hello 2016.

i wrote this – spoke this, into my phone – while walking dogs this morning, across the timespan of 3 walks:
sometimes, when my mind is clear and wandering, i catch these glimpses. glimpses of another life. maybe it’s a parallel universe? maybe it’s the future?  it’s not a dream because i’m awake when it happens, though parts of it have been in dreams i’ve had over my lifetime. it’s like some window or door opens to another reality and i can see it so clearly. it’s this other life that i’m living where i’m firing on all cylinders, where my creativity is flowing, where i am vibrating on a higher level, where i’m making things and pursuing if not every, at least more, of the myriad ideas that bounce around in my head.
i am painting things. printing things. assembling things. i am making new stencils. i am doing murals. i am leaving my creations all around town for people to discover and take home if they want to. i am having pop up sales in random locations. i am having “shows” in nontraditional places, not in galleries. in bars, in coffee shops, at restaurants, at friends’ houses. i am hosting once a month parties/shows/salons at my own house, in the backyard.
i am writing all the time. writing blog posts, writing in journals, writing on paintings and furniture and walls. putting words together in ways that make sense and don’t make sense but regardless are out there and making other people think and feel and react.
i am playing music, other people’s music, djing… in my living room, for friends at my house and other places, bars, art openings, poetry readings. i am discovering new music that sets my spirit soaring and sharing mixes of this music with others. i am making podcasts about music and art and life and sharing those with the world.
i am taking pictures. with my phone, or with a nice camera. i am sharing photos on my instagram and my blog and in all the places i am sharing art. i am incorporating photos into my other art. i am publishing books of my photos to put on coffee tables and in libraries and to give to friends.
i am building an art empire. i am collaborating with other artists and writers and thinkers and djs and people who make music and art in all of its various forms. i am bringing them into my world and i am hanging out in and contributing to theirs.
i am outdoors breathing fresh air and soaking up sunshine, enjoying the beautiful place that i live in. i am exercising my body and feeling good. i am eating better but still enjoying the bounty of the city that i live in with all it’s amazing culinary delights. i don’t deny myself but i also am taking care of myself.
i am traveling to other places, some i’ve been to before but many i have not. i am endlessly inspired by my travels and do it as often as i can, to see art, to see people, to hear music, to be inspired. to learn. to grow.
i am vibrant and alive and enjoying the hell out of life and tapping into the energy of the universe and reflecting it back and spreading love and positivity and feeling good about it. feeling fulfilled and like i’m contributing to the betterment of the world. the world is a beautiful place full of love and light and i am so happy and grateful every day to be in it.
and through all of this, i am supported and loved and rewarded financially and taken care of. and sharing it all. because there is enough. there’s more than enough to go around for all of us. and i don’t worry about money because money is energy and i’ve learned how to tap into the energy of the universe.
yeah. for reals.
sometimes i catch glimpses of this life, this vision, and really feel it, taste it, hear it, see it.. like I am actually living it, like I could be living it. like i should be living it. like i can be living it. i’ve had some version of this vision my whole life. and many elements of this vision, this life, i have made happen.. on their own, one at a time. i’ve been a writer. i’ve been a dj. i’ve been an artist. i’ve been a crafter. i’ve produced events. but i’ve not managed to merge them all, or sustain them for long periods of time where i can really build upon what i’ve accomplished. these accomplishments have existed on their own and in their own space and time and then i’ve dropped them to pursue other things. i’ve been a serial unitasker.
maybe i have just been assembling all the pieces, all the skills, and waiting for the time to be right to pull them all together. maybe that time is now. these last few months, the vision, the glimpses, of this integrated creative life have been strong and recurring and have been pulling me in a direction of action and change. i’m tired of living a small little life where i don’t feel like i’m living up to my potential. i’m tired of feeling like everyone around me is a badass and somehow is clued into something i’m not, somehow has some kinda magic that i don’t in terms of making shit happen, realizing their dreams, helping other people, affecting change, making the world a better place and feeling fulfilled while doing it.
and the time is running out in my life to build all of this that i know i am capable of… while i am still young enough and physically and mentally sharp enough to do so. i’m not yet “old” but i’m no longer “young.”
is this my midlife crisis? maybe. i do feel at a crossroads. i’ve been feeling it for a while and have been wallowing in despair about what to do and how to do it. but i think the universe has been communicating with me in very clear ways over the past year, and the clouds have been lifting, the glimpses of this other life have been coming more into focus, little by little.
i don’t want to reach the end of my life, i don’t want to be on my deathbed, thinking about this other life, this parallel universe, this vision of the life i wanted to live, could have lived, should have lived, dreamed about in some way since i was a little girl and that was so close and within my grasp because i actually had all the skills i needed to make it happen… i don’t want to have that regret that i didn’t go for it, that i just didn’t take the chance, the risk, make the move, defy the inertia, and make it happen.
so the time is now. to take action. to start doing instead of just talking. to take risks. maybe even to fail. but at least to try. i have to at least try. and perhaps in trying, if not this particular vision of another life, but some other version that is not what i am living now, will make itself clear.
so here we go.
stay tuned.

army of lovers, part 2

first of all, i just want to offer my humblest of thanks to everyone who supported me with orders earlier this summer as i was fundraising to get myself on vacation and off to michfest. between the brass band saved my life and army of lovers tshirt campaigns on teespring and my online yard sale of old art/craft stock hanging around the house, i made enough $$ to cover my rent and bills for august so that i was able to absorb the loss of income while i was gone for 3 weeks to the woods. i had such a lovely time at what was probably my mellowest michfest ever – and i really needed that. so thank you, every one of you.

i have returned from fest refreshed and rejuvenated, though still broke. thankfully i have 2 work weeks left in the month to hustle up $$ for rent and bills for september, and the dog walking and pet sitting bookings are coming in, so i should be ok. but i am going to try to continue to do the side-hustle with the creative endeavors just in case, and also because it feels really good to be doing creative things again.

so the first thing i want to offer is that after i designed the “army of lovers” tshirt, i had the brilliant idea to get high-quality stickers made with the same slogan, with the intention of selling them at fest for $1 each. unfortunately, they didn’t get printed on time and though they did manage to find their way to me while i was in the woods, it was a little late in my time there and i just didn’t have much of an opportunity to sell them. i printed 250 of them and have probably only sold about 30 at the most so far – not even enough to break even on the cost of the printing.

army of lovers stickers

therefore, i am going to offer them here. the stickers are 4 inches by 2 inches, slightly wider than a standard business card, silkscreen printed with UV coating and therefore suitable for car bumpers, motorcycles, scooters, bikes, skateboards, helmets or any other outdoor use. (i personally put one on my nalgene water bottle i take with me everywhere.)

since i have to mail them to you, which will cost me the envelope and a stamp (and paypal fees for electronic payment), i’m going to do 1 sticker for $2, 3 stickers for $5, and 6 for $10. (if you want more than that, just email me.) when you hit the “buy now” paypal button below, just input the dollar amount that corresponds to how many stickers you want. it should be that simple. make sure your paypal address that comes to me with your payment is your correct shipping address.


and that’s it! (alternately, if you have a paypal account, you can just sign in and “send money” to me at mags at artbymags dot com in whatever denomination corresponds to however many stickers you want.)

stay tuned as i will be running the tshirt campaign again soon with perhaps a few changes in style/color offerings for those who missed it the first time around.

bit by bit…

things are slowly falling into place. if you read my livejournal or facebook, then you already know that the last week had been a big one for me. up until last weekend, i was still pretty much looking for a roommate, very unsuccessfully. i thought i had one gal who was very interested, but she ended up getting her own place in the french quarter after stringing me along for a week or so. and i had some other bites, but most never got past the introductory email. it just wasn’t working, and more to the point, all that time looking and thinking about the prospect of having a roommate and staying in this house gave me time to realize that i really just didn’t want to stay here. not that i don’t absolutely love this apartment and our landlords, who are friends who feel like family now, and this kick-ass neighborhood of neighbors who’ve become good friends. i’ve never really been happier where i live in this city.

but. it became apparent to me that i am better at living alone than with others and that i also did not want to remain in this place that is rooted in the past two years of my relationship which is now transitioning to something of an unknown. we’re not exactly broken up but we’re not exactly together either. i think only time and space away from each other will inform us both as to what we each want. it is not contentious in any way, in case anyone’s been wondering, but it remains, daily, for us both, very sad. letting go of the past is always hard.

so. a new place it is. last weekend i finally made the decision to start seriously looking for a place. i’d been casually scanning craigslist every day for weeks but not actually calling to make appointments to go see anything until this past monday. i looked at a few places, called dozens, spoke to many, many property owners. and it came down to two – one that was pretty cute and had a vast amount of space and was an ok neighborhood but was slightly pricier than what i could afford (with a landlord that i didn’t really get good vibes from), and the other was pretty small and not so cute but in a great neighborhood with an awesome landlady who is very accommodating and was the cheapest i could probably expect to get anywhere. so after much deliberation, i went with the small place that i could afford that has many perks to it. if the last five years have taught me anything, stuff is just stuff and i can let go of some of it to make this work. (or store it somewhere.)

that is the front of my new house! however, my new apartment is actually a rear apartment – when they did the remodel on it, they took the front two rooms from my side and gave it to the other side, so my side is only bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom. pretty small. but it does come with a cute little yard and a sizeable shed, with which i will just have to make due. the yard is big enough and the alley wide enough that i can drive the scooter right on back there to park it, which is nice. and my bike can go back there too. so i think it will all work out.

while this has all been going on… i have let go of my position at curve magazine. the magazine was bought out by an australian lesbian media company and i had been pondering for a while letting go of that part of my life, so it just seemed like the right time. it’s been a weight on my shoulders and not very much income for the time it takes me, so, woosh, it’s gone.

i have continued looking for jobs and actually applied for, interviewed for and was offered one, about two weeks ago – a so-called “real” job doing admin and investigative work for a financial firm in metairie (i know, weird job for me but for some reason it caught my eye and for even weirder reasons, they thought i’d be a good fit)… BUT it didn’t pay for shit and i didn’t really like the people or the office setting i would have been working in. so that was a no. but it was GREAT for my ego and great practice for future potential jobs.

my yard sale work with my neighbor karen has largely ended, though we still haven’t packed up the leftovers and sent them off to am vets or whoever. i’m toying with the idea of perhaps doing one last sale with some of my stuff whenever i get it worked out as to how much won’t fit in the new apartment, so she might tag on to that and do another one with the leftovers. stay tuned.

and my work with nita has actually picked up. the magicmonkey collectibles website is up and running, and i post new things for sale to it almost daily. some of those things i then crosspost on craigslist, with a link back to the site, to hopefully draw in new folks. so far it’s been a smart marketing tactic, as it’s brought us a few shoppers over to the house to take a look at the whole collection, and a few of them have made some big purchases or intend to become repeat buyers. we’re still posting things on ebay every week, too. this really could be a full-time job and keep me busy for months, because nita has amassed such a crazy amount of amazing retro stuff. i guess if we wanted to get it over with faster we could do a one-day or weekend-long estate sale or something, but she wouldn’t get nearly the same amount for some of her items and it’s way more fun doing it this way and getting to meet collectors and so many interesting people. (and before i forget, we now also have a twitter account for magicmonkeynola, if you tweet. a facebook page is next on the agenda.)

so, while i’d say my life is still largely in transition, at least it’s starting to feel like decisions are being made and some pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. bit by bit.

just gotta keep breathing. and saying my affirmations.

thanks for reading, y’all.

dyke summer camp

i didn’t take but a handful of pictures this summer at festival – the michigan womyn’s music festival, what many of us who attend/work there every summer refer to as “dyke summer camp.” i guess it’s not all that weird; many years, i go to fest and forget to take pictures. other years, i take hundreds, constantly. but it did strike me as a little odd this year, as i’ve been pretty attached to my camera and documenting everything around me. i certainly went with the intention of taking more pics.

but once i was there, even though i carried the camera around with me almost daily in my messenger bag, i just didn’t think to take it out. maybe it was a good thing; maybe it was a subconscious thing, that i was trying to be more present, in the moment, rather than stepping outside myself or any given situation to be behind the camera, documenting. or maybe i just plain forgot. not sure.

i did have one afternoon, during festival week, when i was working late… i was the last one left in my area, waiting on a workshop in the media tent to finish, and decided to relax in the hammock. every year i have been on the media crew (we show the movies, and attend to workshops that have need for media equipment, i.e. dvd, powerpoint, sound, etc.), we have had a lovely hammock we hang off a very old tree that sits in our “back yard,” our break area. this year, when we arrived, we noticed the limb we usually attach the hammock to was gone. we had to hunt for a new location, which ended up being between two smaller trees right next to the media tent. not exactly in our back yard anymore, but convenient for the media crew to lay in while babysitting media workshops.

whilst laying there, i was gazing up at the leaves and limbs of the trees holding the hammock, swaying in the breeze… just appreciating nature and the great gift that it is every summer i am able to be there, in those woods in michigan, breathing in fresh air, doing very physical work, disconnected from cell phones and laptops and the 24-hour news cycle and all the stresses associated with the outside world. it really is the best self-care i give myself, a few weeks (usually three now but i used to do the five-week longer crew) away from the world to just be, to focus on just whatever is happening in my immediate vacinity. it’s like a recalibrating exercise, one that makes space in my brain to see the big picture by focusing on just my present experience… flushing out all the minutia, the facts, the headlines, the tweets, the status updates, the text messages. allowing my head and my heart (and sometimes my body) to talk to each other a little bit easier.

anyways, that afternoon, as i was laying on the hammock, staring up at the trees, i got the urge to grab my camera and take a few shots. i took a bunch of the trees themselves, like the one below, and then also felt drawn to the rows and rows of colorful flags that were strung between some other trees between the media tent and the workshop tent. the flags had been made in a workshop, i think, and had varying sentiments on them, in the style of prayer flags. it’s interesting to me that i chose to zoom in on one particular flag – seen in the photo at the top of this post – that says “change focus.” i wasn’t really thinking much about it in the moment – it just caught my eye, being yellow and in the center of my field of vision, one of the few flags that was facing me – but now, i feel like it was my cleared and big-picture-thinking brain sending me a message to hopefully be discovered post-festival, when i am back in the world and losing grip on the clarity i always feel i have while i’m there.

change focus. a simple thought, but so hard to do, really, particularly when caught up in the whirlwind of information and activity and deadlines and money and stress of the outside world. but yeah, i think it is time to change focus. and i think i’ve been knowing that for a while and slowly moving in that direction, sometimes without even realizing it.

i still don’t exactly know what it is, what is coming, what is about to happen, what the new focus is. but it’s something. some kind of big change. a big change that i really need. i can’t keep doing things the way i’ve been doing them, cuz it’s not really working for me. i don’t want to keep feeling stuck. i’ve been there before and would prefer not to need some major catastrophe like 9-11 or katrina to happen in order for change to occur. it’d be nice if this time i was in control and made things happen, because i want it and need it and know it and will it.

so yeah. change focus. my two-word summary of my dyke summer camp experience… or i guess what it is that i’m bringing home with me from my experience. oh there was lots of great music, amazing performances, beautiful and mindblowing women, a deeply satisfying and fairly smooth work experience, lots of delicious food, a gorgeous forest, great conversations, interesting movies, strengthening of bonds and community, lots of dirt in my shoes, sweat on my brow (and everywhere else!), the loveliest outdoor showers ever (!), some painful emotions, a good deal of crying, woo to the nth degree, breathtaking fireworks, lots of hugs, and brilliant stars in the sky. and so much more that i’m trying desperately to hang on to for as long as i can.

but thank goddess i took my camera out that one afternoon while swinging in the hammock.