I’m this month’s artist in profile for Resonator Institute! Click on the picture below to check it out. They feature some of my work and include an interview about my work and the group exhibition I curated for their gallery, titled Wallow: Exploring Grief through Hybrid Forms.
I’m so grateful to announce that I’m an artist-in-residence at Resonator Institute at Norman, OK from May 30th-June 15th. Check out my promo video (shot and directed by Craig Fowler) to see what I’ll be up to:
I wrote a poem with my mother, Susan Gregory, y’all!
The collaboration happened after my mom sent in a piece for the Creepo Project, and we realized our stories of harassment and abuse were very similar. And great news, the anthology our piece got published in is out for the world to consume! 🙂 I’ll include the piece below, but if you’d like to buy the anthology, which has an artist statement from each collaborative pair or group next to their piece, click on the picture below!
Mother-Daughter Bonding: An Exploration of Stupid
Age 6 – Early 1960s
I am playing on the school playground. Three teenage boys pass by and ask me if I want to see their wieners. I am scared and say no. “Well, here it is,” shouts one of the boys. He pulls a hot dog out of his pocket and waves it in the air. I run home.
Age 16 – Early 1970s
I am walking to work when a fat, forty-something-year-old man asks if I want a ride. I am stupid and say yes. During the ride, we are silent until the end. I turn to thank him, and he slides his hand up my dress. I scream and run into my building. After work, my mother tells me, “It serves you right for getting in the car.”
Age 19 – Mid 1970s
I am walking home from work, and I cut through the park to catch my bus. A good-looking twenty-something-year-old man is sitting on a park bench. He smiles at me and says hello. I smile and say hello back, but then I stupidly look down. His hand is in his pants. He’s jacking off.
Age 22 – Late 1970s
I am working at a car dealership, and I am still stupid. At the end of my shift, my manager, Dick, calls me into his office. He looks me up and down and tells me a filthy joke. For the next few weeks, I start wearing clothing two sizes too big. He still calls me over. I try making an excuse, “I’ll be late for my bus,” but this makes Dick mad. “When Dick calls you, you come!” He grabs me by the coat collar and drags me to his office. I ask him what he wants, and he tells me a filthy joke. I leave crying and never go back.
Age 30 – Mid 1980s
I am working in an office where my husband also works. Every morning, two married co-workers talk to me at my desk. They tell me about the porn they watched the night before and ask if I’d like to watch the next one with them. I say “no, thank you” every time, but they ask again and again. I complain to personnel, and the couple stops speaking to me. I am finally getting smarter.
Age 38 – Early 1990s
I am in a grocery store parking lot holding my 18-month-old daughter while putting groceries into my car. I look up and see two twenty-something-year-old men standing next to me. One of them grabs his crotch, looks at my daughter, and shakes his junk around. “She’s gonna be one hot mama when she gets older.” I am sick. I want to puke.
Age 10 – Late 1990s
I am walking with my mother to Wienerschnitzel to buy a hot dog. We pass a parked semi-truck. The driver honks his horn and whistles. I ask my mom who the man is whistling at. “Not at me, I can tell you that much.”
Age 15 – Mid 2000s
I am instant messaging with my boyfriend’s twenty-something-year-old friend. He asks me to have sex with him, and I tell him no. He takes a screenshot of the conversation and uses Paint to switch our screen names, as if I am the one asking him for sex. He sends the image to my boyfriend and calls me a slut. My boyfriend believes him. I am stupid and convince my boyfriend not to dump me. We stay together for another two years.
Age 17 – Late 2000s
I am at my first college party, and I meet a boy. He says he likes me. For the next two weeks, we talk in his dorm room and watch movies on his bed. He never touches me until one night when we can hear his roommate at the door. The boy jumps on top of me and sticks his tongue in my mouth just as his roommate walks inside. I leave crying and never go back.
Age 20 – Early 2010s
I am studying abroad in England, and I meet a seventeen-year-old Swedish boy. We go to a dance club and get drunk with some friends. I black out, and when I come to, my friends tell me the Swedish boy had my arms pinned to a wall and his hand up my dress. They wanted to tell him to stop, but they decided I probably didn’t care. I am stupid and believe them.
Age 21 – Early 2010s
I am staying the night in a hostel, and I am the stupidest I have ever been. I walk in my shared room and a thirty-something-year-old Colombian man sits cross-legged on the floor. He is naked minus a towel wrapped around his waist. He asks if I am alone, and I say yes. He slides his towel to the left, revealing his flaccid penis. I try to leave the room, but he stands up and blocks the door. I try stepping around his body, but he moves closer to me. “You have beautiful eyes,” he says, and I push him. He slips, and I run out the door. I find a new room and stay inside it all night, not even leaving to pee.
Age 23 – Present day
I am working in an office where my brother also works. Every afternoon, a forty-something-year-old coworker talks to me in my cubicle about his motorcycle and drinking habits. I ignore him, but he comes back again and again. One day, he asks me to watch a video of a Barbie and Ken doll having sex. I say, “No, thank you,” and he laughs. “It would probably remind you of your brother anyway.” He stays in my cubicle and plays the video at maximum volume. I can hear the moaning, and I want to puke.
It’s been awhile, friends.
I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing on death practices, the occult, and the act of possession (not like I wasn’t before, but even more so now). It’s made me realize that the art I’ve created in response to my grandfather’s death, initially coming from a place of fear and emptiness, has inspired a more loving relationship with death and the afterlife. To share the love of good death relationships, I wanted to post some pieces from Harboring Darrell, the three-part installation I made toward the end of grad school, in Danielle Vogel’s class, because it was the first time I created art that explicitly spoke of my grandfather’s death: allowing me to start the healing process.
The installation includes a funeral, an altar, and a collaborative offering in remembrance of my grandfather, Darrell. It is a companion piece to my project Helene, acting as a direct attempt to move beyond the self experiencing grief and focus purely on the process of grieving. Participants of Harboring Darrell are asked to mourn with me as they view a previously filmed funeral given for Darrell’s boots, interact with an altar created in replication of Darrell’s living room, and leave behind their own memories of loss as they fill out the “Harboring Darrell Questionnaire” and place it in the Box of Offerings.
Pictures of the altar and Box of Offerings.
Thanks for reading. If you’re also interested in the topics of death, the occult, and possession, here are three books that I recommend:
Check out this interview my fellow Letter [r] Press editors and I did with Natalie Singer-Velush for the University of Washington Bothell – After the MFA blog. We discuss the beginnings of the press, what it was like to work on the press and journal while attending graduate school, our process of selecting work, what we plan for the future of the press, and more!
The editors and author: Sarah Baker, LB, Travis Sharp, Aimee Harrison, Terri Witek (the author of Letter [r] Press’ first chapbook “On Gavdos Ferry) and me (Tracy Jane Gregory)
Two of my self-guided exercises from my thesis Helene (“Exercise 3: Possessor-Possessee Relationship Flowchart” and “Exercise 4: Being Selective with the Proprietors of Your Will”) have been published in issue 7.1 of A Bad Penny Review. You can find them here and here.
To give a little background to these pieces, in Helene, I created a fictional religion titled “Possessive Spiritualism,” in which humans can interact with spirits using their bodies as hosts. The titular character’s grandfather has died and she explores possession as a viable option for communicating with her grandfather’s spirit by reading literature created by Possessive Spiritualists. These exercises are pieces from this fictional literature.
Try some Bowietry on for size: To skim milk foreigner, determinedly selling his wares and It’s kind of how I feel: a foreign body. I made these collage poems awhile back from images and text related to all things Bowie. The images are layered screen shots I took of Nicolas Roeg’s film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The text is from a few sources: Sean Boyle’s video essay The Sonic Landscapes of The Man Who Fell to Earth, Graham Fuller’s essay The Man Who Fell to Earth: Loving the Alien, and this awesome conspiracy theory essay by Peter-R. Koenig The Laughing Gnostic — David Bowie and the Occult.
I hope you like ’em.
Note: I initially meant ‘whale’ and not ‘wale’ in To skim, but discovered that ‘wale’ means a plank running along the side of a wooden ship. It’s not the plank one jumps off of when caught and killed by pirates. It also can’t really make songs and rarely interacts with whales. Definitely not whale songs. But let’s pretend all these things. Also, laziness is a thing.
The 2015 edition of Best American Experimental Writing just came out, so you can now see my collage poem, For Mercy, in their online issue! It’s alongside some other AMAZING pieces, like Matthew Burnside’s interactive novel, In Search Of: a Sandbox Novel and Blair Johnson’s (what I’m calling a) morphing, crumple poem, “You are only part of yourself, collected in tangles”. You can also buy the print issue, which includes work from Dodie Bellamy (I can say my work has been printed in the same journal as her?? SWOON), Cecilia Corrigan, Bhanu Kapil and Ronaldo Wilson. The journal was edited by Douglas Kearney, guest editor, and Seth Abramson and Jesse Damiani, series editors. I am most familiar with Kearney’s work (SWOON AGAIN), but they all have really awesome stuff.
Check it out, and thank you, BAX!
This project is on-going and takes the form of a tumblr page called The Creepo Project. The idea for this project came in the Winter of 2014. I was on a run, making my way up a hill, when a person pulled up next to me in their windowless van. They leaned out of the driver’s window, gave me a nod, and slowly said the words “good job.” This wasn’t the first time someone had accosted me while running, or walking, or existing in a public space, or in any context. I started thinking about stories of a similar nature: ones I had heard primarily from women. I wanted to know more. I reached out to friends, family, and the world of Facebook and asked for creepy stories.
In my compilation process, I have come to realize that everyone’s definition of ‘creepy’ is unique in some way. One person might find a compliment ‘creepy’ while another might find it flattering. One person might find a stranger grabbing their ass ‘creepy’ and a loved one grabbing their ass not ‘creepy’. This led to the creation of thecreepoproject.tumblr.com. I wanted to create a space for people to share their creepy interactions in hopes to more widely define creepy’, to put those differing concepts of ‘creepy’ next to each other and understand the motivations of why people consider something to be ‘creepy’. As someone in my MFA program put it: the creepo project is an attempt to “creep on ‘creepy’.”
And the next part of the project is up to you. I need your stories to add to my creepy collections. And there are many ways to provide them! You can either post directly to the tumblr page using your own Tumblr account. If you don’t have tumblr account, you can still post but Tumblr requires you to fill in your name and e-mail address. Either of these options will not post immediately, but they will be sent to my queue for me to approve and they will be up shortly. If you would like to remain anonymous, send your experience to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and I will post it for you. The form of your post can be anything you like: words, pictures, videos, songs etc.
Letter [r] Press, the small press I am an editor at, has just released Issue 5 of Small Po[r]tions! If you aren’t familiar, Small Po[r]tions is this tiny experimental journal filled with works of all genres. When I say all, I mean poetry, prose, visual art, vispo, video poems, and anything else that starts with a ‘v’ or ‘p’, apparently!
I have a link to the online Issue 5 up there, but if you want to buy a print copy (that has more and different pieces than the online journal), click here!
I bid you adieu with a screen shot of the online issue’s front matter. Ain’t it pretty? I helped make that! 🙂