Carousel #16

  1. Perfect for the holidays, here is Emily Dickinson’s recipe for gingerbread.
  2. Special thanks to my dear friend Caitlin for this find: Tori Amos talks about how poetry has inspired her and recites “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath. Very eloquent and moving interview.
  3. The lovely people at Foxing Quarterly are looking for submissions for their next issue. Deadline is the new year! Get to it!
  4. My sister has asked me time and again if I will ever get a tattoo for myself. The main issues is that I never really could decide on what I would get, but this serotonin tattoo is a distinct possibility. Maybe that’s something that will happen in 2013, who knows.
  5. This is refreshing (but also very miserable) to see: writer Jonathan Evison does a breakdown of the money he has earned throughout the years as a novelist. In the end, it is still very nice to see how he finally did catch a break, after all that time.
  6. And of course, this carousel wouldn’t be complete without end-of-the-year lists! Here is the Year in Reading series over at the Millions, which is being updated regularly.
  7. And, via BuzzFeed, here is a list of writers and the best books they read in 2012. Note: not necessarily books that were published this year, just good books that were memorable to them.
  8. Finally, the Atlantic compiles a list of the worst words of 2012.

Happened Before It’s Happening

We’ve already had our tree and house fully decorated since last week. Our Christmas shopping seems nearly finished. This year has happened before it’s happening. An internet god must have clawed his way out and deleted November from real life too somehow.

I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers and websites composing their “best of” lists already. I think I will wait a bit for that. I’ll probably do like I did last year and combine books with movies and music and other memorable things. We will see. To be honest, I may not have that many books to list simply because this year has been a much more fruitful year in regards to my writing instead.

Speaking of which, I received my contributor’s copy of Foxing Quarterly. You can now order a copy for yourself here. It features comics, photography, fiction, and poetry. It’s all in full color and it’s gorgeous. Well worth the price. You should also read Jim Rugg’s blog about the art in the issue, which includes some of the designs included and some unused logo ideas.

I also had a short story published in Literary Orphans. It’s dark and moody and features misfits who find each other. It’s also loosely inspired by science fiction books that are more soft with the science part. Mainly things that William Gibson would write. Also a club in Miami that I went to. The character Yukimi is named after the lead singer from the band Little Dragon. Of course, fictional Yukimi is nothing like her and I never got to meet the real one, just in case you were wondering.

Although I haven’t been reading many novels lately, I have been reading a lot of lit journals. I updated my reading section if you want to see what exactly I’ve been making my way through.

The Weather Sleeps and the Nights Stay Awake

This year has been both fast and quite strange. The weather is cooling down for once and being consistent with its pleasant breezes, which never happens during the “winter” holidays in Florida. Usually it is sweltering and uncomfortable and I’m unable to wear all the jackets I want to.

I started being brave. I sent out my writing to all different places. Now I can’t stop. I’ve written essays, articles, short stories, poetry. I got published both online and in print publications. I got paid sometimes for this, which was exciting. I’ve received contributor’s copies. I’ve made a lot of new writer friends that I wish I could meet in real life. Maybe someday. For now, it will have to be letters and emails and tweets.

My friend Kelsey has been putting together an online magazine that features interviews with all kinds of artists. She has been rolling out a lot of them lately. You can read it here. You should also read Thistle Magazine because it’s gorgeous.

Speaking of gorgeous magazines, here is the inaugural issue of Foxing Quarterly:

If you look closely, you might see something special. Hint: Notice the books.

The first issue features my poem, “Settling on a Freckled Shoulder.” There was even a release party at a bookstore in Austin, Texas to celebrate. Music, readings, food. I really wish I could have gone. But I will let you all know where you can get your hands on a copy once I get mine. The cover is by Jim Rugg.

I also put together another mix tape to go with this peaceful weather and I hope you like it:

The Week the Weather Slept from josephdante on 8tracks Radio.

Paper Storm

I’m not a hoarder. I like to keep my surroundings relatively spacious or skeletal, depending on how you see things. I’m even thinking about trading or giving away most of my books. The ones that I feel like I can part with, that is. I don’t need very much.

One thing I do tend to collect is paper. Stacks, towers. Folders and drawers bursting full. Filled with old stories that have been written on by other students, receipts and bank statements from years ago, postcards from my high school peers that I’ve lost contact with completely, notes from in between (or during) classes, letters from pen pals on the opposite side of the world, torn envelopes from my late cousin when he was in a correctional facility, cards from my various graduations and parties.

Mom hoards things for the holidays. One of my favorites is Halloween. When I was little, I won costume contests a lot because my mom would put my outfits together herself. She was clever, but I didn’t make it easy. I would always choose characters from video games that no one recognized, like Kung Lao and Geno. The rim of Lao’s hat was tin foil.

Usually my dad turns our garage into a haunted house and trick-or-treaters come and take a look. But this year, he is trying to throw a party. My mom finds this hilarious. I’m in charge of making a brew of pumpkin juice and cups of dirt (crumbled Oreo + pudding) with gummy worms. We’ll see how this all works out.

My mom is much more traditional than I am. She treats the holidays very seriously and she believes in them like a part of a heritage. Paper is becoming an old medium of expression. Paper is the oldest thing I cling to. It is ancient and even mythical, much like the stories behind these particular times of the year. Computers are convenient, and I do use them a lot, but I still like to have the stacks around. I don’t think I’ll ever be any other kind of hoarder.

One of my poems is going to be published in the first issue of Foxing Quarterly. This is my first poem ever that is going to be in a print publication. Excitement from everywhere, although another thing to collect and keep. I promise I will get rid of some books soon.

Thinking of old friends and all the chaos from the paper clutter, I made a mix called “Passing Notes.” It’s funny and sad and serious and not too serious all at once:

Passing Notes from josephdante on 8tracks Radio.