Author Archives: Neon Violet

About Neon Violet

Artist. Writer. Weirdo.

7 Day Song Challenge, Day 5

Today’s a bit of a mixtape because I wanted to post a song that inspired a character from my novel, but then I couldn’t choose, so here goes.

For Miles, who’s not as lost as he thinks he is:

For Vivian, who’s not as alone as she thinks she is:

For Oskar, who’s not as trapped as he thinks he is:


For Ivy, who’s not as dangerous as she thinks she is:

For Rook, who’s not a big as he thinks he is:

For the J’s, who’s not really sure who they are:

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Seven Day Music Challenge, Day 4

Here is one thing you should know about me: I love Beck.

But only as an artist.

Sometime in the last couple of years, I heard the definition of the word “demisexual” and finally understood something about myself that I never had before. At last, a perfectly good reason for why everyone expected me to have a crush on my favorite celebrity.

To explain this, I’m going to have to take you back to sixth grade, but first here’s what you need to know about demis, if you haven’t heard the term before. A demisexual is a person who does not feel sexual attraction for others unless they have formed an emotional bond. While I’m not much for labels, I think this one fits me pretty well.

So, anyway, sixth grade. Right. That was when I noticed music. Up until that point, music was just something that existed on the car radio, something my parents were into. It wasn’t until I was flipping channels at my grandma’s house and came across MTV (ya know, back when they showed videos) that music interested me. I loved music videos. I’m a very visual person. I love seeing how each artist would present their music in this expanded form. During my teenage years, I watched hour upon hour of music videos, aborbing all the madness of mid-to-late 90’s alternative music.

And I got a little obsessed with this guy…you know the type. Blond hair. Blue eyes. Two turntables and a microphone? “Where It’s At” was the first Beck video I ever saw–I was too young during the “Loser” days, and anyway, its popularity seemed to have bypassed my sleepy little town. So, here is the first glimpse I ever got of my favorite musicain of all time:

12-year-old me watched that and thought, “That’s fucking weird.” Or maybe “freakin’ weird.” 12-year-old me didn’t curse. Anyway, there comes a time in every kid’s life when they either deny their own weirdness, or embrace it. Yeah, I liked The Goo Goo Dolls okay, but this, whatever this was, was my thing. And I was going to own it. I spent the next several years of my life learning everything I could about this weird little Beck guy. I read fansites (and later made my own). I played his cds on a loop. I dressed like him.

So, naturally, everyone thought I was in love with Beck. My friends at school insisted that my interest in Beck was a crush. Grown ups, too. My mom took my magazine clippings to the craft store where she worked and had them framed for me. “I remember kissing my David Cassidy posters every night before bed,” she told me with an inflection that led me to believe she expected me to do the same.

I had zero interest in kissing Beck, in poster form or otherwise. I didn’t even think he was cute. Just the notion that everyone believed I idolized him for such shallow reasons infuriated me. Nor could I understand when a friend would casually mention how much they’d like to make out with, say, Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. For me, musicians existed for singular purposes. Ear candy, not eye candy. One simply does not make out with Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. Clearly my friend misunderstood what fandom was really all about.

Now I look back at my celebrity non-crush and realize that it was just a part of my demisexuality. I never fell “in love” with Beck because I never knew him. Those feelings were an impossibilty for me. I loved Beck, but in my own utilitarian way.

Over the years, my obsession with Mr. Hansen peaked then waned. Once upon a time, I used to babble about him so much that my friends would beg me to stop. But eventually I took those (still unkissed) photos down from my wall. And I certainly always will be a fan, but I have to confess that I listened to Morning Phase exactly once and thought, “This is not for me.”

But Odelay? Odelay was definitely for me.

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Seven Day Music Challenge, Day 3

This is the story of how I realized my friend Keenan was my bff. It was 2011. We were forced together by joint retali slavery. We got along so well at work that we decided perhaps we might fancy each other’s company outside the workplace. image

So, we go do that thing that all rural teenagers do (nevermind that I was pushing 30): drive around and play music for each other. Pass the aux cord back and forth. It’s an impromptu tandem mixtape.


After about three songs, I think I understand him. I put on “Here & Now” by Letters to Cleo.

And he just starts belting it out at the top of his lungs! He, a teenage boy from rural Missouri, already knew every word of that song! Even the really fast part, which I didn’t even know yet. He taught it to me!

So, yeah, that was it. Friendship sealed. He’s the best. The end.



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Seven Day Music Challenge, Day 2

Two years ago to the day I first heard Sin Fang. I was in the basement of 12 Tonar in Reykjavik, Iceland and it was my thirtieth birthday. The thing about 12 Tonar, the reason it’s known as one of the best record stores in the world, is that you’re allowed to listen to anything before you buy it–crack open the case, fondle the liner notes, stare at your reflection in the silvery rainbow disc. My husband had set up at one of the listening stations with a stack of cds the guy at the counter had recommended. I, on the other hand, needed to browse. I knew I wanted some Icelandic music, but I wasn’t sure what. Bjork was too obvious, and I’m not big on Sigur Ros. I kept finding myself drawn to the cover art of one album in particular. It was a photograph of a man partially obscured by a watercolor-y reflection, with a beard of flowers cascading down his face. I found myself staring at that cover once, twice, until finally I thought, “Okay, I’ll listen to you.” …Which is odd for me because I can almost never decide if I like a song right away.


So, I sat down in one of the velvety victorian chairs and slipped the plastic off of the album, wondering what the hell kind of name was Sin Fang. Well, Icelandic, obviously, but was Sin Fang a band or a person? Do they sing in English or Icelandic? Would the songs be as pretty and ethereal as the artwork suggested? I pulled the disc out of the paper case and popped it in the little blue boom box sitting on the coffee table in front of me. Strapped on my headphones.

And pressed play.


It sounded like a heartbeat. A tambourine tapping out the morse-code rhythm of the last moments of childhood. I closed my eyes and a forest of tiny Icelandic trees sprang up. I saw two boys, though I didn’t yet know their names. Ten seconds in and I was sold, but I listened to the full song. As soon as it ended, I shut it off. I wanted to hear the rest of the album, but not then. Not yet. I needed to save it until I got home, all the way back home to Missouri. I knew already that this album was as good a memento as the bottle of black sand I’d scooped up off the beach. This was my journey, wrapped in a paper sleeve.

I listen to this album almost every day of my life.

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Seven Day Music Challenge, Day 1

Hi everyone. Some of us are participating in a seven day music challenge that Jilly brought to our attention. Basically, we’ll post a song each day and tell you what it means to us. Here is my Day One:

“This is fact, not fiction, for the first time in years…”

So, here’s something I never talk about (I hadn’t even told the rest of Kindred until today): I got married when I was eighteen. And divorced when I was twenty. I can’t possible go into all the hows and whys here, but basically I grew up in an environment where young marriage was normal and practically expected of me. When it ended, I was crushed, but more than anything embarrassed that I’d failed at something so publicly. It’s a small town, so everyone knew. I couldn’t go to the grocery store without someone asking me what happened.

The summer I got divorced I was invited to four weddings of other twenty years olds and I was so miserable and lonely because there was no one in my life who could relate. I mainly just stuck to my internet friends.

My favorite internet buddy Nancy sent me a mixtape with “A Movie Script Ending” on it and that was the first time I heard DCFC. That miserable summer, my new boyfriend Travis went away to college, but he left me with his Postal Service cd and I bought a couple DCFC albums of my own. I used to have this black Emily The Strange umbrella with kitty ears and I remember nothing about that time in my life except wedding after wedding and walking around in the rain with my umbrella and a walkman listening to DCFC in the rain. Which sounds incredibly emo, I know. But it helped.

Society should give up on this notion that your twenties are the best years of your lives. My twenties were shit, but Ben Gibbard got me through.
And my future second husband, Travis, of course. ❤

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I’m a little late with my Rebirth posting. It just took me a little while longer than I thought. At the beginning of the year, I was feeling pretty burnt out with writing. I wanted to start painting again, or maybe start teaching painting classes again. And while I was researching new painting techniques and trying to decide if I should invest in some new equipment, I got a new novel idea and started writing again. That’s how it goes with me. All or nothing.  I have a bunch of chapters written, and I’ve been painting, too.  I’m trying this “Intutive Painting” thing. If I understand it correctly, you are supposed to make a really lush, busy background, then add your subject on top, painting around it so that your background shows through. So, here’s my first intutive painting:


Miles, my new main character would probably say something about how lotuses symbolize rebirth. “Because they grow out of the mud, or whatever.”  He’s eloquent like that.

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Leaps and Bounds


Peter Pan Syndrome. I haz it. Most kids can’t wait to grow up–behold! unlimited cookie dough and choose-your-own-bedtime. Not me, though. I cried when I outgrew my favorite pair of shoes (red with rainbow-colored fruits on them) and battled puberty every step of the way. It didn’t help that everything came early for me. I needed a bra at eight (but managed to convince my mom to let me go without one for three more years) and got my period at eleven (while my best friend, that lucky bitch, didn’t get hers until, like, sixteen). By the time I was eighteen, I decided I’d try to grow up all at once, which ended disastrously–but that’s another story for another post, one I still haven’t figured out how to write. After that, I kept on as I always did, stripey socks and handbags made from stuffed animal carcasses. I smile when people tell me I don’t look my age, and I have one-hundred percent decided that I don’t want children because that’s a straight shot to grownupsville.
But…somehow it happened anyway. On approximately February 22, 2015, at the age of thirty, I became an adult. It occurred in the most random of places, really: a checkout line. My husband had recently changed jobs and switched to the graveyard shift. He decided he needed a particular appliance, one that neither of us wanted, to help him stay awake at night. So, we were standing in line together with this unholy thing in our shopping cart. I was staring down at it thinking, ‘well, damn it, I’m officially a grown up now’ when the husband turned to me and said the exact same thing out loud.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a coffeemaker stole my childhood.

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