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Updates! I’m Still Alive (and that’s about the end of the good news! jk lol)

27 Feb

Hello friends.

It’s been a while since I’ve written – mostly because I didn’t have much to write about and then also because in January I got hit by a car.


So this year is off to a hell of a start.

I was crossing the street a block from my house, with the walk and the driver made a left hand turn, claimed they had foggy windows and didn’t see me. Oddly enough I didn’t see them either because in my memory, I was looking at the walk signal and thinking about the fact that I was having tater tots with dinner and then next thing I know I’m on the sidewalk, wondering why my clothes were so wet (spoiler it was raining!) and very very confused and in much pain. It wasn’t until the ambulance that I realized I had been hit by a car. I thought it was an earthquake. I couldn’t come up with a better reason that I had been knocked to the ground. Listen, my brain goes to weird places.

I think we should back up a second because I want to make sure that everyone realizes that had this accident been more serious and I…I don’t know….DIED my last thoughts would have been about TATER TOTS and that is literally the most ON BRAND Ally story ever which sadly no one would have known about what with me being dead and all.

But huzzah, I’m not dead. I do have a broken collar bone and some nerve damage. The collar bone is a month into the three months it takes to heal and I’m starting physical therapy soon. The nerve damage will take longer and fingers crossed will heal but I was warned it could be permanent. So throw some good juju into the universe for your girl, will ya?

That said, not a day has passed where I haven’t realized it could have all been much much worse and I’m so thankful it was not.

Since I have no filter, I will say my mental health is sort of in the trash can. Crossing streets has gotten way more interesting what with all the paranoia about cars and such. That said, turns out the neighborhood of Brooklyn that I live in has 400 more vehicle accidents than any other borough in Brooklyn so maybe it’s not just paranoia.

But I am on the mend and looking forward to putting this whole thing behind me.

Check out that empty sleeve (I’m wearing a sling to keep my arm still so my clavicle can heal)

IMG_0869 (2)

In other exciting good news, my most recent WIP – the one I half NaNoWriMo’d – went back to my agent and she loved it!! So that means soon I’ll be going on submission again, making my I’m On Submission Face.

This one:


I do love this little ghost story that I wrote and because I’m cheesy I made an aesthetic so you can get a feeling of what I’m doing.


(And yes if you’re feeling the Nick Cave inspiration you are RIGHT!)

The really exciting thing is that if this book sells and someone asks me what kinds of books I write, I can say “Books to terrify your children!”



Peace, love and starbursts,


To NaNo or not to NaNo

22 Dec



Isn’t that the question?

Unless, of course, your question is “what the hell is a NaNo?”

NaNoWriMo, as it’s awkwardly and affectionately called, stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is billed as a competition – something you either win or lose – to push people to write a 50K word novel in 30 days.

It’s ridiculous, frankly. And it’s something that, considering my writing schedule, I have always disregarded, even, looked down upon. After all, I get up at 4:45 in the morning, 5 times a week (okay, fine, lately it’s been more like 4 but I’m OLD as sin so leave me alone). I write regularly. I don’t write because there’s some random competition about word count.


I’m a SLOW writer. I worked for years on Palimpsest before it went out on query. But that’s okay, I tell myself. Anything good takes time, right?


I do believe that writing is an art that must be practiced. I don’t believe that you can sit down in one month and write a book that will be worth a damn. I believe that writing is a daily act, that writing is rewriting and that you need time to do that.

But…I also feel like I write TOO slow. That a book that should only take 1-2 years takes me 3-4. Sometimes more. Not that there is anything wrong with this. But it is frustrating. I had been working on this Ghost Book for a few months and lately, it seemed, I was just re-writing the beginning over and over again. I wasn’t moving the story forward. I was, in all honesty, stuck.

So this year, I NaNo-ed.

I signed up for an account and on the morning of November 1st, the first day of the competition I did exactly what you weren’t supposed to do.

I cheated.

I entered my word count when I finished writing that morning at 20,352 words because that was the point I was at in the Ghost Book draft. In order to complete 50K words in 30 days, according to NaNo, you need to write 1667 words a day. And not just week days.  Every day.

So I was feeling pretty good about my 18K word lead.

And that good feeling lasted for awhile. Each morning I was hitting 2K words or so. This is about as fast as Ally goes, by the way. After that my brain melts inside my skull and runs out my nose.

For about two week, my word count was way above where it needed to be and when I entered in my numbers at the end of the morning, I was feeling great.

Then, things changed. I missed a morning (not to mention weekends) and the space between my word count and the necessary word count started to diminish. I watched my chart on their website with anxiety. (Yes they literally make you a graph. It’s too much.)

Like I didn’t have enough to be anxious about in life, now stupid NaNo was making me feel lousy. Had I turned this thing that I normally loved to do, this art making of mine, into something debased?


Was I advancing my story? Definitely.

Were the words great? Some. But the rest were fixable. See, it’s in the editing and rewriting that I find my voice. But if I don’t have the words on the page, well, there’s nothing to fix. Nothing to work with. It’s like trying to bake with no ingredients.

By the end (technically before but now I’m just being petty) I had 55, 250 words. The NaNO site gave me a little trophy next to my graph.

I’m not gonna lie, I felt like I deserved it.

In the end, it was an interesting experiment. I don’t know if I would do it again. On the one hand it pushed me through that middle ground where I had half a book and couldn’t envision where to go from there. On the other hand, when my word count started to dip, I felt lousy. I don’t want writing to make me feel lousy (at least not more than the usual run of the mill every day lousy it makes me feel.)

I will say this: I’m competitive, especially with myself. So having a bar to hit every day was a genuine motivator. I know some other writers that have systems similar to NaNo where they give themselves marks (or stars) on a calendar for every 1K words. They track their progress. That might be a good path for me going forward.

I don’t know when I would have finished this first draft of Ghost Book if I didn’t do NaNo. Mabye 4 months. Maybe more. What I do know is that getting up to write every morning is HARD. Writing is hard. If something like NaNo helps you get your work done, why not try it?

Just don’t take it too seriously.

And finally, as we wind down 2018 (this was a long one wasn’t it?) and we take stock of what we accomplished and what we didn’t I think it’s important to remember, especially as a creator, that only part of this process is in our hands. So if you didn’t get the agent this year, or sell your first book, or whatever, that’s okay.

All that matter is that you did the work.



So here’s to 2019. Another year. Another chance to do it.


Let’s go exploring.

Peace, love and starbursts,


My Kind of Town

31 Oct


Hello friends.

I’m 100% trying to be better about keeping this up to date. Now that my revisions have gone back to my agent and I’ve started a new book (more on that later) this all seems like it might be possible. I’m probably setting myself up for failure, but hey….

So this month we went to Chicago! And let me tell you, I love this town. This is my third trip to Chicago but it feels like the first time I got to actually see and understand this city. The first time I was in college and I sold off all my cds to get gas and hotel money. We were only there a weekend and I never got off the Miserable …ahem, Magnificent Mile which is like being stuck in Herald Square forever. *shudders*

The second time we were traveling the country and it was another short trip with similar results. But this time I finally got it right.

It’s a really beautiful city.


This was a very far walk.


Of course we made it up to Wrigley Field


and out to Andersonville to got to this incredible feminist bookstore, Women and Children First.



We at cheezborgers at the Billy Goat Tavern (three times, DON’T YOU JUDGE ME).


Yes you know them from this Saturday Night Live skit

Speaking of we were at the Billy Goat Tavern when Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who murdered Laquan MacDonald was found guilty. They had it up on the television and when the verdict was announced it was incredible. They read each “guilt” by bullet so he had to sit there and listen to all sixteen bullets. It was like a poem, it was so intense. I was so happy the people of Chicago got some justice.

When we first got there we hit up Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate or as Chicagoians affectionately call it, The Bean.


This park is full of lots of cool things like fountains that spit on you.


And obviously we went to the Art Institute – home of NightHawks by Edward Hopper. It was the piece of art my husband was most looking forward to seeing. On the way he joked about it being lent out so naturally……it was.

We were standing in the ticket line and there was the sign saying it was in Shanghai for an exhibit. The poor boy just started laughing but trust me the whole thing felt VERY familiar.

Not that we didn’t see great art:






Amy Sherald (yes she painted Michelle Obama’s portrait)




van Gogh


van Gogh


van Gogh





And we went to INTUIT – The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and it was incredible.

This is Lee Goodie – she lived on the streets of Chicago and made these paintings


And this is Aldo Piacenza – he made to scale models of famous chapels. They’re BIRDHOUSES!


But the center piece to INTUIT is Henry Darger. Henry Darger is probably one of the best known outsider artist. He lived here:


and in this space he created In the Realms of the Unreal –  approximately 15, 145 page work that was bound in 15 densely typed volumes, many of which contained hundreds of scroll-size paintings.


And the subject of the Realms of the Unreal is even better. From wikipedia:

The largest part of the book, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, follows the adventures of the daughters of Robert Vivian, seven princesses of the Christiannation of Abbieannia who assist a daring rebellion against the child slavery imposed by John Manley and the Glandelinians. Children take up arms in their own defense and are often slain in battle or viciously tortured by the Glandelinian overlords. The elaborate mythology includes the setting of a large planet, around which Earth orbits as a moon (where most people are Christian and mostly Catholic), and a species called the “Blengigomeneans” (or Blengins for short), gigantic winged beings with curved horns who occasionally take human or part-human form, even disguising themselves as children. They are usually benevolent, but some Blengins are extremely suspicious of all humans, due to Glandelinian atrocities.

And the INTUIT museum recreated his living/artist space:



It’s strange. You got to a place like INTUIT and you see these amazing works of art and then you go to the Art Institute and you see equally amazing works of art. It’s strange, the gatekeepers of culture, how they decide who lives on the street making art and who is hung in the most hallowed of halls, decreed with genius. Is Lee Goodie’s work any less affecting than deKooning? Is Darger’s?

We also found the Biograph where Joe Dillinger was caught by the FBI


and murdered in the alleyway behind


We also went to Oz Park, a tribute to Frank L. Baum and his creations. The city put up these amazing statues. They were adorable. Look how cute the lion is!


I scored some new buttons


and a tee! (yes I’ll be wearing it to the premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody do you even have to ask me that?)


Also our walk to our hotel most nights lead us past this horrible building so naturally I paid my respects



We stopped at the Green Mill, an old Al Capone haunt, for some drinks and stumbled into a free comedy show which was lovely.


Not sure if you can see it, but seated in the last booth to the right are two dope queens (yes I said it) who together form the rap group Glitter Moneyyy who were amazing. They’re streaming on all the things so please, do yourself a favor and download.


Oh! And before I forget yes, we found the Haymarket Riot memorial (if you don’t know about the Haymarket Riot you need to do some reading about this damn country).



And because I couldn’t resist, we found Championship Vinyl…because JOHN CUSAK



It was a really fantastic trip even though our flight home was cancelled and we were stuck in O’Hare for far too many hours and then entire flight home was a turbulent nightmare that had me swearing I was never going to fly again and we landed very late at LaGuardia of all places.

So since then, I’ve been back to writing. Palimpsest, as I said before, was re-written for middle grade and my agent has that now. I still need to work on the all girl pickpocket heist book – mainly on world-building – but I set that aside to write a new middle grade ghost book with a scary Preacher Man. Must be all the Nick Cave I have been listening to.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at. I’m making things. MAKING ALL THE THINGS!

And in even better news, today is Halloween. Happy Allyween, my witches.


Peace, love and starbursts,


I’m still alive!

11 Aug

Hello friends.

It has been a VERY long time since I posted here and many things have happened. Some good, some great, some heartbreaking.

So let’s start with Italy! We spent two weeks and saw Rome, Livorno, Bologna (where I ate the best tortellini of my life) and Venice.


We picked Livorno because it was the home of Modigliani. They have a museum in his childhood home but sadly we planned poorly and while we were there it was closed.


Livorno itself was very pretty and we ate at a fascinating restaurant where the waiter was literally the menu based upon what he bought at the market that morning and at the end we paid for a our wine based on how empty the bottle was. They weighed it.


Bologna as you can see was also gorgeous and I wish I had more time there. Best tortellini. It was so good I would go back just for that.



And then there was Venice. Beautiful, lovely, Venice. That, as my friend Dan calls it, “sinking jewel box of a city”


We stayed in Dosoduro and we saw so much art. Titans, Tintorettos all of it breathtaking.  The Peggy Guggenheim is not to be missed should you find yourself wondering the canals.


It was truly one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. My friend Dan, who has spent a lot of time there suggested that I do a number of things one of which was to buy a blank notebook on the Rialto Bridge, so I did.



And when I returned I used it to plot out my next book. Which is what I was supposed to be writing this summer. I was supposed to be writing my kick ass #MeToo inspired book about an all girl gang of pickpockets in space.

Instead, I am revising Palimpsest.

Yes, again.

So let’s get into that shall we? As of this past June I had been on submission for 8 months. We had gotten a number of good rejections. Yes this is a thing. There are good rejection in publishing. It meant that editors were seeing the potential even if they weren’t going to take the book on. Within a few months there was a theme in these rejections. Many editors started saying they really liked the book but that they didn’t think it was young adult.

They thought it was middle grade.

Readership for young adult is typically 13 and up. Middle grade is 8-12 years old. So for instance the first two Harry Potters are middle grade while the rest are young adult.

So my wonderful agent said, “What do you think?” and I scoffed. It wasn’t middle grade, I thought. So I opted to wait.

Then my book went to acquisitions. This is a big deal. A book going to acquisitions means an editor read it, loved it and was not going to talk to her fellow editors and marketing and they were all going to agree that it was going to make a million dollars and they would publish it. This is the final stage. This is the last hurdle.

This is also where it got rejected again and I ugly cried on the subway home, frantically DMing fellow writer friends so they could tell me stories about how these terrible things happened to them and they survived it.

They came through:

So the rejections kept coming in. More said it was middle grade. So last month after a long talk with my agent, I decided to revise this book to make it upper middle grade.

And friend, let me tell you, this is a HUGE undertaking. The beginning of the book still worked and many of the chess games still worked but everything else needed to change. This was more than just cutting out the sexy bits, lowering my MC’s age, and cutting 25K words. Middle grade also has a very distinct narrative voice to it. I needed to find that. I buried myself in middle grade, picking up old favorites like Wrinkle in Time and new books like Ben Gutterson’s charming WinterHouse and the breathtakingly beautiful Counting By 7s. I also cracked open Harry Potter because, to my never ending delight, my eight year old niece just started reading them. It is NO EXAGGERATION to say that I have been waiting since the day she was born for this to happen. It was a long eight years to wait.

(Side story – I was visiting her the other week and we were talking all things Potter and I asked her which house she would be sorted into and she paused, thought about it and said Gryffindor and I smiled because I thought to myself, oh no, honey you are the most Hufflepuff that ever huffled. Needless to say, she was sorted on Pottermore and yes she is a Hufflepuff god bless her heart. And if anyone is interested, yes I have always been and will always be Ravenclaw.)

And so this is where we are at with book news. My pickpocket book is tabled for now and I’m working through this revision. I have to say, even though it’s hard (and believe me, it is HARD) it feels right.

After all, the very first book I ever wrote was middle grade. It’s the books that mattered the most to me growing up. It’s the books that made me fall in love with storytelling. It’s the books that made me want to be a writer.

And my last bit of news is that my yearly MRI came back just fine. This girl is all good to go for another six months.

We celebrated like we always do – with root beer floats


There’s probably more but I’m not remembering right now. Anyway keep me in your prayers for this revision. So help me god, I’m going to fix this book.

Peace, love and starbursts,


David Bowie Is

12 Mar


This weekend, I went to with some very dear friends to go see David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum. To say that I had my mind blown and then reformed and then blown again and then reformed again would be an understatement.

Firstly before we get into the finer details can we take a moment to appreciate the Bowie doll my friend made?




I mean gosh.

Before we get into the exhibit I feel the need to mention what Bowie means to me. In the darkest time of my life, Bowie was the only music I could still listen to. After diagnosis everything was severed, except for him. The starman managed to traverse that chasm and I am forever grateful for it. I needed a starman to help me stitch back together the ruins that this diagnosis made of my life. I needed his voice to distract me from my premature death. I needed a starman, a hero.

In a very real way David Bowie saved my life.

So with all of that in mind, you must know this was a big day for me.


Going forward, these pictures are not mine. You weren’t allowed to take photos in the exhibit so everything coming up is from articles or the Brooklyn Museum site.

The first thing you see going in is this.


I mean honestly this is how it STARTS.

You also get headphones. As you move through the exhibit you’ll hear different songs playing, snippets of conversation and as you get closer to different television screens, you’ll hear the songs that are playing or the interview that is going on. It’s a completely immersive experience. And I do not use the word experience lightly. Lots of things claim to be an experience and more often than not they rarely are.

But this. This is an experience.

Yes, there are the costumes.

bowie costumes

The 1984 “Blue Jean” costume by Alison Chitty, left, and the 1980 “Ashes to Ashes” costume by Natasha Korniloff. Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

bowie costumes.2jpg

The pink jumpsuit Bowie wore in his “DJ” video in 1979. Vincent Tullo for The New York Times


Cage boots created for Bowie’s “Dead Man Walking” video in 1997

There were his paintings, litographs from album covers, sketches of set designs for things he created, like the 1980 Floor Show


Bowie’s original sketches for some of his costume designs for “The 1980 Floor Show.” Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

One of the things that really got me were his set of keys from his Berlin apartment on Haupstrasse 155. I went to that apartment in 2015. I saw the door those keys opened and now here, were the keys.

Another of my favorite were his paintings.


Portrait of Jo – 1976


Self-portrait – 1978, Inspired by the cover for the album cover of Heroes (Victoria and Albert Museum)

There were clips of his movies, including Labyrinth which if you know me you know that was my second introduction to Bowie (Space Oddity was my first and it scared the crap out of me). They also had Jareth’s riding crop and one of the crystal balls.

Oh and because I couldn’t decide WHICH of my Bowie shirts to wear I went old school.IMG_3401[1]

I was in there for four hours. Towards the back, you are instructed to remove your headphones and you enter a room with wall to wall screens upon which are live clips of David playing different concerts – including the Reality tour (a personal favorite of mine). I never saw Bowie live.

This was the closest I ever came and let me tell you, it was damn good.

Oh and if you go, his cocaine spoon is in that room so be sure to check it out.

But by far my favorite parts were the lyrics, including marginalia for himself. He was so nice to himself as a creator – noting in the margins if something wasn’t working that he just needed to give it a little more attention, a little more time. That he was sure it would work out. The exhibit is filled with little moments like that. Where you can really feel his joy in creating.

I have marginalia notes too and let me tell you, that’re not nearly as encouraging. I think I should change that. (Thanks again, David).

And the journal entry where he mentions recording Fame with Lennon is classic. When he first mentions meeting him he writes “Lennon (a beatle).”

The exhibit ended with Blackstar, of course. They had the book the preacher holds up in the video, notes about set and concept and costume design.

When you went into that room, you could listen to Blackstar, a ten minute work of art, which I did, leaning against the wall, with my eyes closed. When it ended, I whispered, “thank you david,” and then handed my headphones back over and exited through the gift shop (much poorer than when I had entered!)

It’s a stellar exhibit and if you’re even a casual fan and have the opportunity I highly recommend it. I for one will be going as many times as I can between now and it’s closing date in July.

Afterwards, we stopped at The Norm for some much needed, Bowie inspired drinks.



Left – Thin White Duke Center – Fame Right – Starman

Again, there really is nothing like this exhibit.

Nor do I imagine there ever will be.

I mean, who other than David Bowie could have the scope, the talent and the body of work to inspire something like this? Let us all thank our lucky stars we were fortunate enough to share the same time and space with our Starman.

It began in London, where Bowie is from and it ends in New York, where he spent his final days. If you’re in town, please by all means, come see it.




Art Has Power: Winedrunk Sidewalk Submissions Call for Women’s History Month

26 Jan


In times of uncertainty art can be transformed into both a weapon and a shield. It is used to remind us who we are, to capture where we came from and to imagine where we could be. Art has the power to wake people up, alter their path, shake them into awareness.

This past year, since the day before the inauguration, what he called Day Zero, John Grochalski has been posting a piece of art every day on his blog Winedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland.Image-1

This is a protest. Just like marching in the streets and calling our senators, keeping an account of what has happened, what we have been through and fought against matters. We are, sadly, living through something historic. I believe it will take generations to undo what damage will be wrought from this administration.

His submissions are rolling. Submit as much as you like. Submit often. He needs your work to keep this going – to keep shining a light through this darkness.

In March, for Women’s History Month, I will be taking over the blog and for the entire month I’ll be publishing pieces by women so this is my official call for submissions.

Couple things:

  1. “Women” means anyone who identifies that way
  2. Submissions include but are not limited to the following: poems, stories, rants, essays, photographs, images, drawings, paintings, collage, songs, etc. ANYTHING.
  3. Submissions CAN BE previously published. This is not so much a journal as it is a PROTEST. Just let me know where so I can give proper credit.
  4. Topics can be anything you like as long as it is relative to today’s times. Could be about Trump or the #MeToo movement or climate change or globalization or your experiences as a woman in this world. Whatever you like. The point is I want to hear your voices; your stories.
  5. Submissions go to Please put “March” in the subject heading.

And finally if you are reading this and don’t think you have something to offer but know someone who might, please share this with them.

Chins up. Claws out. This is how we resist.

Peace, love and Starbursts,


Maybe What if Everything Wasn’t Terrible in 2017

29 Dec

“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” – Barack Obama

As this long year slowly winds down I was thinking about how awful everything has been. And by everything I mean our government, Trump, Paul Ryan and his stupid face, that horrific tax bill, the lies, the money wasted on golfing, the people in Puerto Rico who still have no electricity.

It’s been a terrible year my friends. We’re all weary.

So I started thinking there had to be something right? Something that wasn’t terrible. Some small moments of joy or gratitude where human kind proved themselves to be something more than a scourge upon the earth.

Let’s list them shall we? We do love year end lists, after all.

  1. The Women’s March


Okay this was all because of Trump obviously but the Women’s March in DC was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and one of the most important moments in history. With 53% of white women voting for that monster this was a clear visual display of true feminism and with an estimated 1 million people in DC (and another 2-3 million across the country) we lit the fire that is the resistance. Which lead to….

2. All the Other Marches



We had a tax march, a day without immigrants strike, a day without women protest, March for Science, protests against the Muslim ban, May Day protests, March for Truth, Impeachment Marches, hell there was even a protest in SPACE. The Women’s March lit a fire that is still burning today. We are doing this. We are standing up and resisting. Here’s a whole long list of everything we have accomplished. 

3. People saved each other


In no way is it ever good that a natural disaster happens. That is always a tragedy but within that tragedy we have the opportunity to, as Mister Rogers said, “to look for the helpers.” During Hurricane Harvey so many people risked their lives to save strangers. In the end we all have the chance to be good people. When you are offered that chance, you take it.

4.  #MeToo Movement


Over 10 years ago Tarana Burke started a movement calling to light sexual harassment and assault, trying to make clear the depth of this problem. In 2017, after the Weinstein story broke, #MeToo flooded social media. It was a watershed moment. It allowed men to really see, maybe for the first time, the power that they have. It was a moment when women did not need to be reduced to “sisters or mothers or daughters” but were in fact fellow humans who had experienced harm. Our humanity was on full display

We detach women’s bodies from women’s humanity so frequently and so seamlessly that we have to work backward to realign them. – Heidi Stevens

And more so it showed our Brothers – our true Brothers not just the Good Man® – what we have been fighting for and against. Maybe they will now, finally, join us.

5. The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas


“They finally put a sheet over Khalil. He can’t breathe under it. I can’t breathe.”

For 43 weeks (at the latest count) The Hate U Give – a powerful story based on the Black Lives Movement – by Angie Thomas has been on the New York Times Best Seller list. While in many ways it is just a drop in the large bucket that is white publishing this is a huge event and has helped to kick open the door to other writers including Nic Stone’s Dear Martin and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and lots of others. As I’m always saying representation matters. People’s ability to see themselves in the art they experience is revolutionary. It does so much to combat erasure. The world is a diverse rich place. There’s room for everyone. And speaking of representation mattering….

6. Wonder Woman



Grossing over 412 million dollars, Patty Jenkin’s lush film was made perfect by Gal Gadot’s exquisite portrayal of Wonder Woman/Princess Diana – a fully realized character whose heroism comes from pure altruism. She is the hero our daughters deserve. Let her be the first of many.

7. The Women of Star Wars





What the Last Jedi gave us more than anything else is Star Wars infused with feminism. With women leading, women planning, women sacrificing for the greater good. This is the most patriarchal white supremacy smashing Star Wars yet. It is a film about letting the past die and building something new and that something new is diverse and women-lead.

8. 13th Doctor



After 12 Doctors and fifty years everyone’s favorite two-hearted alien is a woman. I cannot be any more serious when I say that I experience utter and complete JOY when I saw her regenerate (the process by which the Doctor gets a new body hence new actors).  I watched the episode in the theater and there were literal gasps when she appeared.  One of the best things about it is how goddamn happy she is when she sees herself. Look at that smile. They say every generation gets the Doctor they need. Never has this felt more true.

9. Winedrunk Sidewalk – Shipwrecked in Trumpland



As of this posting it is day 344 since Trump took office and for all 344 days John Grochalski, (poet, novelist, Beatles impersonator, and all around good guy) has been posting a piece of art every single day – plus week end recaps of all the horrors the government has tried to do. The blog is a steady act of resistance because in these horrible times ART IS RESISTANCE. We must stay vigilant, kittens. We must keep resisting. Chins up. Claws out. If you have something send it to winedrunksidewalk at gmail dot com. We are all going to keep this resistance going.

10. The Solar Eclipse



For a few brief moments on August 21, 2017 it felt like the whole nation stopped what they were doing and looked up at the solar eclipse as the moon passed between the earth and the sun. In that moment we were all reminded that our lives are a complete fluke – that we are standing on a rock that is hurtling through space. That every one of us is so incredibly lucky just to be here. That we should never ever forget that fact.



Oh….and for good measure, one more.

11. I finished cancer treatment




I had been photographing myself for the final five months counting down to the last shot. Day Zero.


Okay I admit that this has very little bearing on anyone else but I figure if you’re reading this you probably know me and maybe you like me so this might be good news. It’s good news for me. Especially after 3+ years. It’s scary of course but also good. And more so it’s time. It’s time to move on. It’s time to get back to the business of living – the messy beautiful business of living.

So Happy New Year everyone.

Let’s make 2018 the most magical of all. Let’s stay curious. Let’s go exploring.

But most of all let’s be kind to one another and let’s never ever lose hope.

Even Barack has hope.

Peace, love and starbursts,


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