I’m starting a press in Portland and throwing a rooftop reading in Oakland before I make the big move. Bay Areans, please come through!
I’m starting a press in Portland and throwing a rooftop reading in Oakland before I make the big move. Bay Areans, please come through!
Ryan, you’re primed to run an empire, what with all the blue-collared jobs you’ve collected over the years. You’re also a cool daddy, which is sort of like running your own mini empire. Do you agree that being a cool daddy and a blue-collared worker is excellent training for empire-running? What would you like your media empire to look like? How would you integrate all your artistic loves (design, literature, music, film) into one fascial body of work?
An empire! I like the sound of that. I’m not sure that my blue-collar history will help with that, though. Raising a couple cool kids might, though. Of course that’s a long con, and I have to rely on them continuing to listen to me as they get older which they barely do now. More than an empire I just want to have the freedom to do the creative things I want to do, and because I have an ego I’d like people to pay attention to it. Some of them are easier than others. I need a bit more freedom financially and time-wise to do others. But one day, yeah, I’d like to spend my days writing, designing stuff, making films, recording music (especially with my 6 year old who is a blast to make music with).
You bring up a great point. I agree with you that cool-childrearing is great empire-running training. It teaches one how to guide carefully those who may not always want to listen, which sometimes looks like our “target audience” in entrepreneurship. The mantra, Give them what they want so that you can give them what they need, exists for good reasons.
But back to blue-collared jobs. I’m curious about this because you’ve had so many different jobs, which reminds me of the different and seemingly disparate faces of an entrepreneur. Assuming that you’ll continue to be a rad dad whose children listen to him with the refined pursuading skills that only an artistic entrepreneur could hone, that you’ll have the privelege of doing the creative things you want to do with an audience to watch you, that you’ll have the freedom of finance and time to craft by your creative pursuits on your own or with your son, how could you see your blue-collar jobs serving you and informing your future empire? Those blue-collared jobs gave you a diverse taste of customer service, different conditions and workspace environments. All those collective experiences are relevant to empire running. At some point, entrepeneurship calls for all these things in constantly chameleoning shapes and forms. Entrepreneurship requires various skill sets, innovation, and a great deal of service.
Having such a wide variety of jobs is a resume killer for “career building,” but in terms of life experience, feeling like you can do anything I think it’s very instructive. I like your assumptions, but I’m wary to assume such things for myself. Not out of a lack of confidence, but more a realization how difficult it is to attain such things. I’m also not very business savy. I don’t know how to do things for money, I know how to do them for the desire to do them or the desire to do my best. But, yes, on paper I have the skills to probably be more entrepreneurial than I am. I think the main thing I take away from my collective experience is to never doubt that I can do something. A lot of people have doubted my ability to do various jobs I’ve had and I’ve always busted my ass and been a hard worker. It’s not easy to go work 12 hour shifts seven days a week in the arctic but I did it and if I can do that successfully, why wouldn’t I be able to do the same with some other job.
I believe Artistically Declined reflects your realist character and I enjoy that about it. It’s mirror in it’s design, minimal and straight forward. It is very practical to expect to be working various jobs. I’m a believe of multiple streams of income and practice working various jobs myself. I do have the privelege of having all my jobs mesh with my interests and I feel very blessed. I’ve have you can have that for yourself too, with the support of bigger marketing support in the independent literary world. I have this hunching suspicion that if we, the indie people, band together in solidarity and build community over our lack of funds, then we can have more money and come together. There is this separation that happens with the literary scene, but I’m not sure money is the answer. Corporations, who, for the most part, have money, aren’t necessarily more “together.” What do you think would foster a sense of “togetherness” in the independent publishing scene? How could we cultivate this in an effective and low-cost way?
ADP can’t help but reflect my personality and my tastes, which is why the press is named what it is in the first place. It’s a press that loves books and writers but the day I start taking any of that too seriously is the day I can’t do it anymore.
I think the community that has been built is about moral support. We are great at pimping each other or liking each other’s posts on Facebook (and maybe that sounds disingenuous, but it’s not meant to be). But there are factions, splinters, and that’s bound to happen no matter what. I don’t think money is ever the answer, unless the question is “what do I use to pay the bills and support myself financially.” But when it comes to community-building or fostering a support system I don’t think it works if money is at the heart of the endeavor. I think what we need to do more than anything is show the world how much we care about what we’re all doing, about what we are all producing. The more we do that, the more other people outside the community pay attention. I don’t want to say the end game is for corporate publishers to pay attention, but for any creative force/community to become self-sufficient you need to have more exposure, you need to have people outside the community realize there is something to appreciate in what you are doing, so every time a writer from the community takes off it is good for the community. Not that it doesn’t come with its own complications, but that’s life.
So, I guess the short answer there is: we need to proliferate one another, we have to get the word about each other spread outside the community. Is there a way to do this and stay a community, to stick together? I don’t know, but you can’t ask an entire city to appreciate a rug in the living room of a single house if only the people in that one neighborhood get to experience it.
Traveling the world and expanding your creative drive to make music and films is a hope you share with me along with your hope to run an empire. I understand that all the hope in the spiritual world can’t manifest itself into something real in the physical plane. One needs a plan, execution of said plan, and, well, money to manifest hopes and dreams. Can you forsee your artistic skills financially supporting these hopes you harvest? I’m aware you have a wife, two kids, and a day job. Would you benefit more financially from a larger network of support or a marketing team in the literary community? I’ve found that there isn’t much of a field out there…
I don’t know if my artistic endeavors will ever pay the bills so to speak. It’s nice to think they might, but I’m a realist. I kind of expect to be working some job or other for the rest of my life, but hopefully at some point it will be one that meshes well with my own interests, especially in terms of the time I have to do the stuff I want to do outside of that job. I think once you have a family you have to think about that stuff more, put that first above certain things. I’m not sure what the benefits of a larger network of support would look like, but there is definitely a lack of marketing support in the indie world because none of us have money, so we learn to do this stuff for ourselves, thus we become even more separated.
Your stepdad once told you that if you wanted you could make money off your creativity. He also said that you were on the path to becoming avant garde, which isn’t the way to make money. Do you believe you can create what inspires you the way that you want to do it and still make money doing it? Is there space for “avant garde” to be marketable in independent publishing?
I think all art is avant garde to some extent, and I definitely have a streak in me that seems to go far from whatever’s commercial, but at the same time I’m a largely realist writer, which I wouldn’t consider very avant garde (though it does seem out of vogue in indie lit). Is it avant garde to write about construction workers in Alaska? If so, that’s kind of cool. Anyway, to answer the real question, I have serious doubts that I can make money in terms of being able to support myself and my family creating what I want to create. But I do think anything is marketable in any atmosphere. I think people just do it wrong or they get stuck with the idea that certain things can’t sell. For instance, people are always saying story collections don’t sell, but look at Tenth of December by George Saunders which was huge last year. If you do it right anything can sell. But you have to be willing to take risks, stick your neck out, and face potential failure.
There’s always desire burning in your body. How do you sustain that desire? What does your desire look like these days in the context of publishing?
There’s always desire burning in my brain, my personality. Want. It’s a word that echoes in me in many ways. There’s so much I strive for in life that sometimes it’s paralyzing. Yet, I would hope everyone has that to some degree. It’s self-sustaining because I always feel like I can do better, be better. And that carries over in everything, life, writing, designing, publishing other writers. The whole reason Artistically Declined Press exists is because I have a strong desire to put out books I love so they can exist in the world. I honestly don’t care if they make money or not, I publish books I believe deserve to exist. I want them in the world selfishly, and I want them to be out there so other people can find them, too.
Tell the good people out there why you feel compelled to tell stories that show the struggle of human relationships amid the stresses of blue-collared jobs. Think of this as your potential “empire-running candidate” pitch. No pressure.
I’m amazed that humans can get along with each other. We don’t always, especially on a global scale, but that we do at all is a miracle to me. The same goes for the amount that we can go through in our lives and manage to keep going day after day. Life isn’t easy, it’s not as simple as it sounds to exist. So that we do is pretty amazing to me. Because of that I tend to write about what revolves around the tension points. I want to understand how we coexist, how we make it through the tough things. Maybe in doing so, I’m trying to bolster myself, trying to learn more about how to do it. That’s my self-analysis there.
Penduline Press is filled with the spirit of Ariel Gore’s inspiring energy and the flames of her creative spark. This is natural as Ariel has been your teacher for many years. Your work at Penduline performs as an homage to Ariel Gore’s work ethic. In juxtaposition, Ariel is adamant about printing a magazine her readers can hold in their hands and you’ve chosen to print a magazine online. Why did you choose to print an online mag instead of traditional print?
Back in 2011 when Sarah Olson and I started Penduline, we intended for there to be an online as well as a printed version. We priced out the cost of four issues per year and factored in the additional time we would need to deal with layout, printing and distribution. It became clear that neither of us had the bandwidth to do it all. We thought about our many friends and relatives overseas who wouldn’t be able to buy Penduline locally…Sarah is a Kiwi with family in New Zealand as well as in Europe and other parts of North America. I’ve spent time all over the world—and I’d just come from living with my family in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, in places where the distribution of printed materials was difficult and limited. Sarah and I concluded that an online-only format would enable anyone with Internet access to read any issue at any time. No dead trees, no need to subscribe to anything, no negotiating with magazine vendors to pretty please carry our indie lit mag and place it favorably on shelves.
It’s quite interesting to see how in the years that followed, many other publications added—or completely switched over to—online formats. I remember people years ago looking askance at us when we told them we weren’t in print. Heh, heh. Today, we never hear this kind of criticism.
Do I support print? Of course I do. You should see my house. You should see my room. I love how Ariel insists that print isn’t dead. Ariel has a long, long history with the making of the printed word. I on the other hand come from a background in desktop publishing, tech translation, and tech editing—work always done electronically. If the final version is electronic, I’m not all too bugged by it.
Why do Penduline Press? Why be creative? On top of being creative, as if that weren’t a struggle enough in the midst of mainstreamed uncreative souls, why choose to be independent? edgy? visual?
Sarah Olson and I have a great deal of experience working creatively in teams (she with design, I with music groups/ensembles), but for this project, we wanted to limit the size of the team as much as possible—to two people. To just us. By not affiliating ourselves anywhere—by insisting on indie status—we felt we could exercise the least amount of censorship in curating and publishing the magazine’s artwork and writing.
We’re definitely all about the visual aspects. Sarah designed our layout using a color palette I actually saw clearly in an early-morning dream I had about a month before Penduline was launched. And though a number of fantastic artists have submitted their work to us, we also enjoy searching for international artists ourselves and asking them to contribute work to the magazine.
Why be creative? I’ve actually been asked that recently by someone who is super uncreative. The answer lies somewhere in between “I can’t help it, I just am,” and “Because life would be so much more boring otherwise.”
Being creative has its drawbacks—you get very drained by it, for example. Wiped out. It can be more distracting than parenting toddler triplets. But there’s the other side to it—the high it gives you…the amazement that comes from realizing that you, yes, YOU, just now came up with that particular poetic image, or clever association of unrelated things, or unique set of characters.
Tell us a little more about the draining process. Tell us more about the high. What are its qualities? How do you practice self-care as an editor in this drain and high process?
Curating/editing a magazine issue is not completely unlike working on my own creative writing. For me, they’re both like puzzles with components that need the proper placement in order for there to be the clever and good flow I want to achieve. When I see the array of submissions chosen for an issue and first sense the collective impression these works will make on the reader, I am thrilled: This is the group of stories and poems and images for this issue, and it’s a beautiful and powerful thing. I’m thrilled in much the same manner when I’ve honed and chiseled and performed a piece of my own fiction, poetry, or memoir work: This is what I wanted to express, and I’ve now finally done it. But there’s the aftermath, the wave of exhaustion from my brain’s cylinders having fired too rapidly over too many hours. I’ve just concentrated so hard on one thing, and have excluded nearly all other thoughts from my head, that it’s almost otherworldly. I’m dazed. The real world then awaits me with its billing cycles, chores, and missed phone calls.
I practice self-care because I’m a solo mother and have been one for twelve years…not because I work on Penduline or any other project. Parenting without practicing self-care is deadly. Sitting at a computer for 50 hours in order to ensure a successful issue launch is deadly. I study Italian and Latin for my voice program in Baroque opera. I exercise six days a week, one to two hours a day, then soak afterward in a hot tub with aromatherapy bath salts. I take my kids and our yellow Labrador puppy to the dog park and watch him go insane with his dog friends. Out of expatriate homesickness, I cook traditional recipes from the places in Europe where I spent my twenties and thirties and was taught how to cook. My mother? She never practiced self-care. She didn’t have these kinds of hobbies. She didn’t enjoy cooking. I am so glad that I see the world and my place in it so very differently than she did.
Penduline could be called your creative haven, perhaps the digital equivalent to your physical haven. You moved from your “creative desert” of Ohio to your “creative spring” of Portland. How has your building a creative home turf for yourself influenced your press? Are there experiences in your turfing process that mirror your process of running Penduline?
Ohio is by no means a creative desert! Our Issue 5 (Ohio) proves that. I felt back in the early 2000s that Ohio had become a creative desert for me. I wasn’t among creative people in my job or home setting…though at the time, I wasn’t physically very far away from Donald Ray Pollock, Kyle Minor, and probably dozens of others whose work I adore. Coming to Portland definitely opened the lid for me in terms of “active” creative thought and process. I met a whole lot of people who’d come to Portland for the sole purpose of creative expression. I found numerous kindred souls.
One of the great things about my life in Portland is that I don’t limit my creativity to editing and writing; I’m heavily involved in classical music studies and have completed in-depth art studies in drawing. I suppose this multitasking spilled over into my ambitions with the Penduline project: we initially didn’t publish poetry but now do; we also didn’t include audio/video but now have opened up to it as a wonderful addition; and we initially had no idea we’d run internationally themed issues, but found ourselves doing a fabulous Aotearoa/New Zealand issue, then an Éire/Ireland issue with a guest editor, the marvelous writer and performance poet Dave Lordan.
Did the “active” creative process become true for you due to moving into an environment that supports your multiple outlets of creativity? Or is it more of a reflection of your inner self actively pursuing your creative process that creates community around it?
That’s kind of a chicken-or-egg question. By moving to Portland, by uprooting myself from routine and complacency, I created ambiguity, which brought about a lot of self-reflection. Out of that came the courage to try new things, to take new courses, to say “I am a writer and always have been,” and “I am a vocalist and always have been.” Creating community around what I was doing took far longer, I think. That’s due in part to my extreme time constraints as a solo parent of two young kids. One of the reasons I teamed up with Sarah Olson is that she completely gets the solo parenting thing, even though she is very happily partnered.
Is there tension between your nose-to-the-grindstone Ohio roots and your newer Oregon life? Do you have problems integrating and balancing those two sides of yourself while running a press?
I am definitely a workaholic when it comes to editing. Nothing bothers me more than seeing people’s work online that is poorly edited (by the writer and/or by the person or people who are supposed to catch typos, errors, and formatting problems and fix them). I spend hours and hours each issue writing to contributors and asking them if they are happy with how their work looks and reads online. When this is going on, my personal life in Oregon suffers, of course. I hike in all seasons, I camp, I take my family on educational trips up and down the coast. Penduline’s demands can weigh me down at times and limit my enjoyment of these gorgeous surroundings. On the other hand, I am happy as hell when one of our issues goes live and it’s amazing. I love contributor feedback about how great a job we did with communication and with the editorial process.
We have taken something of a publishing break in 2014 due to my full-time classical music studies and Sarah’s retro furniture refurbishing work…so I suppose there are difficulties in running our press AND doing other things at the same time. Music is so much stronger a need within me than literary-related pursuits are. I could totally give up editing and just be a vocalist for the rest of my life.
How do curating and crafting exposure for artists and writers improve the field of literature? Why do we benefit from this silent performance and witness?
When we publish something, we are honoring the talent of that writer or artist. When we publish an issue, each contributor gets to enjoy all of the other work in it. There’s the sense of a large-group effort having been made, even though the business of writing, painting, and sculpting is often so solitary, so lonely even.
I know from the several hundred submissions we receive each quarter that there are a LOT of people writing out there. We might accept thirty pieces out of seven or eight hundred. I feel we have a high standard, even though we also want to give experimental writings a fair chance and we know they might not appeal to every reader.
People often ask me how I curate. I can only say that I go with my gut. It’s a sort of instinct that tells me whether a piece is right or not. Many submissions are simply not right because they still need more revision, more careful consideration of story or of characters, or a fresh look at poetics or sense of place in the narrative. Writers are eager to get their work out there, and I understand…but I’d rather accept the work only when it’s genuinely ready.
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,