Wednesday Link Party!

Happy Wednesday, guys! I hope you’re all having an awesome week. I spent my weekend shopping with my parents, listening to the weird jams on my dad’s iPod (there’s so much Katy Perry on there), and stress-baking a peach/coconut crisp because I got freaked out about all the work I had to do. Typical weekend for me. Let’s get on with the links!

Megan McCafferty, author of the beloved Jessica Darling books, is hosting a new web series in partnership with Smart Girls at the Party! And her first guests are Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson! So many of my favorite things combined in one web series.

I don’t have a problem with Sheryl Sandberg’s “ban bossy” campaign, but I also don’t really think it’s useful. I totally and completely agree with Ann Friedman’s thoughts on the matter. I also like that she mentions “Bossy” by Kelis, because my friend Dan used to quote that song all the time in college and it’s a serious jam.

I’m in love with this makeup tutorial from Creative Lady Akilah Hughes.

FYI, I’ve had Easy As All That by Miniature Tigers stuck in my head for, like, three months. It’s cool.

Danielle Henderson writes about those ubiquitous trigger warnings and how they might not be doing some people any favors.

H. and I’ve been binge-watching Community lately. Here’s the best of Troy from season 1!

I’m reading this book for my book club, and it’s pretty great. PS, did I ever tell you guys that I’m in a book club, and this one ISN’T just me and Alex reading books and being the second most famous book club started by a Winfrey? Well, I am.

And lastly, I’m working on giving myself more small writing challenges, so I entered this Columbus Creative Cooperative flash fiction contest. You can vote for my story if you want! But we’ll be friends no matter what, promise.

Lady Inspiration: John Waters

life is nothing if youre not obsessed

I’m well aware that John Waters is not a lady, but ladies can find inspiration all over the place and I find him extremely inspirational. This is probably the closest thing to a motto that I have. Why even bother with anything if you’re not going to fall head over heels for it?

PS: Role Models is a perfect book, and if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for? I may have mentioned this before, but listening to it on audiobook is a delightful experience.

Image via Lisa Congdon

That Time I Had My Tarot Cards Read

tarot card palm reading
A year ago, when my BFF Cat was planning my bachelorette party, she kept everything about it a super secret. “We’re doing something I’ve never done at a bachelorette party before, and I know you’ll love it,” she told me. So that ruled out a lot of things, including anything scary or embarrassing. We weren’t going to a strip club or taking pole dancing lessons, because I would very much NOT love those things. But then she said something that really threw me off: “When I told the girls about it, one of them said, ‘I’m really excited, but I’m also scared.”

Jessie Spano allusions aside, this threw me for a loop. What in the name of inflatable penises could we be doing for my bachelorette party that would unnerve my friends, most of whom are significantly less terrified of life than me?

Guys, it was tarot cards. Cat set up tarot card readings for all of us.

I’ve been interested in weird, new-age-y, woo-woo, “hippie bullshit” stuff for basically my whole life, so this was like a dream come true. Sure, some people in my life were concerned that a tarot card reading would upset me because I’m “exceptionally vulnerable” but WHATEVER. As one of my friends pointed out, it wasn’t like the tarot card reader was going to use my bachelorette party as a chance to drop a load of bad news on me. That wouldn’t be a very good business model. Sure, I was a little nervous, but mostly I was excited.

On the day of the party, the tarot card reader was late because she got lost. Cat’s place is, to be fair, difficult to find on a map. But, and I don’t want to make too obvious a joke here, shouldn’t she have been able to find it on her own…?

She set up her stuff in the kitchen while the rest of us waited in the living room. We were all at various points on the “I Believe in Tarot” spectrum, from “This is Clearly Bullshit” to “My Heart is Extraordinarily Open to Anything.” Guess which one I was? I just want to take a moment to say, guys, I’m not stupid. As much as I make fun of myself on this blog, I’m a pretty rational, logical person, and I would never make a decision based on anything in my horoscope or psychic reading. That being said, I do take a lot of joy in being open to any and all possibilities when it comes to that sort of thing. Also I do tend to refer to the “universe” a lot, so clearly I was into this.

When I had my turn to go behind the curtain and into the magical realm of Cat’s kitchen, I’ll admit, I was pretty anxious. What if she told me something I didn’t want to hear, and then I couldn’t get it out of my head and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and my life was ruined all because of a deck of cards? I didn’t know if it was the champagne-based bachelorette cocktails or the promise of my future, but I was feeling woozy.

The tarot card reader wasn’t judgmental, and she had on some very fuzzy shoes, so I felt safe. She told me that my husband was a good person (once again, duh, what else was she going to say at my bachelorette party?) and things were pretty much going according to plan until she dropped a bomb on me. Basically, she referenced a very specific conflict we’d been having regarding wedding planning, the one thing that we’d disagreed about the most. Granted, this was a pretty common dilemma, so she could’ve totally been making it up. That is possible! Then she told me that even if H. tried to fix the problem, he wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, so I might as well stop bothering him about it.

Did I think for a moment that H. had paid off this tarot card reader just to get me to stop bothering him about this? Of course I did. I’m only human, and who hasn’t suspected their betrothed of bribing a tarot card reader with cold hard cash?

She went on, telling me some generic things that I pretty much forgot about right after she said them. I think I’m supposed to follow my heart in my career, or something. Who can say? But then she told me that H. and I would find a new house quickly, possibly within two months. She also said that we would find the house ourselves, and that if someone else (a relative, a friend) pointed out the house to us, then that wasn’t the one.

Really, that could not have been more wrong, since it’s a year later and we are still living in the same apartment. But it’s possible that the move she was referring to could have just been me officially moving into H’s place. I realize I’m giving the tarot card reader a lot of leeway, but much like a certain roguishly good-looking fictional FBI agent, I want to believe.

She told us all that we should keep our readings to ourselves for 24 hours, to let them…I don’t know, sink in or something? I don’t necessarily understand what this part was about. It felt a little, “If you tell anyone your birthday wish, it won’t come true!” Regardless, we basically all broke that rule and shared our readings either immediately after or by the end of the night. I can’t remember if I told anyone about the house thing that night or not, so maybe it’s my own damn fault that it didn’t happen. I really shouldn’t blame the tarot card reader; I should just learn to keep my mouth shut.

Would I get a tarot reading again? Yes. In a heartbeat. It was deeply enjoyable, especially if (like me) you like people paying attention to the extremely boring aspects of your life and asking you personal questions while telling you nice things about yourself. I’ve mentioned this Rookie article before, but it pretty accurately sums up how I feel about psychics/tarot/horoscopes: “I think of such readings not so much as blueprints, with super specific directions, measurements, and plans, but more as maps: They give you a lay of the land but don’t tell you which roads you will choose to take or exactly what will happen to you while you’re there. I then use them as motivators and guides to help me get to where I want to be. If a psychic told you that some outcome you’d been really wanting would come to pass, would you go home and just sit there waiting or it to fall into your lap like a bag of Doritos your friend threw at you from across the room? I wouldn’t be happy just sitting around waiting for them Doritos—I’d want to help ensure that this prediction came true.”

What about you guys? Have you ever had a tarot reading or any other kind of psychic reading? More importantly, DID ANYTHING FROM YOUR READING COME TRUE? Please let me know; I’d love to hear all about it!

Image via Flickr

Creative Ladies: Beth Scorzato

beth

Beth Scorzato works for Papercutz, a kids’ graphic novel publisher. Coolest job ever? Possibly. She talked to me about about creative work, the soothing power of coloring, great books, and finding inspiration in other female creators. You can find Beth on Twitter @girladactyl.

What’s your main creative gig (this can be your day job, your freelance work, or both)? Describe what you do on a normal working day.

I work as a Production Coordinator for Papercutz, a kids’ graphic novel publisher. We’re a small company so I wear a variety of hats from proofreading to creating files for ebooks to making graphics for web and social media, but my primary job function is to make sure the books actually become books. I try to keep the practical side of the publishing on schedule.

What are your creative, just-for-fun (not money or career advancement) hobbies?

I really love coloring! I started experimenting on my own with digital coloring a few years ago and I’m actually just starting an online class to try and level up my skill on that front. I can’t draw at all, but I find coloring very soothing and rewarding.

What inspires you? Feel free to be as literal or as figurative as you want.

Other female creators! As cheesy and feminist as that sounds, I work in a heavily male-dominated segment of the publishing industry. Even with “nerd culture” becoming more mainstream, within the community there is still a lot of the same pushback against women that has been going on for years. But there are so many phenomenal female creators that I look up to that are willing to stand up and say, “No. I am good and what I do and I deserve to be here and anyone who’s not on board can GTFO.” Seeing work by other awesome creative ladies always gets me fired up to go out and make something awesome.

In three words, describe your creative aesthetic/viewpoint.

Make great art.

How would you describe your creative “process”? Does it involve a lot of staring into space, doodling, or candy eating?

It definitely involves a lot of coffee. I’m a procrastinator to the extreme, but it’s become a part of the process for me. I work well under a deadline and I find the longer I wait, the more my brain subconsciously ruminates on a problem. I’ve cracked many a storyline (I used to work as an Assistant Editor for Paper Lantern Lit) and written many an article in bed at three a.m. When I do finally sit down I tend to find it all just rushes out of me all at once and I usually end up with something I’m pleased with. Of course it still needs secondary editing but I never tend to find that as hard. It’s certainly not a process that works for everyone and I’ve had people tell me it sounds incredibly stressful, but I’ve found a lot of great work, personally, in essentially building up pressure and popping the cork.

Beth's workspace (and her cat, Akima)

Beth’s workspace (and her cat, Akima)

What creative accomplishment are you most proud of?

For about three years I ran Spandexless, a website dedicated to the review and feature of indie comics outside the superhero genre. It’s a project I was and still am passionate about and I am incredibly proud of the site and community we built around the works that we covered. Unfortunately it’s a project that I’ve had to put on hold, but I’m always thinking of what the best way to bring it back and make it viable will be.

What’s a big creative challenge/failure/embarrassment you’ve learned from?

Ironically this is probably also Spandexless. I’m so disappointed and dismayed that the site ended up falling to the wayside. It was a serious lesson in time-management and a problem I’m still trying to solve. It was a huge undertaking and I wouldn’t take it back for the world, but next time I need to come into it with a better plan.

Who’s your Creative Lady role model (this can be a person you know, a celebrity, a fictional character, etc.)?

Kelly Sue Deconnick. Hands down. She’s absolutely amazing.

What time of day are you most creative? Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I guess this goes hand in hand with the “popping the cork” creative process but I find my best work happens between about 2 and 5am. It’s not the most practical but sometimes it’s just got to happen! I’m least creative right after I get out of the office for the day.

Being an awesome Creative Lady can be overwhelming. What do you do to relax?

Read! And drink tea! With my cat! I’m such an old lady.

What books would you recommend to other Creative Ladies?

Oh man this is a dangerous question because I have a tendency to read things from all over the map. In terms of comics I would highly recommend Habibi by Craig Thompson, but only if you’re already familiar with reading comics because it’s some heavy-duty graphic stuff. If you want to read a slightly less intense comic I’d recommend The Unwritten or Fables. If you want something aimed younger I’d go with Princeless. In terms of regular novels? I’ll always swear by anything by Neil Gaiman or Nick Horby. But that one book that I buy every time I find a copy just to give it to other people is How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanyan Egan Gibson.

What advice would you give to other Creative Ladies who want to do what you do?

Just keep applying and keep learning. Comics is such a small segment in an already insular publishing agency. But if you are talented and qualified it will show. Good dedicated workers can be hard to find in any industry. Prove yourself. Put your work out there. The Internet has become the greatest tool for an aspiring comics artist. Get yourself out there and constantly strive to be better and never let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Not everyone is going to work at Marvel or DC but there are so many other amazing publishers out there that want to work with new talent. Don’t give up!

What’s your Creative Lady motto?

If it’s worth doing then it’s worth doing right. You don’t have to be perfectionist every time, but don’t waste your time on personal projects you’re not proud of.

Wednesday Link Party!

gypsy

So I don’t think I ever told you guys that H. and I had a rabbit, and that’s because it was mostly H’s rabbit. Gypsy (named after a Fleetwood Mac song because duh, of course Stevie Nicks was singing about rabbits) didn’t like me very much, and she bit my feet on multiple occasions. Actually, the only person she liked was H. Still, I was super sad that we had to put her to sleep last week. Putting a pet down is always rough! It’s not any easier just because they actively wanted to cause you harm. Anyway, I’ve been basically laying low this week, but I hope you’ve all been kicking ass and taking names (metaphorically, obvi). On with the links!

I am obsessed with Nicole Dieker’s new series about making a living as a freelance writer on The Billfold.

This essay, about how some fringe religious groups use homeschooling as a front for abuse, is fascinating.

Y’all know I’m into writing about fitness this week…so is Alicia over at Jaybird! She wrote about her thoughts on health as part of her Love Your Body Resolution.

This advice from Rookie about writer’s block is a couple years old, but it’s still great.

How to Do Something Really Scary You’re Sure You Can’t Do. As someone who is scared to do, well, most things, I found this helpful.

MORE advice from Rookie, this time on achieving your goals by taking small steps.

SNL. Dancing. Beyonce’s ‘Partition.’

10 Lipsticks That Have Legit Cult Status. Brb, buying all of these.