Thursday, September 24, 2020

Musings From a Spazzy Crafter

Is a craft still my own when I feel like I am an assistant? I struggle with this question often.

I am working on a friendship bracelet and someone is working with me on it because I have trouble tying knots. The person makes the knot and I pull it tight. Is that my creation?

Does it matter how much help is needed? Does it matter the type of
help that is needed? If I string beads for bracelets but need help finishing the bracelets, can I still claim them as mine?

How do I show appreciation for people that help me create?

These are some of the questions that go through my head.

Do you struggle with these questions while you're crafting?

Musing and making,

Spazzy Crafter

P.S. The next post will be about card making.

Jennifer's Thoughts:  Personally, I think it depends on a few factors. If you need significant help on a type of project and are doing it as a business, giving your helper a share in the profits might be the way to go. If you're making something just for a gift, perhaps thanking them is all you need. Always work out what is expected beforehand. 

Little things like having someone tie a knot doesn't invalidate your ownership of the creation. You could consider the amount of time it takes for someone to help you, or how much of the project you need assistance with to determine if what you're working on is a collaboration. That's the thing: Even if you both put in equal amounts of effort, you are collaborating with someone to make something gorgeous and are not an assistant. It doesn't mean you're less of an artist (the design was still your idea, and you're providing labor and materials). It just means what you give to the person helping you depends on their amount of labor.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

gears by Su Zi (a Poem)


all night long I watch the traffic lights change,

and I listen for the coming of ice.

the police come and pet my hair.

day comes with watery shadows on the white walls

it comes with orange juice

rice taped into a diary

and the pale moments of tenderness with the cat.

but still every week I dream I lose my teeth

standing at a pay phone




and still there are those long dead weeds

at the freight yard

where I sit in my wheelchair

pulsing with the speech of steel.

Su Zi is a poet/writer and artist/printmaker and edits, designs and constructs the eco-feminist poetry chapbook series Red Mare
Publications include poetry, essays, stories and reviews that date back to pre-cyber publishing, including when Exquisite Corpse was a vertical print publication, and a few editions of New American Writing. More recent publications include Red FezAlien Buddha and Thrice. A resident of the Ocala National Forest, with a dedicated commitment to providing a safe feeding respite for wild birds, and for a haphazard gardening practice that serves as a life model for all aspects of her work.

Friday, September 11, 2020

New Workshop in Ableism

One of the tiny positives of our current world is the switch from in-person events to virtual ones.  No wondering if the conference is accessible for wheelchair-users!  No more fatigue from long flights!  Everything is just a bit more open to disabled and neurodivergent folks than it was before (barring website accessibility barriers and cost).

In July on Twitter, I saw someone advertising a two-week poetry workshop for fifty dollars. When a two-hour workshop can cost seventy-five dollars, fifty seems like a steal.  

I emailed the coordinator with a list of questions. Yes, the virus is what caused her to start workshops online. She has had multiple years of in-person workshops with all different kinds of people in attendance (specifically brought up LGBT+ folks and PoC). She mentioned that she's a graduate of Prestigious Writing Program. It was a nice response. I wrote her again and asked if there were any visibly disabled people who ever taught her workshops.

She responded:  "There are no divisive topics in the workshop."

Okay... what topics? She practically gushed about inclusiveness and how important it was in her first email. Surely, she couldn't mean disabled people were divisive!

I asked for clarification.  I thought she wrote an email meant for someone else.

Her tone was totally reversed from our first email.  She started using smaller words and became condescending. The workshop wasn't for teaching disabled people how to write "cute, little stories for their own good" but was for "serious, professional writers".  Instructors wouldn't have time to "babysit" people through trauma or "forming thoughts".

I replied one last time and assured her I wasn't asking for art therapy.  I told her many disabled people are professional, published writers.  Some of them might even pay to take her damn workshop!

Her last reply was simply,  "I don't think this is the place for someone like you".
As of writing this, I haven't seen anything else on social media about the workshop.  The post that talked about it on Twitter is gone.  There is no website with the name (though she said it wouldn't be up officially until autumn).  Did she change her mind?  Was it a scam (though, I don't know why she wouldn't scam crips)?  If I drop the name here, will she just change it?

I promise to keep you updated if anything happens.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Two Poems by Kathryn O'Driscoll


Bones dislocate from rawened sockets
as the perception of self is wrenched and wrecked aside.
Rib-bones snap and contract sharply concave:
they form a brackenel nest of the interlocking twig fingers
of mothers, of sisters, of brothers and starlight 
the defences set in sticks, in stones, in love, bend
and readjust to allow the shards of cartilage to slip inside
and pierce through a tough exterior, to the heart of the matter.
Dislocate everything and reassemble it differently
because we, ( I ), we, see what you might not;
you’re fucking beautiful.
An Elegy, A Eulogy

My body is a slow motion funeral. 
It is the shrieks of loss, echoing in a church's vaulted ceilings.
It is the reverberation in the votives flickering. 
It is stained glass liquifying in the sun
and dripping out of its frames,
tearfuls down the ledges. 
My body is an elegy, a eulogy, 
a goodbye long overdue. 
My body is a roof beam coming down on the whole damn place,
hymns and all. 
Biography:  Kathryn O'Driscoll is a spoken word poet, writer and activist from Bath who talks openly about her disability and mental health in her wide range of poems. Aside from performing poetry across the South West; she’s also a Bristol slam champion who has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, at multiple UK National competitions and on BBC Radio Bristol. She has a first class degree in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Deaf Girl Reviews Music: Yote Magus by Su Zi

Image:  A carved, block print of a standing person with wings. They are blue with raised arms. To the left of the print are the artist's tools.

We were told to stay home.

As we turned even more to our communication devices, our cloudy realities, the concerts and festivals came within reach—we saw performances by artists who were, like us, too at home—there was art and music and models catwalking their kitchens. Somehow the algorithms shifted, and it was easier to find the outsiders, those few in followers who also showed their art, had been showing their art. From a graphic perspective, Instagram presents art in a way that is artist-viewing friendly, and there’s always the hope to see a dress or some pottery that lifts us for a moment. It was in searching for interesting printmaking, that so there appeared a printmaker whose work was consistently stunning: vibrant and sensual, technically perfect—Yote Magus.

When art is encountered online, the experience is compressed by the presentation features of the device; we lose scale, and our experience is with the kernel of the idea and the physical perception of it. The printmaking presented by Yote Magus was so visually forceful that the experience of it as a handheld image did not diminish a perceptible power. In following this account, viewers were treated to not only printmaking process videos, but also animation shorts, and finally, a dancing skeleton video that was a short for a full musical composition, “Really, Bitch”.

Beginning with a tom-tom beat and a whisper, the single vocalist relates a narrative of betrayal; however, rhyme is not rigid in the lyrical construct, it is used as a highlight to the narrative, as in “rain/gold chain”. The song itself is an interplay of layered rhythms, much in the way that the artist layers colors in his prints. In the song’s circumstance, the percussion beat emphasizes both the tom-tom downstroke, and a top hat emphasis on all but the second beat, in the standard tetrameter (4/4)—which is then layered with the whispered narrative. The music progresses alongside the narrative, until the two become entwined on the chorus phrase “really, bitch”. From a metrical perspective, this phrase is a construct of three syllables in a Stressed-Unstressed-Stressed pattern that might be notated as either half-notes or as an amphimacer, an atypical construction. Towards the song’s last minute, the chorus shifts and becomes “something”, a more common trochaic construction of two beats, with the first as foremost. And while the lyrical construct of the song provides a storyline where the emotion is refreshingly perceived (as opposed to the too common fatigue brought by fashionable, emotional yammering), it’s the insistence on the entwined meter that makes this song so replayable: it’s a danceable beat.  The metrics of the song encourage a salsa step that is both subtle and potent, the listener becomes participatory, the whispered voice becomes an incantation.

When we find something striking, resonant, there is the sigh of pleasure, and then we look to see “Who Made This?”. More academic minds are easily satisfied by a research of authorship that may strike others as a snobby form of “Who’s Your Daddy?”. Nonetheless, although “Really, Bitch” appears to be the solo offering of Yote Magus on Apple iTunes, the Instagram account yields a searchable name and the appearance of the artist on other platforms. We discover that the artist is Peruvian, has followers, follows hashtags of hawk tattoos, but consistently posts work that is visually and acoustically captivating.

For those of us who are Staying Home, for whom certain of our limited joys Outside no longer exist, finding the unusual online is a focused aspect of our lives. It is now dangerous for us to fling ourselves into the contaminated throng, and so the online art we can find becomes crucial. And despite the iconic horror symbols and mythological imagery Yote Magus employs in his prints, the lyrics of “Really, Bitch” are as current as the 2020 copyright, as current of that of a thieving drug addict and of a life that is far too street for staying at home, if there is a home. And in our homes thousands of miles away, we find a music that is almost cheerful in rhythm, decidedly danceable, despite a gritty reality portrayed in the lyrics. And in this we find a gift—the luxury of finding an artist , and doing so from a point of relative safety.

Su Zi is a poet/writer and artist/printmaker and edits, designs and constructs the eco-feminist poetry chapbook series Red Mare
Publications include poetry, essays, stories and reviews that date back to pre-cyber publishing, including when Exquisite Corpse was a vertical print publication, and a few editions of New American Writing. More recent publications include Red FezAlien Buddha and Thrice. A resident of the Ocala National Forest, with a dedicated commitment to providing a safe feeding respite for wild birds, and for a haphazard gardening practice that serves as a life model for all aspects of her work.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Fog by Joshua P. Sorensen

Phantom pain! or is it real?
I should know... I do know this.
So simple, like swimming.
Swimming through mud.
Hands quiver.
Medicine helps that.
No drug clears the fog.
The easy, the difficult, the now unreachable.
I slap my head.
Fails to clear the mind.
Makes me feel better.
Expectation management
The key to my survival.
I am not what I was,
But I am still great.

Maybe, I’ll just stay in today
Biography:  Joshua P. Sorensen is from Orem, Utah (United States).  He graduated with a Masters of Military History from Norwich University. His extensive travels inspire him to write poetry and short fiction. Drawn to horror writing, he particularly enjoys writing monster fiction. His other loves include history, nature, and all things geek. Joshua’s current life goal is to bring delightful chills to all ages, particularly the young. His children’s picture books are available online or at your favorite bookseller. He is a member of the HWA and LUW. He can be found on Facebook: #SorensenVagabondWriter and Amazon:

Friday, August 14, 2020

Me at My Most Vulnerable by Lisa Jones

I want to hide within myself
Away from everyone and everything
Voices natter inside my head
Feelings swell
Insecurities rise
I don’t know how to control them
A blinding fear overtakes
Flutters in my chest
Brings tears to eyes
A croak in my voice
I’m afraid to make too much noise
Others will hear
See the real me
The one with a degenerative illness
The one who is weak
Has been abandoned
Despite all she gave
The one who feels unloved
Even though all she wants is to be loved
This is me
Me at my most vulnerable
Biography:  Lisa Jones writes poetry as a form of therapy. She lives in Ontario, Canada.