Writing

What We Learned at Standing Rock: A Guide for Allies

Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock

Two weeks ago, four of us decided to drive to Standing Rock and deliver supplies to the water protectors and protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We raised $3,500 in six days and filled two cars to the brim with milk of magnesia (for pepper spray in eyes), firewood, propane, sleeping bags, face masks, construction helmets and other supplies our contacts at the camp said they needed.

During our time there, we learned a great deal, particularly on how to be the best ally we can be. If you’re thinking of heading to Standing Rock or would like to support the movement in other ways, please read:

Ask Yourself Why You’re Going to Standing Rock

If you are going to Standing Rock for reasons other than dropping off supplies or offering skills such as direct action, legal or medical aid, food preparation or construction for an extended period of time, your presence might do more harm than good. Why? Because there are limited resources (more…)

Writing

We stand with Standing Rock.

Standing Rock

Friends, Geoff and I decided last week that we will spend our Thanksgiving holiday dropping off supplies at Standing Rock and helping in any way we can for a couple of days.

Since announcing this last week, donations of supplies and money have poured in. Seeing friends and strangers come together to help the protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline has given me hope during a time of uncertainty.

I will probably write about the journey on the blog, but if you’re interested in following our journey, please hit me up on Twitter and Instagram. I hope to share as much as possible about the fight of the protestors.

And if you’re interest in contributing in any way, please put a comment down below.

Excellent resources to follow during this time are:
Native Opinion
Native News Online
Indian Country Today Media Network
Sacred Stone Camp on FB
Democracy Now!

Water is life, y’all!

And the future is unwritten.

(As I write this, protestors are getting shot with water cannons (more…)

Guernica
Writing

Now is a Great Time to Start Making Art

I’m currently reading the fantastic book Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War by Adam Hochschild, and I can’t help but draw parallels to the Spanish Civil War and post-2016 election America.

The Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939, was a battle between fascism (Nationalists) and progress (Republicans). On the left, communists, socialists, anarchists, revolutionaries and artists banned together to fight oppression and conservatism. Their fight was hard, and ultimately ended in defeat (and the beginning of WWII), but their efforts inspired some of the greatest works in literature and art: Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, the latter two writers both spending time in Spain during the war — Hemingway as a journalist and Orwell as a Republican fighter.

With the results of the 2016 election, I felt the urge to do something I haven’t thought about doing in a long time: to write a private diary. This diary (more…)

Writing

To friends and strangers who voted for Trump

I’m disappointed, but I will not berate you. Just please know that the results were upsetting not just for liberals, who you may or may not like, but it’s upsetting, and terrifying, for many women, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and individuals in the LGBTQ community–people you may know and love. Your support for Trump says that you do not respect or concern yourself with us, whether that was your intent or not.

Writing

The Little Bookshop in the Middle of the Desert


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I saw the desert for the first time 12 years ago, from the window of my Ford Taurus as I relocated my life from Central New York to Los Angeles, California.

It’s inspired and terrified me ever since that day.

I enjoy waking up in the cool mornings of New Mexico or Arizona, seeing a technicolor landscape of cacti, mountains and big sky. I enjoy the Southwest’s mix of cultures, evident in the art, food, architecture and decor. I enjoy the sparseness of it all–the lack of people, the lack of pretentiousness, the ability to travel for miles without seeing a single structure made from man.

But during those hot, blistering days when cover is a rarity and the ground looks well-done, that is when I’m terrified. When I see the sharp edges of the desert’s foliage, the slithering of its snakes, the warnings of the various hardened animals that can only survive in a climate such as that, I’m in full freak out mode. But that fear keeps me coming back for more.

And that is why I find (more…)

Writing

Harry Dean Stanton: Celebrating 90 Years of Awesomeness

Paris, Texas

Harry Dean Stanton: Celebrating 90 Years of Awesomeness

On October 23, Santa Monica video rental store-turned-nonprofit Vidiots bestowed the Harry Dean Stanton Award to Harry Dean Stanton. It was an unforgettable night for an unforgettable actor.


Harry Dean Stanton.

He may be one of your favorite actors, or you may be wondering who the hell he is.

You‘ve definitely seen him.

He’s acted in over 200 films, from Repo Man to Pretty in Pink to Cool Hand Luke to Wild at Heart to Alien to Paris, Texas, his only leading-role film.

Stanton is the rugged-face actor with soul-betraying eyes and firm-yet-soothing voice.

He’s the guy who always stole the show, even when he was second billed, third billed or not billed at all.

He’s the grandfather figure you’d love to grab a drink with because something about him suggests he’s one of us, the everyday man or woman.

For all of these (more…)

Writing

Punctuation Mistakes You’re Making and NEED TO STOP DOING RIGHT NOW

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THE COMMA GOES INSIDE THE QUOTATION MARKS.

Friends, I used to be really bad at punctuation. Sometimes I look back at old work and want to chuck my coffee mug at the screen. “How could you have been so dumb, you assclown?” I ask myself. But I was a complete novice then; I couldn’t recall much from my public school English courses. It wasn’t until I became a copywriter and copy editor that I truly learned what the hell a semicolon is. (Granted, it is kind of the Shia LaBeouf of punctuation: confusing yet intriguing.)

Sometimes I see that writers on Medium make common punctuation mistakes. These mistake are easy to make, and they don’t define you as a writer. However, it’s time to fix that shit.

NOW.

Below is a quick guide to common punctuation mistakes.

(Please note, GRAMMAR NAZIS: I’ve selected punctuation rules based on the most common writing style guides of America. I’m sure you can dispute one or two of these here — SAVE IT FOR LATER.)

(And if I have a typo or mistake in (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Thirty-something

Your Mother, Wife or Daughter Has Experienced Harassment or Assault

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Inspired by Kelly Oxford’s tweet, I asked my friends and family to share their stories of assault. I was not prepared for the answers I received.

In order to protect the identity of those who were brave enough to share their stories on my Facebook status, I will not share their comments, but I will tell you that within a few hours of asking my peers if they’ve experienced sexual harassment or assault, 50 women responded.

These 50 women wrote of being raped by loved ones, people they trusted.

They wrote of being groped by medical professionals or bosses.

They wrote of having their breasts grabbed or their vaginas or buttholes fingered by friends at school or strangers at a bar.

They wrote of being harassed “too many times to count.”

A few women shared their stories for the first time.

Some shared their stories with me privately.

The stories came from women ages 20 to 70, and they were all difficult to read. However, their responses reconfirmed several truths including (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Writing

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Hipstercrite Life, Travel

How Traveling the U.S. Made Me F’ing Love Our National Parks

I must admit: Up until this year I didn’t think much about our national parks.

As a person who appreciates nature, but often stays clear of destinations that draws large crowds, the national parks fell roughly between “meeting Danny DeVito” and “petting a sloth” on my bucket list. (Meaning “nice-to-haves,” not “must-haves.”)

That all changed this summer when a I traveled 5500 miles by car across the great United States of America simply because I’m terrified of flying. And when I say terrified, I mean the last time I took a flight — 3 years ago — I had:

  • Two Xanax
  • Three cocktails
  • One activity tracker that kept telling me my heart rate was over 200 beats per minute.
  • The realization that I was not going to die because of a plane crash but because of a massive heart attack.

Ever since that day, I swore off flying and have strictly traveled by car or train. (You can read about my train travels here.)

So when my mother, a citizen of New York, (more…)