“She saw me say who I was.” Featured Artist: Zsudayka Nzinga

Zsudayka Nzinga is a mixed media artist and designer from Denver, CO. Her portrait work features acrylic, paper, fabric, oil bars, charcoal and pigment. Nzinga fuses traditional art forms passed through the Diaspora to create work which speaks to the power of history and how visual art aides in defining culture and identity. Her subjects…

Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor

“or women who care deeply about their other roles and identities, keeping that snake at bay—only swallowing up to the toe or knee, say—is crucial to mental health and well-being.”

Emily and Me in Isolation

Memorizing poems is a practice that’s nourishing, meaningful, and entirely unproductive from an economic standpoint.

Garbage Work, Not Garbage Person

With some regularity, a wounded writer appears, whether in my office or in these online spaces. Although the contexts vary, the type of wounding is remarkably similar: some gatekeeper has taken it upon him or herself to judge the writer unfit. This judgment often takes the form of unsolicited advice about a change in career.

Making at the End of the World

A world that is hostile—because it is too hot, or too racist, or too authoritarian, too misogynist, or too neglectful of your community’s health crisis—is a world that is at least indifferent if not antagonistic to your making.

“stigma can also be internalized, such as when I doubt my own impulses to integrate my experiences as a mother in my work” Featured Artist: Susana Ruiz

What’s been the best surprise about having a creative life in motherhood?
The media landscape expands! As a media artist, my world has become so much bigger and infinitely more interesting since motherhood. I go through my children’s cultural preoccupations and eccentricities with them and I, too, grow. My Little Pony this month? Okay. Red Dead Redemption non-stop for the entire weekend? Okay. Kendrick Lamar last week and Public Enemy this week? Okay. Unboxing Toys videos on YouTube? Fine.

The Water of Attention

Without attention, the projects behave badly, turning a little weird. Job application, I think, why did you get so ponderous and stale? You, book proposal, what are these funny little sentences? And, as they curdle, I start to resent them: uggh, why are you still kicking around? Isn’t it time for you to graduate or get a job or something?

Yeah, but did you puke? (why I take classes)

Riffing on Portlandia, we’ve decided that any charcoal disaster can be solved by “putting a pear on it.” My drawings are full of pears that exist nowhere in the original still life.

For Your New Year: The Outbox

I suspect that lots of writers engage in a similarly optimistic to-do list shuffle, bumping failed or failed-for now projects from calendar to calendar

Out of sight….

Hard to do something when you don’t have the supplies or even know where they are.

MaMaWriMo?

It’s hard to wake up earlier in the morning to write when small people are already demanding breakfast at 5am.

“I often ask my daughter what color I should use on something or ask her what she thinks about one of my painting ideas.” Featured Artist: Emily Reid

This week  we’re featuring painter Emily Reid. Emily studied art in Florence, SC, Bozeman, MT, and Sydney, Australia. Her work features a strong sense of color, and a connection to animals and our natural world.  Emily says that she also hopes to help connect humans to their animal spirits and to their creative spirit through my art…

Being a Woman In Public

Inspired by one wonderful thing and one awful thing, this week’s post is in two parts. When I left for a recent trip, I had a plan for what this blog post would be. I was headed off to spend a week and a half in Italy, first going to a silent film festival to…

“I have a tendency to overcomplicate my prose, and feeling a bit depleted forces simplification.” Featured artist: Amy Hammer

This week we’re featuring author Amy Hammer. Amy writes books that help readers celebrate and cultivate glorious flavors and meaningful lives. Through her website, she shares stories and recipes that bring both health and pleasure. Her previous work, the cookbook Happy Belly, is a celebration of food and a work of advocacy for the Down syndrome community….

Creative Cross-training

This is a follow up to the post a couple weeks ago about what a sad thing it is that growing up means winnowing one’s avenues for artistic expression. As I said there, even as I love all the arts, I am really a words person. But even within that category, I have a narrower…

“the confidence that comes with motherhood is really beneficial. After facing down a strong-willed two-year-old, no one is intimidating.” Featured Artist: Kari Barber

This week we’re featuring Kari Barber, award-winning documentary filmmaker, professor of Journalism, and mother of four. Her most recent film Struggle and Hope had its world premiere at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes and has won a number of awards. The film documents the battle of the residents and descendants of Oklahoma’s historically…

Artistic Promiscuity (Against Paragone)

I encountered the word paragone this week while reading for my academic writing. As Brian Glavey explains it in his book The Wallflower Avant-Garde, paragone is a Renaissance term used to describe “the battle between the various arts.” In the Renaissance, the debate took place mostly between painters and sculptors who argued on behalf of…

Laundry is a Gas! (finding time)

So, I know that self-help is a neoliberal trap that makes the individual responsible for all things, often ignoring or disavowing the structures that profoundly constrain the choices any person can make (I’m looking at you, Rachel Hollis). BUT, I love it and consume a bunch of the stuff anyway. And, if I’m honest, sometimes…

Postpartum Aesthetic Depression

I don’t like cartoons. When people tell me that I have to see The Incredibles or Toy Story or Inside Out, I have to reveal my Grinch nature. I don’t like animated films, I’ll tell them. Oh, but this one is really good, they’ll say. Good good or good for a cartoon? I ask. Oh,…