Welcome To My Bed

New news.

1.  I finally did all the legwork I'm capable of squeezing out for the poetry day.  They're paying me to read things to teenagers.  Somehow, I managed to dig up enough material that isn't either profane or somehow illicit (at least as far as high school administrators are concerned).  As a companion to a presentation that will probably only interest a small fraction of my listeners, I put together a zine with a list of ten quick, painless writing prompts and three alt-poems.  The first is a Mad Libs version of "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening"; the second is a collage poem about the point of poetry, made with material from John Cage's lecture on nothing and bits of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons (revived and revised from a college class on Black Mountain College//yes, I am a painfully serious nerd who should probably be buried in a graduate program somewhere); and finally, a bizarre word cloud thing I wrote the other day called "Quicksilver" that doesn't know what it's doing but seemed like an apt end note for the hand-out.  I'm going to top off the zany antics with a fur hat and a denim vest and maybe some rhinestone glasses so the kids all feel like they have permission to think I'm crazy, thereby getting that conversation out of the way up front.

2.  I am now the poetry editor at Side B Magazine.  I felt pretty dandy when I found out--the kind of blush til you're purple and not respond in conversation when somebody says congrats dandy feeling that often accompanies such things.  Anyway.  We like words and arts and cultural phenomena and under-represented voices.  Among many other fabulous things.  We'd most likely like you.  Submit things (anything, really--there are lots of categories and each has its own handler) and I will love you for your efforts as a pen pal.

3.  I worked a ten hour day on my feet in those awful Dansko clogs that are supposed to be so comfortable and am now certain that clogs of any type should never be stood in for so long.

4.  I have a loyal following of regulars who routinely say my coffees are the best they've ever had.  In spite of my wild barista successes, I have an interview for a real job on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed that the company falls in love with me.  They've already made it known that pink mohawk and face metal are not at all frowned upon.

5.  If all goes according to the fast and loose plan, I'll be a resident of Massachusetts again May 1st.  Giddy at the prospect of living in the same neighborhood as my best friend for the first time since the summer of boat-in-yard, nacho fail, and the curious incident of the disembodied pants haunting our stairwell.

"I hope you already got laid today. Twice."

Good afternoon, Wednesday. You have so much room for improving things. Thus far, I hung a giant cork board in my bedroom, ate quite a lot of perfect toast, drank coffee without bringing on a migraine, AND I finished my first painting since September. I would show off this last accomplishment, but it is a gift for my guy and will thus not be revealed to the internet at large until after the giving. However, I can show you one of the elses I got up to earlier today:

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I am trying to stave off the urge to dye the 'hawk teal without help (it is taking all of my will-power), and so I gave myself a little haircut instead. I will call this period of my life the "why the hell not" phase. It began this March, the first time I rocked the mohawk. I have generally been much happier since then.

A piece of today's soundtrack, courtesy of someone bored in a Boston office (and thus blowing up my inbox):



Then there's the ubiquitous Slug speech to get me souped for an awesome awesome day full of low-key wonderful:



And I will not apologize for my jealousy towards Nicki Minaj's pastel Cruella DeVille jam going on here:



And for my next trick, I will start a philosophical debate about Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" via Justin Timberlake on my Facebook wall. (Because when you are a loudmouth, you tend to live among many other delightful loudmouths.)

See you on the flip side of the year, loved ones. Pop champagne, kiss your boo when the ball drops, break in your new heels, eat pigs in a blanket with whole grain mustard, make a glittery mess of your (or someone else's) living room. However you decide to celebrate, know you are a small part of why I do a little happy dance in the mirror every morning upon waking.

And a final warning: 2011, I am coming for you in floral leggings and shit-kickers.

Punk in drublic.

The other night at dinner with the family, I made some comment regarding the fact that novelty of drinking in public had still not worn off. My cousin kindly reminded me of its illegality. I told him I did not care.

These cats don't either.

Vomiting rainbows.

Art is more important than brushing your teeth! I have spent the better part of my day off listening to estrogen-heavy hip hop and assembling the team chapbook, and man am I amped about both of those things. I got to arrange things in space, make use of my drafting table (and long-dormant drawing skills), and reread all of the team's wonderful poems. Happy, happy Friday!

And now, a quick sneak peak at the soon-to-be-printed book's cover (and one of my three new pairs of glasses):

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Running over to Duplications in a few minutes to make this shit real. Promise I'll brush my teeth beforehand.

Who doesn't love it when My Little Pony goes bad ass? Exactly.

Prioritizing.

So I had this picture in my save folder labeled "wishful thinking":

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And I decided to stop wishing. Besides the bleach, I am on my way. And the bleach can always happen later. As for the tattoos, we'll just say there are plans in the works. For now, this is the wish in progress, with a groggy face.

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Other life goals fulfilled this week include making the Hampshire NPS team, submitting poems to a publisher, telling someone off for sexual harassment at work, among various other gratifying moments.

This week only knows how to improve upon itself. Saturday afternoon, Cass and I ran a workshop on the floor of a Manchester office building with Jeanann Verlee, whose new book Racing Hummingbirds is phenomenal. She, besides being a presence onstage and kick-ass poet, is a delight to talk poem mechanics with. Although, my favorite moment of the workshop definitely came from McKendy when he told her, "You can totally pen-fuck that draft if you wanna," while she had his hard copy in her hands.

I still haven't turned my calendar over from March.

Blonde ambition.

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She's just too adorable. I had to try it out for myself.


I feel like I should be sitting under one of these things:

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Bathroom double process FTW.

UPDATE: Blonde got turned strawberry halfway through the dying process. I am debating keeping it or bleaching it further. Being a cartoon character might be fun for a little while...

Beat that beat up.

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Button put me on the scent of Super Mash Bros., and I have been obsessed since our driving adventure during which we had quite the dance party to a megamixed soundtrack of AWESOME. Maybe something in my brain has shifted, but the past six months have been absolutely saturated in pop, rap, and mash-ups. Somebody please make a rock album I can get down to. I am so bored of listening to the same ones over and over--my ears need fresh input! Even if it's only fresh cos you've got hits laid down over other hits. Mariah Carey singing a hook under a rapper yelling "throw some D's on that bitch"? Priceless. Eminem melded with MGMT?? Necessary. Beastie Boys into A-Ha into Lenny Kravitz, then slap some Nelly over the guitar lick from "What's My Age Again?" and press play. Anybody who lets me listen "Lean Like a Cholo" and the Spice Girls simultaneously has my heart. No question.

Don't even get me started on the politics of piracy--I just wanna dance!

Fuck Bitches. Get Euros.

All About the Scrillions

Put your words in my mouth.

1. I have lots of things to say today, but none of them are my own. I am recording an audio anthology of poems for my father's Christmas present. He told me today that he missed reading poetry and I smiled and said nothing. He has been half blind since before I was born. He has been one cloudy detached retina and no depth perception and I want to give him back some of what he has missed, something that will also help him see me more clearly. I hope desperately that this project will be that clarity. It's a strange sensation, reading the words of my friends and other poets I admire to record them for someone who has met only one or two of the writers. It's like introducing him to a room full of people that I love, but all of those people are speaking in my voice. I wonder if he'll be able to pick my own poems out of the crowd.

2. I am back in New Jersey and feel strange, as I have come to expect. My dad listens to Rush Limbaugh every day at lunch and tries to incite me to political argument. I agree with him in oblique ways (that the government is doing things wrong--beyond that, we tend to diverge) and try to only focus on those points of intersection. I told him about a Jared Paul piece I saw this summer about being arrested for rioting when not actually rioting and he said he'd like to shake Jared's hand. I laughed internally, because I'm sure if my dad actually spoke to Jared Paul, he wouldn't have the same kind of opinion. It amazes me that we can transform people simply be speaking about them in certain ways; by withholding certain details and playing up others, the real person can be distorted into absolutely anything. That kind of power is scary and awing.

3. I am buried in spoken word mp3s. All I want to do is be among writers again. Driving across the Tappan Zee late last night, I could feel my chest tightening at the suburbia on the other side. I had to stop for cigarettes. I sat in the 7-11 parking lot almost shaking. I haven't been so overwhelmed in a long time. The feeling was especially strong because of how calming Providence is for me; every time I rediscover that city, I feel more at home. The other night Meg and I read poems to each other for hours. It was blissful. There is no one from my real life in this house. I feel like there are two different halves to the way that I function--the mask I wear in this childhood house, the straight, quirky, Catholic daughter/sister who washes dishes that aren't hers; and then there is the person I am everywhere else, that messy thing with a litany of epithets and definitions, none of which fit completely. Lady Gaga came up at breakfast (I find ways to work her into conversation at least once a day) and I was surprised to hear my father saying things about performance art and empowering women, but what was more shocking is that when speaking about the queer community, it almost fell out of my mouth that I am a member. I cartoonishly clapped a hand over my mouth before the secret fell out and ruined the perfectly normal (okay, maybe that's debatable) conversation we were having and promptly changed the subject to Rihanna and domestic violence so I could deal with an opinion I'd already scripted for myself. It seems I only shop the supermarkets that sell cans of worms.

Sneak preview (just to in case you were wondering).

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A very brief glimpse of a maybe-kinda-sorta approximation of the new hair. Apparently the library has way better lighting than my house--I tried to take a picture of myself last night because a friend was badgering me about what the color looked like, but there was literally not a place in the house where I could get a good shot. Granted, I'm using the webcam on my Macbook, so I shouldn't expect dazzling results, but still. Ugh.

I just want to live inside this edition of the Times. Let's make a newspaper fort and never do homework again! (Or I could just grudgingly finish/turn in my portfolios--like I know I will--and drive to North Providence tomorrow afternoon for a wino night.)

In closing, YAY for visual echoes (and also redheads).

Nerding out, newly incognito.

1. I have work in five hours, so this will be brief. I finished my first final tonight, the one that is due last. I guess we'll call today working backwards? I'm very proud of the thing though--a big manila envelope full of poems from one of my workshops. I did revised drafts for almost all of them and turned in a few other extras. One item knocked off the to-do list.

2. The last meeting of Woman & Poet took place in the Smith rare book room this afternoon. I got to listen to recordings of both Virginia Woolf reading aloud from an essay of hers and Sylvia Plath being interviewed by Peter Or on the BBC about writing. A favorite quote from Ms. Plath, on her recently discovered affinity for the novel: "I can't put toothbrushes in a poem." I kept looking over at Cassandra giddily the entire session--if I am completely honest with you, I had to resist the urge to clap my hands in sheer delight, and I also found it difficult not to interject biographical knowledge into the lecture, even though it was being done by Karen Kukil, who just so happens to have been the editor of Plath's unabridged journals. Today was a day made in heaven, that is, if it weren't for the slush storm.

3. I was precluded from driving to the Cantab tonight by virtue of the fact that someone decided it would be a good idea to heft a large bucket of slush over the Northeast. Snow is pretty to look at, sure, but I was up to the tops of my Docs in it leaving the house this morning. The only reason I am forgiving the universe for this foregone road trip is because I already have one lined up to replace it--on Friday after class, I'm driving to Providence for my sister and her roommate's Christmas party. I foresee large amounts of wine and Christmas shopping this weekend.

4. Speaking of which, I am deadly behind on Christmas gifts. I can't go into specifics here because I'm sure I'll spoil someone's surprise, so let's just say that there's lots of leg work to be done and leave it at that.

5. You may or may not have watched the video blog, but if you have, you saw that I was in the process of dying my hair. I am proud to announce that is now fully dyed (duh) and is quite seriously RED. I feel a bit like an anime character. I'm not sure if that can be in a good way, but I still like it. On the other hand, I feel like I shouldn't wear pink for a little while. Next stop, platinum blonde cotton candy hair like GaGa at the end of the "Bad Romance" video. Maybe. If I keep feeling restless and aesthetically ambitious in the same breath, I'll keep exploiting that cross-section.

Drastic decision-time.

I am having a crisis of will when it comes to my hair lately. Every time it gets even the slightest length to it, I freak out and chop it all off again. Which works for me, to a certain extent. I never feel much like myself when I have any serious amount of hair. But then I get serious hairstyle jealousy whenever I see all the shiny baubles and wacky styles that people come up with, and I feel all down in the dumps about my inability to get to a point where I have long(ish) hair that I actually enjoy. I don't think I have ever actively enjoyed my hair when it was long. Besides being much more high maintenance, I just don't know if it looks right on me. When it gets past my ear lobes, I suddenly cannot stand it. I think this stems from the fact that I haven't brushed my hair in over five years, and once it gets to that point, the world dictates a need for hairbrushes. I cannot be bothered.

But today, I was standing in the hair dye aisle with my brother (kind of an odd thing to picture, being that he is twelve) and considering my options. I have only ever dyed my hair once, and only small bits at that, but for some reason I feel compelled to make a massive change to my outward appearance. Being that I am relatively broke, this change must be cheap to make. This rules out my usual methods of tattoos and piercings, wardrobe overhaul is simply out of the question (I like my current closet too much to oust it), and the options left behind are slim. Hair dye is the cheapest and easiest route for this massive change I've been craving. Besides simply shaving my head again, but honestly, who does that at this time of year? I would probably die of hypothermia during Jan Term if I were to be so bold. Anyway, I'm standing in the hair dye aisle and looking at the rainbow of available new lives: Do blondes really have more fun? Would an auburn that is really closer to a deep purple be too North Jersey mafia wife? Could I love myself as a redhead? Or do I just go all out and reach for a bottle of electric blue? All valid questions. My brother says that every time he tries to imagine me with long hair, he just sees me wearing a ridiculous wig.

So, the worry is this--do I wait for my hair to grow out before I make any drastic changes, or do I just go for it and see what happens? I am leaning more towards the first option, probably because I am scared of taking such a leap of faith without being able to test drive how I'd look before committing. But maybe this is a leap of faith that needs to be taken...

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bleach blonde?

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copper penny?

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pale blue?


HELP!

Ten things about today (Tuesday edition) 11.10.

1. "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" just came on shuffle. Today is going to be a good day.

2. I am pulling together a new chapbook, tentatively titled any number of ridiculous things, although at the moment, I'm thinking of calling it "Spindle". Thus far it is comprised of several imagined biographies of Sylvia Plath (blame my reading Rough Magic with the fervor of a woman possessed), the eyelashes poem I wrote for my sister this summer, my first stabs at persona (from the voices of EBB and ED, what can I say, I am just that nerdy), "Yes, Virginia" which previously appeared in the zine I sold at my Providence show, and an as-yet-unwritten poem called "Ted Hughes Bakes a Cake".

3. The last of the poems I have collected for this new book is a love letter to my typewriter called "Smith-Corona", which will immediately follow this epigraph, a line from a letter written by Eddie Cohen for Sylvia Plath:

And will your husband, whoever he may be,
find contentment in talking to you or making love to you
while you are banging on a typewriter?


It was too perfect. And I had already written the poem. I love the way the stars align sometimes.

4. I have a stack of library books at least the height of my leg, all of them for a final that needs to be roughly eight pages. To say that I have actively planned on going overboard is an understatement. I am horrified at myself and apprehensive that if I allow this behavior to continue on unchecked, that I will end up miserable in a graduate school library somewhere writing a dissertation on madness in the canon of women writers with a focus on the twentieth century. Or maybe that apprehension is excitement. Or maybe I've just been awake for too many hours without breakfast.

5. Tonight is Slam Collective, as is every Tuesday. Steve Subrizi is featuring. It promises to be highly amusing, with a sprinkling of quiet profundity. Tuesdays have turned into weekends-- last week, we finished my handle of bourbon, played several debauched and raucous rounds of Apples to Apples, and stayed up much later than my normal threshold. My living room is the apparent hangout spot, and now that it has been cemented, I feel a little overwhelmed by that. I am not a hostess the way I used to be a hostess. I feel all flustered and underprepared whenever such a large group of people plant themselves in my house and drink out of my glassware.

6. I am taking a course on the Bloomsbury Group. I know I mentioned this yesterday, but I am still geeking out about getting to spend classroom time with Woolf for the fourth time in my college experience. Not that I don't spend countless personal hours talking about her work, but that's just because I cannot help myself. Cass was presenting on Christina Rossetti in our Woman & Poet class yesterday and besides laughing where I knew wombats could (and should!) fit into that conversation, I also had to laugh when she brought up Coleridge's addiction to opiates because I knew that somehow we could work in her "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tattoo if we really tried. And then a small part of me got sad that my Woolf tattoo wasn't finished (and won't be for awhile) and also will never be visible to the bulk of the population. Whenever someone sees it in its natural habit (my ribs, for those of you who don't know), it is always something of a surprise. I can't wait to get more work done on it, even if it's just for me.

7. Moz says, "most people keep their brains between their legs."

8. I am getting seriously apprehensive for next semester. I only have one major assignment left for this one - that paper I'm seriously over-researching - aside from turning in my general portfolio, and I am antsy to finish all the silly paperwork and just GET ON WITH IT ALREADY. I hate hate hate hate hate red tape.

9. After spending so much time cruising New England last week in Wendeline, I kind of miss driving. Not that I'd want a week like that again, at least not in the near future, but I am a little too happy with the open road to say I'll never do something like that again. I keep erecting dreams off in the distance - of tour next January, or a road trip at all after I graduate next December - and though they are still so far off, I know I'll get there eventually.

10. I find myself missing Providence more than ever lately, and there's really no explanation for it beyond the understandables (my sister, my summer, getting writing done like nobody's business). But in addition to all of that, there's something more, something I can't put my finger on. Maybe I just miss feeling at home. Hampshire is comfortable, especially in this unseasonable warmth we've stumbled into the past few days, but it isn't home. It's trying though.

Armagedon.

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let the light in


It's Charley's birthday party (as an aside, happy happy birthday Charley, and fuck you for having your party during a MONSOON), which apparently makes it the end of the world tonight? At least that's what we're told by the theme of the party. I somehow interpreted this to mean that I needed Egyptian make-up. Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.

I have a somewhat serious sewing project in the works. Not serious in that the outcome is somehow crucial, but in that the skin on my right middle finger is a little bit angry at me (meaning that it is somewhat mangled since all of my sewing callouses have disappeared). It has a fair amount tot do with Halloween. Coincidentally, Charley will probably be very jealous when he sees it.

It feels like everything I say lately is "I was going to go to college for fashion design" / "I was going to go to college for painting" / "I was going to go to college for graphic design" / "I was going to go to school for _______". Odd that all of this comes out just as I'm getting my thesis project together in order to graduate. I am such a public mess. Check for updates about that whole writing thing over on Fiction Pays The Bills (I swear I'll update it soon, really).

FX make-up, layer by layer.

If you took a gander at the video blog in the last post, you know that Cassandra and I spent the better part of last night looking at least slightly terrifying. Or awesome. Or terrifyingly awesome. At any rate, as promised, I've got pictures of the making-up as it happens. And whenever Maggie uploads them, I'll be sure to share our more professional shots (which were replete with in-character groaning and limping) which were an absolute blast to take. I need to remember to follow whims more frequently. Enjoy!



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Maggie starts in with the nose putty

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the finished facial wound, replete with exposed cheekbone

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"it looks like somebody beat the shit out of you" was the night's refrain

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halfway to undead

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fully undead

Bookmaking, in the trenches.

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I won't lie. I haven't been much for world commentary, frivolous or otherwise lately. But I can promise, it is for a very valid (and maybe even exciting) reason. In the background of my mad rush to figure out college requirements and defy logic by passing out of anything and everything as early as humanly possible, I have had a project brewing. This project has been gestating for nearly three hundred poems and will not be fully formed until it is close to four hundred. To give you some concrete point of reference, this is a somewhat simplified version of what my computer desktop has looked like for most of today:

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The long and short of it is that, somewhat at the behest of one of my poetry professors, I am putting together a manuscript of the poems I've been writing, one per day, during 2009. It is a hefty piece of editing. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I managed to plow through 100 of them this weekend. The whole thing has to be finished in the next week or so and given to the aforementioned professor. I'm probably going to get it printed and bound at the duplications department just so that he doesn't have to deal with how inadequate staples are going to be for this particular stack of pages. Already 86. We're not even halfway.

Barnes & Noble camp out.

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Yesterday was my day off, so I made the hike up to Allston for some quality poet time with chapbooks in hand and quarters for the parking meters. Georgie and I visited Cass at work and then squatted in the second story poetry section for awhile while I read aloud to him from my new friend Lara Bozabalian's book Free that I'd picked up at her Got Poetry Live feature in Providence the night before. He was as blown away as I was when I saw her perform (and luckily she turned up at the Cantab later on for a spotlight feature).

We found a particularly comfy nook across from the cookbooks and read for awhile, talking on and off about life and love, exchanging stories that mostly circled around Slam Collective and its many dramas. As much as we are crazy (comes with the territory of "poet" I suppose), I can't wait to be back in that space of love and support again. That's the thing I am looking forward to most about September - that and facilitating a closer and more exciting writing community on campus, but that's going to take some doing. For now, I have the surrogate Cantab family and my visits to Chester Street to keep me feeling part of things.

In thinking back on the summer and how my writing has begun to speak for me a bit, I'm getting more and more excited. When Ryk booked me for my GPL feature, I thought he was just being nice, but having seen the kinds of people he books roll through Providence, people like Lara and Ryler and Simone Beaubien (the awe-inspiring slam master at the Cantab reading), people I really respect, I feel completely humbled and honored at once. But it isn't just that. I've had Lara and Ryler and Simone and lots of other people approach me after open mics and such with great things to say about their response to my work. Just last night, Tom Daley, a Cantab staple who runs writing workshops in Cambridge, came up to me to ask for a copy of the poem I performed. I would have been floored if it had ended there, but to his request he added that it was the best piece he'd heard at the Cantab in months. I couldn't quit smiling after that.

All these things happening in my writing career have me more and more confident in my decision to submit to Write Bloody this January. It's going to take a lot of work and preparation and I'm trying to be very realistic about my chances of anything serious coming from it, but I know it can't hurt to try.

Lungcakes and midnight fingernails.

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Today was generally uneventful (I wanted to go to the beach before work but was thwarted by my sleep schedule), except for the above-pictured accomplishments. Lung-shaped pancakes and freshly lacquered nails. A good morning, I'd say. Although I was pretty disappointed in the Sally Hansen nailpolish I bought. In spite of being doubly awesome (both black and glitter at the same time? hell yessss) in theory, the stuff was very goopy going on. We'll see if it lives up to the "no chip" claim on the label, which could redeem it in the end.

By degrees.

Singing this song with Erick tonight at .B. Very very very excited.

Tallest man on earth - These Days (Nico Cover) - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.



Current music obsessions: stripped down acoustics, real-as-raw-vegetables vocals, night drive playlists DJed by near-strangers. I haven't sung in front of people seriously in such a long time. I'm a little nervous? Especially since this is a cover so many times removed - it was originally a Jackson Browne song that Nico covered, and Tallest Man on Earth is covering her version, and then Erick and I are covering his. Is that so far gone that it's a completely new interpretation? I haven't the slightest clue. Alright. Have to go learn the words, and also run poems to read tonight. Rain, rain, go away - they canceled work, now I get to play.

Unplanned hiatus: zine and a haircut.

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Sean was teasing me about how happy I am here the other night and said, "Jesus Emily, you've been living in Providence a month and you already made a zine." Above you will find that very zine/chapbook/most recent project I've been filling my days with. It's called Daily Silence and the sequence of the poems and drawings/collages illustrates the emotional arc of moving to Providence and the considerable shift in my outlook that's taken place as a result. Oh how deep and meaningful. Ugh. I hate talking about my work in abstract synopsis. You should just come to my show on Tuesday night and purchase one. With money. Or you can trade me other valuable things. Like your own artistic merchandise. Or you can bring me strange gifts. Surprise me. I can be fairly receptive to strange gifts.

I would like to say that I have been vastly busy lately, but really I've just been mentally vacant. I finally broke an involuntary poetry fast and wrote three or four things in the past few days. I feel good.

And I gave myself a haircut.

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It didn't turn out the way I had anticipated because the trimmer went rogue. But we have good days and bad days. Hats tend to help with both. I am getting to the point where I don't even care that the back of my head is prickly and uneven because of an accidental buzzcut. I am trying to embrace the fact that no one has asked questions. Maybe the world just thinks I'm more punk rock than I see myself as when I look in the mirror.

Rebel scum.

A real post tomorrow when I'm having coherent thoughts again, but for now, something from the Digg Twitter feed:

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Bad. Ass.

Okay, now I'm going to get back to No Reservations, but before I do, I'd like to make sure you all take a moment out of your day to vote for DC as best Providence singer/songwriter in the Phoenix poll.