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I've promised myself this year, like the others, to be better at some things.

* to read more than I did last year (I think I only read 27 books when my annual goal remains at 50)
* to exercise more and try to take better care of myself physically
* to be more organized, the thing I am much better at than I used to be but still have far to go
* to write in a journal more. this one, and the paper one, and the sketchbook one, and all the ones.

2015 was a good year in so many ways. sharing a schedule with my husband for the first time in 13 years allowed us to travel more and support each other more. I'm authoring my first book! I gained independence through my own online shop. I got incredible press for this online shop. my sister was married and, with gratitude, I got to be a big part of her celebration! I weathered a storm for the first half of the year and was rewarded with a garden for the second. I should be so lucky in 2016.

happy new calendar year.
Practical spoiler: there is no way to undo "erase all email".

This is going to sound insane and stupid and devastating and unimaginable, and it is all of those things.

I was watching the new Aziz Ansari show on Netflix and just playing with my phone. Not even looking at it, just swiping out of habit. I saw a button appear and tapped it without realizing what it was or what it said until it was too late. It said "Delete All Mail" or something like that. I immediately realized that's dialogue I had never seen before (it's a new option in iOS 9.1)

I ran to my computer fearing the worst. I watched over 100,000 emails disappear from my email server including contracts, client emails, files that had been archived on my email server, and personal correspondence. I thought maybe they were just moved to the trash. I realized one week of email was there up to the minute.

My phone was systematically permanently deleting anything in Trash that was older than a week. Because that's what it does.

It took less than a minute. I was on hold with Apple's support chat.

Emails from when my husband and I first started dating. Emails during the process of my first picture book. Photos people emailed me from my wedding. All gone.

I contacted Apple and they confirmed that the emails had been deleted and it was not possible to recover them, to interrupt this process, or worse: to prevent it from happening again.

An ordinary dialogue box stands between you, your phone, and the possibility of wiping your entire business and personal correspondence off the face of the earth.

Tonight I had a panic attack. The dizzy, floating above earth, heaving breaths kind of panic attack.
Apple support phone lines were closed.

Fuck all the inbox zero people who probably demanded this feature. No phone should have the ability to do this to your life.

why we are burning out in the arts

There's too much to keep up with. When it comes to actually writing in this journal, I just never seem to find the time. Or it's just so much easier to share on the fly (i.e. facebook/twitter). But there's value in the longform and value in putting the time into it.

I'm newly addicted to an app called List (http://li.st)
Check it out and add me if you're on there. It helps me embrace the longform *and* it's on the fly.

Anyway, I came here to share this really good article I read: http://performing.artshub.com.au/news-article/career-advice/performing-arts/madeleine-dore/why-we-are-burning-out-in-the-arts-249582

I think the #1 cause of burnout for artists is a negative relationship (i.e. having someone else steal your work, or having a partner betray your trust. I've had paintings physically stolen off the walls of my art shows (12 times - in san francisco each and every time), I've had galleries not return my work, I've had my work copied by corporations and individuals alike, sometimes even friends. and I've had trusted licensors steal my ideas, underpay me, stop paying me, miscommunicate, stop communicating, or any number of things that all add up to feeling low. there's also the social media component, and the pressure to keep people "engaged" instead of actually doing your work. and the personal aspect of it, too. getting friended or followed, then unfriended or unfollowed.

eventually you sort of start to feel like your existence doesn't matter and your work doesn't matter and you'll never be respected or appreciated, and it will always be a struggle and it will never stop being a struggle, to make things and to actually give a shit about what happens to it while you try to pay your bills, and you try to share what you do with those who care, and you try to do more of it, and you try to just keep up and try not to let things hurt you too deeply.

i'd love to hear from an artist who's been working full-time as a freelancer for longer than me who doesn't feel this way, and i'd really love to learn how they do it. is it just a complete detachment from the work itself, like any other job? are you somehow treated so differently than me, respected in every business relationship and treated with some kind of reverence? are they just paid very handsomely?

if it's you, please comment or email me at susie (at) boygirlparty.com

dead serious.

here's a quote from the article i particularly liked:

I'd say a major pressure in the arts comes from living a life of constant financial insecurity. Artists work very hard, usually in multiple ways on several different projects, but this labour seldom gives you a regular income, so you're coping with stresses that don't have to do with your work, but are a result of it.

and here's a picture:

and here's a poll:
Poll #2025562 sometimes don't you feel so super tired?

sometimes don't you feel so super tired?

doing a lot of this lately.

doing a lot of this lately

it's as much work as a solo art show but there's so little i can share until it's published (in a couple years!)


ten years.

tomorrow marks ten years for my shop on Etsy. considering how much of every day i spend working on my shop/shipping/communicating through Etsy, this sort of feels like it's not an accomplishment at all. it feels like a day job of its own, so separate from what i wish my day looked like.

shouldn't i, at some point, be working less crazy hours?
waking up in the night with stress dreams less?
feel like i have earned some sense of accomplishment, accolade or feeling of partnership with etsy through my ten years of unending labor toward their reputation?

when i talk about etsy, i sound like my friends talk about corporate jobs that wronged them.

i heard an interview this morning with SVP of Etsy's Members and Community, and she said she's informed by her past experience as a therapist and feels sellers who are unhappy are just negatively reacting to change. this is so patronizing and dismissive, especially when sellers are often unhappy with things etsy has the power to change.
it makes me question why i have poured so much time into something for ten years that does not care whether or not i am happy with it.

the way i spend my day today on etsy does not look much different from ten years ago, except ten years ago i felt visible.
i've been talking a lot about Etsy lately. it's a website i depend on to put a roof over my head -- although over and over, they poke holes in it with the many changes they make to the site, and now, the unpredictable future that accompanies their stock offering. (which motivated me to relaunch my online store on my website)

you can hear me (and more importantly, an journalist from WSJ who has been writing about Etsy) talk about what these changes might mean on this podcast: Etsy: DIY to IPO

maybe you'll also hear a quiver in my voice because speaking about the Etsy experience comes with a sort of looming threat they've established over the years that they can close your business and shut you down, maybe even if they just don't like what you've said.

i really feel the majority of serious Etsy sellers live in a perpetual state of fear: fear of constant changes Etsy makes to the site that cause their sales to spike and plummet unpredictably and without recourse, fear of negative feedback, fear of being copied, fear of an uncertain future with a website who has all but hidden and locked down the branding and customer base of each of their shops… this list can go on. and i'm writing this post in the middle of the night because worry about Etsy literally has kept me up at night. because instead of listening and actively responding and making changes that serve rather than alienate their sellers, they could just shut me down.

artists like me on Etsy should feel utterly supported by and heard by this platform -- we drive Etsy and make it special (and, according to this podcast, account for 97% of their revenue) but there is such an imbalance here. years ago, Etsy straight up broke their search function so only an SEO guru - not a crafter - can be found. they removed the very idea of a homepage and turned it into a feed of their marketing team's picks. most recently, they've made some really damaging and scary changes to their etsy app, and even to their accounting reports.

and their marketing team's "picks" -- what they face out to their millions of members -- are NOT reflective of the Etsy / craft community i know, built by real artists, movers and shakers. Etsy's marketing team defines and highlights "popular shops" differently, too.

but here's the thing: Etsy has been - and sometimes still is - an awesome website with wonderful potential to support and sustain artists (real artists, not resellers of Alibaba stuff). they certainly have done this in the past. and I know amazing people (or at least one really amazing person) who works there who has helped me understand changes on Etsy during some of my darkest hours with Etsy.

but Etsy is making some decisions lately that really hurt and scare individuals like me who've knit their businesses together with a changing marketplace and no longer can trust what might lie ahead or what it means for their businesses.

thanks to Julie Sabatier for the interview and for asking all the right questions and for this thoughtful podcast. for more info about this episode & her podcast – Rendered Radio – go here.

recently, Etsy quietly announced an update to their app: etsy listings will now contain "similar items" by other shops.

this has created room for knock offs and copies and just crappy crap to be displayed right within a listing, alongside the listing, and even worse - to appear authored by the owner of the original listing.

In my listing for this (first image); we get this (etsy app image):

In my listing for this (first image); we get this (etsy app image):

"Meet the owner!"…are you kidding me?

aside from this crappy garage sale aesthetic that all shops now have, and the completely disingenuous motivation behind this change on Etsy's part making all shops look like all they sell is complete garbage related by keywords, i think this shows an even deeper problem at Etsy:

i think they honestly do not know what they offer as a website anymore. literally no one is selling on Etsy because they want their crap randomly displayed next to someone else's crap.

clearly they're trying to compete with the aesthetic and mission of websites like Amazon and eBay. they're, in my opinion, doing the exact opposite of what a website with so many artists behind it should be doing.

no titleno, i did not make this. and i am not the owner. i hate you, $1 to-do list person who copied my item tags.

Don't even get me started on what comes up when you search my shop name boygirlparty®

Maybe Etsy's out to a catered lunch (they literally get those twice a week…seriously, not kidding, google "Eatsy"), or maybe they're too busy celebrating the success of their stock options turning into actual money to care about how actually upsetting this is for sellers. Yep, because Etsy recently announced an IPO for Etsy stock and intent to serve businesses that can sell in volume for the benefit and interest of shareholders: their prospectus outlined they make more money from sellers than they do from the actual sale of goods.

Um, is anybody home over there? Etsy sellers, this is your cue to ask yourself: what in the actual hell is happening

i wish Etsy would open a curated section of their marketplace. Something like "Etsy Select" where buyers can purchase ACTUAL one-of-a-kind, unique items like original paintings. it would show Etsy's sense of vision and support of originality, rather than their lust to become the next amazon – which, despite the fact that the site is literally powered by a hundred thousand shops like mine generally working for below minimum wage because they're self employed, will never happen.

or, i wish Etsy would hire some people in marketing who understand what longtime, established sellers like me (because we're the lifeblood of etsy) really need: an occasional spotlight to Etsy's millions of customers.

some incentive to make us stay.

in other words: No, Etsy -- "Popular shops" are usually not those reselling Burberry scarves with 9 reviews or shelf shops with 4 items / 9 sales (but over 10,000 views -- i assume thanks to "Etsy Picks"):


but, as they make decisions like this, watch as they become the next eBay.
or, just open the app: it already looks that way over there.

PS: my parachute: http://shop.boygirlparty.com
PPS: the only place Etsy sellers can speak out about this is in the forums. Where no one goes ever.


walking around as a ghost

something i think a lot about, i guess, is how indifferent people are toward each other unless they have something to offer each other (money, fame, entertainment,…?)

sometimes i feel like i am walking around as a ghost, spectator, seeing this – seeing that it doesn't matter how hard you work or how honest you are or how kind you are, if you don't have those "things" people lust after – and feeling so, so sad that this is how our society values its people. this is how people decide where to put their focus.

& that i never noticed this is the way the world works before.

how idealistic and silly of me.


persian new year

i know i've written about persian new year before, but i can't find the past entry to link it.

basically, at the vernal equinox and the first day of spring, persians celebrate the new year.

and this makes so much more sense, doesn't it?

you prepare yourself for the new year with a clean home and clear conscience, you spend time with loved ones and dear friends, exchanging money and eating sweets. fresh flowers. goldfish.

there are traditions and superstitions and they're all lovely.

i really feel like this march 20th is going to be a fresh new year. our house is very clean! i created a new website! (http://shop.boygirlparty.com) i'm officially done with all my over-volunteering on things like teaching and library fundraisers and illustration conferences that left me feeling overworked and often under appreciated! my husband is healing from his devastating surf injury! things are just looking up in all kinds of ways.

i write so much about work here. there are so many disappointments in a career as an artist (or any kind of creative.) writers receive rejections, artists get passed up, our projects get killed or never picked up, or just fail. i have no control over whether people choose to support my work or not.

but what i can do is try to enjoy what i'm working on, and work on things i enjoy. and hope.

here's to a hopeful year.



masterpieces are made "by careful scrutiny" and not "by unanimous praise."

from the wiki for Boyhood.
which i really enjoyed.

much to update, but i'm sick of being in front of the computer for now so here's the shortest version:

  • just finished my semester teaching at RISD, absolutely loved my students & had an amazing semester in rhode island. best part was hanging with old friends. worst part was taking the bus in extreme snow with extreme delays.

  • went to iceland and snorkeled and ice climbed. went to new hampshire, boston and new york.

  • michael had a bad accident and is on crutches/in stitches. (he's ok)

  • my new paintings are online and i am so proud of them.

  • my illustration is in Austin Monthly & this year I hope to do more illustration somehow. my dreams are, as always, of the new yorker, the new york times, real simple, and something unexpected, something great.

  • updated the shop with new work for sale…the baby clothing is newest.

  • had visitors swing by our messy home this past week: dain+chris+clark, catie and zach from seattle, jenny and matt from chicago, shannon from colorado. i like when people stop by, and with michael off his feet, he does too.

  • trying my best to read the tournament of books shortlist in time for the judging next month. currently: all the light we cannot see, which is a masterpiece.

  • been spending more than the usual amount of time with my parents, and loving it. how lucky i am to have two of the greatest people i've ever known bound to me by blood! they are stuck with me.

  • it hasn't been an easy year so far, but things are pretty good.

    susie ghahremani / boygirlparty.com -- groundhog illustration for austin monthly