Friday, June 29, 2012


Thursday night, around 2 am, when I was still awake playing solitaire on my iPod, I had this sudden realization. I won, I thought. I won third place in the Rexburg Poetry Slam. Holy crap. HOLY CRAP. THIRD PLACE. And then I stayed awake for another 10 minutes, letting the adrenaline finish coursing. Then I finally fell asleep. It was like my brain had to finish processing the event, and when it had come to that realization, I could sleep. 

Anyway, I know it's the tiny Rexburg Poetry Slam. But I told Jacob last night that if I could sum up the experience in one word, it would be validating. I think I could go through my whole life being fairly confident in my abilities as a poet. I am not Anne Sexton or Robert Frost or Sylvia Plath. But I am Liz Chapman, and I'm a pretty decent poet. But it was a pretty awesome experience to have a whole room full of people think so too. I'm really really grateful. And I was also very impressed with the other poets there, and honored to be there with them.

Especially since standing in front of people and performing your poetry is just about the scariest thing ever. I was chatting with some of the other poets (who were all incredibly talented) and we had this conversation: 

Me - Someone once said that acting is standing in front of an audience, completely naked, and rotating slowly. I've always agreed, but after doing this, I don't think acting is that. Because you have a costume. POETRY is standing naked and rotating slowly. 
Other Poet - Yeah. It's like you're naked AND on fire. 

True story. 

Anyway, here's the poem I performed. I also did one about a pig for the finalist round, but posting two poems feels like tooting my own horn way more than I already am, so I'll just post this one. This poem was the first one I ever wrote with the idea of performing it in mind. It was actually totally different, and then I did it for my sister Beckah and she gave me a brilliant critique and I changed a ton. So I guess half of that free pie-shake I won Thursday night goes to Beckah. 

Marginalia, or “You Dear Sweet Fragile Little Thing”

I mean,
Billy Collins said it was one thing,
but here
is what it means.

It means margarine instead of butter in all the bread
she baked for 20 years
in the oven that could have ended everything
at any moment
had she stayed leaning down
for long enough
just long enough.
Just by a slim margin
long enough.

Another girl,
she was only 14 but
they put her in the margins
when they said
you are responsible for that man’s thoughts
don’t bare your ankles
and don’t lean over your books
that way
you’ll get top-heavy, girl.

When my sister was born
people put her in the margins.
They told her
what color was her color
without looking into her eyes
to see every light-spectrum color there
in a pattern that was all her own,
coloring outside all the lines
that they tried to give her
when they said
“This is a man’s world.”

And me.
Me, I have walked through
my own garage under
the heavy stare of a man
who was there to fix the air
when I was 16 years old
and didn’t know what it was
he was thinking about my teenage legs.
And if I could
walk past him again,
I would start reciting
Shakespeare at the top of my lungs
just to show him
how much godhood these two legs
are actually holding up.

My friends,
there are women who
are wearing makeup and
Beatles t-shirts beneath their
despite the fact that no one will see them,
despite the fact that they cannot drive a car,
despite the fact that they cannot appear in public alone
they wear what they want just to scream to themselves
that they still have a choice.

My friends,
when the magazines
tell you what position
will give you power
they are telling you
to try to change the world
from the margins.

But you
you are
words that belong
not between the lines
but all over that page.
And when they say
don’t bare your ankles
and when they say
try this position
and when they say
this is your color
you tell them
it is your book
you tell them
it is your page
and you tell them
that your words
were meant to be read. 

Also, last night was the final push of validation I needed to make this announcement: 

This is a mock-up cover design for the book of poetry I've decided to self-publish. Like, available on and maybe even at the Idaho Falls Barnes and Noble self-publish (but I'll get a higher royalty if you buy it from createspace...I'll tell you more about that later). I've spent a lot of time researching and thinking about this, and I've decided to go for it. It'll probably be available sometime in the Fall. (I've actually been working on it for a while...) Just in time for Christmas.

So blog-readers, start saving money now! I promise I'll make this as affordable as possible, though, so you probably don't actually need to start saving money now. This book will have some new stuff and some old stuff and maybe some art stuff. I'll keep ya posted!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The "red" maple leaf

Perhaps it's un-Christian of me to post this, but in my defense, when I found it, the names and pictures were not blacked/blurred out. I did that. (Therefore, I'm a good Christian. Right? Right?)

And I can't help but think this is funny. Although after laughing, I hung my head and sighed for the state of America's general critical thinking skills.

These people may be in for a surprise:

I guess I'm posting this not to mock people, but as a rallying cry for people to do research before speaking out.

Overheard in Broulims yesterday

KID: Mom, can we get some snacks?
MOM: No, honey, I'm sorry.
KID: (whining) But Mooooom I'm so hunnnggrrryyy!
 MOM: I don't know when you're NOT hungry.
KID: (whining) Moooommmm--
MOM: Are you whining?
KID: (long pause while contemplating, then whining) Noooooo...

Friday, June 22, 2012


Today is one of these days:

Some more Ben & Jerry's and another documentary for me, thanks. Maybe this one won't be as lame as the stupid "Legend of the Crystal Skull" one was...

image via the hyperbolic Allie Brosh

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sans fear

I've been afraid of using sans serif fonts for a while. I don't know why. I really like them when they're used well.

Anyway, I picked up a few beauties from this amazing name-your-price trendy typeface website, and I've been designing up a storm ever since then.

Exhibit A: This blog's new look. Still working out a few kinks, but so far, I like it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Concerts, haircuts, and mo-peds (but mostly concerts)

This entry is about 4 blog entries in one. I gotta catch up, here. 

It's been a busy few weeks. Two Three weeks ago, Jacob and two of his sisters and I went and saw Feist in concert in Boise. Then I spent last week painting in West Yellowstone, which was pretty fun except for the horrid cold that I nursed there and which I still haven't recovered from. Then it was Bill Cosby, then a visit from my sister/a friend's wedding. Oh, and I bought myself an awesome graduation present in there too, even though I still have to do student teaching and so technically haven't graduated yet.

But that's neither here nor there.

Wanna hear about seeing Feist?

You may know Feist from the creative and delightful music video of her hit "1-2-3-4" a few years ago. But if that's all you know of this artist, you need to get more into her because she's effing brilliant. Jacob discovered the Canadian star about the same time I did, and because of her, always told people he wanted to serve his mission in Canada. (Incidentally, his second area was her hometown of Amherst--how awesome is that?!) I discovered her summer of 2006 when JD Taylor lent me the album "Let It Die," which I listened to about twice a day for two weeks before he asked for it back.

She just released a new album called "Metals," and we found out that she'd be in Boise on May 29th. And five hours is totally worth it. So we bought tickets, convinced Jacob's parents to let us bring Camilla and Laura, changed the oil in our car, and went.

And it was awesome.

The venue was this awesome outdoor arena, which used to be the playing yard of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. It was built in 1870 and closed in 1973 after inmate riots about living conditions (way to stick up for yourselves, guys and girls). It's supposed to be all kinds of haunted. The gallows are still standing inside the prison itself.

But before we got to the venue, like, maybe two minutes before, we were totally rear-ended. Yep. A block and a half away from Feist, and we got hit. Jacob swore very loudly, which he didn't realize until we told him about it later. We really weren't hit too hard; we were stopped, and the person behind us was going 20 mph tops, but it still did a good amount of damage.

(Note the rope now holding our trunk closed? We couldn't get it open for a while after the accident, but once we did, we couldn't get it closed again.)

We pulled over, exchanged information with the other driver, and then because we were so close and the car still seemed to be running and we had just driven 5 hours to see this concert, we just ignored the car and went to the concert.

Where we were promptly accused by a drunk man of stealing $30 out of his wife's purse, which we were apparently supposed to be watching. Jacob and the man had words, I finally told the guy to go get a cop to come talk to us if he really had a problem, Jacob had more words, then the wife came over and apologized (equally drunkenly) for the misunderstanding. The people behind us kindly offered to buy Jacob a drink after the altercation, but we declined. 

A group called "Mountain Man" opened for Feist, and they were awesome. Here they are in all their awesomeness:

They were like this Appalachia, hippie version of the Andrews Sisters. They sang this song called "River," and I bought their album "Made the Harbor" mostly because of it. But part of the reason they were awesome was because they were all gorgeous, and they were all gorgeous because they didn't care what society says is gorgeous. None of them wore makeup, none of them shaved their legs or armpits. They didn't wear bras or accessories. None of them did their hair. And they were awesome for it.

They also sang with Feist as backup singers through the whole show, and knocked it out of the park. We know this because, as I mentioned in a previous entry, we were sitting here:

You know. Just...front and center. So that when Feist came on with her big floppy hat and her awesome guitar, we had this view:

See, here's Jacob and I hanging out with Leslie Feist:

(Jacob's hair is sort of silly in this. But we're happy to see Feist.) Here's a picture of the girls:

This picture was taken shortly after Camilla and Laura turned around and said excitedly and in unison, "She talked to us!" Which was totally true. Feist had introduced a song by saying that they wrote it during sound checks, but it was a song from her new album. After the song, she said, "I lied. We didn't write that at sound checks. But you probably knew that. I know you guys knew that; I saw you guys saying to each other that you knew the song." The "you guys" in the last sentence was Laura and Camilla.

So basically, we're best friends with Feist now.

Here's one last picture that I stole from some Boise online newspaper:

There's Mountain Man crooning in the background there. You also can't tell from this picture, but Feist has great legs. Anyway, the concert was amazing, and they played "Undiscovered First" live, which was amazing (and is one of my favorite songs from the new album), and toward the end of the show, we were invited into super-awkward dancing/hugs/swaying by drunken maybe-lesbians, and everyone was barefoot, and the sun set as music filled the air.

So that was fun.

And then Jacob shaved his beard and cut his hair (actually he did that before the concert),

(Isn't he handsome in that last picture? The light is so good.)

and my sister came and visited cut HER hair (to a satisfyingly round-headed buzz),

and I bought a mo-ped.

It's a Kymco People 150, and I bought it with the graduation money I had been given and saved. And I adore it. I named it Eden, because it's the first 2-wheeled vehicle I've ever owned, and Eden was a place full of firsts. And because this bike is fun and funky, just like a baby-sitter named Eden that I had when I was a kid. She had a bead curtain in her bedroom doorway and a pottery wheel in her closet. I feel like this bike has a similarly free spirit. I've put over 250 miles on it already.

Doesn't it make you want to eat ice cream? Or visit Rome? Or both?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Really Good Ideas I've Had Lately

Not being able to sleep, and deciding to watch Law & Order: SVU, by myself, in an old hotel at the edge of the woods in a very very very small town. (While I was up in West Yellowstone doing a painting gig. Jacob stayed behind in Rexburg to work. We both got horrid colds, and missed each other.)

Buying a shelving unit from K-Mart when my transportation is a moped.*

Eating two brownies for lunch. AND dinner. (That's 4 brownies total, people. I feel awesome and kind of like crap.)

Watching "Grey Gardens" from beginning to end, even though I'm home alone. It's disturbing and now I feel weird.

Letting Baby Kaitlynn play with a roll of toilet paper while I baby-sit. She never used to eat it, but she's developed raptor reflexes and it's hard to stop her from putting it in her mouth. (I've managed to swipe everything she's tried to swallow, but maybe we'll stick with rattles and board books from now on.)

*More on the moped later.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Casting Gatsby*

Hey, blog-readers. I've got a huge back-log of blog entries sitting in "draft-land" at the moment, so expect a handful of entries over the next few days. I'll start with this one.

As many of you know, Baz Luhrman's film adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" is nearing release. You can watch the trailer here. And I admit it, I was pretty excited about the trailer. I think Baz Luhrman captured the desperate, and at times grotesque, hysteria of the twenties in a way that is relevant to modern audiences. (Even though Bob Fosse did it just as accurately in Cabaret, without crossing any "obscenity" lines. Which is more than most directors of the show do, and more than Baz Luhrman may do, to be honest.) Anyway, my friend Allison has qualms about the film. You can read them here, but the basic gist of her arguments are:

Leonard DiCaprio = too tortured and old to play Gatsby. Gatsby should be young and naive.
Carey Mulligan = too young and serious to play Daisy. Daisy is selfish and flighty. (Although Mulligan's got the look.)

And I agree with Allison on these points. She challenged her blog readers to come up with their own casting. So here's what I've come up with. I've given you some of my early considerations before giving you my final casting. 

Gatsby considerations: 
Tom Hiddleston - Maybe it's because he played Fitzgerald himself in "Midnight in Paris," but I think he's got the right look and can play Jazz Age childish naivete well.
Ryan Gosling - Okay, maybe not. But maybe. The guy can do little wrong in my book. And he's got great chemistry with Michelle Williams (see choices for Daisy). He might be a little to angsty, though. No, angsty isn't the right word...tortured. Gatsby isn't actually tortured, I don't think. He only thinks he is...he likes to be, almost. Young lost love and all that. I don't know if Gosling is innocent enough.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Here's my best pick. He's got that "All-American Boy" look, he's about the right age, and he can play naivete honestly and sympathetically (500 Days of Summer, anyone?). I think he's a very talented actor who can imbue the character of Gatsby with the smiling, childish denial he needs. 

Daisy considerations: 
Kiera Knightly - Okay, but hear me out. Try to erase Pirates of the Caribbean from your mind. Think "A Dangerous Method." Or "Never Let Me Go." Or even "Pride and Prejudice." I'm just not sure if she can play the "flightiness" well enough.
 Charlize Theron - She DID win an Oscar in 2001. She's pretty, also about the right age. She can also do a lot more than people give her credit for ("Rita corny, Michael"), and I'd be interested to see what she could do with this role.
Michelle Williams - Once again, I've saved my favorite pick for last. Because remember how she played Marilyn Monroe in "My Week With Marilyn" and was freaking AWESOME? I think she can play Daisy with all the selfishness and foolishness the part demands without allowing it to be 2-dimensional. And she looks the right age. And she's a knock-out. And "her voice is full of money."

Nick considerations: 
I thought of a huge handful of people for this one: Jude Law, Ewen McGreggor, James Franco. Morgan Freeman. (J/K.) Partly because I don't care as deeply about Nick as a character, but I think I landed on one I like.
Daniel Radcliffe - I know, this is another weird one. But he's got those striking eyes, and Nick serves as an observer for the story. (A nice Dr. T.J. Eckelberg parallel.) Daniel Radcliffe also seems very able to convey thought without needing to talk. He might be a wee bit too young, though.

I like Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker. Maggie Gyllenhaal could do it, too. There's an enchanting straighforwardness about both actresses. A masculinity that doesn't seem to detract from their femininity.

So there's my recasting: 
Gatsby - Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Daisy - Michelle Williams
Nick - Daniel Radcliffe

But Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan retains the role of Meyer Wolfsheim. Because that's effing awesome. (Even though SRK remains the Bollywood king of my heart. And the eternal love of Anjali and Rahul, in its infinite forms, is the greatest love of all cinema.)

* "Casting Gatsby" sounds like a tongue-twister. It's not. It's actually pretty easy to say several times very quickly. But it's got all those crunchy consonants that make it sound like it would be a tongue-twister. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Turn off Jersey Shore and watch this instead

As regular readers of my blog know, I'm addicted to documentaries. (I'm addicted to learning in general, actually. Man, what a buzz that gives me.) The website Top Documentary Films is one of my very favorite corners of the internet. Anyway, a while back, I recommended a handful of documentaries that I've enjoyed. And now, here are some more.

The History of Chocolate
Not terribly thrilling, but a short and enjoyable special about chocolate, with emphasis of its journey from bitter to sweet and American chocolatiers.

Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer
Oh, how I love melodramatic titles and cheesy reenactments. This is a pretty cool special that actually focuses more on an archeological find of what might be Cleopatra's SISTER, and how this discovery is filling in some holes in a history that's been almost completely swallowed in myth. Lots of family/political intrigue, and come on, how cool is forensic archeology?

Stealing Lincoln's Body
Did you know that 11 years after Lincoln's assassination, a band of Chicago counterfeiters hatched a plot to steal the President’s body from its tomb outside Springfield, Illinois, and hold it for a ransom of $200,000? And that they kind of almost succeeded? They should put THIS stuff in the history books, man.

Ancient Apocalypse: The Minoans
These were hecka cool people, the Minoans. For a while, archeologists believed that the Minoan civilization was the catalyst for the myth of Atlantis. And while it was too bad that their entire civilization got wiped out by a volcano, the ash conveniently preserved a lot.

The Story of India
India is awesome. This documentary proves it. Six awesome freaking hours of India. 

The Mystery of the Romanovs
Remember that awesome animated movie of "Anastasia"? It's totally awesome. But this is a case where the truth is even stranger than fiction. The myth of Anastasia didn't arise from a story about a kitchen boy helping her through a hole in the wall. It arose because after she and her sister were shot at point-blank range in the cellar of the building they were being imprisoned in, she and her sister sat up and started screaming. And Rasputin didn't have anything to do with why. But I'm not telling you why. Go watch it.

Oh I love documentaries. There's also this great series on called Ancients Behaving Badly, which I want to watch just because the name is hilarious. I'll let you know what I think.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to finish watching Cracking the Color Code, all about the scientific, anthropological and emotional explanations and history of how we perceive color. 

image via