I get really overwhelmed every holiday season. There's so much traveling to do, not to mention the litany of parties (and I NEED to be present at all of them), the stressful shopping trips, the rush to squeeze as many fun nights out of the last few weeks of the year as possible. Something important to remember--if ever you're feeling creatively adrift, reach out and find someone to collaborate with. It will remind you of your own strengths, and teach you about new ones you didn't realize you had. This weekend, I had brunch with my new editorial cohort at Printer's Devil Review, where I'll be helping to edit the nonfiction section. Besides the excellent home fries, it was exciting to talk deadlines, direction, and delegate responsibilities for the close of our reading period. If you have any memoir or nonfiction articles kicking around, please send them along. I'd love to read you.
I'm also working on founding a robot religion with some friends from Pittsburgh in preparation for a short film project. Penning flash fiction is something I love, and I don't get to do it nearly enough. Same goes for experimenting with speculative landscapes. I've been reading the Bible and thinking about how to make it metallic. All this pseudo-spiritual excitement is owed to Justin Nixon and his beautiful brain. (Check out his full-length documentary, Mibsters, about competitive marble players, currently a film festival hopeful.) Stay tuned for news on our project--there will be a Kickstarter in the spring, after we get through a good deal of world-building. Oh, and those comic book evangelical tracts. But for robots. SO COOL.
Earlier this month I was privileged to be on the judging panel for Berklee College's student slam team, along with visiting poet (and new tribe member) Lewis Mundt, and Erich Haygun. In addition to scoring their work Olympic-style, we got to do a live, intimate performance workshop. There were impromptu group pieces (amazing how quick and deft the kids were with improv) and multiple performances by each competitor. It was really exciting to feel the love in that room--how much everyone supported one another, even though there were eight students competing for a five person team. They wanted to win, but they were also committed to making sure they helped each other do their best work. "Slam family" is a phrase a lot of performance poetry communities kick around, and I often take it with a grain of salt. But when it comes to Berklee, it always feels like family.
Finally, speaking of performance, intimacy, and family, I'll be performing January 7th as a part of the Encyclopedia Show: Somerville. The EncycloShow is a variety show with a revolving theme--this month's being explosions. I'm proud to be sharing the stage that night with an impressive list of folks from time in the performance poetry world, though only a few of us will be bringing poems that night. Past occurrences at these types of shows have included an invisible bear, a crayon-eating sideshow performance, couch ninjas, and a hysterical rap songs called "The Essence of Fluorescence." I get to write and perform a poem about an infamous explosion; I won't tell you which one though. Suffice it to say that it got a lot of media coverage in its day. And it may or may not have inspired an Archer episode about a similar situation. You'll only find out what I've been assigned for sure if you end up at the Davis Square Theater (a discount on tickets if you do so in Prohibition Era garb), so plan accordingly.
All that being said, small personal triumphs are always welcome. I just found out my poem "Under Fresh Growth" will be appearing in the next issue of The Pedestal, which happens to be their 12 year anniversary issue. They published the first poem I was ever paid for, "Nursery," which is still very dear to my heart. Because sharks.
It's cold out. Go hug somebody you love. Or, if you're feeling ambitious, ask them to work on something you're excited about. More often than not, more than one great mind turns a project into a party.