Bowie taught us so much about music, poetry, art, fashion, movement, sexuality, acceptance, empathy, persona. And now he has given us what is perhaps the most profound lesson of all: how to die with perfect grace.

  1. Work right up until the end, even if you feel physically and mentally exhausted.
  2. Get support from a trusted few but keep your private affairs private.
  3. Get a great photographer to take your picture smiling in the face of death.
  4. Leave your message to the world clearly stated.
  5. Embrace your mortality. Let it be the impetus to create.
  6. Surround yourself with your loved ones.
  7. Leave a legacy of work that comes from your heart and soul and expresses who you truly are.
  8. See death as an adventure.
  9. Love.

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Lyrics from "Black Star" by David Bowie
 
One of the hardest things about being an artist is putting your soul on the line to be scrutinized and criticized. When I began my career this felt a little less risky than it does today; with the wonder of the Internet, came a lot more vulnerability for the artist. My parents taught me to express myself without censorship or judgment and this philosophy carried me through for many years.  I published erotica when I'd been known for YA; a memoir about my first year as a mom when fiction was expected; poetry when my heart cried out for it and an adult psychological thriller that upset many of my readers but reflected my state of mind at the time. It's still effortless for me to encourage my students to be fearless but I find myself needing to take my own advice more and more. That is why Bowie's words, quoted on my Facebook page, meant so much:

"Never mind the stares. If I'm going to do something that could be provocative or artistically relevant, I have to be prepared to put myself in a place where I feel unsafe, not completely in control. I have no fear of failure whatsoever, because often out of that uncertainty something is salvaged, something that is worthwhile comes about. There is no progress without failure. And each failure is a lesson learned. Unnecessary failures are the ones where an artist tries to second guess an audience's taste, and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation."-- David Bowie

Here's to moving forth with courage and integrity and supporting each other as we do so!

Love,

flb

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When art has affected you on an almost cellular level you may not even be aware of it.

I've been thinking about Bowie even more today. Yesterday I binged on his music and videos. This one particularly struck me; I couldn't stop watching it.

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David Bowie’s death hit me harder than I expected. Not just because his illness had been kept quiet and his birthday had just passed. With his trickster, chameleon nature, we all thought he would live forever, or at least as long as we did, outwitting death or at least cancer.

I am not the most qualified person to write about him, either professionally or personally. I admired his music, lyrics, performance, films and style. Two of my boyfriends were obsessed with and resembled him. At least two of his songs (“Heroes” and “Rebel, Rebel”) were on my top ten songs of all time list and so many others followed close behind ("Be My Wife" etc). I mentioned him in my books.

But the thing that struck me most about Bowie was his ability to transcend the confines of musical genre, artistic medium, gender, sexual orientation, race, age and even species (he was a Starman and Goblin King after all). I believe that this breaking down of boundaries is one of the most important and powerful aspects of being an artist.

In his video “Lazarus” released just days before his death, we see Bowie lying in bed blindfolded with screws over his eyes. He is singing about how he is in “Heaven” and free as “that bluebird.” The reassuring words contrast with the grim imagery. Next we see him upright, dancing like the Thin White Duke, his face and form simultaneously pristine, graceful and twisted with longing and regret as he tells us of loss and desire. Then he is sitting at a desk writing manically (with his left hand) overflowing the confines (that concept again) of the page, transforming trauma into art. Finally we see him stepping into the wardrobe, an object rife with symbolism. A frail hand closes the door. And he has left. He has left us. A wardrobe can be a pseudo-coffin, a place to hide, an oversized coffer for the elements of disguise but, as any imaginative child knows, it can also be a portal to other worlds.

David Bowie: Transcendent once again.

 P.S. After spending day listening to his music and watching his videos I realized: there would have been no Weetzie Bat withOUT David Bowie. The end.

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160206 FairyWorkshop

Fairy Magick Zine Workshop

with Francesca Lia Block and Amanda Yates Garcia, the Oracle of Los Angeles

When: February 6, 2015 – 1pm to 5pm

Where: Private Home In Central Los Angeles (will give details post RSVP) 

Cost: $116.50

Workshop Description:

The Fairy Magick Zine workshop is a 4-hour master class on writing, art-making and fairy magick conducted by Francesca Lia Block (writer) and Amanda Yates Garcia* (art witch). The class will culminate with the production of a “Fairies of Los Angeles” zine that will be available at various independent bookstores throughout the city.

Fairies are nature spirits who can help us to connect to our authentic voices as creative beings. When we were children it was easy to believe in fairies: those mischievous, boastful, beautiful creatures, conjuring orbs, reclining naked on the damp earth, slathering themselves in ambrosia and seducing any hapless prince who happened by. We were fairies then too, wild and unruly. Unimpressed with social status, free of anxiety, totally devoted to the pleasure of creating. The purpose of this workshop is to reconnect you with that spirit within yourself. Through the magic of art and writing, we will create a space for your fairies to exist again in the world.

In the first half of the workshop, Francesca Lia Block will lead participants in exploring the nature of fairytales and how we can use these tales as a device in our writing, as well as ways to explore deeper  themes and create magic in our lives. Participants will look at classical fairy tales and create their own versions, exploring character, plot, setting, style and theme.  

In the second half of the workshop, led by Amanda Yates Garcia, participants will create images to illustrate their fairy stories using a collage transfer technique augmented with graphite and paint. Both experienced artists and complete newbies alike will come away with images that they can be proud of. Students will have until March 6th to polish up their work and send it in.

 The final result of the workshop will be a Fairies of Los Angeles zine, containing the writing and artwork of the workshop participants. The zine will be available at various independent bookshops throughout Los Angeles.

Enter our fairy circle and prepare to be transformed!

*Amanda Yates Garcia is a writer, artist and professional witch based in Los Angeles. She leads workshops, reads tarot, conducts shamanic and other healing ceremonies professionally under her title as the Oracle of Los Angeles (www.oracleoflosangeles.com). Her events have been featured in Time Out and the LA Weekly and various other publications. As an art witch she has been appeared as “Real World Witch” at ESMOA and in the “Tapping the 3rd Realm” exhibition at the Laband and Ben Maltz galleries. She has served as an educator, professional development leader and/or teaching artist at LACMA, the Getty, MOCA, the Skirball Cultural Center, and the Hammer Museum, amongst many other cultural institutions. She is currently at work on a book of essays about magic; one piece from the book, "Spell to Mend a Broken Heart," was recently included in the Rough Magick anthology edited by Francesca Lia Block and Jessa Marie Mendez.

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I've been mostly self-employed for over twenty years. Last year I learned even more about building my own business and thought I'd share some tips.

1. Keep a regular work schedule. Even though I don't sit at my desk from  9-5, I always put in at least 40 hours of work at my computer a week, plus more on weekends.

2. Schedule in exercise and fun. Sometimes it's hard to find the balance between work and play when no one is holding you accountable. It's as important to make time for your physical and mental health as to put in the work hours.

3. Support and rely on your friends. Without a network of colleagues you'll need to develop other circles. Be sure to promote your friends' work and lean on them professionally and personally when you need them.

4. Use social media wisely. It's easy to get sucked in to the endless posts, especially when part of your job is  networking online. Try to limit this part of your work and keep your posts and comments focused on work related topics during work hours.

5. Develop relationships with other self-employed individuals and use their resources. I've been finding wonderful (and reasonably priced) graphic artists, editors, designers and tech people to help with my new media company.

6. Consider barter. It's a great way to expand and not break the bank.

7. Get a good accountant and write everything off! Filing taxes as a self-employed individual can be complicated. Make sure you are writing off everything that is relevant and getting help from a professional.

8. Learn to wear a lot of different hats. As much as it's important to rely on others, you will also have to learn as much as possible about all aspects of your field. Take extension courses, read books, go to conventions, ask questions!

9. If you have to get a part time job to supplement your income, go for it! I have.  But try not give up on your dream. It can be challenging to do so many things yourself.  But remember, you're not alone! And magical things can happen when you dig deep and find resources you didn't know you had.

 

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Many of my writer friends are going to AWP in Los Angeles this year! It is the place to be to network, learn and be inspired. Although it's not inexpensive to attend, I think it's worth it! Prices go up in Feburary so book now! And come visit me!

Dangerous Angel will be sharing a table with Jilly Dreadful of the Brainery. We'll be selling Rough Magick, (signing with Tracy DeBrincat, Mary Pauline Lowry, Ashley Inguanta, Manuel Chavarria and me at 3 pm on Saturday April 2), Fairies in The Kitchen: The Weetzie Bat Cookbook and "What's in Weetzie's Bag" Totes, plus giving you a little taste of the upcoming Weetzie Bat coloring book illustrated by Aurora Lady.  The Rough Magick signing will be preceded by a signing of Fairies in Electri-city at A Midsummer Night's Dream Press booth at 2.  I'll also be appearing on a panel, through UCLA Extension  about one of my favorite subjects--writing in L.A.--and moderated by the lovely and talented Marisa Matarazzo.  This is also on Saturday at noon!

Living Fictions: Writing in LA:  Los Angeles is a land of self-invention. It sizzles with the magic of hope and is the place where dreams and reality can converge across a landscape inscribed by complex cultural, economic, and geographic diversity. How do these elements color the craft and content of LA’s prose writers? Authors and teachers in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program discuss LA as a sensibility, a metaphor, and most of all, as a physical and psychic influence on the worlds they create.

More information to come! See you at AWP!

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Rose Quartz Media
“Magic is A Way of Life”

•    PROBLEM
Art heals pain and distracts us from daily stress. Where can soulful, compassionate, artistic-minded readers find beautiful books and e-books (Romance, Erotic Romance, Literary fiction, YA fiction, Lifestyle and Self-Help), as well as films and merchandise that appeal to and inspire them, and how can they build a community that supports and empowers them as readers and humans?

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Although there have been some compications and delays regarding the long awaited Weetzie Bat film project, I am still hopeful.  Meanwhile, I'm working on other projects. After all, I have a little Hollywood in my blood--my grandmother was one of the first female screenwriters in the industry and my father wrote a number of films, including Forbidden Planet.

In 2016 Danishka Esterhazy and Red Czarina productions will release a film adaptation of my story "Bones" from The Rose And The Beast! The whole experience of working with Danishka and her company has been a dream and I can't wait for you to see this short!

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I am also working on adapting Beyond The Pale Motel with Laura Lee Bahr. We hope to make it into an indie film within the next year or two.

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I think we are all looking forward to a fresh new year full of peace, health, love and happiness. Below you will find some upcoming events, publications, classes and giveaways.

Events

Come join Amanda Yates Garcia (the Oracle of Los Angeles), Mary Pauline Lowry (Wildfire), Laura Lee Bahr (Haunt), Tracy DeBrincat (Hollywood Buckaroo), Logan Brendt, Manuel Chavarria, Daniel Weizmann and me for a reading from our Rough Magick Anthology, haunting--sometimes erotic, sometimes funny, sometimes weird--stories about the darker side of love and sex, at Book Soup on March 10 at 7 pm.

I will also be at AWP, on April 2, 12-1:15, doing a panel on "Writing in Los Angeles," and at YAll West on April 3. More info to come next month.

Publication

As I announced last month, the Weetzie Bat cookbook, Fairies in the Kitchen, by Carmen Staton, and published by dangerous angel press, is here and selling like hotcakes (or should I say Coyote's Cornmeal Cakes!)

Giveaways

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