Confessions of a Book Hoarder

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Crayons At The Ready with Kristy Puchko

To celebrate the release of The Bridge each week I will be highlighting an artist who contributed their work to help us raise money for The Hunger Project ( for your copy).

Kristy Puchko is up first. Lady has so much talent it makes my head spin. She writes, edits and directs films which have been known to be accepted into festivals. She also draws and colors with a vengeance, creating pieces with crayon that move my grown-up heart. She reminds of Scout with her sassy flare and her equal parts kid and adult tendencies.

Below are a few questions Kristy was kind enough to answer for me. Check out her reviews and other work at:

J: If a book from your childhood (or one you have read recently that you wish had been around during your childhood) fell open and you were pulled by a big hand into its adventure, which would it be and why?

K: “There’s a Monster At the End of This Book.” It was an early favorite of mine in which Grover (from Sesame Street) reads the title and frets, fearing the monster at the end of the book and so begs you - the child reading - not to turn the page. And when you do, he’d cry and rail and panic more and more. My mom used to read it to me as Grover, her voice growing higher and more panicked as we went on. She’d cry out (as Grover), “Oh I am so SCARED! PLEASE DO NOT TURN THE PAGE?” Then she’d turn to me and ask, “Should we turn the page?” I eagerly grabbed the book and turned the page and she’d cry (as Grover) “No!” It was a blast every time, and one I now replicate with my friend’s kids. 

 Of course, when you finally reach the end the monster is revealed to be…Grover. He’s so relieved and realizes how silly he’s been. It’s an interesting lesson about the futility of worry, and while I know it’s not much of an adventure - I have such positive memories of reading that book with my mom I’d pick it instantly. Plus Grover was always my favorite Sesame Street resident.

J: If you have ever suffered from something; heartbreak, allergies, depression, lactose intolerance, etc. what made you feel better, what did you learn from it and what did you wear?

K: What always pulls me out are my friends and husband, who let me know it’s okay to make mistakes and I’m worthwhile anyway. As to what I was wearing, probably slip on Keds, a skirt, and movie-themed T-shirt.

J: If you were to write a poem about your life so far, how would it go?

K: As garrulous as I am it would be an Allen Ginsberg style rant, Far too long and pretentious to put here.

J: Draw a picture of how you see yourself.

J: Being humans, we tend to be overly self-critical and spend great amounts of time saying terrible things to ourselves. What about you do you think is awesome? Go ahead. Go look at yourself in the mirror and find that zipper at the base of your skull, unzip and tell us a story about that one time when you… and found out you are…and DON’T tell me somebody once told you your eyes were pretty. Lame. And duh, anyone can see they are breathtaking. ( if you are the type of person who doesn’t happen to do this, please, give yourself a lovely pat on the knee and then write about how being nice to yourself has changed the way you treat others.)

K: When I was in college I took an art studio course where one of the assignments was to create a self-portrait out of clay by first building our skull then adding flesh (more clay) to it. It involved a great deal of staring into a mirror to figure out what my bones must look like, and it turned out to be pretty life-changing. While there are parts of me I’ve always liked and hated, this project forced met to look at myself objectively. When I was done, the class generally agreed I’d seen myself pretty accurately except for my nose. Growing up I always worried it was too big and by no means pretty. And there it was on my clay head a big nose with an odd curve smack in the middle. Everyone agreed I got the shape right, but made it far too big. And I saw for the first time they were right. My nose wasn’t too big, and it wasn’t unattractive. It actually suited my head nicely when it’s the right size!

Now, while I still have moments (or days) where I look and he mirror and think, “Ugh,” most days I like the odd little parts that make me up. But still, my favorite attribute is my very blue eyes. They are the most often complimented part, and they change shade in the weather!

J: What color does the word ‘Penelope’ make you think of and how long does it last?

K: Yellow then Purple. 4 Seconds.

J: If you could get any artist in all of history to draw/paint/ take a photo portrait of you who would it be and what roll would you play in their lives?

K: I’d say Tara McPherson or Jess Fink. They both draw compelling women that are bold yet tender. I’d like to think we could be coffee-having matinee buddies.

J: When you fall in love, what does it smell like? If you have never fallen in love write about what you think it smells like.

K: I’ve been lucky enough to be in love for the last 12 years. And while I am deeply devoted to my (now) husband - I have no idea what that smells like. Um…lemon zest?

J: In a perfect world I would be there with you, and we would have tea and cookies. Where would we meet, and after a lovely hug or warm hand-shake, what would we talk about.

K: It sounds like we’d meet at Alice’s Teacup (which we should do and soon!) We’d talk about everything in big winding spirals of conversation that would likely seem random to anyone else.

J: I totally agree

J: If you had a soundtrack to accompany the story of how you feel right now, what would it be made up of?

K: Mostly eels songs. They’ve always seemed to be writing the soundtrack to my life.  But also lately I’m obsessed with Frank Turner’s “Glory Hallelujah” which is like a church song for people who don’t believe in god. The first time I heard it I just felt free.

J: If you had a child what would be the most important thing you would want them to learn from you?

K: Laughter is priceless.

J: If you could build a bridge to a different time and save your younger self from something scary, what would it be and how would you do it?

K: There are things in my life I definitely regret or wished I’d handled better or wish I could have avoided, but I’m really happy with where I am now and fear fiddling with any one of those times might topple the whole Jenga tower of my life. So, I wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe my hair in that horrible gradeschool photo from 5th grade. Yeesh.

J: One last thing….

What would make you happiest right now?

K: I’m pretty happy right now actually, but a rootbeer float would be awesome.

J: Amen, sister.

Filed under the bridge art poetry The Hunger Project charity

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Several experiences led me to TASCHEN.

I am inspired by art in many of its various forms and I believe because my mother works in watercolor I have fallen in love with paintings. When she comes to visit me in New York we always make a trip to the Met a priority. It was there she taught me to understand and feel the emotion in a Pollock. If I had questions as to why a simple bowl of fruit was considered a great work next to a gigantic tapestry of intimate detail; I was educated about colors, line, brushstrokes, craftsmanship and always about the feeling of a piece. In an attempt to support her turn to watercolors, at a relatively late time in her life, I began buying books on art and discussing them with her. We have spent hours on the phone discussing Sister Wendy and the themes I find in my books.

A few years later I began at a new job filled with talented artists. I found myself surrounded by designers, goldsmiths, make-up artists, sculptors, writers, actors, and activists. Endlessly interesting and kind; they were happy and supportive of my curiosities in their fields.

On one of the hottest days of the summer, working down in the SoHo area, one of my co-workers had gone for lunch and returned with the news, “TASCHEN is having a sale.” I knew they were a publisher of fine art books but I hadn’t realized they had their own store. I zoomed over, not hard since it is just around the corner, and was floored by the selection and quality of what I found. In an earlier post on this site I have pictures of the most beautiful books I purchased there for so little. My favorite from that trip is a hardcover Chagall book for far less than it is worth.

On another hot day, needing a break from poetry, I journeyed there again and was greeted with a kind hello and a pretty smile. I browsed and found that even when there isn’t a sale going on you can still find beautiful, informative and unique books for wallet friendly prices. Above are the different fruits of my pilgrimage. I am reading the Symbolism book now and it has become a source of inspiration for some of my newest poems.

Sure, there are the bigger, longer, heavier and pricier books there but if you really look at what the book is, art in itself, the charge makes sense. The staff is really friendly, unassuming, and fun; making for a relaxing shopping experience. If you have any questions or would simply like a recommendation the workers are quick to lead you to their favorites.

TASCHEN was founded on the belief of making art accessible to everyone. This is an important part of why I continue to shop there. As I become a more educated consumer I learn my money/credit card helps to support whatever belief structure a company was built on. Seems elementary an concept but it took me a while to figure it out. I don’t really believe any organizations are perfect in their mission, but I like to shop at the ones which try. I think it important to support these places.

Filed under Taschen art art books SOHO Bookstores NYC

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The Bridge by Jenny Checchia


There are many things in this world I don’t understand. One of them is the pain everyone must eventually go through. No matter how much money you do or don’t have, no matter what race your were born into, or how skilled you are in a particular craft one day you too will feel pain. Like love, pain, comes in many different shades and lengths. I would even say that as many people as there will have lived on the planet there is a specific pain to match them all.

Some of us are born with sadness stamped onto our brains. It swims and flows through our gray matter long before we see the sun for the very first time. I am one of those people. For as long as I can remember my vision of the world has been clouded by a heavy sadness. For almost as long I have taken out a writing instrument and a blank paper surface and have tried to make a map to find my way to the source of this sadness. As a child I was faced with no end of hard emotional years. And through all those years I continued to write.

Now I am an adult and I have a book of those feelings being published. I am far from the child I once was. It has been a long and thin road to wellness (which I continue to walk and probably will all of my life) but as I like to explain when asked how I feel now; I am out of the room and into the hallway. And what trails behind me is a collection of works bridging the gap between my past and present.

The Bridge has also created a connection between all different people. Artists, writers, activists, actors, musicians, designers, and photographers have lent their genius to this book so that I may reach out my hand and allow anyone who has ever felt the same a chance to grasp hold. I have known people who haven’t been as lucky as I have. They lost their way and never made it back. It is also my effort to help people who don’t have the needs taken care of that I do. Taking what I have struggled with and turning it into something more than one persons sadness and journey out of that sadness. It is my me too and I hope it benefits you work. The whole book is meant to be one of forward movement toward the other side whatever that means for whoever reads it.

“The Bridge” will be released through and in ebook format August 5, 2011 and paperback in September 2011; all royalties from “The Bridge” will be donated to The Hunger Project.  

Art, on an intrinsic level, has the ability to motivate, mobilize and initiate conversation, ideology and equality; “The Bridge” seeks to epitomize this thought.” 


Filed under my first book poetry art

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Our lives are funny little captules of complex emotions and goings on, aren’t they. I have a friend, with an ever expansive space in her heart for the Earth and all of its creatures, who started getting involved with The Hunger Project. Her passion and dedication to helping people help themselves when they have been pushed into a corner and forgotten there made a little light turn on in my heart.

For as long as I can remember I have struggled to gain control of my mind when it has been clouded by a grey imovable thickness. And almost as long I have used writing, art, acting, reading and creativity to help me wade through the darkest closets of my experience. Allison and I have spent many an hour talking of what we find both in and out of these spaces and when I thought of how I could contribute to her dream and the world I remembered these conversations.

I noticed the trail of work I had spread out behind me when talking to Randy about how I wanted to compile all my work into a book and sell it for a few dollars to give to Allison for her efforts with THP. He was so excited and took the reigns, allowing me to write and sweep all my feelings into one pile, spreading out his ideas and my words to artists of all types so as to make this, my first book, a huge sucess. As far as I am concerned, it is.

I am beyond thankful for all the support, love, excitement, and long hours which have gone into this endeavor. 

This video is based on the difference there is between poetry read aloud and poetry read silently from the page. Not a preference, just the difference.

Beautifully shot and edited by Randy Schade from Blackhawk & Noble Press, original score by the unmatchable Teddi Tarnoff and dresses which made me feel like a princess crafted by Tina Kerekes.

The Bridge by Jenny Checchia will be available from Blackhawk & Noble Press August 5th as an eBook and in hardcopy in September. 100% off the proceeds go to Allison Bottomley to benefit The Hunger Project.

If you would like more information you can visit my website or email myself or Randy through that page.


Filed under poetry my first book art Blackhawk &amp; Noble Press

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Taschen in SoHo was having a sale…

Mostly I bought gifts, but the few shown are for my collection. Each under $10, score!

To continue my education in art!

Filed under Book Sale Taschen art SoHo

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Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell

When I received Drops Like Stars in the mail I was very surprised by how big it is. I mean physically it is tall and flat.

I really enjoy the way Rob Bell writes. Small paragraphs, big ideas. For example one whole page says just this:

"Mark Twain said that


To me that is all this page needed.

The book is about the idea of art. The art of disruption, honesty, ache, solidarity, and elimination.

Rob Bell works as a pastor but he is also a great writer. A no bullshit kind of man who writes what his truth is. Even if you are not Christian this book opens your eyes to humanity and why and how we make art.

Something I have been very interested in lately, the connection between my Higher Power and art.

I recommend this book to anyone who believes there is a connection between something greater than ourselves and the art we make.

"The Franciscan priest Richard Rohr points out that Native Americans have a tradition of leaving a blemish in one corner of the rug they are weaving



Filed under Rob Bell Art Drops Like Stars High Power