September 21, 2009

moving on

Dear blogsphere,

In the hopes of maybe/kinda/sorta/finally getting a legitimate website with my legitimate name onto the internets, I'm moving this dear blog to Same bunny, same sounds, same me--just a new location. Here's to hoping you'll follow me along.

Much geek love.


September 18, 2009

this is what a literary death match champion looks like

Last night I attended my first Literary Death Match, and while it would've been entertaining to simply be in the audience, I was experiencing this American Idol/Double Dare-esque reading as a competitor. A few weeks earlier, the most awesome Mindy Abovitz asked me if I wanted to represent Tom Tom Magazine in a battle of music writers. Who could say no to this?

To categorize myself as the underdog is an understatement. The other music writers battling for title of Literary Death Match Champion were none other than James Gavin, who's written poetic and critically acclaimed biographies of Chet Baker, Lena Horne, and the like; Chris Weingarten, a freelance writer for The Village Voice and a million other pubs; and Jessica Hopper, author of The Girls Guide to Rocking and a totally talented and knowledgeable rock critic in her own right.

And the judges? Franklin Bruno, ex-Mountain Goat and great musician (as if being a former member of The Mountain Goats didn't already imply as such); Ben Schafer of Da Capo Press; and Carla Rhodes, a comedienne and ventriloquist, who shared her judging duties with Cecil, the wooden puppet on her lap.

'Music writer' is luckily a broad label, since my qualifications for such a title can include a few interviews and some freelance work, upon which I've only started cutting my teeth. Otherwise, I felt very much just like a girl who loves music, draws comics, and sometimes cobbles essays together for publication. For the love of Tom Tom, I wrote and illustrated a comic entitled An Open Love Letter to Lady Drummers, kinko-ed up forty or so copies of the comic, and prepared to do a dramatic reading of the comic, and possibly die a literary death.

Round One saw Chris Weingarten read advice to anyone who wants to be a music journalist, which then spiraled into an anecdote about Ministry's roadie having his way with an ostrich. James Gavin read beautiful excerpts from both aforementioned biographies, and the judges deemed him the winner. He would then face either myself or Jessica Hopper in some sort of champion-deciding shenanigans.

There was a Camel Snuf box toss to determine who got to go first in Round 2. "Camel side up, or no Camel?" Jessica Hopper chose Camel; the oddly shaped box landed no Camel. I chose to go second. She read a piece from a fanzine about her love of Van Morrison's album T.B. Sheets. Where literary merit was concerned, I knew she had me licked. I followed up with my stapled comics, my best read aloud voice, and my lady drummer love letter.

The judges then called a tie, of all things. (They were, for the record, not nearly as snarky as I had imagined they would be. While they did question the absence of Moe Tucker and Lindy Morrison from my list of female drummers, Franklin Bruno said that my comic made him a) want to drum, and b) question his gender assignment--success!) "What does that mean?" I laughed, to which host Luke Dempsey answered, "We don't know." The audience demanded a winner, and the judges conferred again and said I had won the round!

What happens to determine the actual champion in a battle of music writers, though? Why, a game of musical chairs, of course. James Gavin ("I'm scared of you," he told me before the game began) chose two people for his team, and I chose two for mine (including my friend Mona, fellow teacher, and thus a most awesome secret weapon in a game of musical chairs). We circled the chairs (co-host Erin Hosier tried to cite me for being out as the last one to sit, which prompted us to need a refresher on the rules for, as Luke called it, Fucking Musical Chairs), and then one of James' team was out, then James was out, then myself, until my two friends and one of James' marched around two lone chairs. The music stopped. Mona and my friend plopped into chairs. The winner!

I was crowned with a golden record on a string that proclaimed me Literary Death Match Champion, NYC. I said I'd wear it to work today. So far, it looks pretty cool on my desk.

I promise to post here the comic in full, as soon as I get some quality time with my scanner (which may come after some quality time with my mfa app writing sample, but before some quality time with my GRE flash cards (groan)). Big thanks to friends who came out for the night (or watched the BPC live web cast!)

And lady drummers, please know, as always: my love for you stands tall. xo

August 31, 2009

crunch time

tomorrow is the first of september, and according to the brightly colored reminders that decorate my google calendar, that means: one month and three weeks until the GREs, and three months and one week until MFA applications are due.

it is crunch time.

it's hard to look back at a summer and deem it either successful or unsuccessful in terms of accomplishing all that one needs to accomplish to feel fully prepared for this marathon application period. will i ever feel that my manuscript is perfectly up to snuff? can i ever guarantee that i am applying to the right mix of top tier and higher odds schools? is this the year every twenty-something queer memoirist from new york applies to mfa programs? is this going to be a waste of several hundred dollars? am i really, really, really, really, really a writer?

let's not even try to answer these, save for the last one: i'm a writer. there, i said it. i still feel selfish, guilty, insane, grandiose when i say this. (this probably means i'm due back for some time with julia cameron). a writer writes, and to the best of my ability, while also sailing through these months with rock camp, dancing, brunches, shows, bike rides, ice cream, and a few sweet dates, i've written. i have about five finished first draft new stories, and about five half-finished first draft stories. i've also cobbled together a handful of blog posts and interviews for various publications. as far as my manuscript goes: i'm expected to submit two short stories (more or less). one of these stories will be the story i had published in the full spectrum. and the second story? i'm on the fence, and will be soliciting the advice/revisions/tough love of any and all writer friends who are willing and able in the next week or two.

as the reality of applying to mfa programs truly sinks on (i'm doing this! i'm really, truly doing this!), i need to take a long, hard look at the schools i'm applying to. i am 95% sure that these are the thirteen (omg, thirteen) places i want to apply to. part of me thinks i should whittle this list down to ten or twelve schools; part of me is also still taking everything seth ambramson says as bible (such as his recent answer to an inquiry about iowa's non fiction program as being 'top' for non fiction) and alternately doubting/loving my choices.

for those who haven't already heard my rationale: i'd like to apply to three year programs, so i can maximize my time to write/develop relationships with faculty. i'm most comfortable writing memoir/essays, so am mostly applying to non-fiction programs, but also would love to attend for fiction (and just take all those memoirs, change some names, places, times, and call it fiction, right?). i'm definitely in need of full funding (or at least decent funding)--but really, who isn't?

these schools are the ones i've researched, read about, perused, and can see myself at. most of this info comes from the creative writing mfa handbook (thank you, tom kealey et al), but also is what i've gleaned from the school's websites and other's experiences. it very may well have false information here and there, so for the love of god, don't quote me.

the hopeful thirteen choices:

1.) UT Austin (Austin, TX)
*3 year program; fiction (with a minor in screenwriting, play writing, or poetry)
*full funding ($25 grand stipend; no TAs)
*2% acceptance rate

2.) Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
*3 year program; fiction
*partial funding (some fellowships and TAs; prizes and awards for consideration)
*5% acceptance rate

3.) University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
*3 year program (4th year optional); fiction (with memoir minor)
*full funding (TAs; some fellowships)
*less than 3% acceptance rate

4.) University of Houston (Houston, TX)
*3 year program; creative non-fiction
*partial funding (TAs; fellowships)
*acceptance rate N/A (although it's more of a top tier school than not)

5.) Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)
*3 year program; fiction
*full funding
*less than 3% acceptance rate

6.) University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
*3 year program; fiction
*full funding (fellowships)
*7.5% acceptance rate

7.) University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
*3 year program; non-fiction
*full funding (tuition waiver; fellowships; TAs)
*5% acceptance rate

8.) Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
*3 year program; fiction
*full funding (TAs)
*4% acceptance rate

9.) University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)
* 3 year program; fiction (with non-fiction courses available)
* full funding (tuition waiver; TAs; GAs)
* 4% acceptance rate

10.) UNC Wilimington (Wilmington, NC)
* 3 year program; creative non fiction (with cross genre requirements!)
* partial funding (no fellowships; 40% receive TAs)
* 8.4% acceptance rate

11.) University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)
* 3 year program; fiction (cross genres encouraged)
* partial funding (TAs; 70% receive funding)
* "higher odds" acceptance rate

12.) University of Memphis (Memphis, TN)
* 3 year program; non fiction (interdisciplinary program!)
* partial funding (TAs; GAs; some fellowships)
* "higher odds" acceptance rate

13.) University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS)
* 3 year program; non fiction
* partial funding (GAs; some awards for consideration)
* "higher odds" acceptance rate

i'm never quite sure who's reading these haphazard blog posts (dear friends? strangers? the twitterverse? my mother?), but i'm here to ask your honest advice. about my choices, my research, my writing, my manuscript, my anything. just tell me. what do you think?

August 26, 2009

notes from home

on monday i got the call that my pappy had died, and four hours later i was on an amtrak train, going home. we have one saying in my family about death, and that is death is weird. it's weird. what else can you say about it?

i've been here in the suburbs of pennsylvania all week, waiting for the funeral to take place. it is one thing to plan a trip home; it is another to be yanked from your brooklyn summer and thrown here, among family turmoil and drive thrus and the sound of lawn mowers everywhere you go. below is a photo i took from the car window when my brother and i drove to the mall. the town i grew up in is a mash up of farm land and parking lots, shopping centers and tractor crossing. i may only be one state south, but new york couldn't feel more far away.

on tuesday, i tried to find a good cup of coffee. while the regional chain wawa offers something decent, i was otherwise at a total loss. i wanted a cappucino. i wanted a macchiato. i wanted to hear the sounds of an espresso machine, to watch the barista pull shots on it. there are few vices i depend on; coffee is one of them. the one independent coffeeshop i found in my mother's town (also drive-thru) only invoked macchiatos in something called a carmel macchiato, and this came in small, medium, and large. it wasn't the same.

pressed for time that morning, i had to settle on a dunkin donuts, and nearly had a panic attack as i entered the drive thru. i've never had to make a decision at a drive thru. you'd think it wouldn't be much different than stepping up to a cash register and gazing at the menu above, but it is. they didn't even list beverages on the giant board that accompanied the speaker box i leaned toward. it was just egg and cheese croissant things, flatbread specials, combos 1 2 3 4 5 6. 
'welcome to dunkin donuts,' someone intoned from the box, 'how can i help you?'
'um,' i said. 'um.' it was hot outside, but the air was on in the car. what did people in cars drink in the summertime?
'can i have an iced? latte?'
'what flavor?'
i cringed. 'vanilla?'
'one french vanilla iced latte,' he repeated, my coffee now a four word monstrosity. i spit out my order for a chocolate sprinkle donut and pulled along to the pick up window. my latte came with a dome lid, a dollop of whipped cream on top of it. it looked like a milkshake. i found a cup holder and drove back to my mother's house, discontent.

i always feel like a stranger when i come home. i even have trouble calling it 'home.' when i was 18, my parents were planning on a divorce, and going to sell the house. so when i packed for college, i packed everything--i dismantled the bedroom of my formative teenage years, kissed everything goodbye, and vowed to never live at home again. aside from these week long visits, i haven't. i love my life in brooklyn. in brooklyn, i have terrific friends, a swell apartment; i have coffeeshops, bookstores, places i like to go and where i'm known; i have a bicycle, i have an awesome cat; i'm known as the queer, funny, creative person i am. here, though? it all feels less dimensional. 

August 13, 2009

calendars are for suckers

two weeks into my vacation, and i have lost all sense of time. is it tuesday or friday? when did i go to bed last night? can i still order a bagel at 3pm? i feel like i have eleven months of pent up young urban night owl lifestyle coming through.

here is a small comic about it. for the record, my french press does not usually resemble an eagle wearing a beret, and my head is not that big.

xo, c

July 30, 2009


"If you know what you're going to write when you're writing a poem, it's going to be average." -- Derek Walcott

it is okay to not know what you are doing, right?


word count = 1,896

July 21, 2009

verbs of summer

suddenly you look up and july is 3/4 of the way done.

when not sorting water colors or crayons or construction paper, i have someone managed to pass the summer:

volunteering at rock camp

socializing post-rock camp (this included several nights of convincing myself i am of fit age/mind to stay out until 4 a.m. or so)

writing more little songs/poems than actual manuscript material

making jokes out of gre vocabulary words

playing MASH

listening to holly miranda

learning new bike routes

watching professor get fat

...i have the whole month of august off, and am hoping/praying/preparing to write daily and get to a beach (any beach!) as much as i possibly can. the looming pressure of applying to mfa programs is slowly shifting from the fantasy sector of my brain into the panic portion.

meanwhile, my horoscope says big things are happening this month. i'm hoping a draft of a killer new story is one of those things.

July 2, 2009


definitions of independence on the web:

  • freedom from control or influence of another or others
  • the successful ending of the American Revolution; "they maintained close relations with England even after independence"
  • a city in western Missouri; the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail
in other words:

when i found a blue 3 speed racer bicycle for sale on craigslist, i worried what it would be like to ride such a fierce thing. it has bull horn handle bars, no fenders, a hard and not very loving seat. i was wearing a blue dress and had my purse with me. 'it is harder, you know, in a dress,' said the guy who was selling me the bike. 'i'm okay,' i said, hiking up my skirt around my thighs to straddle the bike and pedal around the block. harder in a dress? puh-leeze. watch me, jerk face.

i bought the bike, hitched my purse to the handlebars, snapped on my helmet, took a few practices runs around the block, and then tore through the streets, from chinatown to the financial district, over the brooklyn bridge, home.

it is light enough that i can carry it up the stairs. nothing is more empowering: hoisting my bike up in my hands, purse, dress and all, hiking up the stairs and stashing it in my apartment. hello, new chapter of my bike life.

other personal definitions of independence:

i am off from work tomorrow

i am spending the evening at gorilla coffee, listening to michael jackson songs on youtube and getting some writing done

i am partaking in a YA writers 1K a day challenge, where writers share their writing processes and then post their personal word counts on the blog (sound familiar?)

you can steal my bike, but you can't keep me my biking self down.

June 30, 2009

rip bike

today when i got home from work, my bicycle was gone.

it was like being in a dream. when i had left, sleepily, around 8am, it had been there: chained around the thin tree outside my building, a kryptonite u lock holding it all together. it was the same place i had always kept it. neighbors warned me. bikers in the neighborhood told me i should get a better chain. naively, my thought always was: who would fuck with a giant pink bicycle?

sigh. apparently, there is some dipshit, soul less dickless jerk who would steal a giant pink bicycle. a heavy, rusted, lovely pink cruiser.

i did all the things i could. i called the cops. i called 311. i stared hopelessly out the window at the very spot it had been. i posted a desperate plea on craigslist. i twittered. i facebooked. i called a friend who is a former bike messenger/deep lover of bikes. i cried.

it's been seven months since i last had to talk to a cop; this brings us to a total of three lost property/robbery reports in the last 13 months. this is the feeling that sucks the most: to have to be reminded that i'm just a citizen in the world, susceptible to theft, guns, muggings, and, although i have thus been spared--worse.

when i first got the bike last summer, i wrote a comic about it. here it is in its rough draft state. (you can click on the panels to view them larger in a new window. annoying but true.)

some things i learned today:

while the precinct might not pick up the phone, there may be a nice detective in the detective squad who will

it is illegal to chain your bikes to any sign posts or trees. garbage collectors have the right to clip it and chuck it if it's in their way

get renter's insurance. it will cover the loss of a bike

when you are very, very, very sad and angry, you can listen to loud music, and when the singer screams, you do not sing along. you scream along

i've been screaming along with kathleen hanna to le tigre's on guard while composing this off the cuff post.

rip my giant pink schwinn. i loved you so much.

and balls to the fucker who took you. may they have urinary tract infections, herpes, traffic accidents, hernias, and no sex for the rest of their lives.

June 25, 2009

loving +dreading+ loving the dyke march

My freshman year at NYU, I walked into my social criticism class and casually tossed my new issue of Ms magazine on the table. The cover--which I can only find now in this little jpeg--showed two girls (young, with short dyed hair, ball chain necklaces, and heavy eyeliner) on the cusp of making out. Later, my friend Molly gaped at my audacity of having it on public display throughout our class. "That is the hottest picture ever," she said. "Everyone was staring at it."

I was so tickled pink to be young and queer in New York then. This cover hung on my wall in my freshman dorm, my first apartment, and so many apartments to come.

This weekend, as every last weekend in June goes, is Pride--Friday will be the Trans Day of Action; Saturday is the Dyke March; Sunday is the Gay Pride Parade. And throughout the whole weekend there will been tons of revelry, rainbows, parties and bars. It's my 8th Pride here in New York, and as I've felt for the last year or two, I have some mixed feelings about.

Part of my mixed feelings could be generational, as Mark Harris illustrated in an article on the generation gap among gay men (although the context for the piece was the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, there lacked any perspective of lesbians/trans/queer generational gaps, even though I'm sure there were dykes and trannies who were part of that revolution). And, yes, it was definitely a shock, seeing those opening scenes of Milk, where gay bars are raided and there we are, being put into police wagons--for someone who's been freely hanging out in gay bars since the moment I moved to New York, it's a chilling perspective to think that not so long ago, this wasn't as free a right.

Otherwise: pride rings and rainbows seem kitsch to me, but to my older queer friends, they are a total symbol of identifying as gay (and being able to find other gays in the world). I came out in high school when I was 17, frustrated and isolated in suburban Pennsylvania, but not without the internet. Through the internet I found mailing lists, older out lesbians to talk to (at the time I came out as bi, for me serving as a gateway to identifying as a dyke), gay books, colleges that I could apply to that had LGBT centers and communities. While I was still super eager to meet other queers, I think I was at least founded in the idea that they were out there, and that I wasn't alone.

Honestly, though, my mixed feelings about Pride come from how I thought, at the tender age of 18, that the queer community existed in bars, and only bars. My first Dyke March when I was 19, I was drinking heavily and rather depressed. The friends I had gathered my freshman year had either left the city for the summer, or were involved in other things the day of the Dyke March--they were working, or with their girlfriends, or at a bar. I remember, not knowing what to do, that I filled a water bottle with vodka and orange juice, donned a ridiculous bikini top shirt (it was pride, after all), and went to the march, walking along 5th Avenue with a slight buzz on, smiling at everyone around me, but inside, totally lonely. I eventually met up with some people I knew, and our night devolved into intoxication and debauchery. The next day, when we went to the West Village for the Pride parade, warm Smirnoff Ices wrapped in brown paper bags, I threw up in the gutter and missed the whole parade, dry heaving in the bathroom of the NYU library.

This, I knew in my heart of hearts, was not what it meant to be gay.

Every June, from then on, I would grow anxious at the approach of Pride. There was this superficial pressure--it's Pride! Be gay! You're gay? You should be here!--to be with your friends, to get drunk, to sleep around, to have a ball. For anyone who wasn't struggling with a drinking problem (as I now can see that I totally was), maybe this was just a joyful weekend of queer-ing it up. For me, though, I always flailed and exploded under the pressure to have SO MUCH FUN, so much so that I began to dread Pride.

I don't drink any more, but I still get anxious around Pride. My first sober pride, I still felt that insane pressure to have fun,
have fun, have fun!!, and ended up instead having a slight panic attack while at dinner with a gaggle of friends post Dyke March. (To admit, navigating the queer bar scene in sobriety is not without its intervals hilarious: such as when I recognized a girl at the Dyke March, and tried to explain this to my friend Emily, saying, 'I don't remember her name, but the last time I saw her she was in a bunny suit carrying a toy gun?' Emily, laughing, steered me away).

Last year on the day of the Dyke March, I stayed in, drew comics, and decided that was queer enough of a day for me. There was still a pang, though, when I knew I had missed it--part of me wanted to be there.

It's hard to articulate what I want to get out of Pride this year. Do I think visibility is important, that there is power in numbers, that there can be a physical concept of community when trannies and allies or dykes or gays or queers in any way take over 5th Avenue? Of course. I still grin when Le Tigre's track Dyke March 2001 comes on, with its mix of beats and dykes at the March ("Nine years, for nine years we've had four lanes...").

What it comes down to, I think, is letting go of that 19 year old girl wandering aimlessly through the Dyke March with a screwdriver in a Poland Springs bottle. And while I wouldn't quite call that Ms magazine cover the hottest picture ever today (I might have to give those accolades to the artwork of Sarah Larnach), I'm still here, living in New York, young and queer. And, hey, if nothing else: it'll be good to see those drag queens dressed up singing God Is A Dyke.

only in new york

Last Friday evening, after declining dinner invitations to take a much needed walk around downtown before finally settling on heading home, I stood on the F train platform at 2nd Ave. A couple next to me--the woman carrying a potted orchid--looked at my tattoo, then smiled. I smiled back. My tattoo has invited a variety of conversations with strangers--are you a writer? did you know i learned to type on one of those? is that a royal?--but this one takes the cake.

The woman approached me and said that, while random, she noticed my tattoo, and they had an old typewriter in their apartment they'd been meaning to get rid of. Would I like to have it?

Here I shrugged. Sure.

They lived in DUMBO, and after figuring that we were all headed home anyway, that I could come back with them to their loft, retrieve the typewriter, and be on my merry way. On the train we discussed the merits of random acts of kindness as it relates to karma, and whether or not this gesture would garner her any favors from the universe (I voted that it would).

The typewriter belonged to their landlord, who had refurbished it and given it to his wife for her birthday, except she never used it. When the couple found it in their apartment, the landlord said they could do whatever they wanted with it. The woman, an artist, was happy that it was now going to a good home.

It's a total beauty--an Olympia, with a kind of industrial green colored case, made in Germany. It's in great shape, including an ink ribbon that, with a little love, worked like a charm. The keys and gears move along with such ease. From the looks of it, I'm guessing it was made sometime before WWII. Even better--the keys include all European accents, including a pound sign, and a tilda.

It's such a treat to type on a manual typewriter. I love them because they're a good compromise between writing by hand (which can become tiresome) and writing on my laptop (which makes my eyes weary). Plus, is there any better sound than the that of the clicks, dings, and taps of typing on a typewriter? Certainly not. Here's to a summer of this sound floating out from the window above my desk, mixing with the urban din of life in Brooklyn.

June 17, 2009

the hardest/the truest

"This will sound cheesy, but every single one of these stories, as I was writing it, was the hardest story I’d ever written. Every single one felt like a failure, felt lifeless, felt fraudulent at advanced stages. And in typically perverse fashion, every single one also felt the truest."

--Nam Le on the stories in his first collection, The Boat

word count: 5,684

June 14, 2009


When the sun finally came out this weekend, I went with my father, who was visiting, to the new edition of Brooklyn Flea under the Brooklyn Bridge. Afterward, we passed a small farmers market, where I treated myself to fresh strawberries, asparagus, and shelling peas.

There is a late afternoon time of day, in every house or apartment I have ever lived in, where I best like the way the sun floods the place. It was soaking the kitchen floor today as I sat at the counter and shelled the peas, listening to the Dark Was the Night compilation, the apartment empty except for me and the Professor.

I never take time to slow down like this, not in the city, and especially not during the week. And I never work with my hands. I ate the peas with butter and basmati rice. Maybe I was inspired by the delicious local summer food menu I had in Red Hook last night, but regardless, it was a treat.

Professor enjoyed chasing the peas I dropped, too.

I'm working on a fiction piece that's not going at all the way I thought it would (what's new). I've thought about it, and figured that fictional short stories can be harder than fictional novels because you have less time to spend with the characters, to flesh them out and give them weight to tell the story. Also, this is one of maybe two short stories I've tried to write that hasn't been based in my direct experiences. So much harder. At least, I tell myself, I'm writing.

word count: 704

June 11, 2009


This is Professor. He's my first cat.

Honestly: part of my motivation to adopt a cat now in my life is my thinking that if I had a cat, I would stay home more, and if I stayed home more, I would write more.

Yes to the staying home part. But while at home, whole chunks of time pass as I just watch him eat, tickle him with a wand of colored strings, brush his fur, or just lie on the couch with him purring in my ear.

He's a rescue cat from Bushwick: a family found him on their deck and took him, only to later find out he had FeLV and can't live with other cats. He lived temporarily in a bass drum in a music studio while people emailed around, looking for a home for him.

He fits in nicely here. And I am able to get some writing done--even if it includes Professor sitting in my lap, paws on my wrist as my fingers jump across the keys. He doesn't seem to mind the motion. Maybe, just maybe, he knows what I'm up to.

Word count: 721

June 6, 2009

art studio

this is artwork by my friend suzanne goldenberg. she takes thread and magazines and boxes and paper and glitter and things and makes things which are incredible.

i rode my bike to her open studio today, which was part of Bushwick Open Studios & Art Festival. her studio was the most wonderful little box of space, with a leafy window, and a loft that held a piano-shaped board desk and wooden chair. i climbed up and thought, i could write here. i would like a studio.

there's a huge block party going on outside my apartment tonight. it is six months until mfa applications are due. i am trying very hard to write.

word count: 2,214

May 31, 2009


This is one of only two photos I took in Tulum, Mexico. These are my feet, in a hammock, on the porch of our beach front room at Nueva Vida de Ramiro, at dusk on the Caribbean Sea.

For five days, I turned off my iphone and detoxed from phone calls, gchat, twitter, facebook, e-mail, to do lists, gawker, the nytimes, youtube, and everything that wasn't beach/book or guacamole.

In this blissed out, tan state, I decided that I was ready to apply to MFA programs.

May 17, 2009


i had grand plans of writing/drafting/blogging tonight. but alas:

this is all i did.

word count = 0

May 6, 2009

wordcounts 16-19

-worked a tiny tiny bit on my other blog
-listened to this song over and over and over
-started reading short comic stories

predicting the future:
-will put on a dress on friday
-will see my brother on saturday
-will walk on sunday

word count: 253

May 4, 2009


-pretended i'm a choreographer
-watched this equal parts disturbing and hilarious video of some poor kid after the dentist
-seriously contemplated adopting this cat

word count: 1,120

May 3, 2009


-phone calls
-rice and beans
-installed tweetdeck (geeking out ensued)
-read a YA novel about cuban/latina/lesbian/genderqueer/trannie/black/fat-positive teenagers in miami

word count: 1,454


-went to rocketship for free comic book day
-realized that love and rockets is still alive
-read ariel schrag for the first time since college (not free)
-brontez of gravy train!!!! + osa of new blood + crystal of partyline = the younger lovers @ cakeshop
-there was much moshing. i had much coca cola.

word count: 0

May 1, 2009


-rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain
-finished another queer YA novel I wish I'd read in high school

word count: 1,598

April 30, 2009


in the moments after i nearly set my toaster oven aflame in olive oil soaked broiling zucchini, after i had somehow found the oven mitt, pulled the bubbling baking sheet from oven and clicked off the machine, there was an ethereal, moody song coming from the stereogum playlist i had let go in the other room.

i stood very still and listened.

thus i was introduced to grouper.

April 28, 2009


-opened the windows
-made a list of words that rhyme with 'mate'
-danced around to santigold; listened to lou reed in preparation for tomorrow

word count: 0

April 27, 2009


-taste of summer, part two
-lazy walk to the corner store
-ciao bella vanilla

word count: 1,565

April 26, 2009


photo by k.

word count = 0


this is a fake track list on a fake album by my friend p (not fake). we reveled in its brilliance while waiting for our order at crif dogs. it was my first time, which meant indulgence in tater tots and an epiphany about where the magnet of a girl riding on a hot dog in my third apartment came from.

I told p we need to make this album a reality. but ice breath, he said, that song is like so rad, we'd never be able to come up with it. I have a rudimentry knowledge of GarageBand and I beg to differ.

ps don't even think about trying to steal the brilliance of these songs. we may eat a lot of hot dogs and communicate mostly on gchat but we are badass and will hunt you down and crash your hard drives. or something. like that.

word count = 0


writing at night on the weekend = total bust.

Thursday I lived dangerously and went out on a schoolnight. Music blogger muthafunka (of Liz Feldman's This Just Out fame) was hosting/djing a dyke takeover of legion bar in east Williamsburg. The flyer popped up on twitter here and there. What would it like to leave the internets and meet up with these people?

I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in ages but had crossed paths again on facebook (a comment I posted about milk sparked a conversation). Leaving my house at 10pm on a weeknight to go out dancing made me feel 19 again (minus the boundless energy/naïveté about what a day on five hours of sleep would be like). The dyke takeover portion of the evening = hipster girls clustered together towards the back, near muthafunka's laptop. Just when I had lost faith in nearly every incarnate of the lesbian dj, here is fine 80s and punk, clean remixes of mgmt, ladyhawke, with crowd pleasing deep hip hop and old soul when the dancing starts. Current and upbeat, with the great addition of her loving her gig (dancing and mouthing along with the words = it is okay to enjoy yourself), I only wished that it was a) not a schoolnight b) better attended, all of which would mean the best new thing in queer Brooklyn nightlife. Never fret: compliments before leaving lead to her comment that they might try to make the party happen again.

word count = 0

April 22, 2009


-took a shower
-did the dishes
-admired how lily allen rhymes
-imagined music videos/film soundtracks
-stared at laundry

word count: 478

April 21, 2009


9PM to 10PM

- wrote emails
-drafted article for TStS
-danced to telepathe
-tried to teach myself html code
-browsed craigslist's missed connections

word count: 435

spring cleaning

1.) I keep picking up blogs like others' pick up diseases. this can't be productive. how many blog hosts/blog names/blog ideas can you have before you just explode?

2.) accountability: (n) responsibility to someone or for some activity

I need some of this.

3.) word counts: if I post every night my word count of what I've written, will that produce some accountability? I may also just end up telling you what I did in lieu of write (read: recaps of gossip girl).

4.) brownies + bagel + pizza + lemonade + indian food =

April 5, 2009

repeat, repeat

My freelance piece for Too Shy To Stop on SXSW.

I have always depended on the kindness of twitter

The first and only show that I got my hopes up about (and crossed my fingers that I would be able to find a way in) was the Perez Hilton party. The friend who I was staying with had gotten invites through someone and told me about it my first day of SXSW. Little Boots, Yelle, Margaret Cho, Lady Sovereign--I was frothing at the mouth. When said friend's invite hook up couldn't get me in, I decided to turn it over to the universe.

I put out a plea on twitter.

Twitter was one of those totally geeky indulgences I let myself get involved with pre-SXSW (that's how everyone stayed in touch down there! I thought excitedly). So, two days before the party, I put up a post on twitter, asking if anyone had an invite to the Perez Hilton party? I promised pancakes, to write their biography, and my undying love.

As I was steeling myself for a Saturday night sans Perez, I checked my e-mail that afternoon, and lo and behold, a nice guy from Austin had emailed me. He had seen my twitter and said he could take me as his plus one.

For real?

I called, chatted with him for a bit to assess non-psycho-killer status (he was checking me for the same), realized he was just a nice guy with a plus one, and I was in. He had been searching twitter to find clues as to who the special guest at the party would be, when he noticed some people looking for invites. He told me mine won out of over someone else's because, when he saw my typewriter tattoo, he thought, "That girl must be like a writer gangsta. She means business."

For real.

We met outside of the venue--an old Safeway lot that was serving as the secret party locale for most of SXSW's exclusive parties (the Playboy party was also there). Inside the warehouse-like space, there were two bars (free booze is the calling card of these invite only SXSW parties,) including a Cognac sno-cone machine, a huge stage, a wall with mirrors (and bowls of pink lipstick for writing on them), and a swing set playground on a large patch of AstroTurf. Perez Hilton came out to introduce each band in an outfit of head to toe pink, including a glittery headpiece (think Barbie with a Viking theme).

Margaret Cho did a quick act of cock sucking jokes and a few imitations of her mother (who couldn't laugh at that?). I had heard she had been writing songs, and she busted out a guitar to sing a few songs peppered with more cock jokes, cut ups of bad relationships, and references to STDs and being bad in bed (the other party, not Margaret, of course).

Looking around, I could see that Perez, naturally, had drawn in a lot of gay boys. Where, oh where, were the dykes? Here the synchronicity of SXSW continued: no sooner had I thought the thought than Perez came out to introduce his surprise guest by saying he had gone to every single Lilith Fair (I crossed my fingers that it would be Tori Amos, who had played a few gigs at SXSW). Two women who Perez loved unabashedly, he introduced his surprise guest...

The Indigo Girls!!!!

Now we all knew why the surprise guest was announced at 8pm and not, like, 3am!

I think I was one of maybe four people in the audience who were freaking out. (The clan of baby doll dressed fashionitas behind me sloshed their drinks about and talked through the entire set). They played--of course--songs from their new album, but ended with Closer To Fine (and here about 1/2 of the audience shamelessly sung along). Dyke prayer: heard and answered.

Wandering over to the bar between sets, I noticed a short girl in a tank top and a Brooklyn bike hat, beside a tall girl with curly hair and a messenger bag. Could it be? More answers to my dyke prayer? When in Austin, do as the super friendly Austin natives do: I leaned into the Brooklyn bike hat girl and said to her, "Please tell me I'm not the only dyke in here."

She laughed, assured me I wasn't, introduced me to her girlfriend (the tall one), and we all became fast friends. They were enjoying the cognac sno-cones. I told them the magical tale of how I had ended up at the party. When I told them all I wanted to do was dance and dance and dance, they assured me I had found the right people. When the next band came out, we all squished our way to the front and bopped out to what has been, hands down, my new favorite band.

Ladyhawke played songs like those of Til Tuesday, if Til Tuesday were cool as fuck and making music in the modern times of today. I recognized one song (Back of the Van), and danced to every single catchy 80s inspired song, loving Ladyhawke's grunge girl front woman Pip Brown. Later, when obsessing over her website and uber cool & queer album artwork by Sarah Larnach, I'd read that Ladyhakwe, a musician since youth, wanted to write songs that had the same happy/sad quality that other 80s songs did (Depche Mode, The Cars, etc.). She not only pulls it off, she pulls it off brilliantly. I haven't stopped listening to her album since I got it. One review I read asked why Ladyhawke hasn't made it big like CSS or other electro-pop bands have. Good fucking question.

Just when the night could've begun to look like a girl-with-guitar fest, Perez Hilton introduced Thunderheist, a hot rapper from--of all places--Canada. She rhymed and rapped in a deep throated Missy Elliot-esque voice, with fierce beats behind her, a magnet of charm and cool as she sassed her way along, bounced around the stage, and made us all dance so hard that by the time it was over, I looked like I had just been in a wet t-shirt contest.

The only band who's name had come up at SXSW about as frequently (and with as many syllables) as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart was Natalie Portman's Shaved Head--a pop rock group from Seattle. They were kind of like Gravy Train (i.e. loud ridiculous lyrics, tons of energy, ironic we-know-we're-silly style), if Gravy Train were white hipsters from the Pacific Northwest. While the girl dancing in front of us had seen them since their early Seattle days and loved them ("They just get better and better!" she gushed), I didn't think them anything to write home about. Whenever your quirky band name is more interesting than your music, it's a bad sign.

My plus one hero was mostly excited for this act--Solange, aka Beyonce's little sister. (Who knew Beyonce had a little sister?) She took the stage like any old school diva would--backed by a big band, flanked by choreographed back up singers, and singing with large, demanding voice. I only made it through two or three songs, though, before my new friends and I grew bored and went to check out the AstroTurf swing set again. SXSWist put it best: "no one is going to be getting pregnant to this overproduced stuff."

Buzz was big around Little Boots, and from what my radio plays of her had suggested to me, she was going to be fun. A small British pop singer, known for playing her own music (imagine that!), with tracks like Meddle and New in Town, her music is smart, energetic and synth-rich pop--the kind of songs that, if the bar you're at on a Saturday night are playing at the beginning of the night, you can count on it being a good time. She's super charismatic (I've since been charmed by her twitter account of zipping around to photo shoots and gigs) and fun to watch. New friends and I had a ball dancing around to her. Perez wrapped up her act by bringing Kid Cudi (a talented newbie on the hip hop scene) out, asking them to do an impromptu duet of the cover Little Boots had done of Kid Cudi's song Day N Night. The gift of being at an exclusive celebrity blogger's party--impromptu duets. Pinch me.

So around this point in the night, Perez Hilton comes on stage to tell us that Lady Sovergien (who new friends and I saw come into the venue and go into the VIP room--I lost all my New York cool and shouted "Wooooooooo!" when she walked past. Note to self: work on that.) has said she's too sick to perform. He calls her the c-word (my inner feminist bristles) and says he can talk trash on her because that's what he does. Disappointing, sure, but it's all good by the time the next act comes out--Rye Rye.

She's 18, she's the first act signed to M.I.A.'s label N.E.E.T., and she is sick as fuck. (Sick in the good way, not the Lady Sovereign way). Hard hip hop beats, fierce rhymes, dancers at her side busting out African moves at such a pace that the whole crowd goes wild. She mostly collaborates with DJ Blaqstarr, but tonight is backed by a female DJ, making me think this girl is channeling the best of Salt and Pepa with the energy of M.I.A. I'm dancing so much that I barely even see her perform--just the people around me shaking what their mamas gave them. Good lord, could this night get any better?

Uh, yes.

Perez Hilton comes on stage afterward to say that coming up next, it's the moment we'll all be twittering about to our friends tomorrow. Who needs Lady Sovereign? He's got someone better.

This is about when the crowd collectively freaks the fuck out. Kanye West had performed at the Fader Fort earlier that night, and many had seen him come into the party and stand back stage during Little Boots' set. Perez has someone better? "Oh, snap!" I shout at the top of my lungs while everyone is screaming.

Oh, snap, indeed. The entire crowd surges towards the front of the stage. (I'm sandwiched between friend of new friends and a girl and her boyfriend). iPhones are crowding the space above our heads. Flashes are going off like crazy. I have one Kanye album, from my days of an 8th grade Special Educator in the South Bronx (oh, if those kids could see me now). Do I like that Kanye has said things like that we should give Chris Brown a break? Hell no. Do I like the five or so new songs he performs, reaching into the crowd, pacing the stage, and eating the energy up? Yes, yes, yes.

Lots of people bounce after Kanye, which I think is crazy--we're just one more act away from Yelle, my beloved French pop electronica singer. Second to last, though, is the Swedish Ida Maria. Her voice has the strength of Bjork, and her catchy songs finally help me make sense of the t-shirt I saw a Swedish friend wearing that says I LIKE YOU BETTER WHEN YOU'RE NAKED (one of Ida Maria's chant-like choruses). Otherwise, I don't see much of this act because I'm making out with friend of new friends under the swing set in the back.


I've clocked in about eight hours at this party by the time Yelle comes on. Us hardcores who have stuck around are riled up for it. Yelle plays infectious electropop with witty French lyrics (one of her songs, Je Veux Te Voir, makes fun of a misogynist French rapper). In a red and white Budweiser-logo flashing leotard and white sneakers, Yelle takes the stage, saying in her accented ways, "'Ello Austin. Are you re-ady to dah-nce?"

Even if Austin isn't, Yelle sure as hell is. The songs from her album, Pop Up, she's extended into fun dance mixes for live performance, with the goddamn best choreographed little movements and dance moves I've ever seen. I wiggle my way around the front of the stage to find my own room to dance. Months of dancing by myself in my bedroom to these songs are paying off.

When her set is over, we all yell and clap, Perez thanks the sponsors, the lights go up, and we begin to walk through the sticky mess of water bottles and crushed cups out into the night. Finding a cab, I kiss friend of new friends goodbye, shut the cab door, and tell the cab driver where I'm going. After a few moments, he looks at me in the rear view mirror.

"Was it fun?" he asks.

"Yeah," I laugh, still wiping sweat from my eyes. "It was."

March 24, 2009

new love, old love

This wristband and badge business at SXSW was becoming less and less believable to me. Keen on seeing Mirah play at Antone's, I showed up to the venue about two hours before her set. For my non-badge/band self, cover was eight bucks. And there wasn't a line at all. Bingo.

Getting to a show early not only promises entrance, but also means you're going to get to see some rad new bands. Thus I discovered my new love, Theresa Anderson. If you crossed the great Swedish music export with the soul of New Orleans, this is who you'd have. A one woman band, she juggled instruments ranging from the fiddle, a dulcimer, guitar, xylophone, and snare drums, looping one into an energetic beat before bouncing onto the next one. (She even played barefoot, so as to better hit the pedals with her toes). Topping it off, her vocals were sweet and soulful, bringing it all together.

Her songs were sometimes sunny, otherwise dance-able, and always fun pop. For one song, she told the audience that her guest drummer would be Smokey Robinson, and then gestured to a record player on a stool that played a Smokey album as her percussion. Just having finished her second album, Hummingbird Go!, she apparently records most of her songs in her kitchen (adding to my love of women who do creative things in their kitchen). Fitting of the twenty minute time slot of SXSW shows, though, Theresa Anderson was finished in a blink, quickly dismantling her many instruments, pedals, and the rug she had put down to play upon.

My old love, Mirah, took the stage next, petite and barefoot as well. I first heard Mirah in someone's living room in my early twenties, when I went home with a girl who put on Advisory Committee as we sat on her couch and talked. I've since loved Mirah's sometimes tiny, sometimes epic songs of love and quirky-ness. She mostly played tracks from a new album (have I mentioned yet that nearly every band at SXSW is promoting a new album?), but ended with the dramatic song Cold, Cold Water (swoon).

What doesn't behoove Mirah is the setting of playing in a bar--she at one point asked everyone to stop talking, because she sang so quietly (this was in response to an audience that yelled 'more vocals!' to the sound guy, as if we were in charge). Even standing in the second row, it was hard to hear all of the nuances of Mirah's new songs.

Points, though, for her girl guitarist/bongo-ist and girl drummer. I was getting tired of seeing guys do so much at SXSW. Where are the ladies? I found myself thinking at so many showcases. My last night of SXSW, at the Perez Hilton party, would give me some good answers.