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!
December 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
It seems redundant to say that its been a busy fall. You may have noticed this blog being updated inconsistently, if at all, and wondered, “Hey, Killerfemme? What’s up? Where did you go?”
What’s up is actually a lot of good news as far as writing is concerned. I’ve been busy writing grants and essays for filmmakers, musicians and visual artists as a freelancer. I’ve also been working on a book project. Yes, you heard me, book project. In the spring of 2013 I will be a published author! Stay tuned, I can’t wait to tell you more, but for now, here’s what I’ve up to in the writing department:
I’ve started writing monthly for Idealist.org’s career blog and offer advice and ideas for emerging nonprofit professionals. Recent topics have included strategies for cementing the connections you make with people you meet at conferences and events and thoughts about how generosity can further your career. Starting in January I’ll be writing a regular column focusing on taking your nonprofit career to the next level.
I wrote a whole slew of portraits of fifteen innovative arts organizations in New York City for ArtsFwd.org and was impressed with the ideas and programs that these organizations have implemented that are going to shift the cultural landscape of the city.
Once a month I will profile a DIY business for the DIY Business Association, starting with HK Honey, a collective of urban beekeepers, designers, and artists in Hong Kong dedicated to promoting the value of bees and locally produced honey.
I also realized I miss writing about music, so I’ve started writing for a brand new magazine called Boxx, whose tagline is “Where women are heard,” and will focus on lady-powered music. My first review is of the incredible Other Lives, who hail from Oklahoma (I also got to take the pictures for the review, which was a lot of fun).
Thanks for reading and more writing to come and, hopefully, now that the mass of edits is done on my forthcoming book, I’ll be branching out and writing for more blogs and publications. I’ll keep you in the loop!
June 18, 2012 § 6 Comments
I love my life in New York City. It’s full to bursting with happenings, friends, and new ideas. I love that there is always a corner of the city I have not yet unexplored and new places to check out. However, this year I’ve also made a commitment to focus on my own practice as a writer and to finish a book project by September.
With a full-time job and full roster responsibilities and interests, I found that the book project was not getting done. It’s too easy to put off the really important, creative projects and focus on the less important. Watching my time drain away and my deadline approach I decided, “I need an artists residency where I can focus and get this done.”
Here’s the problem: most artists residencies cost money. I don’t have money to spend on that kind of getaway right now. Many of them also require you apply and have work samples, which I’m still working on developing. So I thought, “What do artists residencies provide? Ah, space, time and a chance to focus.” Then I realized: the book I am writing is about do-it-yourself culture, so why don’t I take my own advice and create my own residency?
I took a week off from my day job and friends of my family were nice enough to let me stay in their “chalet” – an A-frame cabin they built in the 1960s in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. When I was younger I went there with my parents, my parents’ friends and their kids. We would all pile in to the house for days of skiing and sledding and spend evenings cooking huge communal meals and playing board games. I loved returning to a place I knew as a child and rediscovering it.
Embarking on my “self-imposed writer’s retreat” made me nervous at first: could I take my creativity seriously enough to devote my days to it? To allay my fears I needed a plan.
I created a menu of healthy, easy to prepare meals so I wouldn’t be tempted to spend hours in the kitchen or only eat junk food. I made a list of the writing tasks I needed to complete and a schedule for accomplishing them. I know I work best in the morning, so I made sure to get up by 7:30 and be writing by 8. I also know that I get really tired after lunch, so instead of forcing myself to keep working when I’m not going to be productive, I took a two-hour hike up a mountain behind the chalet, and wrote for four more hours when I returned. Finally, in the evenings after dinner I did smaller writing tasks, such as blog entries, correspondence and article drafting.
At the end of my four days in the mountains I had completed a first draft of my book. I also rediscovered the fact that writing, especially writing well, takes intense concentration and is hard work. It’s about sitting in a chair, focusing your mind and putting one word after another, even if it feels painful. I was proud that I mustered the creative self-discipline to pull this off. I also am pleased to confirm that I can, and want, to write for eight hours a day. Next step: make that possible more often.
I also found this: as a teenager I wanted nothing more than to get away from the woods of the northeast, but I’ve fallen back in love with this environment. I’m incredibly fond of the mountains where I spent childhood weekends and it was hard for me to leave the chalet after only four days.
I loved my days of solitude, where my only human interaction was with the clerk at the New Hampshire State Liquor Store where I went to buy a bottle of Cotes du Rhone one evening. When I arrived at the chalet I felt emotionally on edge from all my running around New York City and constant engagement with so many different projects. Waking up to dappled June sunlight, the sound of the river, and feeling like I spent my days in a tree house slowly helped me gain back perspective and I left feeling emotionally grounded and creatively accomplished.
I might just make my “self-imposed writer’s retreat” an annual event.
And lest you think I’ve become a monk thanks to four days in New Hampshire, on my way out of North Conway I succumbed to temptation, outlet shopping, and that state’s lack of sales tax and bought my first pair of Minnetonka moccasins since the 1980s.
One more caveat: after reading this entry are you surprised that my favorite book as a teenager was The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac?
May 30, 2012 § 3 Comments
Even if you read this blog regularly you might not know (yet) that I have a secret life as a arts administrator with a love of numbers, finance and fundraising. A girl has to pay for those shoes somehow! Over the years I’ve gained a whole bunch of skills when it comes to combining creativity with logic and strategic planning, especially around money. So, it is with great pleasure that I announce the debut of my bi-monthly column for the DIY Business Association, the Creative Money Maker, which will be full of financial advice that feels good for creative people.
If you are a creative person who wants to make a living at your creation and there’s a part of you that wants to run away screaming as soon as you hear the words “finance” or “money” this column is for you!
Read my first column: Dear creative person: It is time to shift your thinking about money about how financial empowerment is creative empowerment and please join the conversation!
Also, spend some time checking out the rest of the DIY Business Association’s website. It is run by the ever-inspiring Amy Cuevas Schroeder, who was also the mastermind behind Venus Zine, and is full of advice for creative people in all fields interested in (or in the process of) nurturing a micro-business.
March 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Today I have a guest post up on my friend Alejandra O’Leary’s blog about what my big lessons from SXSW. Coming from the perspective of a nonprofit arts administrator and a DIY musician, I wasn’t sure if the SXSW conference would really resonate with me, but it did, and I think I took away some valuable ideas that I hope will be helpful to musicians and all types of creatives. Please check out the entry here and let me know what you think! Also, if you’d like to listen to the insights and ideas shared in the panel I spoke on, Beethoven + Social Media = Crowd Funding Patronage, you can listen to that here! If you’ve been to South by I’d love to know your big takeaways and if not, I’d love to know what you are working on to take your creative project to the next level!
December 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
Since graduating from college I have made my career in arts institutions. I’ve worked as a museum educator, public programmer, and now work to support artists in their fund raising and teaching artists about services and resources that can help them grow their practice. In my studies I’ve focused on the arts in the realm of cultural and social policy and thought about the kind of quantitative research that can be applied to arts organizations to better understand and articulate the value of arts and culture in society. I’m excited to announce that for the next few months about I will be blogging about some of these topics as a blogging fellow on the new website ArtsFwd. ArtsFwd examines innovative practices in arts leadership and is a really exciting place for sharing ideas and about adaptive strategies to create dynamic change in the arts sector and move it, well, forward.
My first piece explored arts leadership in rural areas, which features Melissa Bob, the new Interim Executive Director of Crow’s Shadow Institute outside of Pendleton, Oregon. My second piece profiles the Teen Arts Council blog at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and shares some fantastic ideas of how arts organizations can effectively engage teens and honor their voices in an arts institution. I hope you’ll check these out and join us in the conversation! There’s a lot more innovation to come from ArtsFwd, and we’d love your input!