a tiny fire you can hold in your hand

matchbox press

my debut collection of poems and drawings “the silhouette inside” is almost ready! since i decided to opt for self-publishing (i am indie woman, hear me roar, and all that) i have been tasked with creating my own publishing house…

if you know me, you know i collect matches. one matchbox swiped from the bar of a hotel by a new friend who would quickly become my best friend. another box taken with buttery fingers on the way out of an old-school italian restaurant on the north end of boston. a long matchbox from a seaside teahouse in watch hill, a short stack from a small jeweler off of wickenden street. to me, they are like time in a bottle. a sign of hospitality, of care. a bidding token to remember that moment. a pocketable piece of a place, a souvenir.

a sucker for graphic design, i take joy in comparing the typographies on my matchboxes as the world changes. my stumbling upon these little cardboard boxes and books is becoming more and more rare. but i’ll keep collecting, holding on to these outdated relics. each tellings it’s own story, each one an author. a coin-sized, weightless memory from a trip- just a blip- but enough to spark a tiny fire you can hold in your hand.

my book “the silhouette inside” is coming out September 1! stay tuned for preorder details on my facebook author page here.

all rights reserved. matchbox press illustration by kirsten evans.

a book, i hope

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Sweaty afternoons spent illustrating my book on the porch, punctuated by my usual seaside summer jaunts to York and Newport. Trying to retain some semblance of normalcy in a world turned upside-down…

C and I have taken to an evening stroll down Blackstone to stretch our legs and get out of the house, even if behind masks. Lately I find myself craving a disconnect from the all-consuming screens that seem to have taken over more and more of my awake time as connecting with the world in a physical way has become so limited. I will never consider myself an extravert, but as an artist, I certainly glean inspiration from the sights, sounds, and yes, those mysterious people of the outside world.

A few nights ago, we took our walk at the height of golden hour: that magical time of night where it feels as though the clouds have touched down to the treetops and your head floats up high enough into the branches to meet them. Everything seems just a bit more special…even your routine walk around the neighborhood. It hit me then- as I saw the low sun flare through fat, happy July leaves and felt a poem coming on- that I had written most of my book on this very same walk.

Almost every day last summer began with a walk to Wildflour. Between my home and my favorite café, words appeared in my mind. Sometimes one at a time, other times in hoards that clogged my ears and threatened to spill out my mouth if I did not sit down and write them out in time. Some days I would rush frantically to my café, so as not to lose a single syllable. Other times I let the words steep deep in my skull. Marinate before serving.

Pushing through the café doors, ordering my usual Providence Breakfast tea, finding a table on the coveted back wall, all of these keeping my words tangled somewhere behind my tongue, until finally, the release. An open laptop, a half full notebook, an outpouring.

One day, as I walked up with my empty teacup to ask for “a bit more hot water when you get a chance?” the barista (taking my cup before I finished, all too familiar with my daily re-steep request) posed a question toward me instead: “What are you writing over there?” She smiled graciously through orange-red lips and admitted to noticing the way I stare blankly into the coffee-scented air when I’m thinking. “A book, I hope,” was my optimistic reply.

Twelve months later, a new July has found me, with a very new set of summer routines. Kept from my café, I’ve collected the poems I wrote there; Remembering a past me and her previous tea, sipping in the day and exhaling words on a page.

My debut book of poetry and drawings “the silhouette inside” is coming soon.

 

four decades of dance

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You know how I’ve been complaining for the past year about how busy I’ve been? Well friends, I wrote a book.

What started as a simple chronicle of Festival Ballet’s 40 years became a thorough narrative not only encapsulating the history of the company, but showcasing photos and memorabilia that had since been lost in the depths of the archives. I spent many an afternoon elbow-deep in the chaotic filing cabinets that keep Festival’s past, riffling through playbills from the ’80s, checking facts and faces as I went. Many summer days spent sweating in the little conference room at 825 Hope, choosing fonts, resizing photos, playing graphic designer…

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I am a perfectionist. I am rarely happy with my work. For the first time in what feels like a long time, I am truly pleased. I have so many people to thank for their assistance and mentorship along the way. But here, in this special little piece of webspace where I can open myself up, I will say: I am proud.

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Stay tuned for the final version of the book, and information on how to order it, if you’re interested. For now, I’ll just remain unabashedly tickled. :)

 

photos of me by Michael Collins, cover photo by Jacob Hoover.

a collaborative dancing diary

Why do we dance?  Why are we drawn to watch?  What is it that elevates flesh and bone into displays of heartstopping beauty?IMG_9510

Two days ago, when it was May but the weather wailed JULY!, I sat under the wisteria-covered trellis on the airy patio of my beloved Seven Stars Bakery with a cold drink (iced green tea, splash of lemonade) and The Emma Press Anthology of Dance.  Much like its internal observations of the waltzing world around us, the book itself seems to rattle and shake, pages exploding with figures (by the book’s editor herself, Ms. Emma Wright) whose loosely sketched limbs flutter from one line to the next.

We are introduced first, and again throughout, to the universality of dance through the eyes of animals, the flailing bodies of the uncoordinated, the intoxicated, the lush from love who swagger in kitchens and on side streets.  Clare Dyer’s On The Sand describes the dancing of a buzzing beach, and suddenly I am noticing the gentle whirling of the wisteria above me and the erratic foxtrot of the tiny finches underfoot.

The tone shifts now from chirpy humor to one I know a bit more intimately.  With Hilary Gilmore’s Ballerina of The Night Pool, we meet the mysteriously elegant “statue drowned mid-pirouette”, constantly evading the authors shy advances to “dance pas de deux with her reflections”, as minxy stone ballerinas often do.  Rachel Piercey’s The corps is a musing even more familiar, singing the secret successes of the corps de ballet, “parabola arms exactly / chalked onto the air”, “half known and half felt: / the precise, unfurling / geometry of cells.”  The flawless harmony of a well-oiled corps, despite each dancer’s yearning for spotlight, our final stanza puts it perfectly: “the acute longing / to be set apart, / the charm of belonging.”  A double-edged sword that every ballet dancer will wield in the onset of their careers.

As the anthology progresses, so too does the strangely relatable introspectivity of each poem.  From finding your own footing in Rosie Sandler’s Breathing Underwater, to escaping by means of dancing down the page of a notebook in Catherine Smith’s My Dancers, to the impossible stashing of a step like “the stapling of motion on a sheet” (what a great line!) found in Richard O’Brien’s Dansmuseet, the apex of this anthology is an explorative one.  We discover the fleeting nature of dance, the joy in hearing dance when it is not able to be seen, and perhaps the most poignant point of all:

“We dance to learn about a part of ourselves books can’t teach.”

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The Emma Press Anthology of Dance C/O The Emma Press.

the pooh way

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Remember how I said I read an entire book the other day?  Well, per the expert recommendation of a close friend, I quickly made my way through Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh.  I found its teachings so interesting, I wanted to share them with you.

This light-hearted book explains the ideals of Taoism to its readers in terms any child, or child at heart, can not only understand, but appreciate and enjoy as well…the Pooh way!  Using the classic Winnie-the-Pooh characters, the otherwise slightly complicated principles of Taoism are illustrated clearly and with style- emphasis on the illustrations!

This easy read has got me really thinking about what Taoism teaches and the way of life that Pooh, as the ultimate definition of Taoism according to this book, practices daily.  According to the author, Taoism is perfectly demonstrated by Pooh every time he makes the decision to just be.  With Rabbit’s cleverness always guiding him to the next pointless task, Owl’s wisdom robbing him of any actual life experience, Piglet’s fear of the world keeping him from Pooh’s effortlessly happy lifestyle, Eeyore’s cynism defying any chance of inner nature, and Tigger’s attempts to be the best at everything standing in his way of realizing his own truths, Pooh is the only animal in all of the Hundred Acre Wood who can truly be considered a Taoist.  When Pooh doesn’t know what to do, he does what he wants.  He sits in a nice spot and thinks.  Or heads to the kitchen to eat some Honey.  Or walks around the whole forest just to say hello to each of his friends and wish them a Happy Thursday.  Because he is just “That Kind of Bear”.  Pooh realizes that things are the way they are.  Instead of thinking of complicated ways to fix problems, Pooh does the obvious.  He sees a situation in front of him, and takes the most blatant straightforward approach to solving it.  And you know what?  He succeeds.  That’s why in the end, everyone is always giving “three cheers for Poohbear!”

What do you think of this “pure happiness” approach to life?  Do you really think it’s possible to simply choose happiness and feel happy?  Studying a little of the logic behind this theory really did open my eyes to the idea of it…I’ve decided to try and think of Pooh when I’m feeling lost or frustrated by this injury.  What would Pooh do?  I mean, it can’t hurt, right?