Sunday, December 27, 2009

I made something for you.

It was an October Saturday in Salem of all places and we'd all just been to the fortune teller who told me of my responsibilities, which turns out were what I'd always expected them to be. I was in the exact middle of some hoopla over a book of poetry and some travels when a cocktail by the ocean seemed just what I needed.

Beside the fireplace, Lady looked at me and said, "What are you doing?" I hadn't known for a while at that point and my desires and purview had been for weeks keeping me up at night, so when she said, "Make music," all I could say was, "I will," and I did.




Sunday, December 20, 2009

put the x in x-mas

My Dickensian Christmas Party last night was a smashing success. The eleven-plus pounds of pork roast marinated for three days in a Nigella Lawson-inspired brine bath went in a flash, and everyone brought such amazing dishes (Black Forest trifle, Mexican meat loaf, eggnog thumbprint cookies, broccoli casserole). It was just what it was meant to be. A group of people celebrating their thanks for each other around a lot of incredible food.

Maybe it was the formal wear, or the roast, or the champagne flutes, but this party felt very grown-up to me. I wonder how old you need to get before you stop marveling that you're an adult.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

remember the days of the radio star?

The talented Ms. Christine Bower (who's piece is in an art show opening TOMORROW at the Washington Street Art Center in Somerville helped me make this video about Backstage at The Caribou:




I will never be able to comfortably watch myself on video.  Good thing I never became an actor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

chill

In Boston there suddenly is a winter chill in the air that feels oddly comforting to me.  Maybe it's that crisp pre-snow smell that makes me think of coming days of baking and staying in with a movie and a bottle of wine, or maybe it's the holidays, with all the bullshit-eschewing love and feasting and warm sweaters and dresses and lipstick and champagne flutes, or maybe it's an olfactory nostalgia for my first winter here, that first November-January almost two years ago now when I really felt like Massachusetts was my home, my friends here a new, bizarre ad-hoc family.

Derek is coming home with me for Thanksgiving on Wednesday.  Everyone will be there.  Dad, Mom, John, Val, Grandma, and MJ.  I can't wait to spend all day baking with my mom and sit with everyone in front of the fire with a glass of Baileys or champagne.  Amazing how much these little things mean to you when you grow up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

As if I needed more proof: "One New York Times Bestseller a Year Will Barely Keep You Above the Poverty Line"

First show of mostly songs this Saturday.  I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate the music I've been doing in with all the other stuff.  Is it going to be too all-over-the-place?  I've spoken to a few different people about producing the songs I've been writing.  Do I need to wait to have an album to start playing out?  I really know nothing about this.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

old friends and singing

Brunch today with ex-roomie, the fabulously talented Chris Johnson.  Eggs and grits and mango mimosas and talk about music and art.  Forget never being boring.  We'll never be bored. There is always so much to do, employed or not, dating or not.  So wonderful to remember that.

Yesterday I interviewed my old housemate Sara for The Boston Healing Blog.  It was great to reconnect with her.  She's a married, petite, blonde Christian girl who has her M.S. in biochemistry.  On paper, we are polar opposites, but we are actually the same person.  How did I forget how much I loved these people?

In other news, I went to my first singer-songwriter open mic this week and performed a couple originals.  I think I did pretty well.  Fortunately experience has pushed me past the major fear of making an ass out of myself on stage.  It's better to start when you're not ready and learn the world doesn't end if you don't knock them dead than wait neurotically till everything is "perfect," in my opinion.

Anyway, I plan to play songs more.  Hopefully I'll be in good shape to sing for my Lizard Lounge feature this Sunday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

rose tints my world

Here's a review of my Nuyorican feature from the Columbia Spectator's entertainment section. It's extremely complimentary, so much so I'm almost embarrassed to put it up.  At least I know one person liked me in New York.  And if that person happens to write for a paper, well, bully.

And a picture from another stellar Halloween in Boston:


Photo Credit: Jason Liu

I didn't have much time to plan a costume this year, so I threw on my old standby. My mom and I spent hours sewing this thing when I was fifteen. I wore it for several Halloweens in high school, and then later when I played Columbia in the Louisville Rocky Horror cast. If you told me while I was hand sewing shimmery ribbons on those short on my parents' beige living room carpet that I'd be wearing it again in 2009, I would have been skeptically ecstatic.

And this was 100% unplanned:

Video Credit: Mick Murray


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I have been writing songs of late. On the guitar. I sing them. I'm pretty excited about it.

I'm coming to NYC this weekend for my feature at The Nuyorican on Friday night. I'm thinking about doing it in costume. I haven't really been able to get into Halloween this year, which will probably bother me in retrospect more than it does right now.

The witch told me to live with the earth, not with people. I take that partially to mean live with the earth, partially to mean live with art. If your work hurts your feelings, you know it's your fault. At least you have a little more control over it than you do over another person. You can manipulate it without feeling bad. That's what you're supposed to do. You're its creator, not its friend.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Chorus of Cities

Derek's album is now available on iTunes. If you haven't heard it, it's really something, and I swear I'd say that even if I weren't sleeping with him.

Now on sale at Amazon.com, eMusic, and iTunes!

Photobucket

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a few tour pics


More pictures are up on Facebook, but I just felt I had to ask if any brilliant photographers have done a series of photographs from El Station platforms in Chicago?  Cuz...




Right?

One of the trains I was on passed Wrigley Field.  A game had just gotten out, and for a moment I was back in Boston, scrunched in a Green Line car at Kenmore, except here we were elevated and the fans were all dressed in blue instead of red.  They all looked dour.  An old man who had been riding the train called out to a young woman wearing a Cubs jersey who boarded across from him.  "Who won?" he asked.  She looked at him.  "Who do you think?" she said.  The old man shook his head, looked down, and sighed.  

Also, the Kapoor mirror ball thing in Millennium park is, for lack of a better term, a ball.


Monday, October 12, 2009

In bed for a few days with what is most likely H1N1.  The entire bridal party and most of the people my age came down with chills and coughing (some puking) at the reception on Saturday.  I went back to my parents' house with a 103 degree fever.  I haven't felt that sick since I had food poisoning.

But regardless, it was one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever been to.  Amber looked absolutely stunning, just like a 20s movie star. 


Two shows in New England this week.  Thursday is The After Nine Poetry Series at the Hotel Vernon in Worcester, MA.  Friday is Slam Free or Die in at the Bridge Cafe in Manchester, NH.

Mark at Slam Free or Die was really excited about the flyer they made for me.  They used original artwork from Sin City, and he said he found a picture that looked "just like me."  Usually when someone says that, I get a little nervous, because when I see the picture it either looks nothing like me, or looks like all the parts of myself that I hate.  But check this out.



It's uncanny.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

My clothes smell like the dogs and cats of 12 different houses.  I have sold out of books.  Amber's wedding is today.  Home tomorrow.

I have learned: 

1. College kids buy the most books, unless they live in a vegan co-op.

2. I really like living in Cambridge. 

3. All of Amber's friends are awesome.  It makes sense.  

Saturday, October 3, 2009

bible belt


In Cincinnati I read for a gallery full of students who treat me like a real writer.  I can see in these faces that they are ready for a new verse.  They respond astoundingly to my performance.  They have never seen anything like this, and I want to say, I am only bringing a fraction of what I am a part of back home.  That there are so many others like me writing urgently and modernly who would blow you away if you could see them.  Most people now read the poetry of dead people, so they think poetry is dead, or at least unrelatable.  I feel so fortunate that I am part of a small group of people bringing poetry into the Internet Age.

I meet other writers who are young and full of flames and we trade books.  Then at a reading in Indianapolis a woman wearing a jade necklace comes up to me and tells me she is a seer.  She says I have a male presence following me and he is perhaps a very minor influence in my work. I ask her if he's a spirit, like as in a dead person, or something else.  She shrugs.  Tells me she's not sure, but she thinks he's been with me since I was young.  That he became intrigued with my talent at an early age and has followed me, though she's not sure how much time he spends with me.  Her first idea was that he is a writer of the past, but she's not sure about that part.  

If that's true, I hope he's not someone too crazy.  And I kind of wish he'd talk to me once in a while so I wouldn't feel so lonely all the time.  I guess I've always been too cerebral for those types of conversations.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday I spend some good quality (windy) time outdoors, then spent some good eating time at my old haunt, The Runcible Spoon.  I hate to be that guy who moves to the city, then comes back to small-town Midwestern restaurants and is all like "Oh my god, everything's so cheap here!"  But Jesus Christ, everything's so cheap there!  Seared Salmon with horseradish sauce on smashed potatoes, black beans, and braised vegetables for $7.50?  A Maudite beer for $3.50?  Fuggetaboutit.

Monday evening I taught a workshop on Campus, and the kids were awesome.  Ten students attended (the max that were allowed), and they all remained engaged and really interested throughout the whole two-hour workshop.  This is AFTER they had to hear me read for a half-hour, and also from 8-10 on a Monday night.  Plus, the group really had some writers.  I was very impressed.  Go IU.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

feels like old times

Even though the near-rural darkness and the subtle constant hum of crickets outside Lacey and Ryan's house is the perfect sleep-inducing environment, I'm having a hard time getting there tonight.  Must have been my nap this afternoon after we spent a good two hours walking around town.  When will I learn that naps are evil?

I realized that I forgot the computer hookup for my camera, so I likely won't be able to upload any photos from my camera till I get home.  In the meantime, here are some pictures from my show at Lotus Fest at Rachael's Cafe in Bloomington, thanks to a fan:



Thanks, Charlie!

Tomorrow is all mine.  Teaching a workshop on Campus here on Monday, then off to Cincinnati.  

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yo ho ho!



From backstage at the Y'arr! show Saturday night.  What a blast.  Thanks Big Moves Boston for having me.

PS:  I have the best friends in the world.  Me: "Hey, Alana and Mandy, do you want to be backup dancers next Saturday for my hip-hop side project?  I'm doing a Pirate Cabaret."  A&M: "YES YES YES!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

setting off

I've recently experienced a resurgence of several chronic and crippling fears that I all but thought I'd defeated.  As these things typically go, they are all tied in together, but manifest in different factions.

One of the most oppressive factions of this fear brigade is aerophobia, which is (come on, etymology people) the abnormal and persistent fear of flying.  When I was younger this fear was so bad that I would spend the weeks (and sometimes months) preceding a plane ride in abject terror and certainty that I was going to die.

I would find ways to avoid planes.  I would skip out on trips I had planned (I'll never forgive myself for missing Bjork in New York City when I was 20).  I took a train from Chicago to San Francisco and a boat across the Atlantic Ocean to avoid getting on a airplane.  

Then something happened.  I went into therapy and pretty damn near close to conquered many of these persistent fears.  When I got to Boston, I remember I boasted I wasn't afraid of anything anymore.

Like many boastful twenty-four-year-old statements, this one only proved to be half-true.  For years I flew all over with relative confidence and a minimum of wimpering and hyperventilation, but this past year I noticed the return of the anxiety.

It might be because the press has been publicizing plane crashes this year.  It might be because I've experienced some success in my writing and am excited about where things are headed.  It might be because I'm generally pretty happy, have solid friendships and a wonderful relationship and am looking forward to seeing what the future has up its sleeve.  It might be because the there's a poem in the very book I'm flying to tour with about my Fear of Flying and the tour itself is called The Cruel Accident Tour, and I can never seem to talk my fear out of the certainty that fate is always looking for that ultra-ironic kick in the groin.

So I decided to write a blog about my fear, since in my mind writing about something and deconstructing its meaning and origins takes away some of its power (unless that assumption would somehow make it more ironic for the fears to come true - in which case, I'm in trouble).

Whatever it is, a lot of my recurrent fears, including that of flying, have been bubbling up lately. I know that most of these fears involve lack or loss of control.  Everyone knows your safer in an airplane than a car, but in the car you have the illusion of control.  On the airplane you don't.

When faced with these uncontrollable situations when I was younger, my OCD would act up and I'd make believe I could control the outcome of say, an upcoming flight by walking around trees on the left or tapping my foot behind each crack or doorframe I stepped over.  This would drive me crazy because I would have to know that I had done the ritual "right," or else it meant certain doom.  I always managed to convince myself I hadn't gotten it right, so I'd have to like, stand in a crowded door way with my head down stepping over the threshold again and again. This behavior typically does not make you friends.

Fortunately I'm better at coping with the fears now than I was when I was younger, but paralyzing fear is never a good time, and not very productive.  Maybe I've been thinking too much, retreating back into the ego, the "I" that I worked so hard to remind myself isn't the important part of what I think of as me.  Maybe it's like what my old Mysticism professor at IU, Mary Jo Weaver, used to say about getting older.

"You always think you work through your issues, but really you're on a spiral, and you'll keep encountering the same issues on a deeper and deeper level throughout your life.  It's like everyone gets a deck of ten cards at birth, and that's your hand, and all you can do is keep playing the same hand in different ways."

Friday, September 11, 2009

So Happy

My book release/feature/birthday party at the Cantab went very well. I was happy with how I did (which is rare for me) and SO grateful to have both my parents in the audience.

But since I hear a video's worth 10,000 words:

(by Mick)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

growing up

Derek and I went to Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain for my birthday dinner last night.  All the great things I've heard about that place were 100% accurate.  Dessert was this dark chocolate mousse torte with Thai basil ice cream.  It made me make sounds I was embarrassed about.

I've been so busy planning the tour and doing stuff with the books coming out, I haven't had much time to WRITE write.  I'm telling myself that's okay.  That it's all part of the bigger picture.  But it seems more and more time I would have used to write a year ago is now used to network, email, fix websites, attend events I should attend, and other schmoozey bullshit.  It's turning me into more of a social hermit, since staying in at night seems to be the only way to get anything I actually care about done.  

Maybe it's just growing up.  I'm going to be 27 on Wednesday, after all.

Monday, August 31, 2009

farms

Spent the weekend at Derek's parent's house and went to a pig roast on Sunday afternoon.  Best pulled pork I've ever had, plus the chance to pet real piggies and goats and play horseshoes while people sing karaoke under beg tents covering long picnic tables.  It made me feel a little homesick.

I was reading an article by Michael Pollan and I was struck by how much I've let myself slip since living here.  I who used to be a vegetarian, who only got her water RO style in reusable jugs from the co-op, who used to carry around straight-up hankercheifs to blow her nose on so as not to waste all that paper.  

One could argue that by living in a city, you use much less energy than by living in a more sprawled town environment. But the fact remains this has been a very important part of my life that I've sort of... forgotten about for the past few years.  It's time to be more conscientious.  

PS:  My last meal of today consisted of a bowl of 365 Organic Apple Cinnamon Os with soymilk, a spoonful of almond butter, a raw ear of corn on the cob from the farmer's market, and a vegan white russian.  What's the vote.  Sustainable or not?

Monday, August 24, 2009

bye-bye brother

My brother John and his wife Val came an visited this weekend.  John and I cooked Italian dinner on Sunday night (his meatballs put mine to shame) and we stayed up late drinking, talking, and playing music.

I drove them to the airport this afternoon.  It's good to miss your brother, since so many people have lousy relationships with their siblings, but I often wish we didn't live in different regions of the country.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Get Provoked

Aside from selling absolutely gorgeous lingerie, the photography on the Agent Provacoteur website is some of the most beautiful and interesting catalogue photography I've seen.









Yes, please.  All of it.  Yes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Madame Psychosis and the Delusions



Want to see Madame Psychosis in action?  Come to the Cantab Lounge this Thursday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Spark Singer Cover



Here's the cover of The Spark Singer.  Cover design by the awesome Lauren Recchia.  Cover photo by the awesome Mick Murray.

Officially on-sale on 09-09-09.

Book release party on 09-09-09 at the Cantab Downstairs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NYC, Newport, Seagulls

Crazy weekend.  Friday awesome photographer Jamie Hankin brought me and Lauren down to NYC to be in a tattooed lady photography project.  We got to play around in the Saks Fifth Avenue studio in Manhattan off of Fifth Avenue and wear 900 dollar shoes.  He sent me home with a couple of polaroids.  I'll either scan those in or post the finished shots when he sends them to me.

Aside:  During the whole day, about 30 people came up to Lauren and me and made some sort of comment about our tattoos.  We decided we can't go places together.  People just can't take it.

Jess DB was able to come meet us for lunch.  She's doing so well studying nutrition in grad school.  Saying I'm proud of her isn't the right way to say it.  I guess I admire her.  Yeah, that sounds right.  Anyway, it was awesome to see her.

Saturday was the Newport Folk Festival.  The bands (The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Iron and Wine, Gillian Welch, The Avett Brothers) were insanely on-point.  And that location is absolutely breathtaking.  You're out on a peninsula with the bay behind you on this rocky beach with a long suspension bridge in the distance and about a hundred sailboats.  You're singing along with The Decemberists going "Hear all the bombs, they fade away!" and there are like seagulls soaring over your heads and the sun setting over the water.  It was ridiculous.  


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Going Out

My house had a Southern-theme party this Saturday.  It was a smashing success, and I learned I can make an ambrosial butterscotch pie and dynamite mint juleps.

After the party all my friends went to Heroes at TTs.  I've had fun there in the past, but lately I haven't wanted to go out much.  Also, I spent a lot of money on the party, and TTs is notoriously expensive.  The last thing I wanted to do, in fact, was go to Heroes.  Derek and I watched an episode of Deadwood instead and went to bed.  It was exactly what I wanted to do, but still this morning when I saw all the fun facebook pictures of everyone out, I felt like a huge loser.  It's that classic FOMO (fear of missing out), or maybe I'm just worried I work too much or don't have enough fun.  

Whatever it is, it's probably not worth losing much sleep over.  I have a decent amount of fun, and a lot of my work now is fun, too.  And I'm saving to go on tour and for school.  I deserve to be lame, dammit

In the geeky fun department, I got my birthday present in the mail this week.  I can already do two finger rolls and play "The Streets of Laredo."  Watch out.


Photo by Vicki.

Friday, July 17, 2009

cheap massages at Art Beat

FYI Bostonians:

Some of the therapists from Massage Therapy Works are going to be giving very affordable chair massages (between ten and twenty bucks) at the Art Beat festival in Davis Square tomorrow (Saturday, July 18th). Don't say I never did anything for ya.

Here's the full scoop at my MTW wellness blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is one of my favorite recent photos.

I have tomorrow off, so I'm going to Trader Joes, the tailor, and the guitar store to get a stand for my new banjo.

Life is good.  That is all.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boston Healing Blog and Youth Team Fundraiser

I've started to write a blog for Massage Therapy Works in Davis Square (AWESOME PLACE, btw). Check it out here: Boston Healing Blog.

Also, James Caroline, Ryk McIntyre, and Myself are performing for The Boston Youth Slam Team Fundraiser this Friday, July 10, at 6pm at Cloud Place in the Back Bay. $10 suggested donation and all proceeds go to send the Youth Team to Nationals.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

the kindness of strangers

On my way to a photoshoot yesterday my car broke down on RT 2.  I pulled over to the shoulder and called AAA.  I was wearing a pin-up dress, my new Fluevogs, and big sunglasses reading a book of poetry leaning against the guardrail with a corset and 5-inch heels in my bag.  In the thirty minutes it took for the tow truck to arrive, five, count them, five, men pulled over to the side of the road to ask if I needed any help.  One even said he had seen me from the other side of the highway, exited, and gotten back on in the other direction just to come to my rescue.

Context is a funny thing.  I wonder if I hadn't been dressed like that how many people would have come to "help" me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mission Statement


I believe that the old models of publishing are becoming as obsolete in literature as they have become in music, journalism, film, and visual art.  

It is impossible to commodify a piece of art once the physical component has been antiquated. Once the record, magazine, book, film, print, etc is not necessary and the work is translated into easily replicated and distributed ones and zeros, our capitalist model fails. The model of supply and demand cannot be applied to an economy of ideas.  

If it will be possible to make a living as an artist in the future, we will not be able to make much money by "selling" our product.  Money will need to be made by corresponding appearances, commissions, and gigs booked around either free or very low-cost product.

Even most traditionally published writers have not made the bulk of their money from the books themselves, but from these appearances, commissions, and gigs, just like most traditionally signed bands don't make much money from the music itself, but from the whirlwind of opportunities that come with being a RockStar.  

We used to need publishers or record labels to generate these opportunities.  Now we do not. We've seen many indie musicians circumvent the record labels over the past five years. Publishing on the other hand is older and slower to let go of tradition. 

Regardless, the publishing industry as it stands will not be able to sustain itself for much longer. The modern reader lives half of his or her life in an abstract digital world.  Paper books alone cannot reflect this world accurately.  

If we look at it the right way, we are living in an extremely exciting time for artists.  It's almost like being the first generation with access to the printing press.  What we do with this magnificent gift from thousands of preceding generations is now up to us.  

I'm up for it.  Are you?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pike Hoses

Taking this abnormal psych class has brought up some interesting emotions.

The book is clearly geared toward young college students, for instance, I a lot of the case studies are "Steve is a 21-year-old college student," "Mary is obsessed with getting straight As," "Bilbo sought the advice of the campus counselor," and so on.  The book itself is bringing me back to when I was that age, not to mention the book is about abnormal psych, and college was the time when my depression and OCD were at their most incorrigible.

I can't help but think if I had been able to get those problems under control sooner how much farther along I'd be now.  Maybe I'd have a full-time job now, or I'd have made better writing connections earlier, or I'd have moved to the city when I was younger, or I'd just have gotten better grades.  

Now that I know I can live with these things without medication and maybe even channel them into positive outcomes, I am kicking myself that I didn't figure that out sooner.

I spent two hours on the phone crying to my mom last week after reading two chapters of my homework.  All the statistics of unemployed and financially dependent people with mental disorders may have gotten to me.  Or maybe it was just the memories.

All this pathos makes me think I'm moving in the right direction.


PS: I am apparently the last to know that Neil Gaiman is now dating Amanda Palmer.  I guess I have to start listening to her music.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Word is dead. Long live the Word.

Where do we go from here?

Is everything hopeless or is this just a new beginning?

I have been seriously considering serializing Backstage at the Caribou on a blog, since traditional publication doesn't seem to be throwing me any bones.

If anyone is out there, what are your thoughts?

Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm trying to book a tour in the fall, interviewing for new jobs, and today is the first day of my psych class. Posts have been sparse and they will most likely be for some time. I'll do my best not to completely drop off the face of the earth.

On Saturday we went to Split Signal at the Somerville Armory. Five or so bands played live scores to short, silent films. Free microbrews and wine brought to us by cute punky girls in black dresses and flapper hats. It was the place to be in Boston on Saturday. The crowd was a Who's Who of the Boston alternative arts scene. And it was finally warm. Everyone was in a remarkably good mood.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Seattle

I just spent about forty minutes writing in detail about Seattle, and how it's probably the place in the world that manages to best combine my favorite things in new and unexpected ways, and then I lost it.

So here's a picture instead, which I'm assured is worth a thousand words:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Live from San Francisco: A New Beginning

Scenes from the past few days in the Bay Area:

*I read a poem at a loud, drunk, mostly music open mic at Cafe Internationale in Lower Haight at about 11pm on Friday. By the time I'm done with the poem, everyone has stopped speaking and is listening and has their eyes on me. I'm so thankful for the performance experience I've had in Cambridge. I'm not intimidated by any crowd anymore.

*Alana and Bob's friend Scott takes me to the Golden Gate Bridge, which really is up there with some of the most beautiful things I've seen, and we walk across and see the "Don't commit suicide from this bridge please," signs. The day wound down at the punk/indie/rock bar Zeitgeist, which much to the dismay of the fashionably surly bartending staff must have recently been yelped RE their kickass from-scratch bloody marys and was about 1/8th filled with out-of-their-element yuppies who kept calling the tattooed denizens of the bar "weird," out loud, as if they were in another country or something and no one else could understand them. Notwithstanding though, Zeitgeist really is all it's cracked up to be, naked lady matchbooks and all.

*I hike for five hours deep into the redwood forests and don't even realize I forgot to eat that day. The forests are the most peaceful and religious-seeming place I can ever remember being. I feel such an affinity to those ancient, auburn trees. It's hard to explain, but I never feel as peaceful as when I'm in the old-growth forests. I suppose I am named after them, after all.

*I find myself in an hourlong conversation about the human need for myth, the archetypal rockstar, fame, and the changing media with the curator of a downtown art gallery who miraculously happens to be on exactly the same page with me about all of it.

*I am told to "Have some manners in the ghetto, White Girl," by a definitively not-white man in Oakland because I have the audacity to pass two feet in front of him without saying "Excuse me." I'm sure if I had said "Excuse me," he would have had some other comment to make.

I feel as though I'm relearning to ride the current of life without trying to hard to swim against the flow. All the coincidences and positivity in the past two weeks makes me think that I might be doing a good job.

This trip has already been so centering, as San Francisco always seems to be for me. The day before I left I read my own tarot cards for the first time in two years. Back again were my old friends The Hermit, The Hanged Man, Time, and The Tower, because our issues are our issues, they really just change position. The gist of it though, was balance, responsibility, sacrifice, shattering illusions, and basically the encouraging notion that I can have all the things I want, I just need to be smart, work hard, not overdraw myself, and know what to give up and what to keep. I need to reconnect with The Hermit part of myself: contemplative, reflective, spiritual (yes, I said it). I found that part in the redwoods.

Of course, it's much easier to be concerned with interior matters when you have life's mundanities under control. I've had some good things happen the past few weeks and I'm ready to build on them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a little nutter-butters

I have a severe allergy (as in possibly death-inducing without an epi-pen) to peanuts, walnuts, and pecans. However, I can eat all of the almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts I want.

I have never intentionally eaten peanut butter and associate the flavor and smell with something insidious that hides in otherwise harmlessly chocolate cookies and candy waiting to send me to the hospital. Often when my allergy comes up, at least one person will look at me with an expression somewhere between shock and pity and say, "How do you live without peanut butter?"

I always just shrug, because of course when you've never had something, you can't miss it.


But last week ALMOND BUTTER was on sale at Shaw's, so I picked up a jar just to see what all the nut-butter fuss was about. I took it home and made an almond butter and organic blueberry spread sandwich on an English muffin and Oh. My. God. I get it okay, people? If peanut butter is at all like almond butter (and third parties have assured me it is), I would imagine it takes the average person a great deal of daily self control not to sit around in their kitchen all day and eat jar after jar of the stuff with a spoon.

Of course, peanut butter tends to go for about 2-3 bucks per jar, while almond butter is more in the 8-12 dollar range. That alone should help me control myself, but I'm not looking forward to this jar running out (which won't be that long from now, who are we kidding).

As I was writing this I was eating a sliced-up Gala apple slathered with almond butter. The fact that it's gone now makes me more upset than it should.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Over the past week or so, my insomnia has come back. It's a little strange, because I thought that was one of those youthful demons I had finally put behind me after something like sixteen years. All fall and winter I fell into my bed properly exhausted and by and large slept through the night.

I don't think this means I'm as fearful and dissatisfied as I was when I was younger. I guess it's always come in waves, and maybe my self-congratulations at its conquering were premature. I just hope this lapse is temporary and short.

Leaving for the West Coast in a little over forty-eight hours. Not ready yet at all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

This wild weekend started out with the biggest fight Derek and I have ever had and ended with me holding Sam and Dawn's new babies, Ada and Alice.

The Fight was pretty standard-issue mid-twenties fear of commitment stuff, but it sure did feel (as these things do) totally personal and unique and tragic especially when I thought the only possible way it could end was, well, to end it. However, just to show that life can still surprise, all the right things were said, and apologies were made over smooches in the tree-lined residential labyrinthine brick sidewalks of Harvard Square.

PS. I am apparently a dude when it comes to these things. For the two days when I thought we were breaking up, not a scoop of ice cream was eaten and nary a chick-flick viewed. All I wanted to do was lift weights, get drunk, and play the guitar.

The Babies are all different kinds of incredible. Teeny tiny. I've never held a newborn before, but I think Aunt Jade handled 8-pound Alice (who looks like Yoda) and 5-pound Ada (who looks like Gollum) impressively. Neither of them screamed at all when I held them, just kind of smooshed their faces all around and tried to eat their own fists. Derek and Sam and I all smoked the cigars I brought and talked about adulthood and fatherhood and green cards and all that crazy-serious stuff suddenly passed to us somewhat more like a marathon baton than a torch in terms of urgency and adrenaline and the vague feeling that somewhere up in the stands, thousands must me watching and scoring our performance.

Monday, April 27, 2009

that endless widened mouth


Pic by Mick Murray

My parents came to visit this weekend. I felt like this was the first time they've gotten to see me as a bona fide adult. I even went shopping before they came so mom would have the yogurt she liked in the morning.

Every time I see them now I see more and more where parts of my personality and sense of humor come from. Does it mean you're mature when that doesn't make you resent those parts of yourself?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Hanged Man

I'm a student! I signed up for my first pre-req last week. I'll be taking abnormal psych this summer, which means I'll be extremely annoying to most of my friends and family, dismissing anything they say that I don't want to hear with zingers like "Stop acting so bipolar!" and "You're just projecting!"

But I feel good about it. I honestly feel better than I have in quite a while. I think if you just know how to listen, you know when you're on the right path or not. When I became really versed in the Tarot I could see the cause-and-effect patterns I was living as they happened. It's like I began to see those patterns again in the past couple of months. I'm starting to feel more connected to the currents around me, without the feeling of jadedness that has traditionally come with these crucible periods in my life - let's just call them The Hanged Man periods, for descriptive simplicity.

Phew. Yoga kicked my ass tonight. I'm freaking exhausted. See you in the morning.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In a characteristically deep text-message exchange with Jess D.B. this morning over coffee and blurb writing, I made the statement "It's okay to grow up. It's not the end of your life, but its beginning, in a way."

She added, "Goddamn society for trying to tell us we're supposed to be slutty rock stars with coke habits."

I don't want to be tortured my whole life. I want to create but I want to be happy at the same time. I can be. I deserve to be.

My friend Angelo is 64, is a successful pathologist, has been married to his wife for over forty years, has two grown children with families of their own, has a beautiful house with an art studio on the top floor, has had his work shown in galleries in New York, bakes bread and makes his own premium wine, and still watches True Blood.

It is completely possible to be an artist without letting it kill you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

declare the pennies on your eyes

Somehow even though my income was well below the poverty level this year, I still owed the government money because a large portion of this was contract labor. Of course this is a symptom of America's failing to foster true individualism, one more kick to those who don't raise their wrists to the corporate tongue. The iconoclastic adolescent in me would have railed and raged over this. I'm just going to shrug and never do that again.

I guess I've reached a point where I have better things to do than fight authority.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whiskey's good for a sore throat, right?

Cuts through all the phlegm.

Is it okay not to be a football hero, a rock star, a creative genius? Are we still worth something? Are we worth any less at all?

Is time's ultimate erasure its ironic blessing?

Do I need to shut up?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I've been looking into Expressive Therapies as a career. This would entail about 2.5 years of school and a decent amount of student-loan debt, but it would incorporate art, my affinity for disturbed people/kids, and my desire to physically help people in a capacity I can see.

If I go for this, I would really have to go for it. This would take up at least 40 hours a week for years of my life. My fear is that I would let my personal art fall by the wayside in this situation. As David, a music therapist says, "40-50 hours a week still leaves a lot of time, as long as you don't have a family."

Two years ago, I would have scoffed at this idea, but somewhere around 25, my biological clock has started rattling around with unprecedented bombast. I could see myself as very happy having children in the next five+ years or so, but this sudden desire raises a whole new level of confusion. You can't work full-time, actively pursue your art, AND be a good mom, can you?

I used to say I wanted my art to be the way I would procreate, but as I get older I'm not so sure if I wouldn't ultimately find that romantic notion unfulfilling. Of course, having a family might conversely leave me feeling resentful and suffocated. I hope this wouldn't happen, but it's not unheard of, even for people I think are pretty decent.

This would all be easier if one of my novels hit big, but even the publishing industry as we know it is dying. Also as its been over a year and no one has picked up Backstage yet, I'm starting to come to terms with how rare actual success is in this field. My early-twenties projection of my starving-artist adult life works if it's just me. If I have other people I love to think about, it's not fair at all. I use to say I wasn't born to be happy, that I had a responsibility to my talent. I still believe that in a way, but don't talented people deserve to be happy, or at least fulfilled? Is happiness even the point? I just don't want to wind up a lonely 40-year-old woman working a shit part-time job talking about Faulkner and Nabokov.

I wonder if men think of these things.

I'm still young, but I'm coming up on some very difficult decisions and I have no idea what to base them on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

lord, won't you buy me...

My entire left hand stings.

I showed up at BU this afternoon to model for a class, but the professor (art professors flighty? No!) forgot and took her class to the museum. This is the coolest thing ever about art modeling, because when this happens you get to go home and you still get paid for the whole class.

This is also exactly what I needed today. Three extra hours to decompress, put my poems in order, play lugubrious acoustic guitar, and eat apple pie.

The weather was so amiable, I even got out at the Porter station for the extra walk. As I was crossing the parking lot of the Porter Exchange, my head turned to check out an elderly couple's impeccable cream Mercedes, and I ran directly into a thorn bush.

The bush's nettles detached like quills of a porcupine, and I walked the rest of the way home with a palm that looked like a pincushion held rigidly open so as not to drive any of the nettles further home into my flesh.

After twenty minutes in the bathroom with a tweezer and a little bit of blood, my hand is usable again.

On the one hand, this a humorous observation on my nature, and the nature of human beings in general. Who hasn't stubbed their toe while distracted by something shiny?

However, if you secretly believe life is like a transparently symbolic novel or film (and if you're reading this, you probably don't think that belief is too nuts), and especially when you consider what hands traditionally symbolize to artists of any kind, the message is clear.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

words and weddings

I'm talking to the folks at Spuyten Duyvil Press about putting a book of poetry together, to be released sometime in the early fall.

I'm performing at Caleb and Leyna's wedding back home in Indiana this weekend. I'll get to see Mom and Dad and eat lots and lots of food.

It'll also be the first time in a yearlike I see (or really talk to, for that matter) the Ex. It'll be a good litmus test. Derek couldn't come, so Mom's my date to the wedding itself, but I'm going stag to the rehearsal dinner. We'll test the waters and see if any kind of post-traumatic-breakup friendship is yet possible here.

But no matter what happens social-navigation-wise, Saturday is cake, drinking, and karaoke in fancy dresses. Gotta love that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I am currently trying very hard to resist the urge to run away into the woods and live on a sustainable farm somewhere.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

There is something so post-modern about sobbing uncontrollably in a laundromat. You realize the incongruence of the setting and the action and wonder what wry pen is commanding you.

The reality of my starving artist existence is starting to weigh heavy on me. I do what I do very well, but I keep seeing people far less talented than me succeed so much more. I have to worry about grocery shopping. I can't keep up financially with my friends and boyfriend. I can't buy presents for my family.

But every job I look at I am unqualified for, I send out resume after resume and can't even get a personal response, and the careers I think I might love all require Master's programs for which I lack even the prerequisites. Yes, I should stop whining and go out and get started if really care, but it all seems so uncertain and so far up the road, and would require an acceptance of failure and perhaps a partial abandonment of my art. I am discouraged and nauseated with myself and what I've become.

I am so intelligent and so talented and so good with people, and this is what I've made of my life? It makes me sick to think about it. I am unable to see the light at the end right now. I'm sure it's there, but I just can't see it. Goddamn my insouciance. I feel like I've completely fucked over my whole life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

it's hot when you puke

It never ceases to amaze me how much more frequently I get hit on when I'm looking disgusting (coming from the gym, makeupless and unshowered, sick, etc.) than when I get all dolled-up and actually look presentable.

I woke up with some sort of food poisoning this morning at 5am. When I could finally hobble outside this afternoon I made it to Whole Foods in search of Boylan's Cane Cola, the only thing I could imagine putting in my mouth. In the parking lot a guy sat leaning against his car.

"Can I see your tshirt?" he said. "It looks cool."

I was still hunched over and sweating in pain, walking tight-legged past. "It's just an Urban Outfitters tshirt from a few years ago. I'm really not feeling very well."

"I'm so sorry," he called after me. "You're very beautiful."

I was not. I looked like I had food poisoning. On my way home I ran into my friend Kristen who said, "Oh my, you look like hell."

If he saw what was coming out of me eight hours beforehand, I wonder if he'd say the same thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I got this gig featuring last night at the Boston Conservatory down in Back Bay. Some sort of show highlighting poetry for the English classes at the Conservatory. There were a lot of performers in the audience. It was in a beautiful old space with several very talented young jazz musicians, poets, and dancers performing before me.

I think I did a really good job. This is probably the best feature I've ever had, which is funny because it was so last minute and unplanned. I read two poems off-page and sold two of my first chapbook.

Tonight, housewarming party in my KICK ASS new apartment. I'm feeling better about things than I have in a very long time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

So, turns out I'm reading at Boston Conservatory today at 5pm. If you're free, able, and interested, you should come!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the new dirty phonecall

I was typing away today when I received a random text from an Indiana area code saying "Who is this?"

I have never seen this number before, but I thought it was possible that I had sent an accidental text the night before, so I replied "Jade, who's this?" as is the custom in such situations.

Stranger: "Brandon. I go to Columbus North High School. How old r u?"

Me: "I'm a grown woman in Boston. Why do u have my number?"

Stranger: "It just popped up. Im a teacher at North. Send me a pic. Have u ever tried anal?"

Wow.

If you want his number, email me, just in case you want to let him know how much his advances are appreciated with pics of pigs fucking or human excrement.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The other night I dreamt I could fly. Somehow I had forgotten about the law of physics which allowed this, and how I was one of the very lucky select of the population whose bones were hollow enough (and arms were long enough) to make it possible. But I was damn good. I could start from a standstill, jump up into the air, swoop down till I almost brushed the ground, but then catch the wind and shoot up into the stratosphere, divebombing, swooping, corkscrewing -- I was a bit of a show off.

My favorite thing to do was jump off a cliff, bullet straight down until my eyes watered, then throw my arms out and scoop over the ground and back up, stomach doing calisthenics the whole time.

When I woke up, the dream had been so vivid I felt like I had just lived another mini-life overnight.

I haven't had a flying dream in years. When I used to have them when I was younger, I was always struggling, trying to go higher, but unable to manage my bodies weight, and always sinking uncontrollably.

This was nothing like that. I go in for a certain amount of dream interpretation, especially when they're so symbolically obvious as this. I'm going to take it as a sign I'm not fucking up too terribly.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I just moved into a new place with three girls. It is big, clean, inexpensive, and has a killer location. This excites me, and I mention it often, because my last place was a bona-fide shit hole.

HOWEVER:

Whenever I bring up the fact that I just moved with someone new who has a vague familiarity with my life, their first reflexive response is invariably, "Oh, is it just you and Derek?"

If you are not vaguely familiar with my personal life, Derek is my boyfriend of almost a year and a half.

Granted, I guess we're getting close to "that age" where a fresh wave of singles are settling down (after all those kids who got married right after college, the late twenties seems to hold up a net with considerably smaller holes), but is it really expected to move in with someone after a year? I guess it was at a year and a half or thereabouts that I moved in with my last serious boyfriend, but in retrospect I would call that a little impetuous. I also do know many, many couples around my age who moved in together after less than a year.

Maybe it's because I've done it before and had it end so badly that I'm more inclined to let things go on at a comfortable distance without bringing these kinds of things up. I tend to be fairly laissez-faire in relationships, and I rarely sit down and think about what I want out of them. This is probably a character flaw, I just don't really know how do fix it, especially when it's so easy just to go on day to day without addressing it. At the same time, I hate the feeling of following someone else all the time. I don't want to be like this forever.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Even though I had the FLU FROM HELL, Cygnet Fest was great fun. The acts ranged from straight up like, pantomime with a sax accompanist performance art, to Asian cellists, to comedy. The comedian was a very cool girl named Nicole Carey who has only been doing comedy for a few weeks, but is hella funny. I read two poems, Sidewalk Saints, and a new one about my father and Moby Dick, and the audience was extremely receptive. Then I closed with Madame Psychosis and the first real performance of "Sushi Wrap."

LoWreck and I are recording another rap this afternoon (hipster-hop -- it's gonna be big, yo). My voice is a little hoarse but I'm gonna make it work.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

All moved in! I'm barely set up and my new place feels more like home to me than my last two places combined. Really I haven't loved a place this much since my and Thade's place in Bloomington (with the porch swing.... oh the porch swing...). My apartment in Brighton was nice but I never did anything with it. My room here feels like MY ROOM, in a way I can't even remember any room feeling in my adult life. Maybe my very first bedroom on Mitchell street in college was close, but this one's slanted ceilings (almost like a cob house, if my inner hippie can come out a bit) just feel so cozy. I'm putting up my Ganesh and my evil eye and my Faulkner poster and my Bodo print I got in New Orleans and keeping my tarot cards near the bed again. Everything is better.

In other news, I am now addicted to Kombucha.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm moving to Davis Square on Saturday, so I'm a little awol for a while. Packing and life, plus INTERNETS is already shut off at my house. On the upside, the place is ENORMOUS and like two blocks from lovely Davis and like four blocks from lovely Porter and it won't have a crazy, perverted landlord and hopefully will have less slovenly roommates.

I interviewed The Chicken Slacks for a feature I'm writing for Metronome. They have new album coming out yadda yadda, but they wanted a different kind of article than the lame old question and answer. It's nice to get paid for writing.

If I don't get a chance to update, I have a radio interview on Sunday evening and a spot in the Cygnet Fest lineup at Middlesex at 8pm, Wednesday the 18th. You can find more info at jadesylvan.com.

Monday, February 2, 2009

New CRIT!

The new issue of CRIT is up!

This is the first issue that's come out since I signed on as poetry editor. Check it out!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

LoWreck of Vagiant is helping me with a new side project. Suffice it to say, my hip-hop name is Madame Psychosis. Check it out and add it.

Obviously, my website is updated. I have some new gigs coming up this winter/spring. I also have quite a few poems coming out in publication here and there from now until summer. I'll post links here when they're up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope and Circumstance

Watching the inauguration in front of Cardullo's crowded round the window flatscreen with what felt like four or five dozen of my best buddies holding balloons and streamers, drinking free coffee and hot apple cider offered in celebration by Cardullo's themselves and sharing a folding metal chair with Tara in her weird old-lady hat, I realized that I kept tearing up again and again at odd moments, and even released a bona-fide tear during the President's (we can say it now) speech.


But I was initially mistrustful of these emotions evoked by flags and pomp and "Hail to the Chief." Never in my adult life has politics excited me, much less inspired me. What bizarre day of yore must this be? We read about politicians who unite, who fill the country with drive and purpose and yes, hope, but they were men and women of our parents' parents' generation, surely, and impossible after the sixties and seventies, after the assassination of Kennedy and King and Lennon. We know better now, don't we? After all, he's only a symbol, and now he has so much to live up to, a demi-god myth to chisel himself to before the task instead of after, and how can anyone hope to live up to that?


But I barely noticed the blood slowing in my toes and fingers during the two+ hours I was out there. There's graffiti supporting this man, for god's sake, and art. Real art. I've never seen that kind of groundswell inspired by a politician. And don't we know enough to eschew the cynicism of the '90s and early '00s? Isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place -- that attitude that let's us rest in sneers as the corruption metastasizes?

Symbols are the realest things in the world. Symbols are the only reason humans have ever done anything. Money, country, religion, family, honor, love, these are all symbols. The power to make symbols via abstract thought is one of the things that defines and drives all human beings. Why else have we built buildings, created rituals, sewn gowns?

I choose to believe in symbols. I choose to reject the starkly "realistic" view of the cynic who clammily stands by and grunts at the notion of earnest change. This type of cynicism isn't realism, it's laziness. To mimic sentiments of the President himself, America has no time for the lazy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No matter what, I weigh so freaking much every time I step on the scale that it spins me into a brief, embarrassingly Cathy-esque fit of conniptions where I vow to stop eating cheese, beef, cupcakes, and delicious, delicious oatmeal-chocolate-butterscotch cookies and hit the elliptical like a gerbil on a wheel.

Fortunately for me, these fits usually only last a few hours, max, before I convince myself it's nothing more than big bones, big boobs, ass, lots of muscle, and maybe some left-over skin from my actually chunky days, making me look at least ten pounds lighter than the scale betrays me as. I like to think as long as I'm not in the double-digits size-wise, we're all doing an okay job, oatmeal-chocolate-butterscotch cookies included.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A big dog and a Tennessee Williams script started me thinking about all the lives I've lead already. How completely different my life was two, three, four, years ago. Three years ago I was practically married in a real legit home with like a dining room for dinner parties and a waffle iron in Southern Indiana. I owned a dog that I raised and trained from a puppy. Now I rarely speak to that ex-boyfriend and the dog lives hundreds of miles away. I still exist.

I am the romantically fatalistic type who has always secretly (or not so secretly) dreamed of getting married, but simultaneously lived self-pitifully resigned that for one reason or another, I probably never would. It always gets weird in these spurts where you look around and all your best girlfriends' fingers are shimmering.

Sometimes it feels like we're all just wandering around hurting each other.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

in America, you're not anyone unless you're on [the Internet]

You are among the first to find out about the launch of jadesylvan.com! Rejoice and pirouette!

Points of interest so far: "The Way I See It:1" in videos, and FREE (you heard me) downloads of my own personal voice reading poems. Holy shit of shits.

If you have any links or whathaveyous to me on any sites or spaces, could you please change them accordingly? Thank you!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It is the temperature of a walk-in refrigerator in my apartment. I know because the butter on the counter is the same consistency as the butter in the fridge. Amazing what a bad mood that can put you in.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I started feeling sick last night and feel the pretty much the same this morning. I'm Airborning the fuck out of it, and I slept in today, so hopefully I caught it and will start to get better soon.

Trying to decide what to spend my 500 dollar Northwest Airline credit on. I'm thinking San Francisco and Seattle. I've got several friends out there, and I haven't been either place in six years.

If I made New Year's resolutions, which I don't, mine for 2009 would be, "play more guitar." I'd be doing great so far.

To do today:

-Put remainder of savings bonds in savings acct.

-Sell old clothes.

-Buy more Airborne and Nyquil.

-Write pomes.

-Finish www.jadesylvan.com