Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Sheila: When the "news" is too much

   In the spirit of playing catch up, here is our second installment of "Dear Sheila," from the Summer 2011 issue of C.L.A.P. Have a burning question you'd like Sheila's advice about? Just email it to:!                                                                   
Dear Sheila, 

Everytime I pay attention to the news, I feel so depressed, I just want to curl up and die, but I want to stay informed! How can I be aware of what is happening in today's world without it ruining my day? 

-Lovin' Ted Turner

Shoot; well, this is a tough one. What I sense, lurking behind your question, is the burden of trying to meet competing, and inchoate, expectations for yourself and the world. 

As a thinking woman, it sounds like you feel you have a responsibility to be informed about the world. As a feeling woman, you have a quite a task just keeping yourself sane in a quickly maddening world. Once again, let's take a Socratic approach to your dilemma . . . what are your expectations for yourself? What does it mean to be informed, in this globally connected world? How do you know if you're informed? Sometimes, when we're missing a metric to let us know whether we're on the right path or not, trying to fulfuill personally meaningful expectations can become a Sisyphean struggle. 

Perhaps, though your handle doesn't reflect this, you feel that major mainstream news organizations are shit and don't reflect reality on the ground (sorry for pissing on T^2). Your sense is, of course, correct->major network and cable news have more in common with fantasy novels than reality most of the time. But where does that leave you? Trapped in a hall of mirrors, in which reality is quickly bifurcated into a senseless nightmare? NO! Here are some alternative news feeds that give relatively unbiased news and current events: Jim Lehrer Newshour, on PBS; the BBC newsfeed tends to cover the whole world, and has an interesting perspective on U.S. events; for politics, is a huge clearinghouse of all the Beltway derring-dos without much editorializing. 

 I would suggest that your responsibilty can be fulfilled in a personal, creative, and meaningful manner. What role do you want to have in your world? Do you want to make informed consumer choices, and make an effort to buy local and ethically sourced products? Then keeping informed about current production practices and local business movements would seem to be important. Is a certain region of the world or conflict particularly salient or pressing to you? Focus your attention on news surrounding that area AND focus your activist energies on getting involved in organizations, demonstrations, education, etc that will increase your agency in the world. Truly, what is more depressing than seeing a miserable world and not being able to do anything about it. But, let's remember, CREATIVE LADIES (of all stripes, creeds, genders, ethnicities, and orientations) ARE POWERFUL!!! 

P.S. Look, I'm a closet Goth too, so I understand the urge to indulge your miserable side by picking scabs, watching Fox News, and listening to old Placebo CDs. There's a time and place for everything. But unless you want to live in your bat-infested basement, leaving only to tie one on at Ground Zero, you'll have to learn when to say when. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BUSINESS MAGIC WOMEN Working 9 to 5 (and then 5 to 10): Let’s Start a Business

Steph Nelson does it again! In this third installment of Business Magic Women (from our Fall 2011 issue), she tackles the subject that so many creative types are now struggling with—doing work you love while also working that other job to pay the bills. Check it out! 

By S.O. Nelson

By this point, we all know that times are tough in the employment world. Recent graduates are having a hard time finding work.  Experienced professionals are being laid off.  As an example, I am an attorney who graduated from law school three years ago.  It has not been easy entering a market with an oversaturation of attorneys and a lack of open positions.  Instead of sitting behind my desk with my face in my hands, I have been re-thinking my career plans.  I want to self propel! I am shifting my focus from legal practice into legal writing and I am also starting to build a prototype of a law firm that I will eventually open.  Additionally, my husband and I are considering starting a food truck business!

In this time of economic turmoil, starting your own business might seem scary.  But it might also be the best option – not only for your future career goals but for your mental health! Here are some reasons why starting your own business is a GOOD idea:

1) It will keep you happy.  This is your project.  You are calling the shots. Starting a business makes a boring day job more tolerable because you will be humming with ideas inside your head.  Building a business will keep you busy while you are unemployed (see #2).  Your project will be a light at the end of a doldrums tunnel. 

2) It will keep you busy.  Idle = unhappy.  Let’s face it, being busy keeps us from worrying.  When you are working on something you love, you’ll get lost in the moment.  It is a great feeling.  A creative lady in 2011 could use some lost moments for sure.

3) It will keep you focused.  Maybe you want to start a jewelry business.  But along the way, you realize that you would rather market the wares rather than bead a necklace.  Starting your own project will help you narrow down exactly what you’d like to do best.

4) It will lead to greater things! If anything, building a business will lead to some new friends and contacts, some new experiences and absolutely new ideas for more projects.

As additional inspiration, there are oodles of rebel women writing blogs about taking their careers into their own hands.  Do what you want to do and succeed! As a start, check out: Cordelia Calls It Quits, The Middle Finger Project and Brazen Careerist.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Call for Winter 2011 submissions!

While it seems like just yesterday we were finishing up the Fall issue, we are getting an early jump on planning the Winter issue to give contributors (and us) a bit more breathing room this time around. 

Big new! Since we have had such a great response from our Fall issue (we are almost completely out!), we are increasing the run for our next issue which means...ALL CONTRIBUTORS WILL RECEIVE A FREE WINTER ISSUE! 

Contributions for the next issue must be received by December 1st. 

Our theme this time around will be "Our Bodies, Ourselves."
Possible topics that could be covered under this theme include:

Food and Drink
Reproductive Rights
The Mind/Body connection
Working with our hands
Body image

While it is encouraged to utilize this theme to inspire your
contribution, we aren't limiting pieces to the theme, so if you
have a different idea that you want to explore, go for it! Pieces
that are related to winter and health are especially encouraged
since it is such a difficult time for the majority of us here in

If you think you have something you'd want to contribute to this
issue, email us at!

ALSO: we will be offering advertising for lady-friendly/run
businesses, organizations and independent creative types in the
next issue at low rates. Advertising gets you space in the zine,
as well on our blog. SO...if you have an etsy shop, run a business
or organization or just want to get what you do out there in a more
formal way, let us know. More details about advertising can be found
 here, under "advertising." Note: we aren't trying to get all
corporate here at C.L.A.P. by offering advertising—it's merely a way
 to help cover the costs of printing, assembling and promoting what
we are doing. Plus, it is a good way to help support our own
independent, female-run, alternative economy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Business Magic Women! II: Mentor Me!

Ready for the second installment of S.O. Nelson's simply superb businessy advice column for creative ladies!?

Well here it is, from our Summer 2011 issue (illustration and layout by the lovely Lisa Luck)!

buis woman II

Creative Ladies outside the TC area: C.L.A.P. is now ONLINE!

I am extremely pleased to announce that, after about six months, C.L.A.P. is FINALLY available for purchase online!

To get your hands on a copy of our Summer issue, click here. Our Fall issue can be purchased here. Quantities are limited (we are almost completely out of our Fall issue!), so get them while the getting is hot!

This just in: C.L.A.P. subscriptions are now available through our etsy shop as well! To get four issues of C.L.A.P. delivered right to your doorstep, check it out here.

For our friends in the Twin Cities area, have no fear! Copies are available at Yeti Records, Everyday People Clothing Exchange, the Mighty Swell, Boneshaker Books and (this afternoon) Miller Upholstering! Soon to come at the Grand Cafe and Mayday Books as well!