New Poem Out -- Weave

The latest issue of Weave Magazine is out, woo!  I just got my contributor copy in the mail, and found that a friend of mine and I both have work in this lovely journal -- and on facing pages!

I'm also tickled to be listed on the website in the "Featuring work by" before the "and more...," for whatever it's worth. Fun!

My poem is from my living statues/Pygmalion's children series, others of which have previously appeared in PANK online and the Nashville Review, and two of which will come out in Gargoyle soonish.

Check out this issue of Weave, if not for my work, for the other goodies! I especially like, after a first glance, poems by Danez Smith and Rochelle Hurt.


I just got back from a week in Asheville, NC with my friend Lindsay, a fellow letterpress lady and typewriter-advocate, and my boyfriend.

We went for the letterpress and arts. We stayed for the chocolate.

This was a "liquid truffle," a hot sipping chocolate from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, the "Indian Kuffi" flavor. It had cardamom, rose, and pistachios. I speak of it in the past tense because it was not long of this world. I struggled to merely sip, not gulp, this 4oz treat.

This is chocoalte mousse, also from the French Broad. Delicious as well (the liquid truffle was better). The purple stripe is a fresh berry ganache or something. I took the picture from the side I hadn't eaten yet -- can you tell?

We also stayed in Asheville for the tacos. We ate a lot of tacos. Boyfriend had mediocre Black Mountain tacos the first night (Lindsay and I had thai). The next day, we stumbled upon these beauties from The Local Taco in downtown Asheville:

That would be, from left to right:

pulled beef brisket with mole rojo,
pickled onions, and cilantro

PORTABELLA Marinated portabella
mushrooms with Three Graces Dairy sage
goat cheese, zucchini slaw, tomatoes, and
crispy fried onions

DUCK & SHIITAKE Maple Leaf Farm duck
medallions with shiitake mushrooms, napa
slaw & hoisin crema


Boyfriend got a taco platter, which looked far more exciting before I took his sides, and even less exciting once I stole his guacomole and lime (on the bottom left there.

Aren't these vegetarian black beans and Mexican tater tots beautiful? Well, I thought so, especially with that guac.

Everything at The Local Taco was beautifully presented. This was Lindsay's fancy corn...

And her fancy taco and fancy drink. We also had the absolute nicest waitress, who practically read our minds. 

We also ate tacos at the White Duck Taco Shop in the River Arts District (another day, we're not that taco crazy!) I don't have pictures because we got them to go, and to go tacos, while delicious, are not as picture perfect as they could be. I got a taco with kimchi and korean beef, and a lamb gyro taco. OM NOM NOM!

A friend of ours had insisted we could not visit Asheville without eating sweet potato pancakes at Tupelo Honey Cafe. Boyfriend got fried chicken and biscuits, no gravy, because he was not persuaded that sweet potato belonged in pancake. Turns out, it does belong in pancake, but boy does it make a LOT of pancake! This thing is the size of a dinner plate! It was bigger than my head! And I have a pretty big head!

That's peach butter nestled in a sweet cluster of pecans and powdered sugar on top. I got my pancake with granola in it, and a side of goat cheese grits. OM NOM indeed.

We certainly made a point of eating well for breakfast. One morning we ate at the Creperie Bouchon, which is sort of related to a much more expensive French comfort food restaurant we weren't quite convinced was worth risking the pricey menu. At the creperie, the food was delicious and within our budgets. I had watermelon-ginger gazpacho soup,

 and an obviously satisfying nutella and seasonal berries crepe. 

For three breakfasts, we enjoyed pastries from the Black Mountain Bakery. I don't have pictures; I was impatient and hungry.

Ok, ok, enough of the food already!  Here's some cool swag I picked up in our adventuring:

The skirt is from Hip Replacements, and yes, it's hip. The skirt makes me feel very hip. As in, I have hips. Yep. I fell in love with it thinking it was on the sale rack, but it... wasn't.... Alas. I bought it anyway. I also bought boxes of truffles from The French Broad, OM NOM never ever enough chocolate. The little brown book is from Malaprops Bookstore, which carries tiny and small press books as well as big press books, which was fun and impressive. 

I got the bear card from Asheville Bookworks, which is a wonderful arts space chock full of letterpress and book arts and papermaking equipment (well, they recently relocated the papermaking studio), with studio and equipment rentals and classes and shows. 

I got a wallet of upcycled leather and bar of handmade soap from Garage 34, which we found while heading to the French Broad Chocolate Bar and Lounge a second time. 

We also stopped to peer in the windows at 7 Ton Collective's studios; sadly, we would be on our way home on Saturday when they'd be open. It looked like a nice space, and they're really near a beautiful community garden.

We DID get to visit and talk to Mark Olson, the proprietor/master printer of Innerer Klang letterpress studio. He barely looked up from his printing on a 10x15 platen press to chat with us. I picked up the iguana card there, and I hope to track down his former apprentice to buy a print of her nasturtium suicide print, which would make a great gift for Boyfriend's mom.

I don't have photos of Penland School of Crafts, which Lindsay and I visited on Tuesday. It was too rainy to haul out my iPad (I managed to lose my camera at the beginning of the summer, before, you know, all the traveling), but we were lucky enough to visit in between sessions, so we got to wander the studios. We visited the gallery and store as well as the letterpress and book and photography and glass studios. I'll be applying again next summer to take some classes (I got wait listed for funding this year), and I really hope I'll get the opportunity to work in that energetic environment.

We also visited the Blue Spiral 1 Gallery, where we went for the show of work by Jessica C White of Heroes & Criminals Press, and stayed for room upon room of art by locals and Penland artists and this guy Andy Farkas, who has gorgeous wood engraving prints, and is actually not, as I had thought, the same person as Andy Farkas, UA MFA in Creative Writing graduate.


So, that book in the picture above, the one that's called Self Portrait: Book People Picture Themselves, is super cool. I picked it up at the bookstore in Asheville. This guy Burt Britton, a bookseller at the Strand in the 70s, collected not just signatures from authors and illustrators and poets, but their own self-portraits. Here are some of my favorites...

Also, this made me happy, in a yarn shop in Asheville:

Self-doubt and self-confidence

"I think what I’ve learned most in my writing adventures this summer—and in the past two years of my MFA—is that the recipe for a writer isn’t how well-read you are or how much you know about craft; it’s an equal amount of self-confidence and self-doubt. Someone who believes he/she is destined to be a great poet isn’t going to work as hard as someone who isn’t quite sure, and the poet who only doubts will never really be a poet at all. Our work will only be as complex as we ourselves are."

--Bryanna Lee at her blog [Some Cliche]

I'm three years into a four year MFA, and even though I haven't had to return to the real world just yet, this balance of self-confidence and self-doubt rings true to me.

Search terms

My post about Chocolate Peach Pasta is the fifth result if you happen to search for "peach pasta Alabama" (I searched in an Incognito window). Incidentally, that first result has a recipe that looks pretty good, too.

I don't know why anyone would search for "peach pasta alabama" but there you go.

And if you happen to search for "chocolate peach pasta" (I have no idea why you would), my post is the second result, after the website that has the recipe I tried and modified.

New poem up

Sixth Finch's latest issue just went live todayish, which I can say from what is left of today. I just finished reading all the poems in it and admiring all the artwork, and how the issue has arrows and an intended order. I am reeling in this issue. Oh and they were so kind as to include a poem of mine! Please go read the whole issue here. It is a well-proportioned issue and more than a bite of wonderful.

Happy happy happy...

I am extremely excited to be in the latest issue of Artifice. I love the seductive matte cover and the redness of it. I love that they took one of the weirder writing things I've done -- a collage/mashup of some existing texts to create a new narrative. I'm also so happy that two of my friends and fellow Bama MFAs are in here too -- and!

Also, I can't wait for the next issue of Weave Magazine, 09, to come out!  Again, I'll be in there with Brandi Wells. Weave was kind enough to take one of my favorite poems of mine, which sorta goes with my poems over at PANK and The Nashville Review.

And then the next issue of Gargoyle, 60, out sometime this summer, will have a couple poems of mine that go with the ones at Weave, etc.... AND Brandi is in this issue too.

We're making a habit of this.


In the meantime, I went to Bermuda for a week. The weather was perfect. The pink sand and turquoise water were perfect. The wild Bermuda cherries with ridges, orange flesh, and the taste of flowers and pepper... were perfect. The frogs chirped all night and the birds whistled all day.


I have been writing a poem a day for the month of June, having taken May off after writing a poem a day in April. I am finally becoming comfortable with a habit of writing.

The biggest box of them all.

I promised my boyfriend a box to hold nearly 800 of his Magic the Gathering Cards... for Christmas... 2012. I managed to complete (or nearly complete) the box... three days ago. To be fair, it was no small undertaking. I had to take a sheet of Davey board, slice it up just so, and glue it up to look like this:

I covered it in beautiful paper from Cave Paper, and I cut neat flaps for the inside walls to fit around the dividers:

And then I glued them all down...

And then realized I should have thought about how much material I had left. See, I wanted the whole box to be covered in the same paper, but I only had about enough left to cover the lid and a few of the inside walls.

I glued up the lid insert next

It's hollow on the inside. The lid will stay on with magnets, so the inset had to be deep enough to secure the magnets, but I didn't want to laminate five or six sheets of board together because it would make the lid strangely heavy. This way, the lid will have a bit of heft, but not too much.

I covered the inset with black gelatin-sized flax paper, also from Cave Paper. The sparkly bits are mica! It looks pretty enough to hang on a wall as is:

I glued that to a lid piece, and then mucked around with other materials to line the bottom and walls on the inside of the box tray. I used a rust-colored Iris book cloth for the bottom, because the color seemed to go well enough. I layered the crackle flax paper on the divider walls, to cover the raw edges of cloth fabric (except for along the outside of the box, by necessity). I was then completely out of crackle paper, so I used the black sparkle flax to line the tops of the dividers.

And voila! The final box:

And on the inside...

This is only about 60 cards, to demonstrate that the dividers are spaced far enough apart.  All I need to do now is glue on a bottom (when I order more material to make the bottom covered in the crackle paper) and glue the MTG colors in the inset circles on the outside of the box... and probably glue another piece to the lid that has a circle inset, because there are five colors in MTG, not four, and I forgot to cut an inset in the lid. Whoops.

Next time, I'll over-estimate materials, instead of under-estimating. Even though the Cave Paper is expensive, it's worth over-estimating so I can get it right. The proper way to cover the divider walls would have been to fold one piece of the crackle paper over each divider, so there would be no raw edges of paper or cloth along the side for the cards to bump, so the walls would be nice and smooth. Then, instead of a cloth bottom, I would have probably used the sparkle black, to mirror the inset lid.  Although, I'm fairly pleased with the rust color.

In other news, here are some hardback books I made in Binding II this semester:

You know, real books.

Here is a shortbread cookie in the shape of a cat:

I have a cold, so I figured if I am going to drink a lot of tea, I might as well eat some buttery biscuits with it.

My friend Uhle, who was in my Binding II class, and who is from Germany, gave me this wonderful feminist magazine from Germany that happens to share my name!

Also, I made challah. A couple weeks ago now, but I miss it so much I dream about it at night. I should make more. You know, when I'm not sick.

In other news, I signed up for way too many credits of things in the fall. You know, my thesis year. I'll be binding, printing, thesising, teaching for the first time!!! and TAing a book arts class, and taking some pedagogy classes. Hopefully I will also eat challah french toast and sleep in occasionally, too. You know, in December.

Happy New Year

The newest issue of BWR, and my second and last as editor, arrived a tad early to my utter delight.

Meet/meat the Offal issue, 39.2.  Isn't she stunning? Powerful and gorgeous? This issue is my favorite yet. It will debut at AWP in Boston in the first week of March.

I have poems in the next issue of Artifice, which you can pre-order here. I'm off-the-wall excited -- I absolutely love Artifice AND my former managing editor (who is now taking the reins as editor for issue 40.1 of BWR!) and former poetry editor are both in this issue as well!  So it's basically the BWR issue of Artifice... uh, right?


Over the past month or so, I've seen snow in Boston (expected), Baltimore (a rare white Christmas!), and even in Tuscaloosa of all places.

My roommate's dog and I went out tromping in the graveyard, mandated by people on Facebook to find snow ghosts.

The cats declined to join us.

"Are you serious?"

We searched high and low among the headstones and fake flowers. It was quite pretty, and, unsurprisingly, rather warm.

We found this little guy taking refuge under a tree, but his conversation was a bit two-dimensional (ah hah hah).

Finally, we met our match, a snow ghost even taller than our dear pup.  This ghost made quite a mess.  Luckily, the roads were scarier than the ghost, so he probably melted before anyone but the dog and I saw him.

Meanwhile, back at the house:

They were not amused.

Bluestem, Cellpoems, Pushcarts, Oh My

A poem of mine went up on Bluestem today (thanks, Bluestem!). You can find it here, along with other good things to read, like Emma Ramadan's "Found," which jumped out at me as haltingly tumbling and fun to read.

Thanks, Conte: A Journal of Narrative Writing, for kindly nominating my poem for Pushcart consideration! I've never been a nominee before.  I should probably acquire one of those t-shirts. T-shirt or no, I'm ridiculously flattered.

Speaking of Pushcarts, snarky boyfriend says I shouldn't nominate BWR contributors for Pushcarts because I'd be hurting my chances of winning. Snark or no, a Pushcart for a BWR contributor is a Pushcart for me in my heart -- seriously. If you're curious, I've posted our list of nominees for 2012 here. If you love me you'll be hoping for any of these six writers to win as much as you're hoping for me.

Speaking of writing, I've narrowly managed to fail NaNoWriMo: Poetry Edition, which is my dear friend Lindsay's version of NaNoWriMo (I just followed along) in which we wrote a poem a day for the month of November -- instead of 1500 words a day or some such nonsense. Now, we've both managed to write toward larger projects, or rather, we've both found that the poems we've written are linked. So we've ended up writing the better part of a book of poetry each. 

I say I failed narrowly because I think I'm two or three poems behind... and suddenly I find it's December 1. Whoops. I'll be writing the last few tonight and tomorrow... between reading The Master and Margarita, reading Sisaphus Rex in the graveyard, twirling around in my first ModCloth purchase, playing Magic, playing Settlers of Catan, reading galleys for BWR 39.2, tomorrow's galley meeting for 39.2, making apple cider caramels, playing freeze tag, snuggling with my cats... you know, all of these important writerly things.

Thanksgiving, and NOLA Take 2

I always have a temptation when blogging to recap months worth of blog material, since I end up blogging so infrequently. I'll just stick to the last few days, beginning with this:

What's wrong here?  A close-up might help:

My mom and aunt came to Tuscaloosa for Thanksgiving, turning Thanksgiving into a glorious mix of family and friends. We had good food, good company, and lots of turkey (seriously, do you want turkey?). I roasted my first turkey, with a little help from Whole Foods (it was pre-brined and pre-gutted, thank goodness) and Alton Brown.  Sadly, I forgot to get a photo of the whole turkey. It was a bit mottled. I stuffed it with rosemary from the yard and sage and apples and cinnamon. My roommate made adorable ginger cookies, with a pastry cutter instead of the Kitchenaid, which freed up my other roommate to make a vegan, sugar-free pie crust (not pictured, sadly).

I made my uncle's cranberry sauce (and now I have nearly an entire quart of cranberry sauce)... And here's what the final spread looked like, well, most of it. We had whipped chipotle purple Japanese yams (vegan and buttered), chunky mashed potatoes (vegan and buttered), lentil loaf, kale salad with pomegranates among other wonderfulness, curried brussels and cauliflower, vegan sausage stuffing, whipped vegan potatoes, cranberry sauce, chestnut soup, rosemary bread, tofurkey, gravy, and of course the turkey. For dessert, the ginger cookes, plus brownies, two chocolate pudding pies, the apple pie, vegan pumpkin pie, apple cider caramels, ice cream, and I think that's everything?


My plate was so colorful!

My aunt brought me salted chocolate-covered caramels, which I did not share with anyone:

Then my aunt and mom took me the next morning to New Orleans, since they had never been. I made them take us to get beignets, which I didn't share, either:

(...and made a spectacular mess of myself outside a fancy yarn store, so I didn't feel right going in and rubbing my sugary hands all over the yarn).

In my eagerness to share evidence of my gluttony, I skipped the part where we walked around the graveyard, where we sat and chatted around the fireplace, where we did SO MANY DISHES, where we slept well and heavily, where we woke early and drove for four hours, where we ate a few bites of bad Mexican food in Hattiesburg, where we admired the giant bridge into NOLA, where the GPS told me to "caution" for driving 1 (ONE) mph over the speed limit and I wanted to throw it out the window.

NOLA is full of strange sights, like this store of pink things:

And these fine stemware specimens:

We ate of grumpy fish:

We reconsidered buying pralines wrested from the jaws of a giant alligator:

We despaired over poor (yet hilarious) taste in souvenirs:

We rolled some tide at the French Market... well, I chuckled, which is, for me, rolling tide:

A lady was selling individual Lego figurines, some of which she had customized. A guy in a wheelchair bought a Lego guy made to look like him, in a Lego wheelchair.

I fell in love with the woman in this portrait:

Did you know cats love beignets too? Thanks, Cary Chun Lee, for teaching me something new with your art.

The street artists and performers were fantastic. My favorite by far was this guy who... well, see for yourself...

He was a living Transformer! He would be tucked up in a car costume, which he could move around in like a monster truck, with his feet and hands at the wheels. Then, he'd unfold (more so than in the photos, sorry, by the time I got the camera going he was de-costuming) and stomp around as a Transformer! Nice details, too.

I loved this cat in a store display almost as much as she loved being in the window.

I bought some small things as gifts for people, and my mom bought me a foot massage/reflexology so my aunt and I could loosen up after all the walking (and all my Thanksgiving cooking!), but my mom bought the coolest thing by far. She was determined to come away from NOLA with a mask:

I modeled. Perfect?

Also... wtf is up with the van called "weed world candies" handing out creepy lollipops?

Did I mention we got beignets twice?

In other news, NaNoWriMo Poetry Edition (with the lovely Lindsay of Goose Hill blog and Thread Lock Press) is going swimmingly. We're each writing a poem a day and exchanging them. Eggplants and Peter Pan. Vertigo and transformation. I'm going to go write a poem for yesterday (I fell asleep so early) and a poem for today.

Oh, I forgot: Cafe Dumond tried to poison me. Luckily, I have a steel stomach (ahaha, no) which was miraculously unaffected by this milk (see expiration date: Dec 2007!!!!). This cannot possibly be correct.

Always behind, always ahead

I'm really happy to have a poem (poem? prose?) online at Hobart. You may quickly realize that I was in some way influenced by Kathy Acker, among others. I had the most fun writing this poem than I've had writing a poem in a while, so it's nice to see it out there on the intarwubs.



I've already crowed about it on the book of faces, but my very first BWR has arrived, and I love it. I love everything in it. Love love love love. Get you yours here (er, as soon as we can get BWR 39.1 listed for purchase).

And yet! My time as BWR editor has all kinds of threads which are beginning to tie themselves off.  Today was my last poetry meeting. To come: my last feature meeting, my last galleys 1-4, my last blues, my last decisiveness when facing the last gorgeous cover options my design editor offers. I'm happy to continue working with my awesome genre, managing, and design editors right up through the end of the semester. Then the holidays, AWP, and some lasts I'd rather not imagine yet.  It's too early to reminisce, to nostalgize. Vomit. Still, some firsts left, too.


Whenever I have free time, I spend it playing Magic the Gathering with friends, or eating out more than I ought, or traveling three hours each way to see Ann Carson read, or watching the Bama Theater Art House movies every week, or getting ahead in reading for class. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I am finally doing things I always envy others for but never seem to do: waking up "early," going for walks, reading in the sunlight, absorbing myself in crafts. And pumpkin carving. (My friend's was more impressive.)


The binding class I'm taking has absorbed me. I'll be taking the next section of it in the spring. People at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts bought two of my nicest books and a package of two double-pamphlets. I now have cash to pay for the unbound version of the gorgeous Webster's Pictorial Dictionary, which I'll use for a project next semester.

I am in love with boxes and Japanese silk book cloth. I am in love with color matching and paste making. I am in love with structural circles in my stitching.

I am trying to figure out which book to give to my creative writing mentee, who has been brightening my Mondays all semester.


If I seem overly cheery and productive, well, you should know I haven't swept or vacuumed in over a month and I accidentally locked my roommate out of the house, which inconvenienced her by two and a half hours and two miles, after her run. And that's all I'll admit to the internet.

Knee-deep in contest entries

I'm extremely pleased at the high quality of contest entries we received. Although this means deciding upon a winner will be quite difficult. Thank goodness we have contest judges, yeesh.


I'm taking a book binding class in the book arts program, and it's the most satisfying class I've had in a long while. I love workshops and lit classes, but there's something about the immediate utility of bound books that has a similar pull for me as ceramics. (Though I've had difficulty making time to properly investigate the Clay Co-op down the street.)

The repetition and precision and craft of binding are what comfort and thrill me. When it comes to making creative choices (cover choice, varied materials, colors, etc) I bump up against the mental exhaustion that makes writing more of a chore these days. But because the emphasis of this class is craft, is practice, I feel as if I'm somehow strengthening the creative part of my brain. Like when I took Robin's forms class (and before that, in Baltimore, Ed Perlman's forms class).


Kellie Wells's class on Fabulism has single-handedly refreshed my joy in reading and talking about writing.


This weekend, my cousin married his girlfriend of ten years, on their ten-year dating anniversary. I'm ridiculously happy for them, and admire their love, confidence, courage, and downright love of life. I'm also impressed at how perfect a wedding it seemed, simple but beautiful, and highly personalized.

End of Summer...?

I managed to scarf two lobster rolls while helping the ol' boyfriend move in up in Boston. Alas, I only took a picture of one, but both were delicious.

We drove past Brandeis' campus... did you know that they have a castle?  Castles are cool.  This one is young for a castle, having been built in 1928 according to Wikipedia.

Much of the architecture in Boston is noteworthy and grand, but drive-by photography is hard.

We had breakfast at Wilson's Diner, an old fashioned -- REAL -- diner.  Hard to beat diner eggs toast and kielbasa.  

Speaking of food, back in Baltimore before Boston, I ate this at some point:

It's a lamb pita.  It was delicious.  I ate half of it and left the other half in boyfriend's car overnight, so the car smelled like sicky sweet lamb for our trip up to Boston.  And while driving around Boston.  I'm such a good friend.

We went to the Science Museum in Boston, for a break from unpacking and visiting Target and unpacking and visiting Target and putting together Ikea furniture and unpacking and washing dishes and all of those things that really don't make for good photos.  

But science museums make for good photos.  See if you can spot the bird that's not like the others, one of these birds just doesn't belong:

Yeah these birds are wondering who let that joker in here.

This bird wants you to learn you somethin' about being Endangered.

This is not a bird.  It is a giant lobster.  The random child conveniently stuck his head in my photo just to give you a sense of proportion.  I can't tell if the lobster is plastic or lobster-taxidermied.  Sometimes if you're exceptional you get rewarded with being a museum piece.  Other times you get taken home and fed frozen squid.  Just think of the lobster roll this guy'd be.

I missed my cats, and it would appear they missed me.  Here's Beanie skeptically showing his love when I got back.  Either that or we're both poking each other with our paws.

Summer Update

So much of my summer is unrecorded photographically, but now that I have acquired a camera, I have no excuse for not providing evidence of my adventures.

You might enjoy the photos of this dog rolling in the sand almost as much as I enjoyed laughing at her and my mother, which I enjoyed almost as much as the dog enjoyed rolling.  I guarantee you enjoyment that surpasses the dog's enjoyment of her shower bath that followed.


You definitely won't enjoy this photo of sushi as much as I enjoyed eating it; I place it here simply to make you jealous.  To ease the pain I won't list off the delicious ingredients.

Here too is evidence that I sometimes arise before the sun.  This time I took her picture.

While I failed to puzzle (v. to complete puzzles) at the beach, I did play games back in Maryland. Those hands are the hands of my game-loving Maryland friends.  I believe I won this game, but I could be lying to myself.

While I was at the beach, my home in AL was burgled.  Albert Einstein was ripped from his shoebox coffin and left to search for rhyme or reason in the mess.  He determined that nothing valuable was taken, aside from...

my dear cat.  The bungling burglars left open the window they forced, and so my cat hopped through it and had a three-day adventure in the neighborhood.  Thanks to the patience and dedication of my friends, stripy cat is back safely and glaring at me for his house arrest.

But he was so happy to have me back, and I him.

There are more photos of him, but I'll spare you.

Hobo Pancakes

has a very good name, and they've got a poem of mine here, along with other "Iambic Ixplosions."

Now I can add "Hobo Pancakes" to my bio and giggle.


Summer submissions update:

Poems pending at 39 journals.  Several of these submissions packets are down to one or two poems per journal, which is kinda fun.  Acceptances: 13.  Rejections: over 40.  I'm losing count of rejections, which is a good thing.

My 13th acceptance is at a journal I'm absolutely bouncing off the walls about, but I'll wait to disclose until it's actually published.

It's about time for art

I've had a small tabletop printing press for about two years now, and I have very little to show for it other than my very first lino cut prints and a bookmark for a friend.  I decided that part of the problem is that I have no idea what fonts I actually have in my possession -- I know the names of some, but not all (the labels on some of the antique trays have fallen off), and I don't really know what they look like.

Solution?  A type catalog.  But hand setting the alphabet would get boring done fifteen times over, so I asked some friends here at 'Bama to send me short sections of their writing in exchange for a copy of the type catalog when it's complete.

Which means I now have decisions to make regarding structure of the booklet, size, paper, etc.  I'll have to make at least 15 copies, and I might as well make a few more.  Does the booklet get a name?  A table of contents?  What dimensions?

A spontaneous and brief visit to NOLA

with one Brandi, wherein we ate much seafood, sweated out whatever we drank, walked everywhere, dashed through rain, drove in circles, got chained in amongst tombs, witnessed Gothic Horrors, nearly hit 57 pedestrians dressed like zombies, consumed all of the beignets, debated the pronunciation of "beignet," basked in cool Mississippi River breezes, befriended rats, listened to 8 writers read (including Brandi) and admired unexpected giant puppets, who gazed cooly and without judgement back at us.

Like this one:

Our day began sheepishly early.
We left Tuscaloosa at the crack of some time past dawn,  7 ish a.m., and arrived in NOLA around 11:30. Ish. Filling our empty stomachs with food at the Green Goddess seemed more important than timekeeping, at the time.

Waking is the best way to learn a city. We walked to the French Market, to the River Walk,

where it is evident that the Mississippi is broader in the shoulder than our fair Black Warrior River back home.  

We explored touristy shops, you know, the vood00 ones, the hexy ones, the mask ones, the vintage clothing ones, etc.  There was a fun stand of steampunk gear at the French Market, where a wonderfully friendly lady persuaded us to try the mustaches-on-sticks. I said things with a mustache I would be concerned to say without:  "flibbertygibet," "macrame," and "incomprehensible!" -- but I was unable to match the sales lady's austere Sean Connery impressions.  "I moustache you a question, m'dear..."

I thoroughly embarrassed my friend. 

She demanded we head next to the St. Louis Cemetery, where back among familiar granite and marble I might regain my senses.  

The cemetery contained a mix of grand

and dilapidated tombs, all above-ground.  I can't tell you why, because we certainly didn't take the tour.

Suffice to say that old and new lay serenely side by side...

Someone had either risen or been uplifted...

And others, quietly remembered and protected.

Some had been stripped by thieves or vandals.

Others look like they are still visited.

When we had fulfilled our morbid curiosity, we went to leave, and saw that the gates had been barred shut.  Apparently they're serious about closing at 3, and we were too distracted to read a sign with the hours.

Undeterred, we scaled a giant wall with the help of convenient milk crates and passersby.

The... wall looks higher when people are standing next to it... and when you're uh, on the top...


The grey skies depicted above turned into deluges, and clever as I am, I had left the umbrella in the car. 

We checked in at our hostel in the Garden District, which looked suspiciously like the Bates on a  soppingly grey Friday the 13th. 

Dinner, oh dinner!  We stuffed ourselves with shellfish of two varieties back in the French Quarter (sadly, neither was crawfish, which is out of season), and I only lost the car for 15 minutes when we tried to leave.

After driving in circles looking for the Mudlark Theater, where B was to read as a part of the Southern Comfort Book Tour, in increasingly dim light and among increasingly looming, paint-peeling houses, we stopped in the middle of a gloomy intersection and gave up on ever finding the place... just as we realized we were right where we needed to be.

The Mudlark is in a very residential area that still shows the effects of Hurricane Katrina. I don't know why we were so surprised, since the former Alabama Art Kitchen of Tuscaloosa had rooted in an old house among old houses.

The outside of the Mudlark Theater is grey and almost sad, but look through that door, just look:

Untold treasures, I tell you!  If you like puppets, that is.

Puppets scale the walls and hang from the ceilings.

They cluster in trios and stare down at you disapprovingly.

They ride forth into the negative space above your head.

And the skeletons here are kept in the bathroom, not the closet.

As for the Southern Comfort Book Tour, it was fabulous!  Educational.  I heard about how I dated this guy I had wanted to date but who turned out to be a disappointment.  I listened to a woman's wrenching poems to her never-to-be-born child.

And before a cascade of red cloth, Brandi read about torsos.

I do like a good torso.

After the reading, we headed straight for bed, but not before consuming unreasonable amounts of beignets from Cafe Du Monde where the broad-shouldered Mississippi could disapprove and the rats could nibble at our toes.

On the morrow, er, this morning, Brandi joined the rest of the SoCo Tour for their journey to the next reading city.  I drove in more circles around the French Quarter, dreaming of a parking spot and hot breakfast, but instead took to the highway and the rain.  I met up with an old friend in Hattiesburg, MS, where we ate sandwiches at a record shop.

Podcasts make a 4.5 hour drive go all the faster.  I listened to some from The Nerdist and The Moth, attracted as I am to solid articles. Driving is the best time to hear stories about growing up biracial at a time when my parents did not, or how sometimes, just sometimes, coming out is more impossibly wonderful than one's darkest fears.

Front yard nature channel

Warning: This post is not for the snake-squeamish.

Earlier in the summer, a pair of cardinals built a nest in a bush right outside my bedroom window. I watched them build it, and occasionally the male would turn a suspicious eye my way, but they finished it. The female laid three eggs (when I wasn't watching) and sat on 'em for what felt like weeks to me.  Poor thing would sit there panting in the heat, and I couldn't bring her water for fear of scaring her from her nest.

Earlier this week, I noticed Mama Bird was missing, along with one of her eggs. I've kept a lookout for her, but she's gone. On Wednesday morning, the last two eggs went... into the belly of a snake, and I got to watch from the safety of my window... and later from the outside, while the snake seemed too lethargic and full to be too bothered by my voyeurism.

It had its head in the nest and the second egg in it's mouth when I found it. I wish I had a better camera. It had dark hexagons all down its back.  I think it was a rat snake... 

Silent assassin took quite a while to swallow that egg, and both eggs slowly progressed down its belly. I could see its belly move in little flutters like breaths. 

Everyone I've told about this thinks that Mama Bird got et. I hold out hope that Snake got one egg while she was out of the nest, and she sensed it when she tried to return, so then abandoned the rest. 

Here's the crummy picture from inside my house. I couldn't remove the screen without disturbing the snake.

I wonder if I put a few quail eggs from Mr. Chen's Market into the nest, the snake will come back...