Tag Archives: winedrunk sidewalk

Book News!

16 Nov

Lordy it has been a long time since I’ve blogged.

So we have much catching up to do!

First and foremost, I’m so excited to share that my new poetry book FITTING THE OCEAN IN YOUR MOUTH is now available from Blue Hour. It should be up on their site soon and I have a box full of copies that arrived. If you’re interested in getting one my email is on the about page.

IMG_3030 (1).JPG

I’m really excited because working with Blue Hour has been something I wanted to do for a long time and because I think the poems in here are some of my strongest.

Here’s a few excerpts if you’re interested:

and I wonderon such a moonless, starless night,on a stark unholy, un-kissed night,what song is itthat will save our lives-Because tomorrow I will go to the doctorand he will listen to my heartand I will think about dying.Because that is what we think about when someone listens to our heart.Think about the hI cannot think of love as a constant.It must, for me, wax and wane,the way a wave comes to the shore but is still always part of the deep.I have to think of it this way – as somethingI want to know what time I can be awakewhen no one else is, what second of what hour can I find myselfthe only thing fully aware in this world,eyes openin day or darkfeeling the groaning

In other writing related news, I recently published an essay with Drunk In A Midnight Choir. It’s called “Off the Rag: The Story of How I Got Cancer, Lost My Period and Found My Way Back to Womanhood”

Here’s an excerpt:

Rousseau spent a lot of time musing about the body versus the mind. What was the mind? Where did it live? Was it your soul? Was it your brain? He did as men are apt to do and prescribed the mind to be the realm of man. The mind was clean and logical and precise. It calculated and mused and did the sort of things like philosophize about the body vs mind dualism. The body on the other hand was messy, wet, sticky, and damaged. Capable of dying. The body, according to Rousseau, was womanly. He could not keep these two things together.  For Rousseau they were distinct and separate. There was the perfection of the mind trapped in the imperfection of the messy doomed body. The body’s mortality would destroy the mind’s potential immortality.

I wonder sometimes if I ever thought about these things before the cleaving. Before the doctor with the soft voice, before all the needles and blades that would cut me open, scoop me out and sew me back up. Did I spend much time thinking about where the mind lived? Did I consider my body and mind to be one thing that made up what I called woman? This person called Ally? Did I ever even think about it before the hatchet of diagnosis came down and separated the two? Before I became, like Rousseau, a mind trapped in a dying body.

And I also had the pleasure of being the Writer of the Month over at Drunk Monkeys.

ally wotm

It’s their Trump themed issues so prepare for me having all the feels and the angers.

Speaking of Trump, to all my creatives out there, remember John Grochalski is still going strong with WinedrunkSidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland

If you’ve got images, photos, paintings, rants, essays, poems, whatever you’ve cobbled together send it his way. Putting art into the world during these horrible times is RESISTANCE.

Hit him up at winedrunksidewalk at gmail dot com.

Yesterday was, horrifyingly, Trump’s 300th day in office. On a brighter note it was also the 20th anniversary of my first date with Mr. Grochalski which is crazy. Look at us! BABIES!

IMG_3022

I remember a month or so later when I was home for Christmas I told my mother he was “the one.” She raised a skeptical eyebrow, understandably, I was 20, but I knew the way you know about a good melon.

 

And finally my agent started subbing my novel Palimpsest 44 days ago and my face has basically been like this the whole time.

IMG_2786 (1)

Hold me.

Peace, love and Starburts

Ally

 

Advertisements

Bugger off 2016

31 Dec

 

First off, a quick thank you and shout out to Rebecca at Albany Poets for this amazing review of Better Luck Next Year

Even though Malinenko is discussing how cancer changed her life, her multi-dimensional self-exploration allows the reader to appreciate how any life altering experience can disturb the way we once saw ourselves and our placement in the world.

So….here we are….finally reached the end of this terrible terrible year that in many ways went to shit on January 10th, 2016 (I still miss you Bowie) and then continued to plummet to absolute hell after that.

And it’s not like there’s much to look forward to in 2017 with the monster taking office and the GOP running everything. It’s going to be bad. It’s going to be ugly. People are going to get hurt. We are going to have to keep fighting and resisting and it’s going to be exhausting.

But there’s still us. You and me and the rest of us who didn’t want this and who will fight against it. There are more of us than there are of them. That matters.

Not to sound all Gandolf-y but no one wants dark times. But that is not for us to decide. All we can decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new year. There’s art to be made. Art to fight, art to comfort, art to make us laugh. We’re at the starting line, artists. Take your mark.

On that note, writers, photographers, artists of all flavors, John Grochalski is restarting Winedrunk Sidewalk. He needs your help. Submissions can be sent to winedrunksidewalk@gmail.com

I’ve told my husband a few times that I think this year is worse than 2014, and he keeps disagreeing with me. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe that’s the power of perspective.

But on the last day of 2014, after the diagnosis and the surgery and the radiation and everything was finally finished, and the worst year of my life was coming to an end this is what I posted.

magicalworld

I still believe it’s a magical world. I always will because that is central to the core of who I am and how I navigate through my life and this world.

And not cancer or a monster in the white house is going to shake that.

Happy New Year, my friends. Know that I love you. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s go exploring.

Peace, love and starbursts,

Ally

Van Gogh Painted the Sky Last: Thoughts on John Grochalski’s Winedrunk Sidewalk

2 Sep

vanGogh

So that’s a photo of a van Gogh painting that hung in the recent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new location, MET BRUER, called Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.

The whole exhibit was really fantastic but this painting really floored me.

Because van Gogh painted the sky last.

Last.

Something about this strikes me as counter-intuitive. I mean, sky’s are a pretty integral and magical part of the man’s work.

and of course:

unnamed (1)

This got me thinking about artist process. How did van Gogh paint? How did Beethoven compose? How does art get made? And is there a right or a wrong way to do it?

I know how I do it.

I get up every morning at quarter to five and I write until it’s time to get ready for work. I do this five days a week, taking weekends (and of course vacations) off. This is also the schedule that John Grochalski keeps. In fact I got my schedule from him, and not just because he sleeps next to me in bed.

John decided that if he was ever going to get any real writing done he needed to make sacrifices and the sacrifice he chose was sleep. I thought he was crazy and watched for years as he pulled himself out of bed each morning and made something out of nothing.

Then I saw all the something he made.

See that pile there next to the computer?

14064060_10210249302491516_9098220108545517773_n

That’s a lot of poems.

Eventually I joined him.

In conjunction with this schedule, he created a blog called Winedrunk Sidewalk in 2008. He vowed to write a poem a day.

Every day.

And (with a handful of exceptions) he did.

For nearly 10 years.

This week John informed me he was done with Winedrunk Sidewalk, that it no longer served in the way it was supposed to. As he said on his final post:

But I soon developed WineDrunk into a poetry site, mostly to keep me writing regularly. I think I’ve achieved that. And it’s been really wonderful to have had people read and comment on the blog. I think of WineDrunk as a fine piece of digital art. But this year I’ve gotten rather restless with the whole thing. Concentrating on writing a novel while revising another novel lead to a lot of frustration on my part in having to post a poem daily and to try and have that poem at least maintain some quality, some shred of artistic value.

8 years. A poem a day. That is nearly 3,000 poems. Three thousand times that he crafted something from nothing and while the poems themselves are art, the blog, as a whole is also art. A testimony to the process of making art.

So how exactly does one make art? Pretty much everyone in the world has an opinion on that.

If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written. – Neil Gaiman

Solid advice but is that true for poets too? Should they only write when inspired? What constitutes inspired? What’s the difference between that and procrastinating? I know so many talented people who want to make art but don’t because they don’t make time or because the only wait until they are inspired. Is that better? Is the art better?

What makes you a good writer? What is the proper mix?

Much has been written about this. Charts have been rendered. Famous writer’s brains have been picked clean.

In the end, everyone’s routine is different but one thing seems abundantly clear. Without a routine, there’s no work. Without work, there’s no art.

Three thousand poems is an impressive feat and putting yourself out there every day takes real guts.

Everyone is going to find their own routine. Those that write every day might find the same kind of magic and frustration that John found creating Winedrunk Sidewalk. It’s never going to be perfect but it will always be true.

Sometimes we paint the sky last.

Sometimes we write a poem every single day for nearly a decade.

Either way, we make something from nothing.

Rest in peace, Winedrunk. You done good.

 

%d bloggers like this: