I’m not dead, I’m just a mommy…..

Just a quick note at work, I realize this last year that I have very sadly let this blog go downhill. (What can I say motherhood has kicked my artistic ASS). But on the plus side, my amazing illustrator is making progress on our children’s book, I have a youtube series in the work and I’m finely writing poetry again. So please bare with me as I slowly work my  way back to artistic glory or at least.  And until that way, enjoy a progress sketch of Monster’s Don’t Hugs.

Alfie

Peace n Love,

Rach

My best friend is an awesome artist (that you should watch)

I was lucky. By the time I was 18, I had a core group of friends with whom I’m still friends with today. Amongst them was Ashy, a painter who shared my love of rock and dreams of being an artist.  Over the years we have had a ridiculous amount of fun, planning pointlessly schemes (like moving out to l.a. and living off of contentential breakfast) and going to way too many rock concerts.

ashy_i_paintedart_ashyandidressed upme_ashy

Besides our clear shared  awesomeness (pics don’t lie right?) and our shared love of 80’s hair metal, we  both share our dreams of being  working artists. It has been so helpful to have someone else experience the sames highs and lows of art as I have.  And now that we have put in YEARS and YEARS of work, we are both finally starting to see the payoffs of our labors.

She just (yes i’m gushing!) got into a pretty sweet art show. Unforunately, as she lives in Buffalo and the show is there, I won’t be able to go. So I’m sending some virtual love, and telling all my readers to check out her work at her website Yellow Blazer’s Studios.  And if you happen to be in the Buffalo area check out her work, you won’t regret it!

1924773_10151876998716767_1206529224_n

Disney Princess:Queen Bees and Insecurities

ariealSo buzzfeed had an article, “If the Disney Princess went to your high school,” which was hilarious and also shines a light on the faults of the princesses. It’s tongue in cheek for sure, but is the perfect article for people like me who grew up with a love/hate relationship with Disney and the Princesses as well (minus Belle, I will get my library god dang it.).your-disney-inner-circle

Disney stories are entertaining, but let’s face it, most of them are awful morals for women and young girls. And frankly most of the princess could use a little consoling!

What do you think? Ideas you would add? Any assessments you disagree with?

Stages

As I’ve shamelessly mentioned before, I had four pieces recently published in Euphemism.  I won’t lie. I’m happy the piece below was published.  It has lingered with my for the past two years.

I first wrote it the week before my thyroid surgery.  Swelling with emotion, the pieces was bulky, rambling and not that great. I didn’t do anything with it, but I couldn’t scrap it.

Out of surgery and rockin'

A scar of words.

Until a few months ago, I felt removed enough from the piece to do my work justice. I edited and reworked. And while it’s not perfect, I think that its a pretty spiffy piece.

Stages
Rachael Stanford

i

I gazed at you, my neck pillow-propped strained to an awkward, unnatural angle, in that painfully white, sterile room.

Forty-eight tiles: four vertical rows, twelve horizontal.

I tried to breathe as I was serenaded into serenity by the nurses’ chattering. They paused in song to lick their obese blood-red lips as I faded.

You are amazingly beautiful. The shadows and curves of your cells, illuminated by the ultra-sound machine’s soft glow, could hang in the walls of any pretentious, stuffy contemporary art gallery as rich old white men, their fat bellies tucked into overpriced suits, drowning in desperate art students, who gleaned over their clothes for hours until ever iota was painfully mismatched, debate our meaning.

You moved as I to greet the doctor. I wondered if this was the closest I’d ever be to a mother.
His lips mouthed, “there mostly likely is nothing to worry about,” but the flash of fear that invaded the pupils of his cold blue eyes illuminated more than any syllables could.

My heart raced, coursing through my veins, your breakfast.

The irony of my unawareness struck deeply during the next few days. As I waited, you, my one tiny cell, festered, a parasite feeding off of me, slowing depriving my body of nutrients.

I went on.

It was just another Tuesday.

If only….

Random events-the alarm you swore you set that never rings, the falling of that one last screw needed to hold it all together- that you and I can assign meaning to (after the fact) to validate anything. Now, my friends, family, nurses, doctors and strangers, can tell us with a forced smile that everything in this life happens for a reason.

I should be grateful, because God only tests us to make us stronger. Just think how strong I will be after I beat my own body into submission. Not you, though, my precious. You will be dried out, poked, prodded and laid on some microscope lab for a stranger to ogle you in your unabashed nakedness.
Yet, I am not grateful.

The words from the other end of the line, her voice light and airy as if reporting the weather, didn’t register to me at first.

But, you do.

My little one, you are your momma.

You are broken. You cannot thrive or evolve to spread your wings to other parts of my body, but can only grow in your own obesity, like a fat spoiled child given too much birthday cake, until you press against my windpipe, or artery, or some other organ and damn us both with your suicidal tendencies.

ii

I still hoped that you and I wouldn’t part as I waited in the Ax man’s room. This was a bad dream. I only had to roll myself out of bed and let the floor smash against my face. The blood-sweat droplets rolling down my cheeks into my lips will choke me to consciousness.

But as I stared at the wall-painting, a blatantly recognizable reprinting of Americana, the little nondescript boy, his features so amorphous that he could pass as my own, smiling at me, I knew I was awake.

There were options, are options, and always would be options. Too many options: different choices on what part of me to cut out, on how much to cut out, on alternatives that strangers who can type swear cured all.

The choices swirled about the air, a tiny tornado only we could see. I could try them all, dive in and swim around, let their water fill my lungs, but the time on the clock ticks away into your cells. I wonder how long you and I could take it.

“You already know you’re going lose it right.”

We didn’t.

iii

We are alone. You and I and that creepy reprint that bastardized the walls with its assumed art. His eyes followed me as I paced the room. I wanted to rip it down, wanted to scratch it away, paint chip by paint chip, starting with the clear, pure blue eyes of that smiling boy, slowing working my way down his neck, until my bleeding fingernails tear through the canvas and stain the snow-white walls.

I wanted to permeate into the cold walls. I needed the permanence.

I don’t know what you thought, or even if you think. Are you prokaryotic or eukaryotic? Are you a gift from God or the Devil? Are yu a mark of my uniqueness or a mar showing that I’m just another genetic runt that science kept alive?

I desperately want to know.

iv

“If you have to get cancer this is the cancer to get.” The Ax man said.

You are the belle of the ball, my little one. You, nestled in the muzzle of my neck, could surely feel the vibrations of my vocal cords, massaging you with every sob.

My farewell gift.

I could have asked a thousand questions. I should have. But, all I could ask, how long will my scar be?

Only a few inches.

A large tribute considering you’re smaller than a pea.

I know it is of little consolation but your tombstone will be etched into the soft, supple folds of my skin for all to see.

As I slumber, as you slumber, the Ax man will gently cut into my pale skin, peeling it away layer by layer until he rips the beast from me. Until he rips you from me.

v

I love you.

You must know that.

I love you.

Kokomo Con(victions)

This last week has been a week of ups and down. I started by receiving news that a children’s story I wrote did not win a contest. Water off a duck’s back, right? I wish. This was a piece that I loved and it absolutely crushed me. I wish I didn’t, but I am human after all…..By far, this is not the end for my piece ( I plan on querying  agents and publishing house this weekend).

This was followed by very exciting news, I can’t wait to share. Speak Easy Art center has hired me to teach creative play writing. This is still in the works, but I will fill you in more when the details come in.

And then another low. One of my favorite journals, I fear has become pay to publish. I won’t call them out. But they started an “editing”  company and well…you get the picture…..

And then on the heals of that sorrow,  word of my two guest posts being accepted reached me.

As you can imagine, I left Illinois then for Indiana and the promise of giant Garfield statues and comic convention fun emotionally exhausted.

My trip to the Garfield statues, only made the situation worse.

cool cats

It was an amazing trip, really neat and informative, but Erika and I  in our horrible planning, had only though the trail would take an hour or two. Four hours later and nine Garfield statues later, Erika and I were exhausted and frankly not really looking forward to spending all day tomorrow at a comic book convention.

Begrudgingly in the morning, both of us, exhausted and weary-eyed prepared our costumes for Kokomo Con.

It was a disaster of sorts. I had originally planned to wear a wig for my costume, but the 10 dollar Walmart wig failed miserably. So Erika and I resorted to using spray-in hair spay

showercap me

By the end, it looked as though we had murdered someone in our hotel room my hair was a giant rock of red, but with a little engineering of a shower cap, we were able to shape and make the hair work.  Still, the frustration added to my apprehension.

But once I reached the Kokomo Convention all the troubles of the week quickly melted away.The convention was amazing. But what inspired me the most was the amount of independent writers and cartoonists there.

As many of you may know, I once had a graphic novel planned. However, after I took the time to write out the story, my partner bailed because he wanted more out of our partnership than I was giving to give.

This had soured me on the experience of working with other artists to complete the project or start on the new ones that I have been plotting.

But, after talking with all of my fellow artist, I am re inspired. Soon I will be launching another WordPress page (ok a few months) to announce one of the projects.

But I have a few more in mind. And if you know any visual artist who would like to be part of a fun project send them my way! I hope that by this time next year, Ill have a  tiny booth at Kokomo Con!

Thank you Kokomo Con! It was a great chance to meet with other artist and lovers of comics.

me as duela dent

cutest costume ever

snack attack

snack attack

capt america

The capts….

Video

My new obsession

Sadly, I didn’t know about this interactive series until it one an emmy, but this series is absolutely amazing.

The Lizze Bennet Diaries is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  Witty and imaginative, any 20-something  in the midst of navigating dating, school, a career and life is sure to enjoy it.

Check out their youtube channel and their website.

Also sorry that I just stole hours of your life.

Date a Girl Who Writes

A while ago, I posted Date a Girl Who Reads which  is a splendid piece of the values of reading. After being tipped off to this essay, and reading it, I had to share it with you as well.

Date A Girl Who Writes by Effie Sapuridis

Date a girl who writes. Date a girl who admires the calligraphy of Ancient China more than the latest fall line. She has ink smudges on her fingers, sometimes on her cheeks. Date a girl who comes with a list of unfinished poems, underdeveloped characters, incomplete plot lines, who has been writing since she could read.

Find a girl who writes. Look for the girl with frazzled hair and a pen behind her ear. She’s the one who spends hours deciding which new notebook to buy, only to cave and buy three, the one who rarely makes a grammatical error. If you were to search her bag, you’d find scraps of paper with incomprehensible notes and pens whose lives have ended a long time ago. That’s the writer.walkingaway1

The girl who writes can be seen anywhere, if you look for her. The girl who writes is always looking at you, and anyone else. She knows inspiration can be found in everything. She’s the girl you’ll find on a park bench, pen behind her ear, another in her hand, jotting down things with great, great concentration, just because coffee shops are loud. She will however be carrying coffee in a travel mug. If you looked inside the mug, you’d notice the coffee was finished – the girl who writes needs caffeine like water. Bum a cigarette off her. Notice her eyes give you a full appraisal before she hands you a cigarette. She’s profiling you.

Say something.

Don’t ever start by asking to see her writing.

Tell her something you’re sure she never knew before. A random fact, even. This will grab her attention. This will make her think, ‘what kind of plot twist is the stranger offering to the protagonist?’ When she brings up e.e. Cummings and Plath, don’t act like you know who they are if you don’t. She will test you. Ask her about them. Ask her about her favorites. Ask her if she’d like to go see a movie with you.

Always surprise her.

In reality, it’s not that difficult to date a girl who writes. Accept that she will not show you anything she’s written until she’s ready. Understand that sometimes her stories aren’t developing the way she wants and she will be angry, bitter. Be patient, be jealous of her love for worlds you can’t even begin to enter. Buy her new books, new pens, new notebooks. Surround her with words. Dedicate songs to her. Leave little notes in her lunch bag. Words, for the writer, are more intimate and personal than a sensual touch. She hears their whispers, feels them, embraces them.

If one day, you walk into the house, and she’s in a foul mood. There are pages scattered everywhere. She’s watching TV, which she never does. Don’t ask. The words got the best of her. They put up a wall and as much as she pleaded, as much as she paced, drank coffee, took a bath, went for a walk, pace some more, as much as she played with synonyms and antonyms, made comparisons, expanded the plotline then brought it back to where it was, she could not get through the block. Don’t bother comforting her. Buy paint and a canvas, let her attack it. Carry her to the bed and let her attack you. The girl who writes does not need soothing and comfort, she needs an outlet to rid herself of the overbearing emotions that are sadness or anger. Before she can write again.

The girl who writes knows exactly when a break is needed in a story. The girl who writes expects a climax. But the girl who writes is also almost never in control of her story. The characters dictate to her what they would like to do next. The story is as thrilling for her, the writer, as it is for her close sister, the reader. She relishes in these surprises, in these sharp turns, in these unforgiving assessments. She dreams of the day when her story, her life story, will be as classic as Poe or as tormented as Brite. This day that she waits for, this will be the day her story will begin.

On the day when she timidly, a deep blush rising on her cheeks, extends a bundle of loose sheets of paper, some old, some new, towards you, you’ll know you’ve successfully captured the heart of the girl who writes. Read everything she has given you, unless she stops you. Recognize, and tell her, about the beauty of her words, the conviction of her prose, the pain behind her poetry. Don’t look at her with pity when she hands you a poem about a broken heart – following it, you’ll read one about you and how maybe her heart was not so broken after all. In any case, the girl who writes does not accept pity. She is the amazon goddess of the writing world. She is the soldier, the fighter, the good guy. She is stronger than a house of bricks and her writing keeps her demons in place, holding them down and releasing her.

Date a girl who writes because she will change your world. She will bring color into your grays. When you propose, she will have known for months that it was coming. She could read your body language from miles away. She will say the simplest phrase you have ever heard her say – yes, I do – and then she will begin to carefully craft the story of your lives. Through ups and downs and births and deaths, through funny family moments and trips to unknown places (in search of new inspiration), through misadventures and inky cheeks, through everything, anything, and all that is not yet written, the girl who writes will be the doe-eyed, love-struck narrator of the story and you, her forever after knight in shining armor.