I am temporarily parking archived blog posts here while I redesign my site and change servers. For current content, please visit blog.shannacompton.com.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I was blind, but now I see

I just fixed my Apple Studio Display, installing a new backlight converter.

I can see! I can see! It's a miracle!

That would have been several hundred at Tekserve, I'm sure. Whew.

I got the instructions off the internet, of course. (Than you, Bill Catambay, wherever you are.)


Cover design by the brilliant Charlie Orr, with painting by Charles Browning. Click to enlarge.

Just ordered the test copies of Drunk by Noon--whee! If we find no errors, it should go on sale in about two weeks, right on schedule.

The launch party has been scheduled for Saturday, November 10 at Stain Bar in Brooklyn. Details to come.

Cover options for For Girls will likely be posted for a poll here, sometime this weekend. I can't decide which one I like best.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gotta love that

Four of the review snippets (which we are using in lieu of blurbs) on the back cover of For Girls (& Others) are signed by men. The other two are from uncredited reviews, but something tells me they might be male-authored as well.

Funny, no?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

On The Middle Room by Jennifer Moxley

I told Bill Luoma in an email that, having never been to Southern California, I kept picturing everybody in this book on the sets of Three's Company. He said that was close enough. "Everybody in this book" comprises Jennifer Moxley (of course), Steve Evans (of course), Bill Luoma (as mentioned), Helena Bennett, Douglas Rothschild, Stephen Rodefer, Rae Armantrout, Fanny Howe, and others you may or may not have heard of or met in person or read. Some are students and some are teachers at UCSD, and there are plenty of parties and readings and classes and romantic intrigues. There are scenes of stapling-and-folding tiny magazines and letterpressing chapbooks (of each others' work, naturally, as it is most fun) and rolling broadsides into cardboard tubes.

The prose style of this memoir is somewhat circuitous and purposefully mannered, which is to say rather old-fashioned, and that took some getting used to. Well it was shock at first, really; I shook my head. (This is funny coming from somebody who's spent the last year and half with her nose in 19th century etiquette manuals, I do realize.) It's literariness, however, serves the author's self-observed "nostalgic passions" and is worn by the story the very way she (the author) wears her favorite vintage dresses and seamed stockings and antique gloves and hats, even in the mid 1980s even in a mild California winter.

Some things about the book (the au pair year, the trips abroad with family) were foreign to me, meaning that I could not, as I am always tempted to do when reading biographies and memoirs especially of writers, relate them to my own experiences in order to suss out the commonalities. (Looking for clues. Am I doing this right?) However, so many other things were so familiar I couldn't really believe the coincidences. (To tell you which would be entirely too revealing, because after all I am not Jennifer Moxley and I have not written a memoir.) She admits many things that I could would rather not, because I too was once a 20-something and prone to ridiculousness in the name of ART or LOVE. But one of the best and most honest things about the book is how she looks back at herself with both tenderness and embarassment for her various pretentions and goofs. She did OK and she knows it, though she may be amazed, considering.

Because when you are 20 you may well behave in frivilous, or confused, or funny, or embarrassing, or terrifying, or horrible, or dangerous ways, then later you are 30 if you are very lucky. Even later you are 40 and I guess then you can laugh. So if you are 20 or 30 and particularly if you are trying to be a poet, you will be drawn into this book. If you are a woman at the same time, you will be drawn into this book. You will be drawn in if you are interested to know what it is like to be a woman in her 20s trying to convince herself first and others too that it is OK for her to write poems and take them seriously. You will find out, if you do not already know, what it is like to withhold crucial parts of yourself from various people you would like nothing better than to give everything to, because vulnerability is a tough fucking routine and self-deprivation really does seem less likely to kill you. You will see that sometimes when a woman seems cold she is really raging with heat. Or when she seems ridiculous she is really excruciatingly thoughtful.

Further readingwise, Bill wrote a note re: the same time and has posted Helena Bennett's chapbook also here. That chap is very good, though too short, and it is exactly what I hoped I would find when I went a'googling. Also, I am jealous of its title. Jennifer Moxley's books are easy to find too. You can go here for those.

There is a review of The Middle Room here, which is perhaps more like a review and less like an entry from my diary, should that kind of thing appeal to you. I wouldn't know.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More wonky

Machine by machine my technology has turned on me. My camera first, then our cell phones (can't text message, and I don't actually use it much to talk--can't hear a thing telephonically), some rechargable batteries that refused to recharge, my studio display, then Thunderbird, then PayPal.

Re: the backed up book orders--everybody has been emailed and everything has been mailed out except one UK order. So if you haven't heard from me & think you should have, please get in touch.

In related news, you can actually order the new edition of Jennifer L. Knox's A Gringo Like Me here. It will be available through Ingram, Amazon, B&N, and other outlets soon, and at that point I'll officially open the Bloof Books store. Fast on its heels will be Drunk by Noon, which is getting a final final final final proofs pass and new author photo. For Girls is slightly delayed, but not too delayed. There will still be copies for the first reading in late Oct. So things are moving, despite the poltergeists in the machines.

Next up: the woefully late Dusie chaps. Hopefully I will get to print those this weekend, AT LAST, after I fix my studio display and can actually see what I am doing.

Monday, September 17, 2007



Pay not-so pal

There's something amiss with my PayPal account. I'm not getting notification emails for orders and it looks like it's been going on for a while now!

If you have ordered something from me and have not received it, please let me know? I will go through and email everybody on the recent transactions list too. I'm really sorry for the delays. I have books. I want them to be yours!

This might be related to the extremely annoying problem I am having with my Thunderbird email app. It's started doubling some of the folders (but not all of the folders) but blanking the contents sometime last week, but it seems coincidental.

Yeah, I'm annoyed. Mercury ain't even retrograde yet.

And I didn't have the right size hex wrench to fix my monitor this weekend either. Grrrrrr.

Monday, September 10, 2007


With regards to process (or method or less charitably gimmick) keeping mum may not be such a bad idea. Once it's out there, it's very easy to criticize, without referring whatsoever to the work it governs or engendered. Some people just can't seem to help themselves.

But (sometimes) that's like criticizing a garden hose. Oh my god, it's too green. It's too rubbery. It's coils stupidly against the side of the house.

OK, yeah. But look at the garden.

Even if the garden sucks, that's the place for the study to be focused.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I have to tell someone

It is finished. I have sent it to the editor/reader people (whom I adore).

OK. Whew. I have a month for further tinkering but am going to try to resist till they've had a turn with it.

We interrupt this lull . . .

...just to note that Elizabeth Zechel has a paintings blog!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I type all day, most days

Thanks to my long career as a copywriter I type most of the day, most days. (Whether it's actually "writing" is another matter, but.) As a result I type *very* fast. My fingers often get away from me and attempt to type things I don't intend. It's a kind of physical memory that seems unconnected to my mind. For instance, whenever I begin typing "power" or "polish" or "pom-pom" or even "pewter" it often comes out "poetry" and I have to use the backspace key to correct. I do it so often, now the backspace key-strokes are part of the game.

This is why I revise on a manual typewriter. (Lots less spring, much slower pace, way more deliberate. Mind has to slow to match fingers, rather than both racing ahead.)

I'm too busy with offline things to really engage with the blog lately. One thing after another has prevented me, so far, from getting my Dusie chapbook finally printed, and getting the finalized MS of my book (For Girls (& others)) to my (bless them) reader/editors. Which is just rude. But there's no point in handing it over till I've made up my mind about most of it. The book's all there--has been there, done, complete--but because it's less a miscellany than Down Spooky there are additional considerations. (Um, plus this time, there's no one to decree but me, or enforce deadlines either.) I've changed the order several times and waffled between two sections or three. I think yesterday I nailed the first section, and decided on three sections total. This is all impossible to do on the computer. It requires me shuffling on the train, ripping spreads in half, spreading them allover the coffee table and/or living room and/or office floor, shooing the cat, picking them up, shuffling, repeat. Then there are the line breaks--working mostly a very short line in these poems and some of the enjambments are literally waking me up at night (!). I've got one cover sketch done, but want to try a few more ideas and then show them around for opinions, but I've still got time on the cover. Thank god I don't need to ask for blurbs. (Is there any process more excruciating, y'all?) By the end of this weekend I *must* have it done.

Except my damn Studio monitor needs the backlight converter replaced & the part hasn't arrived yet. My screen's so dim I may as well be a mole. If it goes out completely before I can switch it out, boy, am I screwed.

Which is (all) to say, I wish that kind of physical automoton memory could pick up the slack on a few of my other tasks.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I love mail

Here's what I just got, lucky lucky me:

Here's a poem from it:

Of course the big thing these days is invisibility implants. Invisibility is a misnomer though. They don't actually make you invisible. Sort of a blur. Well, not a blur. Not like Robin Williams in the movie. Not out of focus. Your outline is still there, available for pleasantries, and you take up the same space etc as before. It's just that there's no depth to you. People can't tangle with you & you can't tangle with them. It's a security thing. Genius. Much better than house arrest or those ankle bracelets or that gadget beside the phone. The implant lets you go about your business, take care of yourself, etc. It's just that you can't mix or mingle. Nobody notices you. I've had it done. The weird thing is I can't remember why. These days if you get the implant you get an erase chip too. The memory's gone. But I must have done something. You don't just get sentenced to implants & chips for nothing. It's kinda lonely, I grant you that. But who am I to complain. I mean I could be behind bars, right. Plenty of people are. At least I can go out & about even if I can't exactly make contact.

You can get a copy for yourself or an invisible loved one here.

I also got this:

And I will be reading that soon, because it looks very interesting too. (I can't resist writers' biographies.)