We got some.
And then we got some more.
And then more on top of that.
We got some.
And then we got some more.
And then more on top of that.
And, also, Patricia Smith is made of more awesome.
I haven’t done one of these in AGES. However, Awesome Megan (I think that’s how I will always describe her now) suggested it, so here we are. Perhaps I’ll even try to do this with some regularity? Who knows. Anyway, onward!
1. There was/is apparently some sort of thing about two spaces/one space after a period over at Slate. I don’t usually like Slate – I find so many of it’s articles to be anti-woman (such as this self-righteous piece about the Philly abortion nightmare thing, which I won’t get into here because omg it’s Friday GOODness, and how did I end up talking about this???) – but this article is kind of funny. Interestingly, the Telegraph has a complementary piece up. Just don’t bother with reading anything else by that Damian Thompson guy, especially if your head is full of “liberal bilge” and shit like this pisses you off.
2. Well, since I mentioned the Philly nightmare, let me just counteract that link to the Slate article up there by also including this link to the Feministe response to Slate. Yay Jill!
4. The Alot is Better than You at Everything. This is definitely ancient history in Teh Interwebz Yearz, but it’s still hilarious to grammar nerds like me.
5. My hands smell like coffee. I’m not sure this is a good thing, but I felt it was important for you to know.
6. Oh! Yeah! Check out the list of Short Story Award for New Writers finalists over at GlimmerTrain. Recognize any names in the finalist list?
7. Last night I started reading Ross Gay’s new book Bringing the Shovel Down and it’s great so far. Look for a post about it when I’ve finished, and in the meantime go buy yourself a copy. If you can’t do that, you can check out Ross’ page at From the Fishouse.
9. I am really looking forward to working with Jacob on the new Harry Potter Lego sets he received this week. Oh, and surprise? I also bought him Diagon Alley, but haven’t told him that yet. Waiting for an exciting moment when he does something especially cool. Have you seen it? Kind of awesome.
10. And finally, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Amanda Palmer’s newest video, “Map of Tasmania.” Be warned, it’s probably NSFW:
Once you’re done watching that, head on over to her website where you can buy the whole dang album for only 69 cents! (Haha, get it? 69? I just realized that right now.)
I just found out, literally a minute ago, that my photography professor, Mark Ensslin, passed away last summer.
I happened to think of him today, after a long period, and realized that although he used to post regularly on Facebook, I hadn’t seen any updates from him in some time. After visiting his profile, I spotted the following message from his wife, dated July 9, 2010:
This morning Mark passed away after a short illness. I have lost my love and will miss him every day.
I don’t know how I missed this. I am incredibly sad.
I wrote this entry after visiting Mark to participate in his photo thesis, Arraignment. I am not sure what will happen now with this project; Mark asked me to write an intro for his thesis, in which I responded to the experience of being photographed. I’m not sure if he used it, but I hope, even if he chose not to, that he knows I was moved in a big way by his project.
His photoblog is here; it’s a good snapshot into his life and personality.
So I was all prepared to do a post about Jessie J’s new video, “Do It Like A Dude.” I was stoked to talk about it because of all the genderbending etc. etc. But then I was like No let me check out Autostraddle first because I want to see what they said about it. So then I read that and it turns out that Autostraddle said everything I wanted to say except better so you should go read that article instead of me having to write one. But if you don’t feel like clicking over there, then here’s my quick synopsis:
Is the Jessie J song/video (below) offensive and insensitive toward women/gay people? Maybe. Not sure yet. But maybe not.
It is, however, totally not safe for work.
So instead I’m going to talk about
two three seemingly unrelated things. And they seem unrelated because, in fact, they are.
1. PJ Harvey
She is hot. In a “Sometimes I’m kind of crazy and sometimes I pretend to be a Victorian child” kind of way. And she is releasing a new album, called Let England Shake. You can check out some info on it at her website, and I strongly suggest you listen to both “The Last Living Rose” and “The Words That Maketh Murder.” They’re both fantastic.
I’m really excited because every time PJ releases a new album, she reinvents herself. And it seems like the PJ Pendulum is swinging from Crazy (White Chalk-I’m-always-wearing-this-weird-white-dress-with-puffy-sleeves) to Awesome again. Ok, but seriously: as an artist I really respect her willingness to push her art further than she’s gone before. I don’t always enjoy the result, but I definitely appreciate that she wants to challenge herself as much as possible. Plus, I’m looking forward to a listenable album again. Because “Black Hearted Love” was seriously the only track I could manage from her latest collaboration with John Parrish.
I mean, everyone already knows that Freddie Mercury is pretty much the coolest thing that ever happened to anything in life. Seriously? Look at this:
Dude is wearing a freaking crown. Although it just occurred to me that may be photoshopped. But it’s funny because no one can be sure if that’s photoshopped or not (I mean, arguably) becuase Freddie totally wore shit like that. Have you seen this?
Anyway, I could spend a whole other blog post talking only about his awesomeness, and how someone put him on a pair of sneakers. And maybe I will. But that’s not this blog. I’m just really excited because my cousin has discovered the joy of Queen, and it just reminded me how absolutely awesome the awesomeness of Queen is. And I just wanted to say that. In public. On my blog.
So there you go.
Also: I say “seriously” a lot.
The prompts were crazy-difficult again. I got two solid drafts out of them, poems that I’m happy with and think will fit well in the manuscript (which I think I will constantly be revising even as I send it out). I spent time with good friends I don’t get to see often enough. I ate a delicious pizza that was as big as the very large plate it was served on. I skipped breakfast every day in favor of sleep. I didn’t take enough pictures.
Sunday evening, Patricia Smith and Dorianne Laux gave a reading. I was simply blown away by Patricia Smith. If you’ve never heard her read anything, you are really, really missing out. And I will try to help you with that by linking you to the following videos:
Patricia read three long poems, “34″ (which is in her book Blood Dazzler; this link will take you to a video of her reading at the 2008 Dodge Festival), along with “13 Ways of Looking at 13″ and a third poem that I can’t remember the title of, but which was incredibly moving). She is a standout reader, to be sure, and throughout the poems my body felt like a tightly-clenched fist. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath for most of each poem until Patricia finished, and I let out a giant exhalation. I mean, really, just stunning. I had the good fortune to speak to her after the reading (many thanks to Donna V, who introduced me), and even had a picture snapped with her, which you can be sure I’ll post as soon as I get a copy of it!
I also had the great pleasure of workshopping this weekend with BJ Ward. I haven’t done that in about 5 years, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is to work through poems with him, line by line, examining each word and image. My draft for that workshop was a bit strange–a poem of revenge, in which a bully is set upon by hornets–but I came away with good ideas for revision and a strong sense that I am still in love with words.
Donna and Ashley were also there this weekend – not as official Getaway-ers, but as room-crashers. They had their own little getaway in my room, giving each other prompts and writing all day Saturday and Sunday. Donna kicked ass and finished two stories this weekend that she’d started some time ago. I read one of them last night and cried my eyes out – the only time she has been permitted to be happy that I’m crying. Ashley, for her part, cranked out her first poem in some months – and what a poem it was. So it was a good weekend for everyone, I think.
I feel like there is more I wanted to say, and of course now I can’t recall.
Please stop what you’re doing right now and go read this poem.
Trust me, you will not be sorry.
Ok, so a couple cool things happened this week.
1. I finished reordering the manuscript, and when I say “finished reordering the manuscript,” I mean “I put it into a brand-spanking-new document on my Mac and it’s now saved as A Door Opens At Night Version 2.docx and it’s ready to be released to the world.” And when I say “released” I mean “picked up by an amazing press that is very cool to its authors and wants to give me a small amount of prize money for working so hard on this.” And when I say “small amount of money” I mean “more than $1 and probably less than $1 million.” And when I say “probably” I mean “most definitely.”
Anyway, it feels good to be done. I’m happy with the state of it for now, though if others’ experiences are any indication, there might be more revision in my future. But for now, it’s good. It’s strong. I believe that it has legs and will learn to run in the right directions. And I’m going to start aiming it in the next few weeks.
2. I went to see Joan Larkin read at Drew University on Wednesday. She was fantastic. I was really impressed by her reading style–she is calm and engaging, and absolutely adorable. She confessed to getting a little nervous at readings, and even acknowledged a slight stumbling in a poem. My only complaint is that she didn’t read nearly long enough. I could have listened to her all night.
After the reading, I had a nice chat with Patrick Rosal, a NJ poet whose work I have loved since I first read it back in 2007. Pat, who has been incredibly encouraging of my own work, took a moment to introduce me to Ross Gay, another poet whose book really affected me. Standing there, talking to two poets whose work I truly respect and admire, and who appear to be wonderfully kind and generous people, it became very, very clear to me that I need to stop messing around in the corporate world and get into the poet’s life. This simple exchange was probably the most powerful of the night for me:
Me: I have a job that interferes with the rest of my life.
Pat: That’s so refreshing to hear, because most people think that their lives interfere with their jobs.
What am I doing here?
So. In the next week, I am committing to accomplish a few things. I need to make changes, and I will not be happy with the changes unless they ultimately lead to me doing something more substantial with writing.
I’m going to do it right. 2011 is going to be my year.
Each year, I make resolutions. Last year, I think I resolved to write every weekend, and to send 2 submissions each month to poetry journals. Mostly, I fail to keep these resolutions (although I have been writing much more consistently lately). My lack of resolve, however, doesn’t stop me from continuing to make the resolutions. So here we go:
Whew. I don’t think I’ve ever made so many resolutions for one year. Some of them are bound to stick, eh?
I have a vague idea that I might lay out a road map to achieving these goals. We’ll see about that.
*Marked as complete though it will continue throughout 2011