940 Saturdays :: Random House

06/30/14

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940: that is the number of Saturdays you get with your kid from the day he or she is born to the time he or she turns 18. Dr. Harley Rotbart created a keepsake journal to encourage parents to make the most of their time with their kids, and I illustrated the cover of the book, pictured above (Random House//Clarkson Potter, 2014). You can purchase the book on pre-order here.

Tomorrow I’m headed on a road trip to Portland for two weeks. That is where my family lives, and I go there every year (sometimes several times a year) to spend time with them. I’ll be blogging every few days while I am there on vacation, sharing some of my adventures and pages from my sketchbook.

Have a great week, everyone! And Happy July (tomorrow).

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New Cloud9 Fabric Collection!

06/09/14

Friends, I am so happy to introduce my latest fabric Collection for Cloud9 Fabrics! Available this Fall (I’ll keep you posted on the release date), the collection includes SIX voile prints (perfect for sewing clothes), many with metallic touches. It’s is called REVELRY, and I could not be more excited about it!

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I’ll be back tomorrow with a full preview of the work I’ve created for my book signing and show at Poketo in Los Angeles this Saturday!

Have a great Monday.

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Illustrations for Florida Travel & Life Magazine

06/05/14

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Every now and again I do a fairly large editorial illustration job. I’ve been drawing a lot of maps lately and recently I did a super fun job for Florida Travel & Life Magazine (cover & exterior excerpt pictured above) illustrating five different maps for their May issue. I drew each of these maps by hand, and in the final artwork colored them with a light touch of gouache paint. One of my favorite parts of illustrating maps is incorporating my hand lettering, which I got to do a lot of here!

First up, a map of Wynwood, the arts district in Miami. So many cool things here!

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Next, a Foodie map of St. Armands Circle:

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And a Family Map (because Florida is filled with family fun!):

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And what would Florida Travel & Life Magazine be without a beach map! This one of Seaside, which looks like a really cool town.

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Last but not least, a map of Calle Ocho, Little Havana:

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The magazine is on newsstands now! Thank you Kim and Vicky at the magazine for being a great team.

Have a happy Thursday, friends!

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AIDS Life/Cycle Designs!

05/30/14

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(In 2012, as we are about to embark on the 545 mile bike ride from SF to LA}

You may recall that two years ago in 2012 I rode my bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of the California AIDS Life/Cycle. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Earlier this year the folks at AIDS Life/Cycle contacted me to create a hand lettered route map for them that would adorn a bandana and tote bag — for riders to purchase in the camp store. I was so honored to do work for this great organization, and after chatting about iconic stops along the route, I came up with this design:

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The route travels down the California coast and the various spots are either famous rest stops (places where riders stop for food and water) or camps or cities along the way. They even made a t-shirt from my drawing of two bears eating otter pops from the famous Otter Pop Stop (rest stop) on the way from Santa Cruz to King City on Day 2 (the longest day at around 109 miles of cycling).

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If you are riding this year, you can buy the merchandise I designed at the ALC camp store. And good luck riders! They leave Sunday for the 7-day ride.

I’ll be back Monday with a special post reflecting on a year of marriage (yes, it’s been a YEAR!).

Happy weekend! I’m off to Mendocino for my anniversary with Clay.

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New Notebooks for MoMA!

05/13/14

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Back in 2012, a really exciting thing happened: I got a call from one of my dream clients — the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. They asked me to design a series of notebooks for them based on items in their Design Collection. The result are three notebooks which are part of the new “Things I Saw at MoMA and Loved” series!

From the MoMA website: “In 1932, the Museum of Modern Art established the world’s first curatorial department devoted to architecture and design. Today, the department’s impressive collection comprises thousands of new and notable objects, ranging from appliances, furniture, and tableware to tools, textiles, sports cars—even a helicopter. Featuring illustrator Lisa Congdon’s charming drawings, the Things I Saw at MoMA and Loved notebook series highlights several memorable objects in MoMA’s permanent collection.”

I got to comb through images from their Design Collection and arrange any of my choice into “collections.” The first I created was the chair collection, pictured above. I also made a collection of coffee & tea paraphernalia from the MoMA Design Collection, below:

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And lastly, audio/visual equipment from the MoMA Design Collection:

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Lisa Congdon Notebook Orange

Each book is 8.25 inches high x 6.20 inches wide with 100 lovely grid pages. You can purchase them here

Have a happy Tuesday, friends!

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New *DONUT* Poster :: Good Editions

05/05/14

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I am so thrilled & honored to be part of the Portland State University Graphic Design Department’s GOOD EDITIONS project! For the project, I created the donut themed poster above (WHO DOESN’T LOVE DONUTS??) which is for sale for just $25 (A STEAL for an 18×24 inch poster!). You can purchase it through buyolympia.com.

What is Good Editions? It’s the online shop for the Portland State Graphic Design Program. In their own words: “Our intention is to create a portal that showcases the incredible work that is coming out of our program whether it be from students, faculty, alumni, and friends of the program. All money we raise goes to support the Portland State Graphic Design program and will be used to fund everything from supplies for workshops to bringing in guest speakers.”

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Each term, Good Editions features three artists who donate their time and artistic expertise to create a print for the shop (this term, that’s me, and also Will Bryant and Dan Cassaro). I also selected two pieces that inspired me from a pool of work submitted by students from Portland State (you can see those here). Each of the chosen student work along with the featured artist prints are available for sale to raise money.

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I hope you will support PSU’s Graphic Design Program through Good Editions! You can get my poster here.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Illustration in Martha Stewart Living :: May ’14

04/28/14

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I was so excited last week when my second illustration for Martha Stewart Living Magazine came out in the May issue. You may recall that last year I did this little piece for them (which was also really fun).

The story is about the mental health benefits of kindness. Here is a close up of the illustration & the cover of the current issue:

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Have a great Monday, friends.

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Weekend Almanac

04/07/14

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I was really excited when Lauren and Ali at Weekend Almanac contacted me late last year to contribute to their second issue, which just came out. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Weekend Almanac is an independently published lifestyle biannual curated by editor Lauren Ladoceour and creative director Ali Zeigler in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a collectible 64-page 8.5 x 10-inch almanac, mostly about stuff to do (and stuff that happens) on our glorious weekends.

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For this issue, I illustrated & hand lettered (with one of my abstract paintings in the background) this calendar of long weekends in 2014 & 2015:

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Issue Number 2 also includes Friday cocktails from the Bon Vivants, overnight getaway to the Hudson Valley, photographer David Martinez’s pizza party, make-your-own midnight munchies, and more. You can purchase the magazine here.

I’m back tomorrow with a really big and awesome announcement. Stay tuned!

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The Old & New Project

04/04/14

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I was really honored when Troy DeShano and Jim LePage asked me to be part of their Old & New Project this year. If you haven’t heard of Old & New Project, it is a platform for contemporary graphic artists to exhibit works themed on Biblical stories and passages. It aims to replace traditionally popular Biblical artwork with newer, more contemporary accessible work. In the words of its founders, “Old & New is not an attempt to convert folks or create religious propaganda. In order to take a new look at this old book, we want, in fact we need, artists from all types of faith perspectives.” The project includes artists from different religious backgrounds, including those who have had negative experiences with the church, along with agnostics and atheists.

My piece for the current iteration of the project is pictured above. My assignment was to illustrate the following verse from Song of Solomon:

Love is as Strong as Death:

Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;

for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.

If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.

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Have a great weekend, friends!

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Blair Stocker :: Wise Craft

04/03/14

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Every now and again a friend calls on me to illustrate something for them. To me, this is the greatest honor: when someone you’ve known for years actually wants to work with you. Maybe some of you can relate — it’s a special experience. Last year I got an email from my agent — my friend Blair Stocker was writing a craft book and she wanted me to illustrate some of the projects. Truth be told, Blair’s book has SIXTY amazing projects in it, and I only illustrated a handful. But it was a super fun project, especially because I got to interact directly with Blair to get the illustrations just right.  I can’t wait to share some photos with you.

Blair’s book is called Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love. It’s based on many projects from her longtime blog, Wise Craft — and, of course, some new ones too. Instead of throwing away things like old dishes or shirts, Blair teaches you how to remake/reuse them, adding special touches to make them unique. This book is also particularly great for folks (like me!) who like to thrift for special treasures and then use them in projects. The book is divided into four seasonal chapters, with designs that reflect different holidays and the like. Here are some of my favorite projects from the book:

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{Dip Dye Toile Dishes}

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{Bead-bombed Tote Bag, with my illustration in the upper right}

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{Spooky dishes}

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{Summer Sherbet Picnic Blanket, with my illustration on the right}

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{Hand Painted Journals}

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{Hottie Rice Pillow, with my illustration on the right hand page}

You can purchase Blair’s beautiful book here or wherever craft books are sold. I’ll be making those dip-dyed ceramics very soon (stay tuned for a post on that!)

Have a happy Thursday!

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San Francisco Scarf for The Bold Italic

03/25/14

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You may remember when I made this new San Francisco print especially for The Bold Italic. Well, they’ve gone and made a gorgeous scarf with the line drawing based on the print, and it’s now for sale in their shop.

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It contains many of my favorite iconic San Francisco images, from cable cars to sea lions to pigeons!

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Go get yours here.

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Mindful Magazine & “Filling In” for Maira Kalman

03/03/14

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{Full page illustration I completed for Mindful Magazine, which is featured in the current April 2014 issue.}

I’ve talked about this before, but every now and again an illustration job comes my way that makes me squeal with joy. One such job came my way this past October. I received an email from Jessica, the art director over at Mindful Magazine, the subject line of which read: “new magazine + filling in for Maira Kalman.” It was a busy time for me and I’d vowed not to take any more jobs. But when I read the email, I knew I couldn’t turn down this assignment.

Jessica was writing to let me know about Mindful, a new magazine that focuses on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness in everyday life, and to ask me to contribute to a full back page feature wherein I would meditate and then make an illustration about my experience. The real clincher came when Jessica mentioned that this feature is normally completed every month by well known artist & illustrator Maira Kalman (who happens to be one of my personal heroes), but that she was traveling that month and they needed someone to fill in for her.

And, so, well, they decided to ask ME to fill in for her. How could I say no to that? I think I responded something like, “Well, I am swamped, but let me tell you something — I would NEVER pass up an invitation to fill in for Maira Kalman.”

Here are a couple of Maira’s back page features from previous issues (mine, out this month, is pictured above).

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This assignment was also timely because I was in the midst of attempting to start and maintain a meditation practice. I decided to focus the illustration on my attempt one morning to meditate first thing, without food or coffee. My thoughts are hand lettered around the image of myself meditating. I hope you can see some of the humor!

Speaking of meditating, I promised to fill you in on my attempt to start a practice, and I’ve obviously been avoiding it. And that’s not because I’ve necessarily been avoiding meditation. In fact, I’ve been attempting it fairly regularly. I’m struggling with it for sure, but I am also learning a lot. And one of these days, hopefully soon, I’ll figure out what I want to say about it all.

In the meantime, the April issue of Mindful Magazine is on store shelves now. Also, have a great week, friends!

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Wildsam :: San Francisco

01/23/14

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Every now and again an illustration job comes to your desk that makes you jump out of bed in the morning wanting to get to work. One such job came my way last year via Taylor Bruce, founder, editor and writer of the Wildsam Field Guides. Taylor was making a SF Guide and he wanted me to illustrate it. I could not have been more excited.

Wildsam Field Guides are not like regular travel guides. They are small books (they could easily fit in a large pocket) filled with local lore, interviews with local characters, hand-drawn maps, personal essays, lists of local “must knows” and more. “Equal parts travel guide and tribute, the field guides suit both weekender and native,” says Taylor.

In all, the book includes about 15 of my illustrations. I had never drawn a map before taking the Wildsam SF assignment (gasp!), but had so much fun drawing the six maps in the book. The maps are clearly not to scale, but designed more to highlight different aspects of the city’s culture, landscape and history. Here are two I drew for the book that I love:

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Part of what made working on Wildsam SF so great was working one-on-one with Taylor Bruce. In addition to making Wildsam Guides, Taylor is a writer. He’s written for magazines like Men’s Journal, Budget Travel, Southern Living, Oxford American, Paste, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic Adventure, and others — so he’s obviously pretty smart. Taylor is also incredibly gracious and kind. And he was great to work with because he took every illustration so seriously, but at the same time he let me guide the look and feel of each drawing with my own flair. For example, he allowed me to infuse my own quirks into each map based on my own memories and knowledge of the city.

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Wildsam Guides are perfect little books and you can get them here. The San Francisco Guide is also sold in many stores around the city. If you are planning a trip to San Francisco, I highly recommend bringing one along.

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Rumor has it both Detroit and Brooklyn are on the short list for upcoming Wildsam Guides. Stay tuned for more!

Happy, happy Thursday.

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My New Fabric Collection :: Now Available!

09/25/13

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I am so excited to announce that my fabric collection, entitled The Land That Never Was, produced in collaboration with Cloud9 Fabrics, IS NOW AVAILABLE!

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“The Land that Never Was”

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“Folkloric”

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Minstrels

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“Bunting”

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“Magic Garden”

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“Traveler’s Blanket”

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“Fairy Tales Black”

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“Fairy Tales White”

Curious where you can purchase the fabric in your area? Check out Cloud9′s stockists here or call your local fabric store. You can also check out online stockists here.

Have a great Wednesday!

 

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Heavy Hangs the Head: Interview with Taryn Hipp

09/18/13

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About six months ago, my friend Taryn emailed and asked if I could illustrate the cover of her book. Yes, she was writing a book, and it was coming out soon, and she wanted me to design the cover. Taryn and I met online back in 2008. She had sent me a friend request on Facebook. We had mutual friends. I didn’t know who she was, but randomly, I accepted her friendship. I turned out to be one of the best random decisions I’ve ever made.

For the past five years Taryn has inspired me endlessly. Early in our friendship, she seemed to be going through something huge, but I didn’t know exactly what it was at the time. When you only know someone on Facebook, and you know very little about them, you begin to piece together information that will give you a fuller picture of who they are. I knew Taryn worked at a record store. I knew we had similar taste in music. I knew she had a biting sense of humor, and a very soft side too. Taryn intrigued me. Her posts on social media were brave and revelatory. She was, I came to find out a couple years into our friendship, leaving her old life — a life of fear and addiction — and declaring a new life for herself, a life filled with love and promise, sobriety, school, hopes, dreams, and, eventually, this book. Over the years we’ve gotten to know each other better. Since 2008, Taryn has become a fixture in my life. I am continually inspired by her humanity and honesty.

So, back to Taryn’s book. It’s called Heavy Hangs the Head, and you can see the cover I designed above. I am quite proud of it, though it was all Taryn’s vision. The book is a memoir. It’s about Taryn’s journey from anxiety-ridden child to delinquent teenager to divorced alcoholic to who she is today. In her own words, “Heavy Hangs the Head is my journey towards learning to overcome the things that hold me back & accepting that sometimes, it’s ok to not move at all.”

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{Taryn celebrates the launch of her book.}

I eagerly read Heavy Hangs the Head when it came out and realized immediately I had to interview Taryn about the book. It is a brave, gritty and honest memoir. As with most books I read, I had to know more. (Incidentally, this is the first in a series of interviews I’m going to be launching on this blog with artists and writers I admire. Stay tuned for more interviews over the next few months.)

Lisa: I love the title of the book so much — Heavy Hangs the Head — where does it come from?

Taryn: It’s actually a line from the movie Cry-Baby. The main character is crying over being heartbroken & her grandmother says, “Heavy hangs the head that last night wore the crown.” During my drinking days I went to sleep the queen of the prom only to wake up feeling exactly the opposite.

Lisa: Heavy Hangs the Head (to me) was much more about your search for stable ground. loving relationships and meaning in your life as much as it was a story about getting sober. For example, you don’t talk too much about the process of getting sober and what that was like, but you do talk a lot about your relationships and how they shaped your life. Tell us about how you decided what aspects of your journey to write about?

Taryn: When I started working on the book my goal was to give a little “back story” of my life and then write about getting sober but as I began to write I realized that the “little” back story was a huge part of why I was even writing the book. Everything that has happened in my life led me to this place, the good and the bad. It took me a long time to see that. I try to live without regrets and I think that my search for stable ground, as you say, has been and continues to be the driving force in my life. But it’s not just stable ground really, it’s more the ability to remain stable when the ground shakes. Ya know? Before I got sober I couldn’t do that. I would begin to lose my footing and immediately turn to alcohol to self-medicate. When I was going through my divorce I had this hole inside of me that ached constantly and it was accompanied by this terrible voice in my head that just wouldn’t stop making me miserable. The alcohol was able to “fix” both of those things. Obviously, it was more of a paper towel duct taped on a wound than a bandage but the process of writing the book was my bandage and the healing process has been extraordinary.

Lisa: You’ve written a lot of zines but never before a book! And you wrote it relatively quickly. You worked with a small press called Sweet Candy Press. How did the relationship with Sweet Candy begin? What was the writing process like for you as a first-timer? How did you get yourself to sit down and write?

Taryn: I’ve known Sage from Sweet Candy for a long time because of zines. When I mentioned I wanted to possibly write a book she was like “Yes, do it and I’ll put it out”–just like that. It happened so fast. We’re both really into self-publishing and the Do-It-Yourself way of life so it was a new experience for both of us. I had no idea how to write a book so I actually went to the library and checked out a dozen or so books about the subject (none of which I actually ended up reading because it just became too overwhelming). I “took the summer off” from school, and writing the book became my job. I had a routine that involved my porch and a lot of coffee and a dedicated amount of hours per day to writing. But the subject matter was so intense and sometimes really triggering that it became difficult to stick to my routine. I would go days without working on the book, finding other things that were suddenly way more important. Eventually Sage would step in and give me these epic pep talks that really helped get me back on track. I have no idea what big publishers are like but I doubt they answer text messages in the middle of the night with words of encouragement like “You can do this. I believe in you.”

Lisa: The book is really raw and really comes through in your voice, as if we are reading your journal. Was there an editing process? If so, what was it like? Or did you want to stay as true as possible to your voice?

Taryn: I am a zine maker. I am the first person to tell you that. I don’t know how to write a book. I only know how I wrote my book. The editing process was basically me writing for hours at a time for days and then putting it in a Google Doc and asking my best friend or my boyfriend to read it and tell me if it made any sense. A few times I felt like maybe the story was getting off track and I asked friends to give me their opinion or tell me what they wanted to know after reading what I had written so far. I didn’t really give anyone a choice though, it was more like “Read this. Is it totally stupid?” So, I had help throughout the entire process. Once the book was “finished” there were a few people who went through it and we made changes together. I didn’t want it to be in anyone’s voice but my own. No one could tell my story the way I needed it to be told and that’s why it reads like a zine because that’s how I write.

Lisa: What did you learn from writing this book? About yourself or the writing process? Any motivation to write another? What are you working on now?

Taryn: I joked last year that I was learning to be “more brave” by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things I wouldn’t normally do. I think this book was the final step in that journey. Not everyone will enjoy the book or even care about the book but it exists to show the world that I could do it. My life got all mixed up a few years back, and I truly didn’t think I could get through it. Like, I sometimes will stop myself from being in a bummer mood and just remember where I was four years ago. Writing this book has given me a lot of perspective and it has shown me that it’s okay to be an emotional person, to seek out help, to be vulnerable.

I’m always writing. I actually put out a new issue of my zine, Lady Teeth while working on the book. There is another issue of that in the works also and I’ve been writing a lot of short fiction that may turn into a collection. I had an idea to write stories based on the women in my life and it sort of grew from that. I’m also back in school now that the summer is over so that keeps me pretty busy. I didn’t start college until I was 31. It was never something I really even considered but I’m so glad I did because I really enjoy it. I also think the fact that I am a Psych major had a lot to do with me writing a book like Heavy Hangs the Head. I’ve been approached about speaking to high school kids about my experiences with drugs and alcohol which is not something I had ever considered but I am excited about.

Lisa: If you could summarize the 2-3 people and/or circumstances that turned your life around, what would you say?

Taryn: I spent a long time being very angry at the world and feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t understand why certain things happened to me, and I felt like the whole world was out to get me. Eventually I had to realize that I was self-sabotaging and making excuses. My life sucked because I wasn’t doing what I needed to do to make it not suck. So when I got arrested in 2010 for public drunkenness, that was a huge turning point for me. I began to heal and grow and gain perspective. My life has always been really special, I just never bothered to focus on anything but the negative which wasn’t just unfair to me but to the people who loved me. My book is dedicated to my sisters, Jennifer and Veronica and that’s because they have stood by and supported me through everything. They are the reason I am the woman I am today because they have loved me unconditionally, believed in me even when I didn’t, and never turned their back on me. That is something everyone deserves and once I realized that and embraced it, my life turned around and I started loving it.

You can purchase Heavy Hangs the Head here, where you can also check out & purchase Taryn’s awesome zine collection.

Happy Wednesday!

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