Monday, August 31, 2009

First Line Fiction

"She told him with a little gesture he had never seen her use before."  - John Updike

Do those few words inspire you to write a short story? If so, you should enter the contest at This website is the brainchild of my friend Frank McDonnell. It was a dream that he talked and schemed about for years, and it finally became a reality after he left a great job in finance to pursue it. It's really inspiring to see someone you know actually do something they've always talked about wanting to do. So, please encourage anyone you know who loves to write fiction to visit the site and participate (right now there are only 4 contestants and the cash prize is $200). Here's more from the site about how it works:

"FirstLineFiction is a website dedicated to hosting writing contests in which the participants choose the winners. It is the aim of our contests to provide a fun and creative outlet to motivate writers of all levels.

Each contest provides a unique first line that participants must use to create and submit an original work of fiction of no greater than 3000 words by a specified date. Following the submission deadline, each participant is randomly assigned six anonymous stories to read and rank. Rankings take the form of a relative list, ordered from most to least favorite story. This feedback is then compiled to determine the contest favorites. Cash prizes are awarded to these favorites.

It is our view that the traditional fiction model does not do enough to facilitate the creation of short fiction. While some contests and publications provide a great selection of contemporary short fiction, they do little to promote the production of fiction from their audience. The process of submitting and being published may not utilize internet technology and the selection process is usually very guarded. Those that submit are often fulfilling a personal desire with no real expectation of success or constructive feedback.

FirstLineFiction offers a unique alternative; a contest that motivates writers with a first line, deadline, transparent evaluation and prizes. We believe this extra motivation assists writers in taking the difficult first step of participating in our contest and producing topnotch fiction. In addition, our evaluation process through peer review offers a level of transparency that cannot be found elsewhere. We believe that it is this accessibility that sets us apart."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

the Alfred Sculpture blog has been born

I am teaching 3 classes for the School of Art and Design at Alfred University this fall, including 2 sophomore Intro to Sculpture classes. I have also been put in charge of making and running a blog that documents the goings-on in the Sculpture/Dimensional Studies department. I just launched the site the other day, and I am pretty excited to regularly post news about upcoming events in the town and on campus, as well as images of student and faculty work. Check it out! 

Bambi lives in my backyard

(I took this picture with my cell phone from my back stoop)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


(just when I thought only humans made art)

"The most notable characteristic of bowerbirds is their extraordinarily complex courtship and mating behaviour, where males build a bower to attract mates. There at two main types of bowers. One clade of bowerbirds build so-called maypole bowers that are constructed by placing sticks around a sapling, in some species these bowers have a hut-like roof. The other major bowerbuilding clade builds an avenue type bower made of two walls of vertically placed sticks. In and around the bower the male places a variety of brightly colored objects he has collected. These objects — usually different among each species — may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items, coins, nails, rifle shells, or pieces of glass. The males spend hours arranging this collection. Bowers within a species share a general form but do show significant variation, and the collection of objects reflects the biases of males of each species and its ability to procure items from the habitat often stealing them from neighboring bowers. Several studies of different species have shown that colors of decorations males use on their bowers match the preferences of females."

(found here )

I think I'm beginning to understand how things work

I borrowed a Holga camera this summer and used it to document my travels. I went to Austin, Santa Fe, Portland (OR), Philadelphia, Venice, Olympia, Izmir, Istanbul, and Dubrovnik (hence, the long hiatus). I haven't gotten all of the film developed yet, but here are a few of my favorites so far.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

what I would do if I was a photographer

For Which It Stands, Zoe Leonard, 2003

This image is of an installation photographer Zoe Leonard made at Mass MoCA for the show called Yankee Remix back in 2003. I don't remember how I came upon documentation of this, but it was something that has stuck with me. Apparently, the show was in collaboration with the Boston-based Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, and Zoe's contribution was this minimal postcard rack of photographs she made of objects from the museum's collection. As you can see, museum goers were invited to take a postcard and leave a donation.

I am drawn to the idea of mass producing artwork and making it accessible in this way. But instead of placing the rack in a gallery or museum and having it make a statement that is "meant to comment on American constructs of capitalism, militarism, racism, industriousness, recreation and such" (as quoted from a review of the show by the New York Times), I think it would be great to just put it in a public place that is unrelated to the art world and its ability to make things like this seem "ironic". Like the local laundromat or somewhere like that. It would just be nice. Don't you think?

hunting with a camera

(These photographs from the National Geographic Society's archives are going to be shown at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea, opening Sept. 17th)

A photograph of a coal miner in West Virginia by B. Anthony Stewart, published in the May 1944 issue of National Geographic.

Hunting White Tailed Deer with a Camera, Northern Michigan, 1930, by George Shiras III.

(found here)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lightning Drawings

by Cassandra C. Jones
(found here)