Friday, November 5, 2021

Super-belated ART NEWS!!

Somehow, I neglected to announce a few bits of news from this past year. I must have been distracted by... Oh yes.  Everyone's 'that's why' excuse for the past eighteen months, for better or worse. Lord knows I took my lumps too, but thankfully, I think these two art brags fall squarely in the "better" category? OR at the very least, new.

"Because of the pandemic" #1.
Like many, I found weird pockets of time to indulge weird ideas, with no particular reason to stop myself. Like obsessively taking photos on a hike last January after a windstorm, when all the dead, broken tree limbs looked so much like twisted bodies and human physiology, I just kept seeing the same theme over and over:
I couldn't help it. Apparently, nor could I help submitting said photos to the very next call-for-submissions I found. And lo and behold, two photos from the series were selected for publication!
"Arboreal Arms" and "Bronchial Branches" (left to right, above) were selected by the The Tatterhood Review (a really cool literary scifi/fantasy 'zine, y'all!) for publication, and they even paid me a few shekels, too. Eeek!    

"Because of the pandemic" #2. 

In another twist of temporary insanity, at the same time I submitted an old painting I did back in 2015 to a gallery seeking work on the topic of "Paradoxical Paradigms." I called the painting Rembrandt's Bathsheba: The Hellscape Abloom and... it made it in! To an actual, honest-to-goodness ART SHOW!! Entirely, in my opinion, by mistake.

Nonetheless, the painting hung at the The Huntington Arts Council for a number of weeks, they threw all us artists a virtual reception (you can still view the body of work here), and the whole thing was both a total hoot and a real, true honor.


I know, I know, I usually fancy myself a writer. But that little surge of inspiration last year was a much-needed boost during a particularly demoralizing pandemic. So it just goes to show yasubmit submit submit! You never know who's crazy enough to call you an artist! 


  Rembrandt's Bathsheba: The Hellscape Abloom (2015)

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Rembrandt's Bathsheba: The Hellscape Abloom

Artist Statement: In painting Rembrandt’s Bathsheba: The Hellscape Abloom, I purged a demon in a single sitting with the materials I had on hand: some old tubes of acrylic and oil paint, some torn pages of a 1950’s Rembrandt art book my toddler had destroyed, spiritual enhancements of mood and music—and a subconscious laden with timely insecurities: body, motherhood, femininity, sex. 
In the Biblical story of Bathsheba, King David spies a bathing beauty on a rooftop and desires her, summoning her with a demand letter informing her he’s just sent her husband off to war so they can be together. 
In Rembrandt’s Baroque masterpiece, Bathsheba at her Bath (1654), it’s widely agreed that Bathsheba is lovingly depicted as despondent, deeply disturbed, saddened, and/or resigned by Kind David’s letter. 
When I first saw Rembrandt’s masterpiece hanging in the Louvre many years ago, and again in our vintage art book, I was not familiar with it, nor the biblical story it was based on. In blissful ignorance, I read this alluring, sensual woman as contemplative. Torn. Conflicted. Excited, but terrified. Perhaps even horrified. But also... Alight with possibility. Abloom, in a Hellscape. Conflicts in emotion make sense to me. Paradox’s make sense to me. Even when faced with such a profound paradigm shift as Bathsheba’s: you can hold two feelings in your heart at once.
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"Arboreal Arms" (2021) & (Above, Top Left)
"Bronchial Branches" (2021) (Above, Top Right)

Artist Statement: On one of my solitary hikes through the trails of eastern Long Island, I found the haunting, textured, and gnarled mess of the woods too striking not to capture if only with a newcomer's eye and a smartphone camera. Yet with these rudimentary tools, art still finds a way. In this series, I aim to reveal how the arboreal can look downright aboral as the broken limbs, fallen trees, and knotted vines of the bare winter forest map unto our bodies' own tangled physiology hair, veins, arteries, posture, caress manifested in simple plays of light, color, and texture.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

My Sexy New GF, Chloe

Meet my new 'lil writer's cabin! She's such a delighta quiet oasis in the woods between Woodstock and Peekskill, NY; a one-room camping cabin perched on the edge of a small, scummy pond. She's perfect.

Or I guess technically she's not mine, as the placard above the window contains a possessive 's' and she does, in a legal sense, belong to a nice, elderly woman with Chloe's name. But in the process of renting and caring for said little cabin last year I befriended the Chloes. And we struck a mutually beneficial deal: short, off-the-grid writing retreats whenever I require total encapsulation in a page-producing writing-chamber in return for off-peak rates and some extra cabin TLC. 

There's only one foreseeable problem with this relationship. With no shortage of gorgeous hiking trails, area waterfalls, and a one-man canoe, my biggest challenge with Chloe is getting too caught up. She's distracting AF. I try to remain focused. But besides writing and staring at the pond, here's the sort of thing I got up to the last time I was there: 

I caught my first fish!!! On my own!!! So yeah. I'm into Chloe.

We'll see how stiff my fingers get in winter, but with a loft bed, electric space heater, boxes of candles and exactly enough juice from a single power outlet to keep my offline laptop running (and a box full of notes to turn into a book, but never-you mind! More on that news later)..... I think I'm all set? 'Ta 'till then!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Post-covid stirrings had us dreamin' of TRAVEL like.....

During that brief Spring reprieve when Covid restrictions lifted enough to fill the air with lots of travel fervor — toot, TOOT! — I got aboard the travel train for DH Travel Services, parent co' for millenial fav (for well-curated, no-frills travel packages catering to the young and frugal), Great Value Vacations. Through the magical powers of research-from-my-couch, this content didn't involve any actual travel and I know, you're shocked — but it did inspire some of my own.  

Some friends and I took off for Austin, Texas in May to celebrate what we thought was the the end of Covid (LOLOLOL) and our family booked flights to visit our respective parents' in Missouri and Oregon for the summer, the first time spent with our kid's grandparents in nearly two years. [Little did we know both geographic locations would end up national hot-spots for the Delta variant; We white-knuckled it through both visits and returned healthy, but barely!]

Spring and summer highlights included a GVV piece commissioned to feature 8 Locations to Visit from Netflix's The Crown (can't say I didn't enjoy the deep, multi-season research on this one, guys!), plus a few new series I developed for GVV's seemingly limitless content pool: How to Order Coffee In X....5 Alternatives to Big Cities in (X), Essential Phrases of (X), and What's it Like to Travel to (X) Right Now?

The sort of content that might, you know, just make a comeback someday. If we can persuade our hesitant friends to join us in the effort to end this Eighth Circle of Variant Hell we've found ourselves in.  Cuz as they say in the 'biz: *"No Flyin' Delta Skies, 'til we cut Delta's ties, guys!"

Until then.... au revoir, mes amis. 

(* totally made up)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

"The Finding Party," places 2nd!

"The Finding Party" gets second place in R1 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2021

Read The Finding Party, here.

This was my second NYC Midnight competition (dipping my toes in last year with a microfiction contest) and I must say, just entering The Short Story Challenge is an amazing learning experience and a huge accomplishment. I'm pumped just to be a part of it. 

But accolades ain't so bad, either!  In round one of my heat (among those who got the same prompts - an estimated group of 25 writers or so?) my story, The Finding Party, came in 2nd place! Holy smokes! This was out of a possible five slots, with four honorable mentions per grouping.

Now, this is only the first round of three, mind you — so I'll keep you posted on how the competition shakes out in the subsequent heats. But for now, I'm pretty dang pleased: this baby was cranked out in 7 days, had to be less than 2,500 words (and you better believe I pretty much used all of 'em), and had to include the prescriptive elements in the screengrab above (ghost story, farmer, a fixation).  

One of the best things about this particular contest is that whether you place or not, every story comes back with the judge's comments and feedback. For a writer, this is invaluable. 

(WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW!!). To sweeten the emotional payoff in The Finding Party, for example, the judges would have liked to have seen a bit more backstory about my narrator's failing marriage—a great note. At the same time, they also praised the execution of the plot twist, the interplay of sweetness and sadness in the story's tone, and, my personal favorite among the panel's comments, "this writer clearly has a handle on structure." (Aggh! Yesss! Swoon!).

This also represents my first attempt at putting something together on Substack, yet another experiment born out of throwing things at the wall during the pandemic to see what sticks. There, you'll be able to sign up or subscribe to read more of my work (if that's your thing). 

 Until then, happy backpacking season, y'all!    

Thursday, October 15, 2020

That Time I Wrote a Timely Piece About a Fly...

I'm not a news reporter or anything — but some stories are just worth breaking. And so without much fanfare or thinking I jotted out this bombshell for Medium in a day, not waiting around for a single editor to read, edit, or reject this piece for being unoriginal, rambling, or for burying my lead. NOPE, no sirree, I just had to post it—and so whether or not that was a mistake only you (assuming this glowing invitation is enough of a teaser), me, and possibly only RBG will ever know. Either way, BEHOLD a thing I wrote about the mounting supernatural mischief afoot in our current state of political affairs: 

"Thank you, ghost of RBG"

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

PUBLISHED: "The Pandemic Ruined My Poly Relationship—But Saved My Marriage"

My new piece, "The Pandemic Ruined My Poly Relationship—But Saved My Marriage," can now be found in the MEMOIR section of Narratively. Swoon! 

Of all the things I've written over the years this, by far, reigns as the most personal. And yet still, I'm tasked with the awkward duty of self-promotion. 

So while I'm at it, and since I'm allowed to complain and qualify and hem and haw on my own damn blog: I patently deny writing that essay blurb on Narratively's homepage — accompanied by a questionable title, and some biographically inaccurate illustrations — but, hey, if you can get over it, dear reader, then I probably can, too.

Now here's the part where I drop the link, run away, and hide forever....

Full story:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What Do BEES, PODS, WORK, and QUILTS Have in Common?

Ladies at a quilting bee from the 70's, in Central Park
Photo Credit: National Archives


There's just something about standing up for piece of content because you believe in it—even if the editors of umpteen pubs didn't. 

I get it. The piece tries to do a lot. It's not just the personal narrative of how I started coworking with a group of moms back in the autumn of 2016—or how we've since used these functional playdates to prop up all sorts of goals over the years (career, personal, vocational, creative, and otherwise). It's also an article that provides takeaways, as well as some historical context, and of course, some COVID-level framing....

Meaning, sometimes you have a lot to say. Thankfully, Medium lets you say whatever, however you want. Having gone through a gajillion questionable headlines before picking this questionable headline (because if I still worked at Yahoo, it's the one they'd insist I use), so I'd just like to see you even TRY to resist clicking on:

But if not, then at least sit back and enjoy this archival photo of the most 70's of all ladies, enjoying a little sewing bee in Central Park, from back when the fashion was hot, the hair was long, and the sisterhood was STRONG. Enjoy!