The Great Grinchy Giveaway

mood: decidedly un-Grinchy | drinking: stuff

xmas_books

People keep telling me it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t necessarily believe it… there are lots of other times of the year that are arguably more wonderful than this.

But I’m going to shrug off my inner Grinch and just go for the holiday cheer this year. Strap on your helmet.

This year, for the first time ever, I’m instituting what may very well become a yearly tradition: The Great Grinchy Giveaway. I’ll need your help though.

Here’s how it will work:
The first 5 people to respond in the comments (here on She Says, NOT on Facebook) will receive a shiny free poetry book complete with an autograph so you can sell it for 20 bucks when I’m rich and infamous.

You get to choose which book: Shedding the Angel Skin or The Secrets of Falling. And I’ll throw in some lovely postcards for you, as well. (You can even request which postcards you’d like to receive.)

All you have to do is comment down below and tell me two things:
1. Who’s your favorite poet ever: Tennyson? Bukowski? Frost? Eliot? Plath?
2. Which book would you like to get for free?

In order to comment, you’ll have to become a registered “user” of this site, by means of the little link which is either over there on the right under “Login” or down below this post under “Leave a Reply.” That way I’ll have your email address and I can congratulate you on your winnings and get your snail mail address. It only takes two seconds. Or maybe five.

This is a great time for all you secret lurkers to come out from under the bushes and wave hello. I know you’re out there. Don’t be shy.

So, how about it? Want a free book? (If you’ve already got a copy, you could always gift it to a friend. I’m all about helping you out with your holiday shopping list.)

Ready? Set? Comment!

-Lo, getting her wrapping paper ready.

{UPDATE 12/10/09:} I’ve got my 5 winners, even though several of you had trouble getting WordPress to let you add a comment here! I apologize for your troubles. Hopefully that pesky problem is now fixed, thanks to my trusty webmaster. But those of you who were determined and sent me emails have been added to the list of winners. So: Anna, Charmaine, Jennifer, Maria & Amy can all expect to receive shiny packages in the mail very soon. And Eric, you’re getting one too, just because you’re special. Thanks, everyone!

-Lo, off to the P.O.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Mood: Diligent | Drinking: Soon

future

If you read that title and you’ve now got a Joss Whedon tune ringing in your ears, join the club. If not, well, congrats. You are not as big of a nerd as you think you are.

I, however, am a huge nerd. And I’m definitely feeling the “what’s next?” vibe, though not bursting into song just yet.

Every big undertaking (in this case, the revamp of this website) has a big payoff in the form of fluffy clouds of euphoria. But the payoff is usually promptly followed by a letdown. You’ve been so busy and so focused for so long, and now you’ve reached the pinnacle, you’ve achieved your goal. So then you start looking for the next mountaintop. You start wondering where you’re gonna go next.

I never have a shortage of artistic ambition. A lack of energy, time, and direction, yes. But never a lack of hare-brained schemes.

Fortunately, the post-project dip is a shallow one this time. I’m already on to the next thing — this Saturday, in fact, which is the first of 3 or 4 non-consecutive days of cinépoem shooting. We start filming Homogeneous this weekend, with fearless volunteers Jimmy and Emanuela, who have already recorded some pretty badass vocal tracks.

Homogeneous is one of the most ambitious cinépoems Shel and I have done so far, although this one doesn’t involve any bunny suits or fake blood. It’s a three-parter and involves some tricky coordination, so it might be awhile before the finished product makes a grand debut. But it will be worth the wait.

I have a few other ideas up my sleeve as well. It’s only been 2 years since The Secrets of Falling came off the presses, but I’m starting to have dangerous ideas about a new printed piece.

And there are always new small projects, postcards and prints and things, to do with Kathy. So I’m in no danger of being bored.

Meanwhile, beyond this website and all the fun poetry projects it encompasses, life continues to move and change in new and strange ways. Boy and I have decisions to make, but it’s one of those domino things where one leads to another which leads to another, but you can’t go anywhere until the first domino falls. I’ll let you know where they land… when they land.

Speaking of all that’s new and fun, what do you think of the new site? Comments are open now, remember? Be sure to leave your mark. How else will I know that you’ve been here?!

-Lo, who thinks that 39-year-old straight white dudes who are tone deaf should not walk around the office singing Beyonce, if they want to maintain their dignity.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Mood: Celebratory | Drinking: *Clink*

water1

Come on in, the water’s fine!

I’m so very pleased to introduce you to ladonnawitmer.com, version 4.0. She’s been a long time coming — nearly a year, in fact, and I couldn’t be happier that I finally get to show her off to the world.

I’d like to give you a quick tour, but first I have to thank a few people who pulled a lot of strings and spent a lot of their late-night and weekend time to make this happen.

First, let’s talk about my far-away friend Eric Oehrl, working his Flashmaster magic out there in the wilds of Michigan. The nifty navigation over there on the left? That’s Eric. The amazingly awesome Flash movie that now introduces this site (lovingly dubbed “the cinébyte”) — that’s Eric, too. EO, my friend, without you, none of this would have been as moving. I bow down before your mad skilz. You rule.

Next, the ever-lovely Miz Kathy Azada. My partner in various crimes, misdemeanors and art projects. Kathy has already brought one miracle to life in the form of our art & poetry book, The Secrets of Falling. And have you seen all those must-collect postcards in our shiny new Store? Those are all designed by the fabulous Kathy, too. My friend, you make all things lovely. Thanks for dreaming with me.

None of these dot com shenanigans would ever have happened if not for one mister Chris Brown, my fearless web guru. It was he who came to me sometime last year and said, “We’re gonna redo your website.” And I was all, “Pshaw, why? I like it the way it is.” And he said, “No, trust me, we can make it better.” And I’m so friggin’ glad I listened! Chris, if this site doesn’t get you a truckload of new clients, nothing will. Thank you a thousand times over.

If you’re wondering who shot all these gorgeous underwater photos, may I direct your attention to my all-too-often behind-the-scenes husband, Bruce. One day last summer whilst on vacation in Mexico, I pulled a red ball gown out of my suitcase, handed him a waterproof camera and said, “Let’s go down to the pool.” One hour and lots of “1-2-3-holdyourbreath” counts later, we had a roll of film (yes, old school) full of aqua and red. (Check out Bruce’s gallery to see all the photos from the underwater shoot.) Thanks for going along with my crazy scheme, Bruce. As always, I owe you one.

Be sure to click around this site from top to bottom, starting with the home url, www.ladonnawitmer.com, where you’ll be instantly immersed in a mini-cinépoem called “Submersion” that will take you on an underwater adventure. Be sure you have your sound turned on for that one.

You’ll notice that some things that are familiar — The Writer still contains some foul language pertaining to one Mr. Johnny Depp, but check out the wee seahorse for a new treat. The Library still contains music from Franky & Wil, along with poems for your reading pleasure, but the poems are new.

The Others still contains links to lots of old friends, and a few new ones, too. And you can still send me an email via Says You, but you can also now comment on this blog — I know lots of you have asked me about that over the years, so you’d better make use of it!

Speaking of this blog, She Says is now a fully functional weblog with an RSS feed and everything, so you can add me to your blog roll and all that fun stuff. You can also search the archives via keyword for old entries, if you’re into that sort of thing. All of the old entries made the migration to their shiny new home.

The Cinépoems have a lovely new page with an upgraded and higher-quality video player for your viewing pleasure. We’ll be making ongoing improvements to that page over the next few months, too, because we’re not satisfied with mere perfection. Must. Keep. Tweaking.

Oh, and notice that the newest cinépoem is one you haven’t seen yet… Bright Neon Love was shot in Las Vegas over the holidays and gets to debut with the big site unveil, that lucky little poem.

The Gallery has been completely retooled — all the old photos are still there, but they’re much easier to view now. There are new photos, too, from Bruce, from a fabulous young photographer named Caitlin Bellah, and from recent cinépoem shoots as well, so be sure to check that out.

And finally — my pet project — our Store. My two books, Shedding the Angel Skin and The Secrets of Falling are available for purchase (and well worth the asking price), as always, but now you can also get yourself some of those pretty postcards I mentioned earlier, as well as a few photographic art prints.

The Store lives on etsy.com, which is an amazing site in its own right and one of my new favorite things ever. Lots of very cool artists hawking their wares on Etsy, so be sure to explore. After you purchase a book and some postcards, of course.

So that’s the tour. Please make yourself at home, get a little wet, and let me know what you think. I’m off to go splash around a little myself. I just don’t get tired of playing with all these new toys!

-Lo, who should mention that it’s not really about drowning.

Somewhere to Be

Mood: multi-tasking | Drinking: tea

cafeFirst things first: a review of The Secrets of Falling is up on Cherry Bleeds. Enjoy.

And then, a poem for all my unemployed peeps out there…

Severance

At 2 p.m. on Tuesday
the cafés are full of the aimless
feigning busyness
hunched over laptops
to conceal their lack
of someplace to go.

Not enough emphasis is placed
on the comfort
of Somewhere To Be
on the consolation
of Being Needed
by someone who cares nothing for you
beyond what you can do for him.

When your services are no longer required
and the thing that makes you You
is made redundant
you begin to miss the formerly noisome clamor
of alarm clock, the previously infuriating routine
of commute.

Disconnected from the comfort
of customary daily aggravations
your mind begins to wander
and then
your feet begin to follow, but
bound by the panic borne of
decades of wage-earning servitude,
neither mind nor feet go anywhere original.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday
you are just waking up. And when, after
2 bowls of cereal, you still haven’t found
a reason to discard your pajamas, you realize
the only way to escape the clutches
of the crumb-covered couch, the zombie glare
of afternoon reruns, is to create
an entirely new irritation.

Soon a path is worn from your front steps
to Starbucks where faux-friendly baristas
begin to pour your triple half-caff
before you even walk through the door.

By 2 p.m. you’ve accomplished nothing
of consequence. All the familiar sites
have been visited, the habitual links
have been clicked, the new tradition
has been established. Once again
you have Somewhere To Be.

-Lo, no longer severed.

Bernal Reading

Mood: Industrious | Drinking: Sweet Tea

berrygood

Starting the new year off with poetry and a berry photo. Just because I can.

On January 17th, I’ll be reading a few poems as part of the Bernal Yoga Literary Series in San Francisco.

Each reading is followed by a reception, and there is a suggested donation of $5 to $10 to cover expenses.

The Winter Series on January 17th will feature poets Roxane Beth Johnson and Brian Teare, novelist Suzanne Rivecca, and several local writers and poets including myself.

I will be reading three poems: two new ones and one from my book The Secrets of Falling.

You can find more information about the Literary Series here.

Hope to see you all there!

-Lo, finding new words for the New Year.

Big Pimpin’

greenapple_book
Mood: Slick
Drinking: Soon

True to form, time has put on its racing shoes and flown right past me — it’s already been a year since The Secrets of Falling came out.

Hopefully that’s been plenty of time for you to get your copy, take a read, and find a place for it on your poetry shelf.

So given all that, I hope my request comes as the slightest of inconveniences… If you’ve read Secrets, would you like to help me sell a few more copies?

Some of you have already been so kind as to write reviews on various websites, and I thank you. I’d just like to pimp it out a little bit more.

You can write reviews on Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, Shelfari.com, and on various facebook and myspace forums, too.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can get your copy here or buy it from Amazon, Powell’s, or Etsy.

Of course, if you read it and hated it, let’s just keep that a secret, yeah? 😉

-Lo, much obliged.

Zine It All

zinefest08
Mood: Hooey
Drinking: Blooey

This weekend is the big old San Francisco Zine Fest. I expect to see all you word lovers, crafty bitches, art farts, and don’t-got-nuthin-better-to-do peeps out and about!

Here are the dirty deets:
LOCATION – SF County Fair Building (in Golden Gate Park at 9th & Lincoln)
HOURS – Saturday 11am to 8pm, Sunday 11am to 7pm
STUFF TO SEE & BUY – Zines, Arts, Crafts, Small Presses, & Poetry trinkets from yours truly

You know me and mine are gonna get bored sitting at our little table for 9 hours a day on the weekend, so stop by, say hi, and please, please, pretty please, buy some stuff! (We have some free stuff, too, for all you cheapskates.)

Speaking of cheap, did I mention that this whole event is free? Free, people. No admission charge for the masses. How can you resist?!

OK, I’ve gotta go prepare.

See you there.

-Lo, who is folded along the dotted lines.

Cinco de Mayonnaise

buffysing2
Mood: Revving Up
Drinking: Nada

After 30 days of daily poem posts, I feel all rusty and creaky returning to the status quo of weekly(ish) posts.

But real life cannot sustain daily poems, at least not the kind of life I’m in the habit of living.

It was a brilliant idea, though, wasn’t it? Even though I thought myself insane in the beginning, I found it fairly easy to get into the regular rhythm of writing a poem a day, especially when I gave myself permission to post poems that unapologetically sucked or (this was even harder) poems that had the potential to be so amazing, but needed a few more days or weeks of percolating and editing.

Some of these un-percolated poems (Je t’aime, for instance, which now has a new name) are being re-thought and re-written as I type. Ok, not as I type, but in the general background of the return to real life, they are being revised.

Someday I’ll post them again in their better, shinier, actually finished form.

The best thing about all of this was that I wrote so many things that never would have been explored had I not given myself the daily deadline. Honey, for example, was an amazing accident, and I don’t think I would have thought to explore my personal history with bee stings had I not been wracking my brain for any scrap of story that could be whipped up into a poem.

The second best thing that happened was that I started tearing through several of the poetry collections I purchased back in January at the Associated Writing Programs conference in New York. I don’t make it a regular habit to read lots of poetry books, and it’s completely my loss. I found so much inspiration in the words of other poets, and I’m now simultaneously reading the work of Galway Kinnell, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and Elizabeth Bradfield. What a feast!

So farewell, National Poetry Month celebration. Perhaps we’ll meet again next year.

A few bits of newsy things:
1. Michelle and I are editing a new cinepoem called “Yellow”
2. There is a ladonnawitmerdotcom refresh in the works that will include a real RSS blog feed (yay)
3. The Secrets of Falling is reviewed in the May issue of The Other Herald

All good things, all keeping me busy, busy, busy. Seems to be the way I like it… and off I go.

-Lo, with a “Grrrr” and an “Arrrgh”.

Making a Splash

colorsplash2
Mood: Steady as she goes
Drinking: Watery tea

I’m on TV.

I’m small, I’m sideways, and I’m in black and white, but I’m on TV nonetheless.

My friend Kathy, she of The Secrets of Falling design fame, alerted me to my TV appearance last week.

There’s a bit of backstory required: Kathy went to art/design school with David Bromstad (he of HGTV’s Color Splash and Design Star fame).

They’re good friends from way back, which is why David came to our book release party in San Francisco last May. (Yes, he is even more adorable in person!)

David left our party with several pieces of art in tow — 7 of them, to be exact. He chose his favorite photographic art prints from our book, and ended up hanging them on a wall behind the couch where he is often filmed sketching his brilliant design ideas on Color Splash.

So nearly every week on HGTV, I’m hanging there on the wall behind David’s head. Granted, nobody but me and Kathy actually know that it’s me. Well, you know too, now. But it’s a sweet little thrill to see my poetry and Kathy’s design (as well as the fine photography of Boy and my friend Patti) up on the screen.

Oh, and that repeating photo of the grafittied brick wall that the camera loves to linger on as David sketches away? I took that photo from a scooter on our first trip to Rome! …There’s some useless trivia for you.

By the way, if you’d like to have a print just like David, you can find two of the prints that he has, So Make Believe It and Invincible at our Etsy store. There are a lot of other cool prints up for sale there, too!

So. Yay us, yay David, and HGTV better give Color Splash another season! (Boy and I are now addicted and have gotten ourselves a season pass on TiVo.)

-Lo, who is sometimes sideways in real life, too.

Another Day Another Dollar

powells
Mood: Clickety-Clackety
Drinking: Water

With all the recent excitement involving the wee new nephew, I’ve neglected to mention the trip to Portland.

In the calm before the holiday/baby storm, Boy and I packed the LeeLoo and a few choice bags into a rental car and hit the road northward to rainier climes.

Boy’s parents lived in Oregon before returning to California a few years ago, so I’ve been to the Pacific Northwest before, just not for long. Boy’s sister now lives there with her husband, a Greek Orthodox priest, and their two children. She’s been there for two years, at least, and our visit was long overdue.

Not to mention our adorable friend C who, as many northern Californians seem to do, recently made the Portland move. I also have another Portland friend who I hadn’t seen in 8 years.

And then there was LeeLoo’s Internets Boyfriend and his fine ladies. (They are so fine, they deserve a post of their own, so I’ll save the dog tale for later, if that’s ok with you…)

So. Obviously. Lots of reasons to visit Portland.

I’m not sure what I expected. Rain, yes, you always expect the rain up there. Big green trees, yes, that too. But so many San Franciscans seem to migrate northward with stories of more affordable housing and a city that is just as wonderful as our foggy town.

So I was expecting, I don’t know, some sort of San Francisco-like mecca. Rain-weathered Victorians and fog-shrouded hills. A bit of mist and magic, perhaps.

And while I found Portland and its people to be perfectly pleasant, if a bit too cold (the weather, not the people), I don’t think I’ll be giving up my San Francisco residency in exchange for a cheaper mortgage anytime soon.

The magic just wasn’t there for me, not like it is here. That’s the biggest reason why not. It was a bit too crunchy for me, as well. (Somehow there seem to actually be more hippies in Portland than San Francisco.) Also, San Francisco summers are about as cold as I like it. Chill the air below 40 and add a few bucketloads of rain and I’m staying far away.

Speaking of the rain, I totally showed my tourist stripes whilst knocking about downtown Portland with Boy and Sister-in-Law. We stepped onto the street and I popped open my plaid umbrella to keep the rain off my head and, oh look! I’m the only one standing in the rain with an umbrella.

In San Francisco, you can tell the tourists by their summertime shorts. In Portland, you pick them out by their umbrellas.

The one thing that makes me blink and think twice, though? Powell’s Books. It’s every bit as magical as you’ve heard. Which is saying something. Because you know those certain places that get you all worked into a lather — you hear so much and you’ve waited so long and you’re so excited to finally see it for yourself and then you get there and it’s oh, so disappointing.

Not Powell’s.

There is nothing there to disappoint. A city block full of lovely books. All easily shelved and cleverly organized. The book jockeys are sweet and helpful. And the lady in the science fiction room needed no explanation as to who Sergei Lukyanenko was.

And even better than the two heaping bags of books Boy and I walked out of there with? Powell’s bought a few of my books!

Oh yes, you can now find The Secrets of Falling at Powell’s Books. At Burnside. In the Blue Room. Small Press section. Poetry shelf. Go down to the W’s and look, there I am.

Lo, who’s still reading her way through those two bags full.

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