Let me show you how to keep the dice rolling…

Hello again, dear readers,

So, in my own special brand of randomness, I was inspired to write this blog because the significant other mentioned the level of pleasant surprise exhibited by his friends at the ability of his mild-mannered, well-spoken, well-read, highly-educated, literarily-inclined, big-ten-graduate EIC girlfriend, to spit from memory the lyrics to Busta Rhymes’ raps (and while we’re at it, DMX and Eminem lyrics, too) verbatim. It’s like I’m a Clark Kent/Hyde changeling…and maybe I am, since I pick up on song lyrics the way I wish I understood French — Comment dit-on…ridiculous? I can belt out a song I like the second time I hear it (albeit, terribly off key, so don’t get your hopes up to see me on TV vying for votes). I love a killer beat and that covers a wide range of music (which shockingly includes some country songs—but take that secret with you to your grave…to your GRAVE I say!).

I know what you’re thinking, because it was what I thought…why do people think the two are mutually exclusive? Or better yet, why can’t I like Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Ambrose Bierce, Stephen King, and also like Busta, Eminem, DMX, and Jay Z? In my opinion—which is all I have—it’s because we fail to recognize alternative form of creative outlets for what they are. Some rap is terrible, sure (and you know who you are and should be ashamed of yourselves), but some rap is epic (what Busta can freestyle do on a single breath of air is like witnessing the modern incantation of those people who recited epic poetry…I would compare it to witnessing with awe the first person who recited Paradise Lost from memory…but that is still way too epic…maybe if he did a 10 minute song :)). Most rappers/singers are as passionate about spreading their message as any writer, maybe even more so, as they are dedicated to the daily hustle and the grind of getting their work out there. They get up and go for it every day, they never give up and they never let someone else tell them they can’t do it.

I needed that little realization. I like knowing that something can survive in the face of objection/rejection…and I guess, since I blogged it, that mayhaps, you would like knowing it too. I suddenly feel like Lloyd, from Dumb and Dumber – “So, you’re saying there’s a chance!” It is a fun little thrill to see that I can still surprise people with my own special brand of uniqueness—since realizing that you are only one in a pool of 2400 applicants who ALL “love to write, think that part of the country is beautiful, has mad love for the faculty, want to teach, willing to volunteer” can make one feel pretty run of the mill. But at the time I worried that putting “I can work miracles in a kitchen, while singing any of the three thousand songs on my iPod, while dancing to the music, while carrying on a conversation with the significant other, while concocting a 30-page fiction story in my mind, while working on three 8-10 page research papers and day-dreaming in French” would make me seem unprepared for the rigors of the terminal degree. Ha-ha, hope you’re having as good a day as I am though, dear reader.

So, this blog has a soundtrack, rather than a recommended book list, because I’m still stressing over MFA programs…and you know me, if you want that stuff, go to the AEIC’s blog:

1. Hot Tottie – Usher feat. Jay Z
2. Love You Like a Love Song – Selena Gomez
3. Carry Out – Timbaland and Justin Timberlake
4. Under Pressure – Dr. Dre and Jay Z
5. Girls on the Dance floor – Far East Movement
6. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina
7. Gimme The Light – Sean Paul
8. Turn Me On – Kevin Lyttle

Nothing like some Sean Paul to get you off your fanny and on your feet dancing; no worries, I almost broke my ankle too the first time I tried the “heel-toe” step at 3:15, it comes more naturally after you practice 🙂 And before you send me messages about how it objectifies the female body, these last two are Jamaican reggae music and it is a culture that celebrates the female form…yes, celebrates. The round voluptuous curves of a woman’s body are seen as highly sexual objects, but make no doubt, the women are in charge of these sexual objects they wield. They learn to love those bodies in an entirely different way and choose to flaunt it at Carnival in a way that liberates them sexually, while freeing them emotionally because they embrace these curves. I’ve been to Carnival once…it was freakin’ AWESOME!!!!!!

…aah, an oldie but goodie just started, Ain’t no Sunshine by Bill Withers. We miss you, sir, but we are forever grateful for the music. EDIT. Just found out the man is still alive (thanks Kristen), the egg is mostly gone from my face now, but still love you sir! So, until we meet again, rock out when you get the chance because it releases mega endorphins…which make you a happier person!

I remain, as always, your intrepid (and still fearless) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine
*I’ve attached the two videos that you most likely have not seen/heard below.


Standing on Quicksand…which is very tricky.

Tom Petty sings that waiting is the hardest part and oh, man, was he singing about MFA programs. I think he was…he just didn’t know it. There are two women living in my apartment right now, the AEIC and me (and yes, it looks wrong, but it is the AEIC and ME and not I, which would be incorrect, because you wouldn’t say “I and the AEIC,” but you would say “me and the AEIC,” so back to what I was saying), who are so attuned to the faint vibrations of a phone that we could hear the phone ring in the apartment across the hall. AND there are two computers constantly refreshed in the hopes of an elusive email and we have kept a weathered eye (I used it, indeed, I can be as cliché as I want on my blog) on social media that showcases the happy/soul-crushing news (another one :)) of someone else taking your spot away from you at various dream schools.

In fact, so great is the sense of impending loss that I worry about the fallout from the Great MFA Battle of 2012. How does one recover from the trauma that is the rejection of your work, your precious? How do you look your computer in the eye and conjure up characters that live on the page if you feel that they look back at you from the screen in dejected silence? It is all so very bleak, un-delightfully bleak, utterly bleak, to the nth degree. So to cheer myself up I decided to look at some of my favorite authors and many never made it to the MFA level. Is it something I want…hell yes, I would probably explode into a quivering mass of persimmon colored mush that giggled uncontrollably for the next three years if I got in, but in the absence of that can I continue to be inspired? Can the casualties of this battle pick our broken, bloodied dreams up from this field of poppies and shamble home to mend…and then do we do it again next year?

I’m ashamed to say that my talent, while a large and majestic lion, lives in the confidence of a cub (a sad, doubting Thomas of a cub) and right now it feels as if I’ve put it in a corner for an extended timeout. But no more! I needed to vent, and so I have, and now comes the time to forget about licking wounds and use the pain to write. (I think I just lied to myself…I’m still all cub-like and terrified. Like the puppy that can’t stop shaking even though you’re being nice to it and holding it just right…how does anyone survive this wait?) I understand why some writers dug their graves with alcohol, and others with guns (the cub-like nature makes both these options impossible, but still, I have begun to feel the gnawing in my bones); the waiting kills. The doubt, the need for validation, the waiting for good news/the almost certainty of bad news, the fear of both, the wanting something so bad that you can almost touch it/feel it/taste it. It is almost enough to drive one into the abyss.

I think I just need a good dinner. I’m over-thinking it. I need more faith.

If you’re in the same boat with me, I hope you know I commiserate with you, dear reader. But rejection isn’t personal, we can’t all get in somewhere as the physics of that wouldn’t work and we should just keep telling ourselves that. Maybe we are just too awesome and have to go through this horrible, horrible, process in order to tap into the true writer at our core…we go in with our baby fat on and come out lean and mean (emphasis on mean) and ready to show those people why they should have picked us. That despite not getting into their precious program that we are intellectually on fire, creatively gravid, and destined to write the novel that redefines the genre (whichever one it is we choose). All it takes to go from bitter persimmon to unctuous food of the gods is a little time. So say it with me fellow waiting game participant — what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (or maims you for life, but that’s not the message I’m trying to get across…is it?).

Enjoy a little Tom Petty with me 🙂 until then,

I remain, as always, your intrepid (and still fearless) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine

This is NOT how the world ends…

So it’s time to get on the crazy rollercoaster for the last time this year and while it’s been fun, I can’t say that the six, or so, weeks between December 23 – January 31st aren’t going to be heaven; because they are and I’d be lying if I said anything to the contrary. It will be six weeks spent in bed with copious amounts of coffee, ramen noodles, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood and my personal favorite, the significant other. That’s all, no great plans to do anything; it will be the epic Winter 2011 undertaking of doing nothing! The next two weeks will be sheer hell and I think I deserve to relax if I survive it. It is chock full of nightmarish things to do, including, but not limited to, one massive paper; three beastly final exams; numerous graduate-school application things — including the dreaded personal statement and statement of purpose; the printing of the Winter 2011 issue (our SECOND this semester); the Redzine Gallery Show and Artist Reception on Friday, December 9th; and the magazine issue Release Party (with readings and live music by Hewn, Marc LaMere and Newport Jam) on Saturday, December 10th. You’re probably tired just reading that, well, imagine doing it with one of the smallest staff on any campus literary journal and a budget of about 1/10th of anyone else and you’ll see why we kick ass.

Starts at 7 PM, runs until Midnight!!!!

We’re truly starting to get the magazine out there and I was tickled to see mailing addresses in Wisconsin (naturally), Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Montana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Puerto Rico AND —since we are now officially delivering magazines internationally— we can count Jamaica, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey and Switzerland as places that get Redzine!!!! WOOT!!! The love has been wonderful and the numerous nice things said about the Autumn 2011 issue was heart-warming to hear. A big shout out to you and your state…if you don’t see your state on here…maybe you should do something about that! You can still get your hands on your very own copy here, http://www.womeninredzine.com/#!__mag-swag; Autumn 2011 won’t become an official “back issue” for another week or two, so get it now, while supplies last. The new issue is at the printers as I write this and it looks phenomenal. So much prose…I’ll be spending some of my winter break reading it — for fun this time! Alas, copyediting is always a pain in the butt. But we rocked out TWO issues this semester, still in shock at that one, and they are each a massive 80 pages of full color!!! You should get yourself a copy if you have not already done so.

Come check out the AMAZING originals of the images you've seen and loved!!

Hmmn, I just realized The Great Winter 2011 of Doing Nothing will not happen quite that way and words cannot express my sadness. But after the planned re-haul of the website to include an online magazine section, the research and implementation of an online writing group feature, the revamping of the Mag Swag store and the launch of the Team Red gear and the creation of the Kindle magazine files etc for our online Redzine presence…then it’ll be The Great 2011 Winter of Doing Nothing? Oh wait, gotta finish up the THREE in-progress collection of short stories I’m working on and for those of you keeping count that’s 39 short-stories (13 stories each). Plus the novella…FML. Curses the AEIC and her assertion that I can’t write short, I will one day write a 10-page story, I don’t know when, but I will.

Maybe there’ll be a Great Summer 2012 of Doing Nothing…oh wait, I’ll be moving to a new state then…ok, so the great time off to do nothing is elusive, but I’m patient and I’ll get it, eventually. Le sigh.

Until such a time as we meet again, dear reader, I wish you a wonderful Holiday season and hope you get to celebrate it however you choose to, with those you love and call family. Season’s Greetings!!

I remain, as always, your intrepid (and fearless) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine

Close to you…(yes, it’s a song title…and??)

Hello Dear Reader, so it seems we both survived the recent tragic (shocking???—even though we all knew it was approaching her a little faster than ideal) death of Amy W. Glad to see you here again. I’m sure her death had some of us re-thinking our vices and how much they truly cost us…(Is love a vice? Do we really even need love? I’d accomplish so much (maybe be finished with my first three novels by now..best-seller stuff, for sure) if the fleshy muscle in my chest only pumped blood and oxygen.) Although maybe me rocking Carrie Underwood’s Cowboy Casanova has got me paranoid—I think I may have met the “good time cowboy Casanova,” *sigh* but what can I say, except misery loves company…especially the candy-coated kind. Bah.

Enough of that boring stuff…I am the protagonist of my own story after all, and whining leaves a sour taste in my mouth, so like Professor Farnsworth likes to say, good news everyone, Women in REDzine’s first event of the summer will be at the Summerset Festival of the Arts 2011 this Saturday, July 30th and we hope to see some of you on the beautiful UW-Baraboo campus for all the festivities. I hear there’ll be salsa dancing and a 3-course Latin dinner offered…sounds like fun!!!! Plus we’ll be giving out copies of our special summer issue gratis…as in FREE! So come see us, ask questions, submit your work!!!

BTW, if I did you the serious disservice and left you feeling uncertain about whether love is worth it …check out I BELONG TO YOU by Brian McKnight, and Lenny Kravitz’s (same title, I BELONG TO YOU)…bust it out tonight for that special someone because they may not be there tomorrow. :O Gah, I just totally cheesed out on you dear reader, I apologize, alas, music indeed soothes the savage beast 🙂

Until next we meet, I remain your intrepid (and fearless) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine.