Saturday, September 30, 2017

My library work week began with poetry, in the form of our Written on the Body reading Monday night and ended with cocktails with co-workers Friday, but in between there was an amazing round table discussion with artists from the Tattoo exhibit and a watercolor inking workshop, the conception of a new zine project Really Bad Idea, and gaming-related publication action @ both Library As Incubator and the ALA Programming Blog.   I'm now prepping for my zine workshop next week, and further in the month, Little Indie Press Festival, my favorite event  of the year, which is already shaping up to be bigger than last year in terms of the publisher/artist showcase.

dgp-wise, there are some new releases underway and lots of layouts as well as some acceptances and rejections as I make my way through the summer submissions (and try to hold desperately onto my 3-month response minimum.)  There is so much goodness there in the coming year, and so many chaps still left in 2017.  I am struggling to keep my head above water and still feel some things getting lost in the morass--wicked alice updates and the mermaid anthology are the saddest neglected children, but am hoping to get on top of them by year's end.

I recently had a discussion with another artist about never feeling truly caught up with one's life--of always being under the wheels and overwhelmed--creative or non-creative, and have pretty much felt this way my entire life, so am not sure if there's a fix.  As long as I keep hatching projects and schemes, there will probably never be an end, or sufficient breathing room or pauses to catch my breath .  This is the way it goes, so I suppose if you can't find a way out of the fire, you live in it, find a way to thrive in it, and do with it what you can.  I have writing and art projects in the works for YEARS, titles and concepts for books I haven't even really started writing yet. I have ideas for AofR programming, for library-related writing projects  that are in limbo until I get a grasp on some time to do them.  Press anthology projects and broadsides and paper goods I am looking to get a start on, but can't until I finish what's on my plate now. All of it is really exhausting, so I try not to think about it too much. When I think about being afriad of death, it's not the hereafter that scares me, but all the things I'll never finish if I don't get cracking.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

This week has been marked by much prep for the TATTOO : INK, ART, & OBJECT exhibit and events, but also by unseasonably hot weather that does not dissipate overnight so my apartment is sticky and overheated all the damn time when I am mentally not in the mood for summer anymore , but for fall-things like apples and horror movies and sweaters and being cozy.  It's the August we never got come back to town a month late and annoying as hell.

Yesterday I formatted questions for Tuesday's artist panel and finalized details for Monday night's reading, as well as hung most of the pieces on the second floor---one of which is an amazing tattooed plaster death mask. I'll also be hanging the prints I came up with as variations for the poster--the lucky cat and the ouija board and maybe something else if I can finish it Monday.

I am off to Rockford again tomorrow for an overnight...where my mother is steadily improvng--her mind better and more like herself, but still a long way from being back on her feet.   The nursing home seems nice, though the elderly folks just sort of littered throughout the hall unnerve me, mostly becuase I cannot guess whether they are there because they want to be there or rolled through the hallways, or because some aide has just abandoned them there. The facility dining room was also sort of unnerving, most people just staring into space and waiting, no one talking to each other or passing time in other ways..a strong dose of what it's like to be elderly in the world and the sort of loneliness that is enough to kill you even when other things haven;t.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

unusual creatures

I've been working a bit more on transcribing bits of UNUSUAL CREATURES into type from the notebook version, as well as plotting out the elements that will go into the finished box project..the letters, the diary portions, the typed notebook pages.  Also the images (see above), the various faux ephemera--newpaper scraps, maps, etc--all that create the little world of the project.

I was thinking the other day about how long this thing has been in the works--how long the visual pieces took from the time my aunt gave me the photos,  How long those existed before the written portions just completed this summer.  How some projects are a slow burn and others (like the Plath Centos and the love poems series) are faster at coming into being. I would love to have the whole project finished by winter, but am unsure of how much can be accomplished before then.  Also how much I'll have to fork over in supplies to make it happen and whether that is in my budget.

I was also thinking about the dynamics of storytelling and whose story this is.  There are three main parts written by three women in different generations of the same family--a day book, a sheaf of letters, and a more scientifically oriented journal. These are the women that speak, but the main character actually speaks nothing of her own.   Her story is present in the words of the other women and comes together in fragments--the letters written to her by her sister, the diary entries of her mother, the notebooks of her niece.  The things that are said about her as well as unsaid.

I was also thinking about our Creepy Curiosities installation from a couple years back, how that installation in many ways inspires and reflects the visual elements, just as much as the animal mask collages (and in fact was created as a companion piece to the framed collages)  I want to find a way to inorporate the visuals from that exhibit, maybe as the "cover" art of the box if I possibly can.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

we all float down here

Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the afternooon typing up one large segment of UNUSUAL CREATURES--the Rose letters.  They will be the ekphrastic element of the box project, most likely enveloped and tied with a ribbon.  As I was retyping, I was revising, and feeling that ever-present tension between narrative--relaying sufficient information to convey the story (in this case the story of a woman who runs away from home to pursue a dream and a marriage and a child in the 1920's, but ends up in madness and depression and prostitution) and being artful with language--poetic and innovative.  Sometimes, I don't care about narrative at all, but it seems important here.  When I initially was writing, I was composing longhand in a spiral notebook and away from the computer, so when I sit down to type, it feels rougher--in need of tweaking--moreso even  than usual.

Thursday night, I got a chance to see the IT remake, and was thinking yesterday how King tells stories, and the world he creates and recreates that overlaps sometimes and feels like it's a part of the same universe, either intentionally or unintentionally or just by circumstance.  I liked it better than the mini-series, though the actual novel is not my favorite Stephen King piece  (which would be Carrie, or maybe The Langoliers). Whenever I think about his work, there is always the tension of the horror fiction genre and more serious types of writing, and I feel King treads that line quite nicely.  While I was in college and studying LITERATURE (tm) I would have written King off as a purely guilty pleasure, but after reading his On Writing book, I had a new appreciation for what he does, and though his less horror-driven books aren't my bag (w/the exception of 11-22-63) I have mad respect for someone who can do popular lit well and still have the least writerly integrity (in this Twilight / 50 Shades of Grey world).

I also like how his books become part of the cultural fabric--how his characters and storylines are recognizable tropes.  Everyone equates highschool with Carrie. Even walking back from the theatre and crossing the deserted north branch of the Chicago River, I mentioned how perfect it was a place for Pennywise, that dank & dark water, and half expected to see that single, ominous red balloon floating over the bridge above our heads.

Tomorrow, another trip to Rockford, where my mother seems to be improving and has been moved to a nursing home for some rehabilitation work before she can be sent home. Though she is still out of it and having a problem distinguishing between reality and dreams and some possible hallucinatons, ( two little girls seated at the table in her room, more butterflies on the wall)  her motor skills are improving, as is her appetite.   She's kind of freaky in a horror movie way, and I joked with my father on the phone that maybe her infection made her able to see ghosts.  I am less troubled by her ghost-sightings than her crying, which seems to be less prompted by pain and more by frustration or sadness.  (ie..if she is talking crazy, that's fine, but I don't want her to be in distress). As the infection  / pain clears, most likely so will her mind , so we are hoping for the upturn soon.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

I am headed tomorrow to Rockford for a hospital visit, but today I am doing my best interpretation of a cat--sleeping late into the afternoon and staying close to home.  This morning, I dreamed my mother was a fish or mermaid and kept diving into a pool and reappearing until she didn't.  I also dreamed that she lived in a house where the walls were cracking collapsing but that she one day woke up and was completely cured of her ailments. I also dreamed I was at a wedding or a high school reunion, it seemed to be both at the same time, and my most recent ex was there, drunk as per usual, and trying to make things happen again.  Also, later that I went for cocktails with my sister at a mint-boothed swanky 50's bar I wished existed in real life, also populated with badly behaving exes, but then, rushing out, lost her out on the street. Perhaps this goes back to my mother's ominous "Take care of your sister" before she went into surgery last week. (all very funny since I always see my sister, though four years younger, as the more adult of the two of us.)

Today, I will drink coffee with too much sugar and maybe play with paint markers and write some. We had a glorious start to the Gaming Society season yesterday with Old School Board Game (which I didn't get to even play because all the tables and chairs were full--a good problem to have.)  We have our first zine night coming up Monday devoted to coloring book zines, and I may be working on a #2 to Botanical Zine series.  There are other plans underway, including our Tattoo Exhibit and week of events, the Little Indie Press Festival in late October.

I am adrift on delayed summer dgp titles and will be soon moving into fall, so watch for a scattershot of releases happening in the next couple of weeks.  I am also steadily wading in the submission pool and sending out more responses. Writing wise, I am just beginning to type up everything in the Unusual Creatures project notebook. I'm also finishing up the art zine for IN | VERTEBRATE, which is the belated August installment. September's offering will be the trio of Crypto Zines, so keep an eye out for those.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Despite hurricane craziness in the south and the fact that the west is burning, here in in the midwest, we are getting a firm dose of fall temperatures, sunny clear days that top out in the 70's and drop into the 50' seems more October weather than September, but then again, August seemed more like September.

My mother is back in the hospital, and I am pretending things will, as her doctors seem to think, be okay and moving in the right direction, but am ignoring the little voice at the back of my head that tells me she every well may not be.  Her heart appears to be fine, but a wound on her heel from a fall earlier this year resulted (despite precautions and wound treatment) in an infection that resulted in a terrifying bout of delerium--hallucinations, aphasia, general weakness and confusion.  She had surgery on the foot Sunday, and seems to have good days and bad days since. It kills me that a woman who can survive a heart attack without batting an eyelash, has been rendered to nothing by a cut on her foot. When I was home the weekend before last, before she finally was hospitalized, she kept obsessing over certain things, my sister's husband's whereabouts, their dog, another dog that doesn't exist and that she worried was all alone somewhere.  Dorothy's ruby slippers, the neighbors, tiny bugs on the carpet, strange people on the ceiling.

While I teased her that I would be reminding her of all the crazy things she said when she was better, it was impossible to watch at the same time.  She also was barely able to eat, barely able to stand. would get confused when we instructed her to move her feet. But then I realized it had perhaps, though less severe, began a few weeks back when she'd occasionally  lose track of day vs. night.  When she laughingly mentioned on the phone she said it seemed like people were coming into the house and moving things around while she slept. We worried, before the diagnosis of the infection that she was having a breakdown, she'd had alot of pain with her legs in general (a latex allergy had blistered her legs earlier in the spring).  She'd gone in for two heart procedures, nothing invasive, but still requiring short hospital stays. .  Shed been cooped up since February, and add in my aunt's death in June, and who know's what the mind can endure. (and the family history includes a lot of crazy in general on her side of the tree.). Even so, when I was home in early July, she was good, and getting around better, and in a little pain with the foot, but not incapacitated. We even went out on a couple trips and restaurant outings.  But it seemed every time she seemed to be getting better, she would have a setback, and this seems so much the story of so many elderly parents (she just turned 70 this year.)

So I've been going back and forth on the weekends, manaicly trying to balance,  keep to my routines and structures to keep the entire house from falling down but also to spend some time with her, even though sometimes she might be confused as to who I actually am. .  If I keep myself occupied, I can keep certain thoughts at bay, but only for so long.  To even write them here seems gut-wrenching. No matter how prepared you feel you are for these things, you realize that you are so very not.