Give it a Name, Tell Your Children

I am a writer who often thinks of a phrase, a word, or an image, and I immediately put it on the list of, “That’s a good title for a poem, essay, song, photo collection.” I know what to call it before I write it, before I know what it is. I write poems to titles more often than not; sometimes it changes, but the title was there to start. And when I do write the poem first, it can take forever to come up with the right title. Just how I think.

(Potentially connected: My oldest girl had no name for 2 days. The second actually left the hospital and was a whole 4 days old before her name was chosen.)

I have some exciting things coming up this year, and as I wrote recently, I’ve had some particularly pernicious trouble thinking of the right title one of them. Poor nameless project, the really big one, the very personal, long-time-in-the-making project.

Well. After some accidental eavesdropping, reading other’s work, and the customarily startling flash of connected neurons, I’m pleased to say my troubles are finally over. I found it.

TellYourChildrenTeaser2

 

#WorkingTitle Coming Soon…

Early warning: Fun things are coming later this year that I can’t wait to share… as soon as I can name them!

I’ve had several bits of good news lately, and I’m so looking forward to telling everyone every little thing about them! (within reason of course…)

One in particular, The Big One, is an interdisciplinary project, a custom fusion of the poetry and film worlds I am constantly flitting around. I’m thrilled and scared and grateful and overfull with the extravagant what-ifs afforded to those about to embark on a new project. It’s also been in the works–in one way or another– for nearly ten years. So you can just imagine how excited I am to begin the “real work” of making it happen!

Funnily enough, though, alongside the long-seeded excitement is this bizarre inability to really talk concisely about this large project, for a very simple, but very limiting problem… I don’t know what to call it.

Names are important, fundamentally, and especially for artists swimming in this social media world. How will I brand this project, tie it to me, my collaborators, and to the audience community we want to reach? How will I blog, tweet, fund raise, advertise, and celebrate this Awesome Thing in the making? So many scribbled pairings and strings of words on pages right now. Something will surface, soon.

But for now, I just want you to know: Good things are coming!
#Poetry #Film #FilmInWa #IndieFilm #WorkingTitle #NeedAGreatHashtag

But I Play One on TV: “hi!” CHI Franciscan TV Spot

Here’s a fun little spot I shot last summer, in my latest streak of playing healthcare workers and doctors. Just a couple relaxed hours playing make-believe on-set with some familiar faces on crew, and a few more in front of the camera, now that I see the finished product. (I’d seen the bus ads and billboards for the same campaign, but hadn’t actually seen this “in the wild” yet, till someone mentioned yesterday she saw me on TV. Which is always fun.)
Enjoy… but don’t blink, or you really might miss it!

CHIF-VideoSnip

 

“Baby, It’s Dead Outside:” Duets on dead.fm

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
For a little nontraditional cheer, I sang you this silly parody of a holiday favorite!
(Click the image below to listen, and find me at 11:58)

NOTE: The song, while rampant with zombies, is totally clean and in-law/coworker friendly!
The rest of the podcast however, ought to be noted as “Not Safe for Work or Family Gatherings.” Just saying.

20141228-deadfmThis little ditty is a bang-up collaboration: Actor and crooner extraordinaire Matt Shimkus (yes, also my handsome husband) joined me on vocals with his dulcet tones, piano accompaniment by Ben Dobyns of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, and original lyrics by Jimmy McMichael of the Dead Gentlemen (he who pens the story to the Demon Hunters weekly webcomic, among other things).

Like I said, it’s a delightful little romantic tune on how to weather the impending holiday/zombie apocalypse. And there are tasty rhymes like…

(My sister will be suspicious) I don’t want to seem malicious
(My brother will be there at the door) But your family wasn’t ready for war
(My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious) And human flesh is nutritious
(But maybe just a cigarette more) For resurrected anthropovores

Plus there are all kinds of other thoroughly irreverent, holiday-inspired things, like “Do you want to be a Bro, Man?” and “The Night Before Christmas as told by the Purple Ninja.”

Give it a listen! Enjoy!

PhotoShoot w/Kat St John: The Worn Out Shoes

Once upon a time…

Collaboration in the arts is so inspiring and yields such unexpected fruit… Images and sounds and visceral reactions you would never have encountered on your own. Depending on your personality or sense of control, there’s also some small piece of anxiety, some loosening of your grip that has to happen. I’m so excited to share my latest experience with my favorite photographer, Kat St. John, a project that turned out to be all of these things… motivating, energizing, a little nerve wracking, and just… fun. So fun, and I’m so pleased with the outcome!

I’m pretty sure it started with a tutu. Or maybe a drawer full of pins I’ve been collecting for years. In either case, there were definitely Princesses. The 12 Dancing Princesses, actually. Kat was ready for another shoot, and I had one my favorite faery tales suddenly filling my head with images of twilight secrets, passages and cloaks, wandering strangers, midnight walks into glimmerlit gardens, and the shoes worn thin each night with secret revelry.

So we started a pinterest board and I got to assembling wardrobe options (many thanks to friends and family who loaned shoes for props, and especially to the fabulous Erin Weathers of Fair Weathers Clothing for her advice when I hit some roadblocks—one of these days I WILL be wearing her clothes…). The image collection was my first jolt that collaboration is… well, collaborative.

Pinterest-WornOutShoesI was focused on certain elements, like clothing and poses, and Kat began posting pictures with lighting effects, some makeup looks, locations and longshots…. Some I would never have pulled but which really complemented and enlivened my own images. It was the same concept, but through her lens.

I’m coming to love my shoot days with Kat so much… it’s kind of a roller coaster I just get on and put myself in her hands and we just fly through the day. But for this one… because I had been planning and thinking about this shoot for so long, it was honestly a little nerve wracking at first… we started with looks I hadn’t planned for! We didn’t pull out a wardrobe piece I’d been obsessing over, and we didn’t even talk about this one make-up look I’d posted at least 5 images of, and aaaahhh, where are we going with this!?!

But then I just… calmed the hell down, I guess. Kat got me dressed and through hair and makeup and we got into the shoot and she set up this beautiful lacy backdrop and whipped out a little photography trick of focusing through a little diamond cut into piece of wax paper and I relaxed and I realized, again—sometimes I’m slow—this was a collaborative project. One concept, but two imaginations angling and filtering it.

From the first shot she showed me, it was so clear she was absolutely heading in the same direction in terms of tone and story… it was just a very different path. I had been focused on the golden forest, and she brought the diamond woods.

And that’s when it got really exciting for me. I just threw out all my expectations. I had brought my ideas, I brought my fabrics and laces and spikes and fringe and chain, and not it was time to just let the actual creative act of creating and shooting the photos to take over.

After that unanticipated (by me) first look, I leaned into the story. We brought in something new at the last minute, a fur scarf I wore as a hood that brought a feral, wintery feel to the faery tale.

We spent an hour with this gorgeous headpiece by Boring Sidney (you’re welcome) and the afternoon light through this one little window in this one little room in Kat’s house. We got crazy with photoshop. (I’d been wanting a headpiece, and I knew it had to have something tough and hard, but something natural. I kept thinking driftwood or stones or… I don’t’ know. Then I walk in on shoot day, and Kat has this gorgeous, edgy, sparkly antler headpiece… it was exactly what I’d been trying and failing at envisioning.)

We took the rock and roll feel I’d been wanting into a mohawk and drove to a wooded park and chased the shifting sun at breakneck speed.

And seeing the finished images, they are just what I hoped for… a little strange and dark, full of shadows and light, graceful with a hardness, and with a faery tale lurking in there, ready to be drawn out.

 

So, this is a story of letting go, of handing over, and falling into something extraordinary.

I can’t wait for the next time.