Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm back. I've missed you, too. After juggling more plates than I could manage, I confess it was a small relief to hear several crash and splinter around me. Still picking and sorting.

Winter was a reminder that, when the show and pizzazz of topside greenery & finery, of fancy & ambition, are lopped by life's cold shears, it's always possible to return to one's working class roots. And so I took a retail job in December, grateful to have gotten an interview, then another, then an offer. I'm working at Staples in Selinsgrove, about a 15-minute drive from home. There's a Staples in Lewisburg, where we live, but they didn't offer me an interview (phhhtt!).

I've been working my ass off. Learning something every day, mainly about the myriad nuances of the copy & print world and the machines we use at the store, though once in a while I make a brief but sincere human connection with a customer, many who say things like "I could sense that you were deeper." Than what? (Don't answer this, please.)

And the pay, as many of you must know, is staggeringly, mind-blowingly insufficient. I won't make  other comparisons between my former life in academia to my current work week, except to say I thought that, with no essays to grade, I'd be writing more.

On the plus side, I have rocketed to my current level of part-time Copy Center Associate, which is a promotion (of sorts) over the level at which I was hired. I was even selected Associate of the Month for February. In short, ladies and gents, I am making lemonade. So. Much. Lemonade.

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I also thought I'd somehow get ahead of the production schedule over at Seven Kitchens. Uhhh, no. I'm further behind than ever; it's embarassing. Growing pains of a three-year-old with too-big ambitions? Maybe. Somewhat. But I'm in love with those ambitions (a new series for writers of color; a no-fee open reading period; our long-overdue anthology series; working with co-editors TK and EC).

Today at the store I met a young artist who needed to print some work for his portfolio. I was totally blown away by his work--fresh, creative, very insightful, very professional designs. I wished I'd had the budget to hire the guy right on the spot! (Someday, maybe, if I'm lucky and the press continues to grow. . .) Besides, I'm already lucky to have worked with some madly talented artists on our chapbook designs. I really do count my blessings in that regard.

So if you're wondering what's going on at the press, I'm still here. Our production schedule is seriously out of whack, but I hope to get caught up by the end of summer. How can I help, you ask? Aww, thanks. As soon as I have a couple of hours and a clearer mind, I need to write out a call for volunteers (interns) (whatever you want to call yourselves). I could use help in about a dozen areas--interviewing our authors, updating the Word Press site, researching libraries and other collections,  designing chapbook covers, trimming and folding pages, sewing/tying/assembling chapbooks, preparing review copies for mailing--these are just a few off the top of my head. And, of course, you can always buy our chapbooks; they make great gifts for the readers in your life--and shipping is free during National Poetry Month.

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In which I'm sort of participating, but in a very low-key manner (as opposed to last year's write-and-post-a-poem-each-day-in-April NaPoWriMo challenge madness). I'm re-reading all of our Seven Kitchens chapbooks, one each day, in the order that they were published, and selecting one line from each to work into a poem. It's not going all that well, partly because I'm trying to catch up with other, more pressing tasks each evening when I get home from work, and partly because I just feel so tired a lot of the time. But even if I can't write a poem a day, I'm determined to work through the sequence and see what comes of it.

On a somewhat related note (I'll just toss this out there), is anyone interested in writing a collaborative poem or two? Bearing in mind that my writing schedule is *very* spotty right now? Hit me up; let's talk about it.

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