Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Film Releases

I love movies.

As a humanities major in college and grad school, I had the opportunity to take several film classes. 

They ruined me.

I can't watch movies anymore without analyzing every scene, every line, every angle, every use of lighting.  It's a blessing and a curse. 

But I still love movies.  All kinds of movies.  I enjoy artistic, independent movies and romantic comedies alike. 

My favorite movies?  That's hard to say, but I am particularly fond of Fight Club and A Clockwork Orange (or anything from Kubrick, really) and other films like them.  And there have been lots of great films released lately. 

Have you seen the movie Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal?  Oh Jake Gyllenhaal.  He has been one of my favorites ever since I happened upon Donnie Darko with it's strange DVD cover - a young Gyllenhaal brandishing an axe with a man in a creepy rabbit suit in the background (it sounds crazy, but seriously, it's a great film). 

My husband and I watched Nightcrawler together and we both loved it.  Gyllenhaal's performance was amazing and the film offers a fresh plot and dialogue.  I've certainly never heard of people making money from filming crimes after hours and selling them to news stations, and I'm still not sure that it actually happens, but this plot in the film seems secondary to the true social commentary it portrays - that humans are selfish and will make attempts to get ahead no matter the costs.  Gyllenhaal's character, while strange and probably somewhere on the autism spectrum, gains momentum throughout the film as a sociopathic videographer, losing all sense of morality and (SPOILER ALERT) even going as far as to kill his partner in the end because he wasn't obedient enough and wanted too much money.  The film definitely struck me as a social commentary about humanity's treatment of humanity, and while I think Gyllenhaal's character was a bit of stretch in attempting to accurately portray this concept in society, it was overall a fresh, unique film with great performances from Gyllenhaal and his co-stars. 

Now after all of the Oscar wins, I just HAD to see Birdman.  I watched it tonight and was actually very impressed.  First off, the film reached some amazing technical feats with the extremely long shots and, secondly, I loved the performances by Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, and, of course, Edward Norton (who plays the "real" Tyler Durden in Fight Club).  The film is both strange and unique (which is right up my alley) and blurs the line between what is real and what isn't.  I think it definitely deserved the wins it received at the Oscars.

Justin and I also saw Theory of Everything last weekend and I was so excited when I found out Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his performance in the film as Stephen Hawking.  I thought the film was a beautiful tribute to the Hawking family and did a lovely job of portraying the relationship between Hawking and his wife and the struggles they experienced because of his ALS diagnosis.  I definitely recommend this film.  You will not be disappointed by Redmayne's performance.

Other films I've seen recently and enjoyed:

The Skeleton Twins with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader as twin brother and sister both dealing with some crazy life circumstances (that they brought on themselves).

What If with the wonderful Daniel Radcliffe and (my FAVORITE) Adam Driver.

Horns, another movie with Daniel Radcliffe based on the novel written by Stephen King's novelist son, Joe Hill.  (This movie is creepy and confusing at times, but worth watching).

Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson.  If you want to watch a confusing movie about an alien disguised as a human seduce and capture human men, this one is for you.  (In all seriousness, I actually really liked this film). 

Men, Women, and Children with Adam Sandler.  This movie didn't get great reviews, but I thought it was a refreshing look into what teenagers (and adults) have to deal with in this day and age. 

So these are my thoughts on some recent films.  Now get out there and support the art world!  (And let me know what your thoughts are on these films!)


I just had two more poems picked up for publication at NEAT Mag, a really cool literary publication that only showcases poetry and fiction from Midwestern writers.  Look for my work in the upcoming issue!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


My most recent publication with The Light Ekphrastic became available last night and I'm very excited about this project/collaboration.

I do art.  I do writing.  But as a writer, I've never done a collaboration with an artist on some ekphrastic poetry.

According to, here is the definition of ekphrastic poetry:

An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

So that's the aim of The Light Ekphrastic - to pair and artist and a writer and have them create a collaboration based on each other's work.  

I think this collaboration turned out wonderfully.

First off, I was paired with artist Brett Busang (you can view some of his work at  From the poems I submitted to the magazine, Brett chose to create a new painting based on my poem "Cat People."  His new painting is called A House in the Distance and is quite stunning.  It's all of the emotion I imagined coming from my poem.  From the paintings I had to choose from, I chose to create a new poem on Brett's painting, Rockpile.  The poem is called "Deed's Creek."

It's interesting that Brett chose to use the poem he did.  "Cat People" means a lot to me because I wrote it about my best friend, Cohen, and our experiences growing up together.  His interpretation of the poem through his painting really captured the emotion and the sadness I felt when writing the poem.  I love his painting and the title - A House in the Distance.  I chose the painting Rockpile because it immediately reminded me of a memory with my younger brother from our childhood.  When we moved into the house my parents live in now, it was one of very few houses in the subdivision and we were surrounded by empty lots.  It was great for my brother and I; we used to ride our bikes and build things together.  The poem "Deed's Creek" recalls many of our adventures together.

So I can't wait for you all to see this writer/artist collaboration and all the effort that went into it.  

Here's the link for The Light Ekphrastic website and to Issue 21 of the magazine:

And here's the direct link to my collaboration with Brett (poems and paintings) - I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working on it:

Here's a link to my writer bio along with Brett's:

As always, thanks for reading, my friends. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Feels like Going Home

Justin had another grad school class at Bethel this week, so this time I headed back to South Bend with him.  Let me tell ya, this place still feels like home.

I'm loving our time here so far.

We got into town Monday evening and met up with Natalie and Annie for late-night doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.  Natalie and Annie are two very sweet high school juniors who are near and dear to Justin and I.  They were a part of our youth group at our old church here and we were able to be their small group leaders and help mentor them.  We love them and it was great to catch up and see how things are going in their lives.

Tuesday was my 26th birthday!  I took Justin to class and went to some of my favorite South Bend spots (and also looked on in admiration at Notre Dame's campus - never thought I'd miss it).  I met my good friends Jill and Dawn for lunch at McAllister's Deli (LOVE) and we talked and caught up for three hours.  Jill is the leader for the St. Mary's Impact Bible study I was a part of while in South Bend.  That Bible study and the girls I shared life with there are very close to my heart.  They prayed with me every week while Justin was in the interview process for the job he has now in Ohio.  I love them and am so blessed to have them in my life.

After lunch, I went to my FAVORITE antique store in the whole world (Mishawaka Antiques in downtown Mishawaka) and went to a few other places before picking Justin up and starting my birthday celebrations.  We used my birthday coupon for a drink at Biggby Coffee and then headed to Niles, MI, for dinner at Pizza Transit (oh how I miss that place) and a movie at Wonderland Cinema (one of my favorite places in the whole world because of their amazing ticket and snack prices).  We totally saw The SpongeBob Movie:  Sponge Out of Water.  Hey, I may be 26 now, but I will never be too old for SpongeBob!

Today I took Justin to class again and met my good friend Samantha (we went to college and grad school together) for lunch at Scotty's Brewhouse, another one of my favorites.  We had a great time catching up (and I had my gourmet grilled cheese) and then I headed to downtown Niles to hit all of my favorite thrift stores and antique shops (I know, I have an old soul).  I picked Justin up after class and then we went to dinner with my in-laws and my nephew at Hacienda.  They had the staff come out with the birthday song and the sombrero and everything.  I feel loved.

Tomorrow I don't have any big plans, but I'm looking forward to visiting some of the places I've missed since we moved to Ohio.

Things I miss about South Bend:

1)  Notre Dame
2)  McAllister's Deli
3)  Scotty's Brewhouse (but luckily there is one in Fort Wayne which is closer to where I live)
4)  The short drive to Niles, MI (the ANTIQUE SHOPS and the THRIFT STORES and the PIZZA and the CHEAP movie theatre!!)
5)  Knowing every road like the back of my hand and not having to use my Google Maps to get everywhere
6)  Bethel College
7)  The University Park Mall
8)  My friends
9)  Whole Foods
10)  Super Target (they don't have them in Ohio!?)
11)  That feeling of "home"

It was been an amazing week so far.  Justin and I have been in Ohio for about three months now and I was starting to feel a little homesick.  This week is giving me just what I needed - a taste of home and time spent with old friends.

God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.

I had another publication this week at Poetry Pacific.  They accepted two of my poems for the upcoming spring issue which will be out May 5th!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

To Glue

I'm VERY excited to announce my first artwork publication forthcoming from Harbinger Asylum, a publication from Transcendent Zero Press.  Four of my collages will be featured in the upcoming edition of the journal.  I'm also excited to say that Harbinger Asylum will also be featuring two of my poems in the same issue.  Both of the poems are actually about the same subject, so I think they will fit together nicely.

Here's a link to the Transcendent Zero Press website:

Collage art is something very near and dear to my heart.  I had to take an art elective while I was working on my undergrad, so I took a class I knew nothing about that was titled "Narrative Collage" in the course catalog.  It turned out to be my favorite class I took as a college student.  The class focused on the Dada and Surrealist movements and how art changed and developed during that time in order for people to cope with a world that was in the midst of the chaos of war.  Artists and writers like Max Ernst and Rene Magritte were changing the definition of art by creating tensions between image and text in their work.  Artists were creating "readymades" or ordinary objects that were changed or altered in some way and called art.  Artists were creating art from "found objects," putting together collages from unexpected materials such as tickets, newspapers, magazines, and more.  This particular class focused on what has recently been termed "narrative collage," a loose literary term that refers to works that combine elements of image and text.  We created our own collages and 3D art pieces as well as a whole work of narrative collage that we self-published with Lulu.  An excerpt from my narrative collage, which was called Lights that Grow Dim over Time, was published in the IU South Bend literary magazine and I also read a portion from it at a live poetry reading in college.

My 3D art project made from Goodwill finds.  It's about my younger brother and  I titled it Baby.
My collage journal that I used in my narrative collage class and beyond.
My narrative collage piece about a trip I took to Florida in college complete with my own original photography.
Inside Lights that Grow Dim over Time.
I loved that class so much that when I got to my final year of graduate school and had to start working on my thesis, I proposed a narrative collage project to my panel of poets, fiction writers, and scholars.  Fortunately for me, they approved the project and my final thesis was a 100-page narrative collage I titled Like Las Vegas.  The project was about a young girl caring for her younger brother in the midst of a tumultuous family life.  The story was told through text and anatomical images and diagrams.

My graduate thesis (with original photography).
Two of the collages that will appear in this magazine are from my graduate thesis project.

The other two are collages I've put together in the years since my college studies.

Did you know the term "collage" comes from the French word "coller" which means "to glue"?

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out some back issues of Harbinger Asylum to help support emerging artists and writers, small presses, and the art and literary community as a whole!