The Corner of Fifteen

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It’s hard to imagine now just how small the world was to me then. He lived next door and worked for his dad’s contractor business. He fixed stuff. At least that’s what I thought. He broke stuff, too. My illusions of love, for example. My innocence of how lovers worked, and what power imbalance was. The belief that if you became pregnant, he would stay, because that’s what men are supposed to do. The reality that in the end, I might not want him to stay. And that people don’t always do what they are “supposed” to do.

I lost a lot of things that year, but I gained some things I would never trade. To say I am happy to have had a beautiful child come from that union may sound cliche, but I wouldn’t change it if I could. It set me on a path to self-improvement and an unfortunate spate of cynicism about men, I’m glad I’ve left behind (for the most part), but made me see feminism in a different light. Those bad experiences with a bad person set the cornerstone of the person I am today.

That house–my family’s, and his next door, are so foreign to me now. It’s like looking at a photo album from some movie I watched. I can conjure up the memories like they were last month, but I feel as though I am viewing them through a sheet of plastic.

I can’t remember the taste of him, or how he kissed. I can remember some of his cheesy lines and hurtful comments. I can remember him throwing pennies at me from his bedroom window. I can remember he smoked Marlboro reds and wore Stetson cologne. I would smell that combination into the mid-1990s sometimes, but thankfully Stetson has lost its appeal. Whichever men who might have stockpiled it, stuck in the 1980s, have probably run out by now.

My heart was broken. It was two years before I would date again. I wasn’t done making mistakes I wouldn’t fix, though. But that’s a story for another time.

 

Celebrating Women

I will be a vendor at the Celebrating Women event in Prince George’s County at Marietta House Museum. I will have my novel and coloring book available.

Red August copies are $14.95, the coloring book is $8.99 – descriptions and photos at the end of this post.

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I’m lucky enough to know two other fantastic area women artists who will also be vending at the event, Bridget of BDevlinDesigns, and Mary of Scribbles In Stitches.

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The event is meant to showcase the talents of women artists and entrepreneurs.

From the website event page:

September 17th – 11am-6pm

Celebrate women of many talents – artists, and entrepreneurs.  Shop female owned food, wine and craft vendors.  View artists’ demonstrations and enjoy readings, plays, music and more. $5 per person entry – children 5 and under are free.

Please come by and support area artists and businesses!

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Red August Description.

What if you found out that you were descended from a long line of clandestine fighters, and that your family was still at war? Or that the love of your life was something other than human? August Archer thinks she’s a normal teenage girl—even though she has been having disturbing and erotic dreams about wolves lately. Still grieving over the loss of her bookish, charming father, and wondering over his final gift of a red hooded cloak, August is uprooted from her New York City apartment to a tiny town in Maryland, and the rambling Victorian house where he grew up. There she meets a wise woman with a gift for herbal medicine, the gentle old man who keeps the house in repair and the grounds thriving, and her new neighbor: an enigmatic, irresistibly fascinating man who refuses to talk to her, yet who seems to know her better than she knows herself, and fuels her most intense romantic fantasies. But it’s when August begins to coax her feisty Scottish grandmother out of her self-imposed catatonia that a strange tale of werewolves and hunters emerges—one in which the man of her dreams may be her family’s oldest enemy—in this modern-day telling of the Red Riding Hood story.

 

My Worth

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There is a place. I am better there. Golden, and moonbeams shoot from my fingertips. I am right, but not the way you think I mean. Right like ocean waves. Right like an old book that hasn’t been opened in years. Right like ink-stained fingertips gripping and rubbing the linen until it’s right. There are truths in me that reveal themselves before I know their value. In anger, perhaps. Or fear. Today somebody wise said to me, “Pain is instructional.” And he is the center of that thought. He is the place I am right. From a pink hair on top of my head … or a grey one, to my heel, standing on a hard cold floor, waiting. And I will wait until the answers come. Until I know my worth. Until my voice is as loud as I need it to be to know that what I have done matters.

Yoni Coloring Book Giveaway

CLICK HERE to enter a chance to win my newly released Yoni Coloring Book!

Want to buy one? Maybe have a get-together with your lady friends and celebrate with goddessy vulva pride? They are only $8.99 – go HERE – where I can show you mine.

Great idea for bridal showers, baby showers, Mother’s Day, a night with your goddessy friends, some time to just relax and binge on Netflix while you color something soothing and lovely.

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Yoni Fun

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Hello everybody! I wanted to let you know about a little side project I had been working on in my “spare time.” That actually means something I did when I was supposed to be relaxing, but I can’t seem to let a minute in the day go by without being engaged. Sometimes I miss the days before smartphones and on-demand tv-binges when my brain would actually wander. I had a minute or two to get BORED! Do you remember the days of being bored? Yeah, me neither.

So, before I was all into this writing gig I was doing a lot of photography and art. I still like to do both. I would draw while while re-watching things like Fried Green Tomatoes, Labyrinth and Chocolat for the 400th time, or listening to my girl power playlists, I would ink these drawings of vulvas. To be totally honest, sometimes I was binging on Midsomer Murders and Psych, because this girl loves a mystery. Aside:  did you know there is a page that encourages you to come see where Midsomer is filmed? Might wanna make sure that you don’t have a penchant for blackmail though, because there are a LOT of murders of blackmailers in Midsomer – just sayin’.

Anyway…

I thought the drawings would make a fun and female-power oriented adult coloring book. I actually think that it would be good for kids, too – to sort of introduce them to the concept of talking about genitalia and possibly segueing that into discussions of gender and sex, if you like.

As I drew these I dreamed groups of ladies getting together and coloring them, their happy faces open and chatting and sipping wine. I envisioned parents talking to their kids about body positivity. I imagined Instagram images of laughing women coloring them in and showing off their final work all colored in.

The book is $8.99 and available here: The Yoni Coloring Book.

Here are some images of the proof and Kali helping me check it for errors. She’s ever-helpful that one. It doesn’t look like it, but that is her “I approve” face. The little darling.

 

Raven Heights Guest – June Episode

ravenheightsradio2CLICK HERE TO VISIT RAVEN HEIGHTS AND LISTEN TO THE EPISODE

Earlier in June my friend Erica came over and brought her portable podcasting studio with her.  We recorded a couple of podcasts – one about my book, which is being released in August, and one about body-positivity and some of my artwork.  The one linked above is the latter, where we discuss Legoginas, Amanda Palmer, Tess Holliday, Body Politics, body-positivity, and Caitlyn Jenner, among other things.

Here are some links and thoughts that are a companion to this podcast:

Johanna Basford Coloring Book

Georgia O’keeffe

Tess Holliday – I refer to her as “Tess Munster” which is what she went by for a while.

Amanda Palmer – Since the recording of this podcast Amanda lost a dear friend and I want to offer my sincerest condolences.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~Khalil Gibran

I mentioned a story she told on a podcast (which I cannot find) about being told to lose weight by the label she was with.  Rebellyon is what followed.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and a quote about the Fraud Police.

Imposter Syndrome

Caitlyn Jenner

GLAAD gender guide – Trans?  Cis?  What?  Here is a guide to help you out.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

I wish I had been clearer in my explanation about the photographers.  The point I was trying to make was that I know a number of photographers and I don’t know their specific policies, but I’m guessing they would never use a photo that somebody was unhappy with.  But these are folks I know.  There are many photographers out there these days.  I’d even wager that there are more than ever.  Some are legit, talented and ethical.  Some aren’t.  Before you sign a paper allowing a person to use whatever image they take of you wherever and however they want, make darn sure you trust them.

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I mention that I am using a Lego base that is in a “flesh” tone, in this case, the one flesh-like tone available I could find thus far, called “sand.”  The large base pieces I build the vulvas on come in only three colors online at this time – grey, sand, green, if I’m lucky I can find a bright blue at the Lego store.  I’m not being super realistic with the Lego vulvas – I mean, I’m using bright pink and purple!  But it would be nice to have some other tans and browns available.  I’m glad to see things like Louboutin making a wider line of “nude” tones available now and NubianSkin.com, an undergarment line in darker flesh tones, so yay!

Below is my sweetheart, best friend, partner in art, writing, and love-making, in his glorious Lego crown.  (If I leave out that last comma, it might be a party!  Now I gotta cross my fingers the rest of my grammar is correct.)

legocrownsm William Hardy

LegoGinasmLegoginas – or Legovulvas.  They aren’t available yet because Will has to mount them.  (Yup.)
Vcoloringbooksm Drawings that will be available in my vulva coloring book, which isn’t done yet.
vulvadecorationsThese are examples of some of the vulva pride accessories I sell at my online store.

You can find my vulva art, as well as other types of jewelry, altered clothing and some perfume I make at GypsySiren.com

Artomatic – Body Politics

Goddess Next Door

Articles About Confidence Gap Between Men and Women
Phycholgy Today
The Atlantic

Please stop by the Southern Maryland Arts website.  It’s a great place for artists to register and post events.  You can also find Charles County art information HERE.

One of my biggest art influences and mentor is Tammy Vitale, also a Southern Maryland artist.

I made a goof trying to say, “I want to take my life’s lemons and make lemonade.”  I just have the one lemon apparently.  Baby wants one lemon.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to listen to the podcast and read this post.  I know how precious and short time can be.

Peace!

Inheritance

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Philyra rests next to the books on the table, where she isn’t supposed to be.

I’m a divorced woman who spent a majority of her 20 year relationship with her ex-husband at home with her children.  When my marriage came to an end I felt vulnerable, financially.  I felt broken, emotionally.  This is a story told over and over again by women.  It’s nothing new or shocking, even if some of the details are. It’s a story of betrayal and low self-esteem.  Of things happening I wished I could change, but later was glad they didn’t.  It’s nothing thousands of women don’t go through each year, some to a greater and lesser extent.  That fact used to make me feel like a stupid statistic.  Like I’d fallen into a foreseeable trap by my own foolishness.  I see it differently now.  Instead, I feel a part of something as though that shared pain brings me closer to a sisterhood.  It means I’m not alone.

I’ve always been a feminist and an advocate for women, in part because I have daughters and in part because of my own history as a victim of various types of abuses.  And despite feeling close to all women sometimes, at other times I feel the distance, too.  Yet, I’m not always aware of it when I’m feeling disconnected.  Probably because I can be introverted in long stretches.  I think I was feeling inside my own bubble when I picked up two books in a row that re-focused my feeling of being connected to women out there in the world.  Not just the ones alive today, but all those who have ever lived.  I feel my place in the universe, one planet among galaxies of women.  With my own gravity.  With my own landscape of barren deserts and rich ecosystems green with life and beauty.  I have my own orbit and satellites in orbit around me, as well.

It started off with checking out The Red Tent by Anita Diamant from the library on my Kindle.  You can read my Good Reads review of The Red Tent HERE.  By the time I finished that, I was lucky enough that Wild by Cheryl Strayed had become available to check out.  You can read my Good Reads review of Wild HERE.

Just a couple of days after I finished Wild I decided to order it and The Red Tent as gifts for my daughters.  Paper versions.  Objects they can hold in their hands and feel the paper under their fingertips as they flip each page.  A sort of prayer that connects them to all the things that make them sisters, not just with each other, but all other women.  And probably a memory years from now when I’m gone, of what has gone before them and what they want to do to affect what comes after them.  To remind them of their connection to this world.  And also, that they don’t need to fall apart when I die.

This is the most valuable inheritance I have for them.  I lay in bed last night imaging the letters I would write to my daughters to accompany these gifts.  Should I share valuable (to me) bits of advice?  Should I apologize for my shortcomings as a mother?  I composed until I fell asleep and woke up to sunbeams on the bed with my cat laying next to me.  And I thought about Dinah in Egypt and her first experiences with cats.  Coincidentally, my cat, Kali, is Egyptian and from a long line of sacred females, as well.

Kali the Abyssinian napping in the sunbeams on my bed.

Kali the Abyssinian napping in the sunbeams on my bed.