Living in a moment, any moment.

Live in whichever moment you choose. by WIPjenni
I enjoy the arts – a lot. I follow artists, creators and craftsmen almost exclusively on Instagram. Among them are quite a few calligraphers, hand letterers and font designers, which is generally pleasant since Instagram is not really for still photos anymore and it’s chock full of short, ‘process’ videos of people drawing, inking, writing, and basically gives me plenty of opportunities to get absorbed in watching ink and paint flow onto a surface; something I have been a fan of as long as I can remember. We’re talking like a long tome ago – way before a billion and one things were tagged #oddlysatisfying.

The problem with following so many letterers is that unfortunately, they are not the most creative of folks when it comes to coming up with things to letter. My feed is a font of re-hashed, outdated, and to be quite blunt, boring, quips and quotes. If I read “live, laugh, love” one more time, why I’ll…! OK, I digress. My point is that a goodly portion of the posts (on Facebook too – it’s just image macro-wanna-be-memes on FB) contain ‘advice’. Annoyingly saccharine, generic ‘advice’ like “always be kind” and “live in the moment”. The iterations of “live in the moment” has fundamentally become the tribulation of wipjenni social media accounts.

Much as I went on an anti-everything-needs-to-be-a-diagnosed-condition-to-count mission awhile back, I now have a hazy focus on letting people know that they have an inalienable, human right to live in whichever moment they choose! You are not wasting time. You are not some unenlightened buffoon. Nor are you – and this is important – humaning in the wrong way for 21st century life.

Think about whatever you want to. If you want to dwell in the past, anticipate the future or scrutinize the single Skittle in your mouth right at this second, go for it. Think the pants off of it! And here’s the beauty of my message: YOU can think about whatever moment you choose (real or imagined) and then switch to a different one (or several) at the drop of a hat! Go on, bounce back and forth or stay stuck where you are! They’re YOUR thoughts to do with as you want/need/love/hate.

Please, don’t ever let anyone tell you your using your mind the wrong way, and never believe you’re not the master of your own thoughts. We live in a “shame”-crazy time, but your mind is your own. Use it as you see fit.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter – comment with #wipjenni. Tell your friends and family! You are a star and I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Jeeze Louise! What’s this Country Coming To? aka #TheTrumpMenace

NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE


I. Can’t. Even. <– not just an outdated ‘white girl’ meme, the state of my believability meter since November 8, 2016. For realz <– another one. I was almost certain it was going to happen even though I wanted it to not happen so hard! I took GREAT pains to try and prevent it. I failed. Now for months I have been shaking my head, shaking my confidence, shaking my fists, metaphorically shaking every asshat, idiot, fool and COWARD (there has been an abundance of cowards) that’s had the misfortune of entering my space, shaking up and plain old shaking my nerves. Quite literally, shaking all over.

I bet you’re thinking I’m going to ramble on and on about how eminently f***** up the US of A currently is; guess you don’t know me as well as you thought you did. :) I. Can’t. Even. There is too much f*****. There comes a point when the most verbose, long-winded, loquacious, wordy person’s drive to expound is eclipsed by the instinct of self-preservation. (At least for awhile.)

But that’s OK, because there is some good news – a tonic for the clear-eyed, open-minded, profoundly disheartened, shaky folks! Lessons in humanity and the foundation of America’s most noble principals only moderately clothed in consumerism!

Go to YouTube and watch the full 84 Lumber message/ad, watch the Airbnb message/ad, watch the reused Coca-Cola message/ad; watch these ads that eloquently present the best of what this country is, while simultaneously sticking up two normal, adult-sized fingers at the current POTUS. Watch them all at least long enough to count as a view and let them be proof that the United States values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and we will NOT allow ANYone to distort that vision or corrupt our Constitution!

[I was just wondering… did you hear Ray Charles singing America, the Beautiful in your head whilst reading that last paragraph? I did. It made me laugh. I guess all my talk about ads must’ve reminded me of one (or several) that featured that tune.]

**MY AD** Spectatorial Haze is now available as a sticker. Buy some and stick it to the man. (Actually, a few men, but you know, that I know, that you know who we’re both talking about.)   **AD OVER**

Honestly, kids, watching ads (and buying stickers) may not seem revolutionary, but when reality itself is being threatened it’s fundamentally and absolutely imperative to demand the truth and create factual situations that cannot be ignored or perverted by even the most delusional.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter – comment with #wipjenni. Tell your friends and family! You are a star and I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Another day, another dollar. Naw, I’m only kidding!

It’s August folks and I am about seven days away from a full-on, end-of-summer panic. (I’ve been daydreaming about how awesome next summer’s going to be for about two weeks now.)

Summer is my season. June is my favorite month, and I even see that as romantically bittersweet because it’s ‘the beginning of the end’. Really; in my fantasy land I’d spend every June day blowing bubbles in a field and lounging near a sparkling body of water while laughing gaily with an ever-so-slightly-open-mouthed smile.

On chilly, stormy days, I’d sit near an open window with an organic cotton, beach-colored throw almost covering my perfect pedicure while sipping a La Croix Sparkling Coconut Water and reading old, hardcover books, or writing out my deepest thoughts on saving the world. Some days I’d sketch the ‘essence’ of a particularly sentimental tree in my Moleskine with my Copic drawing pens.

Every day would end with a bonfire and an off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirt. My diet would consist of fresh fruit, grilled vegetables and meat, punctuated with an occasional Rocket Pop or Dark Chocolate Klondike – and maybe a funnel cake delicately torn into bite-sized morsels by thumb and index finger-tip with partially extended pinky while wistfully frolicking at a charming, old-fashioned street fair.

I’d wear the perfect outfit to every outdoor concert and spend hours on end waxing poetic about clouds and sunsets and children’s laughter.

[insert empathetic mind-wanderings here]

WIPjenni's Summer 2016 Dream

Summer 2016 Dream

The reality is that this summer in particular, has been disappointing. Circumstances conspired. Attitudes faltered. Countless ‘cheap-chic’, spring wardrobe-lifting shopping efforts dragged into numerous summer attempts, and nearly all resulted in thankfulness for well-planned-ahead “free returns”.

I ended up thoroughly immersed in the hopeful plans and hopelessly missing the realities of community pools, dollar-store sketchbooks, discount flip-flops, backyard barbecues and all the blissful pleasure of watching lightning bugs from the second-hand patio furniture. I did manage to squeeze in a few Klondikes. ;)

My tragedy of pride (or “taking the high ground”, if you prefer) in March – the heartbreaking decision to distance myself from a dishonest ‘business partner’ instead of moving forward with WIP Arts in some-form-is-better-than-none fashion – really set me back. I’m an optimistic person, but I take things seriously and I take them to heart. I can make allowances for another’s naivety and I have no qualms about a certain amount of selfishness – it’s akin to self-preservation (Hey, human nature, good to see you again!) – but even “you’re too kind, WIPjenni” (shoutout to Bootleggers Media) has limits and draws a very heavy, very dark line at publicly being called a “loser” for putting ethics ahead of financial gain.

There have been more than several false starts since I first realized that encouraging and creating opportunities for EVERYone to experience some sort of ‘artistic’ expression and appreciation was something I needed to do, but there does come a point where tenacity leads into the distinct impression that one’s barking up the wrong tree.

I’m still not utterly convinced, (tenacity is a tough nut to crack), but I’m pretty confident that White Oak is the wrong tree for me.

They (the all-knowing “they”) say that setting clear goals is the key to achieving success; well, kids, my main goal has been very community-centric all along. Pretty much since my 6th birthday party when all my friends left because I insisted on a “democratic vote” to decide which game we should play. (It was an election year and my Libra cusp demands a nod to fairness. What can I say?)

Now here’s the 2016-Summer-Down-the-Drain Epiphany… it turns out there’s an “I” in “community” and that’s all most folks can see! I have love for all the letters.

I’m not without personal motivation, though. My “I” is the feeling of accomplishment; the satisfaction in helping/making/inspiring/enabling someone else to experience something good and positive. Putting a smile on someone’s face is joyous for me. When that smile comes from some new knowledge or perspective, my joy becomes downright rapturous. And like all things that feel so gosh-darn good, it’s a little addictive.

My drive toward that satisfaction can be interpreted as condescending, aggressive, or plain old snobby, and let’s face it, none of us enjoy being ‘spoken down to’. But the thing is, my gentle readers, that’s not where it comes from AT ALL. As far as I can tell, it comes from a deep-down urge to share. I want to share. I need to share. My enthusiasm, intelligence and that cumbersome tenacity create a perfect storm of near-desperation for understanding. Honest, it’s like a I need a fix. A big, juicy hit of “Oh, yeah, I get it!”.

That’s where I’m coming from. That’s why I’m almost certain that if a community wants an all-welcoming, all-sorts-of-options, creative enjoyment space, they wouldn’t avoid or ostracize the person trying to do it because they “use big words”* and see more value in sharing understanding than building a bank balance (or getting praised); the community might just step up and pitch in. The reality is, their “I”s are bigger than their stomachs and my “I” can see its own limitations.

“Sure, but what does all that have to do with summer or days and dollars?”, I hear you mutter.

Well, the summer days flashed by while I was reordering my priorities to try and earn some shekels with my own creativity, learning how to communicate with smaller words and abridged passions on other people’s soapboxes, and largely dealing with the mounting trials and tribulations of each passing year.

And a good many of them were spent cursing Amazon.com’s inability to offer “free returns” on off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirts. ;)


*I don’t start off with “big words”, I just end up trying ALL the words to reach that ever-elusive understanding.

If you enjoy my (humorous!/enlightening?!?) ramblings, please subscribe to this blog to get email updates; follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tell your friends and family – and if you really want to encourage me, buy a shirt or some other WIPjenni art merchandise. I love you all!

New WIP Writer – Rusty Lofgren!

Welcome the newest WIP contributor, Rusty!

Rusty Lofgren

Rusty Lofgren was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1973.  He graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1995 with a double major in English and Biology.  After living in Washington, DC for ten years, he moved back to Pittsburgh in 2006 to focus on his photography, video work, and his writing.  Having circled the world in his travels, he is an old soul who wants nothing more out of life than to have good fun creating art, and to forever hear the music of the clear, cool streams and rivers of the world.

Rusty’s portfolio and contact information are available at LeafBranch Studios and his new book Penna Fly Fishing Seasons is available at Lulu.com

New WIP Writer – Madison Hawthorne!

Madison Hawthorne, King of Sweden; Last Bloodline

Madison Hawthorne, King of Sweden; Last Bloodline

Madison Hawthorne was born in 1985 and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA where he got his degree in business at Duquesne University. He grew up reading comics and appreciates the artwork involved in the process. He started writing his first Novel at the age 16 and has been writing ever since. He was awarded a chance for a Fellowship with the AWC Performing Arts Center in Pittsburgh because of his work on King of Sweden. Madison’s comic is published by DMP and is available in digital format on amazon.com.

The Little Book Fair, Bloomfield – Christine M. Soltis

Little Book Fair, Bloomfield

Little Book Fair, Bloomfield

Walking into any new event is certain to send butterflies bustling in your belly, especially for writers and comic artists who require the reclusive calm of creation during the inception of any work. Pittsburgh, PA certainly has its share of artistic events, many of which range from one extreme to another. Generally, it seems easier to find either individual author signings or large conventions dedicated to horror or sci-fi than anything in the middle. But sometimes, you can find a rare gem of an event such as The Little Book Fair, which consisted of that fine level of “in between.”

Bloomfield Community Center

Bloomfield Community Center

The four hour literary event was held on August 2, 2013 within the Bloomfield Community Center, which is a red brick building on North Pacific Avenue that appeared hidden, since its entryway faced a closed-off street. Outside the red brick venue, was the simultaneous celebration of the Unblurred Gallery Crawl. Here, outdoor tents and tables were sprawled across the road, full of additional local artists and food vendors. But once you left the Unblurred Gallery, stepping inside of the Bloomfield Community Center meant being transported to another world where books alone still reigned.

Little Book Fair 2013

Little Book Fair 2013

Inside the Little Book Fair, the setup offered a single room filled with 40+ vendors. Rectangular tables were situated in nearly a dozen rows with couches and tables also framing the wall space. Chap books, novels, comics, artistry and more were for sale as artists mingled with crowds and each other, given the ability to passionately discuss the hard work they spent countless hours, days and years of their life creating. The crowd was a rather decent size with people of all ages that moved in a stream-like manner, with many stopping to see the work at each table and even purchase items. Many visitors were excited about the event and simultaneously surprised because they had not heard of it beforehand. I would oftentimes comment that we need more events like this in Pittsburgh. As a writer, I am certainly one to insist that books are still very much alive and have not become extinct.

Little Book Fair 2013

Little Book Fair 2013

Juan Jose Fernandez, who set up the Little Book Fair also did so in a surprising manner. Most events require that table vendors pay a fee to sell their wares. The Little Book Fair did not do this, making it a very unique force in the area. On top of that, its four hour evening slot offered visitors the ability to stop by after work and kept vendors from spending a full work day worth of time in the same place. These characteristics caused the intrigue that brought me to cover the event. Many of the artists also seemed to know one another, creating a literary alliance that was fascinating to view. If you missed out on it, be sure to visit http://www.youtube.com/user/SolsticeNightSky and Episode 8 to see some brief video footage of the event.

Christine Soltis at The Little Book Fair

Christine Soltis at The Little Book Fair

If you want to help ensure that books are not extinct or if you know of an artistic event that needs covered for WIP Arts, visit SolsticeNightSky Productions & Radio on Facebook and send a message.

New WIP Writer – KC Stangl!

Please welcome KC Stangl on board as a new WIP writer! KC will be contributing articles and stories from the perspective of a recent transplant to Pittsburgh. Get a feel for his work by visiting his new blog The Herb Garden, and Other Life Lessons.

KC Stangl

KC Stangl

KC Stangl grew up in an Army family, spending his early years in Paris, France, Washington, DC, and finally State College, PA, where he graduated from high school, and entered the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA on a Navy ROTC scholarship.

Commissioned as an Ensign, US Navy, in 1979, he spent 8 years as a Naval Flight Officer, with duty stations all over the West Pacific and Indian Ocean. Upon leaving the Navy, he began a career as an acoustic sonar engineer for the Navy Dept., working in the Philadelphia area, Southern Maryland, and retiring, after 31 years of service, as an adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington DC.

He recently relocated to Pittsburgh, to reunite with his high school sweetheart, and is pursuing a writing career. He is also a musician, playing guitar and singing at various open stage venues, and hopes to pen a few original songs as well. His maternal grandfather, a professional chef, inspired a lifelong love of cooking, and his first attempt at a blog focuses on that, while providing some, hopefully, thought provoking reflections on life, love, and the challenges of finding meaning in everyday events, decisions, and actions.