Hello, Readers/Supporters,

Aside from encouraging you (however, covertly) to garden or at least eat local food, I try to keep from asking you for too much. Just a little attention/love now and again. Today that changes, albeit briefly.

If I haven’t told you about it, Beecher’s Magazine is something cool that you should know about. Here’s our website.  It is a literary magazine that some of the English graduate students at KU started last year. Starting a magazine is a lot of work. Reading submissions is a lot of work. Publishing a magazine is a lot of work. Though is was stressful at times, it’s really cool to be a part of something so new. This year, I’m the Assistant Nonfiction Editor, which is also pretty cool.

Our first issue was well-received and is available in bookstores in Lawrence, KS and New York City. We are currently putting together out second issue. Because of the success of our first issue, we also want to reprint it for wider distribution. Finally, we are seeking money to travel to Chicago for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP) so we can further promote Beecher’s and connect with other writers (and have fun).

Depending on where you live, you may or may not know about this, but funding for the Kansas Art Commission was completely cut last year (UGH!). Obviously this is problematic for the English Department. We are graduate students and are poor, so there are two things I’m asking you to consider:

1) We started a Kickstarter campaign. This allows friends, family, anyone, really to donate (even if it’s just one dollar) to the cause. You can select an award for certain amounts, or you can select “No Reward.”
To donate to Beecher’s, please click the following link and then “Back This Project.”
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/benpfeiffer/beechers-magazine-issue-2
Soon we’ll have bios + photos up of all the editors, so if you’d like to see who we are, check back for that.
Here’s how Kickstarter works: In order for us to get any of the money, we have to reach our goal of $5,000 by January 2nd, 2012. Unless we reach $5,000 you won’t be charged anything (and we won’t get anything). Raising this money should make sure that we meet our goals This money should ensure that we not only meet our goals listed above, but that we have funds for the future.

2) If you’re in Lawrence (or feel like venturing to Lawrence), we have a food themed reading/fundraiser Thursday (11/10) night with a pretty exciting line-up from both the community and the university. I’ll be reading a short piece, too, maybe about dead animals, maybe about the garden. Check out our Facebook Event. And here’s the rad flyer: beechers-fundraiser-Raven-border-2c.

 

Thanks for reading. Again, we’re really depending on you, ie the people who love us and who love art/writing/creativity/life.

I promise not to ask for anything else anytime soon.

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Smachos

This is me with my friend, Rachel. She took it at a party, which is why her head is a little cut off.  Rachel and met during my second semester at KU. We worked at the Writing Center and I were in a class together that really served no purpose whatsoever. Then we went to Balitmore together…I think our friendship was solidified when I fell asleep at the airport and drooled all over myself. Or when she took me to Ed Poe’s grave. Or when I took her to a super sketchy market.

The best thing about our friendship is that we have nothing in common. Seriously…nothing. We don’t like to do homework at the same times, we don’t really like the same coffee shops (or coffee, for that matter), we don’t like the same kind of food, we don’t like the same music, and we definitely don’t have the same hobbies (she hates the outdoors…and well…I garden). However, we are both good story tellers and good listeners and good laughers.

Even though she doesn’t really care about gardening at all, Rachel is also one of my most supportive blog readers. If anyone wants to try to compete with her for that title, I’ll gladly host a competition, but at the moment, I’d say she’s somewhere near the top.

Recently, we discovered that even though we may not like the same food, we do like some of the same restaurants downtown. We ate out once together. The next time, I asked if I could cook something for us. The only other time we’d cooked together was to make salsa–few can disagree on tomatoes and cilantro. I knew she would be skeptical, so I had a plan–pizza. She responded with “Can we have pesto pizza?!” so I knew she had been keeping up with the blog (see pesto frenzy here). She agreed on broccoli as a side, “only if it was the same crunchiness as it is in Chinese food.”

She had agreed to bring dessert. About an hour before she came over, she asked if I liked smores. Another true testament to our friendship, I replied “I really don’t.” Just like I ignored the face she made when I said there would be spinach on the pizza, she ignored my “no;” I am lucky that she did.

After dinner, she created her dish, stating “If the only legacy I leave behind is smachos, I’m okay with that.” Smachos= Teddy Grahams + chocolate chips+ marshmallows. Then you bake them for 10 minutes or so…maybe less. Though simple, they are excellent, and as Rachel pointed out, even better when they’ve been in the fridge for a day. Rachel said that I could blog about them but that she had copyrighted them. So, you can make smachos, but all credit goes to Rachel McMurray.

Wisconsin

I went to Madison, WI for a Writing Center conference last weekend. Madison was great for many reasons, but gardenwise/farmwise:

1) The Farmer’s Market is enormous, one of the largest in the country. There, I saw my first brussel sprout…um…tree? I was amazed. Isn’t it beautiful? I wanted so badly to buy one but since we were riding the train, I wasn’t really sure how I’d get it back to KS. I also talked to a nice old lady who explained how they grow. If it’s possible to grow them in KS, that might be next year’s project.

2) Cheese. Cheese could have its own entry. I didn’t know I loved cheese, and then I went to Madison. Imagine how great it would have been if I had gotten to visit an actual dairy farm.

One night we went to this super hip restaurant near the Capitol building: The Old Fashioned. It was so hip that there was always a wait. We had cheese curds as an appetizer. Then, a lot of my friends had macaroni and cheese. I had a grilled cheese.

I ran to Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning at 7 am before the conference to buy it. I ran around the entire Capitol until I found what I thought was the most authentic, most Wisconsinian cheese: Raw Milk Cheddar from a nearby farm. I’m assuming that since it has whole milk, it probably has about a million calories, but it’s so good. I told the people I traveled with that I would carry the cheese in my running tights if I had to, but that was all just for a reaction from them…cheese fits in your hand quite easily.

Since getting back from Madison I have had this cheese every day. I think I have three days worth of cheese left. Then, what happens? I hope they ship here.

Halloween/Writing-Reading

Actually, this has no relation to the garden/etc, but I’ll tell you anyway.

I did not dress up. The party I was supposed to go to was on Friday night and I could not not watch the World Series. So, I got some guy friends to skip the party with me. I was going to be Bruce Springsteen for Halloween anyway, and I’m 99.9% certain that Bruce Springsteen would have watched the baseball game. It is also that time in the semester where I am tired and busy and more inclined to do what I want as opposed to what might be considered most normal or appropriate in social situations (ie most 24 year olds go to Halloween parties).

I did not, however, skip out on Pumpkin cookie, my most favorite Halloween tradition. Sunday night I had a reading in Lawrence (yes–reading in public again!). I read a serious thing again and then a funny thing. Apparently that’s my go to structure. There were lots of supportive friends who came, and though I did not read anything spooky, it was awesome and fun. Afterward, I invited some of my most special, longest-standing friends over. Whoever invented pumpkin cookie (Dawn Bollinger) is mostly a genius.

Success.