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READINGS READINGS GALORE! WOMEN! MERMAIDS! C-C-C-CHAPBOOKS!

14 Apr

Layne mentioned THE GUERILLA READING that we did last Saturday, and we’ve got video for that.
Big thanks to Tyler Gobble (STOKED PRESS) for getting us all together, and for uploading the videos. I’m going to put a couple here to wet your w-whistles, but if you mosey on over to Gobble’s youtube channel, you’ll find them all. The entire reading. It’s almost like you were there. I mean Wowzers, go technology.

This here’s one of my favorites. Layne reads “Charlie Sheen Makes A Milkshake,” and we all get rowdy. Also she reads “Nasty,” that song by Janet Jackson and well, that’s just fun.

We read outside Lafollete, just in that parking lot. No one came that didn’t read, really. A few cars honked and some pedestrians stared, but mostly it was just us. That was nice. Read: (raucously supportive) or, (sweet enthusiasm babies).
Having the camera made it something special, because we knew we’d be sharing it with you. And, not to get mushy or anything [VOM], but: you matter. We’ve always written for ourselves. Now, we write for you, too. That being said, sorry if we get a bit lewd. Keep in mind, it was a Saturday night. We’re young and frisky, can’t be helped.

Like I said, the whole reading is available online. Some poems are chopped in half and sometimes the camera is wiggly, but that’s part of the charm. Go see, tell us what you think.

ALSO, IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:
The Chicklitz reading is tomorrow.


We picked up the Chapbooks from the printer today and they’re great. They’re in the backseat of ma car, and I’m proud like a daddy. Here’s Elysia posin’ with one, lookin’ gorge. You can get ’em at the reading for $3. We only printed 50, so get your scurry on.
We are excited (understatement). Hope to seeee yooou theeere.

Ps, sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. It’s not you it’s me. (I missed being here)

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ST. PATTIES LATE POST EXTRAVAGANZZA

17 Mar

*we spelled the title wrong on purpose. Don’t worry.

Ohey, the Chicklitz have returned from spring break.

We’re having a party and this is what we look like:

That’s half the english department. We’re doing St. Patrick’s Day right now, but also we’ve done other things and I’mma prove it.

ONE:

Here some videos from our reading two weeks ago. Filmed by Tyler Gobble, edited by Abby Hines. The camera shut off half-way through my one about Yak-Backs. Sorry ’boutcha.

FRIEND SPENCER:

LINDSEY P. LAVAL:

LAYNE RANSOM:

also, 3 of the 6 chickz went to Louisville for Spring Break and we took pictures and put those in an album. Click the picture below and that’ll take you to a facebook album I made super public. So you’ll be able to see it even if you and I aren’t friends on the fb.

I added captions.

It took me too long. PLEASE LIKE IT:

photo album of Chickz in Louisville! Click through to view.

*Ben Rogers (guy on the far left) realizes that he was not grouchy enough in the opening group picture, and has asked me to extend his apologies.

SLAM POETRY CAN BE A TRILLION KITTENS HELD IN A FIST.

24 Feb

I really like slam poetry.*
*except when it sucks.
Because slam poetry really can. There’s a huge potential for that, but also it can be the shit—which is a good thing, in spite of having the word shit in it. I promise.

Slam poetry is poetry, duh, but it’s performed. It’s a structure that I really like, and I’m going to demonstrate WHY in 5 videos, 3 minutes each. That’s 15 minutes. Ready? LAUNCH.

First up is Carlos Williams, member of Emerson’s slam poetry team: The Gringo Choir.

Carolos Williams:

His hand motions/ diction/ dynamics—when he switches into that drunk voice at at 1:46 then Continue reading

My Grandma doesn’t heart the Internet, so I can write Non-fiction.

17 Feb

OHEY AHOY AND STUFF.

Some of you saw that I tweeted about posting a series of flashes today.
Some of you got really excited about that.
(That was swell of ya.)

But I lied.
I’ll post that next week, because before I show you what I’m doing this year, I thought maybe I’d show you the best from last year. Really, we’re still getting to know each other. It’s only like our third date.
Don’t get handsy.

If you’re local, you’ve maybe heard me read this story. I opened for Jeremy Bauer and Tyler Gobble back in November.
Also! It’s being printed in this year’s edition of The Broken Plate, and that launches March 23 and 24 during the In Print Festival.
Arts & Journalism Building, room 175.
7:30pm.

IN PRINT FESTIVAL IS TOTALLY RAD. So let’s post some links for that.
The panel this year is Paul Killebrew (author of Flowers), Tina May Hall (The Physics of Imaginary Objects), Deb Guartney (author of Live Through This), and the editors of Artifice Magazine.
Each of the authors reads and talks a little bit about their book, being a writer, etc. The Broken Plate staff does a great job of setting the whole thing up—they’ve done interviews, those will be in the edition of the Broken Plate that comes out THAT NIGHT. I think it’s all free, and they give out free copies of The Broken Plate to the audience. It’s basically Oparah’s favorite things episode, but brainy.

Okay, read this now. It’s called “A Child’s Story.” Also, have yourself a merry little Thursday. It’s sunny out there.

My grandmother once handed me a roll of masking tape and a marker and said, “Linds, take a look around the house. Anything you want, take a piece of tape and stick your name to the bottom of it. I don’t want you to have to fight anyone to get the things you want.”

Continue reading

today, HTMLGIANT (Roxane Gay) said we were PRETTY so it WAS a happy Valentine’s day.

14 Feb

Yeah? Lemme see that.

Ball State loves the Internet. We heart it. It’s our thing.

10 Feb

Ball State University was the first school to have wireless internet campus-wide. Is that true? I don’t know, but there were billboards. They sung our praises. They did it in Helvetica Neue. It all seemed very official.
Being first was mostly a marketing thing. Their feather; their cap. As for the students, we didn’t care. We’d gotten wireless Internet, seemingly for free. I mean, hawt-dog.

Wireless Internet really is the shit. It’s convenient. It makes laptops not worthless. Also, it does other things: fast. Memes are exploding. Hair memes. Lesbians that look like Justin Bieber. Cats, the entire species, have quadrupled in popularity. To pacify the cat-hungry crowds, Petsmart is genetically splicing domestic cats with strains of sex-crazed rabbits. It’s taking too long. There are riots. A Petsmart in Illinois just imploded. Mobs of cat ladies have networked, taken over New York city, and are demanding to be taken seriously.
Ransom money
is involved.
They’re calling themselves the Coup de Mew.

I’m surprised you didn’t hear about that.

No but really, the Internet is cool. Look at these pop machines. Just look at these pop machines.

They have antennas.

Yes, note that. It’s for the Internet. You don’t need quarters anymore, to get a [DIET COKE aside: Chicklitz will do product placement for $$$$. Call us.]

To buy a soda, all you need is your credit card.
It’s convenient. It’s obnoxiously convenient.

Continue reading

You guys, I don’t do fiction.

3 Feb

I’m in a flash fiction class this semester. That means it’s fiction and it’s short. Hey, guess what I don’t do.
(insert lesbian joke here)
Right you are, I don’t write fiction. Not normally. Not naturally.
But now I do. I’m working on this flash fiction piece right now that’s a little magical realism-ish. Well, I’ll just let you read it. YOU GUYS, I need suggestions. Also, I need an ending. Making shit up is hard. I mean, do you ever think? Is fiction harder for you guys, or easier? How much do you base your own fiction on real life?
Most importantly, WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THIS STORY? It’s flash: it has to end. It has to be cohesive and tight.

READERS, lend me your insight. If it’s good, maybe I’ll run away with your suggestions, write them grandly, and then post about it next week. Make it good, baby cakes.

11:39 PM. January 26, 1999.
3500 STATESMAN DRIVE
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN
47906-8808

During a celebratory, end of *SiXtH gRAde* sleepover, Camille Wright touched the satin brass of Rachel Marshall’s bathroom doorknob and simultaneously became aware of the insides of her body.

For the full fifteen years of her life, Camille ’s organs, nestled within her body cavity, had functioned properly. Quietly. Almost subversively, in that she was not aware of their goings on.

Prior to this moment, Camille Wright could not have told you what her organs did. She could not even have told you, definitively, what organs she possessed. They hardly mattered. Her organs had no aspirations (beyond simply being organs), took little offense to being ignored, and carried out their roles without consulting her.

In this moment, they were equally incommunicado. For Camille, it was simply as if her insides had been asleep, and then awoken. She felt her esophagus. She flexed the striated muscles there, and knew the course skin that stretched over them.
She swallowed and did not know the word for her peristaltic contractions, but felt them pass through the upper and lower esophageal sphincters as easily as she would have felt your hand squeeze her thighs.
She knew the J-shape bend of her stomach, could trace the outline for you with her fingertips against the soft curve belly.
She could feel the finger-sized villi of her small intestine, the hair-sized microvilli budding off, and knew every centimeter of surface area they added collectively.
She felt the bacteria moving in her gut, fermenting the food there, as clearly as running her tongue over her teeth. She could run her mind over every portion of her body, even her ovaries, paired like peanuts, along the lateral walls of her pelvic cavity—and she suspected these were the culprits behind her awakening.

Once the initial shock of discovery had passed, in a moment, Camille assumed this new, Frankensteinian shock was mundane. Probably every young woman went through this. It made sense. She had been anticipating her first period for over a year now, because Amanda Kinsley had gotten hers while eating ice cream cake (on her own birthday) so really, it was about time.

When she left the bathroom and rejoined her friends at the sleepover, she felt older, mature, a part of the club in which they were already united. She did not know how to explain her transformation in words, so she did not. To her friends on that night, or to anyone else, ever. It was in this way that Camille Wright became aware of her internal organs and no one ever came to learn of it, not one soul.

Her first boyfriend suspected something, but what? He couldn’t tell.
Just that Camille seemed to have far above average orgasms. Body wracking, she sometimes gored holes in his chest, she would bite him so hard.
He was a timid boy, afraid of her animal-like fervor. He jacked-off into a sock before going on dates with her, and rarely invited her back to his place. When she invited him to her house, he would make excuses about dentist appointments and stomach aches, which Camille almost always believed—because she was in love and because she thought he was equally aware of his own body.

For When I Couldn’t Say, This Is Just To Say

28 Jan

Mrs. Geiger’s substitute teacher was blond, glittery, and had a smile like the snarly grin of a Pomeranian. Had Mrs. Geiger been allowed to choose her substitute, I wondered, or had she simply been assigned by whatever powers ran the Tippecanoe School Corporation? Was she a friend of Mrs. Geiger’s? Did they, for instance, exchange holiday trinkets? Fruitcakes, roasted cashews, those massive tins of popcorn?
If so, then I was jealous.

It was 1996 and I was a shy, long-haired second grader, an only child with few friends and a knack for being quiet. I was outgoing, but didn’t know it; smart, but hadn’t discovered it; affectionate, but lacked recipients. Summers, I collected cicada shells from the trees around my neighborhood and I kept them in a shoebox. When I carried the box, it would tip and the shells would roll over themselves, long-ways inside—cicada claws snagging chipped eye globes, backs bending inward along exit wounds, all of them brittle and wearing down into dust.

Mrs. Geiger’s family had had an emergency, said the substitute. She wouldn’t be back for the rest of the week.
So I cried.
Not because the emergency had happened, obviously, or that the family must have experienced some great trauma. I didn’t know them and empathy was years beyond me.
A second grader’s week is just so long.

Because it was snowing, it was decided that we would have to stay inside for recess.
The substitute was at a loss. What would she do with us for an hour? I’m sure she assumed that this had happened before, that there must be games or toys hiding in a cupboard somewhere. She instructed us to scour the room.

I didn’t find any games, but beside a box of flashcards in the corner of the room, I did find a stack of colored butcher paper. The sheets were cut into these incredibly long, child lengthed beauties. The possibilities. I remember jumping onto a chair, waving one of the giant papers around my body. I said, “Hey everybody, let’s make the biggest Christmas card ever! For Mrs. Geiger!”

So I must have been that kid.

I was the girl that worshiped the teacher.
And it’s true: I did. It started when she told me that she played the Jurassic Park CD during quiet times especially for me, because it was my favorite. That seems small, but I was small. It was everything. Or, It was enough to inspire the painfully silent girl to stand on a chair and address a classroom of eyes.

For the entire week that Mrs. Geiger was gone, it snowed. Each recess, we stayed inside and worked on the Christmas card. We decided it would be a night scene, with Santa flying across the sky of the entire world. I remember punching a lead pencil through the sheet of black background, how I had the idea to layer a piece of yellow paper behind. The yellow peeked through the pencil punches, revealing shy, second grade stars.
By the end of the week, we’d used the entire stack of paper.

When Monday came, I did not fall asleep against the bus window on the way to school. I sat in my seat, humming. Today was the day, was the day, was the day…

But Mrs. Geiger did not enjoy her Christmas card. She was furious. It was the paper. She’d been saving it for a lesson plan. A project. A something. There was the yelling and I felt my face sliding off onto the desk, my personally responsible face. I had been the instigator. I had found the paper and made the suggestion and punched the holes for the stars.

It was me. It was me. It was me.
But that wasn’t even it.

I had stood on a chair.
I had shouted.
I had been misunderstood.

I am still very young.

20 Jan

In the car on the way to The Village, I am surprised to find myself in a car on the way to The Village.

The man taking my order looks Italian. Is it racist to say that a man looks Italian? Do I look racist? I hear myself say spiced chai from another person’s body, with another person’s voice. Like a Yak-Back. In the nineties, everyone wanted a Yak-Back because that shit was hot.

Molly is holding a dog.

In the car on the way to The Village, the dog rode in the passenger seat and so did I. We were both passengers. We passaged. The Italian is making my drink too quickly.

In the car on the way to The Village, the dog sat on my lap. It’s very young. I prayed it wouldn’t pee on me, and I don’t ever pray for anything.

I might have prayed for a Yak-Back.

The Italian asks, “Skim milk or two-percent, Ma’am?” And I want to tell him this isn’t a goddamn McDonald’s, Sir, it’s the fucking MT Cup and I want my service slow. That’s why I came here.

The Italian says, “Here is your receipt, when you’re ready.” I am holding the pen. If I am not ready, I could just keep holding this pen. I think I could.
Yak-Back: I could.

Molly is wearing a jacket like a British officer and I want to tell her that weed maybe comes from Jamaica. Was she wearing her British jacket when she bought our Jamaican weed? Because if she was, this pastime and her wardrobe are at odds, politically.

The dog is too young to be out.

The Italian thanks me. I give him back the pen. I still think he is an asshole.

Soon we are outside. The chai is probably too hot to drink, so I don’t. Molly waves at some guy and then that guy comes over and they start talking. He is wearing a lot of yellow. That takes commitment.

Molly does not want to be distracted, so she puts the dog on a wire table.
That dog is too young to be on a wire table.

I burn my tongue. I hope the Italian hasn’t seen.

When the Yak-Back got popular, they stuck it on a pen. Everyone is always trying to stick things on pens. I’ve seen those multi-pens that click red, black, and green. They can even stick pens on pens. Whatever.

Molly doesn’t see that the dog is looking over the side of the wire table.That dog is too young to be near the edges of things.

I hope I remember to tell my children that the Yak-Back was the Ipod of the nineties. I hope they understand this and care deeply.

Molly says it’s cute that the dog is looking across the street where there is a collie on the sidewalk. I don’t think the dog can see more than a few feet. He is probably only looking at the ground. I try to say so. I think I fail.

The dog is too young for us not to know what it can see.

Molly and I decide to leave. She puts the dog on the ground and puts it on a leash. We are like parents pushing a stroller.

I say, “Self, promise me you will raise compassionate children.” So I do. I promise. I don’t want them to think the nineties were lame because the Yak-Back only had two buttons.

We try to walk to the car, but the dog will only take a few steps. His elbows don’t seem right. I think his eyes look like a pair taken from a newborn baby, and his skin is so soft it makes me sick, a little. Molly says he is lazy. She says it is going to take us forever to get to the goddamn car.
That newborn baby is too young to be dragged across a sidewalk.
Molly pulls hard on the leash.
Yak-Back: I promise.

For the nest full of daughters, all named after birds.

14 Jan

I am at a party where the garage door is up just a few feet and that’s where I slip out, into an alleyway that leads to a road: all cobblestones and mud. Adult trees line adult houses, which is out of place here, so close to campus. I think this must be North Street. And it is, because here is the Sad House.

That’s a projection. I mean, the house itself isn’t sad. Like, come on. It’s this white two-story with shutters. It has hedges and flags to advertise the fresh electric fence. The grass hasn’t even grown back all the way, and barriers like that don’t come cheap. Oh, I don’t mean the money. Landscapes repel sadness; electric fences contain mirth. I want to imagine buying this house, but I can’t. I can’t imagine being happy enough to afford it.

I make a mental note not to write about this moment.
I pull a pencil and a folded piece of paper from my back pocket and make a physical note that says, “Dear Sober, don’t write about house. Ever. Also, don’t show 2 strangers.”
To is the number 2, so I know I’m still pretty fucked up.

When I get to McKinley, I’m walking and then I’m not. I am stopped by a thought. I’ve had too much to think, but I write that motherfucker down.

It says, in all caps, THE MOTHERS ARE NOT THE DAUGHTERS.

[space]

Then, in lowercase, in parenthesis, it whispers, (and the daughters are not the mothers.)

Yeahgreat, lp. What the fuck does that mean.

If I ever have a daughter, and that daughter asks about drugs, like nonchalantly says, “Hey mom, what do you think about illegal substances?”
I’m going to pull this sheet of paper out of some back closet somewhere and say, “Look, Honeybunches. It’s like this.”
She won’t get it either.
We’ll sit, looking. I’ll say, “Drugs are weird.”
And I hope that will be a good parenting moment. I didn’t see a ton of good parenting moments when I was the daughter, and I’m not sure that any of us did, but I worry I won’t know how to make them when the time comes.
Also, I don’t cook much, so there’s that.

Sometimes, on nights like this, while walking back from someplace I didn’t want to be, to a home that’s only temporary, I wish McKinley Street would wrap me up in a university-redbrick hug. Because I need it. Tonight, the distance between me and the hypothetical dream daughters feels too great. The improbability of them flaps open before me like a mouth (saying cavities; saying feed me; saying Odysseus, how you ever gonna get back to a place you never left or seen to begin with?).

I want to go home. I’ve been saying that for my whole life, and I don’t know what it means, but I still mean it.
And I think it must be comforting to know you could have children by accident: have sex and goddamnit, there they are. We didn’t plan. Our lives are ruined. Voices hysterical, streaked with italics.

But all the women I’ve ever dated have wanted homes like appliances: functional, modern, sleek.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I want to live in a house I could die in, and what if the floors were wooden. And I’d gladly take fingerprints on walls in the following mediums: peanut butter, grease, watercolors, snot. I want handmade jewelry, all knots out of string. Not today. Not soon. I’m only saying: I’m itchy; I promise to want.

I’ve said that I wouldn’t, before. I’ve heard myself say what would it matter, hey I could do without. And I could, with some things.
Things.