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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...


A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.
Tags >> lessons

So I’ve been quiet here in good ol’ Parentheticals, despite my best of intentions (I should really open up my own metaphorical paving company called Road to Hell, just so I have something to do with all my good intentions). It’s not that I’ve been creatively absent, though, it’s just that I’ve consistently chosen to put my creative energies elsewhere than into blogging. I hate to think that there’s a finite amount of usable creative juice available to me, but that seems to be the case.  Personal creativity and artistic output are not all-or-nothing things, but I’m learning (again) that I can only juggle so many active creative projects at one time and that having too many projects going on means that something inevitably gets dropped.

So if I haven’t been blogging, what have I been doing? Thanks for asking. :) Well, for at least the last 4 or 5 months, I’ve been distracted quite a bit by working on my Fly Your Freak Flag High (FYFFH) project. In March and April I put together a Kickstarter campaign to fund taking FYFFH to Maker Faire and Burning Man, and that sucked up a great deal of creative juice. I did manage to get the project successfully funded (yay!)—I wrote about that whole Kickstarter experience over on the FYFFH blog—and then I jumped immediately into prepping all the materials and the booth for the Maker Faire in May (and I wrote about my experience with Maker Faire here). I had a great time at Maker Faire, and learned a lot. (I’ll be applying some of those lessons to the FYFFH projects that I’m bringing with me to Burning Man at the end of August, but more on that later.)

Shortly after Maker Faire, my creative juices took a hit from the advent of summer and its inevitable changes in routine (including family distractions, vacations and other excitement). At the same time I was also hit with an opportunity to publish my novel sooner than I had expected, because another author dropped out of the schedule, so June and July’s creative juices were largely taken up by edits and rewrites and more edits (with a heaping helping of cover design on the side) that eventually resulted in my book becoming a leaner, tighter finished product that I am actually proud of. I’m super excited about the upcoming book launch and I know that any minute now I will have to turn a significant chunk of creative energy over to marketing the book, but I’m ok with that because I think I can be creative and have fun with that process, even though it will probably result in having to temporarily put aside other kinds of creative output. Blogging will likely prosper (stay tuned) but I suspect that work on the novel’s sequel and the next steps for FYFFH will probably founder unless some sort of clever reapportionment of available creative juices or a serious rebalancing of all my daily responsibilities—always desired, rarely attained—can be implemented. I am determined to try both reapportionment and rebalancing, but also to be okay with whatever happens.

The Day On Which Our Heroine Focuses on Giving Thanks

Posted by: julia

Tagged in: solipsistic , reflect , record , life , lessons

Yes, it’s that time of year again. I really like having a day specifically to focus on the things I am thankful for in my life. I try to bring a general sense of gratitude to every day, and with my new appreciation of appreciation as a tool for social change, I also try to verbalize the appreciation of the things or the people I am thankful for to their source as often as I can. But Thanksgiving (and the days around it, which inherit many of its holiday characteristics) is a day to really focus on feeling that thankfulness all day and in as many ways as possible.

For me, spending time with family and friends on Thanksgiving  is a huge part of what I am thankful for in my life. I actually like my family, and generally enjoy everyone’s company. Unlike a lot of other people (who have many more negative emotions associated with their families and family gatherings), I look forward to family rituals and events. I’m excited and thankful that I get to go over to my parents’ house and help cook (and eat!) the traditional Thanksgiving foods. I am thankful that we always make such delicious food, and that we so much enjoy spending time together making and eating it. I love the ritual of it, and that it’s something I get to enjoy over and over, not just once.

Watching my sister-in-law wrangle her two kids on Thanksgiving Day also reminded me that I’m incredibly grateful for how far I’ve come in my own parenting journey, and how much autonomy over my own time and body I’ve finally gotten back. It was not that long ago that I was chasing toddlers, dealing with baby schedules and kid food and having to focus on keeping kids entertained, all the while yearning to have a non-fractured conversation with the people I loved. Now that I can finally relax and not have to pay attention every moment to what my kids are doing or needing, I find myself much, much happier. So I am thankful, oh yes I am thankful.

Rites of Passage at Burning Man: Part 7

Posted by:

Tagged in: solipsistic , reflect , record , life , lessons , inspirational , identity work , freaky , Burning Man , art

Hot air balloon over BRC-Burning Man 2011Once we bid farewell to the sunrise and the playa, we came down from the DJ booth and dragged ourselves back to camp and to the flurry of final camp breakdown and packing the car. I was exhausted by the time I finished packing everything back up again, but Isis really wanted to leave by 8am Sunday morning to beat the crazy exodus traffic. So we powered through, bolstered by a cool random hot air balloon sighting right above our camp and a final stop at Center Camp for coffee for Isis. Then we began the slow crawl out through Black Rock City and the dead zone between BRC and the highway.

We got out without too much trouble (Isis had been right), and stopped in the closest town (Gerlach) to get a preliminary carwash. As we headed back towards highway 80 and Reno, the euphoria of the previous night and the adrenaline of packing and leaving ebbed away and I started falling asleep at the wheel—so we pulled over in one of the other small towns en route and found a shady place to park and nap for a little bit. We slept for maybe an hour, and then roused ourselves to get back on the road.

The rest of the trip home was long and tiring but relatively uneventful. We stopped in Truckee for gas and lunch (we had sushi in an air conditioned mall restaurant, which was a bizarre contrast to what we'd just been living), and I think a couple of other stops to pee and stretch, and eventually made it back home around 8 o’clock at night. I unloaded Isis’ stuff for her at her house, and then quickly unloaded most of my stuff into a pile to deal with in the morning. The boys and Josh were away at a gaming con until the following day, so I had a lovely, quiet and relatively clean house all to myself, which was great. I took a long hot bubble bath (which I dozed off in briefly), then I finally got to go to bed in nice clean sheets in my very own comfy bed and even though I missed being at Burning Man, that made it a glorious homecoming.

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