Writing and art. Art and writing. Two constants in my life.
Creating some form of newsletter, fanzine, book, or other visual creation has been part of my life since I can remember. I discovered the world of writing and publishing through my passion for music, when at age 14, I created a fanzine dedicated to my then favorite band (it’s not a secret, it was Duran Duran). Within a year’s time I gained over 200 subscribers in the US and Canada after placing an ad in the teen magazine, Bop. Later, the newsletter evolved into yet another music publication, a zine focusing on the alternative music scene of the late 80’s. This was all before computers were widely used and I relied on my typewriter, dry transfer letters, and copy machines to create each issue.
During my college years in the early 1990’s my roommates and I set up a typing table wherein we had three typewriters that took over our dining tables. Here we spent endless midnight hours creating together and with our friends pecking away into the night with our absurd stories and creative exercises. My ‘zine changed course yet again during this time and became a forum for creative writing and art using many of these creations. It was my publishing outlet while I was pursuing my degree in fine art.
Not satisfied with creating publications solely as a hobby, then spilled into my professional life when I fell into the graphic design profession. After graduation I worked in the non profit sector for a humane society in the role of Editor/Graphic Designer, and later joined the staff of a natural history museum where I was provided with many writing opportunities within the Membership and Development Departments. Using Adobe PageMaker, among my other duties within the membership department, I designed and edited a bi-monthly newsletter for the museum’s Adventure Club for Kids, and designed mugs, tote bags and other membership incentives and wrote for the newsletter as well as authored the verbiage for fundraising appeals.
In 2000 I established my own graphic design business, and one of my first clients was a college textbook publishing company based in Los Angeles, California. Initially my role was that of research and support for the company’s web designer, but through the years I eventually helped maintain the company’s website and became the lead contact for their Amazon listings eventually began assisting one of the company’s Production Managers, aiding in production editing and eventually preparing files for the typesetter. I also began working with Adobe InDesign during this period. At the encouragement of the Production Manager, I was urged to pursue more work in the production process in the role of designer.
Meanwhile, my drive to write and create ‘zines and newsletters never ceased. Enter the digital age and the rise of the blog, when I moved my hard copy paper zines into online publications and started the collaborative art project blog Mental Beans in 2009, that, among other art projects, produced a global photography project that has been running continuously for the past 9 years. I also co-created the music zine/travel blog Sisters Dissonance in 2011. My sister took on the main role of photographer and I handled writing and tech duties. Art and writing. Writing and art.
In 2015 I began to funnel some of my creative drive back to a story that began when I was all of 4 years old as a bedtime story told back and forth between my father and I. The story continued on during long car rides when I accompanied him while he was out collecting quarters and fixing machines for his coin operated laundry business. Over time it grew into a series of stories and became part of the mythological fabric in our family. When I had children of my own, these tales were retold, retooled, and reworked when they were small children. They are now both in their late teens, and with input from them as well as my father, my sister, and mother, the story has grown over the decades from a bedtime story for children, into a tale for older children, metamorphosing into a YA novel.
I continue to maintain my graphic design business with a focus on academic journal and book design while I begin the journey of taking this story to the next level. I cannot wait to hold the first copy when it is finally produced into a physical book, and I am looking forward to sharing it with the rest of the world when that happens!