I am guilty of a multitude of grocery store sins: I buy stuff I already have in the house because I forget I have it (hence the three cans of coconut milk in the cabinet). I buy stuff I already have in the house because I don’t want to run out if I decided to make it again (see: cilantro, mint, shallots, limes). I get overambitious in the produce department about our family’s ability to consume greens before they expire. I buy items I have no idea about just because they have pretty packages (your mileage may vary). So, with budget in mind, I try really hard now to make a grocery list and keep to it.
And then there was the last run. We were pretty much out of everything*** and the list got complicated. Lawdamercy, I mixed up two recipes when I did the grocery list last weekend, and wound up picking up stuff for parts of both of them,* tho’ not all the components for either one.
BUT! I wound up with something delicious.
Chinese Napa Cabbage Stir-fry With Pork – serves 3-4
(adapted from two recipes from thewoksoflife.com/)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 small boneless pork chops thinly sliced, sprinkled with kosher salt
5 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in half
5 dried red chilies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 large napa cabbage, mostly the white parts, cut on an angle
2 teaspoons mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise
Mercy! Has it really been 17 days since Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival wrapped? It feels like it was just this last weekend, and I am still absolutely flying from it. We had a spectacular weekend celebrating poetry on film – you can see all the good stuff here (pictures) and here (the finalists) and here (all the films), if you weren’t able to make it, or if you want to relive it (highly recommended! Omg, so much good work!)
I feel like I came out of this year better than I went into it – it’s been a slammin’ year, y’all.* And I was about a week behind the whole time. And I got super ambitious halfway through when I realized we had a glut of Very Good Submissions, so I decided we needed a second day of showings, but hadn’t really thought about the work that entailed (oops). So what I’m saying is that, whoa – I’m kinda proud of myself for getting it together on time.
But more than that, I’m still awash in all the feels about the the festival itself. In a nutshell, even with a couple of late-presenting snafus, it went off beautifully, and I was thrilled with the shows. But more than that, I was thrilled with the connections that happened.
Friends came from across state and out of state. There were lots of hugs, and people got to reunite and to meet each other – some of them who had learned about each other just online. Makers met makers and talked about the things that makers talk about when you get them together. It was more than I could have hoped for.**
Looking down the barrel of the afterparty,*** I very much expected that when everything was put to bed this year, I would be exhausted. But instead I put it down feeling invigorated, inspired, and excited.
One of the things I do at festival is catch as much footage as I can of people talking about the festival. Mostly it’s because I love a souvenir (and also, it’s for grant apps), and there’s nothing nicer than a moving snapshot, hello. But also, it’s because I am a curious creature who’s generally engaged in some research, and primary sources are the best thing in the world for research purposes. So I asked questions – I asked about process, and about favorites, and about what it’s like to be a judge or a filmmaker, or an audience member. I asked What made you do this? I asked How does it feel on this side of the curtain? I asked What do you think about the short film format? I asked How did you pick your collaborators? And it turns out that I know some super smart people who have super smart answers, and I was bowled over, and humbled, and overjoyed to hear the answers.
September has come and hit me full in the face, and I sincerely cannot believe the shit I’ve gotten myself into. Where do I even start?
Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival is rolling along smoothly, at least. We’re coming up on the last little bit of judging this week, and then it’s on to let the finalists know that their films are moving on. Which is probably the most exciting part of this, outside of the actual festival dates – really, is there anything finer than handing out good news?
In the meanwhile, there are the details: tickets go on sale tomorrow, there’s a final judging party on Tuesday, the shows need to be curated and the program printed, posters need to be made, the trophies need to be constructed… And Sunday Rabbit Heart is the spotlight feature at the 7Hills Poetry reading with Angelique Palmer, so today and tomorrow are going to be a story of mad scrambling to put gear together. Next year we hire an intern, hello. #somanydetails
Thing I do best in the whole world:
I can sweat with the best of ’em. Without even trying, I sweat like a badass. I get uncomfortably warm when the temp noses above 65, and all bets are off. I found myself in the airconditioned haven of Target the other day, fanning myself for relief and looking longingly into the freezer tubs, thinking, I wonder if they’d throw me out if I hopped in and rolled around in the beef? (I did not hop in.)
So why in all the holy hells did we just buy a treadmill?
One word, friends, one word: Research.
Yes, research. I do this, right? I want to know more about something, so I jump in whole hog and make a concerted effort to get to the bottom of things and understand them. And what I want to know right now is what it feels like to be a person who enjoys exercise.
I’ve never been sporty. Ever. I played field hockey for a semester in the eighth grade because everyone had to play a sport to pass the year, and I hated it. I hated the softball team I was forced to join in the fourth grade. I hated swim club (exercise with the added attraction of the potential to accidentally drown? Exercise while intermittently holding your breath? Are you kidding me?) I’m uncoordinated as fuck, and even my yoga practice (which isn’t really exercise so much as rolling around on the floor for 20 minutes) hasn’t done much to make it better.* I remember getting winded riding my bike as a kid. I even remember Kathy Arsenault in the seventh grade, talking about how she loved her morning run and the muscle definition it gave her, and squinting at her, thinking, Man that sounds terrible. I tried running a couple years ago and I cried through the whole thing.** So what the hell is going on now?
Let’s talk for a minute about the contraband that lives in the head. Specifically, writing contraband. You know, the stuff that you think about while you’re writing for a project that has nothing to do with the stuff currently at the top of your to-write pile.
The majority of my contraband is fanfic. I just discovered this summer that fanfic exists, and I’m kind of enthralled.
No – I’m not joking! I spent the last 150 or so pages of finishing my novel while actively shoving down some cross-fandom mashup stuff that I will either get around to strong-arming into a non-fanfic thing, or will eventually just let go into the aether as a nice idea that I absolutely have no clue how to execute. And in the meanwhile I’ll amuse myself in between my own chapters by perusing the web for fanfic.
Fanfic I’d like to read:
– Supernatural-Hellblazer mashup sans porn.*
– Brakebills-Hogwarts, the post-graduate years mashup.**
– Something to do with Cylons and the clones of Orphan Black.***
– Orphan Black-Supernatural mashup – if only to ship Cosima and Charlie Bradbury, because besties, amirite?
This is what research looks like for me:
Obsessive hunting down of information (which could take anywhere from hours to months), coupled with a bookmarks list in my Chrome account the length of my arm, coupled with a browser history that brings me the occasional deep and burning shame. And, frequently, an expression plastered on my face that’s somewher between “Oh! Oh, I Had No Idea…” and “What In the Actual Fuck?”
Consequently, my husband & I have an agreement that whoever goes first, the other one will erase their browser history and burn their journals, preferably before family arrives, optimally, before the medical examiner’s big grey van pulls up to the curb.
Because I am a curious fish, and I will Google, really, anything.
I mean, it’s one thing when I want to know about commencement speeches. It’s only mildly embarrassing to admit that sometime in the end of June I will inevitably find myself cleaning closets while sobbing as someone’s YouTube playlist runs on my laptop for three or four hours.*
It’s entirely another thing to not know, and then seach to find out what the terms “Destiel” and “Wincest” mean. And surely “knot” is just some Aussie slang for the common human penis? (Spoiler: nope. And you can thank me now that I’ve done the research so you don’t have to, because iw.)** For the record, I know now that the descriptor “slash” is not entirely synonymous with “fanfiction.”
Read the rest of this entry »
So I opened up submissions to Rabbit Heart last night,* and check it out – first thing in the morning, there was already a submission! From across the Atlantic, even! How cool is that??
I am deeply excited about the festival this year – I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more international entries than last year, and I’m stoked to see what comes across my desk. I had no idea (no idea!) that poetry films (or videopoems, as I’m hearing them called more often) were such a big deal – apparently in Europe, they’re a really big deal, with 15 or 20 festivals going on through the year.** I jumped into this because I just got tired of not seeing people do anything with poetry aside from performance videos. Who knew?! Well, the Europeans, clearly.
All this to say, submissions are open for the Rabbit Heart 2015 Poetry Film Festival, and please feel free to send in your (non-performance, under 4 minutes) poetry film. ::MWAH!::
*It officially opened up today, but by 10:30, it was clear that there was no way I was going to make it ’til midnight last night. Omg, sleep.
**Aside from Rabbit Heart, I’ve only found one in the US, and their website is down, so I’m not sure if they’re around or not anymore. I really hope they’re still around.
Hello, it’s still cold here. Apparently, as of this printing, Worcester, MA is one of the snowiest cities in the US because of this winter,* with somewhere in the area of nine feet of snow on the ground (and more expected tonight – whee). It’s a bit disconcerting that the piles to either side of our driveway are taller than me.** Pulling out into the street requires some faith in other drivers and a keen respect for taking things slow.
Also, I have a new red cast iron, enameled dutch oven. Put these two things together and it’s time to stay in and make soup. Last night I made a fish chowder that was Damn Fine, and I’m here to share it with you.
This baby started with a recipe from Martha and then got manhandled just a little bit. If you look at the original recipe, you’ll notice that while thyme is not listed in the ingredients, it is mentioned in the instructions;*** I improvised. Also, I added shrimp because I like a more stew-like soup, and I pumped the garlic and the bay leaves a dab.
Fish Chowder – serves 4 handily
2 tablespoons butter
6 scallions, chopped thin-ish
2 stalks celery, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
16 oz clam juice
3 medium pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped medium
2 bay leaves
1 pound cod pieces
1/2 pound uncooked shrimp
1 cup whole milk
Kosher salt and ground pepper