April 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
Before I was a world famous blogger and these musings on my life, clothes, travels, and writing were read by millions (or at least by my mom, hi mom!), I poured by personal writing out into a small, handmade publication called Indulgence. I started Indulgence a shocking 15 years ago, in 1998, while I was still in high school and living with my parents outside of Portland, Maine.
The name was inspired by one of my high school English teacher’s snide comments about personal writing – that it was nothing but self-indulgence, as a way to mock that sentiment (I think personal writing is vitally important), carve out a space for my writing, and at the same time, not take myself too seriously.
Over the years and issues Indulgence has been a place for me to experiment with form, voice, storytelling and risk taking. I came out as queer in its pages in the second issue, did a lot of soul searching about what it meant to move to New York right before September 11th and experience its aftermath in the 7th and 8th, endlessly analyzed my relationship to race as a white woman in the 9th, and recorded the heartache of a New York to Paris love affair in the 10th. Finally, nearly 5 years after issues #10, I finished issue #11.
Even though the zine was dormant for five years, I never stopped identifying as a “zinester” (I certainly relate to it more than being a blogger) or speaking of Indulgence as an active publication. I met my closest friends through writing and trading zines in the late 1990s and early 2000s and am still constantly inspired by zine culture. My experiences organizing zine events, like the Portland Zine Symposium, were a big part of what inspired me to write my first book, Grow. I was even quoted extensively in the New York Times about zine culture in reference to the recent Brooklyn Zine Fest!
However, I felt like all my interesting personal stories had dried up. I was discussing this with Golnar and Mimi after watching a reading during the Race Riot Zine Tour (both of these rad ladies are in their 30s, super smart academics and still make kick ass zines, by the way) and Golnar’s comment gave me the kick in the pants I needed to make a new issue. “My life is way more interesting than it was when I was 17,” she said, “And I still wrote about my life then, so why not now?”
Right, of course. So Indulgence #11 is my way to coax myself back into personal storytelling. I can’t help but feel like the writing is a bit rough around the edges, but it’s a zine after all.
This issue brought my zine making full circle. I laid it out over the course of two days in Portland, Oregon at the Independent Publishing Resource Center’s brand new space (I spent hours at the old, cramped IPRC back in the day making Indulgence issues #5 through #9). When I brought it, hot off the presses, to the Brooklyn Zine Fest a big group of my zine pals from the late 1990s showed up!
So after all of that, I’m really excited to share this new issue with you. It felt good to get gluestick glue all over my fingers again (despite my love of a clean, minimal layout, I will always prefer to do an old fashioned paste-up to a newfangled InDesign layout) and start to put some thoughts and feelings on the page. It’s 28 little pages of stories about music and life in New York City, line drawings, and infographics that try to grasp at the relationship between career, love and money. All in a hand printed cover lovingly stitched together by my own hands. You don’t quite find that kind of love on a blog, right?
You can have your copy for just $3 plus shipping (or a trade). You can order it here!
April 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I can’t believe there are just 12 hours left in my fundraising campaign on RocketHub.com to support my book Grow’s North American tour and the development of workshops for creatives with do it yourself projects to plan for success and sustainability. In these final hours (the campaign ends at 11:59 pm Eastern Time tonight) I wanted to share with you ten reasons why I believe so much in this project and why the support of my community for this project will extend far and wide.
One: Grow supports independent entrepreneurs
Grow is a tool kit for those who want to launch their own business. Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs in the US according to the Small Business Administration and by giving to Grow you are helping those entrepreneurs develop a road map for success.
Two: Grow helps dispel the myth of the starving artist
Grow helps artists and creative people plan to be innovative and sustainable so they can live their dreams, make art, pay the rent, and put food on the table.
Three: Grow supports independent, print media
You’ve heard the statistics – book stores are closing and large publishers are further consolidating. By supporting Grow you support an independent publishing company that is not beholden to shareholders or corporate interests.
Four: Grow is the future
With a tough job market and declining funding for the arts and innovative endeavors creative people need to seek new ways to support their projects. Grow shows the way for creative people to support for themselves and how to turn challenge into opportunity.
Five: Grow is the culmination of my education, professional and personal experience
Grow was inspired by my time playing in bands, organizing underground cultural events, writing zines, working as an educator and helping artists find resources for their projects. It’s my chance to share my passion for supporting creative projects of all kinds with the world.
Six: Grow builds community
Grow emphasizes the importance of building and nurturing community. As Amy Schroeder said, “It takes a community to do it yourself,” and Grow needs the support to nurture a strong community of DIY entrepreneurs.
Seven: The rewards are awesome (and made with love!)
I’m making a brand new issue of my zine Indulgence just for Grow campaign supporters! In addition, there are plenty of titles from Microcosm Publishing as rewards so you can build your own DIY library and carry it home in a special Grow tote bag. My cat Crackers has even agreed to sign books for everyone who gives over $100!
Eight: Grow celebrates successful DIY projects
Grow showcases successful DIY entrepreneurs and gives them chance to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Independent creatives can feel isolated when they strike out on their own. Grow demonstrates that there’s a community of support available to creative, do-it-yourself entrepreneurs and nurtures their success.
Nine: Grow believes that small is beautiful
Grow shows how individuals with an exciting vision can have a big impact. Even small contributions to Grow make a large difference in being able to go on tour and spread the word about building strong DIY businesses and communities.
Ten: Grow is shaping a movement to help creative visionaries succeed
Supporting Grow means supporting hands-on workshops all over North America that help creative people develop the skills they need to strengthen their DIY projects and launch sustainable businesses. Help spread the message of DIY from coast to coast!
Running this campaign has been an exciting and humbling experience. I’ve felt so grateful that people from all corners of my life has stepped up to support this vision and I would love to count you among them! Thank you, all, for spreading the word and helping to demonstrate the power of DIY community through your support. Visit the campaign here to keep sharing and supporting!
March 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Oh, hello! How are you? I know things have been a little quiet on this blog lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I’ve been working like crazy on the crowdfunding campaign to raise $7,000 by April 1st to support the North American tour for my book Grow: How to Take Your Do It Yourself Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit Your Job! , which comes out June 1st. Here’s a little video I made that introduces you to my vision for workshops that will help creative people with do it yourself project plans for sustainability and has a special guest appearance by my editorial assistant, Crackers the cat. I would love to have your support and involvement in the campaign and share the book with you when it’s completed. So have a look, share the link, and give if you can! Thanks for all of your support of all my creative endeavors. My community, both on and off line, means the world to me.
February 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I’m so excited to share this trailer for my book Grow: How to take your do it yourself project and passion to the next level and quit your job! with you. The animation was created by the talented Mackenzie Katz and it lays out the passions, ideas and experiences that drove me to write Grow. It also highlights what I hope to achieve with this project, from helping creative people clarify their vision and build their own sustainable path to success to working together to build an economy that is supportive of creative businesses and careers of all types.
This book trailer is being released in conjunction with a crowd funding campaign on RocketHub.com to support the production and promotion of Grow. Grow is about building DIY community and your participation during this campaign will enable me to develop and present workshops with other DIY entrepreneurs all over North America to help creative people strengthen and sustain their ideas and businesses.
The campaign is a great time to pre-order Grow and pick up other fabulous titles from the book’s publishers, Cantankerous Titles and Microcosm Publishing, as well as rewards handmade by me, including a special, new issue of my personal zine Indulgence that will only be available to campaign supporters.
You can watch the video, peruse the campaign, learn about all the fabulous rewards, and make a contribution here.
We have until April 1 to reach our $7,000 goal and hope to build as much support as we can in the early days.
Thank you in advance for your support of DIY creativity and for spreading the word about how others can get involved in the growth of the Grow project! The ideas, inspiration, and support I have received from the DIY community has sustained me over the years and I continue to be buoyed by all that my community offers me. Thank you for your attention and support!
February 11, 2013 § 3 Comments
As a way to torture myself a little bit I loaded LA weather on my phone, so the other day when it was twelve degrees in New York City I could console myself with sunnier thoughts, knowing it was in the 70s in Los Angeles. Thankfully, winter can also be a great time to score cheap plane tickets, so when round trip prices from JFK to LAX dipped below $300 snagged one for a long weekend in the city that is my current source of infatuation, just in time for the first annual LA Art Book Fair.
I made time to visit my (new) favorite haunts in Silver Lake and Echo Park and to see friends, but also to explore more nooks and crannies of this sprawling metropolis. After a walk at the Baldwin Hills Scene Overlook and coffee to shake off my jetlag on Friday morning I headed downtown for the art book fair, which was being held at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Building. As is the nature of these events I was immediately overwhelmed with bound creations and intriguing exhibitions, but I especially loved the “zine world” section of the fair and hope that one day I too could be considered a “zine master of the universe.”
I also feel like this trip gave me more chance to talk with artists, writers and creative types (outside of the film biz) who are making their lives and work in LA. I was especially excited to meet Mimi of the architectural zine and blog Loud Paper who recently moved from Brooklyn and was working the table for the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, whose dayglo posters with quotes from LA architects and planners drew me from across the room. I also noticed some general trends in art books and zines at the fair: neon as an accent color was hot, everyone had a tote bag for sale, and about half of the zines available had some kind of homoerotic content (mostly male).
Friday evening coincided with (my) discovery of some of the restaurants and bars of the “Arts district” downtown (which may or may not have any actual artists still living there), with delicious continental beers at Wurstkuche (though I passed on the rattlesnake sausage they had on offer) and a suburbly proportioned, locally sourced dinner at Eat Drink Americano. Later that evening at the Satellite I discovered a new favorite band: the Happy Hollows, who enthusiastic delivery was matched only by the crowd’s enthusiastic reception. After New York’s jaded rock audiences, seeing the Happy Hollows and the warm crowd at the Satellite was a welcome change.
I started my Saturday with a lovely walk in Griffith Park and a pass through the Silver Lake farmer’s market for a coconut, kale and dandelion green smoothie. I later took a wander around West Hollywood, including a glance inside the beautiful new library, and had a wonderful chat all facilitated by Team Gloria, who is my constant source for writing and lifestyle inspiration. After a delicious, lingering brunch conversation about writing, zines and life in LA with Liz at Barbrix in Silver Lake I swung back by the book fair. I was so exhausted by the artistic possibilities I saw I had to take a nap before braving the freeways to Orange County.
As if my LA weekend couldn’t get any dreamier, my friends Torches let me know they were playing a last minute (and sold out!) show in Orange County at the Constellation Room. Despite my culture shock of finding a decent rock club in the middle of a suburban office park, to see Torches on their (sort of) home turn in Southern California was a dream come true. It was really fun to hear their new material, meet their new bassist Braedon, and see a whole group of fans gaze at them adoringly. The newer material rocks a little harder than the songs they played in NYC this fall and their set was full of pop hooks and great vocal harmonies and tremendous drumming by Eric. You can get a taste (and download a new track!) on their Soundcloud page.
I’m also proud to say that thanks to my Orange County jaunt I’ve started to perfect the art of talking like an Angelino and saying things like “Take the 605, to the 405, to the 5, to the 101, to the 110,” when discussing getting around.
Sunday was a complete change of pace with a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, through Malibu, to hike down a canyon at Circle X Ranch, an outing carefully orchestrated by my friend Phoebe and accompanied by my gracious host Kabir. After shuffling along NYC’s icy streets, to be out in the desert sun, smelling spring flowers and marveling at the sandstone cliffs felt like an entirely different world and completely freeing.
To reward ourselves for our hiking efforts we stopped at Neptune’s Net, a fried seafood shack that is a favorite among the biker crowd. Between perfectly grilled fish tacos, crispy fried shrimp and a glimmering view of the pacific I was completely satisfied. The day was completed by watching the sun sink into the water, followed by a glass of wine and an excellent plate of artisanal cheese at super cute downtown wine bar Mignon.
Suffice it to say, LA is still casting its spell on me and continues to lure me with all of its charms. I hope I can go back soon.
January 21, 2013 § 8 Comments
While New Years is not my favorite holiday, I love the opportunity for reflection and reinvention brought by the New Year itself. With the upcoming release of my first book in June I have high hopes for 2013. This is going to be a year of transition personally and professionally and I have decided to take this year to embrace change and become the person I really want to be at this point in my life.
To do so I made goals for what I wanted to achieve this year. Unfortunately, they were really vague like, “Save money, get more freelance work, lose weight again, write more, change my life.” I started feeling daunted by how ambitious they were and I when I mocked myself for making them in a Facebook status and added I wanted to do all this without losing my mind on Facebook, my friend M. spoke up with a suggestion. She, like me, is a graduate of a management program, and encouraged me to make my goals S.M.A.R.T.
For those used to planning for a business or organization S.M.A.R.T. stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely” goals. When you break your goals down into these criteria they become more possible to achieve.
One night I sat down with my Moleskine journal and changed my vague hopes for 2013 into goals that I can conceivably follow, with action steps and benchmarks in place. For maximum accountability I wanted to share my goals with you here (minus a few too personal details). So let’s see what 2013 will bring!
1. Save Money
If I’m going to change my life I’m going to need a financial cushion. And you never know what can happen in this economy. So it’s time to get serious about savings:
Up the bi-monthly transfer to my savings account
Put money I earn from freelance work into savings
Define and stick to a very limited weekly spending amount that includes food and extras, like clothes (so this blog will soon become a blog about being fashionable with what’s already in your closet)
Track my expenses
Pay off my credit card debt
2. Get more project and freelance work
I like the chance that freelance work provides to get involved in different types of projects and creative people implementing a vision. It also helps me sharpen different sets of skills:
Follow up with current clients
When my Portfolio website launches (soon!) make it clear I’m available for grant writing, project management gigs
Continue to talk with other freelancers and self-employed people I respect about how they go their start
Meet up with other freelancers regularly for networking, events and work sessions
3. Lose Weight (again)
I managed to gain 10 pounds since the summer and it’s no secret how it happened – I ate a lot of bad-for-me-food (pizza! burritos stuffed with French Fries!) and pretended it wouldn’t matter. Time for some accountability! I’m hoping to lose those 10 pounds by the time June rolls around by:
Track my eating everyday
Exercise 4 times a week
Go to Weight Watchers meetings at least once a month
4. Write more creative non-fiction
Finish a new issue of my zine Indulgence with at least three substantial essays by the Brooklyn Zine Fest on April 21
Update this blog weekly
Reach out to other venues and publications that publish nonfiction and present essay-driven work
Stay inspired by reading more essays and creative nonfiction
5. “Change my life”
I’m contemplating taking a year sabbatical from New York City in 2014 and spending the winter and spring in Los Angeles and the summer in fall in Paris. I’m looking for sun (in California), adventure, and a change of pace! But there’s a lot of logistics that I have to take care of before that happens!
Break down logistics: Research apartment prices, getting a car (or not) in LA, pare down possessions, look into subletting my NYC apartment
Have honest conversations with the important people in my life about what I’m thinking and feeling and how it impacts them
Be proactive: if there’s something on my mind talk about it, even if it feels daunting to do so
Develop a clear vision for what I want in my life and what makes me happy through journaling and focused self-reflection. As my friend Iris in LA told, “Manifest what you want, be specific.”
What are the goals that you hope to achieve this year? How are you breaking them down to make them manageable?
As a post-script, I’ve also launched a year-long drawing project with my friend Michel in Paris. To practice our drawing skills we will each create a drawing on a similar theme every week and post them on our Tumblr “One Week, Two Hands, 4,000 Miles” or 1w2h4m. Follow along with us and see if we can do it!