Saturday, August 29, 2009

phony phony formula love me love me make me want to be here.

so i just finished re-reading the catcher in the rye.
i'd read it before, but i didn't remember any of it.
and now that i'm here at college, i'm inclined to call everyone
what is this bullshit?
my name is emma
where are you from
what's your first year studies course
are you enjoying the school
oh my gosh
make it stop.
i feel all revolted that i can't think of interesting things to say.

this is just the beginning
we have to get through this to get to the meat
the guts
the bearing our souls and
saying the word friend.

i want to find a grocery store
and buy spaghetti
and boil it up nice and perfect
and eat it slowly with my fingers.
the kitchen is my favorite part
of my dorm.
because, who's gonna bring decor
for a fucking kitchen.
so it's nice and bright and white
with an awkward patch of purple floral wall paper
nice and tacky and spare.
the table is wobbly, though.

oh shit,
i just realized that i'm locked out of my bedroom
and my roommate is asleep.
oh fuck.
i'm gonna have to knock loudly.
i feel like such a jerk.
oh i don't wanna knock.
adjustments still need to be made.

Friday, August 28, 2009

i'm not materialistic. the hotel was nice. i got to watch project runway.

driving through illinois it's all
corn corn corn corn
cows? cows! COWS! (obligatory moooing out the windows)
and then
home of the jacksons and steel.
and ohio is forgettable, meaning
i can't remember a thing about it
(other than pointing at "oberlin" on green road signs)
so it probably looked much like illinois,
though maybe with a different principle crop.
i don't think they grow much corn in ohio.

and then pennsylvania.
this is how a road trip should feel.
this is scenic "mountains" (the fairly low alleghenies) covered in green trees to the sides and open road to the front.
you learn that the west doesn't hold all the altitude as you pop your ears.
you feel small and realize just how flat the mid-west is.
how flat chicago is and how we attempt to compensate for our flattness by building up up up.
but then you remember, scenic be damned, at least flat illinois is growing food and -
oh! a deer!
little thing, what are you doing here? you better get back to your mama: alfie, where were you? were you playing by the interstate again? i told you not to go out there - you could be hit, don't you remember what happened to your cousin?
bye, little deer! we're moving on. stay safe!

it really is very pretty out here.
lush and green and foggy.
the trees look like they're steaming.
i look at the mountain sides and picture myself on one of them.
a small brightly colored speck.
i've hiked all the way up and climbed a tree and i'm hollering.
but from over here on i80, i can't hear what i'm saying.

dubois, pa is a very small town. it has many hills and a house with a mccain banner in the window.

rain, rain, go away
i wanna get to new york dry today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

tryin' to find something to say before we go away.

this is me attempting to tie things up.
just putting things down.
nostalgia running rampant.

the tope five things i think i will miss the most while at college.
(in no particular order.)
  • neo-futurists.

yeah, i know new york has neo-futurists, but that's like saying "you won't miss the cta - new york has trains!" maybe? that might have been a really really terrible simile.

  • my sewing machine.
my beat-up, secondhand singer with the busted bobbin winder. how i love it. it got me through the summer, though i broke several needles. i love it and i can operate it like i've been doin' it all my life. i'm taking knitting needles and crochet hooks and embroidery needles with me, but i'm going to miss my machine terrible.

i'm leaving my two favorite machines at home: my sewing machine and my teal typewriter. damn life is hard.

  • cats.
lancelot. arthur.
my darling orange tabbys.
i won't miss their hair.

  • uptown.
it's my favorite neighborhood. i love that it's beat up and dirty and has a real old chicago feel to it. and there are all sorts of folks, from yuppies (fucking yuppies, bringing in a target in 2010) to kind of loony homeless people who talk to themselves. it's in the perfect location in the city, i think. there aren't really any fabric or craft stores, that's my one complaint. there's a knitting store and it's very nice but very expensive. otherwise, i love uptown. somedays i would just walk through the neighborhood and just feel my chest fill so full with the power of the thoughts of this is chicago, this is part of me, this is a beautiful place, a place i love, a chunk of the city that i feel confident and comfortable in, that i have let seep into the air i breathe. i can be very strangely proud sometimes.
  • you know, when i started this list i definitely had five things, but i can't for the life of me remember exactly what the fifth one was. it was probably something silly like the public library system or knowing my way around. i really don't know.

another thing:
a couple of my friends, adrian and michael, just released a tape they made.
it's called Lake/Breeze (by Lake Breeze) and it looks like this:
you can download it by clicking here.
but be sure to buy it in physical form if you come across it
because, remember,
analog is way cooler.
it's pretty good. i get a total kick out of the fact that my friends released an original tape.
also, check out michael's blog

while cleaning and rearranging i came across this note which was passed to me by a girl named veronica during ap lit. class regarding a choir competition she'd participated in: it wasn't really a competition, it was more of a festival. it was great. it was like singing with angels :) we finally got to sing with the people who were serious about music. it took a LONG time though.
i like this note. it makes me very happy. probably the "singing with angels part".

i'm over-packing clothing and under-packing wisdom.
as i shove and fold and press and wrinkle
shirt after shirt into a now-over-stuffed under-the-bed box
i think punning-ly of the phrase
"box tops for education".
"box" being a verb meaning "shove things into boxes," in this context.

for final acts i made my little brother mix cds and shoved a needle through my ear lobe. i collaged a new notebook and re-heeled old shoes. i lost things i had "just a second ago" and found things i haven't seen in months. i tore my bedroom apart and packed it together and cleared it out. i wished i had more time, but am ultimately grateful that i don't.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

summer wardrobe expansion: shoes! (and an extra note.)

while shopping at target for school things i found a pair of white canvas shoes on clearance for $7 dollars. so i broke my mental vow of never buy clothing from target and bought these shoes. these boring shoes....

but i couldn't leave them boring....

i sewed hundreds of sequins to them and now i love them.

it was entirely accidental to put the colors in rainbow-order.
i might fill the remaining white space somehow, but i'm not sure what with.

*a note*
regarding the "summer wardrobe expansion" posts, obviously summer is over for me, so this little series is as well. i just wanted to point out that a lot of things i sewed didn't make it on to this blog, because they either weren't original or they didn't get finished. for instance, i hemmed and altered the fit of several garments already in my closet: dresses and tops and shorts and etc. then i also made most of a beautiful bathing suit but i didn't finish it because it was proving too difficult to fit in the bust area and i got mad at it. and then there was this lovely lined tweed blazer, which i intend to finish sometime (maybe for winter wardrobe expansion), but i just kind of lost steam on it. and i made several pairs of underwear, but got a bit confused and un-enthused about finishing them, so i didn't.

also, if anyone out there wants to place an order for a handmade-by-emma garment, i'd be more than happy to talk to you about that. i've made pretty much every kind of garment, generally speaking (except for, like, wedding-wear), so feel free to ask and request.
and for all of those people with consciences:
all of my garments are made 100% sweat-shop free.
all of my garments are 100% vegan.
and if i had the money, all of my garments would be made with 100% organic and sweat-shop free fabric. (is fabric made in "sweat-shops"? i saw that sally field movie norma rae and those mill workers definitely weren't working in humane conditions.)

happy sewing.

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #10.

double digits on the summer wardrobe expansion projects!
this is just a sweet little blouse.
i'm normally not big on pastels but this fabric was like $1 or $2 per yard and i do think it's really really pretty and kind of vintage-y looking.
so i chose a nice, kind of vintage-y looking pattern to use it for.
i'm pretty pleased.
and i'm pretty.


with golden heart buttons all down her back back back.

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #9.

my first cardigan!!!
i tried to knit a cardigan a few months ago, but the sleeves were somehow way ridiculously too large, so i went without my hard knit sleeves and made it a vest.
however, this cardigan is sewn, not knit. well, the fabric is knitted fabric, but i found it already knitted on the sale rack at hancock and fell in love with it. i went home, shrunk it up with the laundry and started on the cardigan asap.
it's a little odd shaped.
i like it big, but the thick hem at the bottom makes it flare out and look funny.
and it's a little short.
but oh well.
it's warm
and handmade
and a cardigan
(with silly buttons),
so ultimately, what's not to like?

pretty fabric.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

veruca salt.

2 thrift stores
9 tops in various styles (many of them involving buttons) and
i have decided that second-hand clothing is my vice.

some people don't even have thirty dollars to spend in a month, let alone one day.
also, what the hell am i doing, buying more clothes before i move into a dorm room?

but i suppose i could have worse vices.

this must be how it feels to peek over the edge of a cliff; figuratively speaking, of course.

so i've walked up to the edge
with the parachute strapped to my back
and i'm looking down,
running the toe of my shoe along
the jagged seam of solid rock and frigid air,
and i'm looking down through a thick fog
to vaguely where i'll be landing.
and i can see a friend,
her parachute open,
drifting down ever so slowly,
hovering just above the fog,
knowing that in a moment she'll be gone from view.
and i'm saying,
"so you just jump?"
and she's hollering back,
"yeah, yeah, come on you'll figure it out."

and then she's gone.
the girl i met first on the first day of kindergarten,
who thought my haircut made me look like a boy,
who skipped with me when our undeveloped conversational skills brought talking to a halt,
she's gone downstate,
to college.
actually, it's university for her, darling.
why does she seem so cool, calm, collected?
how can she be packed so soon?
when did she pack?
i'm not really feeling the full effect yet.
i won't for a bit.
because we didn't see each other so much,
a fact which i regret immensely.

so right now i'm just trying to wrap my mind around the fact of her departure.
like, now when i bike through boystown, i don't get to think,
"i could just drop by elizabeth's house and see if she's around,"
because she isn't around anymore.
unless "around" means geographically-in-the-same-state,
then, yeah, she's around,
until i go to new york, that is. and i go to new york very soon.

sort of like, you know you're going to fall at some point
you're gonna feel that sensation in your middle,
where your stomach manages to fall out from between your legs
and work its way into your throat at the same time,
but not yet
because you are still on solid ground.
because you are not done packing.
because you have not biked through boystown yet.
this week, this day, this hour, this minute
i am safe.
i am going to be the last of my peers to leave chicago.
i am still packing.
i am biking to stores with an empty backpack
and riding home with a satchel zipped to the brim
with toiletries and socks.

i am growing restless.
i am growing tired of this rain.
of the figurative fog.
could i see what's at the bottom yet?
somedays i think i would like to know. maybe.

Friday, August 14, 2009

chance words.

2. There is so much longing in the characters in your book - what are we all looking for? Is it love? Can we ever get enough of it? Is it because we are all latch-key kids? Maybe it's just there to keep us moving or breathing or alive?
mj: I think longing is a habit, it is perhaps the way we deal with emptiness, empty space. The empty space is normal, but, depending on our level of fear, it feels more or less unbearable.

i was preparing the envelope for sending my friend a copy of my one-act, because i promised i would, and i wanted to fill the empty space on the back of the envelope with collage. so i got out my collage folder which is full of cut-outs i've amassed over the years and i just happened to pull out a section of an interview with miranda july, around the time her book no one belongs here more than you. came out. i think the section was from the magazine arthur. i don't know why i had cut out just question and answer #2. also it was cut out in a weird shape. half of the word unbearable was cut off (it was just "unbear-"), so i don't know if that was the end of miranda july's answer.
i've kind of danced around the question of "what is your play about?" because the honest answer feels way too risky. because the answer is, "me. my play is about me."
however, this q-and-a #2 feels like a kind of accurate description. (also i think that both the questions and answer are beautifully worded.)
my play is about love and fear and empty space and things unsaid.

so i pasted the interview cut-out onto the envelope and decided not to cheapen it by collaging the hell out of the rest of the blank space.

empty space.
this is what it looks like:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

cancer is not a metaphor.

while i listened to my play get read aloud i took notes to keep busy,
to give my fidget hands something to do.
i ended up writing this:
  • title: "kiss me at all the red lights." or "today i think i'll be emily dickinson."
  • is the makeshift bed in the opening description?
  • print five copies and highlight.
  • should i feel this nervous? listening to my words?
  • "i'm a loner, you're not": that line might suck.
  • i want to VOMIT.
  • "but that would be even better" should be better even.
  • charlie's exit should be bicycle.
  • shit, over time. shit.
  • cut some narration.
the play was surprisingly well received.
which is the least i could ask for, considering i nearly melted while listening to it.
that is, i soaked half my homemade blouse clean through with sweat.
i have chosen neither of the two title options from the first bullet point.
which is really today,
the play will be read to all who want to hear it
between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the harold washington library.
i would really love it if you came.

this afternoon i journeyed to the nearly uncharted land of retail. and decided to fall in love with some $230 (reduced from $700!) prada heels. i can't have them because they are expensive. because they are new. because they are (new) suede. because they are wildly impractical.
and beautiful.
i cannot remember the last time i bought new clothing.
i think it was april when i bought a new brassiere at sears because thrift store underwear is just not something i want to do yet.
though, in the interest of full disclosure, i have bought new fabric, which i then sew into new clothing.
i. want. them. i. want. to. leave. now.

now, how did i forget that theatres are dark on mondays?
i don't like my forgetful moments.
i'm just like my dad in that i like to beat myself up.
and someday i'll get cancer.
i'm just like my dad, sometimes.

it's nice of him (not my father) to tell me what i want to hear, even when i can't return the favor.
the good-byes really suck. his good-byes really suck.
call me old-fashioned, but i like to end my phone conversations with "good-bye."
and if i don't get one, then i just keep talking and talking and occasionally i stumble upon a good line and - hey! hello? aw, shit, i thought you were still there, i wanted you to hear that.

i should stick around. fine. "for a little bit."
"hey, i'm gonna get going."
i don't like to make scenes, and i don't regard his impending departure as a big deal, but i thought he did, so the response was a bit lackluster.
i'll see you in a week. (a week! i get a whole week to not worry about letting him down or breaking his heart! yesss!)

"where are you going?"
"are you leaving?"
"what! why?"
i would rather be anywhere, but here. i would rather be alone. i would rather be at the hospital. i would rather be sobbing into my shirtsleeve about my future and about the book i just finished.
"i've just got a lot of shit going on," i said, waving my arms and fingers around my head to illustrate the motions that my brain was going through.

the bike path felt incredibly unsafe in the dark.
i have said that i hate the bike path.
if i was alone on it, riding in the dark with the lake gently undulating to the east of me, that would have been lovely.
but instead, my mind got spooked at my own huge shadow, regarding it as a separate rider, one altogether too close to me and moving too fast.

my late dinner was under heated but still tasted oh-so-good. going brain dead in front of the television sprawled along the couch with the little (though newly growth-spurted) brother and the cats was oh-so-good, too.
i made some good decisions today.
why does it seem that this blog has rapidly devolved into a wannabe fashion blog?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #8.

shit, i am a giving person.

i gave this silly hat to a friend.
i made several attempts at a hat for her, to give to her at her graduation party. i was unsatisfied with all of them, so i went more basic and made this hat in a few committed hours. the shape is a little funny, and envisioned something a bit more original looking, but i guess i like how it turned out. and crocheting a design into a piece was something i hadn't tried before.

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #7.

again, this one ain't for me.
this is my first foray into what is really considered menswear.
it's a shirt for my dad, that i made him for his birthday.
he gave me an old shirt that was becoming increasingly threadbare and i took it apart at the seams and cut out a new shirt from that pattern, with custom alterations for length.
i was a little worried about fit (i could have used half a yard more fabric), but it fit fine!




for some reason i really fell in love with the back of this shirt. like where the yoke meets the back and the pleats and the collar. and it just looks so clean and nice, especially inside, like i figured out how to turn it just so and it's perfect (if i may say so myself).

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #6.

technically this next garment wasn't for my own wardrobe. but hey, i made it and it's for someone's wardrobe, so i get to showcase it.
this is an embroidered t-shirt. i didn't make the t-shirt. i don't have the right machines to make t-shirts that way they should be made.
i embroidered this to give to my friend. it's the k records logo.

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #5.

i love this dress so much!
i don't know what else to say about it.
well, actually there's a bit of a secret about this dress.
that's all.

(hmm... yes. as you can tell from the litter box and the food bowls in the background, i have cats. i find that adding a litter box behind a pretty dress enhances the striking complexity of a fashion photograph. if this half-assed picture can be considered a fashion photograph. i'm new at the using-a-digital-camera/taking-pictures-of-myself thing.)

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #1.

so finally, here is the FIRST garment i made this summer.
fabulous high-waisted red pants!
with white stitching!
and pockets!
this fabric was so odd. it put its color on everything it touched. my sewing machine was pink by the time i finished the pants. my light-colored underwear is pink after a day in these pants. the back of my purse was redder than the front of my purse after having it pressed against my hip for a full day of wearing these pants at pitchfork. silly pants turning my thighs and fingers red!
they make my skin blush.



button and fly.

the left back pocket. that's my own original modern art back pocket cross. so if you ever see any pants with that back pocket design, you know who made 'em. probably.

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #4.

okay, fine, technically i didn't make this one.
i was sorting through a bag of scrap fabric that i had selected not to carefully from my sewing classroom's garbage bin at the end of the year. and guess what i found? this lovely top. it was all sewn together, with a zipper in the back and everything. not very well made: the shoulder darts are in different places, the seams are unfinished - but that doesn't matter. i put it on, and hey, this looks alright. so then i just bought a pack of black bias tape and finished all the edges, and bam! a new shirt.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

a moment i have been waiting for...

...when the future really is in sight.

i checked out a library book today.
it is due on the day i leave chicago.

less than three weeks.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

every urban sidewalk deserves a (neglected) sunflower patch.

new fabric for new cardigan. !
help ma. lie to ma.
do "nothing"; golden, crunchy nothing and be okay with it.
all of it.
maybe this city can be really beautiful.
i'm a city kid and that makes me giddy.
pulled apart and glued back together by that neon colored elmer's glue from when i was three.
dinner's pasta came in colors not wholly unlike those of the glue.
dinner's pasta came perfect.
i wish to inform you that your kisses are too wet.
but your hands are so warm.
your broken fingernails are full of the dirt and spit that you put into them,
and the skin cells that i contribute.
i can pull my hair out in handfuls.
if we live in a world full of toxins, is my hair still considered organic material?

visit the south side, where i seldom go.
campfire shared with underage kids who got to it first. they smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol out of red plastic cups. they got to sit on the upwind side of their fire.
we passed around bags of gourmet popcorn and a carton of lemonade and our eyes teared up from all the smoke.
a campfire without songs, with few people whom i much care for.
fuckin' facebook-organized, eighth-grade-time-capsule-openin' campfire.
i didn't even put anything in the cardboard box.
i just tagged along and made jokes.
and whispered mean things under my breath.
what a bitch of a former best friend who doesn't care to talk to me.
social butterfly.
you bailed on our high school, you have to give everyone updates.
what college are you going to.
what do you think you're going to study.
hey we totally need to get together, you say,
with jennifer and "frizz," like last summer when we saw grease.
yeah. yeah totally. yeah, right.
my shirt is stained with honey and your enthusiasm is stained with false.
art class. tact class. i'll hug you twice, 'cause girls do that.
some people might have considered this gathering a kind of "closure" on high school.
i'd already had my closure.
a week ago, i went to a graduation party with kids i actually like in attendance.
that was a great evening.
they are people i want to see again.
what i took from last night:
i didn't think i needed to see most of those kids again, and now i'm sure of it.
and my hair still smells like the smoke from the fire.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

wake up.

if you live in chicago and you have the means (read: money), go see spring awakening, which opens downtown on tuesday. i saw it in new york last summer and it was a completely amazing show. it's about the sexual awakening of a group of young german kids in the 1890s and the trouble their society's imposed ignorance gets them into.
i'm fond of small, intimate store-front theatre, you know, the kind that are pretty hard up for money these days.
but seeing spring awakening reminded me,
oh big budgets are kind of nice, that was really spectacular.
so yeah,
i won't be seeing it when it comes to chicago
unless some KIND, GIVING, SUGARED-MANGO-SWEET person would like to give me a ticket.
you should go see spring awakening.