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Good afternoon & Happy Halloween!
You know what that means, right? It means that tomorrow is my mother’s birthday, for one thing – Happy Birthday, Mom!* Also! It means that tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo!**
So the gist of National Novel Writing Month is that you write a whole novel in 30 days. It doesn’t have to be a poished novel (or even a particularly good novel),*** but a novel. You write every day, you meet your word counts, and you make your story hit the page.
Or, if you’re a poetry writer, you can show solidarity with your fiction-writing friends, by taking on the challenge as a 30/30 – thirty poems in 30 days.****
And guess what! 7 Hills Slam is getting on the bus this year! Every day in November, 7 Hills will post up a prompt on our Facebook page for your NaNo/30 needs. Will you join us? We’d love you to join us! Feel free to post up your stuff to your page and tag it with #NaNoWriMo and #7HillsSlam (#NaNoWorm-O?) so everyone can find each other in this muddle-y, Good Times, inky-ass writing thing ~.o
Here’s to November!
**Also known as That Month When I Realized I Left Half A Draft of a Long Fiction Piece Untouched For Six Months – oops – and try to get back into the swing of it (finish it? Oooo – the possibilities!)
***For reference –
****Yes, haiku count. Because everyone has a frustrated day (or seven) like that someplace in the month. Also, just like in the fiction-y NaNo, there’s no obligation for the writing to be good – just written – so no need to be shy with the page. There will be gems in there among the rocks; it’s 30 days of mixed bag, y’all.
We need to talk about Worcester FilmWars. 72 hours to make a short film, what? Wait – YES!
When I heard about Worcester Film Wars I got really excited – there’s always been a little part of me that wanted to do a fast and furious film festival entry. I’m the kind of person who likes to binge-do stuff – get the ducks sorted and then just, you know, plow though the project.* Stuff like the Choreofest that Carolyn Jepsen let us all peek into last month as she catalogued it in pictures, gets me weak in the knees. I love watching that kind of super fast collaborative thing, and I have loved the idea of being part of one even more. So when Grime announced that they were putting this together, I wanted in like whoa.**
Best thing about this filmy business? Working with people I love. Jenith Charpentier & I had worked on proof-of-concept film for Rabbit Heart all the way back in the beginning and it was a total treat, so I was absolutely stoked to work with her again on filmstuff. April Desmond & I have worked on a variety of projects from layout to raiding and enjoyed the process deeply – and, sister, her eye for the camera o! o! o! We rounded out our team with Will Dearest, who, you know, I like just a little bit,*** and April’s hubby, Ted, also wonderful, whom we didn’t even know would be available until a few days before – bonus! See what happened there? Four Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival judges and the producer – oh, hello, no doubt we’re making a poetryfilm.
What you’re looking at here are five Very Busy People – we started a Facebook message thread and then kinda forgot about things until the prop swap a week later, because, well, life. Teenagers, dogs, work, impending business trips, one impending wedding, groceries – alla that nosed in. Will had a doctor’s appointment on Friday morning to have some cardiac pictures taken and would be guaranteed loopy until at least noon, so we decided to start shooting on Friday at 2.
Jenith lent her poem, Alice’s Lament, already recorded and ready to go. She also brought some teenagers to the table, which was wonderful, as all the adults involved are all a little camera shy. At the last minute Our Man Cub walked in the door to round out our cast – whom we would have for roughly 2 hours.
Oh, PopUp Gallery , Worcester, you are so cool! You’ve hosted all kinds of seriously osm events, from art showings to dance exhibitions, to spoken word events. Which is to say, thank you WCC for making the space available to the city! GoGo #woopopup !
On August 7th, Bob Gill put together this really great reception for poets who were published in the last year, and I was super excited to hear about it* – Tony Brown, Victor Infante, Judith Ferrara, Joe Fusco Jr., Carol Mays, James Nicola, Catherine Reed, Christian Relfsteck, Susan Roney O’Brien, and Richard Fox** were on the roster. Audrey and I took a trip down on a perfect Sunday afternoon*** and enjoyed the celebration – we also got a chance to talk with Bob, and with Mark Thomas, half the organization behind the wonderful space in the old Printer’s Building.
*If not amused by the insistance to bring a chair ~.o
**Richard has been unwell of late – Gary Hoare stepped in to read his work and totally did him proud.
***The humidity didn’t hit until later that night \o/
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.
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?