Big plans, changes underway

Obligatory statement that I have been terrible at updates here. Excuse for such behavior: school. Declaration that things will change very shortly…



I’m writing this as I roll through the Pacific Northwest via Amtrak…

Hello there, 2012

Delicious consumables...and this is just the food

Our NYE party has come and gone, along with its delicious spread of spreads: pear-blue cheese chutney, mushroom-walnut pâté, spicy hummus, homemade crostinis and cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps, various cheeses, bacon-wrapped shrimp, cranberry-orange relish, bhel puri…many of these recipes I will present in the near future for your own experimentation.

As much as New Year’s lists can seem trite, I think it’s important to document where I’m at as an arranger of words, as well as where I am in my life at large, in a space that allows me to revisit my desires and goals and that enables others to encourage me to keep my word. So, without further adieu:

Things to Do in 2012

I. The Professional

  • Set up and maintain a solid, unchanging three-day a week writing schedule, during which I write for three-four hours at a time.
  • Maintain this blog regularly: Adventure Day recaps/status updates at least once every two weeks, more recipes (with photos and perhaps video)
  • Maintain Drawing Coffee regularly: update/cycle through my writing portfolio online, columns/essays on the state of writing and writing-, narrative-, and publication-related issues at least once every two weeks
  • Develop coding skills.
  • Finish all of the work I’ve begun revising and new work I’ve started over last fall and the coming spring.
  • Make some decisions about my thesis by September.
  • Secure at least one internship.
  • Develop bookmaking and binding skills.
  • Write personally about my writing process and my critical self once a week.
  • Submit my work to ten publications.
  • Finish reading one book a month.
  • Perform at three readings.

II. The Personal

  • Set up and maintain a workout schedule three times a week by the first week of February.
  • Take one day a week for myself–to write personally, to get things done around the apartment, to make food for the coming week, do laundry, clean my work space, play video games, etc.
  • Write and adhere to a personal monthly budget.
  • Volunteer.
  • Find/start a band, and play at least one show.
  • Plan at least one road trip.
  • Plan a writer’s retreat+trip for January next year.
  • Acquire enough poster frames for all of my artwork.
  • Go to at least one Cards game.

The beginning of the year has to come to be a very significant time to me. At the beginning of 2010, I felt like everything in my life had dropped away and left me suspended, free-floating in empty space, and I couldn’t tell if I was flying or falling. Graduating from college felt like I had run a marathon and vaulted over a single last hurdle off the edge of a cliff with no base, no ground to crash to. I forced a minimal amount of writing, and mostly stopped altogether. 2011 started with a bang and a bruise, celebrating in Chicago for the first time with tons of significant people who, though they may not know it, help keep me driven even though they are typically far away. And I was, of course, playing the waiting game in many ways, including hearing about grad school admissions. As compared to the previous year, however, I believed in the direction I had come to, and was cutting through the air around me despite not having hit the ground yet.

On the front page of my datebook for 2011, I wrote an important note to myself to be read every time I opened it up–“Devote this year to love.” Over the course of the year, my understanding of love developed in incredible ways. Love–big love, capital-L Love, not just the kind you say to your family or your SO, but the way you feel about life and what’s in it and all the people and objects and places you will never know–is why I write, is one of the things at the center of me that makes me the person that I am. Life is too short not to genuinely extend yourself, the best part of yourself, to as many entities in as many ways as you can and to try to see them for what they are and what they can be, to try to understand them in the way they understand themselves and to be a force of exploration and curiosity and growth and passion in their existence, if only for a brief instant.

More than any other goals for 2012, I plan to devote this year to love. My feet brush the ground beneath with every step.

Merry something to all, and to all, a good something

  • Semester’s finished at last. I have a few last-minute things to iron out with scheduling, but everything seems to be shaping up rather nicely.
  • Plans: Dec. 22-29 in TX (currently underway); fancy NYE cocktail party in Chicago; Jan. 5-9 in Seattle; Jan. 9-16 in Portland; Jan. 19/20-23/24 in Springfield. I’m a hot commodity. Get me while you can.
  • Post-op recovery is going well–a few more weeks and I should be back in action, hitting the gym.
  • Expect the requisite NY2k12 goal list to start in the next few days, to be updated as we get closer to NYE.
  • Powering through Storm of Swords. These books are somehow far more ominous when you already know what’s going to happen, uuuugh
  • My substitute for this year’s Christmas ham: vegetable curry!

Happy holidays from a grumpy snowflake and a screech owl

Adventure Thursday!: Logan Hardware

On today’s edition of Adventure Thursday!, my esteemed colleague Cory and I set off in search of a magical land of 8-bit graphics and catchy booping tunes. And boy, did we find it…

The Chezmerelda Show

Most of the way through the final full week of classes, and I’ve turned in all my final projects for the semester. Home stretch home stretch home streeeeeeetch

Last week’s adventure to Dill Pickle went very well–a bit pricey for some, I’m sure, but worth it for the quality of goods obtained. I’d been looking for some good bulk granola and it turns out that they actually carry some of the most delicious granola on the planet, made here in ye olde Wicker Park at Milk & Honey Cafe (a place I have walked into, but have yet to actually eat/drink at–it always seemed to be a zoo when I passed by in the summer, but most restaurants on Division are). I did have to wander a little to find it–there’s no large signs outside, just one painted on the door, which I didn’t see until I parked a block or so away and walked along the side of the street I knew it was on.

Getting ready to go on my first documented ADVENTURE THURSDAY! today, so this post has gotta stay short. Commencing C-Fidd signature bullet-point-style update:

  • Going to my first ugly sweater holiday party, gotta find a suitably ugly masterpiece on the cheap
  • Still reading Storm of Swords, hoping to finish up my GRRM re-reading marathon over the break and get my Dance on
  • Watched The Fall for the first time last night, wowee wow wow
  • Got some srs bootz, also this scarf is super great
  • Leaving for DFW on Dec. 22
  • Got my new phone in the mail last weekend–if you haven’t already, please contact me using one of the previously detailed methods and let me know who you are so I can re-enter your contact information. My new phone has a stupid amount of features, so expect my inane twats to get a lot more frequent.
  • You guys sleeping is going to be so great, like the best ever
  • Expect to see a “Goals for 2012” post–more to for real hold myself accountable than anything else, but I’d appreciate everyone else holding me accountable, too. It’s helpful.
  • Post-op recuperation seems to be going pretty well–no more narcotics and less ibuprofen, although I am definitely achy after sitting for long periods of time (class and work) and after extensive amounts of walking around. Spending a lot of time on the couch under a blanket or using my entire bed as a work surface while I prop up and pull my heating blanket over my legs
  • If I know you IRL and you’re going to be in Chicagoland for NYE, you should probably let me know



A variety of things that are happening

In case you were wondering what I’ve been up to the last few days, as I have no phone:

I workshopped final projects every day of class last week before having minor outpatient surgery on Thursday morning. Friday, due to surgery-related discomfort, I was substantially late to a wedding rehearsal and dinner for some of my old No Strings Attached friends. They’d asked me and a bunch of other spectacular NSA alumni to perform Saturday at their wedding, so I lost my phone in the best possible way. The NSA supergroup was performing pre-ceremony for the groom (since neither he or the bride were going to have made their entrances before we sang), and I suppose I left my phone sitting on one of the chairs set up for the guests (I unfortunately can’t recall with as acute a level of detail as usual; I was on pain meds at the time). To date, no one has dropped it off at the hotel front desk (I called them from my roommate’s phone last night). I’d been planning on getting a new phone anyway, but I am pretty frustrated, especially given that I’ve needed to be in touch with the doctor’s office this week for obvious follow-up reasons. Sunday I spent looking for gifts at the Renegade Holiday Fair (and getting some small Laura Berger prints for myself because I love her work).

This week, I’ve tried to take it a little easier since I spent most of my days immediately post-op moving around a ton. Thank god for crit week!

If you’re unsure what crit week means (or misread it in my tweets), it’s short for critique week. For those of you who haven’t talked to me very recently/don’t keep up with the About page, I’m earning my MFA at a primarily visual art-oriented school. Writers are considered part of the “artist” category, and so we too turn in some samples of our work to be critiqued by a panel of faculty members and graduate-level peers. During the fall semester, this panel is comprised of people within your home department; in the spring, it’s an interdisciplinary panel. I submitted a monologue tentatively titled “The Hat Universe” from a triptych I’m currently working on and “Leaning,” the ever-evolving short story about a second-grader doing things she’s not supposed to in class (I wrote the original version in the spring of 2009 while taking John Rubins’s intermediate narrative class at U of I). I had an excellent panel and their feedback was exceptionally helpful. One crit down, three to go.

One of the boons of crit week is that classes are cancelled, so I’ve gotten to rest up and work from home the last few days (which has been nice, since I am phoneless). I’ve gotten a lot of forms filled out (insurance uuuuugh), a new phone ordered, snow boots obtained, cleaned the hell out of part of my bedroom (renewed my commitment to this blog…), you know. Boring things. Tomorrow I’ve got to get my oil changed and I’m making my first trip out to the Dill Pickle, which is moderately close to where I live. I get stupidly excited about grocery shopping. I’ve also been watching an absurd amount of Rugrats on Netflix (somehow related to the Dill Pickle?!).

Headed to Springfield this weekend to see my folks before I head to TX for Christmas. Last full week of class next week. Things yet to do: find an atrocious holiday sweater.

P.S. If you haven’t been keeping up with me on Twitter (and if not, shame on you! there’s a feed on the right side of this page if you want to check it out/subscribe to my bullshit, and I know you want to), here’s how you should get in touch with me during this time of phonelessness:

  • Tweet at me, fool! Get your twat on!
  • E-mail me at chelsea[dot]fiddyment[at]gmail[dot]com
  • Instant message me at the afore-mentioned e-mail address (I’ve left it up as away so people can use it like a voicemail inbox, leave me a note and I’ll get back to ASAP)
  • Hit me up on the Facespace, especially if we are fo’ real friends
  • Comment on this fucking blog! All over the place! Wherever you want! Or, you know, probably on this post, where it will make narrative sense.



It will probably be 2 months before I update again (let’s be real)

Things I’m reading for funsies:

  • Clash of Kings by GRRM (again)
  • Storm of Swords by GRRM (again)
  • Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender

Things on my list:

  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  • A Brief History of Authoterrorism edited by Gabriel Levinson
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Things I’ve cooked (that I hadn’t really made before):

  • a ton of potato soup
  • tempeh hash
  • egg & rice bowls
  • vegetable korma (with homemade paneer)
  • tempeh shepherd’s pie
  • pasta with white wine & veggies
  • vegan & gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
  • oatmeal & buttermilk pancakes
  • whatever’s in the fridge curry

A bunch of miscellaneous things:

  • First-time occurrences: getting laryngitis, collapsing on the subway, watching O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Hustler, and Black Dynamite, going to a bachelorette party, cleaning the sun room completely, becoming an aunt, filing insurance claims, blah blah
  • Projects I’m currently working on: two (2) new stories, a bunch of old works, a collection of text self-portraits, my photo project, a collaborative live-writing performance, a triptych of monologues, bunches of things (probably a text-based game in the near future, among other things)
  • Things I’d like to do here: update, finish my LotR live-blogging (maybe get back into it over January), include more cooking updates, offer more opinions/speculation on things about writing and publication (as well as inevitably, current events), start blogging Adventure Days with one of my program-mates

The Big Move, pt. 2

When we left our heroes, they had just enjoyed some fantastic pizza and beer from Piece after a long day of moving, and were trying to figure out what on earth they had so many keys for.

That’s a lot of keys, yo

The next morning, Allison’s parents ventured forth to forage for breakfast and coffee before heading for home and leaving us to our own devices. I began pondering the semantics of roommates as we went about our day.

We were quite internetless at this point, so I chronicled the day through Twitter. Some of you might have seen this:

It’s more like a work table (because when I work, I need room to spread out 8 million odds and ends around me).

I’ve only just now reached a point where I can use it to work on

Allison got to work on finding ways to open the windows so we could ventilate the apartment. At the time, only one of the windows in the sunroom would open (the other was off its track) and neither of the windows in the living room had cranks. Both of the bedrooms have one window with an A/C unit in it, so no go there, either. That left the bathroom window and the door to the outside stairs, which Allison figured out after some speculation about what someone had been thinking putting glass panels over screens. Needless to say, we put the screwdriver my parents bought for our tool kit to good use, and would once again the next day–Annual Global Consumerism Day, or July 4, on which Allison experienced IKEA for the first time.

The Big Move, pt. 1

It took me about a week to finish packing/offloading stuff before being ready to move…

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