Category Archives: Academia

ABD! 30! Kittens!?!

Wow, so I’ve had a crazy, crazy past several weeks :). In a very good way!

* On November 17th I PASSED MY CANDIDACY EXAMS!! I took my oral exam and defended my written portion plus my prospectus for two hours and I passed! All that work and reading paid off – I subdued the fierce dragon :). This means I’m officially a PhD candidate and ABD (which stands for “all but dissertation,” meaning I’ve thus far completed everything necessary to get my PhD except for the dissertation itself.) Now on to the last, biggest part – writing!

* Then just after that, on November 19th, I TURNED THIRTY. My gosh, that still feels bizarre to even write. My birthday was quite lovely though :). It’s the beginning of a whole new decade! It’s admittedly a bit daunting but eh, I think it’s okay. I’ve had several people tell me that the thirties are the best decade of all so I’m excited for the new adventure :).

* And last but certainly not least… I ACQUIRED TWO KITTENS. Yes, you read that right :P.

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A friend from school found them outside and I just fell in love with them. I knew they were meant for me :). Their names are Grimalkin (Grimmy, the grey/cream/brown/black tabby girl) and Pyewacket (Pye, the all black boy) – of course I had to go very folklore-y!  “Grimalkin” is the name of a legendary Scottish faerie cat (and also likely the inspiration for the witch’s familiar Gray-Malkin in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.) “Pyewacket” is the name an accused witch in the early modern period stated was the name of one of her familiars and also the name of the witch’s cat in the film Bell, Book, and Candle (which, for the record, I loved until the very end when she has to give up her powers for love… what the heck?! I *hate* that motif! But the cat is still awesome :P.)

My little familiars :).

Grimmy is very delicate but rambunctious, totally fae-like, with eyes that change color from this opal-y green to a light amber and back again. She’s gray/cream/tan with black stripes and spots and “tarnished” brown ears, is super fast, and has an adorable little “old-lady” meow (another way her name suits her perfectly, as “grimalkin” can mean old woman too!) She loves to climb and she’ll even jump up and sit on my shoulder sometimes! In fact, she is very like an Egyptian Mau in everything from color to personality, which makes me think there must be some ancestor from that breed at least! Pye is a perfect Halloween witch’s cat – all black with orange eyes! He loves to play with anything long and string-like and he’ll do crazy jumps and twists while he’s playing. He tends to be a bit shyer than Grimmy, but he’s getting braver now that he’s getting bigger. Breed-wise he is very close to a Bombay – we’ve even been calling him a little panther, as he is quite big for his age and has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard (and it’s almost always going!) Obviously they are the perfect kittens for me, I can’t even begin to describe how adorable and sweet they are :).

Mimzer’s face most of the time so far :P.

I took them with me to Virginia for Christmas and they were good little travelers too! Mimzer, my family cat at home who I adore (I’ve posted pictures of him before!), is trying very hard to be a good mentor to them – though they do sometimes drive him crazy I fear. They like to… swarm?… and surround him, trying to study and play with the “big cat.” He looks at them sometimes like “… ? What ARE you??” but I actually think he’s been pretty lonely since we lost our dear dog Annie so I think/hope he’ll warm up to them more and more and eventually really enjoy having two little minions to boss around :P.

A few other things:

* I was one of the top referrers to the Hedgespoken project, which finished with £30,816! Thanks so much to those of you who took my word for it and checked out the project – I’m so happy to have pointed a few of you to it! Being a top referrer also means I get a special print from the project too, which is really cool :D.

* Bewitching photographs inspired by Lithuanian forests (where my uncle’s family is from!)

* Cat Befriends Young Autistic Artist- :*).

* This TED talk video that my boyfriend Josh found and showed me is crazy inspiring: Jane McGonigal: The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life. I know she’s not really doing anything related to my own stuff at all but I’m just so psyched to see someone out there doing this amazing, unconventional work (with a PhD in Performance Studies no less!)

Have a beautiful, magical new year everyone – it’s going to be a great one! :)!

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Sickness, AFS, and Other Updates!

So you probably noticed that I disappeared for a while there but I am back! I sadly have been very sick this semester, a terrible bout with mononucleosis that I would much rather forget. I’m on the mend for sure, and back to most regular activities, but I probably won’t be 100% until December (mono tends to stay in your system for a while.) Practically what this means is that I still get very tired sometimes, have a bit of vertigo every once in a while, and am dealing with a very compromised immune system. Trying my best to avoid all the crazy colds and such out there at this time of year!

I did get to be Maleficent for Halloween though ;).

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And I was happily able to go to AFS in Santa Fe, NM this past weekend as well! It was awesome, as it usually is. It’s such a fun conference and I love seeing friends and colleagues from all around the country. I presented my section of the essay I wrote with Jeana Jorgensen for the new book Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on TV, which I’ve written about before, and it went well! Wayne State University Press also hosted a book launch/reception that was very cool to attend :). I’m the new junior co-convenor (with Victoria Harkavy) for the Folklore and Literature section too, which has a lot of awesome stuff planned for the next few years!

A few other things of note:

x. New Poem in the fantastic Through the Gate #5!

x. This very thoughtful review of A is for Apocalypse calls out my story! :D!

x. The Mythic Delirium Anthology is officially out! I already mentioned the starred Publishers Weekly review, but here’s another great one from Amazing Stories!

x. My short story “Kitsune, Fox” from Jabberwocky #7 has been listed on the very cool StoryFox “database of vulpine science fiction and fantasy,” run by Jenn Grunigen!

x. The Hedgespoken project is so, so fantastic! I love the idea so very much – what could possibly be more awesome than traveling the country, telling stories and sharing magic in a moving theatre?

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Please chip in if you can!

x. Crazy excited for the new Sleeping Beauty/Snow White book by Neil Gaiman.

x. And lastly, I absolutely love Kat Howard’s piece “The Princess and the Witch” from the special Women Destroy Fantasy issue of Fantasy Magazine – yes, yes, yes, yes :). Resonates so much with me and is so beautifully said.

That’s all for now, more soon!

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A Prize, Publications, and Other News!

Whew, the fall semester has started and, as predicted, things are already quite crazy. I’m teaching a new course (the second level literature based writing course, my theme is “US Literature and the Fairy Tale” of course!), still reading crazily for candidacy exams, and trying to fit in conferences, article writing, reviews, all the other stuff I want to do as well!

As some of you may know, I also went on a whirlwind, awesome Baltic Sea cruise right before school started. I wanted to do a post about folklore-y stuff I saw but sadly I’m not sure that’s going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, a few things of note –

* I won a prize! I am the recipient of the first ever annual Polly Stewart Student Travel Stipend from the Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society, presented to “an emerging scholar who shows promise of furthering the study of women’s folklore, gender issues in folklore, and/or feminist approaches to the study of folklore” :D! This is an incredible honor and I’m so happy and excited about it!

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* In other professional news, I received my contributors’ copy of the about to be published Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television (which includes an essay on “Sleeping Beauty” I co-wrote with Jeana Jorgensen) and it’s gorgeous – I highly recommend giving it a look on October 6th if you’re interested in such things!

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* The new Mythic Delirium anthology of the first four online issues, featuring my poem “WereMoonMother,” is coming and it’s already received a STARRED review in Publisher’s Weekly! They call it “a winner from cover to cover” (which is especially lovely as my poem is the last piece in the book :).) More on this soon!

* I’ve got a new poem up at the lovely Mirror Dance called “Year Forty-Nine” :).

* The International Fairy-Tale Filmography has launched and it’s lovely – check it out when you get a chance!

* Rose Lemberg’s Kickstarter for her “anthology of unclassifiables,” An Alphabet of Embers was successfully funded and the submission guidelines are now up here! She’s looking for “lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose.” This is going to be a beautiful collection and I hope I can put together something to submit :).

That’s all for now, enjoy the beginning of fall – my favorite season!

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Early June Updates!

A few news items!

* I did an interview for the Stone Telling blog about my poem “Rep/ercussions (Carmina)” that was recently featured in their “Body” issue – they just posted it and you can read it here! This issue was just incredible in so many ways and I’m so honored to be a part of it.

* Speaking of things I was honored to do, the lovely Rhonda Parrish asked Sara and I to write the introduction to her amazing new anthology Fae, which is forthcoming from World Weaver Press! It’s such a good collection, guys, seriously – check it out asap!!

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(Psstyou can also still enter to WIN a copy!!)

* I’m officially going to present at two conferences so far next school year – the first will be the 2014 International Conference on Romanticism – “Romantic Reflections: Twins, Echoes, and Appropriations” in Minneapolis, MN. I’m going to present a paper called “’Her Eyes Were Wild’: Echoes of Traditional Fairylore and the Gothic in Keats’ ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’” on a panel organized by the new group Romanticism@OSU. The other conference so far will be the American Folklore Society annual meeting, “Folklore at the Crossroads” – I’m going to be doing a paper based on the article I co-wrote with Jeana Jorgensen for the Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television collection on the “Briar Rose” episode of the Japanese anime Grimms’ Fairy Tale Classics.

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* The Project Narrative Summer Institute starts on Monday! I’m both excited and nervous but mostly I’m feeling pretty confident that it’s going to be a great experience :).

Otherwise I’m just reading away and trying to get some other aspects of my life on the right track. I’m a tiny bit behind, probably due to being at home for a while and then readjusting to being back in Columbus, but I’m getting back on track!

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Reading, Reading, Reading

Well, summer has started and I am already neck deep in candidacy exam reading. This image illustrates how that feels (I am the sorceress, the dragon represents my exams/reading list :P.)

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I put this image on the cover of my readings binder… it is inspiring! Though I am tiny, I have powers too. See how the dragon is being subdued by the sorceress’ magic? Yes. I also made a spreadsheet. I’ve got a plan, I’ve got this. I hope.

I also have much other work that needs to get done asap (including revising a potential article, submitting for a conference, and two reviews), an institute on narrative theory to attend in June, and a ‘Folklore and Literature’ Think Tank to attend in July. Eep!

A few other things:

x. Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film, is insanely good. The soundtrack is too, I’m actually a bit obsessed with it.

x. Speaking of vampires, here’s some scientific evidence that folklore always knows what’s up – Vampire Therapy Could Reverse Aging 

x. For more Gothic fantastic, the Guardian posted this hilarity – How to Tell You’re Reading a Gothic Novel (in Pictures!)

x. And this is just lovely – Gorgeous Illustrations of ‘Untranslatable’ Words from Different Languages by Anjana Iyer. I’m always fascinated by these kinds of words and this project is very cool.

Also, Sara has tagged me to do a post on my writing process and I promise that that is coming shortly! I hope you’re all enjoying the spring flowers as much as I am :).

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The Wind Howls Outside My Window

Two big pieces of news! First, I am so honored and excited to report that my poem, “WereMoonMother,” is one of Mythic Delirium’s featured poems for November! This means that you can now read it for free on the Mythic Delirium website. I am particularly proud of this piece so please do check it out if you can – I promise it is delightfully bizarre ;).

MD-meSecondly, my paper proposal was accepted for The 35th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts! I’ll be presenting a piece called “Circumnavigating a Subversive Otherworld: Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland as Folkloric Liminal Space” and I’m really excited about it :).

A Few Cool Things I’ve Come Across Recently:

* Speaking of CMV, she just did a great “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit!

* The French Oral Narrative Corpus is quite nice!

* “Why We Need Fairytales: Jeanette Winterson on Oscar Wilde”

* I absolutely *love* this retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood”! It’s called “Redden” and it’s a comic by Maya Kern.

The wind is absolutely howling outside my window while I read The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli. This is appropriate I suppose?

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A Few Summer Updates!

A few summer updates!

* My poem, “The Mermaid’s Winter Song,” was also (in addition to the Rhysling Award!) nominated for the Dwarf Stars Award from the SFPA! It will appear in the 2013 anthology, which looks lovely – I am so honored :).


* This has been out for a while but I never made an official post about it – Cabinet des Fees has released the 1.1 issue of the print version of their beautiful journal Scheherezade’s Bequest, which I have a poem in! It is called As You Wish: The Loathly Lady Issue and features some absolutely astounding work. I am giddy to be a part of it!

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* I have two new reviews out – the first, an academic review, appears at Folklore Forum and is for Vanessa Joosen’s fantastic book Critical and Creative Perspectives on Fairy Tales: An Intertextual Dialogue Between Fairy Tale Scholarship and Postmodern Retellings. The second is for the gorgeous anthology The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry edited by Rose Lemberg, which appears in Bull Spec’s latest issue (you can also see it on one of the sample pages at their issuu site.) Both highly recommended! I have several more reviews forthcoming too, I signed up for a bunch all at the same time somehow :P.

* My paper was accepted for presentation at the American Folklore Society‘s annual meeting this coming October – yay! I’ll be talking about the Gothic and fairylore (of course :P.)

* A quick reminder that the Mythic Delirium Kickstarter has just 7 days left to go! They’ve reached their first funding goal but are aiming for a bit more if at all possible. Please consider supporting this wonderful magazine :).

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Rhysling Award Nomination + March Conferences!

I am so honored to share that my poem, “The Mermaid’s Winter Song” from inkscrawl 4, was nominated for the short form Rhysling Award!

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Illustration by Paul Hey

I am shocked and amazed to be in such incredible company and can’t thank whoever nominated me enough :).

I was also able to attend two fantastic conferences this month: Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture in London, UK and The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, FL. Both were great and the paper I presented at both seemed to be very well received (which thrills me as it’s a part of my dissertation work!) ICFA has quickly become one of my favorite events of the year, it’s so amazing to get to hang out with so many of my inspirations, both scholarly and creative. The fairy tale people are especially awesome and I’m so happy to know them all!

This month has really been a whirlwind of great news and fun and I feel so lucky right now :).

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Levelling Up in the New Year

Right, I am terrible at this :P. You’re just going to have to put up with my sporadic posts I’m afraid. Maybe I’ll get better eventually? I am now in my second and last semester of PhD coursework, which is a bit scary but also exciting. I really do feel like I’ve leveled up though, each of my classes this semester is specifically tailored to further prepare me for future work so it’s all pretty delightful. I’ve got fantasy and the Gothic and teaching basically. I am actually especially enjoying my teaching internship much more than I expected and feel like I’m learning a lot about how I want to run my own classroom. I am being adventurous in the new year too, in many ways! I have set huge goals for myself, as usual, but some of them are actually going pretty well so far. I bought myself an exercise bike! What?! Amazing, I know.

A few things I’ve been meaning to post about –

* I have officially registered and am going to London again in March for the Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture conference at first credited Gothic writer Horace Walpole’s own Strawberry Hill House. This is pretty guaranteed to be fantastic. I will be presenting on the poetics of Gothic fairy tales, some preliminary findings from my dissertation research. I also really hope I get to go see this, which I mentioned before :D.

* This is crazy late but I have a bit of flash fiction in the new issue of Scareship! “Sleeping Beauty” themed this time (it’s really surprising I ever write anything else, I have so many SB related ideas floating around in my mind.)

* Some nice tips for the new year :).

* This was great – a mockup of a film in progress for Neil Gaiman’s haunting black cat fable “The Price”

Happy new year all, I hope things are going well so far!

Edited to Add: Folklore Forum has just published my review of The Cloak of Dreams: Chinese Fairy Tales by Béla Balázs (translated and with an introduction by Jack Zipes), a lovely collection of literary fairy tales that I highly recommend. They are quirky little stories with great details and very worth reading!

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A Much Needed Break + Some News

Hello! I apologize for not really being around, PhD studies have taken over my life for the present, but I wanted to use this brief Thanksgiving break to make a quick hello post at the very least :). It looks like things may be sorting themselves out into a more manageable routine next semester, so I am hopeful that I will get a little more free time to write creatively, blog, read non-school related things, etc. in the future. Coming to Ohio has been a big adjustment but it’s been a worthwhile and exciting time as well!

A few notes –

* First – reunited and it feels so good…

Me and Mimzer Reunited

:D! It’s really wonderful to be home for a bit. My birthday was on Monday and I got to celebrate with my family yesterday :).

* I meant to post more about my amazing time at the After Grimm conference but, sadly, I just haven’t had the spare time to do so. I met several lovely people, including more than a few inspirations of mine, and it was completely wonderful in all ways. One of the people I met was Janet Daniels who runs the FairyTaleTastic blog – check out her post about the conference for a few more details too! While we were there I was also lucky enough to get to see two incredible exhibitions, the Writing Britain exhibition at the British Library and the Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde exhibition at the Tate Britain, buy a fabulous Gothic coat in Camden Town, and visit a few of my friend Sara’s favorite haunts in Oxford.

* I also attended the American Folklore Society’s Annual Meeting in October in New Orleans (which is now absolutely among my favorite cities in the world!)… I was going to write about that as well but, again, did not get the chance :(. Just know that I had a great panel with several other fairy tale scholars and it was a really fun time! I went on a witches and vampires and voodoo walking tour, saw a few of the gorgeous original paintings of Kelly Louise Judd in person for the first time in a random awesome gallery we just happened to wander into, ate many beignets, attended the book launch of Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms in which my former professor at GMU, Margaret Yocom, and my friend Jeana Jorgensen each have a fantastic essay, spoke with a bunch of prospective OSU students and hopefully made a good impression, and saw a bunch of excellent papers.

* I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at The International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts this coming March – huzzah! I attended this conference for the first time last year and it’s awesome, just full of people doing exactly the kind of work that I love. I’m really happy I get to go again this year!

* I set up my classes for the Spring semester and am really excited about them! I’ll be taking a Children’s/YA Lit. class on the “Roots of Fantasy” (aka the folklore, etc. that frequently inspires fantasy literature!) which is just so perfectly up my alley I’m kind of shocked it’s real, an independent study reading course on the 19th Century British Gothic (awesome texts and great dissertation prep), and a teaching apprenticeship class where I shadow a senior professor teaching an introduction to folklore class, a prerequisite before I can teach my own introductory folklore classes. I’m completely psyched about all of these things :P.

* I’m honored to note that the lovely magazine Niteblade nominated the poem that Sara Cleto (the same Sara as above) and I wrote together, “The Second Law of Thermodynamics,” for the Pushcart Prize. It is so kind of them to acknowledge our poem in this special way – thank you!

* Have you seen the Disney princess inspired windows at Herrods? The “Sleeping Beauty” one is absolutely gorgeous as far as I’m concerned, roses and cobwebs = A+!

Sleeping Beauty Display at Herrods

* Speaking of “Sleeping Beauty,” the wonderful Bryony recently made me aware of this production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” ballet – a gothic version!! It’s like my MA thesis in ballet form, crazy. There is a slim chance I may be in the UK during its run next year so please keep your fingers crossed that I can make it happen!

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US and there will hopefully be more posts from me soon!

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