Sunday, March 31, 2019

the book of red

I was digging through some old blog entries from 2005 and was reminded of my very first official attempt at an artist book.  I had been doing some collage and text-based installations in the library for a couple of years, but was still super clueless about what I was doing, my entire education having been devoted to words and language and outside of a scene painting class where I did a lot of faux-bois, none at all to visual arts. That spring, I was invited (by Lauren Levato Coyne, who would eventually be my collaborator on the Cornell project.) to be a part of an upcoming Woman Made Gallery show called "Sacred Places, Sacred Spaces."  I'd been working on a longer poem devoted to Little Red Riding Hood (which also appeared a couple years later in my feign chapbook) and thought it might make a cool piece to expand into an artists book incorpoporing text and collage. At times, it seemed I would never finish it--portions of it typed, others handwritten.  Outside of the library installations, it was my first serious attempt to bring the visual and written together.  I'd taken a Book & Paper Center workshop the previous summer, and was already collageing up a storm, but they were still two distinct things in my head that did not overlap.  I've been doing a lot of reproduced limited run projects and zines, but haven't done as many one offs that aren't more sculptural than literary and would love to work more in singular pieces, or maybe multiple pieces but more hand wrought objects...

Saturday, March 30, 2019

worlds within worlds...

One of my favorite things about doing anything creative is the idea that, within this rather mundane everyday world, that can only sometimes be interesting, you can create something else that without fail is everytime.  Every Halloween season for a few years, we used to go check out this amazingness up in Detroit--what started as just a big party/masquerade with performances on a few surrounding vacant lots and became something much more, an immersive art and performance experience wrapped in the guise of a halloween party.  And truly, while there was much potential to be enjoyed in getting drunk putting on a costume, and wandering the Masonic Temple, it was also much more than some great music and performances. It created it's own world, its own characters and mythologies and no detail was spared from the tickets to the the stage sets to the figi mermaid tank that greeted you. In fact, it was like entering another world for a single night. I've missed the last few years, mostly due to money and my October's being sort of crazy,  But the handful of years I made it have cemented themselves in my mind as the most perfect blending of art, spectacle, and entertainment.  Last spring, we went to something called Satanic Panic at the SAIC ballroom that was similar, with burlesque dancers, contortionists, and other performances, a sort of smaller version, and it was cool, but not quite as tricked out.

And what do we do as writers but build worlds? I suppose this applies to poets as much as fiction writers, maybe even creative non-fiction.  Some writing may have more in common with the non-created world, may live and breathe inside it, may exist alongside it simultaneously and occasionally wander back and forth.  Things may be plucked from reality and stretched or bent into the shape, even amongst the most autobiographical work. These are perhaps the most interesting kinds of worlds, the ones that disorient you somewhere along the way, not sure where you are--in fact or fiction, and that confusion is part of the point.  Maybe this is what we mean when something seems so very delightfully meta--.I've had many an argument with my sister over the episode in season 6 of Buffy where she imagines that her entire life as a slayer has been the product of a damaged, troubled mind.  My conjecture was that it didn't matter, since the show, itself, is not reality. That our experience of the "real" world in the show is no different from the alternate world created in that episode--all a delusion made possible by the writers and producers and actors.  This is also one of the reason I love later seasons of Supernatural because they play with that so much--the fandoms, the LARPing, the fact that god is not god, but Chuck, "the prophet" --the writer of the series of books on their adventures.  That god is not a mystical being, but the writer that creates the storylines.

And indeed, as writers, we are the gods to our own little worlds.  That is probably why I get such immense satisfaction in those projects which deal more with created worlds--the dystopian, flooded world of ordinary planet.  The unhappy, haunted household of the summer house.  The troubled family of taurus.  To have created characters, plotlines, entirely from out of thin air. Even the projects based on history or folklore--like the Slender Man pieces, or my current HH Holmes project, pluck details from the actual world, but then still create an alternative reality where the normal rules do not apply--even when it comes to more autobiographical projects.

Friday, March 29, 2019

writing and art bits | march edition

* A few weeks ago, I was able to get ordinary planet assembled and up for sale in the shop, which is the second zine project for this year in the subscription series. You can also get your hands on single copies, here)  This is my strange little dystopian landscape series about a post-disaster world filled with victorian seances and strangerie and it's terribly fun, if not a little dark in tone.

* Past dgp-er Cristina Querrer was nice enough to interview me for her podcast series, Your Artsy Girl, a few weeks back, wherein we talk about the press and creative inspirations, including the genesis of the press' name and the origins of my science of impossible objects series.

*As I mentioned in the last post, I'm currently working on the install of necessary violence, the Slender Man stabbing series, for the STRANGE FEVERS exhibit (see above for a bit of photo manipulation on my sister's part.)  I will also be reading some of the pieces during our Artists & Scholars Colloquium event on April 13th and hosting a roundtable discussion about Spooky Little Girls.

*watch this space next week when I'll be posting daily drafts in honor of NAPOWRIMO (at least at first from my [licorice, laudanum] series. They will only stay up for a day or so and then be taken down for necessary adjustments.

*I have a couple pieces coming up in Radar next month, including some audio action, in which my voice always sounds so very weird. They are some of the fragments of exquisite damage alongside some of the collages I've been working on, so stay tuned for a link to that when the issue drops...

Thursday, March 28, 2019

notes & things | 3/28/2019

This week, since it's spring break, I've been doing half days in the library and spending the rest of my time in the studio.  Subsequently,  I have put a good dent in the books that were released since the beginning of the year and am getting author copies on their way still left to go out.  Things keep getting clogged (I catch up on orders and meanwhile author copies orders get backlogged.  Then I spend time on those and get behind on orders. Rinse and repeat. ) The weather is better, and today, the first day I could go without tights and multiple layers, so my general mood is better.  The past couple of weeks I've been fending off an unusual exhaustion that comes outta nowhere, even with adequate sleep. This goes along with what I like to call my midday cliff, the one from which I seem to fall in terms of energy and clear-headedness.  Everyone keeps talking about how these things happen at middle age (there it is again, the phrase I am trying to embrace rather than run from) , but if so, I really need to work on rationing my energy in the earlier part of the day.

It does not help that, even working only four hours in the library doesn't mean I work less, only that I have more to do in less time (and even moreso since our student workers who process ILL are out of town for the week and I have to do their jobs in addition to my own (and in our short staffedness, that is in addition to what I actually do permanently.)    I am also working on getting up the Strange Fevers show, either tomorrow or the beginning of next week.  I had a rather spectacular singular moment of frustration this afternoon about yet another meeting that took a chunk of the day that could have been handled in an e-mail, so much so that I needed to calm myself down in the back room before I bit anyone's head clean off.  I was reading an article someone linked to on perimenopause, and while I don't seem to have the usual physical symptoms (and my lady cycle has always been outta wack, so I might be slower to notice any change in that) I wonder if acute flashes of anger are related to midlife hormonals (I remember there was a period of time I thought my mother, at this age, was rabid and insane.). Whatever it is and whatever the source, I want it to go away. It may just be that I really, really need a vacation.

So instead, I am dreaming better things.  Everyone is at AWP this weekend, so I am spying on them from Chicago with a equal mixture of both envy and relief.  I am always a little torn on whether to to go.  It's not an option particularly this year due to work and money.  In general it's way too expensive and an endeavor to take the press and pay for the table fee --even a shared one--anymore  (and I am not particularly happy with them jacking up the prices every year), but I still would love to go for the social aspects, even of that just means off-site events.  I meet so many people I only know online and re-connect with others, and it's wonderful.  Next year is San Antonio, which is a city I really like, so if I can swing it, I might just go for the offsite things. 

I am gearing up for my NAPOWRIMO-ing and doing more HH Holmes research which is faring well.   A few pieces are from the p-o-v of one of the women he was married to, and later murdered, along with her sister.  I sent the first batch of pieces off to a journal on Friday and finally decided on a title- [licorice, laundanum].  Last year, I round up switching gears mid-month to keep momentum, so there are some back burner projects waiting as well--everything from the Hollywood starlet poems to the series of pieces that I want to accompany the Eleanor collages I made a few weeks back.  Last summer's research-intensive project, the Slender Man series, a collab with my sister on visuals, is about to be installed in all its glory in the Strange Fever's exhibit (and in related Slender Man news, I've just begun printing the first copies of the MANSION anthology. )

In visual pursuits, last weekend, I harvested a bunch of dead flowers from my vase on the table and played a bit with some botanical prints and some more monotypes.  The results were mixed (see above) and I threw about half in the trash, but some of the others are nice.  I have more flowers at the end of their prime and may do another round this weekend. I do get a free weekend before I have to go to Rockford the next, so I am going to hide in the apartment, drink coffee, make more soup, edit some recent writing pieces, and binge watch whatever my heart desires.   Last weekend I blew threw the two seasons of Handmaid's Tale (which I definitely will be writing about more when I have some time.)  So stay tuned...

Monday, March 25, 2019

other paths, other fruits

Last week, waiting for our ride outside the Century Theater on Clark St. I could not help thinking about the Borders that used to occupy the opposite corner (now it's a Walgreens, as everything eventually becomes), Or how my very first rainy late May day in the city, I had made my way up there from my studio a few blocks south, an apartment still in a chaos of boxes and one very confused cat.  How I sat in the cafe, near the windows overlooking the sidewalk, slowly sipping a lukewarm cappucino (becuase I could only afford one) and filling out a job application uncertainly.   I was set to start grad school, but not till September, so I was living off credit cards that first month and needed to find some sort of job if I wanted to survive the summer.  I was fortunate and unfortunate, since I had yet to have anything resembling a real job, having not worked in high school and done only odd, occasional paid work in college--proofreading an anthology for a professor, running lights for a visiting dance troupe.  My undergrad education had been paid for almost entirely by scholarships & grants, and for extra pocket money, I would sometimes help my mother with housecleaning.  It was nice to have time to devote entirely to studies, and in summer, to writing and reading and doing unpaid work on theater productions, But in those first few weeks in Chicago,  because I had no real work experience, there was a lot of knocking unsuccessfully on bookstore doors (which still existed in a sizeable number), and then, resigned to food service,  coffee shop doors.  Later, I would work at Starbucks near the zoo for awhile, during which I deal with huge amounts of entitled, baby stroller, $100 bill wielding assholes and go home smelling like over-priced espresso and sticky with Frappacino mix.  But those first few days on my own were at once exhilarating and terrifying.   This was different.  This was adulthood, or what I imagined adulthood to be.  I was 23.  It was 1997. I thought I knew what I wanted--to finish my MA, to teach English (whether high school or college, it was still up for debate.)   Maybe to write a little on the side, but I didn't have huge hopes it would be anything like a career.

That girl was so scared, and yet so very at the beginning of things.  Anything could have happened to her.  She could have went any direction, but really, could she? Wasn't she already moving in the right direction?  It startled me that night outside the theatre to think it was over 20 years ago, that in the time since, she chose her paths and wandered from others.  That we are midway in the journey, when a second ago, it seems like we just started. About a year later, I would decide against further schooling and teaching.   I would start writing poems that were actually pretty good.  I would make a feeble attempt at a first book.  I would get my first journal acceptance. I would move away from the city.  I would move back.  I would start working in libraries which seemed a good fit with other book-minded pursuits.  I would move further north, where the rents were cheaper. I would work downtown.  I would publish more poems, start journals and presses, and publish one book, then others. I would gain several more cats and lose others to age. I would date men, gain then lose others.  I would start making collages and books. I would get my MFA in Poetry. I would grow the press and move into the studio space.  I would publish more books, make more art. I would find things to love and nurture even in my day job and they would become actual things I could do and get paid for.

In my more anxiety ridden moments of the past year or so, it always feels like life is a closing off, or I feel like Sylvia and that tree dropping it's fruit but really maybe she was wrong.  At midlife (and I am loathe to say it, but I do turn 45 this year and can no longer deny it) maybe some fruits fall from the tree. I, for example,  will never be a Broadway songstress as I once wanted to.  Or an interior decorator. Or a lawyer. At least not without a drastic shift in my life.  (But I suppose if I wanted them badly enough I could--go back to school, work in community theater to scratch those itches. )  Maybe other fruits grow and appear exactly when they are supposed to.  Maybe there is no narrowing but only more opening.  New projects, new endeavors.  You just have to reach out for them.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

making things up | poetical fictions

I've written before of the AWP panel discussion devoted to poets writing novels and novelists writing poems, and one novelists's assertion, to general agreement, that he always assumed the "I" of the poet was the actual poet--not a persona, not a work of trickery.  In a workshop once, quabbling over a detail in a poem, someone once asked me, well, what was x or y in reality, as in what happened? in this real moment documented in the poem.?  And seemed aghast when I said I did not know, that I had made the story up.   That the story in the poem was entirely invented at all.

There was a great article from Cate Marvin I ready years ago:

"However, I find it obvious that the “I” of my poems, when I employ first-person, could never be me. The speaker of my poems couldn’t live in my world: she wouldn’t wake for work, she’d tell the neighbors to shut up, she’d be arrested for public indecency, she’d no doubt be locked up eventually. My life would be far too boring for her to stand for more than fifteen minutes. That’s not to say that her concerns aren’t my own, or that don’t see the inflection of my genes, the language of my dreams, imprinted in her every statement and action. But I can’t write poems without being assured that they will not be understood as autobiography. "

I've written before on the factual truth vs. the poet's truth and things get foggy between real life and poet life and the stories I make up to tell my own stories.  The other day, I sent the FEED manuscript off to a press--I had been going to wait a bit, but I decided last week the book was ready and I might as well start sending that baby out in the world.  There is so much of me in this book, more even than MAJOR CHARACTERS...which when it was published made me wholly self-conscious about how much I revealed of myself to the world.  One day in the library, that book was on the new book shelf and one of the student workers discovered it and excitedly said they'd read it.  And mostly I was uneasy--that people in my real life who I did not know so well just yet, might think they actually knew more about me than I carefully reveal. While I seem prepared to reveal any and all things to strangers and the internet, there is still a line between the personal and the public that seems hard to cross.

There is still the case of the how to write a love poem in a time of war, for example,  whom the person they are actually about has not seen the entirety of. (though I suspect he knows they exist and has seen fragments of the project.)  It's wholly embarassing that these poems exist unread, and the full-length book in which they are included will be released next year.  The zine has been out over a year and sold quite a few copies.  Yet I hold back somehow in the full  reveal.  Do not tip my hand entirely in the personal, one on one, relationship. Whenever lovers (or even ex-lovers sometimes), tell me me they have been reading my poems, or even this blog, I feel panicky.  It's like shouting out a window, and being emboldened by the silence, and freaking out when someone hollers back.

As for FEED, I've talked about much within other contexts--my entry form the other day on body image issues.  Some of the poems are too surrealistic obviously to be real. But even in those obviously made up things there are kernels of truth. The swallow section are the best at this..the girl /monster, who cuts off her fingers with kiddy scissors that remarkably grow back. But it's a poem about the body that keeps mutating and growing and cannot be hidden. And in that way, it's thesis is the same. The concerns are the same.

When I was just beginning to do readings on the regular way back in 2005, I invited my parents in for one at the Edgewater Library. I'd warned them, two people who had never really read a word of my  work, that the people in the poems--the mothers, the fathers, the daughters and sisters, were not us.  That I made things up.  That they may have been combinations of truth and fiction.  Or entirely fictions.  And every time thereafter they heard me read, I would re-iterate this beforehand. And it was mostly true, every poems I write a mixture of true things and false facts, or true facts used to further other things entirely.   I once wrote a poem called "fictions" (if you scroll a bit, you'll find it in this e-chap) that began with "All things considered, I am an excellent liar..." but then was one of the most-true poems about my mother I had written up til that point.

My sister has often said that the poems which sound most like me are the James Franco pieces, and this makes sense, much of that project was not composed as "POEMS" but as random ramblings, sort of like what I would do here.  In fact, I remember combing this very blog for inspiration when writing them for turns of phrase and obsessions.  In which case, I am most true in myself when not writing actual poetry with a capital P, and weirdly this, too,  makes sense. The dropping of a veil.  The presence of no veil at all.

Perhaps this is why so much of what I've been writing since FEED is  enjoyable fictionalization--the stories I've been telling--taurus, ordinary planet, or even the second-person-ness of the zodiac poems, though you'd probably find threads of myself even there.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

the acceptable body

Last night, I finished watching the entirety of Shrill on hulu, to which I finally subscribed with the bonus of getting to watch a couple other things there, including Handmaid's Tale (which requires a whole entry of its own-whoa.)   I started watching midweek, intending to move rather swiftly through, but slowed my roll a little when each episode was a bit more emotionally taxing than marathon viewing permits. For any woman who exceeds the acceptable 2-4-6-8-10 size range, it's all there--the shaming, the well-meaning tone deafness of the world.  You'd be so pretty, if only. .. When the main character finally asserts herself and gets to write a real article, immediately the trolls that call her fat for daring to have an opinion surface to steal her thunder.  It's the same old song and dance fat girls have heard ad nauseum for daring to be fat and having something to say.

One of my chief pet peeves always have been those friends and lovers for whom, when confronted with a fat girl saying I'm fat, respond with no, you're not, you're beautiful.  As if these two are mutually exclusive It taps the same nerve as men singing songs about women who miraculously don't know how gorgeous they are.  It annoys the living fuck out of me, even though I stopped talking about my fatness a long time ago, but every time I see it elsewhere I roll my eyes.  And we all know the danger of the comments section on pretty much anything written by a larger woman,  Or about larger women.  Or sometimes about nothing at all related to larger women, but that attract the sort of men whose comments dissolve into fat-shaming (or slut-shaming, or both) and violent threats.

I was a hefty baby.  10 pounds plus (and supposedly a couple months premature, though it was the 70s and the math was surely off because I dropped into the world chubby and healthy.) We always joke that I absorbed a twin, that what my mother thought was her last period may have, in fact, been some sort of miscarriage. Who knows, but it's a bit of trivia I love to throw around that's kind of weird and circus-like.  I picture another self, moving around inside me and making bad decisions ala The Dark Half. I always knew I was just a bigger child, bigger than neighborhood playmates, bigger than my closest cousin who turned out to be super petite--all the people who were my frame of reference.  I eventually wound up with a size 10 shoe, so my frame is largish in general. Despite, standing with the boys in the back row of class photos, I never thought much about in the early years.  I knew I was tall for a girl, a little bigger. But whatever.

It was probably my mother who introduced me to fatness as a concept. I've written about her body image issues (in the hunger palace, in the swallow series a bit) that informed my own eventually.  But one of my earliest memories was often being in a store and my mother asking me, gazing at another plus size woman, is she fatter than me? to which I would dutifully answer yes or no and we'd go on about our business.  It was still this abstract thing--not at all related to child me.  As an adult,  I would get so sad thinking about her constant need to know that--the distorted sense of self, the need to compare--and it would break my heart a little.

I also knew her own history of being a chubby child and a fat adult. Because my grandmother died when I was eight, I have no idea what their dynamic was in regard to body issues.  I do know she was super slender, dark haired   My mother's sister, my aunt was thin for a good chunk of her life until her metabolism caught up her (and then joined my mom in the chorus of self-hate that continued until both of their deaths a couple years back).  My mother would always say it always was worse for her, having once been slim to now be fat. Better for my mom, always having been fat.  I do know my mother carried her fatness with her always feeling less than her entire life and then, in those final months, carried it to her grave.

When I was 10, the first time I ever heard the word "fat" applied to me, or the feeling that i needed to be less than I was was in my 5th grade checkup.  The doctor, who was new and replacing my childhood physician who'd retired, told my mother that both I am my sister, then 5 years old,  needed to immediately lose 10 pounds and 5 pounds respectively. My mother was shocked, she said, and later once said she wanted nothing more than that her children not have to face the same fatness that had afflicted her.  That of all the things that are bad in the world, this was the worst thing that apparently could happen.  That we'd follow in her footsteps. Not that we'd get lukemia, or hit by a car, or kidnapped by a creeper in a white van. That we'd be fat, and therefore, subject to the same sort of pain she'd experienced her entire life.  When she said this too me again as an adult, I called her bullshit.  That we had actually turned out pretty good--smart, successful, decent people with no major health afflictions-- even if we were fat and she agreed it was a fucked up thing to think. There were truly so many worse things to be than fat--stupid, or lazy, or sociopaths. But still, what was instilled in her was hard to shake.

So at ten, the diets started.  The cutting, the winnowing. As a child, and an adult, who loves food and tends to indulge myself in everything (I blame being a Taurus) , I felt this acutely. While eating before had been just a thing you did, and a thing to be enjoyed. now, there was a guilt associated every time I filled a plate. I was learning to measure and compare. In school, I felt different, and there was comfort is never quite being the fattest girl in the room, but also not the thinnest. I look at my junior high photos and, comparatively, I was actually pretty thin--probably the thinnest my body would ever be, but the relationship with my body and food was already jacked. I would skip breakfast and eat little all day and then get home and raid the fridge, hiding the snack cake wrappers in in the bathroom garbage so my mother wouldn't see I'd been eating them. I was also going through puberty, so my developing breasts seemed conspicuous in a school where other girls followed behind me in terms of development.  I became acutely conscious of my body's currency--the boys who made comments about my nice legs when I wore shorts, or the ones who giggled and thought I didn't notice when I sat by my crush in the lunchroom and they gestured behind my back with their hands indicating I was well-endowed in the chest.

I was slowly becoming aware that attractiveness was to be prized above all else, and it certainly didn't come with being too fat. In geography class, there was a similarly chubby boy who sat behind me and joyed in drawing attention to the fact that I was fatter than every girl in the class (weirdly I offered him gum one day and he was nice the rest of the year.)  There was the garage sale tank top with the airbrushed rose and the words "absolutely perfect" that drew a bitchy comment from a girl in my math class about me being not so much. The bus bully, who larger herself, made fun of my leopard leggings and called me a whale. I already knew I had a harder time finding clothes that fit me--my hips too wide, my chest too large for the tween stores at the mall, my mother forever uttering the words "Lane Bryant" which struck fear into my heart.  This was where she shopped--the clothes (at least then, actually LB is pretty stylish these days), sacks and drapes of fabric meant to hide pretty much everything.  We battled through malls and discount outlets over what fit me and what would not.  I was probably a size 14-16 by freshman year, again, thinner than I ever was as an adult, but so, so fat in my head. I actually took to wearing my mother's oversized blouses and leggings.  Large sweaters and sweatshirts that hid what I felt I needed to hide, but also revealed nothing much else.

By high school, I started a diary, my first step to becoming a writer, and all that body math is in there.  The summers I listed everything I ate and the caloric counts and weight check ins. The bribes--the summer where I would lose 10 pounds a month and buy a new stereo with my allowance.   I would eat terrible salads in the cafeteria and then binge on after school snacks unhappily because I was ravenous.  These were the years of chewing up cupcakes and spitting them out.  I would never have purged because I still cannot handle throwing up, but there was plenty of restraint, then binge.   The years of so many diets--the one where we only ate cabbage soup and bananas.  The summer I spent popping dexatrim and trying to survive a day on a single bagel w/ cream cheese.   The Richard Simmons deal a meal program and it's cards and skim milk smoothies with sweet & low. But of course, I didn't get thinner.  If anything, I stayed the same weight, while also fucking up my metabolism beyond repair and keeping my body alternately in starvation mode or mid-binge.  When I went back to eating anything like normally, I would gain weight easily. The blue diary, alongside poems about cats and flamingos,  detailed dreams of showing back up at school thin and transformed into a svelte goddess with the wardrobe I longed for but that never fit.

It continued for a few years like this--a weird relationship to food as denial and reward and a failing metabolic rate, but by my senior year, I was slowly starting to be over it. Many fat kids will talk about the bullying of their school years, but by high school I was actually picked on less or not at all--I was quiet as I've always been, one of the smart kids, but also reasonably popular since I had a hand in everything--newspaper, theater, student council.  Maybe I was overcompensating for being a fat girl by being everything else.   But my worse bodily critic was myself. Maybe by senior year, I was more secure in my other sorts of skin to care less.  I was also busy plotting--ways to get out of Rockford, ways to figure out what I wanted to do. My currency became less about my appearance and more about success, as it had to. As such, I started eating a little more like a normal teenager, and oh, did the weight pack it on. By the time I finished high school, I was at a new heavy. (I blame daily  weird cafeteria pizza and fries and being too busy to even think about exercise.)  In my first semester of college in NC, instead of gaining a freshman 15, I actually lost weight--the cafeteria and classes being far away from my dorm, doing a lot more walking, and a weird subsistence on cool ranch doritos and peanut m&ms from the convenience store.  When I came back to Rockford and was living with my parents again after deciding to change majors, I felt adrift, uncertain about the future, subject to my mom's good cooking,  and a little heavier. Thus fell back into some diet attempts (Susan Powter and her anti-fat in food crusade was all the rage, so we ate a lot of dry chicken breasts and fried potatoes cooked without oil. )  It didn't last, and eventually I said fuck it, if I was going to be fat, I was going to be fat.  This was probably not the best solution, but I was tired.  Tired of the body math, the calorie math. Knew that if I diverted all that energy into better things, like reading and writing, it would be far better spent.

Years later, in a hotel room, my mother stood in front a mirror getting ready and tearily admitted she'd hated her body her entire life.  This made me sad, but also resolute, that I would try to love my body, whatever it's size.  I'd also learned that while some guys weren't into anything but slender models, most were far less concerned about the dress size of the girls they were fucking than whether or not the women were confident in whatever body they possessed.  In fact, some dudes were actually really into fat girls (which always felt weird, and probably not a good basis for a relationship, romance based on a fat ass just as shallow as one based on a super-fit one. ) I also discovered there was such a thing as the BBW porn, which is a strange fetization, but whatever floats your boat.  I once asked a longer-term boyfriend why he loved my body so much and he said who doesn't like all that softness? Mostly that men were far less particular than we'd been led by the culture at large to believe. Also, I was learning to care less and less what men thought in general--either they were into me or not into me.  That my existence, my worth as as a women in world, didn't matter so much on who wanted or did not want to fuck me. My 13 year old self was dumbfounded and exhilarated.

For most of my twenties though, I actually lived in a weird bodiless space, dating very little, fixated on college, then grad school, then finding a job I didn't hate.   Then in my 30's, I started dated a lot.  Suddenly I was smack dab back in the body and I was determined to love it. To find men who loved it as part of the package--that I was a whole package--smart and endearingly sarcastic and had some good curves in choice places.  It wasn't all roses--I still felt uncomfortable shopping for the body--I hovered at the top range of plus sizing available in most non-specialty stores. I wore a lot of longer skirts and t-shirts with cardigans almost like a uniform.  I still wanted to hide things--my legs, to lengthen my torso. What was flattering, what was not.   Later, I would lose a good portion of weight and my options opened up and I re-learned that I loved clothes and fashion, like almost as much as I loved books and writing.  But even still I play the flattering/unflattering? game when I shop.

Admittedly, that weight loss about 5 years ago was coming from a better place..I was getting older.  The weight I carried was beginning to hurt my knees and back  and I felt like diabetes and heart problems could very well be in my future.  I was almost 40 for gods sake. If not now, then when?  But I needed to do it right, not through fad diets or quick-fixes.  I started monitoring but not limiting calories at first.  Started walking more and exercizing. Because my metabolism over the years of not dieting had ramped up, it was easier to lose the weight through less restriction, and sometimes none at all. I ate , and still do, a reasonable amount of food in a day, try to make healthier choice and move more, and have kept if off with an exception of about 10 pounds that comes and goes (I call this my eating my feelings weight--2016 election and and my mom's death caused particular spikes.).  And I feel good most of the time, far better than when I was heavier, both physically and psychologically.

But still, even thinner than I was, I am still fat, but I'm okay with this.  I actually monitor calories less now, but know I want to exercise more, mostly because I feel stronger and better when I do.  I do sometimes still have weird issues and thoughts about food, but I can recognize them when they arise.   I don't need to be less, but I do want to be stronger, less prone to injuries.  I had all the feels when watching Shrill last night, particularly in the pool party episode and bust out crying, mostly because she was lucky enough to come to certain conclusions over several episodes that it took me years to. That had that show, and shows like it,  existed in my own formative years that what took me decades to come round to would have been settled at 15. Earlier, I had come home to a Torrid catalog in the mail. I was flipping through during my dinner and spotted some super cute lingere on all sorts of shaped bodies and wished that my teen self had not felt so invisible and sexy-less for all those years.  Granted a woman's goal should obviously not only be to be sexy, or care too much about appealing (to men or other women) .  But everyone probably wants to feel desirable in some way, either through our physical attributes or our mental ones (ideally maybe a mix of both).   I couldn't help thinking if Seventeen magazine had actually featured plus-size models all those years, my relationship to food and my body might have been entirely different and my adult-body healthier for it.  That even seeing bodies like yours in the world, presented as acceptable bodies, good bodies, does a world of good when everything--culture, entertainment, the random haters-- tells you you are not acceptable.

And mostly, I wished my mother had been alive to watch it, but came up a year or so short.  That what she was never able to fix in a lifetime could have been remedied by the end of it..

Friday, March 22, 2019

curvy girl fashion | blue polkadot heaven

I have to admit I've been noticing an increase in plus-sized offerings from retailers of late and even if their clothes aren't my cup of tea..I am liking it.  Anthropologie launched a line a couple weeks back and I just discovered J Crew is offering extended sizes up to 24. While I typically find most J Crew offerings a little too on the preppy side for what i usually wear, I was reading one of the fashion/style blogs I have bookmarked and stumbled upon this bit of loveliness and, at 30 percent off, had to buy it.  Also, admitedly, I was pushing the check-out button as I was saying, "No, you do not need another blue polkadot dress, because you have at least 3-4 already. " but it was too tempting,,I love the puffy sleeves and tend to like dresses like this where the waist falls high, but not too high. 

Besides, this dress is pure spring, and despite the temperature outside, by the time it arrives (it's backordered in my size until Apr 2nd), I should be able to actually wear it without having to pile it on with tights and cardigans and winter coats.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

dance til ur dead

I wanted to write a little more about this movie, mostly because I left the theater in a slightly confused wtf? did I just watch? Since the weekend, I have been reading some reviews and watching some clips (esp. the amazing opening dance scene), and it all makes a little more sense and actually feels like it really almost needed to be seen in the theater--the largeness of the screen and the thumping of the music was conducive to the sort of chaos that the film is.  Or the chaos it dissolves into.   Exactly the sort of fragmented, out of order, messing with time, that I imagine an acid trip would be (and a bad one at that.)

The premise, of course,  is deceptively simple--someone spikes the sangria at the after-rehearsal party of a bunch of dancers holed up in a deserted school. What it is, is so much more, from it's jumbled backwards credits (you get the last scene followed by the credits before the movie starts, then the opening credits in the middle at the point where shit starts to go south. )To it's amazing soundtrack and choreography that dizzyingly spins, much like the camera work, throughout the movie.  There is a lot of wandering down claustrophic hallways and distorted bodies, and a culminating scene that looks a little like hell I would imagine--all contorted bodies and madness.  No one makes it out unscathed. Some do not make it out alive.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

the cruelest month

As we come up on another April, another NAPOWRIMO, I can't help but think that last year's endeavor was really the beginning of me digging in on daily writing. For all those years that I tried and failed, the only thing done differently was prioritizing the writing at the beginning of the day instead of putting it off til the end. In previous attempts, I'd make it about 10 days in and buckle.  I aced April last year, and (mostly) continued on for the rest of the year (I did take a couple of breaks when things got crazy and/or I needed to somehow fill the well). So many pages, and poems, and series have come about in the last year. I'm only sad it took so long to realize that was what I needed to do.  I was productive before, but mostly in droughts and spurts, and never as much to my liking.  Also, I think the more time you spend at it, the more you write, the better you get.  You might write 10 poems and only one is a keeper, but that one is better for all those other pieces.

I am knee deep on a couple different things currently, and am plotting out my April endeavors, which I will be sharing daily drafts here on the blog.  My go-to for days I have to force myself to work are zodiac poems, so you'll see some of those occasionally.  Otherwise, maybe some more work on the HH Holmes project unless I hit a wall on that one and move onto something else (maybe a series to go with those new botanical inspired collages.  Daily writing has definitely, as time goes on, made me feel like whatever my day brings in terms of drudgery or demands, I have created something, even just the tiniest bit.  Tiny bits, of course, eventually add up to bigger things like series and book manuscripts. It just takes some time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

bookwrecking workshop exploits

I've been  hoarding an animal book for the past couple of years that I finally got to wrecking tonight.  It's a pretty big book, so it's going to take a few gos at it, but I am liking the results thus far. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

dgp cover love | reworking the classics

Something I've been doing a bit of recently is designing covers using existing oil paintings in the public domain.  Usually, these are suggestions from the authors as to the particular painting we use, but I love taking something so old and classic and adding a more modern element by use of text and layout. And the colors are the sort of heavenly amazingness that only exist in old oil paintings...

Sunday, March 17, 2019

encore une fois en francais

Last night, on a rare weekend night off for J, we went down to the Century to see the horror/dance film Climax, and I was struggling the entire time, despite it being a really weird film and me being a little high, to see if I could understand enough of the French without looking at the subtitles (I apparently could not).  In high school, I took four years of it, then an additional course of it in college to meet the gen ed requirement for a BA, but I seriously would not be able to understand much of anyone speaking it.  One time on the bus, there were women speaking slow enough for me to understand a little, and I can read  little.  (I'm fuzzy on tenses, which I never had a good grasp of).  Because I know french, there are bits of other latin-based languages I occasionally to make out--some spanish, some italian. 

A friend and I always joke about kinda basic girls and their love of Paris.  Their tendency to decorate their apartments with french poster art and pillows emblazoned with Eiffel Towers.   Of course I say this having once owned at least a half dozen of french posters and still have two (see photos) hanging in my living room and even sorta named the press after another  I no longer have..  A few weeks back I posted about the allure of a certain french decrepitude that appeals to the literary minded courtesy of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. There is something exotic about France (language and culture, maybe even slightly a bit more than even Italy.  There's a reason people go to Paris on honeymoons, even though many European cities are just as romantic. Basic or no, there is something breathtaking about the idea of an expansive Paris apartment, with giant windows, herringbone floors, and a juliet balcony. With filling your apartment with fresh flowers from the market and endless croissant.  You can do all these things right here in Chicago, but somehow they are far sexier when you're speaking french and smoking Gauloises. 

I was super into it in high school though, learning the language and the culture--I was french club president my final year, did immersion days at area colleges, was inducted into the French honor society.  It was unlikely that I would ever be much for actually making it to Paris. I wasn't as anxious about flying as a teen and did, but I still didn't have the sort of family financials that would ever allow a trip. Maybe this is one reason I love New Orleans so much, it's french flavor, but home grown with blues and jazz and a little voodoo thrown in for good measure. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

strange fevers update

Plans are still churning away for all of our Strange Fevers:  Mass Delusions, Confusions, and Obsessions happening in April.  Today, I sent acceptances to an amazing line-up of visual artists for the 1st Floor Exhibit (which will also include necessary violence, the Slenderman collaboration with my sister,  in it' full glory, both texts and visuals, up on the wall.)   This year, as I've mentioned before, we wanted to try, instead of individual events, to condense some of our programming into a single day with panels, readings, an expo and thus was birthed what will hopefully be our spring big event--our Artists & Scholars Colloquium.  My contribution to that afternoon is pulling together this very fun panel discussion:

 "Adolescent girls are often the subject and impetus for strange and violent occurrences—everything from poltergeist activity to the Salem Witch Trials.  This discussion delves into the power and agency of teen and pre-teens throughout popular culture and art, as well as how artists in multiple genres use this particular trope to explore new paths into our understandings of feminism, theory, and culture."

We're starting small, with only a couple panels and a reading, plus the developing Weird Science Fair we've wanted to try for a bit, which will be happening while the other stuff is going on. We're hoping eventually it can be a day long event.  We have our monthlies & bimonthlies (How-To Tuesdays, Book to Art, Zine Nights), and our semesterlies (the Hustle Panels), but spring has lacked a larger event comparable to Indie Press, so this works out perfectly.  We didn't issue a call for more formal academic papers and such, but we'd love to include that aspect in the future as we build on it.   

reading promiscuously

I've been working a little on the relaunch/revamp of wicked alice after a brief hiatus. With everything in chaos with the press after last year, something eventually had to give, and it was poor little alice. I needed a logo, and one idea spun into another (I wanted something like my "hell bent she-devil" design, but it also ended up resembling my very favorite octo lady.)  The tagline is a bastardization of a Milton quote on how people should be promiscuous in their reading habits--and me with my piles of half-finished and barely started books I mean to get back to-I figured it was appropriate.   I've also been trying to decide if I should move the site off tumblr, but its staying put for now (since it's mostly text, I doubt I'll be running into the flagging problems other things were suffering.)

curvy girl fashion | the perfect black dress

Things have been fiscally tighter since the beginning of the year, so I haven't been perusing online retailers in the way I typically do just to keep temptation out of my path. this week, I've been bribing myself to exercize every day with the treat of a dress purchase at the end and, with a 40 percent off code,  decided on this one last week from eshakti, which I've been wanting to buy since before Christmas. I own a shorter sleeved yellow version I bought in the fall, but which is too summery to wear in winter, but this one will be good for all year round and even in more formal scenarios (I never have those really, but I like to plan ahead just in case.)  The ruching makes the to super flattering and I love a squarish neckline in general. Also, since the yellow one, I'm assuming it's a really nice mid-weight jersey knit that seems unusually immune to getting cat hair on it, so win! I

I have my eye on some others for future buying if I continue to hit the stationary bike on the regular and stop being my lazy winter self..

Thursday, March 14, 2019

another round of bookwrecking

On Tuesday night, I'll be taking the box cutters to more discarded library materials and you should
join us!  Collage, book sculptures, and more!

How to Tuesday:  Bookwrecking and Collage
Tuesday, March 19th
624 S. Michigan | 1st Floor
Columbia College Library

sometimes the world writes itself

I happened upon this great piece from Susan Minot this weekend and it got me thinking about not so much how we write, but how the world, in fact, opens itself up to us in possibility every day.  I'll be sitting on a bus, or pushing a cart of books through the library, and there it is, that shimmering idea.  Or in that weird morning space between waking up enough to look at my phone to check the time and the alarm actually going off.  Admittedly, so much is lost because I didn't write it down.  Didn't force myself to commit it to memory for later when I had time to consider it as creative impulse.  This week, one night, I was up in the stacks and heard strange inexlpicable noises a few rows away and got to thinking about the plot of a horror movie or novel where a woman is haunted by the ghost of herself from the future. She would then have to solve her own death like a puzzle.   Or a title for a poem, or a concept for a book will come to me. Friday, I was tweaking the dgp website and for a second "&nsbp" or "non breaking space" seemed like a great title for a book of poems written in html code style.

A few years back as our A of R initiative was developing, people kept commenting that we had such great ideas.  The truth was we had too many ideas to make them happen.  Everything is inspiration, everything is fodder. Hell, I introduced our annual snow globe workshop because I'd seen them do something similar on Pretty Little Liars, which I was mid binge-watch  How can you not notice it?  The things that connect to other things.  The things that  can be re-mixed, retooled. In fact, there are too many ideas and sparks mostly.  This is what we bemoan consistently, the ideas that we will never actually get to, because there is too many, and like bubbles, they keep floating beyond our grasp.

I suppose we grab what we can and write them down in our sketchbooks and our notebooks and hope for the best.  And maybe this is why the Lit Hub piece is great, all of those threads there, each of them, a poem, a spark, the idea for a story. I don't know, given the title, if that was Minot's intention, but I found myself thinking that so much writes itself in the world,  even that piece, a list of fragments and thoughts That we just need to notice it and grasp it wriggling in our hands.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

tiny empires, big world

Another A of R Hustle panel put to bed and the biggest takeaway from tonight's discussion was the amazing breadth of the publishers/editors coming out of Columbia College on a regular basis.  Represented were Lettered Streets Press, Ghost Proposal, and Hotel Amerika & Switchback Books, all Columbia originals.   Someone asked if that sort of legacy of start-ups was distinct to Columbia among other area institutions, and maybe it's not, but I don't see as much DIY action coming from other Chicago grad programs.  At least not enough to host a panel and still have others out there I do not know about or are probably developing even now.  I don't think it was anything about the program itself that may have caused this--at least curricular-wise.  I jumped over to an elective in Fiction for that Small Press Publishing class, but that was atypical, and eventually not allowed. It was still a really young program in its first few years getting its bearings.  But slowly people began doing things.

I started dancing girl in the fall of my second year.  Other batches of students came in who launched Switchback Books soon after.   After I graduated, more presses continued and sprung up. (Susan Yount's Arsenic Lobster, for example ) Not just presses, but reading series (The Dollhouse, Revolving Door, among others.)  Columbia always did a good job placing students in internships in places like local lit mags and the Poetry Foundation, but also so much was happening in the realm of DIY initiatives, either individuals or collectively.

Looking back over all the things that have developed in that incubator, you have to be impressed by the depth and number.  Also how people float between projects and how some flow into and influence others. There seems to be a great swell in that sort of energy regardless of whatever sort of writing the students are doing coming into or out of the program. Maybe it's a certain  "get in the muck and do things" unique to a place like Columbia--that makes me immensely grateful I both get to work there and got to get my degree there.

on loneliness

The thing I perhaps was not prepared for when it came to losing my mom a little over a year ago was how lonely I would end up feeling. Like all the time and unceasingly.  I am still surprised at the intensity.  After all, we lived in different cities for the past twenty years, and usually only talked on the phone twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays.   I spent occasional weeks in Rockford, a few scattered trips to Wisconsin or Mississipi with both my parents.  But the sum total of my time with her or interacting with her was actually quite small given how much time I spend doing other things--even talking to other people.  But there was a solidity in knowing she was there, and that unmooring is perhaps part of this general malaise since that feels like the worst sort of lonely.

In my times of ultimate wallowing and self-pity, usually when I'm fighting the downward spiral, I am occasionally floored by this feeling and can't breath because of it. I still have other family, obviously, and talk to my Dad twice a week, my sister randomly via messages and social media.  A best friend I see every day and a boyfriend I see every week. Other folks I interact with online or at work or in the poetry world.  A rambling mass of extended family I see on holidays and such. People I appreciate greatly, but there is still this huge, gaping hole at the center I don't quite know what to do with, let alone how one would go about filling it up  It's this part of me that freaks out when I think about how much loss is still coming my way--all of our ways.  This is the part that makes my throat ache.

I've always considered myself rather self-sufficient.  I moved to an entirely new city with only a job and an apartment and then met other people along the way--at the library, at readings, in grad school. It was a slow process, but I would never have told you in those years that I felt remotely anything like loneliness.  Since I'm sometimes in super-introvert  my social circle is smallish and mostly disparate these days--small groups of people having coalesced and drifted apart over time. I probably dated far many more people in my life than I have considered close friends.   The odd gaps where I was more single than not, I was actually a little relieved by the breather in how I spent my time and mental energies.  I might have occasionally wished for a target of my affections, but that is surface level shit compared to this. Not at all serious and usually easily remedied by some sort of action(sometimes healthy, sometimes unhealthy).

But in the time since losing my mother, I've often wondered if so much of my never feeling even a drop of loneliness was because she was always just there.  Someone who had known me my whole life.  My whole existence since conception if you think about it. . There were many things in my life I didn't share with her, mostly since I am sometimes weirdly private about some things and not others.  I'm not even sure I asked for or took much advice from her, or anything that would look to an outside like support.  I mostly didn't like to worry her---health scares, money issues,  relationship drama. And she was a record worrier by nature, so I spared her a bit on my end.  Our phone calls were mainly stories about what was going on on each end--things we'd watched on tv.  Stories about the cats. She was my perfect bitchy parlay partner on the phone and in person, and the lack of this very thing sometimes is when I miss her most acutely.  But she was also a solid presence when everything else felt very fluid and churny.  I have a good relationship with my dad, and probably have talked to him on the phone more in the last two years than I did in the previous two decades since I moved out.  Sometimes I find myself grateful for that time, because no doubt, it wouldn't have happened if she'd outlived him, her always relaying the contents to him during or after the call.  But its a different sort of dynamic.

And I feel now like maybe all that's left is to be my own solid. Or maybe more solid than I am. I'm not sure how to fix it, or if it can even be fixed, Or if things change over time. But seriously sometimes it comes out of nowhere and knocks me flat on my ass.  Maybe I dwell a bit more in the winter months when my mental health is less sound, so we'll see if I feel it less when the weather gets better.  Here's hoping...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

beauty and terror

It's hard to be both pretty and terrifying at the same time, but we try endlessly.
                                                -   necessary violence

We've been firming up the galleys for the upcoming MANSION anthology this week, and I gave a final pass over my own pieces within and stumbled upon a line that I'd forgotten about, but that made me giggle, considering a couple weeks back when I was writing my artist statement draft, I had mentioned a similar idea there-about loving the pretty and the terrible, the beautiful and the horrific.  

Once when I was giving a reading, someone told me after that my poems reminded them as a mashup of Sylvia Plath and David Lynch, and I've always held the comparison close to my heart.  Think of the visuals in something like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, and the undercurrents of darkness.   Maybe it's latent goth girl tendencies, or being weaned on horror movies,  but I like to think of it as similar to the beautiful flower with the decay already inside. Hawthorne's Rappucini's Daughter whose kiss meant death.  Ornateness and decadence that hides the worst things.  Last summer, one of the reasons I loved HBO's Sharp Objects was it's beautiful southerness tinged with violence and rot.  The "innocent" girl who is the most horrible of all.  There are so many examples throughout pop culture. Last fall's Haunting of Hull House is a perfect example, so many stunning visuals, so much scary. 

Many people have mentioned that while my visual art tends toward the pretty, there is definitely a darkness there too. I'm not sure these tow things are always at odds, and in fact, sometimes one may lead to the other, or they are somehow dependent.  Why do we find roses so beautiful, is it because they are intrinsically appealing or is it that they are so quick to die? I've been thinking of this with a few more recent collage series--the combination of the light visuals and the dark poems of the summer house in particular. 

The best things are those which create a really pretty picture to look at  and then expose the terror. Sort of like lifting up a rug to see the teeming earth crawling with insects beneath it. 

100 rejections project update

As you know, I am following the advice of this Lit Hub article and taking an aim at getting my work out there a bit more than I have in the past.  After a few years of submitting very little and usually only by invitation, I am taking a more pro-active stance in my submitting this year--100 seems like a lot, and I probably won't make it there (it's probably more than I have poems to back it up with and there will of course, be some acceptances (hopefully many!), but it's a nice thing to work for, and as I said on facebook a couple weeks back, already a success in just getting the damn poems out there circulating. And I have a good amount of work from the past year to actually send.

So far, my results are 1/1--an acceptance for two pieces (Radar Poetry) and a rejection (Posit). I think I have about 10 others still out there in the ether.  I also took a gamble last week and applied for a prose NEA Fellowship this year. I have enough prose and hybrid published work to qualify, a good sampling of a lyric-essay project (exquisite damage) and thought what the hell. I applied for poetry one years ago and sort of figured I'm not the fancy sort of poet who gets such thing. And I'm probably not fancy enough for the prose world either, but the work is good and solid and maybe something of interest on the other side of the fence (since I spend a considerable amount of time straddling it.)  Most likely it will just be a rejection to add to my tally., but still good in that respect.

I also plan to start sending out feed later this year, so that will no doubt add to my numbers, so we'll see how that goes. I've also hit up some print journals that have low acceptance rates, not necessarily because I think they are better (I hate people who tout exclusivity as the key to quality), just in that they are harder to crack.   I think I definitely chose ones I really like and respect and think ARE better journals, but not just because they have low acceptance rates, but that I like what they publish and would like to be in there--places like Black Warrior, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast) In my early days as a writer, I spent a lot of time submitting to exclusive journals I actually don't really fit aesthetically in, but because everyone was saying they were the prime places to publish.

I still plan to hit up the places who've been awesome and published my work before, some newer interesting publications I really like, and some of my old standbys for certain rejection--Sixth Finch and Collagist I am looking at

When I was submitting like mad to online journals back in the early 2000's, I quickly volleyed rejected poems right back out there, so last Friday spent some time sending back out what the responding journals either didn't take or didn't want back out somewhere else. Each week, I also have a new round of stuff from the previous week of daily writing that I've revised over the course of the next week and then start sending out.

I'll be back with another update in until then..

Monday, March 11, 2019

exquisite damage: the visuals

Ever since I finished my exquisite damage series last summer, I've been aching to make some accompanying visuals. I've had some fits and starts, and for awhile, nothing seemed right, but over the past couple of days I've had some success. The series itself is sort of memoirish and about horror movies and growing up in the shadow of them, so these seem the right balance of nostalgic and a little dark.

some notes on ordinary planet

I wanted to write a bit more on the new books & objects offering, ordinary planet, the series written in response to accompany the set of victorian-ish colllages I finished last spring, but also inspired by the faux fortune-telling experts of the Fox sisters.  The written parts of the series imagine a fallen, dystopian, world.  What would happen if the lakes and rivers rose and people were left on an island and men would be making the decisions? The speaker of the poems was once a "a teacher, a baker, a teller of lies"  but now reads fortunes and talks to the dead, albeit fraudulently. Perhaps there is a little of a Handmaid's Tale feel to it, to a world shattered and then rebuilt as men desired it.  I loved how it worked in a little bit of a steampunk vibe as well, where technology is regressive.   As I mentioned above, because of the mother/daughter subject matter, thought it might be a piece of the feed manuscript, but I feel like it might fit better elsewhere.  But the emphasis is more on the dystopian elements--the imagined world where "at first the men were kind."  Until they were not.

This is also the only recent project where I was writing actual verse/ lined poems--in this case mostly tercets, though it varies throughout.  I feel like there is rhythmic element that plods along nicely at a gallop that offers a bit more than prose would.  I use a bit more internal and slanty rhyme in these than usual as well.  The form also allows some space around the denseness and heavy of the language.  So much of what I do is prose nowdays, it's unfamiliar to work in verse, especially a little shorter in line than I've done in the past decade  The lined parts of shipwrecks of lake michigan, for example.  Or the strange machine series poems. All much longer and looser in construction. But I did like the results here.