Month: April 2012

Sound of Paper: 50 Things I Value Myself for

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Sound of Paper. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

Penguins @ magickalrealism

I value myself for…

  1. reorganizing my home last year.
  2. expressing gratitude to people who really need to hear it. Not people who tell themselves I owe them (I don’t) but people who work hard and never expect to be thanked.
  3. for daring to do that penguin shoot.
  4. for adopting that penguin for Mike every year.
  5. for giving the pom squad the last $15 they needed for their fundraiser my sophomore year of college.
  6. for helping A figure out what to wear to a job fair.
  7. for helping M relax about her body image after having a baby.
  8. for helping a few thousand plus-size women every month find clothing they can at least tolerate.
  9. for getting 100 + volunteers at my local Pagan Pride back in the early ‘aughts. It’s changed since then.
  10. for helping S face her fear and fill out her loan deferments.
  11. for helping 5 different women fill out harassment and protection orders.
  12. for staying up with H after she took a morning after pill when the chemicals were still unpredictable.
  13. for cooking Dad his favorite saur kraut dish while he was dying.
  14. for making sure I got Mike’s grandfather to tell me about his life – he died the next month, so I made sure Mike got to know his grandfather before he died. Which is good, because I was too broke to buy him a decent Christmas present that year.
  15. for keeping Doctor Who meetup running for five years.
  16. for standing up to my family. They can not like it all they want, they were demanding things they had no right to and treating me like dirt for excuses, not reasons.
  17. for baking that birthday cake for B, since his kids weren’t about to do it.
  18. for throwing that 29th birthday party for T.
  19. for running Shadowzine all those years ago. I’m still sad it died. I was increasing its circulation before that happened.
  20. for getting Pagans to consent to and cooperate with actual deadlines.
  21. for helping Shez get a semester of schooling – he would have likely have had to drop out or resorted to corruption if I hadn’t stepped in.
  22. for creating that manual of operations at the International Student Office. It may be long gone by now, but at least one person after me found it helpful and organizing.
  23. for teaching several classes at UPS.
  24. for running the food shelf drive with the Who meetup.
  25. for helping L with her wedding dress.
  26. for helping M find stores so she could find HER wedding dress.
  27. for giving A encouragement before his grand adventure.
  28. for showing BH that there was someone who valued him in his life when we were kids.
  29. for showing AB that he could like someone that challenged him.
  30. for telling off the entire Mean Girls table in public my senior year of high school. Honestly, how much more crap were they expecting me to tolerate?
  31. for helping out the TARDIS Tea society without stepping into their territory.
  32. for bringing J a birthday card when I hardly know him.
  33. for bringing C lunch when she was sick.
  34. for bringing B juice and Kleenex when she was sick.
  35. for all the times I used to bring my sister stuff when she was laid up – I did it every time.
  36. for stuffing money into my mother’s purse and into the red penguin, especially after hearing my parents constantly complain how tight money was.
  37. for years of church breakfasts, communion cleanups, church service ushering and nursery duty.
  38. for bringing P to the closest Hindu temple after her car accident.
  39. for bringing my neighbor chocolate truffles.
  40. for sitting for M’s cat…while he was off with his best friend’s wife. (Didn’t really know the second part ’til later. The cat was sweet enough to make up for the allergies, but not for my participation in that degree of ethical shittery.)
  41. for trying to teach better organizational management to L. It’s not my fault she refused to turn off her inner noise and actually listen.
  42. for biting my tongue every time some kid just out of college with a marketing degree does a bad job rewriting my copy.
  43. for making the EGCG trunk show actually work.
  44. for telling that teenage girl who came to me for a reading, “Just because he says he loves you doesn’t mean he does.” From the look on her face, I’m pretty sure I set her free from a bad relationship. I just hope she also learned when to BELIEVE it when someone says they love you.
  45. for the MSU-Pagan events where I raised most of the funds for the organization. No idea what the hell ever happened with that money.
  46. for making the first Pagan Pride at Mankato State happen.
  47. for finding the first truly workable location for the Doctor Who meetup (where we still are at the moment.)
  48. for writing J that dirty Dexter fanfic.
  49. for doing those free herbal consults.
  50. for my painstaking honesty in matters where there is any risk involved.

Filed under: Tasks, The Sound of Paper

Video: How to Write Badly, Well

The exercise in Sound of Paper today is not good for public disclosure. When that happens, I’m trying to find videos on creativity, art appreciation bits, photography, or blog posts from other people traveling the Artist’s Way path.

Today’s about writing badly resonates with me. I have been making the last few years the path of the beginner. I lived with two perfectionists growing up – and as a fat child, I was utterly imperfect, beyond correction, and I am still treated by them as though this is some infraction I have committed against them personally because I am not exactly who they demanded I be. (No, G.O.D committed the infraction – it was one of this little “f you’s,” that the Creative Force drops after it watches things go on for awhile – sort of like this particular f-u from God to free-will interfering conservatives.) Instead, I have pursued my life as my fat, highly organized yet at times messy and beautiful self.*

What I’ve also been doing is taking up things I kinda/sorta want to do but told myself I couldn’t. I’m actually glorying in the criticism I’m getting of the bad art in Spellcasting picture book, and the perspective is helping me with the play I’m doing a first draft of as I dive heavily into the revisions of the Divorcing a Real Witch book. I can do it badly! Yes! It’s way more important than making it perfect. Someone else can fiddle with formatting and duck away from actually writing because it’s not “just right.” I get the secret:





*I have a really good life. It’s way better than what those tools were trying to force me into. And I am grateful for the composite DNA from my ancestors, the subvert messages from the few really caring teachers at my school, and for the surprisingly subversive tone of Sassy and Seventeen magazine in the 1990s.



Filed under: Art Appreciation, The Artist’s Way

Afraid? So what?

Reblogged from Two Sharp Pencils And A Broken Crayon:

Click to visit the original post

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from what I wanted to do.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

Hard to believe, isn’t it?  A master, an icon, like Georgia O’Keeffe feeling terrified?  As much as the first half of that quote amazed me, it is the truth of the latter half that thrums the soul: “….and I’ve never let it keep me from what I wanted to do.”

Read more… 166 more words

From the blog Two Sharp Pencils:
a Broken Crayon
This is a good “deal with the inner critic” post.

Sound of Paper: 10 activities I find grounding

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Sound of Paper. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

red flower2

I’ve done this exercise more than once already, but it’s still good to review.

  1. Clearing the dishwasher.
  2. Doing a station declutter – just picking one area, a corner of a room, and decluttering JUST that.
  3. Making paper.
  4. Baking.
  5. Meditating (about half the time. The other half it’s the opposite of grounding.)
  6. Eating a communal meal, usually with Mike. Actually, how grounding it is depends on my dinner companion. I always prefer the grounding sessions to the aggressively intellectual ones. Those are the people that spend time with me for me, not for what they think I can do for them.
  7. Walking.
  8. Doing push-ups, sit-ups or a short stretch. I often just push up against walls as I move from room to room during my workday.
  9. Ticking check boxes on to-do lists. It’s affirming, and gives me a sense of purpose.
  10. Doing my beauty routine – the one I’ve been skipping a lot, to the detriment of my often chlorine-dipped skin.

Filed under: Tasks, The Sound of Paper

13 Ways to Celebrate Creative (or emotional) Milestones


1. Gift someone a blue monkey. This does include you. I have a tiny plastic one on my desk, who keeps me company alongside two Ganeshas as I work my creative path.
2. Stand up. Do a snoopy dance.
I like this, but if you’re not into reggae, something else that works for you is great:

3. Do something messy. Fingerpainting and papermaking are my favorites.
4. Find fuzzy things to pet. Make sure the fuzzy things are OK with being petted.
5. Host an old school salon, but make it a LOWBROW salon. Discuss the social merits of Jersey Shore versus the Real Housewives series. Serve foods that come in a specific color of box.
6. Read nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss, out loud. (Also great for getting the writing juices going.)
7. Go “run around the muddy spot” (something my mother would tell me to do when I was bothering her.) This could involve going for a walk, taking a bike ride, jumping in a pile of leaves (preferably one in your own yard…)
8. Get those window markers or crayons, and express your jubilation on your household windows and mirrors.
9. Watch Singing in the Rain, especially Make ‘Em Laugh.

10. Trips to the zoo are always awesome.
11. Have a Ministry of Silly Walks pub or coffee crawl.
12. Pick a small business you love and have a whole bunch of your friends converge on the place for a shopping event.
13. Write thank you notes. If you’re feeling really goofy, record you and any supportive friends doing your own “I’d like to thank the academy” speeches. Upload to Youtube. For the love of the gods, turn off the comments!
hindu deity

Filed under: Art Appreciation, The Sound of Paper

4 lines of poetry

I’m mucking around with my poetry files while I also write through the long string of revisions and fact checking for Divorcing a Real Witch.

By the way, I need a documentary partner – seriously. I’ll write another post with more details on that down the line.

I don’t remember how this particular poem came up, and I plan to add more. It rhymes – something frowned upon by contemporary poets, which I take as absolute encouragement to continue. Something in me wants to weave American folk magic with what I know of British folk magic in there. I’m already stealing from Shakespeare, after all.


Eye of newt – by Diana Rajchel

Eye of newt is a root.

Toe of frog – break from a log.

Boil and bubble cleans the wound,

This way illness is consumed.

copyright applies. Ask first, I’m still working on this.

Sound of Paper: 5 Ways I have been courageous for my art

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Sound of Paper. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

051710 070  - Goth Prom

I took a significant risk when I did this.

  1. I’ve stayed on the artist’s way path for four years – I’ve even started teaching workshops for magical people based on Julia Cameron’s concepts.
  2. I’ve started putting more pictures of myself up on Fat Chic. That’s risky – female social violence is nasty when you write for fashion, and the more marginalized your populous, the more nasty the feedback can get.
  3. I’m braving interacting with the BBC RIGHT NOW to make something happen for the fan organization that I lead.
  4. I’ve had the brass boobage (=cajones) to call myself a leader, in public, while female. More than once.
  5. The book I’m writing? 8 years of research, a big, miserable part of my 20s, and I’m GOING TO PUBLISH IT.

Lagniappe: Publishing the Spellcasting Picture Book took some nerve, too. Especially since it was either really well received or viewed with outright horror. It’s even gotten a one star review from someone who concluded I have “merely dabbled with magic.” *snort*

Filed under: Tasks, The Sound of Paper

Sound of Paper: 5 things that have become part of my creative work

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Sound of Paper. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

The Louvre

Remember, just because it works for me does not mean I expect these things to apply to you. Even those with the same experiences experience those occasions differently.

  1. Wicca. Something about converting  to Wicca brought me into my creative groove in a way nothing else has.  It got me writing, when the relentless pressure of my writing and journalism major was killing me creatively. Magic is definitely an element in nearly all the fiction I write, even in the straight realistic fiction novel I finished from Nanowrimo last November. There always has to be one Wiccan or other Pagan character who is so far from granola-crunching that she at least owns a pair of Fluevogs.
  2. My mother. She’s my go-to villain; it takes art and pure evil to be totally selfish and still make yourself out to be martyr. My sister makes the conflicted villain, as she does egregiously awful things while convincing herself she’s “helping.” Not sure if I’ll ever touch her wildly inappropriate and frankly disturbing interest in the sex lives of people directly related to her; it was creepy enough when she told me someone she dated was lusting after me, and she seemed to be encouraging it. That’s prelude to one woman nominating another for sexual assault. Ick.
  3. Minneapolis. It’s inspired a lot of non-fiction. I’ve realized I’m just not in love with the place, but it works. There’s a lot worth sharing here. But I have to admit, I’m quite infatuated with Portland now. The native Portlanders would probably not love that. And I can’t really go anywhere, although I’m looking closely at possibly applying for a writer’s retreat now that I’ve got a shoppable portfolio built up.
  4. Pete C., my friend from college. We both said “I love you,” to each other in multiple ways that avoided discussion. We never dated. The most action we gave each other was a fraternal peck during one of those weird collegiate party games, because despite fantasies about doing more than that with him, the idea of actually kissing him made me want to hide under the card table we were sitting at. (The boys back then were generally not too interested in me. I get hit on more now than I did when I was “hit on-able” age.)  It was a rich, rewarding friendship. While I don’t think Pete cared as much about me as I did about him – if he did, he would have initiated some sort of contact after I left Lakeland, and I had my doubts while we were still in the same geographical space – it’s still a cornerstone for my most positive relationships with men. I’ve never had a friendship like that since, and I’m constantly trying to recreate it in my fiction. It’s been 12 years, and I miss him terribly. I have to admit though, I’m probably avoiding him just like I avoid my favorite uncle because of all the weight I’ve gained.
  5. Dance. It doesn’t work its way into my writing much, but it’s part of my essential nutrients. I have to find some way to do it, some place to do it regularly. It’s like I’m half dancer, half writer, even if I’ve never really pursued dance performance.

Filed under: Tasks, The Sound of Paper