The Wee Hours of the Morning

I’m back and hopeful that this means a return to form here on Ink! Working forty-five hours a week as head teacher in a preschool classroom in Germany while living dorm-style with six other women and borrowing internet from the downstairs neighbor…it soon became clear that it would not be feasible to post regularly.

What I’ve got coming up:

  • Next week I begin credential studies to become a secondary (Jr. High and High School) Art/French teacher.
  • NaNoWriMo in November, for which I am slated to co-ML.
  • My husband seems to have made it a personal priority to make sure I get a press, which warms my heart.
  • My number two resolution for this year remains unfulfilled, which was to submit my short story “The Knight and The Key” for publication.

Germany was ultimately as inspiring as I’d hoped, and my preschoolers did an outstanding job of prying my heart open to let the light back in. It should be a fine year for writing.

I also got to visit an ice cave in Austria, which was wonderful research for my current project (which I plan to complete during NaNoWriMo 2013).

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…and in other news

A few things I forgot to mention while I was working myself into a tizzy over Pitch Wars:

Giant Squid Print Makers

1. I currently have some prints showing in Arcata, CA as part of a larger show featuring the work of my artist’s collective, Giant Squid Printmakers. The collective is made up of many people I went to school with and, though I have moved away, they invited me to send some pieces for the show. There are some great prints on display, and everything is for sale so I highly recommend taking a spin through the exhibition website if you can’t physically make it to the gallery. My alma mater used one of my prints for the press release, and it gave me a squee-crossed-with-vapors moment to think of the thousands of students, faculty, and alumni who were seeing it.

2. My Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo has asked me to become her co-ML next year. I could not be more stoked about the idea, our region’s participation was unreasonably low considering our numbers. I am a planner and a party-thrower, and next November is going to be awesome!

3. My ML also offered me a coupon for 8 free books from the used bookstore where she works. Um, yes?! Pleaseandthankyou.

4. Some of you might be wondering where Top Ten Tuesdays have gotten off to, as it’s been two weeks since I posted one. Well, gorgeous reader, I am in the market for a new meme. A list of ten books is difficult to assemble each week, more difficult still to not repeat the same books over and over…and if repeating, to come up with something new to say about the book you’ve already mentioned five times. Some of the categories were getting a bit repetitive, and with participation so high (in the three hundreds, now) it wasn’t really generating page views the way it once did. Books take time to read, and 520 unique books each year? I don’t think I’m up to that. If you’ve seen a meme that you think would be great for this blog, please tell me in the comments. I’m hoping for something that combines music and literature, or maybe even art.

5. I’m making turkey stew? Not that you needed to know that, but I felt like there should be five things on this list.

And now, a Christmas carol. Because Muppets, that’s why.


And CeeLo Green. Love CeeLo.

Top Ten Tuesdays: All I Want for Christmas are MOAR BOOKZ!1!!11!

I bet you thought that you wouldn’t be getting any Top Ten Tuesday action from me this month. Ha! Joke’s on you, writing this lets me procrastinate re: my NaNoWriMo responsibilities while still feeling productive. The babes of The Broke and The Bookish did their list with a birthday theme, but as I am a summer baby and the yuletide fast approaches I’m going with Christmas!

Top Ten Books I Want for Christmas

1. Unwound by Jonathan Baine

I just read about this book and I very much want it. It is relevant to my interests: biology, dystopia, social unrest, children who do not strictly fit the societal standard. I’m so there.

2. A hardcover copy of Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Recently read this book and loved it down to the ground. I would like to permanently add it to my library, where it can sit between To Kill a Mockingbird and White Oleander at the end of the Harry Potter shelf. The cover on the hardbound version is so beautiful.

3. Timm Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet by Tim Gunn

One of my loves is for textiles and fashion, another is for history. In junior high the school library had a series of books about fashion through the decades/ages, starting with Elizabethan and going right up to the 80’s (it was the mid-90’s at the time). I checked out each and every book and basically memorized the contents. This seems like a grown-up version of those books, and you can’t go wrong with Tim Gunn.

4. Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel

World myth is another of my passions (I have a big heart, okay?) and having pretty much exhausted Greek and Roman myth short of learning a dead language and reading the classics in their original forms, and never really clicking with Norse myth, I’d like to learn more about Hinduism. This beautiful picture book illustrated by a Pixar animator would be a great introduction to one of the Hindu Epics. I also have books on Celtic, Welsh, Korean, Vietnamese, African, and Native American myth;  I think this would fit right in on my shelf.

5. The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Stephen Mitchell

I am trying to add more poetry to my diet of classics, and I’ve enjoyed several Rilke poems I’ve come across.

6. The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language

I have a French degree. I am learning Spanish. I read books about the origins of the English language and linguistics texts for fun. Sometimes I write books. I think it’s safe to say that I am a language nerd. I very much enjoyed Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, an overview of the development of American English, by the same author. I’d recommend it to folks who like that sort of thing.

7. No Strings Attached: The Inside Story of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop by Matt Bacon

It is still a cherished dream of mine to someday be a Muppeteer. I love these wacky puppet folks and everything they do.

8. Collected Folk Tales by Alan Garner

Because I think it’s clear by now that I like that kind of stuff.

9. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Preferably one of those nice classics versions that has a hard cover and pretty illustrations. I love the story but I’ve never read the original. No time like the present (Hehe. Get it, present? Oh whatever, printmakers and language nerds love puns.)

10. Hello, Jell-O! by Victoria Belanger

I like to cook, and Jell-O was a staple of my childhood. I also like silly, kitschy things so books like this (and the Hello, Cupcake! book I already own) are right up my alley. Plus, the pictures are so pretty that I can leave it out and my friends will flip through it when they come over. Then sometimes they want to make the the things. So we do.

Sometimes I think I’m pretty lame, then I look at a list like this and recognize myself as the awesome weirdo I truly am.

In case Santa, Daddy Warbucks, or a Sugar Daddy (or Momma, hey) who likes completely platonic relationships with happily married women is reading: what I want more than anything for Christmas is a small printing press I can use here in my apartment. Then I can print my own books with lead type I already own! Thus it is wished. I have also backed it up in other wishing formats, for good measure, so let’s see if it works!

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? Were they terrible? What is your Christmas wish?

Stuff and Things, Ltd.

Here are some things that you may or may not be interested in, as a sometime reader of Ink.

1. I currently have a print showing at the YeeTee Gallery in Illinois. It is part of a video-game themed exchange, Your Printshop is in Another Castle, exploring how video games influenced artists in our formative years. My print is a diptych engraving with hand-color, entitled “Red Valkyrie Needs Pipe Badly”.  If you have questions about process or content, I would be delighted to answer them in the comments!

2. I am readying some work for a show at the gallery related to my alma mater, Humboldt State University, in December. I will be sending over five pieces: two collagraphs, two serigraphs (screenprints), and an engraving. Readying them involves a lot of Photoshopping photographs of the work so that they somewhat resemble what the pieces look like in real life, cutting mats, framing, and doing any touch-up the pieces need before I send them over to Arcata. The show is at First Street Gallery, the Giant Squid Exhibition, if anyone is interested in checking it out in real life.

3. This morning, as I was complaining about the limitations of the rating system on Goodreads, my Muse (who is a real person) provided a brilliant flash of inspiration. I have often thought that Ink could benefit from a visual rating system, for the visual learners out there and those who are inclined to say “too long, did not read”. All reviews will now come equipped with a chair-rating! A photo of a chair whose comfort-level/sit-ability reflects my impression of the novel’s quality/readability. I think this will make more sense once I start to implement it.

4. Still working on my 2013 Sketchbook Project submission. It is looking like it will involve a lot of paper weaving, cutouts, and tatted embellishments.

5. My official NaNoWriMo preparations have begun! I spent awhile last night putting together my starter playlist in Spotify, and gave the playlist the working title of the manuscript I intend to write: Starsand. Riveting. At this point I have concrete ideas for about four scenes in the novel, and a general idea of how they might link up. I expect that I will be mostly winging it, like last year. Can’t wait to get started.

6. Because I have moved since last NaNoWriMo, I got on the website and changed my region. Last year’s local WriMos were a very disconcerting group, and brought out the introvert in me. I can’t wait to see what the Chico WriMos are like at this year’s FroYo kickoff.

I will leave you with the first song on the Starsand playlist:


Andain – “Promises”

Week of the Frogman

From July 1st to 15th this summer, I was halfway across the country in South Dakota. “Why would anyone voluntarily spend that long in South Dakota?”, you might be wondering. If one happens to be a printmaker, it is home to one of the best artist workshops in the country: Frogman’s. Since this blog is allegedly a conduit for my art, and not solely devoted to writing and books, I thought I’d share a little bit of what I worked on while I was there.

WEEK 1

My first week’s workshop was Screenprint with Melissa Harshman. Melissa is a professor at the University of Georgia at Athens, one of the graduate schools I am interested in. I had never screened before, so I threw myself into it with gusto and tried to make as much as possible during the week. I wanted to make as many mistakes as possible while I had someone there to correct me. I’d call the effort a success.

Melissa was a great teacher, very attentive, and I really enjoy her work. She cemented my resolve to check out/apply to UGA when the time comes.

WEEK 2

My second week at Frogman’s was spent learning everything there is to know about collagraph from artist Tracy Otten, an old friend of my undergrad professor. She is a faculty-member at the University of Minnesota Morris and a cool chick in general. The amount of knowledge she had to share regarding different materials and processes for collagraph was nigh-endless. For the unfamiliar, a collagraph is basically a collage made of whatever which is then sealed, has ink rubbed into the surface and then wiped from the high points, and is printed onto wet paper under high pressure (to pull the ink onto the paper via capillary action).

In addition to classes, each day we had artist talks from two of the lecturers. In the evenings we often had activities like a gallery walk or an opening, sometimes less art-related fare like karaoke or bowling (with costumes). All in all a fabulous time at what amounts to art camp for adults. I learned a ton and am already planning what to take next summer! The collagraphs are currently flattening under some heavy books (had to roll them for the plane), and when they are ready I will trim them and the screenprints, along with doing some touch-up and adding hand-color.  I’ll leave you with a piece of work that is already finished.

Landscape in Flesh – K.L. Eden, Collage, 2012

The Write Stuff

“It’s strange to explain off camera what you have done in this or that scene. How redundant, like an artist explaining his painting. As much as I like watching movies I’ve been in, I can’t watch myself in interviews. People shouldn’t know how we do it.”

   – Ewan McGregor

Things have been a bit scattered for me lately. I finished reading a few books that I found utterly fine, but I haven’t reviewed them yet because I don’t have too much to say. Words pour forth on a novel I love or loathe, but reliving one that was serviceable at best just doesn’t light my fire. If you’re curious, the books were The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Let me know in the comments if you are really dying for a review of either and I will get it together.

On the fine arts front, I have opened an Etsy shop in hopes of selling some of my prints. I have a jar in which I have been saving dollars to buy my own press, and I’d like to put some more in that jar. Without a press it’s pretty tough to continue working in my preferred medium. Right now I am 3/4 of the way through a year-long collage project and I expect to finish (or at least start the assembly) this evening. If anyone would like to see pictures I can post them over the weekend.

There’s not too much in my Etsy shop so far but it’s here if you’d like to have a look.

Down to writing. My manuscript has been sitting basically untouched since I was sick, but I have been slashing huge sections and making substantial alterations in my mind. I think it’s time to commit them to pixels. I also owe my alpha reader/crit partner some feedback on a couple pieces fiction she sent over. What’s more, my subconscious is chug chug chugging along generating the story of what happens after the end of my (unedited) manuscript. So here’s the plan:

1. Finish my collage

2. Finish the critique and send it off

3. Spend next week hardcore editing my manuscript

4. Get the manuscript out to some fresh-eyed beta readers by the end of May

5. Use Camp NaNoWriMo to motivate myself to write the sequel

Today I overhauled my Grove playlist to get myself into the new vibe necessary for my edits, here are a few of the songs I added: