Sunday, September 24, 2023

notes & things | 9/25/2023

It's been a whirl of an early fall week which included the new peony tattoo on my shoulder, impromptu afternoon movie dates, and a brief trip to meet some friends in Indiana for what was possibly the most Indiana karaoke bar experience (smoking still somehow allowed, lots of country songs, lots of strange characters). Then, on Saturday, a journey out to the drive-in in McHenry to see back-to-back Wayne's World and sequel preceded by a Queen cover band. Once again, the drive-in is all nostalgia and childhood, and it was a hoot to see kids now rocking out to Queen songs and so excited by movies that were likely part of their parent's childhood. I kept thinking that maybe for them, like with me, the memory of drive-in nights will be like a bit of shattered glass you'll turn over and over decades from now when parents are gone and memory is really all you have. 

Today, riding back to the city, and drinking my first PSL of the year, I noticed some trees were somehow bright yellow amid still plentiful green and remembered we had crossed that official threshold into autumn--the equinox. That early dark creeps in slowly, but starts racing toward December about now, helped along by the time change that will come in early November.  I have not started my fall decorating or swapped out my summer clothes for cooler weather but possibly this week I will do both. 

This week is less thick with writing than last week with lots of deadlines and the first draft of the poetry study guide trial assignment. In addition to the usual lifestyle and design stuff, it was really nice to spend some time, deep diving on a single poem (Sharon Olds' "Rite of Passage)" and putting all that literary analysis education I paid so much for to good use. There were chapbook orders and layouts on new books that will be coming. There was one new poem in the cryptozoology series, but it feels halting and stiff like I haven't written enough in the past couple of months, poetry-wise, sort of like clearing your throat after a long silence. 

Friday, September 15, 2023


I talk often of those sorts of tether points that connect certain eras or memories of our lives with others. My past self, 19, and just beginning to send out poems and my current self, also sending poems out in submission and the vast ocean of time between them.  Or my 90s self, listening to certain songs or doing certain things and suddenly there is the same song and I am doing much the same thing, just 30 odd years later. At the drive-in last week, there was a string between my current self waiting excitedly for the movie and my child self waiting for the sun to set in the back of the car while my parents sat in the front. 

The other afternoon, as I finished up a slew of design articles for House Digest, I suddenly pictured my high school and college self poring over magazines, some fashion and beauty but many design and decor, passed off from my aunt who had subscriptions to almost everything.  How that girl would never imagine that I would be writing similar things now to make a living (albeit for the internet, a technological wonder that I would not even be able to conceive, let alone foresee if it was the late 80s or very early 90s.) Very often, spending a whole lot of time flipping through pages on my bed, drinking endless cups of tea, and ripping out the clippings (ala a very primitive Pinterest board) that I would tuck in one of two scrapbooks I kept (one for fashion, one for the home I would eventually have.)  

People always talk about our lives and how we spent our time pre-internet. How we went and did BIG things and lived LIVES out in the world and how children played long and imaginative hours outdoors until the streetlights came on.  The last one, I very much remember, but I'm pretty sure my adolescent years, barring roller skating, occasional movies, slumber parties, and mall outings, were spent mostly alone in my room listening to my collection of cassette tapes, reading trashy novels, and flipping through magazines. Or maybe, sometimes life was big, but sometimes it was also small. I did things out in the world like go to classes and play rehearsals and peruse bookstores, but I also lived a quiet little introvert life not all that different than I do now, just with better technology. You are apt to find me, in spare moments I am not working or writing or making things with headphones on scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram.  Somehow there is a tether between that girl and the person I am now. 

There is probably a string connecting this blog and me writing it to 19-year-old me scribbling in the marbled composition books I kept as journals. Or a string between my late-night binges of design shows once my parents went to bed and my current article research, which often includes many of those same variety of HGTV shows and clips. The same girl who knew that she was good at writing from an early age and the girl who makes a living at it now. Or the girl writing bad poems about flamingos and the woman writing at least decent poems about cryptozoology. 

The things form a web, a structure and framework that somehow holds everything in place even while time seems to threaten to capsize us.

Monday, September 11, 2023

time capsule

Saturday, we drove out into the hinterlands of Illinois to McHenry to see a double feature at the drive-in that included two of my childhood/adolescent faves--Labyrinth and Neverending Story. The entire visit felt surreal, only in that I have not really been to the drive-in since the early 90s. The last drive-in theater in Rockford, which had been slated for years to be demolished, briefly reopened for a couple seasons while working out the particulars of the giant multiplex built in its place. I went a few times with both high school friends and my parents when I was in college, but the bulk of my drive-in experiences were much earlier in the 80s. 

While my dad wasn't keen on movie-going in indoor theaters, many weekends we'd be found at one of the dwindling number of drive-ins that still dotted the area around my hometown, all of which eventually shuttered (or were destroyed by tornados.) You can still find an abandoned one in the southeast corner of the Rockford environs, its' lot still unsold and the frame of its mammoth screen peeking through the trees that fully grew up around it in the intervening 40 years since it closed. For a while, urban explorers would sneak onto the grounds and take pictures of the crumbling concession stand and projection booth, though I don't know if they are still there now. Every once in a while, someone tries to reopen a drive-in, there or elsewhere and never gets zoning approval to make it happen due to neighborhood complaints and the ever-present potential for high traffic and crime.

Each summer in the late 70s / early 80s, we would load into the car, the four of us, with grocery store paper bags of popcorn my mom made at home, canned sodas tucked in a cooler, and candy to avoid concession stand prices. We saw many things, including a viewing of The Shining when I was six, which I kept falling asleep in parts, but left wholly changed and in love with horror. We saw other things, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back. Coal Miner's Daughter, the Loretta Lynn biopictraumatized me far more than any horror movie ever would with the idea that people, in this case Patsy Cline, could somehow die in plane crashes. 

When we pulled up to the ticket booth on Saturday, it was like stepping through a portal in time.  The McHenry Drive-In opened in the 1950s' and much of it is probably not all that different.  The picture and quality are better and the sound is more advanced surely, but the poles with the speakers still dot the gravel lot and look much the same (though you can use your radio as well.)  The low-slung concession stand and projection booth looked the same as they surely did then, albeit decorated with modern murals now. In a world where everything constantly changes, and even entire city blocks are raised and rebuilt in a year, where most of the remnants of childhood have been snatched away and replaced with new things, this was very much the same. 

We went early to get a good spot and brought along sandwiches and chips and ate while we waited for dark, augmented during the intermission with popcorn peppered with M&Ms.  If I weren't certain I was a middle-aged woman, I could easily have slipped back to being six years old and expectantly waiting for the film to start. Which was especially not that far of a reach since the movies were from the 80s as well.  Labyrinth is a frequent annual rewatch fave, but I hadn't seen Neverending Story since I was a kid. Despite what they call the dwindling audiences and extinction of drive-ins, the lot was crowded, just under completely full. Currently, it's pretty much the only one left in northern Illinois. It was very late when we drove back and the roads were dark and curvy til we got back to the expressway that shuttled us back to Chicago, but we'll definitely be going again. 

On Sunday night, we also caught the 40th-anniversary screening of Christine here in the city, after having caught They Live last week with a couple other horror remastered versions coming in October. While I read the book as a teen and surely saw the movie when I was young, there was much I forgot about, so it was like watching a brand-new movie at points on the big screen. 


Thursday, September 07, 2023

villains | video poems

All this month, I will be unveiling new video poems from VILLAINS...see new ones on Instagram and Youtube...

beginnings and endings

Yesterday signaled the first day of classes where I used to work, and like last year, my divorce from the usual rhythms and wanes of the academic world feels strange. Last week, I woke up from a dream about the library--the kind where work was being piled on and on and no credit or compensation given--and it put me in a cranky funk all morning...perhaps only angry at myself for letting myself endure much of it and other nonsense leveled over the years (including trying to make good things happen -good things that required no funding and only my own labor--and still were met with nonsense and resistance.) How good work only led to more work. The carrots that were dangled, maybe not intentionally, but always out of reach. Things that I took on willingly but that in proving my capabilities, only meant shouldering more. The stupid hope I had that it would all be righted and remedied and just hang on a second longer. I have been free of it a year and a half and I still occasionally am like "Wow, what the fuck was that?" 

Today I got the yearly contract renewal on the lessons gig, and though I take on less since my time is more occupied by other writing jobs, I still occasionally grab something in the queue, this past week on Egyptian dance and a Brueghel painting  I was thinking how stressed and angry I was two years ago this time. How I'd spend my free time pouring over Indeed listings and thinking about leaving, but also scared to. That I couldn't make it happen. that without a full-time job, everything would fall apart.  Instead, I pretty much changed everything for the better.

As we come into fall, the cicadas are loud outside and constant from the afternoon into the evenings. As soon as the heat clears, it will no doubt feel more like autumn and I'll probably feel that same excitement that occurs every year, beholden to the academic calendar or not. That new seriousness in new projects and maybe a push to finish others. Every year around now for decades, my parent's house would be overflowing with harvested tomatoes. On the deck, piled on tables and counters and in baskets. A few days in the overheated kitchen and my mother would turn them into jars of salsa.  I feel like I am still in my gathering phase when it comes to new poems--piling them in a basket and hoping for cooler weather and a greater sense of urgency. 

Despite not working on the urban crypto poems that have been languishing most of July and August, a tiny nut of a kernel has formed in my brain about a new fall project that is maybe less poetry than essay or maybe something else entirely.  

Saturday, September 02, 2023

notes & things | 9/3/2023

I have been busy the past couple of weeks with both work and life stuff and feel like I have a queue of blog topics that are more interesting and writerly, but just haven't had time to put them to the page. We are still enjoying our late summer freedom, with more movies and plans for fall things in the coming months like museum visits, ballets (Frankenstein!) and catching the Beetlejuice musical, all things that were impossible either due to my working schedule or J's (or a lack of funds--strange how leaving your shit jobs actually makes you more financially solvent in both our cases). Last week, we were able to catch the remastered Coraline on the big screen, which had probably been brought back due to selling out pretty quickly when we tried to see it initially a few weeks back. I did not know much about it beyond it looking sort of spooky and cool visually, so I was surprised and delighted to find it was an entirely original story and script, a rare beast spotted in Hollywood but one to pay attention to. 

September launched itself into the world yesterday and the light was definitely that fall-ish tinge, which I noticed most around 3 in the afternoon when the shadows are slightly different than they have been all summer. Our temps are back on the climb, but I am hoping to preserve some of the cool from the past two weeks in my apartment by shutting off the fans blowing in and moving them elsewhere. Despite the daytime warmth, now that we are creeping into September, the nights do not hold the heat like they did even a month ago. August ended much as it began, under a big old the late summer sky. I have been sleeping well in the coolness, but the banging and major construction in the townhouse once occupied by the old Polish couple has been a deterrent once sun is up  The past two mornings they were knocking out the old 1950s glass block windows and replacing them with boring sliding ones, so it doesn't look promising. I am asleep and awake at intervals, and usually require a mid-afternoon or early evening nap, which means I am writing well into the evening sometimes. Already sunset is creeping up earlier and will soon be climbing hand over hand. 

Today was a full press day (no freelance work) since there were quite a few things that needed final corrections before I start printing.  I have only dipped a toe into submissions, which wrapped up Thursday in a final flurry of activity, so will begin greater forays into reading next week likely. I still have a couple delayed books in the works, but am now working on the set I accepted for this year. Amazingly, since I planned to start those in August anyway, I am only a month behind schedule for 2023 accepted titles. This year's inbox is a little unruly, since I was once again allowing sim subs after a few years of not. This means some things have been withdrawn in the time since they were sent b/c they found another home. Logistically it's rougher to keep track, but I feel like I take a little too long in responses sometimes, esp. for things I am interested in--so it's only fair they have other opportunities when I am slow. 

As for my work, I had a brief flurry of activity on new poems, but then told myself I should take a break and return when fall arrived officially, which I suppose it has now, at least according to the meteorological calendar if not the celestial one. Since I really need to be working on recording and editing the videos for villains right now, I may just hold off til the equinox to get back to daily poeming, completely reasonable, but I do get itchy if I go too long without writing much at all, so we'll see. I won't be submitting much in the immediate future, so am going to share snippets of the poems I've written this summer on Instagram, so keep an eye out there. 

The decor and lifestyle stuff is turning out many fall and spooky season offerings like this, this, and this.) A gig that I had initially turned down earlier in the summer b/c the pay-per-word count (writing literature study guides) actually came back with a poetry-specific offer that is shorter guides but still the same pay, so I will be doing a couple of those every month going forward. Since the AI poetry thing ghosted me and didn't work out, and any poetry lessons for the online learning site I already write for are few and far between, it will be fun to write poetry-specific things again after a few months of other subjects like dance, history, and visual art. While denser and more time-intensive than the decor, food, and restaurant stuff, the researcher in me loves them nonetheless.

Monday, August 28, 2023

notes & things | 8/28/2023

While the middle of the week was apocalyptically hot and humid, the last couple days I have been alternately turning down the fans and pulling the quilt up over the bed and hiding underneath. Fall is close enough to taste and by the end of the week, it will be September. I am in no way ready for fall, literally and metaphorically, but I have been longing for the cooler weather and spooky things, including some decor pieces I will likely leave up long past Halloween. 

Earlier in the week, a facebook friend asked everyone if they could think of a time they wanted to stop writing, and what made them carry on regardless.  How did they work through it? I was thinking of responding, but then realized the answer was way too complex and convoluted to deal with in a comments section. There are days when I feel this way about poetry specifically, not really writing in general, of which I have done many different types and genres at various points.  I love that I get to make a living writing other kinds of things now, but poetry sometimes feels like something I could easily drop from my life like a napkin from a table and I'm not sure anyone would notice. It certainly doesn't contribute financially to my life, nor does the pursuit of it necessarily all the time contribute to my mental well-being. It is a lot of time and effort invested with steadily diminishing returns, something that took me a long time to realize.  That working harder or more or better wouldn't necessarily show any kind of difference at all. And by returns, I don't necessarily just mean po-biz things, many of which I have let go of in the past several years.  But more so the sense of purpose that I sometimes lose the thread of at times. Would I not spend my time better by writing things that allow me to make a living rather than dropping poems into what usually feels like a void. Would not these energies be more productive leveled elsewhere?

And yet, I don't know how I would live without it. Or where I would channel those same storytelling energies. Fiction, sure, but I am not really very good at it.  Essays, maybe. Writing poems, good or bad, have been part of my life since I was a stupid teenager who did a little too well on an English assignment and somehow locked in hard on a genre that most people don't seem to care about at all. I used to dismiss that Rilke quote about HAVING to write, of dying if you were forbidden to do it,  as pretension and dramatics, but maybe he was right. Sometimes I am not certain how I could ever consider stopping. Sometimes I am not certain how I can keep going.

But there are still poems to be written. Projects to be executed.  I am digging in on the video poems that I will be releasing in September--the villains series--armed with a fancy new microphone for recording (well as fancy as has good reviews on Amazon for under $100.)  I've been fiddling with the visuals, so all that's needed is audio on the first couple pieces. My plans to have everything done by September was not exactly realistic. Some of it is just late summer stalling, some of it just a busier non-writing life of late. Some of it is taking on more decor and lifestyle assignments on some days of the week that eat up some time I may have been messing with creative things.  These offer solid, tangible fruits of labor in the form of more discretionary income. Meanwhile, the poetry fruits are few and far between-- a couple acceptances from journals, some nice comments on the newest book, an unusual flurry of likes on a IG post. Tiny things that one could starve from waiting for, and perhaps we all do just a little. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

bombs and dolls and american-made tragedies

In a tactic to beat the heat of my apartment yesterday in its A/C-less state, we decided to go spend as long as we could at the movies, which meant we went to see Oppenheimer, the longest run-time film we could find.  While I am always game for a biopic, this one probably would have been something I just waited to come in streaming were it not for all the #BARBENHEIMER summer madness. On one hand, the length would normally have worked against it under theater-going normal circumstances. It also seemed really sad and depressing, which seemed unnecessary in a world where if you really want sad and depressing, just turn on the news or look around. But since we'd already seen everything currently in theaters horror-wise we wanted these last few weeks, Oppenheimer it was. 

So we found ourselves, after a leisurely burger and cocktails at the bowling alley that shares space with the theatre, settling in for the 3-hour mid-century jaunt in the dark. What first struck me is that it's a rather moody beautiful movie, which like much of Nolan's other work, maximizes color and shadow to its best advantage.  The performances are commendable and the storytelling was, while confusing in a couple spots, innovative. 

I say confusing largely too because of the men. So many of them. With similar looks and names and all wearing suits and cool mid-century eyewear and making the most irresponsible decisions with deadly human tolls. When Florence Pugh's character is nakedly prompting RO to read the famous Bhagavad Vita line RO is famous for, it crossed my mind that this may be the nerdiest bit of porn I've seen. It's a movie that relishes its theme of brilliant people making brilliant discoveries and inventions that they know only as evidence of their brilliant egos and nothing of their impact.  Not knowing a lot of the history and names specifically, it was hard to keep the men straight beyond RO himself and the women, while well cast with A-list actresses, not as fleshed out as I would have liked. (and an exact example of what the film's bright pink-clad sibling was making a statement against. The women were kind of set in scenes like dolls or, worse, like Kens. 

The scenes of the meetings and the congressional hearings were juxtaposed in my head with the all-female leadership of Barbieland.  The lawyer who said that her logic and her feelings made her a better leader. The one woman scientist on the Manhattan Project who the men worried about her delicate lady parts and radiation. Men in identical rooms in identical suits making decisions that killed hundreds of thousands of people and may one day kill more. Or all. 

My favorite scene was the reckoning when RO himself at a podium horrifically imagines his cheering audience incinerated by the weapon he helped create.  Or when we discover his discussion near the pond with Einstein and the consequences of his quest for knowledge. It's interesting that they begin with the poison apple scene,  which I think is based on RO's own conflicting accounts later in life, records of therapy undergone as punishment at Cambridge, and a detail discounted as fully true by his grandchildren. A detail possibly wrong or inaccurate or less dire than it seems. However true in real life, in the film it sets a parallel between how jealousy and insecurity led him to do and make terrible things. 

Which is to say, he's a lot like Ken and his horse-loving patriarchy in that case, except the word is flipped and the men are in charge and making the decisions with no one else to set parameters and boundaries of compassion and good sense. By the end of the film, it was just a film full of Kens with silent Barbies who endured and drowned themselves in bathtubs with no real power or control. The same things that ultimately take down Ken's burgeoning empire, the warring of the men, and allow the Barbies to regain control, are the same circumstances that lead to weapons of mass destruction. Except this isn't Barbieland and no one can restore order. 

While at first, it seemed merely like a release-weekend coincidence and social media-inspired enthusiasm, these two movies seem to really go together somehow,. They are very much about America and the things we create. Good or bad. Symbolic and real.  Constructive or destructive. While Barbie was meant to be a symbol of feminism and womanhood, it came with the unsavory aftertaste of body image issues and commercialism. While the A-bomb was intended to be a brilliant scientific discovery that proved our global leadership in the scientific and military world, it turned out to be the key to mass extinction. The creators, whether it was tiny Ruth Handler or towering RO, were caught in the middle. While Barbie wants to make meaning--to not be the thing that is made. Oppenheimer's creation, the thing that is made, destroys it.  

Sunday, August 20, 2023

notes & things | 8/20/2023

Wisconsin, circa 2013

We have crested into the final third of August and the light is beginning to change, maybe not as noticeably as all at once, but that one morning it's startlingly obvious is coming, probably within the next week.  The past couple of weeks, I've been hearing the cicadas around sunset that signal late summer and the sunsets are earlier and swifter  We've had some cooler weather replaced by warmer again, so summer is still firmly summering, make no mistake, but already my social media/YouTube feeds and writing assignment queue's are littered with fall-ish things (like this fun thrift rehab project I wrote about this week.)

This week included not just one, but two movie dates, the first, the second go at Barbie I mentioned earlier, and a Korean action movie revival selected by J that was strange and weird and kind of gross with incest vibes, but a movie is still a movie, and with his new freer schedule, we will be getting to have more date nights like this on the regular--especially promising considering we will be in high spooky season for horror releases very soon. This week, we are taking in the aquarium on its free night, which I haven't been to since the late 90s despite my one-time marine biology enthusiasms.

This time of year always makes me think of the past somehow, which probably has something to do with the start of school and the bygone sense of blank pages. This morning, I was thinking about 10 years ago, a period of time that seems sort of muddy with a relationship that was well past its sell-by date, but also good things like the release of shared properties of water and stars and Pretty Little Liars marathons complete with a very tiny Zelda racing back and forth across the back of the sofa. Late in the summer, we visited my cousin who lived way up in northern Wisconsin, which already had a fall-ish tinge to trees even in late August. We drank overly elaborate Bloody Marys and went antiquing in a tiny town with many stores where I got my prized Roloflex camera for a steal at $10 and several pretty antique postcards. I'd wake up in the mornings on the sofa with my cousin's enormous golden lab sprawled across me. Smallish bears would ramble through their yard from the surrounding woods at dawn. The weekend was campfires and pontoon rides and, perhaps most importantly, both my parents were still very much alive and healthy.  

20 years ago, I was 29 and on the verge of starting my MFA studies, going to overly bougie and posh several-course lunch orientations at the Union League Club back when Columbia was spending money like it had it.  Later, at the meet and greet with other students and faculty, I would feel like I didn't fit in--a feeling that would pervade me for the next four years of study. On my one day of full classes that fall, I kept returning to the Art Institute, which was pay-what-you-can in the afternoons to gaze at the Cornell boxes--still in their location in the old modern wing before the new one was built. A project that would also take four years to finish.  I would take my notes to the cafe across Michigan and turn them into poems that eventually became at the hotel andromeda. I was tentatively sending out the first version of what would eventually become the fever almanac, though it would change a lot before getting picked up two years later. I was still mulling the idea of starting a chapbook press that wouldn't bloom until the spring, but it was a tiny kernel of thought I'd turn over and over in my head while waiting for the bus or working nights at the library's circ desk.

30 years ago, somehow, I was just 19, starting my first year at RC--which was technically my second year of college after transferring, but it felt like I was starting over. I was in love with the tiny campus tucked among the woods and hills right in the middle of the city I'd known all my life, an oasis amid strip malls and parking lots that felt very quaint and un-midwestern. I happily enrolled in philosophy classes and Shakespeare seminars and would hide out in the library lunching on terrible fat-free sliced cheese sandwiches and pretzels because my high school eating issues still had their claws in me. I would dye my blonde hair a dark auburn and it would stay dark for 20 more years. I'd wear long hippie skirts, tapestry vests over t-shirts and bell anklets/bracelets as one did in the early 90s. Sometimes on Fridays, we would drive up to the greyhound track in Lake Geneva and my dad would fund me and my sister placing bets on races we'd never win, but would have endless fun looking at the dogs and picking which looked the fastest. 

I don't remember quite as distinctly the late summer of 40 years ago, though I am not sure if it's a failure to pay attention or just the ravages of time on my memory. In the fall of 1983, I was going into fourth grade but I remember only bits and pieces--tether ball and playing Barbies on the playground.  An ill-advised perm inflicted on me by my aunt that led to many more years of really unfortunate hair choices in photos. It was the one year I was in Girl Scouts before we moved, which was filled with badges and cookies and camps. Also, full renditions of Donna Summers' "She Works Hard for the Money" while dressed like a housekeeper for the talent show, in which at least three other groups of kids did "Thriller.".  I was trusted to walk alone the five blocks to school even though I was only 9 because it was the 80s and I was afraid of nothing. But also I was afraid of everything.

40 years and not much has changed... 


Saturday, August 19, 2023

scribblings and salvagings

With J spending more time here now that his evenings are freer and us eventually planning on sharing this space or another larger one potentially in the next year or so, I decided to purge and reorganize the dresser next to the little writing table for a move into the bedroom, where it will be a far more functional nightstand than the small trunk there currently (most of my supplies and files are in the dining room/ studio space anyway where I work pretty much all the time so I am figuring out how best to store them there.)  I have been going through the paper files in the dresser, most of which are just a lot of random mail and official paperwork for things I no longer need to keep, but also there are a huge number of files of poems--pretty much, barring my teenage diary--all written between 1989 and maybe 2007, when my archiving abilities became much sloppier and I started both drafting and storing poems electronically.

In this bunch, you will find bad poems about flamingoes and seagulls scribbled on lavender pen pal stationary and college-ruled notebook paper. Later, handwritten drafts and typewriter versions on thin delicate typing paper. College poems and poems written in grad school, the MA in Lit years, when I first started writing anything of note. The early 2000s brought a lot of computer-printed and e-mail saved poems, several book manuscript copies of the first three full-lengths.  I sorted through and collected the odd poems out, the ones that never made it into manuscripts, and kept everything pre-2002 when I started putting together projects that actually reached publication. There are also poems from my MFA, including a few that were just assignments and never saw much light of day.

A decade ago, I would have told you I was saving things for prosperity, maybe eventually being the fancy kind of poet who sells your early papers to university archives when you are old and gray and possibly dead.  Now I know I am not that kind of poet, nor do want these bad drafts and such out in the world (and if I do, they are already in various chapbooks and books.)  Today, I sorted through and separated what I want to keep and what can go. But I do get a weird nostalgia for the baby poet I once was who scribbled and fiddled with white-out on these drafts. Who for the first few years, printed out every electronic journal publication (these are actually in a binder tucked somewhere else, though since so many journals have gone kaput in the past two decades, I may hold on to those.)

Most of the paper, especially from the 1990s, is discolored and fragile and may disintegrate in the next decade entirely, not being that archival. Somewhere, I have a stack of mead composition books comprising about a decade of journaling, which I eventually plan to reread one more time and then maybe burn, mostly because the girl there annoys the hell out of me. I feel like there was a split in the mid-200s, probably around the time I started blogging and using the earliest means of social media when my hoarding/archiving of every single detail trailed off. I didn't have a lot of time for one thing, in the throes of working full-time, getting an MFA, and starting a fledgling press. By the time I graduated, I was deep in the weeds of Etsy and would stay amid that craziness for awhile.  Then later came more book releases, more day job obligations, and soon socials and here were where you could find the things that used to be physical. 

I was a huge scrapbooker in high school, not particularly decorative, but functional, throughout my academic career, and early in my writing exploits.  In my school spirit red high school scrapbook you'll find photos of friends and awards and ribbons from football games I went to but never really paid attention to. There is UNCW volume with various paper ephemera that encapsulates the semester I spent there, another for college, with two additional ones sorted out into writing and theater related memorabilia (I told you I was thorough.) The writing scrapbook also includes my early writing awards and clippings from my high school paper and pretty much every lit thing I did for more than a decade--readings, programs from events, etc.  

These things I will keep since they are stored elsewhere in the apartment, but I feel like tossing some of these old drafts is a necessary letting go from someone who hoards way too much paper in general. The poems exist online and in books and chapbooks in final versions I actually want people to see, not the sloppy and crossed-out beginnings. The terribleness of those early poems I am keeping for now, mostly for me and my occasional nostalgia of who I used to be, but will likely toss them eventually. I don't foresee some future grad student pouring over my choices in word use or punctuation and that all actually sounds vaguely terrifying, so good riddance...

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

in the pink

I've been formulating a few more thoughts on the summer of Barbie after seeing the film a couple weeks back and then again yesterday, when our plans to catch the remastered version of Coraline were sold out and we opted for another Barbie screening, which was I suppose inevitable since I've had a hard time stopping thinking about it since we walked out of theater. It's a move that had me alternating giggles and tears and by the end, both times, nursing a knot in my throat that was both sad but also hopeful. So rare do we get something that is both hilarious satire--of patriarchy, of pop culture, of girldom, and such a heartfelt dealing with these things at the same time. 

People are still marvelling at little at the success, probably in an effort to reproduce it for future films, and I'm not sure that's possible, with nothing being as worshipped and divisive as the blonde doll that every female (and many males) from Boomers to Zoomers at least experienced to some degree. Something both loved and reviled as a symbol of everything wrong with consumerism and body images. But also something overwhelmingly under many a girl's tree come Christmas morning. Her essence a complicated knot of feminism and anti-feminism, where you can be everything you want to be, as long as you are statuesque and thin and unbelievably perfect. 

There is a line where Barbie says something about wanting to be the creator, not the product, right before she decides that the gloss and glitter of the Barbie world is not for her. A montage of shots of women backed by that Billie Eilish song that makes me a little teary everytime I listen to it, something I do quite often. Wanting to be the inventor, not the idea. The artist, not the muse. 

I have to admit, it's also a strong feminist movie somehow strangely stolen by Ryan Gosling's Ken, who provides much of the humor along with Margot Robbie, but also presents a character that is both ridiculous and sympathetic at the same time by turning the mirror around and showing men, at least in Barbieland, as characters defined by their relationship to the women. Much like the role most women actresses play in male-centric Hollywood in every damned mainstream movie and summer blockbuster. Apparently, this has left bros and aggro dudes fuming and big mad, but I don't think they quite get the irony. 

In many ways, the movie felt like a layering with bits of tatters and thread from my own life. Playing with Barbie, dressing Barbie and undressing Barbie and cutting off all her hair when I ruined her in the tub. Playing with Barbie in the plastic and cardboard townhouse that eventually warped and leaned and was unsalvageable.  The kind of media warping of the female body, of which Babrbie is just a product, not so much a cause. Matchbox 20's "Push" cover by Ryan Gosling that is hilarious and reminds me of the summer that song was everywhere the summer before I started grad school here in Chicago.  Various bits and echos of living as a female in a male-dominated world.  

Even despite catching it a second time in the theater, I feel like I need to watch it again when it hits streaming so I can mull over its gifts a little more. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

of poems and pictures


I was making up some poetry postcard graphics for Instagram this morning and a path out of the current quagmire of poems appeared. Maybe not so much of a path, but an untangling of branches, a clearing through the trees.  I had been stuck, with about a dozen poems in the hopper that were loosely thematically related, but I was unsure of where to go with them. Or maybe more where they were trying to take me.  Not one to blindly follow along (the Taurus in me), I froze up and refused to work on them or even really think about them. Instead, I devoted time to making more collages.

The irony of course, is that those collages, at least some of them, may have offered up my solution, though I scarcely knew it when I was making them, coming off the heels of the Persephone collages and fiddling with extra images I had saved in a folder. The wild things series, which felt really random and just for kicks when I made them, may be something I can use to guide the focus of this particular text series and help propel me toward actually finishing them.

The dynamics between visual and written work have shifted over time in my work and practice.  I always say I came to visual art much later, spurred by press-related graphic design exploits and making collages and stuff for library art exhibits. They were actually related in the very early days--through the installations spawned by poems, or visual poem projects for classes, one-off book projects for exhibitions and collabs with other artists.  A couple years in, however, they were wholly separate, particularly in the couple years, post-MFA, where I was writing very little at all and making a whole lot of art for the etsy shop.  The first zines I made were completely visual, and only around 2012, did writing and art start to marry up with each other again, though not always created in tandem.  The first visual/text project I released was shipwrecks of lake michigan, for which the poems had been written before the collages added. Others followed, but usually one medium came before the other.  ghost landscapes, for example, was a huge batch of postcard watercolors before there were poems to go with them. Ditto radio oclularia.  The opposite with taurus and exquisite damage / the terrible place, with the poems created to accompany the collagesI flip-flopped back and forth, with one or the other guiding the process. 

Very rarely did they occur at the same time, writing as I was working on the visuals, which has always felt like a better, more intentional way to work. But I can only remember it occurring with a couple different projects, usually because there were firm deadlines for one reason or another for a zine project (usually for library-related exhibits.)  I have numerous art exploits with no text component, though less and less text without some sort of visual accompaniment--collages, prints, and now, video. I worked on GRANATA all last summer thinking it would just be a written thing, but only as I started making collages this summer did it feel complete. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Saturday, August 12, 2023

notes & things | 8/12/2023

It's been another week of planetarium and movie outings, the first largely because we got caught up in snarled traffic the previous week and didn't really get to look around before the Pink Floyd sky show (and after which the whole thing was closing up shop.) This week, we wandered downtown for some amazing beachside tacos, free general admission, and another show dedicated entirely to the moon on one of those perfectly moderate summer evenings. Last night, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, which turned out to be a suitably dark and gothic period piece, even though, in the last showing of the night, there were only like 5 people in the theater, so I doubt it's doing well amid the Barbieheimer summer. 

Otherwise, I have been at my usual business. This past week, a couple of journal acceptances after a longish drought, of the home improvements poems, which will of course have to push the zine release I'd been loosely planning back into winter to accommodate those publications. I will likely still be occupied with the villains poem videos that debut next month and still promoting COLLAPSOLOGIES a bit, so I'm cool with it. Plus, there is all that I have planned for October and my #31daysofhalloween shenanigans to keep me busy. I will also be sharing some of the home improvements pieces on Instagram that have come back to me anyway over the next few weeks. 

My planetarium visits with J  have no doubt been influencing my visual experiments, or vice versa, but just when I thought I was done with the star collages, there were somehow more. I've been moving in some other directions, but I feel like I may still return, so am hesitant to call that particular series done. I will be focusing more on video in the coming weeks, so we'll see if I have as much time for daily artmaking as I do currently.  

With J's new flexible job and more freedom, we've been doing the tourist-in-our-own-city thing and hitting up many of the activities we haven't been able to do the past 8 years due to his schedule or mine, including all the museums. Next up is the aquarium at the end of the month, which I haven't been to since the late 90s, so expect lots of sea poems and collages from this once dolphin-loving teen afterward. One of the last poems I wrote this summer was about horse girls vs. dolphin girls and how you were probably one or the other.  We plan on hitting up the Field and the Art Institute in August. 

This week's writing assignments have been devoted to more artsy Halloween shenanigans, whether you should buy vintage linens and various design-related trivia.  I am enjoying the extra hours writing for HD since they are a little less rigorous than the research-intensive lessons, which I have been working on less with fewer must-haves in the queue the past couple of months, with only one of two things catching my eye. The cooking and restaurant articles have been filling in the gaps. 

As for new projects, I have been musing over the eventual final form of granata for next year, which is too long to be a simple zine project, so I may be working it into some sort of art/text hybrid book..maybe coffee table bookish and square, possibly with a hardcover, though that can get expensive, though creating the journals have helped me to figure out how much, though will color interior, it will be quite a bit more. Currently, there are still a dozen or more pieces out in submission, so we'll see if those land anywhere. The RUINPORN manuscript is also basically finished and in need of a few tweaks, so there is that as well. The two current longer manuscripts are still missing parts, but up until my short hiatus the past few weeks, were still churning along nicely and at least one may be finished by the year's end if I actually get back to my daily writing habit.  

I've been working on getting out author copies and initial orders for the slew of dgp books released in June and July, with another crest of the first new titles due soon and a couple stragglers from 2022. Submissions are coming in briskly, but I have barely been able to dip my toes in the pool, so that will come as soon as August closes out. 

Sunday, August 06, 2023

notes & things | 8/7/2023

Yesterday we drove out of the city to visit some friends in the burbs amid some sticky heat and sputtery rain, only to arrive back last night to more rain and some decidedly autumnal feeling windiness. We haven't yet hit the day, mid-month usually, when the light feels like fall. These longings for spooky, cooler days and nights is very bittersweet, since the parts of fall that I love are usually over by Halloween and all that's left is the bare branches of November, more mentally treacherous now than ever, and the span of winter that seems to swallow most of the year. 

Still, it is August, that time of year when everything seems a little overgrown and overly buggy. The time of year when the gardens my dad used to keep would be overflowing with things, including a gazillion tomatoes my mother both loved and hated. August and September still feel like a preparation for something, though now I am not sure exactly what. I have writing plans and art plans, and we have some leisure-time plans now that J has successfully untangled himself from the boundaryless nonsense of his previous job, which has meant some more adventures and excursions while he's free and digging up some other kinds of work. 

As for my work, I've been digging in on some increased hours for decor/design./diy assignments I added after stepping away from GameRant last month, which has been keeping me busy along with an increased load from a couple other places. So I spent this afternoon making up for work I skipped on Weds..articles on how to make faux plants look real and the benefits of kitchen islands. Another cooking substitution piece for Cozymeal. I am looking forward to some more fall-appropriate things coming my way in the next few weeks. 

I am still waiting for a bolt of inspiration on the newest series of poems, but may have to dip back in sooner or later since not writing poetry at all these past few weeks feels itchy in a way I can't explain. I am enjoying my collage exploits, and have been editing and sharing the Persephone poems and making plans for that project for next year, but when I deviate from my daily writing there is always relief for about a week and then a feeling that I should be doing it, even if I've given myself permission to take a break.  

Thursday, August 03, 2023

cold and planetary


Yesterday, we took in a movie, dinner, and a quick evening visit at the Planetarium to see a Pink Floyd-inspired sky show in their enormous dome theater for J's birthday celebration. It inspired me to make even more space-focused collages, as if I had not been indulging that urge already the past couple of weeks with the latest series (see below). There is something about those black expanses of stars that have been drawing me to put them in art experiments particularly.

As we waited in the theater for the sky show to start, a huge image of the moon was on the wall, rendered amid rainbow colors that shifted and receded along the domed edges of the room. I couldn't help but think of how the moon is basically just this rocky satellite that orbits the earth and yet we've written countless lovesongs and poems and prayers to the moon since the beginning. Dare I say more than the sun, which is the thing that keeps this whole solar system spinning. And yet the moon is what we fall in love with the most, even though it offers neither light nor warmth.

Sylvia's moon and its "bald and wild" presence. This month's double full moons. The Sturgeon moon that means fish are more easily caught and snared in this month more than others. I once write a whole series of epistolary poems to the moon and tucked them into tiny vellum envelopes. Boxed them with old paper moon images and maps and transparency overlays of the moon. Despite this tribute, I've still managed to never get a really good and true shot of the moon with a camera--at last not the image I see with my eye--huge and looming over the lake sometimes as it rises. 

I've been reading about moon gardens after working on a decor piece about gardens in Savanannah. About planting things that will be equally beautiful and luminescent in the moonlight. About moon doors, which seem to be a cross between a garden gate and a fairy ring. But then again, all night owls must love the moon. Poets too. While I've never been a beach day kind of person (pale, pale skin and a tendency to get really drained by heat and sun) I am an avid fan of beach nights, especially when the moon is over the water and its clear enough to see a few brighter stars out over the lake. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

atmospheric conditions, part 1


notes & things | 7/31/2023

 Another week has slipped past, filled with many good summery things, including catching the amazingness of the Barbie film, big luxurious breakfasts and homemade tiramisu, sleeping gloriously late, and wandering around the zoo yesterday for the first time in years. Today, however, it's back to work and press doings and a plunge into writing decor things tomorrow. Today, my first fall/spooky season article debuted, and there will no doubt be plenty more in this long slide toward the end of summer. The weather has cooled after a few hot days and was much more amenable to being outdoors, though even limited time in the direct sun for any period of time always makes me feel drained in a way I don't normally in my usually nocturnal wanderings  (especially when edible gummies are involved). Resultingly, I went to bed early and slept all through the night. Of course, I was wide awake at 5am this morning and apparently wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at an unusually formidable hour (at least for now.)  

I am still caught in a strange place with the new poems, unsure of what direction, if any, they want to go. There are about a dozen, but I haven't decided what sort of animal they will eventually be. Without daily writing exploits most of July, I have been directing more efforts toward the visual side of things most days, including just making random collage animations for IG in addition to more series-based projects (see above.). I will be working this month on recording and making video poems for the VILLAINS series, so keep an eye out for that in September, as well as a possible impending zine for that batch of HOME IMPROVEMENTS collages and poems, probably coming toward the end of this month. I have more diversions planned for fall, including another haunted dollhouse advent project, the Henry James-inspired governess zine, and more in the works over the next two months. 

As we enter back-to-school season, once again the month of August feels disorienting, disconnected as I am to an academic calendar after decades of being firmly entrenched. My own nearly 20 years of schooling, then the library job at the elementary school, then over two decades at Columbia and an MFA program nested inside it. It's hard not to see September as a new beginning and August as an ending of sorts. It is perhaps why most of my autumn endeavors seem more serious than the writing I do in the spring or summer. How it feels like a time that calls for weightier projects. (Though, last summer I was just beginning HOTTER, which turned out to be not so serious at all, and then I took some months off from writing poems with everything with my dad.).) I've been kicking around a project inspired by Mary Shelley the past few weeks and maybe that is how I will spend my autumn, which seems fitting. Or maybe some other horror-driven divergence.   

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

art & content: promo a-go-go

I was thinking more and more on this subject that I touched on last week in terms of content and branding for writers and it seems especially prescient to be having this discussion as people are diving off Twitter and into the lifeboats of places like Blue Sky and Threads. I feel like so often, writers see social media outlets as ways to promote other things like publications and books and other kinds of press they garner as writers, but my favorite writers are the ones who use it, whatever platform they are focusing on, as a vehicle itself--not just to direct traffic in a given direction, which feels really frustrating when you're not quite sure if they are willing to go there and if they are, whether they made it safely. The internet is a crazy place, prone with clicks and distractions. I am totally guilty of scrolling along, opening an article or a publication, and then in the three seconds I wait while the page loads fully, I've forgotten it and moved down along the feed. )

I can also sometimes feel like annoyingly beating a drum no one wants to hear. Loudly and without end. And yet, however many times you promote a book, people will still miss it, due to algorithms and post-covid attention spans, and all kinds of other reasons. They will be surprised when you tell them you have a new book, even though you've been promoting it constantly for months. In an era of constant content, stuff gets lost or drowned out in the signals. 

And yet I've seen people, writers and otherwise, do really cool things with all these platforms, even here on blogger, where I remember in the heydays of poetry blogdom, there was some really beautiful and intricate essays on aesthetics that weren't so much about promoting any one thing or other, but juts existing in the world as a vehicle for making and sharing. Ditto on Tumblr, Youtube, even Twitter (I was reminded by the upcoming film trailer of how obsessed I was with the Dear David Twitter and how much I love Youtube ARGs and storytelling through social mediums.) 

The way I have shifted my thinking a little this past year is how social media works for me as a writer and artist. I am still totally promoting things, and well, I guess myself as a creative, but instead of seeing the platforms and what occurs there as a means to an end, kind of like the car that drives your audience and readers to the dance party (and hopefully everyone gets in the car and you don't lose a few out the window) But instead seeing social media, wherever you like to land best, as the dance party all by itself. I've been posting a lot more art and writing and related reels this month--not particularly to drive sales or traffic, but just to share and it feels good. Some of it, of course, more driven to advertise the new book or point out new shop offerings, but just as much not. It occurred to me that I feel like socials offer many more potential eyes on your stuff than other kinds of publication. And what's more, not necessarily other poets only (though I imagine algorithms obviously still skew to other writers, but not exclusively.) Sometimes I just make stuff for fun for Instagram or Youtube (I tried Tik Tok in the spring, but it was clunky for me on my phone and the views were not substantially different from IG reels. (actually Youtube shorts outpaced both.) Stuff that's only tangentially promotional for any particular thing. 

This content feels perhaps the best out in the world since there are less markers of whether or not you are failing like a stack of unsold books sitting there waiting for someone to notice you. You make it--be it poem, be it collage, be it a strange little reel and it's out there in the world.I used to avoid posting poems in these spaces, "saving" them for journals and serial rights, who probably are gonna give you 9 nos before you maybe get a yes. And then trying to get readers to that publication and your poem once it's out (and if it's out and the journal doesn't cease publication before it's actually live--a tragic effect of post-pandemic closures.). While I love the community aspects of journal publications, I've been splitting the difference and dividing new poems between submission packets and just posting a lot of them on IG.  Often this content feels like a better ROI of time than submitting every single poem traditionally. I've been doing this with rejections as well, esp. for pieces I really like and don't feel like flinging them back out there again and moving onto sending out other projects. (also this allows me some flexibility for sharing poems one by one that are coming in impending zines without worrying about eventual withdrawals on long-wait submissions. because I do want to share them, but I d rather fo it on my schedule than someone else's. 

But then there is also a danger in doing this--the platforms themselves are iffy and subject both to algorithms and self-destruction (ahem,..Twitter). Occasional shadiness. Things get real hot and go cold real fast for no good reason, which I suspect is why business advisors tell you to keep eggs in many different baskets. But there is only time for so many baskets. I am mostly an Instagram user, though I do share similar things and more on FB, but less as an artist (though that too).  That's more from freind-walled protected content, pop culture, random silliness. Everyone is there, including old college and HS friends, relatives, old co-workers. These people are rarely on Instagram unless they too are creators of some sort. I use a lot of other sites for tools--Youtube for video, Flickr for storing images, Pinterest for my own inspo reasons (not just art but also fashion and decor). And this place, its own kind of of black hole where words go in, but it's hard to hear them hit bottom. I joined Threads a couple weeks back just because I liked the idea of it, but have found, like Twitter, I don't have much to post (and maybe even less b/c its a phone app entirely and I hate typing on my phone.)

So far, I've just posted some links to blog posts here over there and don't really find myself clicking in to the app a tenth of as much as I do IG, so it may not be all that useful for me personally, but it will be interested to see how things shift and change like the sea...

Friday, July 21, 2023

life in plastic

I was definitely a Barbie fan as a kid, probably from around the time I first noticed that toys and clothes were a thing. While my interest in other kinds of dolls waxed and waned, Barbie was different. It was more about being Barbie and slogging her through outfit changes and dramatic scenes. Setting up the intricate townhouse with the string operated-elevator and the vinyl pool set that came with tiny plastic beach balls and suntan lotion. Less about treating her like a doll to be mothered, though I did this to some degree with Cabbage Patches later on. That kind of mothering never took (obviously) but the fascination with Barbie and her wardrobe did. Christmases from around ages 5-12 were filled with requests for Barbies and Barbie accouterments, including that lopsided cardboard townhouse that eventually warped from humidity and fell apart (a far cheaper alternative to the dream house, which probably should have taught me about real estate and economics early on.)

Still, those years were an endless trail of Barbie, from gold glitzy lame-clad Babie to roller skating Barbie (and Ken). Barbies with magical perms and long hair you curled with a strangely large and violent plastic contraption. Rocker Barbies in neon. Off-brand Barbies whose legs didn't bend but we'd buy them anyways, largely because there were so many clothes carted around in our pink vinyl cases you needed an army of Barbies to wear them. You had the newer and more pristine Barbies and you had the Barbies who had seen some shit--shorn, taken in the bathtub, heads popped off and stuck crudely back on. The one inexplicably missing an arm or leg. I went through a stage around age 6 where Barbie's legs were always in my mouth, my teeth gnawing her slender feet enough to leave marks and some cases, go straight through to the bone. 

My sources for clothes were multiple, including a huge stash of clothes and dolls inherited from my older cousins from the 70s and a woman who lived across the street who sewed the most exquisite and tiny doll clothes and sold them at craft fairs. I occasionally got her missteps and her cast-offs, including a cool tiny floral sleeping bag I adored.  Occasionally my mom would buy them from her or swap them for the bisque-painted animals and figures my mom worked on and sometimes sold with her at the fairs (we also got a second-hand guinea pig from her when her teen daughter moved out). These were beautiful and detailed in amazing fabric, denim, and furs, and nothing like what Barbie was getting in the stores. I never really wanted the career-driven Babies--the doctors and astronauts. I wanted the most pink and glamorous, the most outfitted in tulle and satin. Who cared about careers when your wardrobe was fabulous.

We eventually had a lot of collective Barbie stuff between the two of us as my sister got older. Cars and beauty counters and swimming pools filled with water we were forbidden to play with in the house lest we spill it. Luxe canopy beds that Barbie barely fit into. Lots of random single shoes and a pair of red cowboy boots. While my interest was waning as I ended elementary school, we still sometimes hauled them out and at least dressed them stylishly and proposed intricate soap opera-like dramatics before abandoning them for something else. Once, under the direction of a girl loosely related by marriage through my aunt and uncle, I'm pretty sure there was some sort of nekkid Barbie orgy and possibly a murder that was great fun and had us in hysterics. There were boys that were the offspring of my parents' bowling partners who broke the elevator and a pillar in my townhouse and convinced me at age 9 I'd never live with boys. You know, the usual stuff. 

I don't think I quite understood that Barbie's body was amiss, that the strangely proportioned monstrosity meant for the male gaze and teetering on her tiptoes was supposed to be the "ideal" body. But then again, you got that shit everywhere. I think by the time my own body issues were kicking in, I was barely paying any attention to Barbie at all and there are probably far more sinister and immediate things to blame for the afflictions of girls and their bodies in the 1980s. Like the new pediatrician who urged my mother at 10 to put me on a diet to lose 20 pounds thus beginning a decade and a half of dysfunctional dieting. At least Barbie was shown as an independent woman with career ambitions, which I probably never realized was as subversive as it was for the time We were, after all,  just a decade or so out of women actually being able to have credit cards without husband approval.  Everyone always talks now about "main character energy" and I don't think we realized quite how much Barbie had. While she was often paired with Ken, she was just as often not. I think there was a Barbie friend that had a kid (or maybe I hallucinated it) but Barbie, despite lavish fantasy wedding dresses, was always a single girl and independent--also probably far more revolutionary than we thought. 

The coolest things I am seeing about the movie, which we are hoping to get to see in theaters, though I may have to go it alone or just wait til streaming due to J's schedule, is that it seems to include everyone in on the Barbie train. not just statuesque blondes, but people of all races, body types, etc, all the main characters of their own stories. To Barbie, I may own my storytelling acumen and flair for dramatic plots, but also my interests in clothes and fashion since I too like to dress up for no good reason, and in fact, bought a Barbie pink sundress just lack week just in case we make it to the theater or just to wear out. I've often wondered if there was a writer Barbie what would she be wearing? Her accessories? No doubt a tiny bottle of Advil and a notebook with tiny page? A tiny laptop and cup of Starbucks? Self-doubt and imposter syndrome?