June 3rd, 2012

He does. He’s an asshole. He’s tough, and mean.

But mostly, he sucks because he thinks of and does things that everyone else wishes that they could think of and do. He does crazy and makes it seem brilliant. He wraps other people’s dumb up in bacon, deep fries it, serves it with a side of awesome that makes the rest of the world look really bad.

Just recently he created a hugely hilarious and profound Kickstarter campaign, partially to fund completion of Band:Smart, partially to buy back his rights and partially to continue proving that punk is about making people THINK.

Here’s what Martin had to say about education:

My second book is called “welcome to the music business…..you’re FUCKED!’ building on a lecture I have been doing and the REAL surprising response that people KNOW they are, and actually prefer being told exactly how things are rather than having it sugar coated. I volunteer occasionally at a liberal arts high school for ‘at risk’ youth – MG21 in Madison – and one scene is indelibly etched on my brain – I left a copy of WTTMBYF’d on a table while i was talking to their teacher – I turned around to witness a fight – not a full on fight fight -but to and fro –  gimme gimme gimme action – over a BOOK! – that was it. sorry to the seats of higher learning that cant take it, the libraries that wont allow it and anyone else that has a problem with it – game over. education, real education wins.

I love working with Martin. I love that he can take the ordinary and make it truly extraordinary. I love that we can disagree and fight, and come out the other side closer, stronger, and even more ready to change the world.

So, Martin? If you are listening, I say MARTIN ATKINS SUCKS!

He does. He makes me work hard. He makes me think, and makes me want more.

Keep up the awesome work.

May 8th, 2012

Martin Atkins swears a lot. A lot. More than that. But, what he has to say should be heard no matter how many f-bombs there are in there. He’s spent decades learning music, business, and people and will share all of it, if you listen.

So, here’s your chance. He wrote a book called Tour:Smart. It is awesome. Buy it, or steal it. He wrote Welcome to the Music Business You’re Fucked. It is also awesome. And if you watch his kickstarter video, you can have it for FREE.

Did I mention his kickstarter video? His next book Band:Smart has even more contributors, even more amazing information and even more swearing. So, why so much swearing Martin?

“I’ve decided that if more fucks-per-page than any other book out there gets someone to read, retain this information and use it to create their own success (or at least avoid some problems) then who the fuck is anyone to say I shouldn’t put a few more (and more) fucks in my book? I’m happy to use any means necessary to communicate – from fucks to free.”

In addition to sponsoring f-bombs, you can get copies of his music, pieces of his memorabilia, and maybe even learn something along the way.

Band:Smart includes contribution from names like Adam Grayer, Andrew Dubber, Andy Sernovitz, Ariel Hyatt, Bob Lefsetz, George Massenburg, Fabricio Nobre, Joel Gausten, Josh Hogan, Julian Herzfeld, Lee Popa, Madalyn Sklar, Ryan Lykken, Mark Kates, Mark Williams, Micah Solomon, Nan Warshaw, Ruth Daniel, Tommy Borschield, Wendy Day AND ME!

April 6th, 2012

People talk about thinking outside the box.  Whatever.  My students and clients don’t even know there is a box.


In the last few weeks, here’s what creativity has shown up in my inbox.


Martin Atkins pledges “No More Students Eaten by Tigers” at Madison Media Institute.


The Outfit roller derby is shooting the pilot for Derby Little Secrets, their new tv show. Stay tuned!


And a former student created fractal pizza.

I couldn’t ask for more.



March 10th, 2012

I’ve been working on a Mindfulness Meditation exercise called “Leave No Trace”. The exercise is to pick one area of your house and make sure that every time you enter that space, or use that space, you leave it in such a way that your best friend, husband, roommate, etc, would not know you had been there. So, in the kitchen – wash the dishes you used AND put them away. In the laundry room – finish the job! Fold an put away the clothes rather than leave them in the dryer or a laundry basket. You get the point…

As I have been doing this, someone said, “You should leave things BETTER than when you found them.” I thought about it, and I disagree. Your intention should be to leave no trace. For example, if I come to stay at your house, and fill your fridge and freezer with yummy things I cooked for you, some might see that as leaving your kitchen better than I found it. But, if someone did that in my house, that would leave me without the groceries I need for my daughter’s snacks at school and the groceries I need for my husband’s restricted diet. Is that better?

As a band, or artist, or office employee, what does it look like to LEAVE NO TRACE? As a friend, parent, child, bandmate? Well, I have some ideas.

What if a band made sure that when they left a gig the stage was clear, all flyers, stickers, CDs and empties were put away or disposed of before load out?

What if your posters were taken down and the cables and mics and stands you borrowed were neatly put away – even if that is just to the side of the stage?

What if your co-workers never needed to empty your trash or recycling? And your mug was always washed and put away.

What if your friends did not need to worry about the emotional baggage you dropped and then blew off?

What if your hotel maid only had to replace the linens and change the bag in your trash can?

Instead of focusing on BETTER, why not focus on what comes before better.

I have found that I am more aware of every dish and spoon I casually reach for. I have found that I am becoming more attentive the little “I get to it laters”. And I have found an extra hour in my day that I am not spending cleaning up old messes and old dishes. Weird, hunh? So, maybe BETTER is just about making sure I LEAVE NO TRACE.

March 5th, 2012

Someone recently mentioned how much they liked my Ten Tools to Get Through My Week  post. So, it’s been on my mind, and here are ten more.

  1. Pain is temporary. Unless it’s not.

    I sprained my ankle. Badly. But, every day it’s a little better. And every day it still hurts. I could be complaining, sitting on the couch and waiting for it to get better. I’m not. I’ve been walking, doing gentle exercises, soaking it, and generally taking good care of it. And the pain is temporary. But if there is a task, a job, a “thing” I cannot move past, maybe it’s time to look at what is causing that pain eliminate it, resolve it, or find a new perspective. Pain that lasts forever benefits no one.

  2. Food is Medicine

    If you eat like crap, you feel like crap. Enough said.

  3. Very little is IMPORTANT

    Since my daughter was born, and the last 6 months, and the last 2 weeks, blah blah blah…. it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the IMPORTANCE of things. But really, are you loved? Are you safe? The rest has a crazy way of working itself out. So put down the drama, the cell phone, and the IMPORTANT things long enough to realize you are fine. It will all be fine.

  4. Making a perfect hard-boiled egg is not that hard, yet frequently it’s impossible

    It’s really simple. Cold water 1 inch over the egg. Bring to a hard boil, cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Immediately cool. Perfect creamy yellow, and the egg peels in one piece. IN THEORY. And almost everything in life is a hard-boiled egg. You have to practice, and you’ll still hit a bad batch of eggs.

  5. Trying new things makes you think new things

    For various reasons, I’ve been taking on different types of clients. I’ve been reading different books. I’ve been going new places. Expanding my comfort zone because it feels good. And because when I do, I discover how much I like new things. And how much I like creating new things. And when I reach past my walls, I discover that they weren’t really walls. Just suggestions that I didn’t need to follow.

  6. Saying ‘No’ is not a bad thing

    It’s okay to not do everything. In fact, it’s good. It means that the things you do, you can do well. So don’t overbook, overdo or over promise. Say a few ‘No’s.

  7. Stop while you’re ahead – and get some sleep

    I’m too tired to find ten. So you get seven. Night night!

February 8th, 2012

John Linsley was an astro-physicist. He made huge discoveries in the field of Cosmic Rays. He was also my father-in-law.

I had the amazing opportunity to be with him for the last 6 weeks of his life. He shared his story, his wishes, his regrets, and his last laughter with me. One of his wishes was that the remants of his life work not end up in a dumpster. The family was in strong agreement that this would NOT happen. But for me, it was not just that wish that motivated me to find a home for his books and papers. It was the Christmas Goose.


 The Christmas Goose

For many years, I knew John Linsley only as the father to my future husband. He was smart, kind and funny. During the summer of 1999, I grew close to John as I looked in on him from time to time while the rest of his family was off on their own adventures. I’d drop in after work and we’d eat gyros from his favorite restaurant and chat before his 6:30 bedtime. I began to understand more of his scientific work and it’s significance on the day he shared that his ideas would finally be tested in space. That fall, my not yet husband Alessandro and I moved to Chicago. We returned to Albuquerque for Christmas, and John invited us to a Christmas dinner. John was getting older and had slowed down and we anticipated doing much of the cooking and cleaning. We were very wrong.

When we arrived in the early afternoon, the table was set, the house smelled amazing, and it was clear we were in for a massive treat. John had cooked a full feast including a goose, and blueberry cobbler in a dutch oven. It was one of the most memorable meals of my life, for the food, and for the company. He did not let us clean one dish, and we just enjoyed each other’s company. It was magical.

Then, as we prepared to leave and go to my family’s meal, John gave us his “notes” from the day. In his grand style, he had documented the entire process required to create that meal. I still giggle just a little when I look at that page.



So, when I was asked why I, John Linsley’s daughter-in-law, a musician, a business person, felt the need to preserve his legacy, I could only think of the goose. It represents his passion for process and execution. It shows his desire for perfection and experimentation. And the results changed the world, if only for the few minutes that we were eating the meal.

But his life’s work has changed more than just my world. And his papers show how and why and what. I believe in truth and balance and knowledge. And it is because of people like John Linsley that I do.

For further updates on the availability of the archive, check Symmetry.

January 9th, 2012

Here’s what I did today…

6AM – Ignored my alarm and hit snooze twice. Checked my email and messages on my phone while hubby took a shower. Got up, brushed teeth, helped the kid get dressed, unloaded the dishwasher and made breakfast.

7AM – Ate breakfast, sent hubby off to his day job. Cleaned the kitchen with the kid. (ie I washed dishes, she made noise)

8AM – Watched Sesame Street. Caught up on Words With Friends.

9AM – Changed all the sheets in the house. Started the wash – did 4 loads today. Folded one load that I will need for an upcoming trip with the kid’s help… (ie I folded it all twice.)

10AM – Played Cooties, played cards, prepared a snack, drank some tea, moved the laundry.

11AM – Discussed the definition of about 1000 words with the kid while I unpacked boxes from our Christmas trip, with her help.

12PM – Ate a fabulous meatball sandwich with the kid that we made together. Ate 4 clementines with her. Read 6 books to her.

1PM – Worked out on my elliptical trainer for 30 minutes and did 15 minutes of yoga while the kid had some “quiet time”. (ie – she took everything she owns out of her drawers in her room)

2PM – Went to the Forest Preserve to run around, throw rocks at the pond (it’s frozen), and feed deer with the kid.

3PM – Snack again! Goldfish and cranberries with milk. (ew?) Took a shower finally while the kid amused herself.

4PM – Computer time with the kid. Counting, reading and shapes! Walked to the train station to pick up hubby.

5PM – Walked home. Handed off the kid. Ate dinner while I worked at my desk. Made lists, returned emails, sorted the mail.

6PM – Wrote 2 blog posts. One for The Local Tourist, one for later on this blog – it still needs some details. Made more lists.

7 PM – Wrote this post. Why? So that I could show what it’s like to be a stay at home mom. And own a business. And be a human being. And love every minute of it.

January 4th, 2012

It’s 2012. A NEW YEAR. And everyone is talking about their resolutions.

I believe in change. I believe in action. I believe in life. But not New Year’s Resolutions ™ .

Resolutions seem to be a way of saying, “I am not enough. I should be/have/do more. If only…” It’s as if you are saying, “I want this thing, and I know the only way to get it is through some miraculous change that I am incapable of enacting on my own.”

What I am interested in is what I am doing well, and what is working well in my life. I go to yoga and it makes me feel better. I have been maintaining a routine that seems to make everything in the house a little easier for the whole family. By planning meals a week in advance, I always have good food choices available. I like all of that.

What I want is more of what I am already cultivating. I want peace, balance, space, laughter, love and health. Writing down GO TO THE GYM EVERYDAY won’t give me that. Telling myself that my life will be everything I want if I GO TO THE GYM EVERYDAY will only make me see holes in my life that I didn’t notice before. Recoginizing how often I did go to the gym last year and how amazing it made me felt gives me an instant sense of wellness, and an immediate desire to go work out.

I will not “resolve” to do anything new this year. I will not focus on what I don’t have, what I “should” have, what I lack. I will focus on change, and action and life.

Here’s my strategy and motto for 2012: Less is More. What can I have or do less of, to allow or create more in my life?

What changes the world is action. Little tiny things that add up to monumental and grand moments of beauty and truth.

Less is More. I will be a little bit less, and experience a little bit more. Less time spent on the shoulds, and more on the do. Less stress, more trust. Less worry, more faith. Less eating, more yoga. Less multi-tasking, more enjoyment.

In a year, many things change in our lives. Kids grow, we grow. We have health challenges, life challenges, job challenges and relationship challenges. We go on vacation, move, and try new things.

A year ago, my little one was 8 months away from starting school, still napping 2 hours a day, and a tiny toddler. A year ago, I could not have predicted that 2011 would bring early preschool for her, and word like “negotiate” and “rumpus”. I did not plan on trips to Kansas, Ohio, and Italy for my family. I could not have planned for some moments this fall that changed my entire view of the next 5years of my life. A year ago, I would not have to make the decisions I make today.

In another year, what will I look back and say? I don’t think it will be GO TO THE GYM EVERYDAY. I hope it will be More Abundance.

November 22nd, 2011

So often, the things that stop us are hard. Hard to face, hard to fix, hard to talk about, hard to live. …

I refuse to accept that. I refuse to be stopped. People often ask me what I do for a living, and I answer that I consult and help small businesses in the arts succeed at being awesome. But, I think what I really do is smash things. I take other people’s problems and smash them into tiny enough pieces that they can be cleaned up.

Last week, I spent 2 hours unraveling a lost account, and set of previously purchased, but unused ISBN numbers for an author. I did that by calling a phone number (which I had to dig to find) and telling the person on the other end that I had no idea how to resolve this, and would take any help he could give me. I also facilitated planned a Thanksgiving dinner that includes turkey, elk and homemade past. And I cleaned a house including finding over 20 bags and boxes of things that could go to Goodwill. None of that was hard for me.

So what is hard for me? To understand why other people let things be hard. I could tell all kinds of other stories about what I did last week. I could ask everyone to cut me some slack because life is hard and I’m coping with a lot. But, why? It’s my life. It’s not hard, it’s what is. I don’t need slack. I need success. I need love, and work, and laughter. And none of that is hard.

A former client used to always say, “But this is what is!” And I would agree. For her, it was drama, tragedy after tragedy and too much to do. For me, it is what it is. It’s my life. I like it better when it’s easy. I like it when I can tell a client, “I didn’t get to you today. I’ll try again tomorrow.” And the client say, “Okay!” I like it when I look around and see my choices as I made them and life as it presents itself. I like it when even in the darkest moments, I still have a choice, and an attitude of YES!This isn’t hard. What’s hard is to fight that. What’s hard is to accept drama as a way of life. What’s hard is to wait to for everything to explode instead of just smashing it into the bits I can deal with.

So, as we approach the hard months of the year… THE HOLIDAYS, and then we approach the other hard months of the year… THE COLD MONTHS, I am going to find a bigger hammer, and I am going to smash and smash and smash. And I am going to laugh when pieces fly off. Got anything you want me to smash?



I got up from publishing this post to do the dishes, and knocked this over.  OOOPS!  But hilarious – thanks for the laugh Universe!

November 16th, 2011

I was going to write a brilliant blog post. One that explained copyright, marketing and the secrets of the Universe all in one. A blgo post that was destined to change the course of all humankind…

I didn’t. The life and times of MLC and Joanna QL did not agree with that plan. Instead, you get a list. That’s right, a list of ten things. Ten tools I have used this week to survive, grow and live.

1. It’s always something.
There will always be drama if you want it. There will always be a reason to freak out, smoke, eat crap, yell at someone if you look hard enough.
There will always be a friend, a break, a shoulder. There will always be a smile, a gift, a soothing moment if you allow it.

2. Don’t save things until the last minute.
If it’s really important, it can’t wait. If it waits, it may not happen. Or, it may happen and bring with it drama, tears and misunderstandings.

3. Be nicer than you think you can.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has burdens. Everyone has something they are not saying. You don’t know what that it. So, cut that jerk in your life some slack and be nice. And recognize that someone else is doing the same for you.

4. Say thank you and mean it.
Do it. You can change the world.

5. Realize that living what is will always be more powerful than living what I wish it was but isn’t.
We all want it do be different. But it isn’t. And looking at what is – there is some seriously amazing stuff in our lives. Live that.

6. There is always more.
Another opportunity will come. Another dollar can be made. Another friend will be there.

7. Sleep helps everything.
Try it. Put down the struggle, the stress, the drama and sleep for eight to ten hours. Betcha it’s not as bad as it was before you slept.

8. Say thank you and mean it.
Do it again. Keep changing the world.

9. Ask for what you need and want.
It can be yours. But you have to ask first.

10. Knowledge can never be anything other than it is.
Theory will not fix a problem, but might give you a place to start. Answers only apply to specific questions. Information can label and define, but does not create. Learn, absorb, and then go live. REALLY live. With all of your allness.