Tuesday, July 16, 2024

#authorfashion | yes to the dress


As we have been making wedding plans for next summer, of course my first thoughts, perhaps even more than elopement and party plans have been about the dress. Tea length seemed obvious, since we will be doing it at the height of summer on the solstice, which is usually pretty hot, plus I don't want to be weighed down with a full-length dress downtown, where the odds of dragging it through dirt, getting caught in doors, and all manner of clothing tragedies may befall it. I wanted something vintage-ey, but  not any particular decade. A little wispy and romantic, but also a little boho, but not exageratedly so.  Lace probably, either ivory or champagne. Informal more than formal since it is a City Hall ceremony and dinner, but nice enough for pictures. Bridal, but not TOO bridal, like a girl on top of a wedding cake. Something with a nod to the styles of dresses I wear all the time (and ideally a piece could potentially wear again) in the $100-300 range. Also, it has to be available in a plus size range of sizes, and good quality, soft fabric, especially if its lace. 

I've been pinning like a madwoman since April, dresses of all sizes and price points for inspiration, as well as some actual buyable options. One longer one was lovely, but felt like a little much for a downtown elopement and low cut enough that I didn't want to be adjusting my bodice all day lest I spill out. Another, a cute dress with cap sleeves and a beige underlay was a contender at a nice knee length, but the top felt a little too high. Another, I liked but the sleeves were longer and I worried it was just too much fabric for summer. I often thought I wished I could Frankenstein together the perfect dress. This hemline. These sleeves. This lace. This exact color.

Of course once you are googling anything about weddings, all you see are weddings. The dresses that would crop up in ads on social media were not for me, but I occasionally caught sight of a contender. Sundress style with adjustable sleeves. White lace over a beige underlay. With tiers like a peasant dress, but more subdued and fitted at the top. Very soft and swishy, with panels of lace woven spaced with chiffon. Romantic, but also casual and totally wearable again in a more casual context. It was the perfect solution, but when I clicked it kept taking me to a dead page to my disappointment. Weeks passed and I forgot about it, but then there it was again. This time on both on the Nordstrom site for around $150 and steeply on sale at the manufacturer's website. The latter had the dress at a steal, but only in a couple small sizes. Nordstrom had a single dress in my exact size saying there was one left. But then I was a week from getting paid and didn't want to spend the dregs of my bank account on a dress I won't need for a year. 

I worried though that someone would buy it out from under me, and checked in daily the past two weeks to make sure it was still there, each time thinking I would have missed out and would have to find something else. Today, I finally had enough in my account and lo and behold, it was still available so I bought the damn thing in all its perfection. Granted, brides get all coy about revealing their dresses and whether the groom should see it before. (he actually won't--not being a big reader of this blog.) Also that most brides spend hours in try-ons and fittings (though I have gotten really good at going by measurements and knowing the cuts that look best on me, the benefits/challenges of being plus sized.) . But I also could not wait to share..

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

winged things


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Monday, July 08, 2024

notes & things | 7/8/2024

While there does not seem to be much to celebrate about being an American these days anyway, our plans for cookout fun out of town were thwarted by automotive issues and vet visits for J's mom's cat. Still there was karaoke on Saturday, which I went with to take photos for his impending website/social media, but afterward wound up at the emergency vet til well past dawn yesterday with a very sick feline, who the jury is still out on the prognosis. Which means we slept the rest of the day away yesterday and accomplished nothing of note. I also may be getting a cold though it could be a/c-induced dryness. I am staying in the next few days regardless just in case its the vid, which is apparently running rapid this summer.  So far just some throat weirdness and no fever or achiness that indicates anything serious. Which means we've also postponed our plans to see Maxxine until next week, which is fine since I am on the broker side of brokeness this weekend til I get paid again anyway.

Today, J is making me soup with matzah balls & beef pierogi (after he unfairly got me addicted to kreplach and its harder to find unless you go to a deli.) I once took pride in my chicken soup recipe, but have learned I would much rather have his version. Since I am home, I still do most of the cooking for us, which I would be doing for myself anyway, but he is always much fancier and gourmet than me (I am a fan of many, many shortcuts, including frozen microwaveable mashed potatoes and pre-made sides.) For the holiday, I made ribs and sweet corn in the oven, which is not quite the huge fried chicken picnics we had before my mom and aunt were gone, but still tasty.

Outside the karaoke bar near on the river walk, the city was pretty lively on Saturday night and the crowd inside large, though at some point after he was packing up equipment, I looked around at a pretty huge group of people, all of whom were silently signing to each other (likely a convention or gathering on one of the hotels downtown.) Since we were fielding phone calls about the cat after a few hours of loud music and singing, it was a relief. When I am out in crowds, I often realize how much I am profoundly uncomfortable and unable to think with too much stimulus happening all at once. I kept escaping outside to sit by the river in the quieter night as the late tour and party boats passed by. 

Midweek, we did get to see the musical version of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a movie and book I was mostly unfamiliar with. As a musical, like some of the ones I've seen on stage and screen lately (Mean Girls, The Color Purple, Death Becomes Her,)it lacked a cohesive musical thread, but was still enjoyable for the plot and performances. Plus we scored inexpensive box seats that even still had pretty good views off to the side. We've been trying to plan for a theater night at least once a month, though fall is piling up with options and we may wind up with many more. Goodman and Chicago Shakespeare are the more cost friendly options, as well as the storefronts and academic venues, though there is some cool stuff coming through Broadway in Chicago--including Les Miz in December which we are definitely springing for since I haven't seen it in over 30 years. Having occasional nights free and clear is not even one of the best things about working for myself, but after two decades of second-shift alone, is definitely a bonus. Costly though, even high in the balcony, especially the musicals with redonculous and unavoidable Ticketmaster fees.. Any mad,  non-essentials money, is currently competing between new tattoo plans and and wedding savings, so it likely means we won't be able to do everything on the tentative list. 

Today, I am writing, writing, writing, and working on some chapbook assemblies that need to go out this week. J was up early for another round with the cat at the vet, so I slept in and just rolled out out bed and made coffee in time to start working the rest of the day. In addition to articles on DIYs and antiques, I'm hammering away on the carnival pieces, and experimenting with some new ideas in the image generator I'll be sharing soon (see above for a peek.)


Friday, July 05, 2024

from technogrotesque


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Tuesday, July 02, 2024

the bone palace


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Monday, July 01, 2024

notes on process

Occasionally, I will be working on a poem and the words do not even feel like my own. Maybe some communication from the ether or the netherworld that channels itself through my hand, down into the keys and onto the screen. Other times, the lines are hard wrought and feel more like sowing something, planting something in a dark little garden that may hopefully bloom by the end of the poem. Or other times like a machine that clicks and winds and begins to purr. I never know which of these things will happen in a given piece of writing. Or if any will. Or, if I am really lucky, all of them at once. 

Different things have taken precedence at different times in my career as a poet. The early poems were so hard and so fretted over. I barely knew what I was doing. I slogged along and each line felt like pulling something out of my body. I knew what I wanted and went hunting for it. Later, I would jumble the words and images and spangled contents in a bag and shake them out onto the page, much in the way I would make a collage. While this was not as difficult as the first few years of writing anything worth reading, it was still hard to have them fall into line in a way that made sense. That seemed like I wasn't just randomly making word salad.

There was a shift slowly over the last decade toward poems being more sound generated than image-or content generated. Like if I could just get the first few lines rolling, the poem would almost unwittingly write itself--that tiny machine--that hopefully would get me to the end point. Unlike the order of the early poems, or the chaos of the later ones, these poems somehow assemble themselves according to their own logic and feel much smoother going. So much so, I never quite trust them. 

There was a time when I was an undergrad that I loved rhyming. I call it my Emily Dickinson phase, since I was doing that ballad format end-rhyme shit that is kind of terrible, but I was very good at rhyming. While I moved thankfully past end-rhyming by the time I got to grad school,  I am still a girl who loves internal rhyme and slant rhyme and repeating sounds. Consonance, assonance, anaphora and all those other tasty poet treats. 

The other night, I was working on a piece from CARNIVAL GAMES and relished the particularly delicious combo of "strangle" and "mangroves," that scratched a nice little part of my brain and it was one of those moments I have occasionally, despite log days writing other things, of thinking and pining over writing other things, of feeling frustrated that poetry has such a small audience, that being a poet feels exactly right.