The Business of Art – Free!

One of the things that helped me the most when I was first starting my creative business was learning from my peers. Any time an artist or teacher that I admired released a blog post or program about how they do what they do, I jumped on it. I probably spent in the neighbourhood of a thousand bucks in my first year of trying to navigate this whole ‘teaching on line and making a living with my art” thing!

Well, there’s this eBook out now, and it’s way less than a thousand bucks. It’s FREE, Y’all! If I’d had this resource, I would have been over the moon! AND I’d have had more money for paint!

Download the new, expanded “The Business of Art” Ebook and get interviews with dozens of professional artists who share their advice on building a career out of your passions and give practical advice on improving your skills, teaching courses, selling merchandise, marketing and more.

Get the Ebook Here

The Business of Art is available as part of the second Art Bundle for Good coming on December 6th. The first Art Bundle was a massive success, and this bundle is bigger and better. I bought the bundle last year (because there were so many artists I wanted to learn from featured in it) and this year, I’ve been invited to participate! YAHOO!

There are thousands of dollars worth of courses, resources, ebooks, etc. on topics like, painting, drawing, mixed media arts, digital illustration, creativity, marketing your art, and more all bundled together for one low price for 5 days only.  It’s a fantastic deal that will definitely take your art and creativity to a new level.

The best part is that 25% of the Art Bundle for Good profts are going to support Courageous Kitchen, a Bangkok based charity helping refugees. The Art Bundle for Good is a great opportunity to get dozens of top art learning resources from many of the biggest names in the industry and do some good.

Check out the website and sign up to get the free ebook. I’m sure you’ll love it!

Love you! Have a fabulous Wednesday! I’ll be back in a jiffy with Journal52. xo

Against The Secret Sorrows

Yesterday, I cast on some luscious sock yarn and spent the evening knitting p5, k5 in the round until I had a cuff. Then I switched to straight knit.

I probably should have made it a bit bigger, but I’m okay with that. I like tight socks. I find them comforting. I like *slouchy* socks, too, and I aim to make these easy to scrunch down around my ankles the way I like. If they’re way too tight, well, I’ll turn them into fingerless gloves and cast on more stitches for another, larger pair.

Yesterday, my entire body said “I need to knit socks”. It wanted to make a thing for itself, like a hug for my toes. It wanted the pleasure of watching self-striping yarn self-stripe. It wanted to turn a heel. I could easily have argued with it. I mean, I don’t knit anymore. I had a retinal detachment about a decade ago, and the surgery to repair it left me with extremely wonky vision. My glasses only properly correct my right eye. My left eye can’t be corrected all the way without giving me double vision and crossed-eyes. I could wear contacts but they irritate my eyes so badly that I can only wear them for an hour or two before I want to scratch them out of my face. Furthermore, I didn’t have anything I needed on hand in order to do this thing my body wanted me to do. I had to actually PUT ON PANTS and leave the house in order to fulfill this desire. But yesterday was the kind of day that demanded that I listen to my body, so I listened, and I took a quick trip to the textiles store to pick up sock yarn and a set of double pointed bamboo needles.

After about a decade of not doing it at all, I picked it up again. Once I got the stitches cast on and the first few rows knit and purled up, I could go pretty much by feel. The gentle click of the needles was a balm on my soul some how. It’s an almost mindless pleasure, and I really need that in my life right now.

Knitting is something I taught myself how to do one cold wintery afternoon about eleventy million years ago. I got it into my head that I wanted to knit *socks* of all things. Not a scarf. Not something a beginner might start with, but SOCKS, and not just tube socks, which are hard enough, what with the four scary looking pointy needles, but socks with a GUSSET and a TURNED HEEL.

It took me a few days to puzzle it together, thanks to YouTube and a few excellent tutorials on the interwebs, and I was off, knitting socks. I knit about a half dozen pair in a frenzied marathon of knitting ALL THE SOCKS, and then I moved on to intricate lacy things on tiny circular needles with patterns that read like mathematical treatises on the nature of the universe.

Not long after, my left eye did its thing where it started to shed my retina, and that was the end of knitting for a long, long time. I had surgery, and for weeks afterwards, I had a massive air bubble in my left eye obscuring my vision. I also had a *lot* of pain. Knitting was the last thing on my mind. I mean, I couldn’t even *read* at that point, so over time, I forgot about knitting. It was just too taxing on my freshly healed eye. I put away my needles, gave my lovely skeins of wool away, and I moved on to something else.

But yesterday, my flesh and bones wanted it badly, so I listened, and today, I’m going to put on an audiobook (I’m listening to Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon), and I’m going to knit until my eyes demand I stop.

Tomorrow, I might tackle everything that’s on my plate. Tomorrow, I might decide knitting is stupid and a waste of time, or too much for my poorly eyes, but for today, I’m gonna knit, because it’s the simplest, most soul-nourishing thing I can think of doing for myself, for this self whose body has carried secret sorrows for so long, she can’t remember what it was like before the sorrows descended.

xo
Effy

P.S. And you? What are you doing today against the secret sorrows your body has carried?

 

 

This Week Was A Bear

I am just now feeling like I’m ‘back’ from fest. This is a thing that happens every time I go. Re-entry is a bear. Some of it is about unpacking, laundry, etc., but most of it is the deeply felt difference between being in fest space and being in the ‘real world’. It takes time to make the transition. Lots of naps. Self-care. We fest goers call it ‘fest head’ or the ‘post fest crash’. I call it a pain in the ass. It didn’t help that this particular fest was full of lessons – about being an adult child of an alcoholic, and how that set me up to be long-suffering when I shouldn’t be, about my feelings about my father’s death, about how much I love my community, about what I would kill or die for. But discomfort of the kind I experienced last weekend is the good kind. It’s the grow me the fuck up kind. It’s worth experiencing, so I’ll take it.

This week has been a bear. I’m not going to lie.

White supremacy is being uncovered and challenged in all of my spaces. It’s very uncomfortable. I witness people i respect (ed) behave in ways that I find deplorable, and i feel convicted to act upon that data. Disconnect. Remove my support. My discomfort, however, is nothing compared to what women of colour experience every damned day. It’s just a little uncomfortable. My life is not in danger. I can choose, because I have privilege, to unplug, to focus on other things. And in the name of self-care, I do. I dance in. I dance back. The colour of my skin makes that possible and I *did not earn that one little bit*.

I try to remember that every day.

I have a lot of work to do around racism, because I’m white, and I was raised in this. It’s up to me to dismantle my own racism, to uncover and deconstruct the role I play in the oppression of women of colour, to disavow the trickle down effect of patriarchy, to ensure that my feminism is intersectional.

It’s up to me to shut up and listen. It’s up to me to go white on white when I see someone in my circle doing harm. I’m afraid of doing it wrong, but if I’ve learned anything over the last week it’s that doing nothing is far worse than doing it wrong. At least if I do it wrong, I have an opportunity to learn how to do it right. If I put myself out there, I am in a position to be called out or called in.

And I want that. If I fuck up, I want you to call me out, and if you call me out and I don’t fix it, I want you to burn my shit down. If you see me putting what’s right for business before *what’s right*, I want you to point your finger at me, and say “Uh, no, Effy. Wrong way. Missing the mark. Course correct.” I want you to hold me to it.

I’m lucky to have amazing women of colour in my life & social media feed. They are brilliant teachers, and they take on enormous amounts of emotional labor every damned day.  Alexis. Leesa.  Staci. Layla. Schooling me. Every day. Full of grace AND righteous anger. Clear voices in the unveiling of what’s been true for time eternal. My teachers. I’m listening. I want to be a part of the solution. I’m willing to fuck up royally. I’m willing to stand in the fire so I can have my own blindness illuminated.

But the week wasn’t all hard or uncomfortable. Here are some highlights.

Wednesday, I went to see Bladerunner 2049 with my bestie. It was EPIC. I hadn’t seen him since the Wednesday before since he took off to New York on Thursday, and didn’t return till Tuesday. We went for our usual drive. I got to turn some of what happened over the weekend inside out with him as my faithful, gentle witness. We did pre-movie dinner. Held hands some. Drove home in awestruck silence.

Thursday, I had pints with girlfriends. Soul nourishing. I wasn’t *quite* ready for that much social, but I managed a few hours of ‘pants on, inside voice off’ before Stacey dropped me home so I could cocoon a bit more.

Friday, I *finally* got everything that needed doing done AND I cooked a gorgeous feast of coconut chicken curry. Watched four episodes of Star Trek: Discovery with my bestie. We’re in love with it, and can’t wait for more.

Yesterday was all work, all day, filming for a lesson that’s due out on Monday.

This is definitely worthy of Sunday Swoon. I painted that! Me! It’s a scarlet ibis, and it is *identifiably a scarlet ibis*! *Swoon!* It was my response to drawing The Star card in the tarot. The draw led me down a rabbit hole of symbols, and this is where I landed. Among the stars.

Happiness.

And that’s me for now.

Quiet inside. Coming back to earth. Listening. Deeply. Loving what I love.

Hornet Medicine

I spent the weekend with the land and chosen family, and here are some of my highs and some of my lows.

Arriving on site. That feeling of ‘home’ settling over me like a warm cloak. All the hugs and hellos, and seeing the familiar faces of people I only get to see once or twice a year. Being struck hard with how much I *love* these people, and how loved I feel in their presence. Seeing Snow Feather again for the first time in years. Scott arriving just in time for me to be off work for the evening (I work registration). That hug, man. THAT HUG! Wandering around saying hellos. Shae arriving, and more hugs. Our pre-fire visit at Scott’s trailer. Sips of applepie moonshine. Pepperettes. (I had to have at least one!) Wandering up to the fire, setting up our camp chairs, and receiving my birthday present from them – a huge purple “Bubba” mug full of one of Scott’s amazing Caesars. (It’s a Canadian thing.) Watching the revellers dance. The drums. Wandering back down the hill to go to bed at a relatively decent hour.

Pancakes, peppered maple bacon, coffee. More work at the registration desk, but lots of switching off with my cohorts, so I never felt burned out. Long conversations with Greymoon that healed some stuff I had left over from my father’s death. Roasted pork and apples for dinner. Beautiful platefuls of roasted veggies.

Saturday night at the fire. It poured down rain, and most folks wandered off to seek shelter in their tents or cabins. I stayed, along with about a dozen other die hard pagans, and someone who can only be described as a lover of mine. We drank, danced, and cavorted until the rain finally cleared. It was five a.m. before I finally wandered back to my cabin alone to catch a few hours of sleep. It was everything my spirit needed, and I soaked it in.

Sunday was for an emergency trip into town for dry footwear with Shae, and then naps. Many naps. A few wanders.

The guy I was seeing arrived just in time for Sunday feast…

The moment he showed up on the site, a yellow jacket stung me on my right wrist. I treated it with ice, and took note. Animal medicine is a thing, you know! Things pretty much went down hill from there, but I really don’t want to rehash it all. Let’s just say that instead of revelling as I usually do on the last night of the last festival of the year, fuckery ensued and completely dominated my night.

On Monday morning, after all of the attempted apologies, and the “I’m never like this” and “I’m so sorry”, over and over again, I asked him to please stop, because his apologies felt like old tape. He knew my history, knows about my alcoholic father, and brought that to the plate anyway. His apologies could have been twenty years old, thirty, forty, that’s how familiar they were. It was obvious to me, that like my father before him, he wanted instant forgiveness, and a pat on the head, and I just couldn’t give him that. He tried engaging my friends, to no avail. My people are fiercely loyal, and they covered me like a cloak of protection. He finally got the message that there was no clowning his way out of this one.

When he finally left, without a word to anyone, I could breathe again. I watched him depart, washed my hands of him, and  melted back into fest mode. Spent my last afternoon on site loving on my people & being loved by them. All the hugs goodbye and see you next years.

Shae gave me a ride home, and when I arrived, I dropped everything, stripped down and threw myself into a tub of hot, scented water. The house and fur babes were in good shape, having been looked after by one of my kidlets. I ordered in and watched a sufficient number of Sex and The City episodes to feel like I’d returned to the real world. Woke up on Tuesday morning to get some work done.

Texted that guy to say “Please don’t ever contact me again.” and blocked him in all the spaces I could possibly block him.

It’s Wednesday now. I slept beautifully last night. I have all these gorgeous memories that outweigh the fuckery, but this is real life, and there *was* fuckery. I don’t want to dive too deeply into finding the silver lining, but I have taken this away from all of that: I am fiercely protective of myself, and when faced with that kind of fuckery, I am a solid, hot, holy FUCK NO. Even if you’re handsome. Even if you say all the right things *most of the time*. Even if I’ve been really lonely, and had really hoped for something more.

Hornet medicine. Fiercely feminine. Powerful and hot and holy. She knows how to protect herself. She knows how to gather the cloak of community around her shoulders. She knows how to say no.

xo
Effy

 

 

 

Edge Walker

In my last post, I talked about how hard won most of my me-ness has been in the face of a shitty (understatement) early life. What I rarely talk about, though are the benefits of said shitty early life, and there are some.

I always hesitate to offer this perspective, though, because I never want to be mistaken for minimizing the negative (soul shattering, really) impact of sexual and physical violence on a child, so I’m going to ask you, as you read, to remember that I am in no way saying that what happened to me was a *good thing*. Rather, I am saying that, because I’m a bad ass, I created goodness where there was none.

I’m an edge walker.

This comes as a direct result of having examined my family of origin’s ‘squeaky clean on the outside’ appearance and deconstructing it. It was very important, in my childhood, that everything *seem* okay. I was encouraged to keep my mouth shut (don’t tell!) about what was wrong in the family home in order to preserve appearances.

Thankfully, this led me to really examining, comparing, and contrasting the difference between how things seemed, and how things were. I uncovered misogyny, racism, homophobia, mean-spiritedness, and close-mindedness.

I ran in the other direction as soon as I was able and embraced queerness, multiculturalism, feminism, kindness, and open-mindedness.

I walk several edges as a result of my childhood experiences.

I am queer, and can love men and/or women, though I do tend to find myself attracted to the masculine in either gender. I am open to alternative lifestyles, like polyamory, kink, intentional communities, etc. I reject any ‘one true way’, and have explored my spirituality deeply as a seeker and a mystic. I embrace self-love as a hugely important tool for healing and recovery. I have developed dragon scales that let me try and fail and try again until I get from here to there. I’m resilient as fuck. I live out loud.

I don’t necessarily belong any one place. I dip in and out. I’ve embraced my magpie tendency to cherry pick what’s shiny for me and discard the rest. Thankfully, I’m just edgy enough that I don’t just cherry pick the easy stuff. In fact, sometimes the harder stuff *is* the shiny stuff, as anyone who’s studied with me will attest to.

Walking the edge means no world is closed to me.

It means I can be fully in the world, fully embodied, open to whatever danger & delight (and they often come together) arise for me. I am quick to utter a holy yes to what feels good. I’m quick to utter a holy no to what feels wrong. I stand up to be counted, stand up for, stand up to with ease. I flow between worlds without apology, in full ownership and command of my complexity.

I would not be who I am today had I not experienced the things I experienced.

That doesn’t mean I’m *grateful* for those experiences. I’m not. I’m grateful, however, for my own apparent inherent ability to transform those experiences from what could have ended very, very badly (as it does for many survivors who do not make it through at all) to something that is *waves at all this* instead.

Why, Yes! I AM Full Of My Self.

Some people find me haughty or full of my self. I get it. It honestly doesn’t bother me to be perceived that way because it weeds out people whose self-esteem requires me to be less than I am. I am a bit full of my self. Who else should I be full of? Some people find me self-absorbed, a navel gazer, all too interested in my self. And it’s true that I give equal weight to the importance of my own life when weighed against the importance of everyone else’s. In my term as an edge walker, I’ve learned that I can’t serve from an empty cup, so I do everything I can to keep mine filled to the brim and overflowing.

There is nothing (safe, sane, consensual) I won’t try.

There is no (safe, sane, consensual) pleasure, sensation, experience, delight I won’t indulge in. I am all for it – all of it – and I don’t believe I’d be this way if I hadn’t had to deconstruct what everyone else told me about what’s okay and what’s not. I don’t believe I’d be as willing to be as non-conformist as I am, and I really value how much living outside the box marked ‘acceptable’ has brought into my life.

When it comes to my story – a story that includes stuff no one should ever have to experience – and my own unraveling of all of that, there’s this, too. So if you asked me “If you could wave a magic wand and make all that disappear from your history, would you?”, I’d probably say no.

This is how I became me, and I won’t throw this baby out with the bath water.

Here’s to danger, delight, and walking the edge.
xo
Effy

 

This is 49 – Trigger Alert

So, this is 49.

{Trigger alert for childhood abuse and strong language related to such.}

I remember being a young thing – like, seven – and realizing that I would one day be the same age as the adults around me. This came as one of those nerve jangling, bone rattling shocks to me. I can remember where I was – in my grandmother’s house, sitting on the couch in the t.v. room with a plate of Sunday dinner in front of me on the t.v. tray, watching The Mutual Of Omaha’s Animal Kingdom.

I’d spent the afternoon up a willow tree imagining that I was the Queen of the Jungle, and the big collie dog my uncle owned was my lion. I’d picked a scab and used my own blood as war paint on my face and arms. I tied willow withes around my wrists, ankles, and forehead as ceremonial dress. I’d plucked these gorgeous bottle green and blue beetles off the bark of the tree, and let them crawl on my arms, pretending they were magical jewels.

I got told off the for war paint, and for ripping branches out of the tree, but whatever. I was used to that, and after scrubbing my face, and discarding my ceremonial garb, I sat down in the t.v. room to eat dinner while the grown ups gathered around the dining table to do the same.

Grown ups weren’t anything I wanted to be. I wasn’t one of those kids who couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait *to be free*, true, but the thought of becoming ‘like them’ was soul shattering for me.

Even then, even at seven, I’d formed the very strong opinion that grown ups were assholes.

They were cruel. They were mean-spirited. They would sit around talking about one another, sneering about one another in terms that made my little ears burn. They hit me. They did far worse to me, too, and at the tender age of seven, I desperately wanted two things very urgently: to be deemed ‘good enough’ that they would stop doing those things to me, and to never ever be anything like them, ever.

I’m grown up now, and I’m almost nothing like them.

We can’t come through and be raised by people without picking up some of who they are. It’s impossible. I see them in myself, and while that used to be a source of despair (because, seriously, my people were *not nice people*), it has come to inspire my deepest, most important work. I do what I do in order that I may root out, examine, and transform anything within me that doesn’t feel like it *belongs to me*. Self inquiry is important to me because I want to see myself as clearly as I can, as clearly as that woman pictured above can possibly see, so that I do not react to the world out of my shitty childhood conditioning.

I am in the business of turning myself inside out regularly so that I might turn the the contents of my consciousness over and over in my hands, know it intimately, and keep only what serves me. That’s what I do. I do it out loud. I do it where you can watch me do it. I do it with a fierce determination that is probably pathological. Because I still, at 49, want two things very, very urgently. I want to be ‘good enough’ that I will not ever be hurt like that, ever again – raped, neglected, sneered at, beaten, thrown to the wolves, abandoned, discarded, controlled, manipulated, used, etc. and I want to be nothing whatever even remotely like them. 

The first piece of that urgent wanting is very hard, because the kind of abuse I suffered at the hands of my family of origin is a recipe for deeply embedded shame. When you are a little girl, and you are sexualized that young, and your mother doesn’t protect you from that, but rather, looks the other way because her bills are being paid and she can go to bingo, well, that tells you a lot about your value. When your father, upon being given custody of you in  your early teenage years, promptly begins drinking again, beating you nightly, and calling you every filthy name in the book only to wake up the next day with no apparent memory of any of it, well, that tells you a lot about who you are in the world.

These things you learn are lies, but they are the kind of lies that look enough like truth through a child’s eyes to stick.

I’ve unstuck most of it.

You’ve seen me out here in the world owning my worth. I don’t know if you know what a struggle its been, because I tend, here and elsewhere, to try not to get my stuff all over you, but there’s a part of me that *wants* you to sit with me while I turn myself inside out, so you can see, so you can know…

This woman who can look herself in the eyes and feel good about her integrity? She fought for that.

This woman who is orgasmic and really loves sex despite having been raped and sodomized when she was five, six, seven years old, objectified most of her life by the men in it, called a whore, a dirty little thing, treated like she was her mother’s competition instead of her mother’s daughter? She fought for that.

This woman who keeps showing up in the world with a heart of kindness despite the core of darkness they inserted into her little psyche? She fought for that.

Everything you see me doing out here in the world was something I had to foster in myself, by myself, for myself.

And I want you to know.

So, this is 49. It is clear-eyed. It’s held together by duct tape and a little glitter. It has a vein of gold running through it, because I fought for that.

And I’ll keep on fighting.

Because I’m worth it.

xo
Effy