Get your free digital copy of “Motherblazing Trail” by Milcah Halili Orbacedo here: gum.co/motherblazingtrail
Only thing I ask in return: if you vibe with it, then please give me feedback so I can redraft it for its 2nd Edition! This 1st Edition is more of a rough draft, which is why it’s $0 to download.
As promised, I’ve been doing research for my "Independent Publishing Interview Series" (IPIS). Portland is teeming with literary events, so it hasn’t been hard to scout people in the scene. Plenty of generous folk have volunteered to be interviewed for case studies, so we can get to the root of how small presses create successful launches. I’ve a feeling this interview series will give you vital information for launching your literary businesses into epic outerspace-expansive success. But for now, let’s investigate our beloved lit scene’s foundation, basic instructions before leaving earth.
The following is a list of all the events I’ve attended in the last week, accompanied by a short summary of the event and the entrepreneurs whom I’ll be interviewing:
7/16: Penduline Reading Series
Penduline Reading Series is curated by the lovely Bonnie Ditlevsen at Common Grounds Coffeehouse. Bonnie is a fellow wayward writer from Ariel Gore’s literarykitchen.com (we took the online class together last spring). I’ll be interviewing Bonnie via email for IPIS. Many wayward writers from Literary Kitchen read for Penduline: Meg Weber Jeske,Laura Green, Suze Pierce,and Diana Kirk. Common Grounds was a very intimate space that didn’t mind crude or sexually suggestive language. Dug the atmosphere very much.
7/18: Bone Tax Reading #5
Bone Tax is curated by Ross Robbins at Glyph Cafe. I’d love to talk shop with Ross about poetry in the near future. I showed up at Glyph an hour and a half before the event started to get a feel of what kind of patrons dined and studied there and to get a sense of the atmosphere. The vibe was pretty mellow and sublime. Their dining menu was refreshing. Beet salad and spicy and sweet almonds to munch on while I worked on onthetrailofwendycortiz.com (OTTOWCO) and my ebook, “Motherblazing Trail.”
The reading itself was lovely to witness. The crowd was very engaged and full of intent. I felt them like a silent, sweet throbbing. I took a table closest to the stage and faced the crowd to watch their responses because for me a sign of true success isn’t how well a poet performs but in how happy listeners are when hearing a poem and this crowd looked thoroughly pleased.
I commended Rachel Springer Dunbar after she read. I referenced IPIS and Rachel then directed me to Stacey Tran of Poor Claudia. I commented to Stacey that there didn’t seem to be a lot of support or content on building literary community and small press businesses. Stacey agreed that presses had to figure it out all in their own as they go. She offered to talk to me about the scene in Portland, and I’d love to chat with her more once I gather more information on the gaps in the market.
Julia Clare Tillinghast made the reading for me with her chapbook called “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth,” published by SnootBooks.com.
7/20: Pure Surface
Pure Surface is curated by Stacey Tran and Danielle Ross at Valentines. This was the second performance thrown by Pure Surface and its performance piece interweaves movement, text, anf film to create a multidimensional experience. Matthew Dickman, who had also read at Bone Tax #5, recited poetry while an experimental film by Pablo Marin projected above Matthew and Elise Knudson, the dancer, interacted with the space of Valentines through dance movement and hollering at Matthew. I enjoyed the dancer sweeping into my space and I could feel her buzz in my energy field. Julia Clare Tillinghast said there were many “touching moments” thorought the performance piece, especially the end when our performers encouraged the crowd to throw stuff (napkins, coins, straws) at them.
This super fun party was thrown by Kevin Sampsell at Valetines an hour or so after Pure Surface. Future Tense Books teamed up with Scout Books to make three pocketsized chapbooks, “Pity the Animal” by Chelsea Hodson, “Girly” by May-Lan Tan, and “Darkmouth Strikes Again” by Jay Ponteri. I saddled up next to the lovely Dena Rash Guzman throughout the reading and we laughed, hooted, and hollered like good entertained ladies.
May-Lan Skyped in, which was surreal and dreamy. I could even hear her voice booming into the bathroom as I broke from the crowd for a moment to pee (good readings induce peeing in me). Chelsea really spoke to me with “Pity the Animal” since homegirl writes about sugar daddies too in several posts at OTTOWCO. She also takes stock of what she owns in her Tumblr called “Inventory.” I also write about taking stock of things at OTTOWCO (Week 3, Post 17: Accounting), so double kudos for Chelsea. (Chelsea, homegirl, we are on a synchronistic wave.) Watching Jay read reminded me of watching him read at Powell’s with Chloe Caldwell.
The crowd was real swanky overall. Bryan Coffelt was super rad to chat with. We’re having lunch in the Mississippi District to talk about the indy lit biz. Noland Bo Chaliha of Snoot Books only publishes nonpublished poets and I’ll be having lunch with him as well to talk about his niche.
On the ride back to Lust Road Honey Co. & Humblebee Pollinator Conservatory (LRHC&HP) after the awesome party, Dena Rash Guzman asks how my chapbook, “Undressing: Why I’m Naked on the Internet,” with Ryan W. Bradley of Artistically Declined Press is coming. I had donated $500 to LRHC&HP Indiegogo earlier this year towards the “Make Your Own Buzz!” perk and received a deal to have Ryan print 25 copies of “Undressing.” I told Dena that I’m planning on releashing the chapbook as well as the ebook in March 2015 and that in the meantime I’ll be interviewing Ryan for IPIS.
With all these events under my belt, interview lined up, and Wendy C. Ortiz’s “Excavation” reading at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne this Thursday, I’m buzzing with the market research artillery I’ve collected thus far. Thanks for supporting independent literature. Here’s to more literary bounty in the years to come.
I’m spending the next two weeks in sunny summer Portland and I’m scouting literary professionals to interview on the subject of how they mapped their literary paths that guided them in creating their epic works. Focuses will be on branding specific to online presence, design and user experience of print and online media, product development, and the glue that holds it all together, the heart of their business.
I want to interview professionals, DIY pioneers, on what strageties and tactics they’ve used to cultivate their own independent lit biz successes. Some of the people on my potential list are: Jenny Forrester of Unchaste Readers, Kevin Sampsell of Future Tense Books, Bryan Coffelt of Bryan Coffelt, Ryan W. Bradley of Artistically Declined, Justin Hocking and A.m. O’Malley of Independent Publishing Resource Center.
If you know anyone I should reach out to, then please feel free to messsage me at milcahorbacedo at gmail dot com.
I wrote this as a manifesto to myself on 8/1/13 and it still rings true. I’d like to share it with you all.
I proactively choose to live my life with greater intention. This looks like:
Listening better to others, my feelings, universe’s gifts.
Being more mindful of how I take up space, the messes and mistakes I create, how my actions effect others.
Taking responsibility of creating my dreams and rantasies into fealities, managing my projects and decisions, holding myself accountable and in integrity with my goals and plans.
Learning my true self, my passions, and continuing my self-education.
Showing up for others in the diverse ways they need.
Garnering empathy and compassion even in moments of extreme discomfort.
I meditate Slut,
I eroticize Smart,
I manifest Soul.
I tantric those energies like whoa and personify Slut Smart Soul. I decide to take up blogging again. I decide to call my blog Slut Smart Soul. I think it’s woo-woo and not nasty and edgy enough. But it’s focused. It’s clear and I’m tired of being vague, wandering, noncommittal. I go for transparency. I decide to go with a woo-woo name anyway.
My three main personas are Slut Smart and Soul. They are my holy trinity. Instead of penduluming in duality, I bridge my two contrasting personas, Smart and Slut, with a third, Soul. Without my Soul I would vacillate between Slut and Smart and that’s a boring conversation in today’s modern world. Homies aren’t about bi anymore. Homies are about multiplicity and poly. Fluid. Like water.
This Slut Smart Soul has a mission. I wear this mission like a mask. My mask is this:
I want world domination. I want to be a sugar mommy.
I want the title of The Soul Slut Who Gives Back to the Smart, those who stuff their faces in books, by raising capital through pornography, stuffing my face in pussies and sucking cocks, to invest in my own business. This Slut Smart Soul is a writer and this writer has a dream.
Dreams need materialization to manifest. They need questions and answers and actions. I start researching next steps. I find appropriate reading materials. I download a .pdf. I’m reading:
In this guide he poises what he calls the “two most important questions in the universe.”
1. What do you really want to get out of life?
2. What can you offer the world that no one else can?
Because I am serious about my dream I answer the questions.
1. I want to wake up in the morning excited to work and play. I want to pick fresh food off my aquaponics system, cook amazing meals, and drink tea and smoke weed with lovers and friends. I want to read and write books, go for hikes, ride my skateboard, feel in my body any way I can. I want art and sex. I want to have fun doing everything I love. I want great abundance of wealth (time x money x love = wealth) and a tribe to share it all with. I want to live in and be surrounded by beauty both modern and natural. I want a queendom in a forest and homes and temples as refuges in the suburbs and cities.
2. I can offer my creative and disciplined sugar mommy energy through the power and soul of business, distributing products such as books, films, and online workshops. I can gain enough capital to invest in for-profit and nonprofit movements that inspire the world to higher heart consciousness and more pleasurable lifestyles. I can build homes where my kin can work and play. I can offer others the path to freedom by freeing myself. I ascend my limitations and share my vulnerabilities openly throughout the process which offers others insight. I love my kin deeply and serve them with all I can be.
But I don’t stop there. I ask myself a third question.
3. What am I gonna do about 1. and 2.?
. . .
(0. Identify where you end so can you can begin.)
I’ll start here:
Exciting news! I’m renaming my blog from “Milcah Halili Orbacedo” to “Slut Smart Soul.” Here is the new “About” section:
I’m Milcah Halili Orbacedo and this is my blog, Slut Smart Soul. Slut Smart Soul empowers free spirits to live the life of their dreams by eroticizing investments in oneself such as creating a bold new career, writing a heart-centered book, and practicing spiritual meditation. By immersing myself in three subjects I love, pornography, literature, and spirituality, I became the object of my dreams: a lady who lives an abundant and vibrant life on her own terms.
Having an abundant and vibrant life on my own terms looks like this: being able to make a choice every morning about how I’ll play my adventure (read: day) out. Yes, my days are like choose-your-own-adventure books, the kind you might have read as a kid. It truly is a free-spirited way to live. Some days I’ll spend feverishly writing my book and going for hikes in beautiful Bay Area nature. Other days I’ll be fucking on a porno set in San Francisco or socializing at sex parties. On top of all of this, every season I visit my sister city, Portland, for a work vacation. All of it is amazing and still my favorite days ever are spending time with my community’s families and eating together (yes, I’m an aspiring mother). My life is full of good food, sex, art, and friends and family. Labor is loving and play is for real, hella fun.
Becoming a Slut Smart Soul didn’t come without throwing my ego through several bloody rings of fire. I chose the path of struggling through unfulling jobs and toxic relationships with my inner-critic. I decided to feel unrecognized because I couldn’t get it together to express myself by writing my heart’s book. It took years of this kind of slow death before I woke up to the fact that my ego was running a tyranny over my soul.
I chose to go down that lonely road of self-opression because I was confused about my life’s purpose. But once I started following my heart, the moment I made the commitment to what I love, a new me was born. I birthed my new bravest and baddest self. I found my passion and I manifest a life to reflect it. I can show you how to birth a new you, a you moved by your soul, by showing you where I’ve been, the mistakes I’ve made, and my successes along the way.
Today I am proud to say I am a Slut Smart Soul. What do you say, stranger? Are you brave enough to marry your true self? Are you bad enough to discover your beloved holy trinity, the three things that matter the most to you, that will unlock your inner free spirit? Will you accept your “slut” and your “smart” to get to the utmost glow of your “soul?” When you do, please reach out to me. I’m gratefully awaiting the day that you’ll tell me how it was for you to choose to be happy, abundant and vibrant, living the life of your deepest dreams.
Your friend forevermore,
Milcah Halili Orbacedo
— milcah halili (@milcahhalili)June 11, 2014
1. I know. I haven’t blogged in months. I’ve missed it. In fact, I’m going all out now. No more random notes. Now I’m all for focus and intention. Watch this space. I’m going to change the title of this blog and it’s “About” page in the next three weeks. It’s getting real in here.
2. On June 19th, I’m launching the “Coming Soon” landing page of onthetrailofwendycortiz.com. For now it’s password protected while I work on my blog post drafts. My homegirl, Wendy C. Ortiz, has a book coming out with Future Tense Books called “Excavation.” This blog is an homage to Wendy publishing her first memoir, her column at McSweeney’s, “On the Trail of Mary Jane,” and my discovery of Wendy C. Ortiz as my homegirl.
3. I’ve updated the “About,” “Literature,” “Film,” and “Coming Soon” pages of this blog and I’m also working on milcahhalili.com.
4. Wondering all this time what exactly it is that I’m about? Well, you’re about to figure it out with me in writing. I’m coming out like Wendy C. Ortiz is coming out. I’m a writer, a badass bitch in training with a golden heart in pornos, and I’m going to show you how I got here through my love for story.
All mi corazon,