Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

must eats

I'm utterly copying my friend Brendan at City Planning on this one. Garden & Gun has John T. Edge summing up the quintessential southern dining fare and its extremes in, "100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die."
About the project John T. Edge says:

“Southern food is all about the low and the high. On the one hand, it’s a pig ear sandwich, devoured beneath the glare of an overhead fluorescent at a stand-up counter in Jackson, Mississippi. On the other, it’s a pâté of chicken liver, savored, with a tumbler of bourbon, at a damask-draped table in Charleston, South Carolina. This roster includes both of those dishes. And it maps both extremes.”

Read it here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


My darling pal Carrie Hohmann may have just gotten the best absence excuse ever...

"I didnt make it to class because I accidently set off the fire alarm last night when I was warming up a cookie in the microwave in order to melt the frosting."

Extra credit, actually?


Saturday, November 27, 2010


“To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
 but life without meaning is the torture 
of restlessness and vague desire--
-it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.”

-Edgar Lee Masters

Thanks to Harrison Rivers for finding this one.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

my micro-story in abe's penny

This is a text/art collaboration for Abe's Penny, a monthly postcard journal series. I worked with Jordana Zeldin who is a dear friend and brilliant photographer. I wrote a narrative inspired by the photos with a narrow word limit of 500 words which is incredibly difficult between killing darlings and also trying to arch a story that makes sense! If you want a print copy, click on the Abe's Link above and we are in the archives. It was a beautiful collaboration and I hope you enjoy it.

meghan o'rourke

Lately, I've been carrying around Meghan O'Rourke's poems as a sort of amulet. There's her stirring collection Halflife and countless other poems that crop up in the New Yorker, Poetry, Gulf Coast, etc. As a recent NYU Creative Writing grad, I saw O'Rourke at the Writer's House all the time as she worked with the poets. Unfortunately I was unaware of her skill at the time and the only conversation we ever had involved me complimenting her outfit as we waited for hot water to boil in the kitchen.

First, here's an excerpt from the poem Palimpsest in Half Life:

"I talk to my friends more than I used to.
I sleep less. That is the point of life:
you really care."

Here are a few full on poems by Meghan O'Rourke. Enjoy!

Apartment Living

So those despotic loves have become known to you,
rubbing cold hands up your thighs, leaving oily trails,
whispering, Just how you like it, right?
Upstairs the sorority girls are playing charades
again, smoking cigarettes, wearing shifts, burning
pain into their synapses.
Life is a needle. And now it pricks you:
the silver light in which you realize
your attempts at decadence
tire the earth and tire you. The etymology
of "flag" as in "signal to stop"
is unknown. It is time to sit and watch. Don't
call that one again, he's pitiless in his self-certainty.
You used to be so.
You laid your black dress on the bed.
You stepped in your heels over sidewalk cracks.
You licked mint and sugar from the cocktail mixer,
singing nonsense songs,
and the strangers, they sang along.

-- From The New Yorker

Late Mastery

So this is happiness: a flaxen, spoiling moon;
blindfolds; teasing, catastrophic fantasies.
Three weights of darkness:
a switch, a flick, a strike. My hands cold
beneath the duck-print eiderdown. That menagerie.
I do not like the sound of bedclothes
sliding to the wax-slick floor.
I do not like your body elsewhere.
And I do not like love, that narrow street,
along which children who play at the gate
disappear for days to return with a smile,
lighting matches in the grass
as if to smell--again--the sulfur.

From HalfLife

Monday, November 22, 2010


"The trails of light which the moths seemed to leave behind them...were merely phantom traces created by the sluggish reaction of the human eye...It was such unreal phenomena...the sudden incursion of unreality into the real world, certain effects of light in the landscape spread out before us, or in the eye of a beloved person, that kindled our deepest feelings, or at least what we took for them."

-- W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz

Thursday, November 18, 2010

christmas, really

Kathryn Allen Hurni, Christmas 2008 - Uppe Gwynedd Township, Pennsylvania

-- Katrina M. d'Autremont, January 2009 - Buenos Aires

-- Katrina M. d'Autremont

-- Melissa Ann Pinney

nicholas hance mcelroy

Edith Macefield's home, Seattle, Washington, 2008

See more of Nicholas Hance McElroy

harold brodkey

Harold Brodkey has been a major influence on my writing since I was a teenager. Once, in those early years, I picked up his short story collection from a library. It was First Love and Other Sorrows. As a teen, it was a very attractive title and I've been picking it up still in my woman years. Here are some favorite passages from the title story of that collection:

"...But my sister's face was so radiant, her charm was so intense, she pushed her blonde hair back from her face with a gesture so quick, so certain, so arrogant and filled with vanity, that no one, I thought, could doubt that whatever she did would not be right."

"I feel sorry for the man who marries you," I said. "Because everybody thinks you're sweet and you're not."

"She was not a mercenary woman, nor was she mean about money—except in spells that didn’t come often—but she believed that what we lost with the money was much of our dignity and much of our happiness. She did not want to see life in a grain of sand; she wanted to see it from the shores of the Riviera, wearing a white sharkskin dress."

melissa ann pinney

From "Girl Ascending"

-- Melissa Ann Pinney

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

cary ann hearst - a facet of unchained

A fun video from one of our Unchained Tour musicians, Cary Ann Hearst & Micheal Trent.
Savannah Friends - Her and her hubby are doing a show at Sentient Bean on November 18th.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

seely, black and white style

Face it, if you owned her you would gratuitously post pics of her too. These are by pal Becton Morgan and were shot on adoption day.

Monday, November 1, 2010


"All seats provide equal viewing of the universe."

--Museum Guide, Hayden Planetarium

the middle of the novel - zadie smith

"In the middle of the novel, a kind of magical thinking takes over. To clarify, the middle of the novel may not happen in the actual geographical center of the novel. By middle of the novel I mean whatever page you are on when you stop being a part of the household and your family and your partner and children and food shopping and dog feeding and reading the post---I mean when there is nothing in the world except your book, and even as your wife tells you she's sleeping with your brother her face is a gigantic semicolon, her arms are parenthesis and you are wondering whether rummage is a better verb than rifle.

The middle of a novel is a state of mind. Strange things happen in it. Time collapses. You sit down to write at 9 a.m., you blink, the evening news is on and four thousand words are written, more words than you wrote in three long months, a year ago. Something has changed. And it's not restricted to the house. If you go outside, everything---I mean, everything---flows freely into your novel. Someone on the bus says something--it's straight out of your novel. You open the paper--every single story in the paper is directly relevant to your novel. If you are fortunate enough to have someone wanting to publish your novel, this is the point at which you phone them in a panic and try to get your publication date brought forward because you cannot believe how in tune the world is with your unfinished novel right now, and if it isn't published next Tuesday maybe the moment will pass and you will have to kill yourself.

Magical thinking makes you crazy--and renders everything possible. Incredibly knotty problems of structure now resolve themselves with inspired ease. You randomly pick a poetry book off the shelf and the first line you read ends up being your epigraph--it seems to have been written for no other reason."

From "That Crafty Feeling" in Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith

I highly recommended this book for writers and I'll probably post more soon and I am in the MIDDLE!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

tea and blood

The two funniest people I've ever met, Juliet Hope Wayne & Dan Kennedy, stop for a spot of tea and some violence during The Unchained Tour.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This, my friends, is the Andalusia Foundation, or the adult home of Flannery O'Conner. I popped in as it was literally on the road to my destination, Madison. No veers or side roads. There it was. Roadside adventure of literary greatness. It helped that a storm was letting up, and I was tired from inching forward in it, so I needed the break. Behind the home is the family barn, servant cottage, a milk house, and the present-day sound announcements of a few car dealerships. There are also many, many discarded pieces of furniture and plumbing that the grounds are more of a not-for-sale junkyard. Or, did Flannery liken to The Misfit (more than we know) and have Hulk-esque throw tantrums? The porch was the most striking. The thunderstorm had the screen door banging and the rocking chairs knocking the wood. Once inside, the lower level is on display which luckily contains Flannery's bedroom where she composed the bulk of her work. I shivered in Georgia-September. It was touching to be there. I was in the house where Flannery wrote all morning and then took guests on the screen porch till late in the evening. I sat on that same porch and tried to realize how she conjured such wicked characters. Answer: She was Catholic.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

becton morgan, ouija boards, & cumberland island

Above are photographs by an old high school friend named Becton Morgan. We hadn't seen each other in ten years but there we were at her latest opening in Savannah. We'd crossed similar state lines at different times but now live blocks away from each other. I've seen a lot of openings here lately and this was a truly wonderful one. The concept was the themes of the southern gothic writers (William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor primarily). There were images of antebellum ruins, leaves blown onto a church pew (my favorite!), violence (So Flannery!), and abandonment. I've been on a color photography kick and mostly because of my obsession with the 1960's and 70's photographers that ruled it (then and some still---Eggleston, Leiter, etc.) I find a particular thrill in perfectly printed black and white photography. Partly because I spent uncountable hours in college perfecting one photo at a time and there is a meditative joy to it (okay, it's also a pain in the ass). Otherwise, a wonderfully printed black and white image carries a grace, an accessibility and immediate rush of a feeling.

Many of the photos from her latest exhibition are shot on Cumberland Island. It's a near abandoned stretch with the antebellum ruins of Thomas Carnegie's estate (the less famous of the Carnegie's), marooned shrimping boats, wild horses, and therein some epic landscapes. If you visit the link you will find not only great history, and ruin photographs, but also the simple fact that Cumberland Island has a large shark population. Needless to say, Cumberland is my next big road trip once this Unchained Tour winds down.

On a side-note, I share the eeriest Ouija board experience of all time with Becton. In my senior year of high school I was in a production of Picnic by William Inge. I played the bitter old schoolmistress that's always slapping cold cream on her face and getting sloppy drunk. It was good fun. After the run, the cast and crew headed out to Jennifer Borntrager's lake house. The boys ended up watching The Matrix. The rest of us girls, ten in total, went into a room across the way and played Ouija. After a few harmless questions, the spirit "Rowena" got a little bitchy. Then, Jennifer admitted that Rowena was her aunt and had killed herself in that room. Good times! We'd all taken our fingers off the board at this point and were in need of additional oxygen. Jen said not to worry and that Rowena didn't want to hurt us, right? The cursor began moving by itself saying, No No No. So we think okay, great. Then the cursor aka Rowena says, I will hurt you. An inexplicable thump from below flew the board and all ten of us up and then back down. Eight of the girls ran screaming and jumped fully clothed into the lake. Why? One need not question any behavior after experiencing a demon or whatever... The other two girls, myself and Jean Parker, grabbed each other and cried ourselves to sleep. We were convinced that Rowena was underneath the bed getting ready to drag us by the feet into hell and/or kill us. We survived. We all slept with a light on for months to come. Surprisingly or not, I did keep playing Ouija.