A site by any other name

I’m so excited to finally be launching (and not just because I have no more hair to pull out). I’ve put a lot of work into building this site because I never want to change URLs again. EVER. (Which means, it’s true, I’ve given up the dream of one day changing my name to Lilian Nancy Magill.)

But that’s okay because I love it here. Look at the banner art by my enormously talented and generous friend, Pam Carlson. It’s a compass, designating North, with zebra stripes and hearts and kites all worked into the design. It’s my whole online history in one gorgeous image. Here’s what it looked like in its original form.

So… click around! Explore! (Read my updated About Page.) There’s a lot here, and there’s going to be more: some groovy new stuff for The Shop, a “Get Inspired” page, a new adventure for the Playing page, additional doodles … and more.

But for now, honestly, I’m SO ready to play. I even have a special prize for you.

The background

I’m going to continue the Creativity Interviews, in which I ask badass creatives to answer five questions about living a creative life. Four of the questions are always the same. For the last one, I’ve asked my victims interviewees to make an imaginary something out of a list of imaginary items. I love that question because it invites the people I ask to get creative outside their areas of expertise.

That said, I’m not terribly crafty myself and I struggle to come up with items. So far I’ve given them glitter, trash, duct tape, scrap metal, beach glass, a hanger, super glue, fishing line, nail polish, sea shells, colored post-it notes, a wheelbarrow, Tiger Lilies, a bag of antique jewelry, a string of brightly colored lights, a drawer full of old magazines, a strobe light, a typewriter and a tether ball. (Phew! Read the interviews to see the incredibly imaginative – and hilarious! – answers I’ve gotten.)

The game

So, here’s where you come in. In the comments section, I want you to suggest more items… or even a whole new fun, odd, irreverent question – what would you like me to ask your favorite badass creative?

But wait! There’s more!

I’ll pick one comment at random and doodle the winner a postcard. If I know the winner well, I’ll doodle whatever comes to me. If not, I’ll send you an email and ask you three (utterly ridiculous) questions, and THEN doodle whatever comes to me.

Fun, right?

Okay, so get crazy. Have fun. Help me unknot my tense, overworked shoulders. (And if you’re not feeling creative, just say hi. I’ll love you forever AND put your name in the hat for a doodled postcard.)


Note: If you subscribed to get email updates from Zebra Sounds or A Human Thing, I’ll be attempting to transfer those lists over, so there’s nothing for you to do…  I hope… Wish me luck.



  1. Christie on November 16, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I am so happy to see this up…you did it! Beautiful site j and the banner is so completely you, Pam is a creative genuis :^)

    Looking forward to perusing the site over the next several days, weeks, months…watching you grow and watching your community growing, learning, creating together.

    We are all badass love warriors!

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

      You WERE first! Thank you so much my lovely friend. Feel like I just ran a race… wait, no ,swam an ocean.. wait, climbed a mountain, wait… fought a hairy-nosed wombat. Yeah, that’s it. And he was big. Like a dragon. In fact he was part dragon. And it was him versus me and my emu.

      (I feel a doodle coming on.)

      And holy crap, you’re right about Pam. She is truly amazing.

  2. Leslie on November 16, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Unwind and unknot your site is beautifully you.

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

      Aw, thank you, Leslie. I’m unwinding as I type. xo

  3. Taoist Soul on November 16, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Once again, I not only rest my case…I give up! :((

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 9:51 am


  4. Clare Flourish on November 16, 2012 at 2:36 am

    If you have no more hair to pull out, then you should change your photograph. I was too hot dancing, so I took my wig off, and was told I should shave the wisps I have away, and paint my scalp.

    I have changed my name, but one earlier possibility I considered was Katharine Felicity Exeter.

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 9:55 am

      I’ll doodle some new hair!

      I’m trying to figure out the meaning behind Katharine Felicity Exeter because I can’t imagine you would pick a name that didn’t have some historical-mythical-poetic-religious-philosophical-psychological-social-satirical roots! While I ponder it, did you notice my dream name is a Beatle reference?

      • Clare Flourish on November 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

        It was not a song I was familiar with, but I found this: http://beatlesnumber9.com/rocky.html decoding it.

        I thought Exeter sounded cool in the sense of detached. I imagined Felicity leaning back and looking inscrutable. I was very young at the time.

        • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

          Hmmm… not sure about the Rocky Raccoon analysis (sometimes a song is just a song), but I love that you imagined Felicity leaning back, looking inscrutable (one of my favorite words).

  5. Becky Sain on November 16, 2012 at 4:43 am


    (Already confused – a question for the interviews?)

    I always want to know what career path would they take had they not taken up the one that led them to their creative career. You know? Like Rod Stewart was a grave digger — that’s a great story!

    Or —
    If they could collaborate on a project with anyone (living or dead), who would they choose and what would they want them to contribute?

    If I misunderstood the directions and this doesn’t make any sense, just touch it up with some hearts and rainbows.


    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:02 am

      You made sense to me… so you were only confused in thinking that you were confused. I wish I had something like Grave Digger in my professional past.

  6. Caroline on November 16, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Love it! LOVE YOU! :o)

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Love you back! (And I actually started a doodle for you about a week ago, so you get one no matter what.)

      • Caroline on November 21, 2012 at 6:50 am

        Yay! xox

  7. Kellie J. Walker on November 16, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I’m doing figurative cartwheels right along with you, dearest. I’d do literal ones, but I already over-taxed my lower back playing landscaper in the yard a few days ago. 🙂

    The new playground looks fab-u-lous!!! Thanks for inviting me along to break it in.

    My items:

    A rejection letter
    A love letter
    An old coffee mug
    Christmas bulbs – the round ones that break when you look at them the wrong way
    Silly String ™
    Play-Doh ™

    Much love and many hugs to you!!!!!!!!!

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Holy shit, I LOVE your list! I’d like to make something out of my rejection letters and some silly string. *ponders*

      • Kellie J. Walker on November 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm

        You do?!?! Yeah! Let me know what fabulous ideas your pondering comes up with. <3

  8. Kellie J. Walker on November 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

    OK. I’ve had a bit of coffee and time to play with your site. It’s simply amazing, wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, fun, inspiring, and so much more.

    Just like you, j.


    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

      I <3 you, Kellie. xo

  9. Amy on November 16, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Oh, I KNOW how much work went into this. Love it! Love the thumbnails on the home page. “I feel for people who don’t have dogs.” Amen. Also, this is for you – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=450954474963307&set=pb.107732802618811.-2207520000.1353075041&type=3&theater

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:06 am

      I’ve always found that quote ENORMOUSLY reassuring. How I can love something that is sometimes so damn hard is beyond me. (Although… that’s how I feel about Lexi too.)

      Thank you, Amy! xo

  10. June O'Reilly on November 16, 2012 at 7:31 am

    I’m soooooo excited… happy… inspired…and joyful for you
    it’s lovely… it’s wonderfilled….and sooooo YOU
    full of love and laughter and joy
    I’m so happy to have seen your cape flying in a tweet all those years ago
    unfolding to the friendship… and the amazing places your heart takes me and asks me to go
    Fearlessly into the creative moment from my heart
    you champion you
    It’s a beautiful site and the doodles are awesome.. hurrah to everyone who’s done one
    and I love love the idea of a doodle postcard…. feeling inspiration flowing
    and tears of joy…

    so happy for you j

    June ♫♥

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

      I know. People like you are why I always stand up for Twitter.

      And I’m happy that you love the idea of doodled postcards. Stay tuned for more on that subject. In the meantime, thank you for making the launch so awesome. Today, I’m taking it easy… imagining sitting with a friend by the sea. xox

  11. PamB on November 16, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Judy, it’s PERFECT. You really made the promise happen!!! I’m in love.

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

      I just squeed. I can’t ask for more than “perfect.” Thank you so much! *unwinds still more*

  12. Pam on November 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The site looks fabulous! Wild applause for you!

    Thank you for your sweet words. *blushes*

    Old buttons are always good craft supplies.


    • j on November 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Thank YOU! What would I do without you? (Wait, let’s not even talk about that. *shudders*)

      Old buttons. Good one!

  13. juliafehrenbacher on November 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Giddy excited, proud, full of LOVE for you! I love it here, J…a playground of color/inspiration/fun–goodness. High 5s & warm embraces…you’ve worked your magic once again. Loving you so…

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      I like when you’re giddy! Thank you so much, Julia. A (soulful) playground was just what I was after!

  14. ej on November 16, 2012 at 9:36 am

    bobby pins and other hair “gee gaws” like elastic bands and clips
    tooth picks
    waxed paper
    Index cards (hee)
    dryer lint
    the little round thingies you get after you hole punch a 300-page novel draft
    a handful of mulch
    binder clips (ahahahaha!!) in various sizes
    also, paper clips
    yellow yarn
    crushed leaves from a maple tree
    junk mail
    old letters from your parents

    This site is going to be so. much. fun. (not that I need anything else to do these days.)

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Holy canoli, that is an AWESOME list (and your giggles are pretty cute too). You can come to this site during recess. xo

  15. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) on November 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I AM SO EXCITED!! Super duper huge congrats on the new site; it looks absolutely gorgeous. What perfect art by Pam Carlson. I love it all!

    I don’t have any new materials to suggest for your interview questions, but I am expecting to see glittery voodoo dolls in your shop sometime soon! 😉

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      I really do have to figure out how to make glittery voodoo dolls. Seriously. I’ll put that on my 2013 project list. In the meantime, thank you, you creative badass, you! (Oh, and I took pictures. Will send this weekend as soon as I upload them from the camera.)

  16. Michael on November 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Love it! …and I just wanted to join the group hug. 🙂

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Phew! The group hug didn’t feel complete until you arrived. Thanks, Michael. xo

  17. hippiechick on November 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Love the new site. Gorgeous visual experience. Font, pictures, etc.

    • j on November 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      I love getting hippiechick praise. Thank you, t. xox

  18. cmw on November 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Wow! I finally got to see ALL of your doodles. I’ve been traveling so much with shaky internet. At least this time the connection was good on the day you launched.

    They are all great, but I especially love the fish…which I have been trying to see since you sent me a copy with the frog… Frog yes, fish nope…

    Anyway, I’m proud, and I (for certain) know how much work went into it…but it is a labor of love.

    Great job sweetie.


    • j on November 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

      That’s true, when you’re gone I doodle (as opposed to lean) into my malaise. Doodle therapy, baby! Thanks for looking and for being so supportive… even from 3000 miles away. xo

  19. Clare Flourish on November 17, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Technical question. I got a “Notification” on my “Dashboard” that you had replied to my comment but it does not reach the “Comments I’ve made” page. Should it?

    • j on November 17, 2012 at 7:24 am

      I don’t know, but I think that’s a WordPress thing, right? So maybe it’s because this is a WordPress.org blog instead of .com? If you comment on non-wordpress.com blogs do they usually show up in your Comments I’ve Made page?

      • Clare Flourish on November 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

        Yes it is a wordpress thing, and blogspot does not appear in either, but then wordpress appears in both, and it was odd to get one and not t’other.

  20. Nina Badzin on November 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

    The site looks SO AMAZING!!!! The graphic is a perfect combo of your previous sites.

    I never figured out how to transfer email subscribers. Are you going to use feedburner or something else?

    • j on November 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Nina!

      I’m using Mailchimp’s “rss-to-email” function, which should (crossing my fingers) automatically send to email updates every time I post. It took me almost all day to set it up (because I never bothered to learn Mailchimp before), but my test drive (sending to just me) worked beautifully. It’s cool because it lets me customize the look and feel of it so I was able to include my pretty new header. 🙂

      Also even the free version of mailchimp (which is what I have for now) is capable of so much more than I actually do on it. Someday I might even educate myself on all the stuff it can do.

      I’m going through their tutotial for transferring subscribers this weekend. I’ll let you know how it works out.

  21. jb on November 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Whoo-hoo! The new site is here at last! And it’s… Awesomely-artful, Beautiful, Colorful, Delightfully-doodley, Elegant, Fun, Gorgeous, Heroically-happy, Inventive, Joyful, Karmically-correct, Loaded-with-love, Marvelous, Not-at-all-naughty, Over-the-top, Perfectly-playful, Quite-an-accomplishment, Really-razzle-dazzle, Supercalafragalisticexpealadocious, Terrific, Utterly-unique, Very-visionary, Worth-waiting-for, eXactly-what-I-needed, You-you-you!!, Zealously-zen

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to play! xoxoxoo

    • j on November 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm


      LOVE this wildly creative response! Thank you so much!!!


  22. Karin on November 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Ahhh I love it! I’m excited your site it up (and that I finally got a chance to look at it). Love it!
    I switched to a new site myself so I know it’s not easy.

    • j on November 21, 2012 at 7:31 am

      I just checked yours. I love the layout and the switch, occasionally from left to right alignment. I guess as a poet, you’re always considering the visual experience for your readers, huh? I liked that part of building a website (and also that part of doodling messages). It’s stretching me.

  23. Nancy McGlothin on November 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks to the evil cold I’m battling, I’m very late to this party, and what a party it is. Gorgeous, creative, wholehearted (and arted), snappy, snazzy, soulful …these words don’t do my reaction justice, but they’re what I have. I’ve loved your work since the first time I came across Zebra Sounds, but to see the entirety of what and who you are and what matters to you is truly special, my friend. I’m absolutely over the moon to be among those whose thoughts on the love essays appear here.

    Should I not be the random winner of the postcard, I will be sad, but will understand. I will also bribe you with cheesecake for my own personalized JCW doodle.

    Just can’t overstate how delightful your new playground is!!!


    • j on November 21, 2012 at 7:33 am

      I am shamefully bribable (for you, anyway). 🙂

      Thank you so much for this response. I’m giddy. And you, as always, rock my world when you stop by.

      Feel better!

  24. Chris Edgar on November 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Wow, that’s an impressive logo, J — not only in keeping with your multiple previous site themes but also as vividly passionate as I know you are.

    • j on November 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      I have VERY talented friends. Thank you, Chris!

  25. Estrella Azul on November 26, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Oh, j, honey, I am so happy to see the new website and what an awesome playground you’ve built!
    I am so sorry it took this long to comment, but I have read this as soon as it was up. New job is keeping me from a lot of things I enjoy (but I’ll get the hang of it, I hope, soon).

    Let me add a few things to your list of things to give creative badasses to build stuff from:
    plaster, magnets, felt, tissue paper, dried fruits/nuts and such, double sided adhesives, paper puncher 😉

    • j on November 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Hello, Estrella! Thank you for the site-love, and yay! Your list of creative badassery ingredients is wonderful! xo

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