Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd

What ever happened to Emily’s blog?

Posted on May 27, 2016. Filed under: Art, Just fun!, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd, Poems, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , |

Helloooooo! With Memorial Day on the horizon, I remembered that it’s been exactly one year since I wrote a blog post, so it’s about time for another. Last May 27, I’d just finished a show at Women and Children Bookstore with Andy Karol. Afterwards, Andy and I met at the Carnivale restaurant for lunch and decided working together was too cool to do only once. That meeting led to a proposal inspired by tips from artist, Sergio Gomez and we’ve been on a roll ever since. In fact, I’ve sold more than 200 copies of my book, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd.

CPL Exhibition 2016_n

In the last few months, we’ve performed at Loyola University and Harold Washington Library as well as independently at Niles North High School. Andy’s earned a place on the team to go to the National Poetry Slam and I’ve had art shows at the library, August House Gallery, and Ed Hinkley Studio, where I continue to be inspired in Ed’s classes. I also took a class in storytelling with Scott Whitehair to exercise my performance skills. At this time, I refuse to explore any additional art forms, so don’t suggest I try to learn the harp.

What’s Next?

Next month, I’ll have art openings at the ZhouB Art Center on 31st Street in Chicago on June 17, and Expressions Graphics in Oak Park at a date to be announced.  I  hope to post regularly from now on, but not annoyingly so. For those who’ve followed me from the early days, at four years out, my numbers are still good, and I’m so not talking about the scale!

Have a great holiday weekend!



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Grateful & Happy for a Successful Performance

Posted on May 27, 2015. Filed under: Art, Just fun!, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd, Poems, Poetry |


Emma, Emily and Andy at Women & Children First

Life gets in the way, which is why this post is almost two weeks overdue… I’ve been meaning to thank all who came out for a wonderful reading at Women & Children First Books on May 14. You are not intimidated by rain!

Thank you to Andy Karol who gave a great performance and brought along Emma Smoler, a violinist who backed her up with incredible tunes. Thank you to Poets & Writers for backing us up with payment for our reading! Thank you, projector, for successfully displaying my art. Thank you Scott for your tech help and taking photos. Thank you to all who walked away with one of our books! Enjoy.

It was an evening that we may package for replay. If you know someone who would like to host a reading, let us know!

Next Up: Signing books at Printer’s Row Lit Fest. Stop by the CWA table and say, “Hi.” Other future events are noted at http://emilycalvo.com/books.

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2nd Act Continues…

Posted on February 9, 2015. Filed under: APL, Cancer, Just fun!, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd, leukemia, Poems, Poetry, survivorship | Tags: , , , |

group on stage1e

The Cast of 2nd Act: Survivor Stories from the Stage


Yesterday was wonderful! I took the stage at the Athenaeum Theater with 11 other women who have had their own run-ins with cancer. The cast and I, with host Roz Varon from ABC7 shared our stories of how our lives have been redirected by cancer. Hopefully, we inspired others to ride their own waves of change.

My story is about FINALLY publishing my poems and adding the paintings to the collection that became Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd. I have so much gratitude for all the dear friends and family who attended the show. Special thanks to Judy Pearson and Karen Shayne of Women Survivors Alliance for providing an inspiring platform that demonstrates such positive ways of meeting challenges. Next year, the organization will produce another show in Chicago, and I’m very proud to be chosen for the inaugural 2nd Act.

You Haven’t Heard the Last of Me! 

Today, I’m updating my website, Facebook and social media with upcoming shows because I still have about 100 books to sell. So I am booking readings, driving around with books in my trunk and carrying my “I take credit cards” phone thingy in my purse. If you know of anyone who wants me to read, just reply and we’ll nail a date.

I’ve had some wonderful, and unexpected feedback from my book. The best part comes when people tell me how reading a poem really made them feel better; how a poem made them smile, be surprised or simply a bit of the warm fuzzies. That’s what makes me happy about painting and writing. Adding a little bit of peace and beauty to the world that, too often is anything but peaceful and beautiful. Peace, folks.

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Pinch me!

Posted on January 16, 2015. Filed under: Cancer, Just fun!, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd | Tags: |

It’s been a wild week! It all started about six weeks ago when I received an email asking women cancer survivors to audition for a part in a show. The focus is on what one does AFTER cancer, and titled, “My Second Act: Stories from the Stage.” I couldn’t resist. I hammered out my essay about embracing the artist/poet within, talked about my book, reserved a spot to audition—and was accepted into the show!


The 2015 Cast of My 2nd Act: Stories from the Stage

Last Sunday, the ten selected women attended a table reading. It was great to meet the other women and hear their inspiring stories. There were tears and laughter and everything in between. I even learned that one of the performers car pools my granddaughter to her flute class! (Small world story.) The best thing about the show is that it’s about attitude, not cancer. Anyone who’s encountered a major hurdle, health or otherwise, will hear about how to turn the ugly into beautiful.

On Monday, I got a call from Judy, the co-founder of the organization producing the show, saying that Roz Varon, ABC7 reporter and cancer survivor, wanted to interview a couple cast members at the Athenaeum Theater on Southport on Wednesday. She asked if I was available. Why, yes, I am available.

Yesterday, ABC7 ran the segment and they managed to find the 10 seconds where I sounded halfway articulate. I am very proud to be part of this! Here’s the link to the segment.

It will be an inspiring show and I look forward to being in it! You can get tickets here.

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Smack Down—and a Reality Check

Posted on November 19, 2014. Filed under: Cancer, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd | Tags: |

If you’ve been reading this blog on a regular basis, you know I have had a “hate relationship” with my estrogen-suppressant. The drug is supposed to minimize risk of breast cancer recurrence. But no matter how many doctors tell me that estrogen is not my friend, I will never believe them. Since 2010, the drug has caused one dingbat episode after another: the fuzzy-headedness, fatigue, achiness, sweat-inducing hot flashes and mood swings that are known best by pregnant and menopausal women. This summer, I had two root canals and learned that I lost another inch in height. Since my bone density was previously excellent, I chalked this up to another estrogen suppressant side-effect. I did some research and learned that the mean little pink pill reduces my risk from something like a whopping 2.4 percent to .8 percent. Not worth it!

Within weeks, I was feeling like my NOT old self. I had energy, clarity, and pain meds collecting dust on the back of the shelf. I was bouncing up and down stairs, and feeling great. I was dancing around my office, getting postcards printed for my upcoming feature at the Green Mill, trying to memorize poems, creating email blasts and social mediating 24/7.

No more Emily-lite. Fully-leaded Emily WAS BACK. The all-great-and-powerful Emily didn’t require 6 to 8 cups of water a day. She didn’t need to exercise. Or sleep. Or wash her hands a million times a day. No, SHE WAS INVINCABLE!

Even when congestion tip-toed into my head a few days before the show, I counted on a trip to the Minute Clinic, the ensuing antibiotics and a session with my acupuncturist to KNOCK it out of me. The show must go on, and it did–with a round of applause. WhooHoo! I did it.

On Monday after the show, the germs rallied and I hit the wall with a thud. I was back, yes, but I was back to pulling bedsheets up to my neck and sucking down cherry cough drops (menthol and eucalyptus are underrated) like they were M& Ms.

OK, I’ve learned my lesson. We are on week #2 of all sorts of pharma-wonders. I am going to bed BEFORE midnight and drinking buckets of water. Even tea. Even powdered packets of vitamin C. I’m spraying crap up my nose and doing what I’m told, but, and I’m still hacking like a college dropout with a computer major. I’m sure I’ll beat this thing eventually, but I’m not going back to suppressing my estrogen. Hear that!

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Me=Featured Poet at the Uptown Poetry Slam on Nov 9th

Posted on October 28, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just fun!, Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd, Poems, Poetry |

Green Mill

Nov 9, 7 pm come to 4802 N. Broadway in Chicago

That’s right. Mark your calendar for Sunday, November 9, 7 pm. I will be featuring at the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, 4802 N. Broadway in Chicago. (The $7 cover is well worth it.)  Come early to get a good seat. My new book, “Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd” will be available in print and hopefully in eBook form. If you’re one of those people who always tells me that they’d like to come sometime, THIS IS THE NIGHT. For real. Come early to get a good seat.

Introducing...Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd

Lending Color to the Otherwise Absurd

I’ve already sold 51 copies and the eBook isn’t even out yet. I’m humbled by all the wonderful feedback. It’s so rewarding to hear how people connect with my work. Isn’t that what every artist wants? Publishing the book has been a journey and I’m grateful to Marc Smith and JW Basilo for the opportunity to take the stage as a feature. The Uptown Poetry Slam is the world’s original slam and spawned other slams all over the world.

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    A writer and cancer survivor chronicles her renewed dedication to art and words..


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