On Day Planners and Chaos

I spent 20 minutes staring at the DIY day planner display at the craft store yesterday.

20. Minutes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of papercraft. So you would think the DIY Day Planner trend would be right up my alley…but instead, like most things, it just gave me an anxiety attack and a sad feeling.

I like Day Planners. My dad, ever adorably practical, gets each of us girls one every year and I, with my millions of appointments, deadlines and other nonsense, find it very useful…(for the first three months, before I leave it on the counter and forget about its existence). So I, still in this post-book cloud of alternating relief and stress, floated towards the aisle, like a moth towards a bug zapper.

After 20 minutes, I was sad and confused.

Continue reading

Song 53

“Song 53”

What is a poem to a creme brulee?
A tap, a crack, a crumb
Burnt sugar on your lip

And what is a creme brulee to a song,
An echo, little words
To taste upon your tongue

What is a song to a body
willing, a kiss like June

This fire in your mouth

But what is a body to a poem
Between sweet lines, this breath
Is all I have to offer

Continue reading

New Notebook: Arche/SuperCola

Introducing Arche/SuperCola!

Introducing Arche/SuperCola!

Time for a new notebook!

I can’t believe how fast I went through Lucca.  This new WIP (working title: The Lords of Yesterday) has me scrawling scenes even more than I did in the early days of The Big Rewind.  It’s a much different book for me, so I’m letting myself play with POV and scene variation, as well as a TON of beautiful collage work.  I’ve really gone kinda crazy, and I regret nothing.

Lucca was experimental in paper usage and texture.  The map pages were pretty, but writing on them proved useless, so they ended up being collage pages.  The parchment was a nice surface and added color, but tended to smudge with the big fat gooey ink pen I use because my hands are basically claws now.  I don’t think I’d do the origami paper on the spine again.  It looked pretty, but took up valuable page space.

My original intent was to make a double-sided journal, like an old pulp novel–on one side, Crime Writing, flip it over, General Work.  But I’ve still got about half of Mona left, so the pages would end up being wasted.  I needed a new notebook, and I needed one fast, so I put what I had on hand to good use.

Arche/SuperCola is very basic in design, but represents the finest of all my techniques combined — multiple paper types, end pages, French stitch and metal accouterments.  I had bought the hinges for another project, but they proved to be merely decorative and basically non-functioning.

Continue reading

Pen in Hand

I carried two bags to school every day.  One was my backpack, which was adorned with keychains and patches because it was 2000 and that’s what we did back then, and the other was this awesome white leather messenger bag, the coolness factor of which can never be replicated.

In this messenger bag was everything I needed to write my novel–notebooks, printed pages, pens.  I wrote in math class, during study hall, lunch.  My whole world was consumed with my writing.

So when I was accepted to the Pen in Hand writer’s conference in Little Falls, I couldn’t believe how fucking lucky I was.  Finally, my writing was being taken seriously!  For 24 hours, I would be surrounded by other writers.  I would get to meet authors and they would talk to me!  It was everything I’d hoped for and more.  I made friends there that I still have today.  It’s where I first drank coffee.  It was better than my prom.

Continue reading

NEW NOTEBOOK: Lucca

LuccaChrono Trigger’s Lucca was the first video game character I could really connect with.  She had big glasses, for starters, and she was smart and bookish, plus she wore sweeeeeeet boots.  And Crono’s ignoring of all of these great qualities in favor of busty blonde bimbo princess Marle was a good lesson for my late teens/early 20s: some basic bitch with a high ponytail and a tube top will always get the man you want*. (Eponine was a great tutor for this lesson as well).  My happiest snow days were spent playing that game on the TV in my mom’s bedroom, where I could surround myself with pillows and play in (relative) solitude.

I got on a Chrono Trigger kick awhile back; buying up old issues of Nintendo Power and reading the Boss Fight Books entry on the game.  I even played the unofficial sequel, Crimson Echoes, which was good until the stupid ending left Lucca behind to clean up idiot Marle’s mess because she’s a shit-for-brains queen. (and also I had a weird Marle glitch; serves the hussy right). Time travel is my favorite sci-fi concept, as evidenced by my great affection for Back to the Futureand I have always loved the look of skeleton keys and old clocks, of maps and worn paper.

It was time for a new notebook.

Continue reading

Book Swag and Temptation

I love writer swag.  Notebooks, fancy pens, tote bags, stickers with book quotes on them.  I drool over The Writer‘s monthly Take Note column, listing all the things I could buy to make myself a better writer.  If I sling my typewriter tote bag over my shoulder, people will know that I labor over the craft each perfect sentence in my masterpiece.  If I wear my NaNoWriMo t-shirt, people will see that I am capable of writing a novel in 30 days.  They will see me with my expensive pen and my leather-bound notebook at the coffee shop and murmur, “Yes, there is a real writer, you can tell she is very serious because she has a a scarf with books on it.”

Continue reading

The Night Belongs to Mona

As I mentioned in my last post, my crime writing notebook, Gail, is nearly full.  She had an interesting life; early character sketches became Stella and Miles in “Narc” (forthcoming in The Big Click) and “Rough Night in Little Toke” (featured in Hanzai Japan,) as well as the home for the starts of three possible novels.

Mona was an exercise in desperation and failed plans.  Initially I had planned to build her signatures out of grey-tone sketch paper, but with space running out in Gail and no time to get to a store that would have a selection of paper for me to feel and test, I went with the normal sketch paper I had on hand.  I had intended to use a French stitch, but the instructions I had in one of my books were vague at best, and by the time I had my paper punched, surprise, I realized I had to have five holes, not four as I had originally thought.  Coptic it is!

Continue reading

Steely Dan, New Notebooks, and Other Dark Sarcasm

Let me start by saying that I’m listening to a lot of Steely Dan as I write this, so if it comes off as rambling, dark and sarcastic, I apologize.  Every time I put on a Steely Dan record, I find myself thinking why am I not spending every minute of every day listening to Steely Dan?  Becker/Fagen are to my 30s as Morrissey/Marr were to my 20s, a constant, reassuring soundtrack.  Every time I listen to an album, I discover something new to love about a song I’ve heard a thousand times before. (How could I forget about “Caves of Altamira?”  Was “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” always this brilliant?).

Matthew & I saw our third Dan show at the Beacon on Wednesday; last time we saw them play Gaucho in full and when they played “Josie” I thought my heart would explode.  The first time we saw them, they busted out “The Second Arrangement.”  And I’ve seen Donald Fagen play with the Dukes of September Rhythm Review, as well as seeing fellow Dukes Boz Scaggs & Michael McDonald on their own tours.  (Also, I am kind of in love with Donald Fagen and wish he would write a charmingly sleazy song about me, more “Slinky Thing” than “Cousin Dupree.”)

But Wednesday night, they opened with “Black Cow” (one of my favorites) and played “FM,” which made me so insanely happy that I screamed.  They played “Josie” too, and “Peg,” and “Black Friday.”  If they had played “What a Shame About Me,” I might have died of happiness.

In addition to the show, Matthew and I took a few days to work on some writing.  The way I’ve been barreling through notebook pages, I’m on Dutch’s last signature, and he’ll only last another week, at most.  And Gail, hale and hearty as she is, is nearing the end of her line, with only a signature left before she’s retired to the bookshelf.

Continue reading