Last Day of Spring Break

Me: Sparks, Sparks, check it out!

Sparky: Look how much you have left, you disillusioned human.

Me: Most of these are ongoing projects.

Sparky: Well, what are you doing? Finish it!

– coordinate Billy Collins reading April 1 (I’m working on it!)

– read Secret History for Transgressive Literature (first page down!)


– work on ePortfolio for Pedagogy class (erm…)

– revise observation report for Pedagogy class (just opened the file!)

– workshop Writing Place workshop pieces (7) (Wednesday work)

– read Lynne Barrett’s “Texaco on Biscayne” story in Magpies (Wednesday work)

– write blog about AWP in Chicago (erm…)

– read Tomas Transtromer’s Selected Poems (bedtime story)

– re-read Robert Hass’s Human Wishes (bedtime story)

– finish all 6 books I borrowed from Campbell, and all 8 books I borrowed from the library…last semester (erm…bedtime stories?)

– lay out POB Issue 2 (tonight!)

– confirm printer for POB (tomorrow!)

– revise chapbook (erm…)

– submit to 5 journals

– Sena QT Note & Book Review (any suggestions for Christian youth books?) (next week)

– finish reading Gulfstream poetry submissions (32) (ehh…)

– find twitter quotes for POB (copy from bedtime stories! >:])

– work with Parthenon on POB website (Thurs night)

– write write write! 5 poems by the end of the week! (yeah…1-ish down)


Losing Yourself and Finding Some Chocolate: Beating the Writer’s Block

Losing Yourself and Finding Some Chocolate: Beating the Writer’s Block.

via Losing Yourself and Finding Some Chocolate: Beating the Writer’s Block.

Drivers, Start Your Engines!

Sparky says I need to reprioritize my life. She took a whiff of my to-do list for SPRING BREAK! and saw it sadly lacking in sunshine.

– coordinate Billy Collins reading April 1 (I’m working on it!)

– read Secret History for Transgressive Literature (first page down!)

– work on ePortfolio for Pedagogy class (erm…)

– revise observation report for Pedagogy class (just opened the file!)

– workshop Writing Place workshop pieces (7) (Wednesday work)

– read Lynne Barrett’s “Texaco on Biscayne” story in Magpies (Wednesday work)

– write blog about AWP in Chicago (erm…)

– read Tomas Transtromer’s Selected Poems (bedtime story)

– re-read Robert Hass’s Human Wishes (bedtime story)

– finish all 6 books I borrowed from Campbell, and all 8 books I borrowed from the library…last semester (erm…bedtime stories?)

– lay out POB Issue 2 (tonight!)

– confirm printer for POB (tomorrow!)

– revise chapbook (erm…)

– submit to 5 journals

– Sena QT Note & Book Review (any suggestions for Christian youth books?) (next week)

– finish reading Gulfstream poetry submissions (32) (ehh…)

– find twitter quotes for POB (copy from bedtime stories! >:])

– work with Parthenon on POB website (Thurs night)

– write write write! 5 poems by the end of the week! (yeah…1-ish down)

When I have a lot to do, I need background music to get lost in.

Song of the day (or week, depending on how much work I [don’t] get done):


See that list, Booker? Just so you know, I AM having fun. I like work. I like productivity. Efficiency! This is how I’ll feel at the end of it:

Image Danica Patrick is so sexy. She’s the first contemporary female race car driver to be awesome and beat a lot of guys. I hope one day I grow up to be so cool. I’ll even have a win grin.

A Woman’s Age is Her Own Business

Me: Look at me, being all productive and posting twice in the same day!

Sparky: You’re just procrastinating.

Me: But I found this really great blogpost by Doctor Quack. It’s called, “10 Things Nobody Warned Me about My Twenties“. I’m in my twenties; I thought the post was particularly relevant to me.

Sparky: You’re a sad, sad little person.

Me: Yes, yes I’m feeling it today, don’t rub it in, you nasty little Pekipom. I mean….I’m sorry. You’re adorable. Look at that beautiful silky puffy fur.

Food Sells

My favorite dish is 부대찌개. If my face could avoid being bloated constantly, I would eat this every day. Behold! a food picture!

You can substitute spam or pepperoni for the little sausage things, and rice cakes are better than tofu, but you are not allowed to substitute Shin Ramen. It just won’t taste the same…

Regardless of what you do(n’t) put into the dish, there are so many variations that you should just try them all. Your tastebuds will thank you. Your stomach will thank you. Unless you are sensitive to spicy food, in which case, you’ll get no thanks for your efforts. But I will thank you for spreading the love around.

[Tangent: I love spam. And tofu. And ramen. These are all unhealthy (except tofu, given context), but they taste wonderful in Korean food. Don’t hate. Expand your horizons.]

Also,  I read Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy for my Writing Place workshop with Madeleine Blais for Thursday.

It has one of the most interesting narrative structures I have seen, and I really enjoyed it. I love Dennis as a character, flawed though he is. But then again, isn’t that what makes us human?
I felt like I was reading a contemporary classic. Les Miserables is my favorite book; I try to read it every year. What struck me about Charming Billy was its parallel to Jean Valjean; it had the same quality of unveiling an ensemble cast, and while everyone got to sing their piece, it really came back to Dennis as a main character (not Billy, as the title feels). It is also one of those books you probably need to read at least twice to really appreciate, because you do need to pay quite a bit of attention to each paragraph.
It really is a great read, and I could talk about this book for days, so if you want to talk about it, drop a comment. I would put it on a must-read reading list, if ever I made one.
On a side note, my Writing Place class is the best. Because half the class will be at AWP (I will be wearing my Print Oriented Bastards t-shirt), Maddie substituted  that week’s class with a trip to Versailles Restaurant, “The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant.” What follows is a series of pictures  until I got distracted. I highly recommend the skirt steak, flan, and sangria, although you couldn’t possibly go wrong with any choice. Ask the waiters for suggestions. They’re all adorable.

Half of our class
skirt steak (my personal favorite!)
romantic music~~
giant cruise ship on the Pier at Miami, on the way back that probably dwarfs the Titanic (anyone know the name of this mammoth?)
On an end note, I like this quote: “Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self portrait. Everything is a diary.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Everything gives you away. So I am being honest about why I am ending today with a youtube video on owls. I love owls. Owls and elephants and penguins. Click on the owl picture. Click on the elephant. Especially the elephant.

In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys

What was I doing this Saturday that I wasn’t blogging?

I was going to Campbell McGrath’s birthday and book launch party. Party on the rooftop with Campbell!

This is his book, which came out today but has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. So for all you lonely poets who hate being reminded that you’re lonely, this one is for you. I bought it on February 11. Special privilege for being friends with Campbell ^^

It’s beautiful, lovely, wonderful to read. The font is pretty too. As a bit of a font nerd, I appreciate it. You really should read it. I think it might be my favorite, even more favorite than his last collection, Seven Notebooks. Come on, people. Don’t these lines just draw you in??

So….remember my last post in which I described that Campbell’s favorite book was The Essential Haiku? At the party, before the cutting of the cake, a bunch of Campbell’s former students and his son, Sam, recited a couple haikus each, because that is his favorite poetic form ever. You had to have been there to fully appreciate it, except that his son, who wanted to show us that writing is only a small part of his father’s life, shared these lines with us: (disclaimer: they may not be exactly accurate. possibility of faulty memory.)

sci-fi, lit, beside these things,
poetry is shit.

Here is what I gave him at the end of the party, as we were all about to go home because Miami was about to freeze over. It’s a coaster. We read this haiku in class last Wednesday. Considering his book was about to come out and he did just turn 50, I thought it was appropriate. And he drinks a lot of iced coffee, which sweats on his desk and threatens all his papers/books.

I love giving gifts when I can think of good ones (which is rare, so carpe diem, gift-givers!), don’t hate, anti-gifters. It’s practical. I’m all for practical gifts. I’m a terrible gift-giver, and feel awkward giving/receiving them, but I love giving/receiving them also.

Disclaimer on gifts: People don’t have to like the gifts I give them. I don’t expect them to. Campbell doesn’t have to like this, or use it. He could conceivably hurl it into the ocean. But I like the IDEA, okay, people? I like the ideas behind gifts, and hope that comes across in my awkward “here, Campbell, I brought you a badly-wrapped (in stiff, hopefully and probably recycled commercial packing paper) birthday gift even though I didn’t have to and I’m probably not considering your delicate position as my professor, but whatever I like doing nice things for everyone, especially on their 50th birthday” gift.

Also, there was cake. I’m not a huge fan of cake myself, especially specifically birthday cakes because they tend to be spongy but dry, and bland but with overly sweet, unnaturally fluffy frosting. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for fluffy frosting. But not UNNATURALLY fluffy frosting. There’s also the decision: DO I WANT VANILLA OR CHOCOLATE!!!!  *gasp* D: and you don’t want to be that bastard who asks for half of each slice, because then someone else has to eat half of each or have a tiny piece, and what if everyone else at the party loves cake? You’ve screwed up the cake-slicing system! But this cake. This cake. Was. Good. The entire giant cake had vanilla AND chocolate layered together THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH! The choice is made for you! You can now have your cake and eat it too! 😀 I was happy. And the frosting was naturally fluffy. How could I have doubted the wonderful hosts at the Betsy Hotel?

On a personal note, I made a monster smoothie. It’s green. Think the Hulk of smoothies ripping through all that instant ramen you made last night. Think spinach, frozen bananas, and PEANUT BUTTER! :9  The recipe is here.

I recommend it for its peanut buttery deliciousness. Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods. I eat peanut butter by the spoonful. I do. Ask my mother. She used to buy me my own jar of Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter, which is the best kind, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. I’m really not trying to lose weight. I promised myself I would learn to cook and eat healthy things that are cheap and don’t taste like pasta (hence, don’t cook pasta). But it is fast and good, and I love using blenders. I have my grandmother’s, a really old square one which is difficult to wash but still works like the mammoth it is.

Yes, that is my desk. I love postcards. Yes that is Batman giving me the Uncle Sam point and saying, “Quit procrastinating. Work on your art.”

Yes, that is a Macbook Pro. I’ve only just converted to the dark side, but they have nicer user-friendly interfaces, so I think I’ll stay here a while. Besides, as an editor for Print Oriented Bastards, I need something that will allow me to sanely do my work. Speaking of work, I have work…

Banana Trees and Bastards

This is a late post. I apologize. My dog bit me for my lack of discipline.

While reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, I am also reading books for school. This is the book I just finished for my Poetics class with Campbell McGrath.

[Tangent] YES THAT IS ELI MANNING’s #10 GIANTS JERSEY! YES THE SUPERBOWL WAS FANTASTIC! I have been wearing this jersey all week

(Sparky: It’s the children’s size jersey.

Me: Don’t hate, dawg.)

I live in Miami, where people don’t really care about sports, since we really don’t have any good sports teams. People around me: Florida International U’s football team is pretty good (T.Y. Hilton was a Heisman candidate this season), and our cheerleaders apparently have been featured in Playboy. FSU’s football games are good. But other than that, nobody cares about football around here. It has less to do with ecstatic winning or sore losing, and more to do with not caring. Oh well. Eli Manning is still the man. He got a corvette for being MVP again. I’m satisfied. Tangent over. Back to poetry.

The Essential Haiku Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa.

Campbell McGrath said that this is the book he would choose if he were stranded on an island and could only take one book etc. etc.

It is quite excellent. It is the most intricate yet accessible explanation of the haiku history and form that I have ever read. It makes me want to learn more about Buddhism, purely for the meditative roots embedded in each bite-sized text.

The spring we don’t see —
on the back of a hand mirror
a plum tree in flower.
          – Basho
When the winter chrysanthemums go, 
there’s nothing to write about
but radishes.
          – Basho
They don’t live long
but you’d never know it —
the cicada’s cry.
          – Basho
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.
          – Kobayashi Issa
In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.
          – Kobayashi Issa

I have a feeling Campbell is going to ask us to write a deep, subtle haiku for our next workshop. I’m excited. It’s worth a read, and since it’s such a small book, you can breeze right through it. But you might want to brew yourself an aromatic cup of tea, sit down at a manly desk or in the plushest chair you have, and take your time with it.

Okay. Part 2. Bastardisms.

Print Oriented Bastards is exploding! We are now on Twitter. We are now an international journal. Submission period is still open, until February 15!

In the meantime, I have about 40 submissions to wade through right now. It’s exciting! I could really be an editor for the rest of my life, I think. I am also planning for a lot of stuff, and have deadlines to make. I have to get a custom t-shirt/button/postcards to hand out for AWP. I’ll be in Chicago from February 29-March 4, so if you’re there and want to ask questions about Print Oriented Bastards, shoot me a comment or twitter. POB will be twittering throughout the weekend.

Okay, manuscript time. Puppy out. I am also submitting to 4 literary journals/contests this weekend. Wish me luck!