Discover more from Reckless Chants
on productivity & projects
said I got new dreams
This is the first missive sent from my new Substack home. It's only a 'what I've been up to' sort of thing, but it's been months since I've even written one of these, so there's a lot. It's funny, because I never think I'm doing much of anything. I loathe the whole capitalist mindset of 'productivity,' I know intellectually that just because I'm not making stuff or putting it out into the world constantly doesn't mean I'm a failure, and especially during a year like the one we've just had I understand that creative dry spells will happen and sometimes its all I can do just to get through the day—and that's okay. I know all that. Intellectually. But, well, lately I get on social media and see all the cool things my friends and acquaintances are doing and feel like I'm a failure, and everyone is more creatively successful than I am, and I get cranky and sad. I pout a bit, and then I start writing up something like this and realize: oh. I actually am doing a lot, and other people's successes are not my failures. And I feel better for a few days, and then the whole cycle starts over.
Anyway. Some things I've been doing:
I have a linktr.ee now, so you can easily find all my most recent/relevant stuff all in one place.
I wrote a couple lines for this Wisconsin poets exquisite corpse that Kelsey Marie Harris put together.
I've had a few poems published in Crow & Cross Keys — Rust Belt Jessie's Taxonomy of Ghosts, on being an angel, and Planet of the Monster Girls. I'm especially proud of "Rust Belt Jessie's Taxonomy of Ghosts"; I spent a long, long time working with that one and it's one of my favorite things I've ever written. (Crow & Cross Keys is publishing a lot of great stuff, and I really feel like my work has found a perfect home with them. I'm currently working on a piece of flash fiction which will be published for their Patreon subscribers at the end of the this month.)
I've put up some new stuff on Medium. Some previously unpublished things; some things that were published on sites that have since gone dark. In the future, that type of stuff will mostly be migrating to the paid tier of this newsletter, but the stuff I've already published on Medium will stay there.
I've got a few spoken word tracks on Hello America's Winter Collection, and a collaborative track (my poem + Tim Simmons' music) on the Hello America Spring Collection. Hello America's cassette/digital label is doing rad shit right now; you should check it out.
I'm doing a giveaway related to The Loneliest Show On Earth. See, TLSOE has all these epistolary segments:
And I have all these vintage circus-themed postcards, and being that April is National Poetry Month and May is the start of circus/carnival season (or at least it would be, were it not still pandemic times), I got inspired.
The next fifteen people to buy a copy of TLSOE (either from Bottlecap Press, or directly from me), will get a brand-new epistolary circus poem written just for them on the back of a circus-themed postcard. You can get it from Bottlecap Press here, and then send me a screenshot of your receipt + your address. Or, you can buy a copy from me via PayPal ($15, shipping included), and include your address. (The deal for $15 including shipping is within the U.S. only; if you live elsewhere and still want a postcard poem, please order the book from Bottlecap.)
Speaking of giveaways, I recently found some extra copies of some older stuff lying around, and I'm giving 'em away for the price of postage. (Again, within the U.S. only.) I've got one copy of Reckless Chants #22 (the zine I wrote about memories and music from the '90s, published in 2015), three copies of Dimestore Ghosts (a zine/chapbook of poetry and prose from 2016), two copies of the broadside I made of my poem "A Hymn for Dead Anarchists, Nomads, and Punks" (2016), and two copies of It's Like the 'Watch the Throne' of Tender Punk Poems, the split poetry chapbook I wrote with Misha Bee Speck in 2017. Just PayPal me $2-5 (sliding scale, depending on how many things you want and how much you can afford) + what you want and your address, and I'll send 'em on out. (While supplies last, obviously, so you might wanna check with me first to see what I have left.)
Speaking of older stuff, and stuff I have for sale—I am very nearly SOLD OUT of print copies of forget the fuck away from me and The Girl With the Most Cake, my chapbooks from 2019. I have a few copies left of each allotted for individual sale, and a few copies earmarked for inclusion in the Jessie Lynn McMains book/zine bundle, and then they're gone. You can find both individual copies and the book bundle in my Etsy shop.
I'm trying new ways to make more money, for my own writing/projects and for Bone & Ink Press. The press currently has a GoFundMe going, if you want to check that out. As for ways to support my writing and other projects, well, buying my books and zines always helps, and if you became a paid subscriber of this newsletter it would help me immensely. Some things I'm trying to save up for include getting actual print copies of What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk made, and buying a new printer—I want a laserjet rather than the inkjet I currently have, because laserjets use toner, and then I can print my zines at home and oh, guess what, I'm trying to start a micro-press ‘subsidiary’ of Bone & Ink Press, where I publish short-form chapbooks zine-style, in very limited quantities—which is what Bone & Ink was initially supposed to be but then it accidentally became semi-legit. Anyway, having a laserjet printer/copier would help me with the new micro-press as well.
And there are ways to support me non-monetarily, and that's through boosting my stuff and/or posting about it. You know, if you have any of my zines, or books, or chapbooks, take a photo and make an Instagram post about them! Or write a review of one of my books for your blog or zine or newsletter. Share a link to this newsletter or my Etsy shop! Repost posts I make on Instagram or Tumblr or Twitter, so they're seen by a larger audience. Etc.
Some other stuff I'm working on, doing, enjoying:
The first paid tier posts for this newsletter. The first one, which will be released on Tuesday, will include a .pdf download of forget the fuck away from me + multimedia notes, highlights, and annotations for that chapbook. The post after that, coming later next week, will be the same thing, but for The Girl With the Most Cake. As for the posts after that? Well, I don't know which order they'll be finished in, but I'm working on an essay about writing poetry/writing in general, and paying deep attention, with some musings on Henry David Thoreau and Rainer Maria Rilke, et. al, and I'm writing some mini reviews of albums I've been digging and zines I've been reading (which may have an accompanying podcast! so stay tuned).
I'm working on a new issue of Reckless Chants (the paper zine), about the abortion I had in February. I'm doing a lot of poeming—I'm writing brand new stuff, as well as finding my way back into older poems that I'd set aside. I'm still painting a lot, and I've gotten back into analogue photography. I'm in the process of tuning up my bike, my beautiful red cruiser; I haven't ridden in years and I miss it.
(Once I get my bike fixed up and get that laserjet printer, and we’re all fully vaccinated, I can have folks over for bike rides and zine-making parties. You should join me.)
I've recently read a couple great essays about Henry David Thoreau (here and here); I've been having feelings about Henry David and am considering adding "Thoreau apologist" to my social media bios, haha. I also enjoyed this essay about Federico García Lorca's "Poema del Cante Jondo." I'm reading Lily King's new novel, Writers & Lovers, and I adore it so far, and I also adore this piece of CNF by Nicole Morning in Horror Sleaze Trash — "A Catalog of Dudes I Boned."
Oh, and allow me to mention The Loneliest Show On Earth again.
I took this picture of TLSOE with books by Diane Seuss and Marty Cain, who are two of my favorite contemporary poets, and who were both kind enough to write gorgeous blurbs for it. (I still occasionally cry tears of joy when I think of what they wrote about my book. I'm not kidding.) In the past month and a half I've gotten to see them both read via the magic of Zoom, and Diane has a new book out (frank: sonnets; also check out this essay Kathleen Rooney wrote about Diane/her poetry/the new book), and Marty has a new book coming out later this year but in the meantime you should just get Kids of the Black Hole because it is so killer.
Musically, well, I'll save most of it for that other post I'm working on, but two of my current fave jams are Laura Jane Grace's "SuperNatural Possession" and Shungudzo's "it's a good day (to fight the system)." And I've got a new morning tradition, where after I do some yoga and stretching, I put on Nina Simone singing "Feeling Good" and dance. It starts my days off on the right note.
That's all, for now. Stay tuned for future missives, coming very soon, and maybe consider becoming a paid subscriber. xo.
It's a good day (to fight the system),
Jessie Lynn McMains