Update of an Artist in November

Sticking it to 'em.

I suppose this post will also cover some of October to fill in all those gaps between cookie baking, Kathy Griffin, and Miley Cyrus.  I know your lives feel empty without knowing the scoop.

This photo here was taken on my pre-birthday road trip to Gebhard Woods State Park and the Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail in and around Morris, IL.  I had a window of good October weather and time off work.  ‘Twas a lovely quiet day of hiking and talking to myself and the voices in my head.  Lots of writerly conversation. 🙂  While only an hour away or so, it fulfilled my wanderlust in the tradition of past October trips to Vermont, Oregon, and Europe.  Took many photos, most but not all of which have been uploaded into my Flickr.  This was one of my favorite finds! All the naturey stuff was cool, but this find made my day.  As I say in the photo’s Flickr description, it’s not 100% accurate and fair to say that All Mormons Hate Us, but they sure as heck have been making a name for themselves lately. I’m feeling the pain of Maine (& etc.)  I definitely felt a kinship with the trail walker who came before me.  So, yay to whoever you are….

My birthday on the 25th was a good one.  Mellow, but wonderful.  Brunch, then later dinner and drinks with Ernie and friends.  Some time to myself in between.  I made a trip to the Art Institute. It had been a while, a few years.  I always love their photography gallery.  They’re currently showing a collection of Victorian photo collage works.  SO cool.  I also hadn’t been to the new Modern Art Wing.  Breath taking.  I dig all that stuff.  Had a moment with Picasso–it was his birthday too! I also enjoyed the student/journalist/etc. interviewing the gallery worker in the section with the clown abuse film, light installations, and other very contemporary work (sorry for the general terms here).  I wanted to hang out and listen more, but that would’ve been creepy. Like the clown.

NewTown Writers goings on are winding down for the year.  Our October NewPlay Readings event was a success.  I know the authors, actors, and audiences had a good experience.  I put my producer brain in overdrive, which was good for me, though I’ll tweak some things for next year.  I attended the final workshops of the year (and met a couple new writerly friends), my 2009 Artistic Director report has been written and sent out, and we have a Board meeting this weekend to talk 2010–the group’s 30th Anniversary.  Oh, and you can become a fan on Facebook, too. 🙂

I’ve attended a couple writerly events in the City in the past couple weeks.  As always, the amazingly fun 2nd Story had an event on the 8th at their home base, Webster’s Wine Bar.  My Solo Homo pals, Byron and Sara, read and directed respectively.  Last night, Essay Fiesta, a brand new series held its inaugural event at the Book CellarEssay Fiesta features personal essays and comedy.  It’s a free event, but with the opportunity to buy raffle tickets to benefit the Howard Brown Health Center.  They had an awesome turn out last night.  You should go to the next one in December.  It’s right around the Holidays, but if you’re around and inclined and want to hang out in the way cute Lincoln Square neighborhood, do it.  I’m looking to hopefully be involved in future editions.  And of course, 2nd Story’s December deadline approaches….

I’ve recently gotten in the habit of tracking my writerly activities on my private/Friends Only blog.  I call these entries “Writerlogged.” I jot down every day-ish what I’m doing, working on, attending, etc.  They’re keeping me in check.  And they’re things that don’t necessarily need to be posted in a public forum like this–jottings of works in progress, process, hopes and dreams I don’t want to jinx by announcing them to the world.  Etc.  When I feel like my life is being taken over by laundry and my restaurant job, I can be like Hey, this is what I did and this is what I need to focus on and stuff.    The posts also apply to reading and watching which feed the writerly stuff.  It’s good.

So I have been working on various things.  I’ve been giving some love to a handful of short stories that are in various stages of life.  Also working on a CNF/Essay/Solo piece.  I like going back and forth with this.  Sometimes I really don’t want to deal with myself and my own life.  So I write about others.  Beyond this, there are always photo, media, etc. projects that want love too….

Organized my reading list.  I wish I could read all the books and all the lit mags and all the blogs, but you know, I can’t.  Listed are things we have in house, things I need to acquire, things to finish.  In the middle of the Best American Short Stories 2008.  Realize the new one just came out.  Oh well.  Also, my Walt Whitman collection.  The latest issue of MAKE Magazine.  All in due time.  Recently finished Band of Brothers, the Ambrose book, that I borrowed from my brother.  Having my base of knowledge from the film was helpful, and I was able to fill in any gaps and experience the source material. Waiting in the wings is my copy of With the Old Breed, E.B. Sledge’s memoir which was used in HBO’s The Pacific, which can’t come soon enough.  Recently finished Richard Peck’s Past Perfect, Present Tense Young Adult story collection.  Cool to have a perspective from that genre.  I also received Kathy Griffin’s Official Book Club Selection for my birthday.  Started that because Kathy’s awesome.  I need to acquire and start the new John Irving soon, too.  I won’t bore you with the rest of the list, but know I’m reading stuff. 🙂

And writing too.  I’m not a speed writer, though this time of year many are.  While I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this time around, I am with all my NaNo friends and others in spirit as I work to accomplish something writerly every day. Whether it’s updating my writerly site, or swooping the editing comb through a story, attending an event, or just walking through UnAbridged Bookstore to be surrounded by tried and true printed real books.  Etc. 🙂

With that, I’ll end this, but hope to post other bits soonly.  Happy Creating, Everyone.

Cheers.

Happy New Year!

64/365 ~ Perform Random Acts of Shakespeare.

Happy 2009!  I realized the other night that this was the last New Year’s Eve that people can wear glasses made out of the new year. I mean, that impaired vision from the 1 in 2010 plus alcohols spells trouble, if ya ask me.

To get a little nostalgic for a moment, ten years ago, New Years Eve 1998-99 was spent at Roscoe’s. It was my first New Year’s Eve in Chicago, and I hung out with Raul, Franz, and the rest of my Roscoe’s gang. Somewhere I have a Polaroid that was taken that night. At midnight, I was on the stage–I’m pretty sure with Raul–at the back of the dance floor. Prince’s “1999” blasted and balloons filled with cash fell from the ceiling. I got $5. Sweet. That was the night I bumped into my friend Eric in town with his boyfriend (also Eric) and friends from Ann Arbor.  If I remember correctly, as the night evolved, I hung out with them and we may have gone elsewhere? Not sure. That was also the night it started snowing. Real hard. ‘Twas Chicago’s worst blizzard in 20 years. I think I could see out of 3 inches of my garden apartment bedroom window. My roommie, Sarah, and I marched through the snow to meet the Erics and Co at the Boystown I-HOP. Our waiter’s name was Sugar Tits. It was a bitch getting downtown to my office job that Monday. All the Red Line cars were packed by the time it reached Addison. I took the Clark bus instead. Good times. 🙂

So, like my new sweatshirt?  Ernie’s folks gave it to me for Christmas.  Cool.  This photo is from my 365 Flickr project.  Click the photo to get over there.

Enjoying the break from school.  I’ll start thinking about the next semester maybe Monday.  Not before.  Catching up and forging ahead.  Organized some writerly things on my computer and in my head.  Like breaking up the short story collection that was my unfinished NaNo project.  Now they have their own folders and I can give them some individual love and attention.  Now  I just gotta give them that love and attention.

Photo stuff, thinking about life, watching movies, thinking about dusting but not quite getting to it.  Contemplating whether to buy the physical CD of the new Killers album or downloading the delux version from iTunes.  I’m a little old school, still, so it’s not a no-brainer like it might be for some of the “kids” out there. 🙂  Probably will download.  Extra songs and the new video.  Also need to acquire (somehow…)  Teddy Thompson’s new album, A Piece of What You Need.  I’ve fallen in love with his 2006 album, Separate Ways, this fall.  I want to be his voice some times.  Have I mentioned that here?

Hey, so just saw that my UnAbridged Bookstore in Chicago (where Ernie and I met once upon a time…) started up their own WordPress blog.  Check it out!

More musings in the works….  Enjoy the down time.

Lake Effect

28/365 ~ Lake Effect

Winter comes early to Northern Indiana. This was taken yesterday. This is the only shot in which I’m really smiling. So I picked this one. While not exactly happy about shoveling, there is something beautiful about the first snow shovel of the year.

Then it gets real old real quick.

Stay warm, everyone. 🙂