Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Some Things Happened

This year, some things happened. I blogged about none of it. I spent a lot of this year in the hospital. I spent a lot of this year walking. I spent a lot of this year reading and watching TV and movies (mostly watching TV and movies). As with all other year-ends, I realized that I want to write more down. I've started doing that on paper, and in secret places online where I'm ferreting away ideas and fears and gibberish and stupid thoughts I need to get out. But maybe I'll start writing more here, too.

This year, some things happened. Maybe now I will try to capture the good things.

I read forty-eight books and thirteen short stories (my absolute favorites have been bolded):


Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - T.S. Eliot
My Feelings - Nick Flynn 
O Holy Insurgency - Mary Biddinger
Blood Dazzler - Patricia Smith
Things and Flesh - Linda Gregg
Floating, Brilliant, Gone - Franny Choi
Some Ether - Nick Flynn
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion 
Basil - Katharine Rauk (re-read)
Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joan Didion
Tender Buttons - Gertrude Stein
House of Light - Mary Oliver
Some Planet - Jamie Mortara 
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle (re-read)
Transformations - Anne Sexton
Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh (re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read)
Just Kids - Patti Smith 

The Wind in the Willows - Keneth Graham
Ronia, the Robber's Daughter - Astrid Lindgren
Palliative for a Pretty - Matt Mauch
War of the Foxes - Richard Siken
Step Aside, Pops! - Kate Beaton 
Song of Myself - Walt Whitman (re-read)
Mathematics, a Beautiful Elsewhere - Jean-Pierre Bourguignon
Dearest Creature - Amy Gerstler (re-read)
Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country - Louise Erdrich
Lucifer at the Starlite - Kim Addonizio (re-read)
Happpy Apocalypse Day - Luke Pingel
Chapel of Inadvertent Joy - Jeffrey McDaniel
Prelude to Bruise - Saeed Jones
Buried Choirs - Katharine Rauk
Night Sky With Exit Wounds - Ocean Vuong 
The Threatened Everything - Paula Cisewski
The Opposite of Work - Hugh Behm-Steinberg
Seven Days Now - Erica Anderson-Senter 
Things That Are - Amy Leach (re-re-re-read)
The Awakening - Kate Chopin (re-re-re-re-re-read)
Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times - Ed. Neil Astley (re-read)
Steal Like an Artist - Austin Kleon (re-read)
The Princess and the Goblin - George MacDonald (re-read from long, long ago)
Ultra Violet - Chris Monroe
Miracle Mile - Ed Ochester (re-read)
Horse, Flower, Bird - Kate Bernheimer
Breath in Every Room - Tami Haaland
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott (re-read)
What the Witch Left - Ruth Chew (re-read, again, from long, long ago)
How a Mother Weaned Her Girl From Fairy Tales - Kate Bernheimer

Short stories (all re-read)

The Fat Man in History - Peter Carey
The Canebreak - Mohammed Mrabet
Ysrael - Junot Diaz
The House Behind - Lydia Davis
The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff - Patrick Chamoiseau
Mark of Satan - Joyce Carol Oates
The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor - Deborah Eisenberg
Night Women - Edwidge Danticat 
In the Shadow of War - Ben Okri
Midnight and I'm Not Famous Yet - Barry Hannah
Helix - Banana Yoshimoto
Reflections of Spring - Duong Thu Huong
The Courtship of Mr Lyon - Angela Carter

Many of these books and stories were ones I re-read, either because I was teaching them or I wanted to revisit them personally. Of the forty-eight books I read, thirty-four were new to me. Four were (are) manuscripts-in-the-making by my friends and Twin Cities Poet Peers. Twenty-seven were collections of poetry. Eight books were non-fiction. Six were young adult books. Two were comics.

And shamefully, here is the list of what I watched this year, favorites bolded.


The Force Awakens
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban  (re-watch)
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
Hot Fuzz  (re-watch)
We Need to Talk About Kevin
The Giant Mechanical Man  (re-watch)
The History Boys
Pulp Fiction
Jumanji  (re-watch)
Silver Linings Playbook
Drumline  (re-watch)
Bruce Almighty  (re-watch)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Hail Caesar
Sunset Boulevard

Gone Girl
Hateful Eight
Bring it On  (re-watch)
The Lion King  (re-watch)
Se7en  (re-watch)
Bridget Jones's Diary  (re-watch)
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
Mary Poppins  (re-watch)
My Girl  (re-watch)
Sixteen Candles  (re-watch)
The Land Before Time  (re-watch)
Clueless  (re-watch)
Grease  (re-watch)
Tell No One
Final Destination
Pretty in Pink
Now and Then  (re-watch)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High  (re-watch)
Easy A  (re-watch)
The Legend of Hell House
Pirates of the Caribbean: Black Pearl  (re-watch)
American Beauty  (re-watch)
The Ward
Sister Act  (re-watch)
To Catch a Thief
The Ring  (re-watch)
Legally Blonde  (re-watch)
Cape Fear
The Davinci Code
Empire Records
Don't Say a Word  (re-watch)
Back to the Future  (re-watch)
We Are Still Here
Frances Ha  (re-watch)
The Taking of Deborah Logan
Grey Gardens
Say Anything  (re-watch)
Saw  (re-watch)
Back to the Future II  (re-watch)
A Ballerina's Tale
Jeepers Creepers  (re-watch)
Sleepy Hollow
The Goonies  (re-watch)
500 Days of Summer  (re-watch)
Eulogy  (re-watch)
Blazing Saddles  (re-watch)
The Fellowship of the Ring  (re-watch)
The Inbetweeners 2
Hocus Pocus  (re-watch)
Scream  (re-watch)
Scream 2  (re-watch)
Napoleon Dynamite  (re-watch)
O Brother, Where Art Thou  (re-watch)
The Others
Burn After Reading  (re-watch)
National Lampoons Animal House  (re-watch)
The Babadook
10 Things I Hate About You  (re-watch)
White Girl
A Christmas Story  (re-watch)
Home Alone  (re-watch)
Dazed & Confused  (re-watch)
The Uninvited
Rogue One

TV Shows

New Girl (s1, s4, s5)  (seasons one and two: re-watch)
Dance Academy (s1, s2, s3) (twice) (re-watch)
Arrested Development (s1, s2, s3) (twice)  (re-watch)
Seinfeld (s6, s7, s8, s9)  (re-watch)
30 Rock (s1, s2)  (re-watch)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (s1, s2)  (season one: re-watch)
Veronica Mars (s1)  (re-watch)
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (s1)
The Killing (s1, s2, s3, s4)  (seasons one through three: re-watch)
Lady Dynamite (pilot only)
Broadchurch (s1, s2)
The United States of Tara (s1, s2, s3)  (re-watch)
Stranger Things (s1)
American Horror Story (s1, s2, s5)  (seasons one and two: re-watch)
Black Books (s1, s2, s3)  (re-watch)
The Fall (s3)
Poirot (s1)
Wallander (s4)
The IT Crowd (s5)
Californication (s1, s2, s3)  (re-watch)
The Brak Show (s1, s2)  (season one: re-watch)
Gilmore Girls (s1)  (re-watch)
Firefly (s1)  (re-watch)
How I Met Your Mother (s1)  (re-watch)
The OA (s1)
Shameless (s1)

In total, I watched 89 movies (far more than last year), forty-eight of which were re-watches. Yowza. I watched 55 seasons of TV shows. This is my confession.

Maybe next year will see me reading more books and watching less TV. Maybe not. Anyway, I'm going to keep writing it down.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Get Out Of Here, 2015

I'm only partly joking when I say that 2015 should get out of here. Obviously, first thing, I have no control over time, so I don't really have a choice in the matter. The Earth keeps spinning rapidly on its axis, and I eat breakfast and go shopping and the universe does not look out for me. Second thing is, disregarding some of my more prominent troubles (mostly medical), 2015 wasn't as bad as I maybe thought it was. I often get stuck on the bad things that happen and can only see those. (Take middle school, for instance.) But I made myself sit down and make a list of the things I accomplished in 2015, and I would like to put them here.

I met my nephew.

My sister had a son, Rocco, in November of 2014. We were going to travel down to see him that Thanksgiving, but we got in a car accident just a few hours into Wisconsin, totaled our car, and had to come home. We were able to go down and spend a week with them over Easter, and it was amazing.

I completed my first Whole 30 Challenge.

In February/March, I tried Whole 30 with a few friends, and remarkably I stuck with it. I cultivated some good eating and health habits that have stuck with me (somewhat...), and I felt really great, now that I think about it. I think I may do another Whole 30 this year, starting in February.

I taught my first J-term class.

I pitched and taught a class on ghost stories in January at St. Thomas. There were only five students in the class, and it was one of the more fun courses I've taught to date. I'm also looking forward to this coming semester, when I will teach a class on poets under 30.

My chapbook, OH NO EVERYTHING, was released in March.

My buddy Aaron King started a press expressly for the purpose of publishing my poems, for which I could not be more grateful. We had a big party on my birthday. I turned 29, and my book turned 1 day old. If you want to check it out but didn't get a print copy, you can get it online as an ebook for a buck!

I took over the Maeve's Reading Series in NE Minneapolis.

Previous curator and founder of the Maeve's Cafe Reading Series, Matt Mauch, handed over the reins to the poetry reading series at AWP, which was the first reading I helped with, and the last one Matt had a hand in. I hosted my pilot reading in June, and our next one will be next Saturday (an all-women lineup)! I can't wait.

I played the hell out of some Dungeons and Dragons.

Having never played before, it was interesting to embark on this magical journey with a bunch of other people who had also never played before. Our intrepid Dungeon Master, Reinhardt, explained everything (many times over) as we pillaged and murdered, and eventually we got the hang of it. My character is an elf named Carlton Beerjug. I don't feel like I have to say much else.

I did a buttload of poetry readings.

Among the highlights: The Soap Factory/Talking Image Connection, Poets & Pints @ Fair State Brewing Cooperative, The New Sh!t Show @ the Fox Egg Gallery, the Feminist Comedy Block Party @ Lowertown St Paul, The Great Twin Cities Poetry Read (where I won a drawing for real, actual money!), Independent Bookstore Day @ Boneshaker Books, Dead Media, Subterranean Reading with Steve Roggenbuck @ AWP, and the Trotter's Cafe New & Nearby Series.

Got experience working in a factory.

Over the summer I worked in an aluminum can making factory in downtown St. Paul. I'm hoping to go back next year. I did lots of random administrative things, organized weird rooms that hadn't been organized in years, inspected cans, and generally was a jack of all trades, which is my specialty.

Wrote over 200 poems.

I got a lot of writing done in the factory on my breaks and lunches. I wrote about 100 poems during the three months I was employed there. I didn't send very much out in 2015, but I'm planning on getting my butt into gear on that front in 2016.

I read 65 books.

For details, see my previous post.

I got a few acceptance in the poetry world.

I was in one of the last issues of PANK before they changed hands.
I have two poems coming out in an issue of Gargoyle Magazine this month!
Two poems were published in an issue of WomenArts Quarterly early this year.
And I got an acceptance from BOXCAR; a poem for which I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

I also won a Best of the Net Award.

My poem "Eve" was published originally in Sundog Lit and I got the news in February that it won Best of the Net for 2014. This news made me dance in the living room.

- - -

I also did a bunch of other exciting things: celebrated weddings, my own five-year wedding anniversary, and a trivia win at Galactic Pizza before my friend Kristin moved away. I filmed some episodes (with Kristin) of What Did You Look Up On Wikipedia, including one about yoga and farts (my favorite so far).  I got a record player, played a LOT of board games, and did a lot of yoga (worked on handstand and floating, which are my two favorite things to do in yoga). I went blonde again, learned how to throw a football, went to a baseball game, and found competent medical care (FINALLY). I went on a few short vacations and one long one, to Florida. I published some amazing work with my partners Molly and Jenn in Tinderbox Poetry Journal. I got stung by a wasp, got an MRI, and laughed a lot, cried a lot, and spent time with people who matter. I think that counts as a year that's worth it.