Monday, August 25, 2008

Post Yer Brilliance!!

Hey all,
I've been getting e-mails from people that want to send me stuff. I think it'd be awesome if you'd post your poems/essays and up here so everyone can read them- as a lot of the things you've written could help each other!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fly's Art Journalling Notes!!!

Hey everyone!!

Here are some great art exercises that Fly is sharing with us. Try them out, and let us know what helped you!!

Art Journaling Workshop
Facilitated by Fly

(notes from the workshop held at Fountain House in NYC in collaboration with the Icarus Project in the summer of 2005)

Art making is possible for everyone!! - By keeping an art journal you can empower yourself to develop your intuition & creative superpowers – your innate ability to communicate effectively to yourself & to the world – your art journal may contain the expression of your personal thoughts & feelings – once visualized you can confront inner conflicts & fears & realize that they need not be so overwhelming

“making art is believed to help one become more flexible – to self actualize & tap creative problem solving & intuition - one can also experiment with new ideas, new ways of expression & new ways of seeing”
- Cathy A. Malchiodi – The Art Therapy Sourcebook

the emphasis is on the inner experience (not outward drawing skills) – feelings, perception, & imagination – it may be possible to find resolutions to problems through your own personal guidance – all that is required is your own commitment to active & uncensored participation

Getting Started

If you have never had a sketchbook or journal before it may seem a little intimidating – the best thing to do is to start simple – I would recommend getting an unlined notebook from your local stationary store (when choosing the size be aware that you may want to be able to carry it around with you as much as possible) – or you can find nicer (& more expensive) hard bound blank sketchbooks at an art supply store – the important thing is to take the leap & get yourself some sort of book – to begin with all you will need is a pencil but if you are going to continue with your creative experiments you might want to start collecting other basic mediums – colored pencils, watercolor paints, chaulk or oil pastels & materials for making collage (interesting magazines – words & pictures, colored paper, - anything that catches your eye)

Before starting the drawing exercises you might want to do a short relaxation exercise – the following is an exercise that I copied out of Malchiodi’s book

1. Close your eyes & focus on your breath slowly inhaling & exhaling 3 times.
2. continue to inhale & exhale slowly & relax the muscles in your face, especially the area around your jaw. Let your jaw open slightly, so that any tension there can flow away from your face.
3. Relax the muscles in your scalp & neck, letting your head move forward slightly.
4. Relax the muscles in your shoulders & from there, let the relaxation move down into the muscles of your arms & hands, Continue to feel the tension slip away from your back, over your chest, down to your stomach, & all the way down to the base of your spine.
5. Let the feeling of relaxation spread to your thighs, knees, & lower legs, down to your ankles & feet until it reaches the tips of your toes.
6. Start from the top of your head & work down. Take a few moments now to scan your body for any part that is not fully relaxed. If you feel any part of your body that is not fully relaxed, take a deep breath & send the breath into that area, iimagining warmth & relaxation reaching it, When you exhale, imagine the tension leaving your body with the breath.

The following excercises may help you get started – the important thing is not to think about how the drawing SHOULD look & concentrate more on experimenting with the process of creativity – try not to judge your work as “good” or “bad” but instead try to see what emotions & ideas your drawings inspire – put a date on all of your drawings (or on the back) so you can keep track of your progress

Exercise #1

Take your pencil & a page in your journal – start by drawing lines around the edges of the paper – just straight lines – get to know how the pencil feels in your hand – after you have outlined the paper several times try drawing some diagonal lines across the paper – try using the pencil in different ways – try laying the point down & drawing that way – like you are shading – try making short sharp lines – try making different shapes – let yourself experiment with how many different ways you can use a pencil – after you have filled the page look at what you have drawn – maybe write a few lines about how the page makes you feel or how doing the exercise made you feel – give it a title if you feel inspired – you may want to turn the page around to see how it looks from different orientations

Exeercise #2

Using pencil & paper – (you can try doing this exercise with your eyes open or closed or both!) start by drawing lines randomly on the page as you did in exercise #1 - think of how you are feeling as you are drawing these lines – look to see if there is any shape to your lines – try to develop that shape – turn your drawing around if you want to – look at it from all directions – are there other shapes that are apparent? – work on any shapes that you see to form a composition – when you are satisfied try to write a few lines describing your drawing or how you felt doing it – see if you can give it a title

Exercise #3

Using pencil & paper – close your eyes & think of a sound – it could be a sound that you heard recently that ressonated with you or a sound from your past that you remember – keeping your eyes closed try to draw the shape of the sound on the page – think of the components of the sound – is it a repetative sound or is it constantly changing? Is it loud or soft? Rythmic or erratic? – try to keep hearing the sound as you draw – keeping your eyes closed try to picture yourself within the sound – what is your shape in relation to the sound? – is it bigger than you or smaller? Try to think of how the sound is affecting you as you draw – when you feel satisfied open your eyes – look at the page & see how the image affects you – write a few lines about the sound & your relationship to it – try to also write about how you feel about drawing – does it give you any ideas?

Exercise #4 – self portrait with eyes closed

Using pencil & paper – close your eyes & try to imagine that you are looking at yourself in the mirror – keep the pencil on the paper for the entire exercise – don’t lift it up – start by outlining the shape of your head – do this a few times until you feel comfortable with the shape you are imagining – keeping the pencil on the paper continue by outlining your eyes – the shape of the eyes then the iris & the pupil – move on to the eyebrows – imagine how they are positioned over your eyes – draw your nose & then your mouth – add the ears & your hair – add any details that are unique to your face – dimples or birthmarks or facial hair or moles – when you feel you have completed your face open your eyes – what comes to mind when you look at your drawing – what emotions or thoughts do you have – try to write a few lines about how you feel

Exercise #5 – self portrait

Using pencil & paper – try to set up a comfortable situation where you can look into a mirror while you are drawing – keep your eyes on your face & don’t look down at the paper as you draw – also don’t lift the pencil off of the paper – draw your face starting with the outline of your head & continuing as instructed in exercise #4 – when you are finished look at the drawing & try to write a few lines describing it or describing your emotion in looking at it – can you think of a title

All of the above exercises can be done with a variety of materials – you might want to go back later to some of your pencil experiments & add color with color pencils or watercolor or pastels – you can experiment with the characteristics of different materials by doing the scribble exercises (1&2) – you could also go back to any of your drawings & glue pictures or words from books or magazines onto them if the image strikes you as fitting


Other ideas for your art journal could be

Writing down your dreams - this can take some practise – its good to keep your journal or a small notebook by your bed so its easy to reach – its hard to try to write down dreams when you are still half asleep but by the time you wake up fully you often will have forgotten the details – so you have to train yourself to write immediately upon waking – sometimes just by jotting down a few lines you will be able later to remember more of the details

Try making drawings about your dreams or images that you have seen in your dreams

Make a map – you can interpret this anyway you wish – you could make a map of your house or a map of your body or a map of your emotional state or a map of your activities in a day – making a map reinforces the idea of navigating & finding your place in the chaos – it may work to help you focus & relax

Rubbings – you can make rubbings by putting a piece of paper on top of anything that has an engraved or embossed surface – ie – gravestones, manholes, woodcarvings – put the paper down on top of the surface & rub over it with a pencil or crayon (use one or several colors) – you can move the paper around to create a new configuration – you can also color the whole thing later or paint over it with watercolors or glue other images or words on top

Mandela drawings – drawings based on a circular design – often useful for relaxation & meditation

Collage – start collecting images from magazines or books – images that you find appealing or that ressonate with you in some other way – you can also collect words or articles – keep these materials together in an large manilla envelope or where ever is convenient for you – at some point you may be inspired to create an entire composition using your cut out images &/or words – or you could glue specific images or words onto other drawings you have created

Cut & paste – try cutting shapes out of different colored construction paper – play with different arrangements on the page before glueing them down – try different types of compositions – try making a picture that is scarey – one that is tranquil

Scrapbook – I use the back pages of my art journal to glue all of the flyers, notes, articles, phone numbers, & random ephemera that I collect – but you don’t have to use the back of your book – you could glue that stuff anywhere – or not – its up to you

There are a million different ideas you can experiment with! The most important thing is your commitment to expressing yourself creatively & actively involving yourself in the process – try to keep your art journal with you & use it as much as possible! – put a date on everything – its very enlightening to go back & look & what you have done & remember where you were at the time physically & emotionally – I believe that our imaginations & creative superpowers have the capacity to help us navigate safely through the treacherous & stupendous journey of our lives.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our First Hater Review!!

Hey everyone!!

I have so much to write about the incredible events that went on in San Francisco- but first, GOOD NEWS!! The book has received it's first Bad Review!! It's in L Magazine!! Check it out here-

But more importantly, read this incredibly eloquent response from a LTT Reader that I received on the book's e-mail. I was really impressed by the reader's spot on comeback on what the L Reviewer said. This is less self-promotion, as it is simply an interesting discussion that I think could be begun by both the review and the response. Read on!!

"Hey Sabrina- I really enjoyed the book and events I went to surrounding it. I thought I'd pass along this letter I wrote in response to the recent review in l magazine. . ."

Dear Ms. Frank,

I feel like you’ve completely missed the point in your review of Live Through This: On Creativity and Self Destruction. Good for you that you got over your anorexia so completely that you can now minimize the experience and pass it off as a pickup line. However, for many of us, self destructive actions are experiences that we don’t look back on and belittle. More so, when we witness our sisters and daughters repeating patterns of self destruction, instead of passing it off as a trend, we try to do something about it.

I’ve read Live Through This and also attended a book reading event, and I applaud the authors and editor for creating an empowering space to discuss self-destructive experiences. This book validates the energy and passion that often fuels self destruction, and also critiques it as misplaced power, power that the writers of the book were able to redirect into their artistic passion. These women were able to find and harness their individual power and strength, and they don’t pretend that their masochism didn’t play a role in that search. They acknowledge and ascend it.

By spotlighting stories of strength and success, a helpful story is told, so rare in a culture that preys on the voyeuristic opportunities to glorify female failure. I felt that this was the first book I’ve read on the subject that did not “revel in every gory detail of my gender’s masochistic leaning.”

It’s disappointing that you missed this distinction.

Brooklyn , NY

Now, I totally agree with this response, but tell me. . .what do YOU think?


Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the air - Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

I’m still on the airplane now, but I had to open a new page and start a new entry because the old one really needed it’s own space to breathe. Spekaing of space, I’m traveling high over a gorgeous sea of clouds, puffy, white and perfect. My girlfriend would know what type of clouds these are- humunculous or cumlumcouscousc or whatev. I specify them as ‘pretty’.

I wanted to write a separate blog post about the rest of my time in Chicago- especially about the event at Women and Children’s First- one of the best bookstores in the city. Besides the fact that it is one of the few actual feminist bookstores will in existence in this nation of Borders and Barnes and Nobles, it was my bookstore in Chicago- the one I would walk into even when I didn’t have money to spend, just so I could feel stronger by the walls that surrounded me. Feminist bookstores- I’m pro.

Anyway- I was back in Chi-town, my home town (actually, I’m from the suburbs of Chicago- that’s right- Elk Grove Village, bitches. All the Elk in da haus, holla). But I lived in Chicago for awhile, dare I say- during my ‘formative years’ and Clark Street was a vein of the city that I traveled so frequently, it really was my entrance into the heart of Chicago. I walked around in Andersonville, the Swedish/Lesbian neighborhood (no kidding) just to remember I was home, and crossing the street- what else do I see but an old man in his blues convertible, top down, pumping out the song ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ until I want to burst out with love and song but I don’t I just smile real big and walk into my favorite café- Kopi Café where I take a moment to have Mexican latte and write a few postcards. Then, off to Women and Children’s First- where they actually have a little sign that says ‘LIVE TONIGHT – SABRINA CHAPADJIEV 7:30’. I literally stop in my tracks when I see that. And start laughing. It’s so hilarious and surreal, having my name in big letters like that where any Swede or Lesbian might walk by and see it. I feel like I have reached the very bottom of fame. It was awesome.

Inside, I meet Megan Tracey- the incredible actress who co-founded Chicago’s About Face Theatre- a theatre for queer and trans youth in Chicago. About Face is an amazing institution, and I didn’t realize that Cin Salach had set me up with it’s founder. I’m in awe and she’s hot so the night’s got a great start on it. Soon after, I see Cin Salach- great spoken word siren, music maker, and brand new mama Cin!! I knew Cin ten years ago when I studied in Chicago for a semester after I saw her perform at the CURIOUS THEATRE BRANCH (best theatre in Chicago. So good, they don’t even care what you think.) Cin and Patricia Smith are good friends, so Patricia recommended Cin to read and it was a perfect fit.

And then finally, met Stephanie Howell. The indominatable Stephanie Howell. It was incredible. We’d had a few heart-wrenching, tear-jerking conversations via phone about the edits on her piece, and so it felt so incredible to finally meet her.

So it was me, Megan, Stephanie and Cin and we f-in rocked the house. Boo-yah, lesbian Swedes- ‘Live Through This’ in da HOUSE!

(what planet am I from?)

the place was jam-packed, my parents were there with their friends, old Chicago friends of mine were there, old friends from college showed up because they saw the listing in TimeOUT and then the rest just came because of their Women and Children’s newsletter.

It was an incredible reading. I read from the intro, Megan read – no- she interpreted ‘Silent Body, Speaking Body’ the piece by Anonymous- bringing such a beautiful presence to it, much different from Julia Allison’s reading at KGB- which was very still and haunting. Megan’s was very matter of fact, as if she was a teacher herself (which she is) yet the careful touch of Anonymous’s words shone through and the piece rang out like a bell above a frozen lake.

Stephanie went next. Holy SHITE!! HO-LEE-SHEE-ITEE!! Listen, I told you I had just met Stephanie, so you must have intuited that I had no idea how she’d be as a performer. You’re exactly right- I had NO Idea! (God, you’re good). But from the first word she uttered. . .hell, no- before the first word. Before she inhaled, as she looked straight out into the audience and smiled, I felt a bit like I was about to witness an something very amazing. And I was. For those of you who do not know Stephanie Howell- her reading was both hilarious, tender, painful and fierce. We laughed, oh, how we laughed – laughed with Stephanie as she talked about her fatness. And then we cried with her, and then we were silent, and then enraged, and then full of desire/power/strength as she spoke her story.

She read a heavily edited version of her piece, but did end with ‘Today I weighed myself- 238 fabulous pounds’. However, after she said that – she went on to tell us that, at the end of herself writing that piece, that was the truth- that was how much she weighed at the end of writing that piece. But ever since then, she’s decided to not weigh herself any longer. Now she is just trusting that she is the right weight. She is giving herself the pleasure, the respect of not weighing herself. And it’s hard- it’s hard for her. But that’s where she is now.

Finally, Cin went up to read Patricia Smith’s piece, “A Little Hell Breaks Loose”. Again, Cin and Patricia are old friends- they were both heavy into the spoken word scene, both were featured on the same cd where it was them and two guys reading, and are seemingly life-long friends. Their actual voices are very different. However, Cin is one of the few people who can handle Patricia’s language. She reinterprets with a softer, but just as resonate strength, and allows the story to unfold before your eyes. She’s amazing.

Okay, I want to write more, but we’re landing now, so I have to get off this thing before the Diva-licious stewardess dude gives me the arched eyebrow again.

Here I LaGuardia Go.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tarmac blog 1.

On American Airlines now, flight I don’t know. I should arrive 2:45 in New York, and then I’m going to pass the fuck out. It’s been such an incredible, unstoppable trip= this one to Chicago- my hometown. I feel like I have to tell you all about it.

First off, though- have to say that I’m listening to Tegan and Sara. Sara read the book and offered a sentence or two so we could put it on the back, and also offered to do an e-mail blast on the book to her myspace friends. You guys don’t need to know this- the exact details of this, but it’s important for a certain reason. It’s important because she’s an incredible artist who offered her time up and her resources to do something she felt would be helpful to other women. In fact, all of the authors, and even myself, basically worked our asses off for a laughable amount of money for this book. Really, a pittance. If I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. And all of the women in this book opened some of the most private chapters of their lives, some of the most difficult experiences tey’ve survived- they’ve truly exposed themselves only for the desire to reach out to you. To help. To hope that it helps. If you don’t call that love, I don’t know what is. So even though sometimes you might feel all alone and you might feel all like you just bought something else. . .know that the reservoir of power and love that the women that came together to put this book out is for you. For you specifically. Don’t be afraid to take it. And don’t be afraid to find it in yourself.

I want to tell you guys about my plane trip to Chicago, because it was really incredible. Well, in fact- it was not. It was a normal flight, where we ended up waiting on the plane for two hours and then finally taking off. But what transpired between the woman who sat next to me on the plane and I was incredible.

As I approached 25A, I already started looking for my seatmate. And from far away, I saw her. She was a larger woman, and she, in fact- did have to raise the armrest between us to sit down, and I could tell- even from far away- she was scared as hell at who her seatmate would be. Would they be an asshole and bitch her out about her weight in front of everyone. Would they possibly be large themselves and then both would have to endure a physically uncomfortable ride? I could feel she was tense, and nervous, and so I smiled as I pointed out that I would be sitting next to her.

As I settled into my seat- I gave her another quick smile, and then turned to my magazine. I didn’t feel like talking. She opened a SELF magazine- one of those magazines that tell you 35 WAYS TO LOSE THOSE WINTER POUNDS!! SHED THAT FLABBY ASS, 5 WOMEN TELL YOU HOW TO STICK TO YOUR DIET!! One of those magazines. I remembered when I read those magazines. When I read them endlessly. They were delicious, and safe, and they proved to me that I was already taking care of myself just by buying them. That’s capitalism, folks. You feel you need to buy something to prove to yourself you’re doing something. External change. (This from someone who’s pushing a book. I should shut up.) But the things about those magazines is that make you feel like you’re not doing enough. You know you SHOULD drink carrot juice, but then you need a juicer. You read stories about women who’ve lost a trillion pounds, and you think- I can’t even lose five, how can I be so weak? The comparisons between your real life and what is a heavily edited and forcibly happy story is never good.

Anyhoo- she’s reading SELF. I’m reading some other trashy mag, I’m sure, and here we are- total strangers, our thighs touching. We don’t pull away from the gate, and the minutes walk on by and my seatmate puts her magazine away and falls asleep. A half an hour passes. Another. Then another. I call my dad to tell him we’ll be late. The phone call wakes her up and she realizes she’s been sleeping over an hour and we’re still at the gate. I get off the phone and start speaking towards the window, scrutinizing the long line of planes that haven’t moved in a long time.

“I haven’t seen a plane take off in awhile.” I said.

“Didn’t the pilot say that there were over 30 planes before us that needed to take off?”

“Yup- and not-a-one has gone.”

We settled into the communal silence brought by our mutual scrutiny of the tarmak. Nada. A slow, conversation began. The type that you have with a stranger. You begin with the external. The wind, the weather, the rain, and the next thing you know, you’re talking about your lives, your struggles and the dreams you never fulfilled. The things you’ll say to a stranger are often things you would not tell someone you love, sometimes they’re things you almost never even admit to yourself.

It moved to the personal as she asked why I was going to Chicago. I mentioned that I was visiting my family, but also told her about the book. She asked more about it, and so I pulled the book out- the wonderful copy I have where I’m collecting the signatures from all the contributors as I go and meet them in our readings. She flipped through the art work, stunned, like most by Fly’s piece. Quietly intrigued by Beth and Annie’s piece. We turned to ‘Weight Watcher’ by Stephanie Howell. A shift occurred in her body as I started speaking about it. About Stephanie’s struggle, about Stephanie’s amazing reversal of shame into power. About weight as a whole.

“As you can tell,” she said, a bit shyly, “I have my own problems with weight.” She was almost embarrassed about it. She held up her copy of SELF, I’m really trying, I know I should get a handle on it.

I don’t remember how we talked through to the next point, but the next point was that she had recently lost her sister to a seven year battle with cancer. She worked in Chicago, and her sister lived three and a half hours away, and every other weekend, she would go and take care of her. From far away, she took count and hold of her prescriptions, her medications. Towards the end, she cut her toe-nails. She stayed with her when she vomited green bile. At one point, her sister said- ‘Listen, I haven’t been able to trim down there in awhile and it’s growing like a jungle’, so in the spirit of sisterhood, she helped trim her pubes. “That’s about as close as I ever would want to get with anyone. You see, I’ve had weight problems all my life, but when I was taking care of my sister, it got worse. She died this past December and it was horrible!! Awful!! I put twenty pounds on in December alone. Can you believe that? Twenty Pounds in ONE Month. And I know I should really get a handle on it, so I’m trying.”

And here is where I had to stop her.

“Are you fucking KIDDING me? Your sister just died- fairly recently. That is a horrible thing. That is a hard thing! Of course you put on twenty pounds. Fuck, if you had to put on a hundred to deal with what you had to deal with, that would have been fine. You did that to deal with a terrible situation. you have all the right in the world to that weight- and you don’t need to have a handle on it!! You have just gone through something very hard, and you do whatever the fuck you need to get through it. So what if you put on a thousand pounds. I don’t think I could have ever done what you’ve done!!”

And that’s the thing. I can’t detail her experience with her sister, how hard it was- how, in fact- beyond hard it was. My mother has lymphoma, and ever since she’s been diagnosed I’ve been dealing with the ramifications of having cancer in the family, because- besides the basic sickness of cancer, it is a mental fuck as well. The family dynamic that shifts in the face of a cancer diagnosis can, at times, be as equally traumatic as the actual sickness. And here she was, the only person in her family out of seven children that was dealing with it. That was with her sister at the doctors. That held down a full-time job while acting as a nurse, a friend, and a support system. And she is saying she can’t get a handle over her weight? Fuck everyone. Your sister just died. You do whatever the fuck you want.

This is what kills me, absolutely kills me about women. We can go through the most traumatic experience, and still be expected to put heels on. To wipe the mascara from my face. And when we don’t, we think we’re being ‘weak’. We can’t ‘control’ ourselves. We are mother, lover, wage earner, nurse, diva, siren, goddess and bitch, and we think we need to be ‘handled better’. Fuck that.

This woman and I (not going to mention her name) spoke throughout the entire flight, about drugs and alcohol (which she’d also had a problem with), weight, cancer, and then once we bonded over that- went on to talk about race, gentrification, the American dollar, the state of ‘things’. A dialogue. A dialogue started. From how the plane wasn’t moving. A conversation about the weather, about air controllers, tarmacs, flight plans. Then we went on to our greatest hearts, and then we took on the world. That’s how it happens, folks.

And that’s why it was an incredible flight. Because of our incredible connection, our incredible conversation. But when you get down to it, it was just two women talking- something seen as not too incredible at all. But it is.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Chicago and Reviews

'Sup possibly nobody. I have no idea if anyone is reading this, yet I will continue to maintain the facade as of now just because eventually, I really want this to be a discussion board about these topics where people can skill share and. . .I dunno, feel better about themselves and not alone.

I hope that makes sense. I'm listening to Aimee Mann now. How cool is she?

Ahem. . .professional, Sabrina- be professional.

So- We's got us some kick ass gigs that are going on in Chicago. Stephanie Howell already fucked shit up at the Dr. Sketchy's show, because she's hot like that. . .but we're a-coming to Women and Children's First, and Burkhart's Infamous Underground- where I"ll be playing my return show!!

The ino on that will be below, but first- check the awesome review from Courtney Martin, author of 'Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters:

"Sabrina Chapadjiev’s anthology, Live Through This: On Creativity and Self Destruction, strikes me in all ways as a carefully crafted object—which so few books are these days." -Courtney Martin, author of "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters"

Yowza!! Full review here-

May 28th (reading) - 7:30
Reading with "Live Through This- On Creativity and Self-Destruction" editor Sabrina Chapadjiev, contributor Stephanie Howell, spoken-word poet Cin Salach and the actress Megan Tracey.
Women and Children First Bookstore
5233 N. Clark St.
Tel: 773.769.9299

May 31st (reading) - 2-4 pm
RAGE TO PAGE workshop with "Live Through This- On Creativity and Self-Destruction" editor, Sabrina Chapadjiev
co-sponsored by the Pomegranate Collective
Burkhart's Underground
1228 N. Noble St.
Rear Coach House
773 348-8536

June 1st, (reading/performance) 10 pm - ?
Reading with editor Sabrina Chapadjiev, contributor Stephanie Howell, other artists TBA. Performances by Sabrina Chapadjiev and Mark Bose.
Burkhart's Underground
1228 N. Noble St.
Rear Coach House
773 348-8536

Aright. I'll write more soon. i swear.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wrote this a few days ago.

Back from Boston.  Amazingness.  I just ate some pie the other night.  And it was really fucking good.  And that city was pie good.  I mean, awesomeness.

Here's a post I wrote on the Amtrack on the way there.  I'll write more soon.


ps- I mention also mention pie in the following post.  I usually do not mention pie so much.

Listening to Frankie Stubbs as I’m leaving New York to head to Boston and do my first of the Rage the Page workshops. It’s so funny, I’ve done this book on how to use negative energy and transform it into positive creative energy, and I think I’m going to start taking my own advice soon. Ever since the book’s release on Friday, Ive been more overwhelmed than I ever thought I would be. It’s really strange to have gone from copying zines, one by one, selling them for a dollar or a Euro and now having this ‘actual book’ with incredible artists involved. I think I’ve gotten pretty used to working really hard with absolutely no recognition, and for free, for so long that having people I’ve never met before come up to me and hug me and say’ Thank you, Thank you.’ A few people have told me that once they got hold of the book, they started to cry. I sure don’t want to make anyone cry- I just made the book I wished I had ten years ago.

I have to comment on something here, something that was brought up on Tuesday night at the incredible Icarus Project sponsored event in coordination with NYU- where Kate Bornstein performed a new work based on her piece in the book and Bonfire Madigan both presented and played a short set. That’s right, it was in-fucking-credible. It was in Professor Bradley Lewis’s huge ass living room that looked over the rooftops of Soho, and we all crammed in there, sitting on pillows and couches and eating the pizza and the FRESHLY BAKED PIES – I repeat- FRESHLY BAKED PIES – that they made for the event. Sheesh. It was hot.

Anyhoo- during the Q & A, a guy raised his hand and asked me why I decided to concentrate on just women who’ve dealt with self-destruction. I thanked him for his question, knowing that it was going to be the first of many times I would have to answer that question. I asked myself that question while writing the intro, but hardly ever during the making of the book, because- I don’t know. When you make something- you usually don’t ask why. You just do it, and then after it’s done you go- Oh, that’s what I did. I think I was trying to do . . .that. After you’re away from it is when you can get some better perspective on that.

In the year and half/two years I was working on this project, I think the main dealio was to just display a group of creative, intelligent and kick ass women who’ve dealt with these issues. . .because that’s the book I needed when I was in college- a book that said, ‘You are not alone’. ‘There’s a reason for what you’re feeling’ ‘It blows now, but it can get better.’ I went to a small po-dunk private college in the middle of Illinois- absolutely HATED it. I’m talking caps lock button HATED IT. The only solace I found was Howard Gardner’s book, “Creating Minds” which is about different types of intelligences and has bios of seven geniuses in each separate intelligence in the 20th Century. That book carried me through college. That and Martha Graham’s autobiography ‘Blood Memory’. And Ani DiFranco.

After college, I somehow came across a copy of ‘Angry Women’ the first of the two Juno books that profiled amazing women that were pushing the boundaries in their respective art forms. For years, I couldn’t even read the book- I could just hold it. I felt something there, something fairly powerful- and I didn’t even need to read every word- I somehow felt- intuited through that book that collected the stories of different women and housed them under one title, that I did, indeed- have a tribe. I still didn’t know any of those women, but they existed. And for awhile, that was enough.

In answering the man’s question at the Q & A- I described that I simply didn’t think about including men, because it wasn’t what I needed when I was younger. I was surrounded, in college, by groups of men working and creating together. I wanted the women’s stories. I needed my own.

Another reason is because the way men self-destruct is often much different from the way women do. There is a more outwards sort of release often, instead of inwards. I’m talking stereotypically here. (Read Nicole Blackman’s piece). And it’s not that I don’t want to help men, and it’s not that I don’t believe that men could take away just as much from the book as a woman could, but I just edited the book I felt capable of editing.

Finally- the way self-destruction is perceived in both men and women is totally different. Check out the Wilson guy- Luke or Owen, I always forget. And that’s the thing- this guy actually tried to kill himself, and didn’t succeed- and I’m not even sure of his first name. If a woman celebrity actually tried to kill herself, it would sell newspapers for a year. What’s with this fascination, and almost encouragment, of the self-destructive woman? Are we tragically sexy? I guess so, but that’s only if our mouths are closed on the issues. Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Mary-Kate Olson. . .all of them seem to have their mouths muted when their stories are told in a visual display on every goddamn magazine cover. The bold print declares, ‘They’re getting better! They’re getting worse! They’re getting even!” It’s like the media is a child and can’t stop playing with it’s Barbie dolls- tearing off their heads, putting them back on, and having them act out some insane drama with clichéd dialogue. ‘I’m getting much better. I’m going to rehab.’ The lines are the same, and the acting, as ever- is terrible.

What a beautiful façade we’ve made of this pain.

While there is a sense of ‘honor’ and ‘respect’ around male self-destruction. Luke or Owen Wilson’s family is there to support him. that’s about all I know about that suicide attempt. Not that I want to know anything more- that air of privacy should be equal for anyone when dealing with such a severe and personal topic. However, who do I know more about now? Michelle Williams. And here we go- let’s shift ocus to the tragic woman in the screen. Let’s pull our focus in tighter. Let’s see what the fuck happens.

Okay- by now you’ve gathered two things. I ramble senselessly- apparently, in blogs, and I’m tired as fuck. I’m still not in Boston, but I’m closer. I’m glad that I’m blogging all this out though now, because that man’s questions, along with all the positive encouragment I’ve been getting, has spun my head around. I need some basis in these days, and perhaps writing it all down will give me that stability. I think I’m going to need it.