Want to learn how to identify edible mushrooms? I’m offering a two-hour beginner-friendly class via Zoom! You have two options for time slots:
Sunday, October 18 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm PST
Tuesday, October 20 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm PST
You’ll learn about how to find and identify these tasty fungi, as well as some of the more common edible and poisonous mushrooms you’ll find in the United States, and resources to help you hone your identification skills. I have spent several years foraging for and teaching about edible mushrooms and plants, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you! Register at http://thegreenwolf.com/classes/ or contact me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail(dot)com if you have questions.
Also, if there are topics you’d like to see me present classes on, let me know!
There’s this meme going around Facebook right now, saying “If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, your side hustle started, or more knowledge, you never lacked time. You lacked discipline.” Thankfully multiple people have already skewered it, but it continues to be shared around by the sort of person who is trying to one-up everyone else, or who’s just plain clueless–or, for that matter, just trying to guilt you into buying whatever they’re selling.
Now, there’s not a damned thing wrong with self-promotion. That’s how indie artists, authors, and other self-employed folks get the word out. You have to be able to talk good talk in order to get people’s attention. But leading with this meme? Guilting people for not leaping from sudden unemployment straight into the thick of the ever-shifting gig economy? That ain’t gonna fly, Brocephus.
You Have Good Reasons to Slack
Excuse me while I dust off my counseling psych degree a sec, here. *ahem* We are in a very sensitive, turbulent time right now. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a century in the Western world. We are in a hugely traumatizing situation here. Not just for the financial losses, but the fact that COVID-19 has killed thousands of people and left many more with permanent lung damage. We still haven’t gotten a handle yet on exactly how contagious this thing is, how long you’re contagious for, or whether you’re immune once you’ve had it, assuming you survive. We don’t have adequate testing, emergency rooms estimate that for every positive test there are 10-20 people out there infected and untested, and everyone with a cough is suddenly Schroedinger’s COVID case. Governments worldwide are slow to react in spite of the rising death toll. People have had friends and family die horribly from this thing in a short period of time. Even people who didn’t already have issues with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses are feeling stressed, strained and scared–and, yes, traumatized. This image is guilt-tripping people who are actively being traumatized.
So we’re already starting with a populace that is dealing with this collective trauma, as well as whatever personal trauma each individual is experiencing. Not always easy to seize the day when you’re going through that. And I can think of a few other reasons that might further complicate this whole “Just get a side gig!” thing:
–They’re a parent who suddenly has all their kids at home, all the time, demanding time and attention and food, AND they still have to work eight hours a day from home, or maybe even more if their S.O. is unemployed/sick/etc. By the way, if someone trots out Isaac Newton or William Shakespeare or some other historical guy who managed to do epic things during a pandemic, remember that they usually had wives or servants to do all the laundry and cooking and cleaning and (if applicable) childcare for them.
–They’re disabled or chronically ill, and don’t have the ability/energy/etc. to just go and make something happen, just like that. Imagine if you just randomly got the fatigue from a really bad flu, and you never knew whether it was going to last a day or a month. And if you tried exerting yourself when you were feeling better, chances are you’d slip back into fatigue-land. That’s what a lot of my chronically ill/etc. friends have to deal with, to say nothing of issues with accessibility of resources for starting a side gig.
–They don’t have any money for the supplies needed to start a side hustle, or the supplies have been hoarded by hobbyists preparing for a Pandemic Staycation.
–They don’t have the skills for something that just requires what they already have (like, for example, writing on a laptop you already happen to own). Often these skills are things that can’t be perfected in a few weeks at home, but may take years to develop before they’re really marketable–like, for example, the skill to make a decent living on side hustles.
–They have anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions that make it hard to function even in the best of times, but even moreso in this…well…mess. Even people who were mentally healthy before are going to be developing diagnosable anxiety and depression disorders before all’s said and done. And speaking from personal experience, those of us who look successful on the outside can still be internally hamstrung by these conditions at times.
–Plus there’s the fact that we’re not supposed to, you know, leave our homes, which narrows down the field of potential side gigs by a lot.
Even doing something less financially-wrought like learning a new skill or subject takes time, energy, and sometimes money, any or all of which may be scarce for the reasons above and more.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
I am saying all of this as someone who is arguably an expert on the side gig. I have spent the past eight and a half years 100% self-employed (and a lot longer doing it part-time) as an author and artist, able to cover all my bills and expenses, and for a time I was the primary breadwinner of a multi-person household. I have like ten different things I was doing for a living before this all hit, a pretty diverse set of streams of income, even if most of them just up and evaporated in the past few weeks. And while I’m definitely a hell of a lot leaner now than I was a month ago, I still have my head above water for the moment. So I think I know side gigs.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m overall healthy. I have a dog who is a lot less demanding of my time than kids would be. I have my own space where I can focus more or less without interruption. More importantly, I have the skills, the knowhow, the drive and the personality to go out and seek new opportunities. And I’m used to fluctuations in income, though admittedly this one’s unprecedented. Don’t gauge yourself by where I am now. I’ve spent twenty-two years building up my art business, my first book came out in 2006, and I’ve had a series of really good opportunities come my way that I had the privilege to be able to make the most of. I am not your measuring stick, so don’t say “Well, if she can do it why can’t I? I must suck!”
If you’re feeling crappy because you aren’t hopping to it and carpeing the diem and getting everything done, here’s what I have to say to you: Look, you just had your world turned upside-down. Job loss, scarce commodities, sudden lack of outside childcare, restricted movement and inability to be around much of your support system, and did I mention a pandemic is happening, too? Any single one of those things would be difficult for just about anyone to deal with, never mind all at once. And I don’t even know what all else has already been going on in your life–unstable or unsafe living situation, other health issues, breakups and other losses, interpersonal conflicts. You know, normal life stuff.
You’re Not Lazy, or Screwing Up, or (Gods Forbid) Undisciplined
It is totally okay if all you’re doing right now is surviving. It’s okay if you feel like you’re drowning, overwhelmed by all that’s happening both on a global level and more personally. It’s okay if all you can manage right now is to get out of bed and stumble through each day a moment at a time, struggling with a tidal wave of emotions. It’s okay if you’re just trying to keep your kids busy, dealing with a crowded home every single day, or trying to keep COVID-19 at bay. It’s okay if, instead of firing up DuoLingo or opening an Etsy shop, you spend your evenings vegging to Netflix or reading a book or playing hours and hours of Animal Crossing.
Not every moment in your life has to be about being productive even in the best of circumstances, and that goes exponentially so right now. Be patient with yourself, and be kind. You may be one of those folks who literally has to spend all their time scrabbling to try to cover the bills or get some leeway from bill collectors, and you have to dedicate your waking time hunting for resources just to try to get through this week. Believe me, I feel for you, I have a lot of friends in that situation right now, and I hope all of you can find some relief and assistance.
May I suggest something? If you have the energy for something more than the bare essentials of getting by, put that energy toward self-care, whatever you can manage under the circumstances. You can use it to recuperate, to rebuild your emotional and physical resilience. That way if things get rough again in the future, you have more internal reserves to build on. If your usual methods don’t work or aren’t accessible due to lockdown, ask others what they’re doing to keep themselves grounded in this trying time.
Just because you have more time doesn’t mean you don’t have to throw yourself right into something productive! Don’t feel pressured to just go-go-go the moment you have a little freedom to move. If you do decide you want to try a side gig, or a new skill, or learn all about some specialized topic of interest, go for it! If you have the energy and attention and opportunity to pursue something new, it can be a great coping skill during this traumatic time. Just don’t pressure yourself; keep it fun.
One last thing: I want you to save the image I have at the top of this post. And then if you see someone post that meme, saying “Come on, you lazy bums, get up and make that side gig happen! Learn new stuff! Do all the things! No excuses!” you pull out this version, and you look at the edits, you remember that it’s okay to be where you are, and you get back to doing things at your own pace no matter what someone else says. (I find visualizing stapling a printout of the edited version to the offender’s forehead to also be therapeutic, but that may just be me.)
Hang in there, okay? It’s going to be a rough time, but you’re not alone, and what you’re feeling right now is shared by so many people. So just let yourself be where you are in this moment, and we’ll see what hope tomorrow brings. And remember that whatever you’re capable of in this moment: it’s enough.
I am pleased to announce the newest offering in my self-publishing endeavors! To be clear, New Paths to Animal Spiritsis NOT the brand new book I alluded to in yesterday’s post; that one’s still being written. Instead, it is the new, self-published edition of my now out of print Llewellyn book, New Paths to Animal Totems. As the title suggests, I updated the language to be more culturally neutral; however, the content is basically the same, so if you already have the first edition, don’t bother buying this one unless you happen to be a completionist or something like that!
However, if you don’t have this book, it’s actually one of my favorites that I’ve written ! I was reminded of this as I was doing the interior layout for this edition, re-reading the text as I went along. Like all my books, it’s a toolkit that you can pick and choose form, rather than a monolithic chunk of holy writ. I like recommending it to newbies because it breaks my practices with animal spirits down into systems, but it also offers more experienced practitioners some ideas, too, as I basically dissected my practice into the three main approaches I take.
You can read more about this book, and preorder a copy at http://thegreenwolf.com/books/new-paths-to-animal-spirits/ (you can also get instant gratification and order an ebook there, too!) I just got the approval over on Amazon/Kindle, and I’ll place an order for my first batch of paperbacks at the end of the week; your copy will come out of that first batch. I expect to have the box o’ books in hand by the second week in April, and will prioritize getting those out to everyone who preorders now.
I have a few more books that I’ll be converting to self-published status in the weeks to come, so keep your eyes peeled for those new editions!
Try my SHINY NEW PRODUCT, DEELY BOBBERS WITH REAL ANIMAL SKULLS! After two decades of making stuff with dead stuff, and working really, really hard to come up with new ideas, I am pleased to announce that this greatest of inventions is now ready for YOU to BUY!!!!
LOTS of animals skulls for you to choose from, except all I have right now are muskrats but they’re really cool muskrats. I’ll have more soon, I promise! And you get a leather-wrapped headband so that you don’t have to think about how the plastic inside of it will someday end up in the ocean and kill a progressively smaller array of animals who mistake it for food and eat it and then die!!
if YOU want to be the life of the party!!!! then you need an ANIMAL SKULL DEELY BOBBER! Just $39.95 plus shipping anywhere that’s the United States!!!! And for a really great deal, buy TWO for just $79.90 plus shipping!!!!
“HOW DO I BUY THIS AMAZING NEW PRODUCT??” you ask? Comment below if you want information on how to wire money to me via a secure Western Union transaction!!!
I am excited to announce that the official IndieGoGo campaign for my next book, Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things, will launch on February 6, 2018! More than a book on taxidermy or bone identification, Vulture Culture 101 is a guidebook to the subculture surrounding the preparation, collection and appreciation of hides, bones and other specimens. It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced Vultures and may even appeal to those who are just curious about us and our collections.
The full IndieGoGo campaign won’t be launched til the 6th, but you can get a taste of what will be included at the prelaunch page here. And you can sign up for an email reminder to be sent to you when the campaign officially starts!
As with my wildly successful IndieGoGo campaigns for The Tarot of Bones, this campaign will help me to fund attendant costs for the book, such as paying guest writers for how-to essays on topics like hide tanning and bone cleaning, as well as the cost of printing physical books and having them shipped to me. Anything left over after that will help me cover my bills and other expenses as I finish up the last bit of writing, editing, layout and other work that remains before projected publication in Summer 2018.
I will, of course, make an announcement when the campaign itself goes live, but for now check out the prelaunch page for a taste of what’s to come! And, as always, thank you for your ongoing support.
Hey, folks! Today’s my birthday–yes, I’m a Samhain baby! I’m taking the day off and having some quality time out in the woods, and later there will be tasty, tasty foods.
If you’d like to help make my day even better, please take a look at my various projects and consider supporting me through them. I’m self-employed, so taking a day off is a pretty big luxury. Even if you aren’t able to support me financially right now, just sharing this post with other folks helps as it gets the word out further. I’d really appreciate it!
–The Tarot of Bones:This is a HUGE project I’ve been working on for almost two years, and it’s just about ready to come to fruition. Throughout 2015 I created 79 assemblages from bones, moss and other natural and reclaimed materials, one for each of the Tarot cards plus the Happy Squirrel. I then had the pieces photographed, and I just sent the final card designs to the printer last week. I’ve also written a companion book to go with the deck. They’re not *quite* ready for preorder yet–I am waiting to get the physical proofs in the mail–but you can keep up on updates by entering your email in the Subscription form on the right sidebar of the official Tarot of Bones website. I expect to have the deck and book in hand in early 2017.
–Still Death: Also in Portland, I run a monthly art and education session where folks get to draw animal skulls from my personal collection and learn about comparative anatomy! We generally meet on the third Tueday of the month at the Fernie Brae on SE Hawthorne. You can find out more information, to include on upcoming sessions, here on the official website.
Have you ever daydreamed about an ideal life? One where you had something you wanted dearly given to you? I know I have. And I just had the realization of one of those daydreams offered to me.
I’ve been offered an incredibly generous opportunity to move the Green Wolf studio to the Washington coast a little north of the Columbia River; the studio space is on a property that’s literally beachfront–you can see the water from the house, and it’s just a few minutes’ walk away through grassy dunes. The property extends into pine and fir forest, and up to a big, beautiful freshwater lake. The property owners are working with the Nature Conservancy–an organization I’ve supported for many years–to improve the habitat for several endangered species, including Western snowy plovers, Pacific red-legged frogs, and at least one endangered species of butterfly. Wanna see some pictures?
This is the main room of the studio space–roomy, with a wood stove to augment the central heating. This would be my main workspace–there are a couple of small bedrooms for art supply storage and a place to sleep when I stay here multiple nights.
It has a HUGE kitchen! With an island and everything! I LOVE to cook; it’s one of my favorite forms of self-care. So this is definitely a benefit a lot of art studios lack.
Check out this awesome solarium just outside the kitchen! Currently it doesn’t have any heating or cooling, but the windows allow plenty of crossflow of air, and space heaters are a thing. I foresee moving my plants in here, at least the outdoor ones. Who knows how else this little nook might inspire me?
But what’s outside? LOTS of dunes. Sand, and grass, spotted with fir and pine trees. This is just a tiny taste of the land I’ll be living on. Isn’t it beautiful?
I think the thing I might be most excited about is the ability to see sunsets over the ocean. I haven’t lived in a place where I had a good view of sunsets since I was a child, and I’ve missed them desperately. This will be the view from my workspace every night.
Sound amazing? It IS! I’m still utterly gobsmacked that this is happening, and that it seems like such a good fit for everyone involved. For me, personally, it’s going to be beneficial on several levels:
–I’m under a LOT of stress; I have a lot of irons in the fire that I have to keep a close eye on, I’m the financial backbone of a household of three, and being self-employed is always a feast or famine situation, beholden to others’ desire to part with their money in return for art, books and other goodies. I’m thirty-seven years old, I’ve lived in cities for the past fifteen years, and the noise and traffic have really been wearing me down the past few years. Living in a more rural area, like what I grew up in, will be an indescribable stress reliever. Just being able to sleep without a white noise machine for the first time in over a decade will have remarkable effects.
–You may have heard me talk about how I share a tiny apartment with two other people. I love living with my partner and our roommate, but it IS really cramped in there. This studio move would allow them to stay in the apartment full time with more space while I split my time between the coast and Portland. And I’d have more room for artistic creativity in a beautiful space with LOTS of natural light, and I’d feel more inspired to write and engage in other endeavors. I’d still be able to spend some of my time in Portland taking care of business and being with my city friends, and keep my home there as well.
–I can use my years of environmental volunteering experience to help improve the land here, from cleaning up beach trash to planting native species. I’ve always wanted a space to dedicate myself to in a really deep, intensive manner, and I might actually have the opportunity if this all works out in the long run.
–Right now if I need to escape to a quiet place for a break from work, I have to make an effort to get out of town, which at the very least involves setting a day aside and driving somewhere, plus deal with all the travel expenses. Where I’ll be moving to is surrounded by national and state parks and wildlife refuges, plus little cute coastal towns with museums and antique shops, and of course the land itself. This means I don’t have to spend as much money on the rare occasion I take an actual vacation–and I can sleep at home in my own bed (and therefore not have to save up for hotels).
–I’ll finally have a place that I feel comfortable having company in–something I haven’t had since I was married years ago. (And yes, I can have friends and family over!)
So how can you help? Well, the timing on this is a bit tight financially. It being April and all, I’m already having to budget a four-figure sum for paying my tax accountant AND paying federal, state and local taxes. Having traveled a lot in the past two months for events, I haven’t been home to work on art as much, and while the coffers aren’t empty, they’re more thinly populated than I would like when preparing for a move. And since I’ll need to spend a fair amount of time over the next few weeks packing my studio up for a late-April relocation, that’s going to be less time to do the catching up I had intended to do this month. I hadn’t really planned to move; this was a pretty sudden and unexpected opportunity. So I have to budget for moving expenses, plus some groceries and household items for the new studio space, on top of normal bills and business expenses and taxes.
I don’t want or need handouts. What would greatly help, though, is purchases! If you’ve been eyeing any of my artwork lately, or have felt the desire to buy my books, now would be a really optimal time to do so! I have shipments of all my books headed this way to arrive any day now, and my Etsy, eBay and Storenvy shops are all full of things I’ve created that are ready to go to new homes. If you’re in Portland, I invite you to join me the evening of April 19 for Still Death, my monthly educational and art session where you get to learn a bit about comparative anatomy and then draw/paint/otherwise use some of my animal skulls for artistic reference–just $10/person. (Yes, I’ll be in Portland for Still Death every month!) You can buy a totem card reading from me, one or five cards. You can become my Patron on Patreon and get all sorts of nifty monthly perks sent to you in the mail. And while it won’t benefit me immediately, contributing to the Tarot of Bones IndieGoGo campaign between now and April 30 will help ease further financial pressure when I get the deck and book printed later this summer.
Even if you aren’t able to contribute, please pass this post along to others so they can have the opportunity to help me make a smooth transition to my new studio space/second home! Many thanks for your support, both in the past, and as I move into this exciting new stage of my life.
(I’m almost certainly forgetting at least a few–-I’ll add them as I remember them!) Since I began creating my hide and bone art in 1998, and later as I added writing, event organization and other efforts to my creative career, I have donated portions of the proceeds to these groups. When I’m able to, I also make time to volunteer with litter pickup, invasive species removal, tree planting and other efforts.
I highly encourage people to check out these organizations and consider helping them out!
Hey, folks! Just wanted to let you know about a bunch of updates to the Green Wolf website that I made this week:
Animal Parts Laws Page: This got a BIG overhaul; the page is now linked to three sub-pages, one each for U.S. Federal, U.S. State, and non-U.S. laws. I went through and updated dead links and redirects, and of course the non-U.S. laws section is an entirely new addition! If you know of any laws that are not included here, please email me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail.com
Portfolio: I updated my portfolio with some of the best of my recent artwork; there’s purchasing links to Etsy for those that have not yet sold.