Pages

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Return of the Zines Part 2

I've got some ridiculously exciting news. I've been sitting on this for months. There have been a few leaks, but I'm guessing that, for most of you, this is the first you've heard of




Feed the Long Neck is migrating to the new site, where you will also find a digital zine archive. I'll be polishing and adding content over the next few weeks--the idea is to eventually have the bulk of my writing available online. New work will be added as new zines come out, and very soon it will be possible to subscribe to these zines.

Yes, there will be new zines. Though I had stopped writing enough to put out regular issues, though I had abandoned the self-publishing of hard copies as juvenile, a summer's reflection has me convinced that zines are actually an ideal medium for reading poetry. The zine of 10 or 15 poems is basically the literary version of a pop album.

It is substantial enough to allow for the development of a theme, limited enough to avoid dilution.

It is possible to produce regularly, allowing a writer to share fresh work as she writes it.

It is an impetus to create fresh work.

If consistently published and shared, it fosters the development of a reading community.

It is an excuse to send and receive mail.

It combines the manufacturing of physical things with the broadcasting of word-patterns.

It gives a writer control over how her work is presented.


And so, without further ado, I am moving forward, making the move. I very much hope you'll join me. Thank you for the past 5 years of reading and writing--it's been a complete pleasure.



xx Lizzie


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Return of the Zines Part 1


Well here is something exciting. I have poetry in an old cigarette vending machine which is right now sitting on the counter at Transcend Coffee (the one in Garneau). From this machine you can buy a zine for $1.50. Mine have yellow houses on the covers.






Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Blue Hour

I've got a poem on the front page of The Blue Hour today. It's called Indian Summer, and it's almost a villanelle. Go read it for me?  I have other exciting news, but it will have to wait just a bit.

Have a lovely Saturday kids. Apparently it's monsoon season on the Canadian prairies, so I will be spending as much of the day as possible inside reading Jane Eyre.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

I finished my first screenplay--well, finished it enough to send it off to someone who knows enough to tell me what to edit first. 

I bought two dress patterns in celebration. (Moneta, Coco.) Laura and I are currently having a little sew-along; both of us are making Emery dresses. As of two weeks ago I have thrown myself on to the dressmaking bandwagon with no hesitation or decorum. 

I got a new shirt.

I filled out my tuition grant application. 

I trimmed Simpkin's claws. 

I thought about fitness goals and ate with a mind to "making my macros". This fervent intuitive eater is test-running a switch to calculated nutrition. What can I say? Intuitive eating saved my sanity and helped me gain a healthy attitude toward food. Now I want to know that I'm eating in a way that supports the development of a stronger, abler--and yes, more attractive--body. I just want my abs to show up. Today this quest involved a smoothie made with 60 grams of whey powder . . . 


oregano flowers

Thinking about fitness made me think about Allison. I suddenly wondered if I'd ever heard her sing. I looked her up on youtube, and promptly had a cry to this song.

I wrote a thank-you note.

I squished all visible worms on my cabbages. I transplanted about 20 chamomile plants from the driveway to the backyard.

I was envious of Glynis's morning project. So quotidian, specific, pertinent, consistent. It's extremely refreshing.

Tim and I are about to watch the last episode of the new Cosmos series. I'm going to try to knit the last couple inches of the second sleeve for this sweater.

coffee mirror

Good night kids!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

the ship has turned

I try not to complain too much in this space, but if you know me in person (ahem, Duchessers on the opening weekday shift), you've heard me air more than a few grievances over the last two-and-a-half years.  It has been really hard. By 'it', I mean all of it, or what has seemed like all of it. And by 'hard' I mean nigh on unbearable.

There has been the (naively unexpected) struggle to stand up under the weight of adult responsibilities. Owning, keeping, and renting a house is, it turns out, more than we signed up for. When mushrooms started growing out of the baseboards in my study last spring, I thought that I might have finally reached the end of my rope. Then the rain in August happened; we left in the middle of the night and over four months later returned home. I lost most of my garden last year. I almost lost my most important person. There has been the battle to keep our relationship healthy, alive, existent--and I spent much of the winter battling against Tim rather than for him. I did damage that terrifies me. There has been a five-year history of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression to start recovering from, and redeeming, and this has seemed like a doomed project. In January I wrote: the more I notice my problems, the more I delve into my own mind, the harder it is to act normal. I feel like I am giving body to a latent, restless ghost of craziness which has just been waiting in my head for me to fully incarnate it. There's been the daily pressure of living on a low income. There's been the daily impossible decision to try to produce creative work when I could be earning money instead. There's been this incredibly long, drawn-out quest for a bachelor's degree, and a point last August when I thought I'd decided I wouldn't finish it. There have been fucking long winters. There have been hopes and plans buried alternately under clutter, under snow, under raw sewage, under red tape, under the covers, under pages of lists, under my own hands.

--------

On Tuesday morning, Tim and I had just returned from the mountains. Tim's parents, who had been keeping Simpkin for us, were supposed to be delivering him home any minute. Tim sat down at his desk, looked at his screen and said, "Lizzie, you are really, really not going to like this". I knew instantly. A window screen had come off in the night; Simpkin was gone; they'd only just noticed. Tim's mum came to pick us up so we could search and call for him.

Is is my temperament, or the sympathy-enabling super-connectivity of the world, or a human penchant for rehearsing grief that made it familiar? I felt I could have been the one reading the email to Tim. I knew it all. I knew that within days I would be at a vet or the SPCA to identify a piece of roadkill that had once been the sweet, brave cat I once adopted. I would not have been surprised to see a bloody, furry lump on the side of the street in St. Albert where Tim's parents live.

Except that right now, Simpkin is asleep on our bed and has been all day.

When we got to St. Albert, we were out of the car and calling. I looked under cars, tried to look through the planks into neighbors' backyards, looked under bushes and porches. I circled the block. It started to get hot and I started to feel sick. There was a forecast for temperatures above 30 C. We searched the overgrown backyard again. The shed. The room downstairs with the open window in case he came back. Then I sat on the front steps and cried. Tim brought me water and made Simpkin an entry in a missing pets database. We decided to print off a poster with a picture Tim's sister had taken before Simpkin disappeared, then go home. The printer wasn't working. We ate bowls of Vector cereal and Tim went downstairs to try to print from the desktop computer. I went back outside. I looked under the shed again. Tim came out, holding a printed sheet. "I  don't know if this is any good--he looks black." I heard something and called, interrupting Tim. I heard it again. I called. Tim said, "I think it's a bird, but try again." A sad, cracking quack more than a meow. We thrashed aside raspberry canes. I went around to check the other side of the patch, and when I ran back Tim was holding a spitting, hissing Simpkin aloft. I ran inside for the crate while Tim pinned him down--Tim's mum had been watching from the window and was already handing it to me at the door of the bathroom. We let Simpkin into the crate and took him inside to recover. My anger and muteness toward Tim's mum had disappeared. Everything could be good again. We brought him home, cleaned his ears, sprayed him with water for heat exhaustion. Here he is. He is fine.

"I'm so glad I went back outside. He might have died of exposure--it was so hot and those bushes are so thick."

"Yes. It would have been sad to find a little cat skeleton out there in the winter when the foliage died back."

I almost howled at the thought.

--------

Of course, I was convinced that we had not only lost Simpkin, we were once again being made calamity's bitch. But I think there has been a change.

Today my grandparents on my mum's side stopped by to tell me that they are distributing some of the proceeds from the sale of their house in town. Later in the week I will be receiving several thousand dollars. First I thought: This is the beginning of the end. They are sharing out portions of their estate. On the heels of my premature feelings of fear and grief and (already) denial: an inappropriate, wild sense of relief. Something good has happened. And I thought: This is the beginning. The ship is beginning to turn. After this torturous year, someone has come to my rescue. Someone is easing this weight on me. Now things are possible. 

(It is characteristic of my grandparents to come to my rescue.) The money means that I can pay off my student loan and my credit card and still have enough left over to cover my next semester of tuition--because I am going back to school in September. If I get my usual grant from the government, most of the year's tuition will be paid for. I can almost certainly graduate without debt.

For now, I am reeling. I am tempted to chastise myself for these past months of bitterness and despair, but I mostly just want to share the good--fantastic, lovely, iridescent, delicious--news. Thanks for sticking with me. Sailing on.

xx Lizzie

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

dovetails


A few weeks ago, Tim held a tiny dovetails class for me and my friend Teng.


After two hours, the three of us had cooperatively produced this corner.



By now I have justified adding woodworking to my list of skills-to-practice. I want to make a box.

Observe the Japanese saw I bought six years ago--the green one--and have used for the first time this summer. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

sun tea



There are priorities that verge on obligation, like getting the sun tea out in the morning. There is the pressure of having as many bonfires as possible.

P.S. Jasmine sun tea. Try it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

picking things up and putting them down

A print that Liam made for me from a set of photos he shot at the end of last summer. I'm deadlifting 215 pounds. 
It's taken me way too long to get around to the subject of lifting, at least on this blog. If we're friends on facebook, you've probably already noticed me bragging and rhapsodizing--I believe my last related status was "I swear lifting is going to save my life".

Our barbell is set up in the garage. When we finally moved back home after New Year, I was a mess and all I wanted to do was start baking bread and lifting again. I made it out a few times during a false spring in January, but it was April before it warmed up enough for me to get back to any kind of schedule. I don't think I can bear another winter off; luckily, I'm going back to university in September to finish my undergraduate degree and utilize the hell out of my gym privileges.

55 pounds. Overhead press is a bitch. 

The prophetic piece of drywall leaning against the wall in front of the cage.

fancy lifting shoes
I try to go out every other day. I wear shorts or leggings and a t-shirt, canvas shoes or Vibrams. (There was one day in January that I found myself working out in a jersey dress. I went with it.)  I bring a water bottle and sometimes coffee. I unlock the garage, hit the industrial-sized power switch, hard, and squeeze past Tim's bicycle into the half of the garage which does not comprise Tim's workshop, where the barbell keeps the lawnmower and the miscellany company. I put down my drink and my keys and start loading up the bar for deadlifting. I can do all of this even when I can't concentrate on anything else. I can almost always drag myself to the garage and pick up the first plate. Then I'm fine.

garage view

cage
Deadlifting. Always 135 pounds to start. That's the bar with one big plate on each end--it's the lowest weight that puts the bar at a good height to squat behind, grasp, and stand up with. When I started last summer, this was my working weight. Today, if everything goes well, I'll move up through sets of 165, 195, 205, and 215 pounds. And I'll enjoy it--though deadlifting is unquestionably the hardest part, and once I'm done, the other lifts seem less daunting in comparison. Rows: 85 x 5 x 3. Low squats: 85 x 8 x 3. Overhead press: 55 x 5 x 3. Bench press: 65 x 8 x 3.

I have a long way to go (and if I have my way, if I get my hopes up, a very long way to go), but it was with a bit of shock that I realized, late last summer, that I'm pretty good at this. It fits me. I like it. It was with considerably more shock that I realized, yesterday, that at some point I must have rescinded my life-long official superpower wish--invisibility (a classic female)--for strength. I want to be strong. I want to be seen. (That picture that Liam took is my favorite photograph of me, ever.)

plates and tea cup
On the side, I'm working on being able to do pull-ups and chin-ups and handstands. I'm trying to eat properly. I'm biking everywhere and, forgive me, but I have a killer tan. I'm living in a pair of rather short shorts. Oh this summer is delicious.

ETA: Naturally, I have a lifting crush. This is her.


Friday, May 30, 2014

crash


Like Emily, I've spent the past day and a half struggling against my own incapacitated state. Wednesday afternoon, heading home, needing supper right now, I crashed my bike. It's so odd to find oneself crying in a parking lot, a grown adult and it doesn't make a difference. I scraped and bruised my hand badly enough that I've missed two days of work in the cafe--largely two days of work in general, since my hand is swollen, raw, weeping, and swathed in strips of tea towel. I've been able to do very little except read. I'm nearly through Independent People.

Since I was going to be in bed anyway, yesterday seemed like an excellent fast day. I've resumed the intermittent fasting experiment I began two summers ago, combining it with lifting, cycling, mindfulness, L-theanine, and research on stress to try and make further progress on some of the mind/body health issues I've been aware of for some time. The goal is always the same: to be healthy, sane, happy. And wasn't it a severe blood sugar crash that made me unable to keep my balance? Among other things, regular small fasts can help the body learn to self-regulate blood sugar levels. So fasting and resting and nursing my wounds seemed like a good itinerary. But I was miserable all day: exhausted, cold, irritable, unable to concentrate. There was a mountain of work I had to do and I was either unable or unwilling to do any of it. Time was a bitch, sluggishly running away from me. Nothing makes me more angry or more anxious than a "wasted" day.

Today does not seem wildly better. My hand is still swathed. The house is still a mess. I'm eating blueberries and whole milk. I'm reminded of how horrible I felt when I was coming off anti-depressants. I got the flu. I've come such a long way since then. I am so much stronger. I am so much more capable, less embarrassed. Tim wants me to come outside. He says it's beautiful. He's wearing short shorts and a blue t-shirt. He's beautiful. I feel ugly, pale, and reclusive; soft and slimey, a bandaged snail.

I'll go outside though.

ETA: How could I forget how great boredom and restlessness can be for creative output? I spent my entire childhood waiting for something to happen. I never really made anything happen--I didn't know how. I failed a lot. But I also got into this little habit of writing about the fine-grained and torturous in life and boredom and relationships, and it really has served me well.

All to say: two new poems this afternoon and a sketch for a bit of graphic design I'll be needing soon . . . 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

on actually writing stuff

Great news, folks.

Simpkin and the drafts

For all of my dubious talk, I have something to show you. After sifting through two years of accumulated drafts and notes, after memorizing one Yeats poem, after starting to fill the first new binder of finished work since 2009, after realizing that, contrary to my whining mantra, I actually never stopped writing, I have one new poem and one new story. 

The story I just finished yesterday. It's my first story since The Crow Suits (does anyone remember that one? I scribbled the first draft when I was 16). It's fact-based. It seems that now I can write about my childhood (what?). It takes place in the very small Saskatchewan town that I lived in from the ages of 4-8, and I'm hoping to add to it with more "episodes" from the same weird era. Do you want to read it? I can't publish it online because it's destined for a contest, but I can (and would love to) email it to you. 

The poem, along with a few older, unpublished pieces, will be up on my Tumblr page tomorrow. 

I'm back again, kiddies. It feels really good.