I’ve been thinking a lot about putting together a chapbook of my work. As expected with the internet, paper chapbooks are not quite as popular as they once were, so, why do one?

I’ve been thinking a lot about putting together a chapbook, a short anthology of poems/fiction/whatever that is usually up to 40 or so pages long though the number is not a hard number. Chapbooks, mainly poetry and constructed in various forms, have been around since roughly the 16th century. As expected with the internet, paper chapbooks are not quite as popular as they once were, tho’ like vinyl they are making a comeback, so, why do one?
The non-blog works of are, I suppose, chapbooks in their own right if you organise them into groupings which I’ve sorta done. But the online aesthetic isn’t what I’m shooting for as I recently joked to TEH I wanted to have a shelf of my printed work and printed chapbooks would be an excellent way to start to make that happen.
But how and where to publish them? (I’ll get more into the “what” later on.)
I’ve got a couple of options that are open to me: I can find a chapbook publisher and handle it through them or I can do it myself. With the chapbook publishing route, I can get the pieces professionally edited, the book designed, built-in distribution, and some basic publicity being handled. If I go down the route myself, I can either edit the work or hire an editor (thankfully, I know one and she is cheapish), do the design, distribution, and publicity myself.
After doing some research on chapbook publishers, I decided to go down the myself route. I’ve got basic ebook design and publishing down to a science now but I could always learn more and I like the DIY activity of it. In name, at least, I do have my own publishing house, so I can publish under that imprint. The distribution markets will be a tough nut to crack. I can sell them via etsy and check local bookstores and gift shops that could sell my work. Publicity, with prose at least, I’ll find reviewers, do social media, the whole nine yards.
But really, truly honesty between us pals? No one reads archives anymore and there is so much good in those words that not being seen by more eyes is a shame.
I’ve got two projects in mind for the chapbook route. The first is combining downpour on my soul and downpour revisited into a single work. Related pieces, downpour on my soul was published in 1996 and downpour revisited in 1997. The first one an online prose piece in response to dating on the internet in 1995 – 96. It was 47 pages handwritten and clocks in around 6000 words. It is an intense no holds barred look at my love life happening online and off. The piece was written in a manic phase that lasted two days. It was, for a very long time, one of the first pieces that received some minor notoriety. While no personal details are given, I have had men referenced in the piece threaten me with libel. (Obviously, none of it came to pass.) It’s also the piece most people seem to resonate with.
The second piece, downpour revisited, was written in 1997 as a follow-up / response to its predecessor. That one is as intense yet it’s formatted differently. As it was not written during a manic phase, the voice is less rushed, less obnoxious. It does, however, feel a bit forced at times but that could be I re-read the damn thing 90000 times in the last six months.
The second project is collating my pieces from Fucked Up College Kids, the ‘zine I wrote for in 1997 – 98. There are 12 pieces (located here — scroll down and on your right) where I rage, admonish, rant, and piss people off. I was 25 and did not know any better.  While the copyright has reverted back to me years ago, I’ve been in touch with the editor to see if I can use the name when I put that chapbook together. I haven’t heard from him yet.
From there I’d like to start writing chapbook only work and start releasing that as well. I’m pretty excited about this whole endeavour.
I’ll be offering all of my work. chapbooks and books, to download for free in pdf, .mobi, and .epub and you can also buy them as ebooks and print copies for reasonable costs. My reasoning here is I’d rather have more people read my work and be engaged rather than make a few bucks. (Because literally, that is all I would make and in the negatives after you add in the cost of work.)
But more on that later.

Happy Anniversary: Downpour on My Soul 17 Years Later

Dear Internet,
In April of 1996, I wrote downpour on my soul in feverish moments that physically lasted days but mentally felt like hours. I still remember my bedroom set-up, the empty bottles of diet Coke around me, and the towering ash trays. When completed, the piece spanned 47 hand written pages, single spaced. downpour on my soul is a stream of consciousness I put together about my internet relationships that had existed up to that point and the one that I was starting with a crazy South African boy named Andrew.
I was 23.
This was the first piece I had written specifically for the internet. This is what started my online confessions.
Nearly two decades later, I’m Facebook friends with Matt, Chad, and Andrew. I still talk to Mark pretty regularly. Summer of 2011, Miguel tracked me down (third time in last six years) and wanted to finally get married over 20 years after we had begun. The fact I was already married had never entered his mind. Bryan and I would meet  the summer of 1996, when Patrick and I road tripped to Toronto. Bryan and I would end up dating, and one night he would fuck me while I slept. The breadth of vocabulary for rape would not exist then, but I remember the  unease of being around him and the eventual breaking off. Bryan would continue maintaining up until 2000 or so I was the woman for him. He later married and had a family.
These are the now capsules of the lives of the men I loved.
In a lot of ways, not a lot has changed.
Through the many server, URL, and CMS moves over the years, most of my archives are no longer alive on my server space but all of them can be accessed via the Wayback Machine. While I’ve been working steadily for the last few months getting the old content back up, it’s slow process. I cannot remember the last time downpour on my soul was freely available online on any of my sites until now.
I left the piece in its original state – grammar, spelling, and other atrocities alike. While I had thought of moving some of this content into book form after the import was complete, for now everything in its chaos remains.
I love 23 year old Lisa.
I’m not saying that just because she was me, but because of her fearlessness, restlessness, strength, intensity, and tenacity. 23 year old Lisa would have done anything to carve out a better life for herself, or at least, carving out a life that made her happy. She was also crazy enough to try anything at least once but not crazy to the point that would have put her in harms way. When I’ve stumbled upon pieces written from that period, I marvel at her ability to land almost always land at her feet no matter what is thrown at her.
A lot of 23 year old Lisa has passed down through the years, even if it’s in milder forms. She would have been pleased as punch to know she went on to finish her bachelors and then two master degrees, get a well paying job, and have a decent life. Her anger at lack of creativity in our world would be tantamount in my current state of well being, but I already know that and that is something I am aiming to fix.
I am honored to have been 23 year old Lisa and the choices she has made that shaped her life. I hope you like her too.

This day in Lisa-Universe in:  1996

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: January 12, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
Dear Internet,

Freaks and GeeksFreaks and Geeks
I mainlined this show over the course of a day and a half. I fell in love so hard after the first episode, I did not want to savor the show; I wanted to devour it. The storytelling was skillful, it was subtle, and it was very much true. I found myself floating from falling in love with Daniel, then Nick, and finally knowing I had to be with Ken. Lindsay and Kim was very much me at that age, and it made my heart ache. Side note: I think if I had a modicum of understanding from my own parental units Lindsay had with hers, my life would have been widely different. Sam, Neal, and Bill all spoke to various bits of my geeky little heart, and I also saw them reflected in people I knew. High school is a cruel mistress, but the big gift F&G gave me was the ability to relive what I thought were years of hell, looking at it fondly and with genuine pleasure.
After my F&G high, I caught this weeks Big Bang Theory. My opinion on the matter can be found here. After the glory of F&G,  Big Bang Theory is like buying vegan leather pants. No matter how you try to dress it up, it’s still a cheap, poorly made, badly designed knockoff.


Chef's Special

Dear Internet,
It’s early Sunday evening and Downton Abbey is starting soon here on the eastcoast.  I’m still debating on whether or not I’m going to watch it live since I’ve already seen this season that is about to be shown in the US. I also know what happens at the Christmas episode too, and really, if you watch DA long enough, you begin to realise Julian Fellowes has a pattern and that pattern must be kept to. The English must keep to their schedules after all.
On Friday I called Dr. H to discuss the status of my drugs. We have phone appointments set for every Friday from now until my next appointment with him at the end of the month. Presumably the idea is I see him once a month, but phone every week, and see my therapist Dr. P every week. Dr. H. has decided to up my lithium to 900mg (300mg in the morning, 600mg at night). Apparently the average therapeutic dose is 1800mg. I’m to stay on Concerta at the current dose. I’m to continue to keep track of my feelings and moods and report back to him next week during our next phone appointment.
After we hung up, I proceeded to have a minor panic attack because I’m having an atypical side effect, extreme feeling of cold, and I don’t know what to do. As I had forgotten to mention this during our initial phone call, I opted to read Doctor Google about the side effects of Lithium which sent me into a tail spin of AMG I AM DYING.
Obviously, I’m not dead.
Or having cardiovascular collapse, which happens in very rare cases due to lithium toxicity. But the side effets listed on the page don’t mention it’s not a singular side effect but it’s a combination of all of those things that will put you into physical distress. I called Dr. H. back; he explained; I felt better. Problem solved.
But fuck Doctor Google.
I was overly productive in the last couple of days in writing, getting up a few short stories up to my Beta Readers and working on a few more. I plowed through my files looking for more snippets or starts I could expand on, so I could start working on those pieces. Instead, I ended up reading a lot of things I wrote a decade or two ago, and instead of finding myself depressed or lost for time gone, it ended up energizing me.
I was hesitant about visiting those pieces, sure that seeing that much raw power would depress me because the output of the years hasn’t been the same since that period. But I knew then, what I know now: That a few particular pieces were glorious and while some may come close to that power, and maybe one or two would surpass it, its rhythm and depth could never be exactly matched. It takes youth to have that kind of raw vitality, and while I’m still youthful (and vain enough to think I can produce more like that), there is something gorgeous about the pure consciousness of your early 20s.
Twenty three year old Lisa was wondrous in all of her faults, desperation, and earnestness. She was never afraid to rip back all the layers of pretention and love fiercely, love wholly, and live completely. The pureness of her energy, and of her innocence, is almost breathtaking to witness, even in written form.
I love her, and it really doesn’t get any more real than that.