Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It's my favorite time of year. Time to think about all of the awesome things that happened in 2009, as well as all of the hard lessons learned. New Years is becoming more and more my favorite holiday because, to me, it marks a point to make promises to yourself that can spark dramatic self-improvement. I love making lists and setting goals, and it has become a tradition for me to create an ambitious year's checklist to keep the momentum of the previous year going, and to mark turning points in my personal goals and priorities. Last year's list proved to be pretty challenging, and I completed only 11 of the 30 things I set out to do. Regardless, I may not have tried to do any of those things, had I not made the list in the first place. So, pat on the back for the 1/3 of the list which was completed, and let's make myself a promise to get a little closer to completing the list this year.
Problems with last year's list: 1. I only looked at it at the beginning and end of the year. This year's rough draft is written out in my checklist book, so I should not be able to ignore it for months at a time. 2. Some of the goals are a little ambitious while still remaining vague. "#23. complete 2 bodies of artwork" No, Gretchen, "complete all drawings for the 'I'm already married to my habits' series" is much more specific and therefore, more likely to be achieved. 3. dance classes are expensive and I was paying by the class.
So here goes, the New Year's Checklist 2010:
1. Read 1 book a month and post a blog to review
2. Complete 1 drawing a week and post image to myspace.com
3. Submit 1 short story to McSweeney's
4. Complete and update BirdQueenDesigns.com with links to purchase items
5. Apply to vend at ArtsFest (by Jan.29, 2010) and the ArtStar Craft Bazaar
6. Participate in 5 charity events (AIDSwalk: October 17, and others to be named later)
7. Obtain a balance of $5000.00 in savings account
8. Pay $5000.00 extra towards student loans
9. Clean up banking: get rid of M&T, clear CC debt
10. Go to the gym twice a week (starting in March)
11. Show artwork in NYC
12. Finish 'I'm Already Married to my Habits'
13. Get jewelry into a boutique in NYC
14. Finish 'In Loving Memory of Yellow'
15. Visit the West Coast
16. Take 1 week off of buying things per month
17. Cook 1 new meal a month
18. Have a me day once a month (massage, pedicure, facial, haircut, somethin like that)
19. Attend PB critiques at Pafa
20. Apply for 5 grants
21. Watch Art 21 Series
22. Subscribe to McSweeney's AND collect the entire 33 existing volumes
23. Go to NYC once a month
24. Visit the PMA once a month
25. Get a SOLO exhibition in a gallery in Philly.

The End! Keep on me about it!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I went to Borders Bookstore a few weeks ago (or a couple, or a month, you know i have a shitty sense of time), and was looking for books of short stories to add to my to-read list and asked for assistance. The customer service rep pointed me in the direction of the short story and essay anthologies in the literature section. I was looking for Dave Hickey, but was pretty open to anything. I found a beautiful hardcover book with creative cutouts on the front cover and a 60's-looking silkscreened image of 2 space dogs on the first page. I leafed through it and it was certainly beautiful. It was called "McSweeney's 29" which of course didn't mean anything to me until I noticed the 4 or 5 other books with McSweeney's written on their spines. Eack book looked completely different, all hardcover, all beautiful, but in various sizes and with completely contrasting designs and color schemes. Nothing connected them apart from the name, and I immediately wanted all of them. I settled on the space dogs book I had originally picked up and went to the register. I started reading it that night, crying by myself in my room at 2am during the first story by Brian Baise (which is a pretty big deal- I have never, to my memory, cried from something I have read before). The rest of the book did not disappoint, and though 2 or 3 weeks is not fast for most people to read a 178 page book it is a pretty big deal for me so back off.
At any rate, I have begun my collection, and am planning on having the whole lot AND a subscription by then end of 2010. That's one goal. The other McSweeney's-related goal for 2010 is to submit a short story for inclusion in one of their anthologies. Inspired by the book, I wrote a short story based on one of my dreams from this summer at 4am last week, and am considering it for submission. I also did a drawing (shown) based on this dream which will be featured in January's "Things we've made since September" show curated by Gabrielle Lavin. Stay tuned for opening dates and submission updates.