Carolyne Whelan received her MFA in poetry and nonfiction at Chatham University in 2009, where she was a finalist for Best Thesis. She is the recipient of the 2013 Jan-ai Fellowship, the 2014 Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, and the 2015 Lucille Clifton scholarship to the Squaw Valley Community of Writers’s Poetry Workshop. Her first chapbook, The Glossary of Tania Aebi, was published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals, most recently Sugar House and Majestic Disorder. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she works as a freelance writer, bicycle mechanic, and bicycle-powered poster distributor.
Past all that boring stuff, I’m also a dreamer and occasionally a pain in the buns. When I was in Junior High, I started writing zines. I didn’t know they were something that existed in the world, but I wanted to publish a book and knew I would never get in with the likes of Random House. Because I have dysgraphia, I learned to type as a way of better communicating, largely helped by online communities, AOL chatrooms, etc. I met a boy slightly older than me who made zines, and who helped me make my first. When I saw how easy it was, I fired him and went rogue. I met other women zinesters who were much cooler and smarter and older than me, who taught me more about the art of zine making. We started a band, I played drums, they moved away. Around this time, I also started a project in my parents’ basement, very generously on their part, inviting friends, artists, and the curious of my community to participate. Poets, storytellers, rappers, DJs, painters, and musicians all came on Friday nights to create, freestyle, recite, and enjoy themselves and each other. This spirit of community has stayed with me over twenty years, across three continents, 13 countries, and boundless places I call “home.”
This blog has been created to help me build the platform for the next stage in my life, moving out of my quaint two-bedroom (really one-and-a-half) house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to travel the country in my van (unless I can find the money for a trailer, hint hint), climbing mountains, forging new friendships, and telling tales up the coast and down the river. Come along with me for the journey as I stub my toes and make a mess of things, two things I do with surprising grace.