Tuesday, November 13, 2012

how to be alone.

i like this. a lot.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

a little compare and contrast (after the election)

Because I value debate "between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country" and find it reprehensible and ignorant to moan about Blacks,  Hispanics and Women voting differently than you.


Also... I am so in love with Rachel Maddow.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Heavenly Mother's Day interview w/ Troy Williams

After guest editing a stellar issue of Sunstone Magazine, Holly Welker got in touch with Troy Williams of KRCL RadioActive to organize an interview with several of the contributors to the issue. I had the opportunity to be included: it was a wonderful experience to join Holly, Troy and Mary-Ellen Robertson for the first part of the show to talk about creating the cover for this issue. Also interviewed are other contributors to the issue, discussing their experiences.

You can listen to the full interview.
And obtain a copy of this amazing issue of Sunstone.

Friday, May 25, 2012

a laptop and a suitcase.

Tomorrow we pack up the last of our stuffs, put everything into storage and move into an available spare bedroom. (Thanking our lucky stars for supportive family members). A temporary situation while we wait for word about an offer on a home. At the moment, I'm zen. Multiple panic attacks over the past few months has apparently prepped me. (Or maybe this is just the calm before some F#CKINGSH*TSTORMFROMH%LL type fall out. We'll see.)

So, yes. Zen. And actually kind of excited. I'm heading to the Illustration Masters Class in two weeks and my laptop + wacom tablet are basically all of the art supplies I am bringing. It feels refreshingly un-burdened.

It has me remembering this article from a few years back; The Cult of Less, Living out of a Hardrive. Here's an excerpt:

"Let's face it - digital files, applications and web services are replacing the need for many of the physical goods that pepper our homes, crowd our desks and fill our closets. From online photo albums to virtual filing cabinets to digital musical instruments, hi-tech replacements are becoming ubiquitous. But as goods continue to make the leap from the bookshelf to the hard drive, some individuals are taking the opportunity to radically change their lifestyles...
Since boxing up his physical possessions and getting rid of his home, Mr Yurista has taken to the streets with a backpack full of designer clothing, a laptop, an external hard drive, a small piano keyboard and a bicycle - an armful of goods that totals over $3,000 (£1,890) in value. The American University graduate, who spends much of his time basking in the glow emanating from his Macbook, earns a significant income at his full-time job as a travel agent and believes his new life on the digital grid is less cluttered than his old life on the physical one. "I don't feel a void living the way I'm living because I've figured out a way to use digital technology to my advantage," Mr Yurista explained. Mr Yurista feels by digitising his life, he no longer has to worry about dusting, organising and cleaning his possessions. And he says his new intangible goods can continue to live on indefinitely with little maintenance" ~read more

An intriguing concept (one that relies heavily on first world privilege, I might add.)  My situation is different; I'm not a trendy single 20something; I have a kid, a dog, a cat, a partner who likes to garden, plus I do miss the messier aspects of traditional art making.

BUT... Still. We'll be getting our feet wet in the idea for the next two months.

Here goes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Sitting here at my desk at my dayjob, my last day here.

Also, texting about last supper plans tonight with some close friends: after 7 years sharing meals, vacations, and babysitting, they moving and we'll have to figure out how to live without them.

I'm just kind of breathing through this day. So, when Tracie posted this on twitter, I decided to put it on repeat:

(... because tomorrow I get on a flight to Kansas City for Spectrum Live, and then when I get home, we are packing up the last of our boxes and moving. (again.))


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day Job

Over at the Inkpunks Wendy has distilled almost two weeks worth of us talking back and forth about day jobs and creative life into an excellent post, The Job Continuum.

It's timely, because I just turned in notice at my day job.

It’s something I have been thinking about doing for a while now as freelance work started trickling in more and more. But I always held off, valuing the tiny bit of independence the day job afforded me. It is not a well paying job, nor the source of dental, medical insurance, 401K, or otherwise essential for my family to be able to make ends meet. Me not having this job does not spell financial disaster for our family. But it is something and I held to it. (I attach a lot of emotional worth to the dollar value of ‘what I do’.)

It has just become time for something to give.

I was struggling to keep up with illustration deadlines, spending a good amount of time at my day job doing freelance work (it’s a slow job, I am usually able to get away with that), and constantly worried about how I was neglecting my partner and son to keep on top of it all. I’d hoped to wait till my freelance income matched my day job income. I’m not quite there yet. But still, it is time.

There’s this dreamy image of quitting the day job and suddenly having all this free time: I really do not see that happening for me. I have a son with special needs, a partner who puts in long hours in the medical profession, a list of illustrations I need to finish, oh, and we are moving again. It’s like standing on a wire: at any moment, something may happen to bring this all crashing down. A change in our family circumstances (death, divorce, loss of a job) will require me to go back into the workforce (and probably not one I can so easily multitask my freelance hours into). That does hang over my head. This is scary.

But, for right now, leaving my day job is the workable situation for our little family and my budding art career.

Here's snippet from some advice John Scalzi* wrote about writers/artist and money. On the subject of dayjobs, and being supported by a spouse:

"You better be working, and contributing to the household income. For us, that meant using a fair amount of my writing time doing consulting work (not romantic writing but pays well) as well as writing books. It also meant being the at-home parent, which saved us a bundle on day care (which kept our costs down, which counts as “contributing”).

Or to put it another way: Your spouse is giving you a gift by giving you security and flexibility. Make sure you’re making it worth their while, too. And make sure they know you know how much they’re doing for you....

It’s hard enough getting people to like you anyway; finding one who is fiscally responsible and willing to pitch in for you while you develop your writing career is a tall order. What I’m saying is that if such a person comes along, grab them with both hands, make snarly territorial noises at all the other writers hovering nearby, and then try really hard not to screw up the relationship. In addition to being likely to make you happy as a human, this person will also likely be an excellent economic complement as well. It’s nice when that happens."
~read more.

It was good advice, for me. I'm so very grateful for a supportive and understanding partner. This may seem like a no brainer, but it is a good reminder to take care of that relationship. For many many reasons.

Now, taking a deep breath, and a leap.

*Many thanks to John Remy, for the link to this article.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

badass women.

(because I so love strong women of all types...)

You probably can't get more different than Sunstone magazine and Lightspeed magazine, but between the two of them I've had the chance to illustrate some awesome female power lately.

For the Sunstone magazine (my lingering connection with mormonism) I worked with Holly and Stephen to re-envision Heavenly Mother and the Creation of Eve and some additional Goddess imagery to boot.

THEN, I got a story from Lightspeed to work on: Ruminations in an Alien Tongue, which featured a most intriguing protagonist: Birha, a brilliant, aging scientist living on a far away planet in the distant future.

NOW, I'm illustrating another story for Lightspeed that will go up in May, featuring a handful of kick-ass-century-old-space-age-warrior-women, fighting for their life on Callisto. (Can't wait for you to read this one!)

Life is awesome right now.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Akata Witch (plus feminist Harry Potter too)

Because I really just needed to curl up with a book again, I chose Nnedi Okorafor's Akata Witch. I picked it because I like witches, I love Jillian Tamaki's art for the cover, and I hadn't read anything by Nnedi before. A delightful coming of age story about Sunny, a young albino African girl, Nigerian by ancestry, American by birth. It touched my longing for magic. It made me want to somehow obtain a juju knife. (It also made me want to make time for more reading in my life: there was this scene, where we see a witch absorbed in reading a very old dusty book, her hands are covered in the dust from the book, so is her beautiful expensive dress. She is deliciously covered in her book. Loved that image... yes. But I digress.)

Interestingly, I found Akata Witch to be a lot like a more female oriented, non-western Harry Potter. Which had me revisiting the Feminist Harry Potter tumbler, LOLing and pausing to think as I scrolled through the new content. Here's a few that struck me as applicable to issues Akata Witch addressed:


Now don't get me wrong: I LUV HARRY POTTER. But it's eye opening. yes? You should really go check out the rest of Feminist Harry Potter's content; it is awesome.

Anyhow.. here, are few things others have said about Akata Witch:

"Young-adult fiction is influential; women and men often act out stories they read as teens. But try finding feminism in popular fantasies such as Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, or communities of color in Rowling's best-selling Harry Potter series. Nnedi Okorafor's books are a welcome contrast."
~Ms Magazine review

"Akata Witch" is a much-needed addition to the many titles featuring Caucasian protagonists — one that will appeal to readers who are interested in foreign cultures, tradition and beliefs, or those who live between cultures themselves."
~LA times review

Aaaand... you can read an excerpt :)

(As an aside... I finally got around to picking up a copy of Hunger Games. Yeah, I'm a bit behind >.<)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Emotoinally Stable...

A friend sent me this.
Originally written by Nick Knox, put to music by Max .
(Both those links contain the lyrics/words.)

I put it on repeat and listened to over and over, all day.

"Don't be overwhelmed by the abundance: your life has only just begun, and you have all the time in the world."

Thank you, Wendy.

Monday, March 19, 2012


"Beauty" by David Barr Kirtley, is now up over at Lightspeed. Here's a taste:

“..."No!” he raged, pacing back and forth in front of the mirror. “No! This can’t be happening.”
Nicole watched from the bed. She said softly, “How?”
“I don’t know. The spell was gone, broken, it—” He turned on her suddenly. “You! You did this to me.”
“What? But I . . .”
He sat down beside her and took her by the hand. “Do you still love me?”
“Of course I do.”
“With all your heart? Like you used to?"...

Go read it, right Now. I'll wait :)

Good, isn't it? (I had the chance to do the illustration for it, which was intimidating, as the story just blew me away.)

It reminded me of a story I heard over at Pseudopod last year, Pieces, by M.C. Funk. You need to go listen to it RIGHT NOW. That episode has three stories, Pieces is the middle one, it starts at 8:20 minutes in. It's only about 4 minutes long, GO LISTEN NOW. I'll wait. :) "I knew your demon would be hungry the moment I found it...."

Probably my favorite thing about Pseudopod, is Alasdair Stuart's closing remarks after each story. He has a gift for reaching into the fiction, finding that hinge upon which everything turns, then nailing you to it. Here was his take away from Pieces (which I roughly transcribed from the audio, apologies for the errors):

"There’s a concept in a lot of martial arts I’m fascinated by of keeping your guard up. You keep your hands high and protect your head and if you protect your head then you don’t get hit as much and you’re still together enough to fight back. You need to guard your sense of self too. If you don’t, than sooner or later someone will stab inside your guard. If you are incredibly lucky that person will make you more by being there, as you will them. If you are not they will take pieces of your self and add them to themselves and give you you nothing whatsoever in return. Guard yourself. It belongs to no one but you. No. One. If you choose to give it away than do so, but if not, let your partner feed their own damn demon."

Nicole, from Kirtley's story, was able to guard her sense of self. She came through on the other end wiser, stronger. (Of course, also maligned). Our unnamed narrator from Funk's story didn't. She was taken to pieces by a sick sense of love that made her willing to sacrifice herself for another's comfort and safety.

One of the reasons I'm an illustrator in the spec fic field is my fascination with monsters. We all have a bit of monster in us. We all brush up against monsters in others. Life is the process of learning to love and connect, while protecting our own sense of self. And of keeping our own monsters under control. Anyhoo, just a few thoughts that came to mind, working on the illustration for Beauty.

Thank you, David Barr Kirtley and M.C.Funk for telling truth with fiction, Alasdair for being amazing, and Lightspeed for letting me work with Kirtley's story.

And now, because it feels fitting when discussing such matters, here is Rammstein's Du Hast.

Friday, March 9, 2012

losing my horcrux

"A Horcrux is a powerful object in which a Dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality." ~wiki

It has been over three weeks since I last saw my book. I have no idea where it is. I'm still holding out hope, (small small hope).... but reality is setting in.

I feel like I made a horcrux. And then lost it.

I strung out my heart, multiple times through that book.
Performed open heart surgery.
Braced for literal surgery.
Processed the stuff that came to me as I sat in silence.
Gave flight to flocks of birds and released branches from their roots.

I had letters from dear friends in there. A note from Lessie on Wonder Woman stationary, the recipe for my signature drInkPunk Cocktail from Andy, a card FULL of tentacle-y doodles from Bear is in there. And so many more. The number bib from every race I've finished during this time is taped in there, becoming part of the art/life-documentation. Mementos from travels and conventions, midnight brain vomits, poems and quotes and song lyrics. Pain (seems the book got the most use during hard times) but happiness too. The book was almost full (almost two years full) only a small handful of pages left.

It feels like I've lost those two years of my life. Like I put my soul into something too easy to disappear. Yeah Yeah, okay, that's getting a bit melodramatic.

To be honest, the past two years have been rough. A part of me sees this as a message from the universe to just let all the toxic ink go. Some dear friends just sent me a care package, to help ease the loss of the book: the most amazing assortment of "things" (old postcards, foreign money, tiny illustrations on paper, photos of friends, a ribbon). The kind of stuff to lend good mojo to my new book. Which, incidentally, was also a gift from those friends.


So, yes. For your viewing pleasure, a few glimpses into the horcrux that got lost:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

(more birds)

It's not too late. Maybe this will be the year I get my bird tattoo.

(A friend linked to this Neko Case song on twitter, swooning now.)

Oh my sparrow, it's too late

Your body limp beneath my feet
Your dusty eyes cold as clay
You didn't hear my warning
Didn't hear my warning
~neko case, Maybe Sparrow.

Save the sparrows.

flock of birds_diptych

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I like rocks

Some years ago I intended to start a photographic project where I documented all the cairns I found while exploring the hills and mountains. My thought was to do some misty-eyed naval-gazing on the topic of pathfinding, trailblazing, and spiritual forerunners.

It was about this same time I was obsessed with Byrd Baylor's Everyone Needs a Rock and started writing a short story about a young girl who found her seer-stone. Plus, I was reading up on energy work with crystals and using them to "ground my power" (etc).

I never did peruse that photography project. Nor did I ever flesh out that short story. And I soon gave up on energy work with crystals.

But I retained a fascination with rocks.

Recently, I've started rock-climbing on a more regular basis. Mostly fake rocks, going to the local rock gym a few times a week. But I've made some acquaintances who are quite serious about it and go on frequent excursions to the surrounding hills and mountains for the real thing.

A friend recently spoke to me about her rock climbing: "It's done something mental for me that's tough to put into words. Confidence, I guess. Moving forward."

That resonated quite a bit. I was using "conquer" to try and sum up my own experience with it but realized it was more complicated than that (..."tough to put into words.")

"Conquer" works well enough to describe what I do at the rock gym: trying my hand at more difficult routes, striving to reach the top. (Striving to do it "right.") However, this weekend, I went out with friends and family to a mountain area not too far from Tucson that had some great bouldering and climbing opportunities. There, I found a better word for my skin and sweat against the bones of the earth: "Connection".

I like rocks. I believe in rocks.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This post is an assemblage of some recent conversations and links that all stuck together in my mind as relevant. The sticking point being food. (Food and food culture, btw, are often on my mind.)

First, Wendy wrote this delightful post about being vegetarian in a family where vegetarians are suspect. (Which, is exactly what being a vegetarian in MY family is like. I've endured quite a bit of ribbing at large family dinners for neglecting to put meat on my plate.)

Then, Carrie wrote this very insightful piece about what if you were living just for you, making all of your life decisions NOT in the context of anyone else's desires/needs/preferences, etc... This is something I come crashing up against often. But it's interesting to note: this concept seems most pervasive when I am standing in the check out line at the grocery store, doing the weekly shopping for my family.

(Also, there's this this Cracked article about stupid habits you develop growing up poor, and recognizing that I do have angst over spending money on food, a frugality that scratches and pushes against quantity vs quality.)

Well, it all culminated for me with Carol posting this tantalizing recipe for Cornbread. Made with bacon drippings. Carol, Wendy and I had a brief back and forth on twitter about alternative lipids to use in place of the bacon drippings... But deep in my heart, I knew I wanted to do this recipe with bacon drippings.* Also, I realized that I was hesitant to admit that out-loud on social media. (The ironic twist; I feel as out of place eating meat among my creative community as I do NOT eating meat among my family members.)

Food is a funny thing.
Food culture is funny thing. So much emotion and personal identification (and group identification) is tied up in it.

So, when I heard this song on the radio, I couldn't help but laugh just a bit, in some disillusionment with ever knowing which group I am truly part of:

Mostly, right now, my food culture is just to enjoy sharing food and being fed.

*I have now made that cornbread (complete w/ bacon drippings) several times. It is delicious.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

free the birds. (100 other lovers, Shake it out.)

"...I am in love with an idea
Sophisticated Neurological appeals
I want to negotiate some kind of a deal
I want to tear it open show you that it's real..."

~Devotchka. 100 other lovers.

"...I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn..."

~Florence and the Machine, Shake it Out


Anyways, last month a tree happened to sprout up in my
book. I was quite pleased with that.