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This is ridiculous. I have better machine juju than this. I am a fairly up-to-date, tech-savvy woman with a pretty good well of patience and the willingness to troubleshoot. I’m a child of the 70s who grew up with squealing, non-digital modems and those terrible Atari flat keyboards. I started learning back with BASIC on TRS80 stuff, and I have a solid decade or so under my belt of screwing around with external zip drives on some Macintosh business, and I can make an outdated version of Pagemaker stand up and sing. I have ProTools experience. I have been using a PC for over 15 years with a better-than-good success rate. I know how to use a soldering iron. I’m telling you, I have a looooong history with sussing out bugs and getting up to my elbows in workarounds and solutions. Also, I am priveledged to have Our Man Cub’s deep reserve of current computer know-how at my disposal. It SHOULD NOT BE SO DIFFICULT TO BURN A DAMNED DVD, Y’ALL.

Early on in the open submission period for Rabbit Heart 2014, I started to get these emails – submitters wanted to know what I recommended for burning a dvd that would work in the regular teevee-ready dvd player and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I had No Idea. Seriously, sister, I was clueless about the degree of difficulty involved. When I got these emails, I told the senders not to worry, and just send me an MP4 file, and that I’d take care of it from there. Probably the smartest thing I did through the whole festival, as it turns out. Midway through the judging, when swapping out dvds turned into a tedious process,* I turned all the videos into MP4s anyway and stuffed them on a thumb drive. And then I stopped thinking about it.

But the current project on my desk is making Rabbit Heart 2014 dvds. And I want them to be beautiful. I also don’t want to spend more money on software to make them than they will generate in dvd sales.

So I started with the software that comes with Windows 7. The design looks lovely, and I got really excited about it – I picked a front menu template that even has these sweet bunnies on it! It looks great! I can assure you that, but I can’t prove it, because it won’t burn. At 99% the dvd drive pops open and vomits up a blank disc.** The burner literally Can’t Even.

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Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival was huge, and beautiful, and there were no tech hiccups, and there were glamorous gowns and Tony wore a tux, and the venue was perfect, and people came in from New York and San Francisco, and omigod omigod omigod, I am over the moon. Bursting with gratitude to the filmmakers and the people who made it happen, and the people who came out to see it. Over. The. Moon. It was exquisite to watch these films again, and now on the big screen – I saw things that I had missed in previous viewings, I got chills, even. Because look! Look! Look at what happened! Look at what happens when poems and films collide!

This took years for me. It took something like two years worth of just thinking about it before something snapped in me last winter and I pushed my shoulder into it to make it real – just like that. I decided to say yes. Hello, we have a film festival. I am still astounded, and gleefully gobsmacked. No really – I don’t know how to put the words in order.

One of my favorite things about last night was that I got to sit with the filmmakers and the poets after the show was over. And it wasn’t just the finalists – people came in from all over to see the screenings. It was a bar full of people who live art.

At one point I found myself at a table with Josh and Chris, who had come in from New York, Carolyn, who just moved back from the Cape, Lauren, who had come down from NH, and my brother, and I realized, Hey – this is how it happens. Here I am at a table with filmmakers, poets, musicians, dancers, and book-binders. Here I am with the makers. And it is SO good. I was relaxed like I rarely get to feel, and right with the world.

This afternoon I am exhausted. Last night I came home late from the show and did about a zillion web updates before rolling into bed, then got up early to work on a grant app, and have been knee-deep in it all day – there’s still a LOT to do before Wednesday’s postmark – but I don’t feel gross. I feel good on so many levels. Tired, indeed, but honored to be in the work.

What’s say we do this again next year? Yes?
Yes.

It’s tonight. Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival is tonight.

I have the trophies packed up and I’ve signed the checks for the winners. The tickets have sold out, and we’re expecting a packed house. Dearest Will has my back. Our Man Cub has set me up/schooled me in the tech we need & promised to stay at my side through the show. Nick’s has the popcorn machine and the PA under control. Our beautiful ushers and photographers are ready to rock. We have a Plan.* I have a dress picked out and an hour or so to kill before I need to get into it. I took the guys out to breakfast this morning. The post-show web page updates are written as much as they can be pre-show, and the YouTube channel is ready to go live when we get home tonight. Mischief has been managed as well as can be, and tonight we’re going to have a couple hours of Good Times – watch some movies, hand out some prizes, revel in the company of good people. I am so full of gratitude, I am near to bursting.

It’s real, and it’s beautiful, and it’s ON, sister. It’s on.

 

*Is that better than a Way?

Good morning, Get Shit Done day! I’m low on coffee,* high in spirits, and Windows Movie Maker is rendering at the speed of tar.

I’ve done the dishes and set up some tee shirts to dye that I waxed last week and then forgot about. I’ve handled correspondence and cleaned out my email. Cleaned the desk (which is a Really Good Thing, considering the state it was in**). Found my prescription under the pile & renewed it. Started curating the show for Rabbit Heart  (hence the rendering stuff). Packed up goods for the mail, both for Apple Batiks products and for the film festival. Ok, GO.

This is kinda wonderful, being in this space today, and I’m stupid grateful for it. I spent the last week in a bit of a slump, dealing with pain management and some psychic turmoil that had me feeling caged. But yesterday the pain started to lift (Tuesday was shot day \o/), and I had the car during the day, and I started to feel like I was more in gear – that lasted until dinnertime, when I just wanted a finished meal to spring forth fully formed from my brow like another coming of Athena, and then gave up and made some ramen. And then this morning, I’m more like me again, equipped with a big can of FUCK YEH. I’m totally ok with that. I let a lot of stuff slide last week while I was uncomfortable, and it’s nice to see it get taken care of. Tonight I may even make some rice stuffed tomatoes and we can sit together and eat like a family.

And I’m blessing the timing on this – September has just begin, and that means I’m moving into crunch time. With the film festival right around the corner, there’s a bunch of bits and pieces that I need to take care of before October comes to knock and things get really real – the show curating is my biggest concern, and it feels good to be digging in after a solid month of being freaked out about all the how-tos associated with it. (What order should I show the films? Who’s going to run the computer? Can I make all the films in each category into one uninterrupted film? What software should I use? How do I use said software??) File under T for Things That Would Suck: having a full house (we’re sold out! OMG!), and not having something beautiful to present. Now that I’m in the thick of it, I’m less anxious, which makes the process easier, and I’ve started far enough ahead that I have time for The Process to work out if/when things get hinky. If I can manage this part, then all I have to do is get the trophies in order.

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ETA: TICKETS ARE NOW SOLD OUT! 

Movies have been made and submitted, judging has been completed, a delicious venue has been secured (Nick’s Bar & Restaurant – with the fancy fancy red curtains!) and the night of October 12th picked out – and now it’s that time. TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE for the very first Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival Viewing Party and Awards Ceremony. I’m pleased as punch to report that emceeing that night will be handled by my favorite duo, Tony Brown and Melissa Mitchell!

You can order your tickets from the Doublebunny Press store, right here.

I’m not dead! I was just resting, y’all.

No, that’s not even true (except for the not dead part) – I haven’t been resting. It’s been busy as all get out here since my last post in… omg, in May. Here’s the scoop: stuff is in motion. Here’s the work on the biggest stuff.

Rabbit Heart is off and running!

The 2014 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival is rolling along like a boss. We just finished up judging on Wednesday night – winners in four categories have been picked, two categories have been scrapped (the youth category because there were no youth entries,* and the under-one-minute category because there weren’t enough suitable entries), as well as the overall winner, and I am both grateful for the judges and satisfied by their outcome. We have a venue and a date – 8pm Sunday, October 12th at Nick’s Bar, right here in Worcester. We have a gorgeous ticket design (if I don’t say so myself), and we’re ready to rock.

There’s still a lot to be done before the date – ticket sales (and emailing out of town folks who donated and are promised tickets ♥ ♥), curating of the show, setting up the programs, posters and tee-shirts, getting in touch with the finalists, making runner-up prizes, staffing the event, press releases, and of course, securing the popcorn possibilities – but I am deeply stoked to be digging in on it. I am downright thrilled to tell you that tickets should be on sale in the next couple weeks. WooT!

How grateful am I? I am so freaking grateful. This is a project that two years ago I was just dreaming about bringing to fruition. I was armchairing the hell out of it, and only vaguely entertaining the idea that I could get it into action. I was convinced that in order to get this event off the ground, I would have to get someone else to do it. And now here I am on the verge of it actually happening, and it’s because I got my butt in the game.

Something snapped in January. I just felt like I couldn’t wait anymore for a Right Moment or someone else to decide that they wanted to produce this event. And so I stuck my toe in. And check it out – I hooked a fish! Now it’s time to reel that baby in. The next couple of months are going to be filled with more work, and I tell you what, sister – I’m totally looking forward to it =) Read the rest of this entry »

If an eavesdropping stranger told you that the project that you are working on full-time and hardcore right now, the project that’s your baby, the project that you’re longing to see come to fruition, that is your reason for getting out of bed in the morning to work on, is doomed to failure, would it take the wind out of your sails?

Or if someone you trust told you that you weren’t clear enough about what you wanted for the project, and maybe people just don’t get it, so that’s why they’re not taking part.  Or if you realize that your current reach is that of a t-rex, and you, clearly an otherwise impressive beast, are waving your tiny little arms in the air, and no one is really seeing you, because, you know, tiny little arms. Or no one is looking, because, you know, dinosaur.

Would it slay you?

Here’s the truth: I’m not stopping.

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Hello, I am returned – Ta-DA!

Last week was amazing. I spent five days in the Berkshires, taking a collage and yoga workshop with amazing women and an amazing teacher, learning and playing, cutting and piecing, and having a bit of a reunion.

It wasn’t just a reunion with other people, tho’ that part was pretty great, too – some of us have been taking the Vibrant Visionary Collage Workshop for years now, and it is a delight to reconnect and catch up. My mom & I attend together every year, and with her living in FL and me in MA, it’s a really good come-together for the two of us as well.

But the big reunion, really, was with myself.

There’s just so freaking much on my plate at home, it’s not even funny. There’s the film festival , there’s the household stuff,* there’s the art rep,** there’s the businesses,, there’s getting ready for the workshop I’m teaching at the end of the month, not to mention all the messy crap that goes along with the health insurance change that we just made.*** And did I mention that Our Man Cub broke his poor nose last week at the Memphis May Fire show?†

To say the gas was low in my tank is an understatement. And retreat couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Good morning, Brave Monday, I’m all wound up.

What I really want to say is: I dreamed last night that I was making Thanksgiving dinner and had forgotten to go grocery shopping, and that there was a baby scrambling around (that might have been a kitten?), and I was at the top of some stairs that I couldn’t get down from. And that dreams are super weird, but anyone can see that there’s some interpretation to be gleaned from that there pre-wakeup business.

What I really want to say is: this is about courage.

I put it out into the world. Yes, I did.

So you know about the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, yes? This is an effort in bravery, and I’m not afraid to say so!* I got up off the sofa at the end of January with my good idea tucked under my arm, and pushed it into action. Holy crap, it’s in action!

Since then I’ve been figuring things out – like making pretty web pages, getting logistics in order, shouting out news, learning to write a press release, chatting up people I don’t know, and sniffing around cool venues for the scent of amazing things in potentia.**

And now I’m asking for help – which, in case you were wondering, is terrifying. This morning I set up a Go Fund Me page  in order to make submissions to the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival free, and now I’m buzzing all over and feeling weird and excited, and hopeful, and and and…

Look – here’s the scoop:
Right now the plan for this festival is to use money that I have been carefully socking away since the beginning of the year as prize money. And I was planning to use that and money from submissions to cover the cost of throwing the awards ceremony event, right? But the more I think about it, the more I think about how often money can be the one thing that keeps me personally from submitting my work. Money for poems in the mail or money for groceries, right?*** The groceries usually win out. And I thought about how people who make a lot of art don’t have a whole lot of disposable income†. Conclusion: I want to make submissions free.

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Remember that time when you wanted to do a Big Something, but you were scared shitless, and so you didn’t do it? And then for a really long time after, you sat around and said things like, “Man, I wish there were more poetry videos that weren’t just performance selfies. You could do so much more with the medium,” or, “Someone really should run a poetry film festival in this town. I bet some really amazing work could come out of that.” And your friends hung out with you while you said stuff like that, and they nodded their heads, knowing that, in spite of your idea being a really cool Big Something, you’d never actually get off your ass and make it happen, because you were afraid. Remember that?

Oh, yeh – that was me.

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