite get a handle on. In the two weeks since my last post much has happened, including a great reading at Women & Children first w/ Carleen Tibbetts and Sara Henning, hosting an awesome reading with LGBTQ authors for the History Week Kickoff in the library, and the launch of ARTCACHE (which has already had some participants come through.)  In library-land, plans are afoot for other Aesthetics adventures--the revival of Unusual Creatures pieces for our Halloween exhibit,  participation in  The Gathering Halloween parade, prep for the Indie Press event in November, possibly another How To Tuesday workshop thrown in for good measure in November.  We're also plotting things for spring semester (all of which makes my day job drudgery much less about drudgery and more about fun...)

Along the way, there are art projects I'm contemplating, writing projects I am stuck in the middle of (I'm trying not to get freaked about this because I seem to be living in  very visual state of mind these days and my efforts are pointed in that direction more than words.)  There's the dirty blonde poems, the apocalypse manuscript, a short series on a Dali Painting-- All waiting for me to get back to them. Plus prep for the upcoming book due out in the spring, which I've been talking cover ideas (it is going to be AMAZING) and blurb gathering.  We're gearing up for a slew of releases of in-progress books for dgp, as well as getting the mermaid anthology ironed out and submissions for next year under wraps.  It's all overwhelming, but the good kind of overwheming, the kind that has the gears turning constantly.

I'm still trying to preserve the sanctity of weekend time, however, staying close to home and relaxing, watching Netflix, maybe a little artmaking (well, except last weekend where I was doomed to the library.)  I think a little downtime makes sure I can dive in and get shit done for the week more efficiently.