Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 28

What a busy day. I miss Emily's thoughts (and her biro sketches) at times like this. I am full of nerves and accomplishment, and not a bit restful.

I printed the new zines (#7s) today. I also finished a pair of pillowcases I started several weeks ago. What is simpler to make than a pillowcase? you ask. Almost nothing, but these are the first items I've ever sewn and been happy with. The seams are straight and strong. The embroidery is delicate and simple.

Monday, June 28, 2010

On why, as a starving student, I am only working two days a week during the summer

Well, because I can't work one. Two shifts a week makes me 150 dollars a week, which is just enough to live on. I can pay my share of the rent and groceries, and buy the occasional book, bottle of perfume, stack of cardstock or lovely shirt every month.

I (along with Bertrand Russel) tout the benefits of constructive 'idleness'. During the five days I'm home, I'm reading, writing, biking, cooking, zining, doing Other Voices work, and thinking. Why should I spend my days otherwise, if I don't need to?

This past week I've been etsy-ing quite a lot too. If it pays off, it will pay off in cold, hard... paypal deposits.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


oh Sunday. I thought it would never come. Today I want to read these books:

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Stuff of Thought - Steven Pinker
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Provinces - Czeslaw Milosz
Little Women - Lousia May Alcott
The Overcoat - Gogol

Friday, June 25, 2010

last night's flowers

Clipping these bouquets is the first thing I do when I get home from work. Tim teases me, because to relax, I clean the apartment. But how can I do anything else? It's second nature to whisk open the blinds, clear the dishes, make the bed, and water the plants. I would not be home if I wasn't trying to make my space pleasant, I'd be somewhere fearfully reminiscent of work, doing what I'm told. Not that I mind making money. However, after only two Etsy sales, I am becoming intoxicated with the idea of properly working for myself. The eight dollars I've made seem somehow more valuable than the hundred-fifty I'll get paid for two shifts this weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I sing because I'm happy, and I sing because I'm free

Hannah (Tim's little sister) and I went crayfishing today. She made me a rod, and a hook out of a big paper clip, so I went with her. To my enormous surprise, we caught some.


The tug at the end of the string was satisfying. It was satisfying to discover that fishing works.

Etsy feels a lot like fishing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 23

Sometime between last night and this morning, I made my first Etsy sale! I'm super excited, not only by four dollars, but also by the kind advice I've been getting from complete strangers. I'm off to re-photograph some old zines, and print the new issue.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I stayed up late and made these books. They're in my shop now. I have to admit that I have been anxiously watching for my first sale. I think I'm going a little gung-ho.


Monday, June 21, 2010

We're going on a picnic

I need this. I need to relax and have fun. I need to let the sun see my legs and shoulders, things she hasn't seen since I thought I'd realized how ugly I was, and spent my summers in jeans and hoodies in shame.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 19

Today: another test of my cheerfulness. I'm back at the sausage shop in one hour.

I have never been very good at going to work. The money never seems quite worth the time away from real work, away from Tim, away from tea, quiet and books.

But, like everyone else, I have to earn my keep, and the people at the sausage shop are really very nice. Plus, I don't have to eat any sausage, since they think I'm a vegetarian. Plus, I get a free pretzel bun for lunch.

I had to leave in the middle of my shift yesterday, feeling dizzy and nauseous, my eyes swimming and jumping. Today I'll do my best to make it up to the other girls. I'll put on mascara, fix my hair, and arrive right on time. I'll smile at the customers, and move fast. This day will not be a pleasure, but it will be endurable, and at the end of it, I'll have made my grocery money for the month, and maybe learned some German.

his and hers

Tonight I went out searching for flowers for Tim's desk, and found one iris for him, and three stalks of chocolate mint for me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear little girl
So much hurt
For such a young age
Trapped inside
A pretty little lie
Your body's betrayed

Don't fix your eyes
A fix you'll rely on
Fixed her eyes on
A fix she relies upon

Stand unafraid
All the good souls
Stand unafraid

When the light starts to burn
And the pain returns
I just wish that I could heal the hurt you feel tonight
How can you expect to win this war
If you're too afraid to fight

Dear little one
There was so much pain
Time you can't replace
Trapped inside
Too afraid to cry
Now hands and bruises cover face

Don't fix your eyes
A fix you'll rely on
Fixed her eyes on

Stand unafraid
All the good souls
Stand unafraid

-Stephen Christiansen


"Tim, give me a number between 1 and 10."



"What for? ...Oh, did I just lose?"

"I don't know. Let me check.

Yup. Kaylin wins!"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

in between the weeds


Emily has invited her readers to join her in posting photos of their week's assortment of posies. Flowers indoors are one of my rituals as long as there is any greenery to speak of outdoors, and now that I have a camera, there is nothing to stop me from sharing the pictures at least.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pygmalion Press

Today at one o'clock in the morning, I opened Pygmalion Press. In this Etsy shop, I hope to sell copies of Tom-Tom, and also, ambitiously, modern-day poetry commissions.

Poetry is poorly treasured by most of my contemporaries. I hope to write poems for specific people and occasions, and in doing so, emphasize the insights into the human condition that are too often ignored, but everywhere and inconvenient in the middle of things.

So I hope to compose for strangers. I hope for them to send me names and memories and descriptions to include in poetry, and perhaps in the process begin to understand poetry better, understanding it in relation to their own lives.

How will I attract patrons?, you ask. I am not sure. Are normal people intrigued by the idea of spending twenty dollars for a poem of their own? I don't know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Make Things

Several months ago, it felt obvious to examine myself and discover that, better than anything, I like to make things. Poems are the foremost, finest things I know how to make. At times, though, the hands yell for physicality. And I oblige, for the thrill of becoming a little factory. How often can we be certain that something is truly new, and truly our own? Only as often as we snatch up blue wool and needles, or pencil and paper, or mdf and a jigsaw, or cocoa, lemon, and poppyseeds.

in September

ENGL 224

This course focuses on the literature of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England, by examining a selection of poetry, prose and drama from one of the richest periods of English literature. From tales of chivalry, Arthurian adventure, and romance to religious mysticism; from lyrical love poetry to witty satire and bawdy humour, this period has near-unrivalled diversity and depth, and is crucial for understanding much of how English literature develops in subsequent centuries.

ENGL 267

This course introduces students to a variety of theoretical discussions about literature, culture, and aesthetic practice - from Platonism, existentialism, and formalism to Marxism, structuralism, deconstruction, and feminism. While a portion of the class concerns the historical roots of literary and cultural theory, the major focus is twentieth and twenty-first century "theory" and its application to the study of literature. Students thus examine the various recurrent themes, or problems, that continue to be debated in literary and cultural studies such as the autonomy of the artist/author, the nature of aesthetic value, the relationship between text and context, the arbitrariness of the sign, the definition of the sublime, the establishment of literary "canons".

ENGL 207

In this course, students study various aspects of Modern English, a language in constant and exciting flux, governed by systems we often know intuitively but cannot always explain. Students learn about the systems that govern the way we write, though it should be noted that this is not a remedial grammar course. Rather, students gain a deeper understanding of the modern English language and hone their own writing style by studying grammar and style in a variety of contexts.

ENGL 389

This course is a survey of important texts in children's literature in English. It examines current and historical attitudes towards children and explores how the literature reflects, reacts or comments upon these attitudes. It also introduces students to the development of children's literature and to significant works. Finally, the course also develops students' ability to read children's literature critically.

DRMA 247

This course aims to help students improve their oral communication and oral interpretation. It includes voice production appropriate for various forms of literature and for public speaking. The course begins with how the voice is produced and progresses with various specifics of prose and poetry, scripted and improvisational speaking, and the effective delivery of dramatic literature (reader's theatre and theatrical monologues). DRMA 247 concentrates on individual student presentations of both original and scripted material.

Monday, June 7, 2010

the route

I beat the hill that's beaten me every ride I've ridden since the beginning of last summer. To my own surprise, I'm getting stronger.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Why do you stay away?
Of course I asked you to leave,
But it was hours ago.

Now evening comes on
And the food I made
This afternoon, so earnestly

Has gone cold. Outdoors
The sun sets, the wind blows
And exaggerates loneliness,

Just as singing birds
And sherbet mornings
Do when you've gone.

These days it's not always
The woman who is left -
Tomorrow I'll leave you -

But how will I go
In good conscience, preparing
This over again for you?

(Leave a comment and tell me which version you prefer.)

Today I want to (Sunday edition)

- eat some mulligatawny
- revise
- weed my plants
- sew a pair of pillowcases
- run for the first time since I started riding my bike every day

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4

It looks like this summer it will still be difficult for me to get up and go to work. But it will not be impossible. I've learned that when a person faces the prospect of trading in half their day for a couple of dull classes or eighty dollars, a long breakfast is their drowning sanity's only lifeboat.

So today I'm up early and breakfast will be long enough to include blueberries in milk, chai, homemade bread with honey, a hot bath, one sink full of dishes, and two revisions on a new poem.

from an afternoon alone

The chive flowers I cut for Tim

And set on top of one of the speakers he made



Why do you stay away?
Of course I asked you
To leave, but it was hours ago.

Now evening comes on
And the food I made
This afternoon, so earnestly

Has gone cold. Outdoors
The sun sets, the wind blows
And exaggerates loneliness

Just as singing birds
And sherbet mornings
Do after you've gone.

These days it's not always
The woman who is left -
Tomorrow I'll leave you -

But how will I go in good conscience,
Preparing just this
Over again for you?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Suzanne Takes You Down - Leonard Cohen

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind

Today I want to

- finally read these archives

- finish Consciousness Explained, by Daniel Dennet, with a notebook beside me

- ride my bicycle down the long slope to the high level bridge, and maybe today, all the way back
up again

- photograph my sights of the city (to show you tomorrow)

- transplant the tomatoes to bigger, more comfortable pots

- write several pages with a very free hand, crossing out nothing and revising nothing

- haul out The Crow Suits manuscript

- mail off: a letter to Laura, a submission to The Atlantic

- hula hoop for a bit

Tim's leaving me the apartment for the afternoon. It's good to have someone who understands a sudden need for solitude. He's promised to bring me back an iron. A private vow to become a better seamstress is all very well and good, but without an iron, who am I kidding? Besides, on Tuesday Laura brought over a pattern for a summer dress.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1

Today I start working at a German import store and deli. It's crazy that I'm so excited; I have a long history of much-despised jobs, but I am hopefully determined that this one will begin a new era in the employment of Lizzy Derksen. The position itself is not thrilling, it's just that I am tired of letting work make me sour and miserable when all the time I am out in the world meeting people who may be interesting, and making money to support myself, to send me to school, and to buy books and melons.

I'll report when I've come home to my husband and my first soup stock on the stove.