Monday, January 26, 2015

Radio Interview






Tomorrow night at 6pm PST I'll be on Portland community radio KBOO 90.7 FM talking about The Butch/Femme Photo Project book. Tune in to the Out Loud program from 6pm to 7pm PST. If you're not in the Portland, Oregon area you can stream the show online. Here's the link to the promo for the show and more info on streaming.

http://kboo.org/outloudwelcomesthegaylesbianarchivesofthepacificno

The show will be uploaded and archived at this link about 24 hours after it airs in case you can't tune in during the live broadcast.

I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to talk about this awesome project. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quiet & Choices

Awesome things are happening with the book, which I'm crazy excited about. Yet, at the same time, I find myself craving the quiet and solitude. I think I'm feeling more vulnerable these days and less courageous with that vulnerability. Hence the quieting down of this blog and my presence online.

Also, this man is very wise.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Press For The Book!

I'm super excited to see the book get some press! This past Sunday Kathy Belge (of the famed Lipstick & Dipstick column in Curve Magazine!) over at LesbianLife.About.com interviewed me for an article about it. You can read the it here. (http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/nonfictionbookreviews/fl/The-Butch-Femme-Photo-Project.htm)

Last night I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the guys at The Art Life Video Blog. Check them out and subscribe to their YouTube page. They're talking to some really cool artists here in Portland. Here are the links to the three segments of the interview.

First segment:


Second segment:


Third segment:


I also just finished answering questions for an interview that Shaley Howard at PQ Monthly did with me for the book so look for that soon, as well! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year & New Adventures

Coming back to Portland when I did this past year felt like the right move for me at that time. Being back has brought some closure for me around some things, including the photo project that I've been working on for the past two and a half years. The book is published and in very good hands and I couldn't be more proud of that work. Who knows if it would have happened the way it did had I stayed in Massachusetts or if I would still be searching for a publisher? There's really no way of knowing but I am glad that things worked out the way they did.

My group of close friends and family has become smaller but I feel like I hold them even closer to my heart. They are my top priority in this life and I love them dearly. I no longer feel like I take any of them for granted and I hope they feel the same.

I've forgiven myself for many things I've done in my past that I am not proud of. Forgiven yet not forgotten. They all help me to be a better person with each passing day and remind me of what is important in this life. Family. Friends. Love. Happiness.

I've also made peace with who Wendi is, what she wants in life and how she chooses to live. I do things that make me happy no matter what the financial reward. I love working with dogs and the rewards that come from it far out weigh any sort of financial gain. Dogs teach me and remind me of so much every single day; the importance of taking time to play, being filled with pure joy, fully being in the moment, eating good food and taking a good nap. At this point, I feel like I could step into another job that may not include animals and carry those lessons with me into every working day. Maybe even find ways to help others find joy in the days.

So, in the end, it was a good choice to come back to Portland and I'm glad that I did. But, it's time for me to move on. In the hindsight that I've had I can clearly see that I went into panic mode while dealing with so much grief at the beginning of the year and felt pulled to come running home. In the end, the panic paid off but now I sit with a sense of regret. Regret for not giving myself enough time to be in a new space. To adjust to all of the new things around me and a new way of life. A way of life that I really began to love just before I left, in a small town where I quickly got to know people and their dogs. Where people would honk and wave as I walked Scarlett every night and it felt comforting. Just as it started to feel like home for me, I left and now I regret it. Coming back to Portland was needed for lots of reasons but now it's beginning to feel like a step back for me.

In this distance I've also realized a lot of things about my feelings towards my ex-wife. How they've always been there in the back of my mind where I pushed them and locked them away as a way to survive. I know I really messed things up this last go around for us, but we've forgiven each other and are moving forward as friends and family. I don't feel like I'm able to be in a relationship with anyone else because of the feelings I still hold for her, so of course there will always be hope as long as those feelings remain, but I also know the reality of things. I do not hold her to rekindling a love that may be long gone for her. Instead I am grateful every day that she is still a part of my life and my family and will only ever want for her happiness. Whether it's with me or someone else. She will always be my family no matter what.

All this being said, at the end of March I will return to Ipswich, Massachusetts. I'm moving back in with my amazing ex-wife, we will clear out the second room for me and I will, most likely, have a snoring dog sleeping next to me for years to come. I couldn't be happier about this decision and so very grateful that she is welcoming me back. This time it'll be as permanent of a move as I can make, not knowing when I'll have to return to Southern California to take care of my parent(s). Really my only permanent move will be when I purchase my land and build my tiny house.

During this trek across the country I hope to make a few stops along the way at some bookstores. I'll be taking Interstate 90 across the US again so they will be places along that route, including Chicago. My publisher will be working on putting together some events and/or signings. Maybe we can get something together for a Boston or NYC book release party, as well. I'm hoping to have a travel partner this time, but that's all up in the air at the moment. We're still 3 months out so there's time.

I'm looking forward to returning to the East coast for good this time, spending quality time with my ex-wife (and the fur kids!) and thoroughly enjoying the small town life. Of course, there will be more photo adventures!

I can't wait to see what this part of my life brings. Let's do this, 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifting & Gratitude

My son asked me a couple weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday. Over the past few years, our Solstice celebrations have become less and less about giving presents and more about connecting so gifting for the holidays isn't something we are all that concerned about. But, when he asked me about my birthday I told him that I really didn't want for anything and that I didn't want him to buy me a thing. He persisted so I sat for a moment and thought about what I could really use.

This past year I've purged a lot of my possessions. Everything from clothes to furniture to high school yearbooks. My collection of books now fits neatly into one medium sized box. Everything that I own fits into the trunk of my car, with maybe a bag or two in the back seat. I guess you could call me a minimalist.

So, I ended up telling my son that I could use a new hoodie. (It's practical and something I would most definitely use.) What I got was a meal with him and our family at a traditional Japanese ramen restaurant in downtown Portland and it was absolutely perfect.

Gifting is awesome but the idea of bringing something new into my space that I most likely won't use, and will have to find a new home for, kind of makes me crazy at this point. I don't want or need stuff these days. Specially with a couple more big moves and a tiny house in my future. I like the idea of being mobile. Compact.

A meal with my family, one on one time with close friends, kind words, a thoughtful letter or email sent my way or even something handmade that's useful (like a bookmark)...these are the things that I want these days. Memories, love and relationship are the gifts that I am most grateful for every day of the year. These are the things that make me wealthy. I treasure them and hold them close to my heart.

Spending the last year focusing on what I'm grateful for has helped me to shift my perspective on so many things. I'm much more at peace with my life and the way I choose to live it than I ever was before. I choose a simple life filled with the love of my family and a few close friends. Those are all the gifts I need.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Re-Cap Of The Butch/Femme Photo Project

I've been thinking about following up all of the awesomeness of the book being out in the world now with a blog post telling the story of how the project came to be but the more I thought about it the more I realized that I've already done all of that writing here on this blog. So, instead, here's a re-cap of all of those posts starting with the "official" announcement on July 19, 2012.

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Butch/Femme Photo Project Announcment, July 19, 2012

Over the course of the last few months I've been reading two books that have made quite the impact on me by teaching me a lot about the history of butches and femmes. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle and Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. Both are anthologies and contain an abundance of incredible writers. I highly recommend getting your hands (and eyes) on these books.
One of the things I've learned from reading these books is that butches and femmes have always been here. We're always going to be here. No matter how much our community fights amongst itself about our presence, we are always going to be here. We are a part of it's history, we are a part of it's present and we are a part of it's future.

There is no one way to be butch or femme. Each one of us is our own unique and individual expression of the identity. Those expressions are what I would like to capture and document for future generations.


***
 
Friday, August 10, 2012 was the day of my very first photo project shoot. 

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August 15, 2012 Update

The Butch/Femme Photo Project has been very well received by the community all over the US and even a few up in Canada! I've received some beautiful and heartbreaking answers to the questions I sent out to all who wish to participate. I am deeply touched by their willingness to share so openly and so freely. Their stories are so important and they should be heard and remembered.

So far I've had two photo shoots with project participants! I have four more scheduled this weekend, too! Meeting participants and photographing them has been incredibly inspiring and motivating. This project includes some pretty incredible and amazing people. I'm really very excited to see how it progresses. I'm considering creating a blog for it but haven't quite decided on that piece just yet. Once I get more images together and edited I hope to figure that out.


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Butch/Femme Photo Project Gets A Facebook Page, September 27, 2012

I just wanted to let everyone know that my Butch/Femme Photo Project now has it's own Facebook page! It's another way for me to get the word out about the project so please check it out, "Like" it and share it far and wide! 
https://www.facebook.com/ButchFemmePhotoProject

I have three photo shoots lined up this weekend for the project so an update to the page will happen soon! Thank you all for participating, supporting and encouraging me to keep going with this project! 


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Butch/Femme Photo Project In It's First Gallery Show! October 30, 2012

I am so happy to announce that the first eleven photographs in the Butch/Femme Photo Project will be featured in TransConnect Resource and Cultural Fair gallery show titled "Femme, Butch, Queer & Trans Intersection" at the Portland Q Center next month! They will be hanging at the Center for the entire month of November and ten of the eleven pieces will be a part of a silent auction to raise funds for the Q Center and the Order of Benevolent Bliss’ working and grants funds!

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Kickstarter For The Butch/Femme Photo Project! January 16, 2013

I've put it together, submitted it for approval with the Kickstarter folks and now it's live! Check it out!


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Getting the buzz going on the fundraising. January 21, 2013

I knew from the start that running a Kickstarter campaign was going to be hard work. Constantly contacting as many people as you possibly can is not as easy as it sounds. There was a time when social networking sites made it easy but now, not so much. Not only do I post the link in a bunch of places daily but I've also begun privately messaging and emailing people who may or may not be seeing my daily posts. This project really is a passion of mine so I really want to do as much as I possibly can to see it through.
Five days into it and I'm mentally exhausted. My brain won't stop trying to figure out something new to try to drum up more backers. It also won't stop worrying about what might happen if it doesn't fund. Where would I go from there? Do I have a plan B? 


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Press for the Kickstarter campaign! February 11, 2013

The Advocate wrote an article about the Butch/Femme Photo Project!
 
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The final hours of the Kickstarter campaign! February 13, 2013

There's only 41 hours to go on the Kickstarter campaign and thanks to a very generous donation of $1,800 within the last hour, it's now past the 60% mark!

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Holy crap, it funded! February 16, 2013

When I awoke yesterday and checked my email on my phone I found that there were a few new backers to the Kickstarter project and that there was still quite a ways to go. I felt sad for a moment but then reminded myself that, hey, it raised over $6,000. That's nothing to sneeze at. Plus, it's gotten a lot of media attention. There's always a plan B and both of those things will help with plan B. Still, I wasn't going to give up on the Kickstarter itself until the clock had ticked down, ending the campaign. It still had 6 hours to go and anything could happen in the span of those hours. (Read more...)

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On Saturday, March 9, 2013 I spent the day driving up to and around Seattle doing photoshoots for the project.

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Planning, planning and travel planning. March 18, 2013

Yesterday, I finally sat down and made my itinerary to travel to the Rockies, the Midwest and the Northern East coast for the project. This morning, I feel a million times lighter. Not that I don't have more planning to do, fundraising as well, but at least this part of it is done. It's been weighing heavily on my mind. I also made plans to travel to Texas and Louisiana. I still need to make plans to travel to North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. (Read more...)

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Working on letting go of the negativity in the comments of the press articles. March 21, 2013

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
 
***
 
To say making travel plans and coordinating with multiple people is difficult would be quite the understatement. This is something I have learned quite quickly. But, I'm learning how to move through it and solidify plans so I have my first crazy travel adventure lined up. It happens the first week in May and it goes a little something like this: (deep breath) (Read more...)
 
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Trip to Vancouver, BC. April 28, 2013
It was the first time I'd ever used my passport, which was exciting and nerve wracking to me. The border crossing officer asked me what my purpose was for visiting Canada. (Read more...)
 
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Waiting for my first flight for the 13 cities, 22 photo shoots in 9 days tour! Getting through security at the Portland airport was a breeze and everyone is so happy and friendly. That was a nice start to my trip! Plus, it calmed the nerves a bit. Not totally, but a bit. I'm what you might call a nervous traveler. But, by the time I get to the end of the week, I'll be an old pro at this. (Read more...)
 
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Denver was amazing! My first shoot happened at the world famous Red Rocks! It was my first time there and I have to say, it truly was awesome and beautiful. 

Two shoots followed that one, one at a participant's house and the other at a participant's cabin, complete with horses! 

To end my day, I had dinner with friends I haven't seen in 12 years! Thank you for a wonderful day, Denver. 

This morning I'm off to Madison, WI then will be driving to Waukesha and Chicago. Needless to say, I can feel my energy struggling to stay up. I'm hoping to catch a nap on my next two flights. 
 
***
 

This trip has been incredibly awesome. As exhausted as I am, looking through the photos of all of the amazing butches and femmes makes every ounce of that exhaustion worth it. I can't express enough gratitude to those who helped make this happen.
(Read more...)

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The last weekend of my week long travel for the project was spent traveling from New York to New Jersey and up into Massachusetts. On my way to New Jersey I was able to catch a glimpse of NYC and of Lady Liberty, which was pretty awesome, even though very brief. Extra time to "see the sights" was not built in to my itinerary so any glimpse of the sights was bonus for me on this trip. (Read more...)

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Texas June 25, 2013

This weekend I traveled to Texas to photograph participants in Dallas, Plano, Spring, Houston, and Wichita Falls. A couple days before I left for Texas I had two photo shoots on the schedule for the weekend. Shortly after posting my travel plans on the project's Facebook page I scheduled five more, which was incredible. Texas brought it! (Read more...)

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I spent the last week in August in Southern California. I also drove out to Phoenix and Santa Fe. It was a trip filled with not only project shoots but family time and a wee bit of friend time. (Read more...)

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On Sunday, September 22, 2013 I drove up to Olympia, Washington for a few project shoots.

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I spent the first weekend in December 2013 in Florida traveling around a few parts of the state for project shoots. 

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In April of this year I traveled to Boston for a shoot and to New York City a couple of times. On one of my visits to New York City I got to do a project photo shoot on a rooftop in Manhattan. It was amazing and I felt fantastic. (Read about it here...)

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In August of this year I started talking to Blue Skirt Productions about publishing the project as a book and on October 29th, I signed a publishing contract with them! (Read more here...)

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Pre-orders for the book! December 2, 2014

I feel like these past few weeks have been a bit surreal. This book, this project that I've been pouring my heart and soul into over the past couple of years is/has become a reality. (Read more...)

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The book release party happens on December 15, 2014 and bookstores in Portland and Phoenix begin to carry the book! (Read more...


Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Questions

During the Q&A section of the book release party I was asked about the questions I had sent to each of the participants. From the answers came the quotes that accompany each photo in the book. So, as promised, here are the questions:

What is your name?

How old are you?

In what city do you reside?

Are you single, dating, partnered or married?

What is your occupation and/or main activities in life?

How do you identify?

What is your personal definition of your identity?

When did you first identify as such?

Why did you identify as such?

Who were/are your role models?

Did you ever resist your identity? If so, why?

Have you ever been embarrassed or ashamed of your identity?

Have you ever been ridiculed, threatened or harmed because of your identity? If so, and if you're comfortable sharing, what happened?

What do you wish people knew about your identity?

Is there anything else you'd like to say?

What are the best days and times to meet with you for a photo shoot?