How To Get Wildly Inspired.

gala-darling-veronica-varlow.jpg
With the Empire State Building as our witness,
and the tides singing their East River song against the pier where we sat,
Gala Darling and I sat in the sunshine
brainstorming for our wild magic futures.

Why am I telling you this?

Because the number one reason that people stumble onto Danger Diary, is because they google….
How to keep going for your dreams when all you want to do is give up.

If you are here – either because you googled that phrase, or you are a long time reader back for more…
I’ve got your back.

As someone who nearly gave up my dreams, I know what that’s about.

There is an antidote.

I lust that word.
Antidote.
Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a medicine or other remedy for counteracting the effects of poison, disease, etc.”.

Not believing in ourselves is a poison.
Other people not believing in us can also be a form of poison.

When I first moved to New York City, I knew 3 people.
I started waitressing a billion hours a week to pay for my rent.
I started befriending my co-workers, because I spent more time around them than anyone else.
I remember one night, the city was hit with 2 feet of snow, work was dead, and we all sat around the bar talking about life.
It was on that night, I revealed my dreams, and what brought me to NYC.
The bartender was about 5 years older than me and while everyone nodded along with her, she said something like this….
“You need a backup plan. I think it’s cute that you’ve got this wild imagination but that stuff doesn’t usually pan out. I don’t mean to burst your bubble or anything…..”
And then she went on and on about how “real life” works.
I started to feel faint.

To this day, I can’t hear the words “I don’t mean to burst your bubble…” without wanting to throw up in my mouth.

I went home absolutely wrecked with a million questions in my mind….
What if she was right?
Is this what “real life” was about?
Was I destined to fail and had bought into some sugary imagination be-who-you-want-to-be bullshit?
What if all the daydreams I had about my future that seemed so real were just that….daydreams?
What if I took myself a billion miles away from my family, my friends and my home to chase an impossible dream?

I never felt more defeated than on my walk home that night in 2 feet of snow.
I was poisoned….
with doubt.

Dreams can be fragile…
easy to kill with words of poison.

And I found the antidote.
My True Co-Conspirators.

As soon as I started hanging around people who were doing their dreams, rather than people naysaying dreams, my world started to take shape.

Two things happened:

1. I would tell them my “crazy” ideas and they would not only cheer me on, but encourage me to dream even further.
They saw the best me, and I saw the best them.

2. When any one of us had a success, we would celebrate because it meant that it was POSSIBLE. It was good news for ALL of us. It encouraged us to keep moving, keep creating, keep imagining and making strides.

I tell you these things because in the last 48 hours – this is what happened in my world:

My dear friend, Gala Darling took the reigns, self-published and released her book “Radical Self Love”.  Her book FLEW to the top (NUMBER 1) on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list. As the numbers were coming in, we were side by side, squealing with excitement.  It was so inspiring to watch my friend’s book slay the charts and know that her positive message will be in the hands of people all around the world.  Here’s the link to check out her book – it’s a MUST HAVE!

gala-darling.jpg

Then Burke just started his brand new directing job for a major CNN show.
He heard that there was a spot open for a director – and he took a chance, called the producers, showed his work, showed his passion for what he does and nailed his interview. Friends of his also put in their good words for him which helped even more. Through his bravery to boldly go after what he wanted, a dream of his came true.

Here’s Burke directing Revolver with director of photography, Marshall Rose – who will be back at it in late Summer/early Fall with the second and final shooting of our dream film.
burke-heffner-marshall-rose.jpg

I came home from chilling with Gala and there was a text on my phone from Emilie Autumn, with two brand new songs she wrote for the Asylum Musical.  I sat in the dark, lying on my bed with the phone to my ear and the summer night breeze coming through the windows.  She told me about new twists and turns in the show, new ideas that made me excitably text back “YESYESYES” and songs that left me with goosebumps.  She knows how to create a world so very well – it blows my mind.

veronica-varlow-emilie-autumn-maggots.jpg

Jaye Bartell played one of the best music gigs I’ve ever seen in my life at a sold out show with Jessica Pratt.  He commanded the audience to pin-drop silence with his smoky voice, in a manner best described as hypnotic.  The next day, my inbox binged with the finished first song of his upcoming album and closing my eyes to listen to it for the billionth time that day, I imagined all the incredible things coming up for him, because it’s impossible NOT to see…. I know, I had watched while he put a spell on everyone in the room he was playing to.

jaye-bartell.jpg

These are a few of my favorite co-conspirators.

People that move me.
People that inspire me.
People who have my back and I have theirs.
People who are making their worlds happen.
People who say fuck the naysayers, and let’s DO THIS.

They are the antidote to the poison.

Who are people that inspire you?
Who are people that let you know it can be done
and also believe in you?

Tag them in this post on twitter and let’s lift each other up.
Gush about someone and their dream.
Let us know all about it.
Feed it.
And watch the world open for us all.

Love it? Share it.

Adventures In Spring Cleaning: How To Clean Out Your Closet with a Vengeance!

BIG (2)
It’s Springtime in Brooklyn.  And the sheer fact that it’s above 10 degrees and the snow is mostly off the ground, makes me want to clean out my closet, get rid of all of my bulky coats and run half naked through the streets.

I can’t help you get half naked,
but I can help you clean out your closet.

I spent all day going back and forth between closet cleaning and doing taxes.
I know how to party.
Obviously.
If you haven’t read my fun closet attacking tips before….well, now is the perfect time!

1.  This is a job to be done with one of my favorite drugs…. Music.   So, please, hit play on my very first 8 track mix (thanks for the tip, Gala Darling!) and enjoy the random picture of me passed out under clothing racks taken by Burke Heffner.

I’m not explaining it.

2.  Speed Sort – It’s like Speed Dating Your Closet.   Grab the first item in your closet and in a two-second gut reaction proceed to throw clothing item in question into one of three piles on your bed:  “Yes”, “Maybe” or “Hell No”.

    • “Yes” pile:  if you love wearing it, it fits you right and makes you happy.
    • “Maybe” pile: if it’s been sitting there with no action from you for six months or more.
    • “Hell No” pile: if you bought it, brought it home, felt guilty, and kept it there because you felt bad about buying it.  It’s clothing.  It doesn’t have feelings.  Ditch it.

3. Rejoice in the Void.  Oh, you Saintly Thing.  Empty closet of cleanliness.  Ignore “Maybe” and “Hell No” and just say “Yes”.  Carefully put all the absolute 100% “Yes” pile on your bed – back on the rack.  Notice how cute your closet looks.  Notice how much room you just made for more 100% future YES clothes to join their friends here.  They would get along nicely.  Closet Fairy Godmother swoops in and allows you to pick 3 of your favorite things from the “Maybe” pile.  It is a struggle.  But you listen to her, for she is wise.

4. Release The Rest of Your Treasures into the Wild.   Donate, swap clothes with friends, or get your other friends to all do this together and team up to throw the clothing party of the CENTURY.  You can also turn those treasures into $$ and sell them on Etsy or Ebay. This Friday, I’m going to be listing a bunch of things on Ebay that are awesome and ready to go to a new home.  I’m getting a new fire number act together, and that shit ain’t cheap.  So I’ll be selling off beautiful things like this headpiece:

voodoo-goddess.com

So Lovely Dangers….tell me about your closet clearing tips.
What would be in your wild clothes flinging music mix?
Have you held clothing swaps or parties?
Or share a picture of one of your favorite snags from a friend’s closet or party…..

I snagged this faux fur cream coat from my neighbor, Lucille, who told me stories of rocking it out in the 60s before she passed it along to me.  It has been in the gutter with me and all over the world on a tour bus….and of course, chillin’ with my lovely artist friend, Miss Zelda Devon.

IMG_7812

Can’t wait to share style stories with you!

The 28 Day Danger Diary Instagram Photo Challenge

28-day-photo-challenge.jpg
In my last post, I asked you what inspired you…
and several of you answered that seeing photos from around the world on Instagram inspired you to create, to dream and to kick ass.

I am bringing back the Danger Diary Photo Challenge
because I want to see what you have to share.
Please put your instagram name in the comments if you want to join in, so I can follow you and others in the Danger Diary Community can follow you, too!
Use the hashtag: #dangerdiarychallenge so that everyone can find you!
I’m starting my 28 Day Challenge on Sunday, February 1st, but you can start at any time.

Can’t wait to see what wild beautiful images swirl around you….
February (2)
Come over and follow me on Instagram here.

And if you haven’t seen this random “newscast” that Burke and I did on his instagram… you probably should:

A video posted by Burke Heffner (@burkeheffner) on


Love it? Share it.

The 1 Tip Guaranteed to Help You Rock out Your Life and Never Give Up.

kickass-little-kid.jpg
Look at a childhood photo of yourself.

That little 4 year old me – bright eyes, fists raised, triumphant – has encouraged me and pushed me through my darkest times.

I say I don’t care what other people think – but that’s a lie.
I care about what the 4 year old version of me would think about me more than anything.

She is my guide to pushing through to the life I always dreamed of.
She is the reason I push on through life dreams that can sometimes be scary and intimidating.
She is the reason that I kept going for our Revolver funding even though we had 99% odds against us….
She is the reason I keep up playing guitar because it makes me happy and the 4 year old me would think it was pretty damn cool that she plays guitar when she grows up.

When I was 4….my imagination ruled me.
Nothing was impossible.
Give me a rock to play on and imaginary friends and I’d give you an epic adventure to other worlds.
Now….When I feel like giving up,
when I’m confused or have doubt,
I think….What would 4 year old me do?
veronica-varlow.jpg

And now as Burke and I are in the Pre-Production phase of our indie film, Revolver (pssst…..”like” us here and check out the weird wish list of things we need you to help scavenge)
and as we leap into the unknowns of our dream with passion and fervor (and sometimes fear
she has been beside me the whole time to encourage me, pick me up and make me believe.

All I want to do in my life – is make that little 4 year old proud….
I want her to be proud that she grew up to be me.
Burke-Heffner-Veronica-Varlow.jpg

Share your childhood photos in the comments. I would love to see them!
And if you liked this post, please pass it on by clicking share or RT.
What would your 4 year old self want you to do?

Love it? Share it.

Magic Monday: A Wild One Card Tarot Reading From Me To You = ADVENTURE, BLACK BEARS and a NEW SONG!

Speaking of adventure…as I’m typing this post on my porch…..
Twin baby black bears just walked right in front of me to play!!!!!!!!!! This happened seconds ago!

Yeah. That happened.

Back to our regular broadcasting:
Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.29.20 AM
My tarot cards are wrapped in antique lace, there are dirt smudges on them that will never come out from all the times I’ve brought them to the forest with me to read them, and they carry the enchanting scent of wild orange oil.

Danger Addicts, may I give you a reading this morning?
A one-card truth?

Yesterday, I woke up to the sunshine streaming in my room and the tarot cards under my pillow.
My hands reached for the antique lace and my bare feet walked down the wooden stairs of Curiosa.
I opened up the hobbit door and all the sunshine flooded in.

I shuffled for all of us on my favorite spot on the porch while the birds sang their song and the dragonflies laid down in the sun.
And this is what the cards revealed for you:
The-fool-wild-unknown-tarot.jpg
One of my favorite cards of the deck.
For those of you who join me in the Parlour sometimes, this has been a card that comes up often.
For those of you who are super brand new to tarot, let me give you a reading…..

The fool is all about new beginnings, throwing yourself into adventure without thinking of the consequences or obstacles.
It is that innocence that you have from childhood, that belief that you can do anything you want, and the mindset of having never been told no before.
This card says:
You are PURE potential.

Your Tarot Assignment for this week – if you choose to take it:

Is about throwing yourself into adventure…trying something new…..having fun with that childlike abandon and the feeling that nothing can possibly stand in your way.

Adventure is around you….even in places that you might not expect.
What does your heart want you to do? Listen to it and take a chance.

I did this:

The other night, inspired by jamming with Maggie Maggots, I started making up a song and lyrics by the fireplace.
Burke was headed up to bed and asked me what the last song I was playing with the lyrics “Take Me With You….”
It was just a song I made up.
He wanted me to play it again – and I couldn’t really remember all the made up words – but I knew the music I had written and melody.
It was basically a song about falling in love with a green haired mermaid and having to decide between living without her or being with her and drowning.
Burke sat next to me and came up with the “through the atmosphere”, “to a new frontier” “underneath the sea….as long as its you and me” parts…
and we had fun with it.

Then I pulled on my vegan Docs for an adventure and got them muddy hiking up Overlook Mountain with my friends.
After a 3 mile trek up steep uphill – this was my reward:
overlook-mountain-hike.jpg

The abandoned creepy hotel as the sun sets….
abandoned-overlook-hotel.jpg

Being there always makes me feel like a like kid.
Exploring.
My imagination running wild.
Playing.
TRESPASSING!
girl-in-abandoned-building.jpg

Last time I was there, I stuck my hand up the fireplace that goes nowhere and there was a secret box with charms and notes in it that people left behind.
I took off my thrift store necklace and added it to the collection, wrote a note and put it back in its spot.
It wasn’t there anymore…
it’s hidden somewhere new I suppose.

What wild adventures await you this week?
How can you let your imagination play and come up with new things?
How can you let that child-like side of you really rock out this week?

Tell me in the comments what you commit to doing!
Let’s all stage dive into this gorgeous week together.
Happy Magic Monday.

Love it? Share it.

80 of the Best Books EVER and Great Summer Reads For The Freaks

girl-reading.jpg
Books are my drug of choice.
The worlds that I’ve found within them
have saved my life and my heart.

When my house burned to the ground and I was lost,
I went to the local coffee shop and grabbed a dog-eared copy of
Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire
from the shelf and escaped with Lestat.
For a few hours, I forgot about all that I lost.

Books have numbed my pain.
They have made me feel more than I’ve felt in real life sometimes.

This just appeared in town and I’m psyched.
free-library.jpg
Storytellers are my rockstars.

Here is a list of my favorite books:

1. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov. (adult)
2. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
3. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.
4. On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
6. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
8. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
9. The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
11. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.
12. Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins.
13. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
15. The Stand by Stephen King.
16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
17. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
18. The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
19. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.
20. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.
21. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
22. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe.
23. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
24. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice (Adult).
25. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.
26. Just Kids by Patti Smith.
27. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
28. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
29. Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein
30. High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby.
31. The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
32. The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe.
33. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
34. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.
35. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain.
36. Here is New York by E.B. White.
37. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.
38. Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis.

the-girl-with-the-literary-tattoo.jpg
I wandered into my favorite bookstore, The Golden Notebook and met poet and author, Gretchen Primack.
She has this awesome literary tattoo that is a Kurt Vonnegut quote.
She is also the author of Doris’ Red Spaces, Kind and The Lucky Ones. Check them out and support this awesome author!
She suggested the below books to me and I left with a brand new copy of The Panopticon (which I read with a clip light under the stars and surrounded by fireflies on my front porch last night).

39. The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan.
40. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.
41. My Abandonment by Peter Rock.
42. Fools by Joan Silber.
43. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
44. Vegan with a Vengence: 150 Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Burke Heffner, my darling husband and co-conspirator recommends:

45. The Stranger by Albert Camus.
46. 1984 by George Orwell.
47. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
48. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
49. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
50. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
51. The Wonderful Wizard of OZ collection by L. Frank Baum

One of my best friends, Mr. Jeff Stark – art star and of the Nonsense NYC list and underground experience fame recommends:

52. Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac.
53. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway
54. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

Jo Weldon, Burlesque Icon and Head Mistress of the New York School of Burlesque and Author of The Burlesque Handbook loves:

55. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
57. Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood.
58. 100 Collected Poems by e.e. cummings.
59. Loose Women by Sandra Cisneros.

Contessa Create, Theatrical Performer, Aerialist, Plant Whisperer and Queen of Comedy recommends:

60. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.
61. Cannibal Kiss by Daniel Odier.

Aubrey Franchell, our traveling partner for Revolver, friend and editor recommends:

62. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
63. Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse.
64. Reflections of Loko Miwa by Lilas Desquiron.
65. Night by Elie Wiesel.

Alise Marie, lovely co-conspirator, Vegan Vixen and sultry chef recommends:

66. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin (Adult)
67. Paris Spleen by Charles Baudelaire
68. The Immoralist by André Gide

Friends of mine who have written kick ass books and who I highly recommend are:

69. The Burlesque Handbook by Jo Weldon.
70. Parades, Parties, and Protests: Creative Resistance Culture by Sarah Sparkles.
71. The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn.
72. The Year of Yes by Maria Dahvana Headley.
73. A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton by Holly George-Warren.
74. Sacred Seduction by Kitty Cavalier.
75. Blood and Pudding by Katelan Foisy.
76. Week in Hell: Art Book by Molly Crabapple.
77. The Esbat Sequence by Tara Lindsey.
78. Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon.
79. Handbook for Hot Witches: Dame Darcy’s Illustrated Guide to Magic, Love, and Creativity by Dame Darcy.
80. Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny. (Pre-Order this awesomeness)

 

My friend, Laurie Penny, put this up today with the hashtag #selfieswithbooks.
I challenge you to put one up on instagram, facebook or twitter with the hashtag so I can see it!
Laurie-penny.jpg

AND speaking of writing,
if you wanna read a new article of mine out in glossy and GORGEOUS print,
check out the Summer 2014 edition of Faerie Magazine.
One of the most beautifully done magazines I’ve ever seen and I’m honored to be in it.
AND get 15% OFF ANYTHING on the Faerie Magazine site, just by putting in code: dangerdiary.
Share with your friends and help support a kickass indie magazine.
veronica-varlow-faerie-magazine.jpg

Have you written a book? Please share in comments!
What are your favorites?
Do TELL.
Find a bunch of awesome suggestions from my Facebook Friends, too!

Love it? Share it.

Confession: My House Burned to the Ground 3 Years Ago – Here’s 3 Tips To Get Through Hard Times

Our Enchanted Cottage on our Wedding Day:
Picture 66

Our Cottage 3 years ago today:
Picture 67

My soul felt like the above picture for months.
I was just as destroyed on the inside
as my home was.

Here are 3 things which had to happen for us to make it through.
And they might help you when you’re going through hard times:

1.  A Clean Slate.

In any situation, a break-up, the loss of a job or friendship, and especially in the loss of our home – it’s hard to move on while staring at the remains of what used to be.

You can’t move forward if you’re only looking behind you.

When something bad has happened, allow yourself to mourn for a little while, but give yourself a deadline day to make a clean slate and to start over again.

Real Life Story: For two months after the fire, our house was a pile of black ash with one mint green wall standing.
Every day, I would drive there and sit in the burned frame of my bed and look out of the window that remained….looking out that same window I had looked out of for years of my life.
Then it was the same thing, over and over, I would dig and dig in the rubble trying to find anything.
I was half crazy.

Picture 68

Burke took this photo of me in our wedding bed the last day our house stood. I was crying and pulled the veil over my face. I didn’t want to let our beloved house go. Only a handful of people have ever seen this photo. It was just too personal for me to share until now.

The day the bulldozer came to level what remained,
I felt like I was going to die.
My life was 7 dumpsters of wreckage
to be carted away.
Ashes of childhood stuffed animals,
my Grandma’s jewelry and magic things,
years of personal journals and books.

But the next day I came back.
The ash and charred rubble was gone.
There was new earth, an open field, a clean slate.
I could finally see more than burned remains,
I could see more than what was,
I could see the potential for what could be,
and I felt like there was a glimmer of hope on that land for the first time since the fire.

There is no place for a bright future when you are standing knee deep in the ashes of your past.

2.  Get Active In Your Future.

Focus on new and good things. Rather than waiting, make your future.
Take action.
What do you want to do now?
Who do you want to be?
See a bright future and head towards it – one step at a time.

Real Life Story: Burke dealt with the loss of the house by buying a can of PlayDoh and sculpting his ideas for what the new home could be. He was just as destroyed as I was over the fire. He was afraid if he sunk too deep in the darkness and ashes, he wouldn’t be able to climb out, like quicksand. He knew he had to keep moving.

As he formed a new home in PlayDoh, it occupied his mind, charged his creativity and kept him afloat.
Burke’s PlayDoh House that he molded right after the fire:

Burke's playdoh house.

The Finished House:
Picture 70

3. Get Out There in the World.

Immerse yourself in the world, find positive people, and interact.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Don’t just invite a friend over to mourn what has passed.
Force yourself to hang out with people – go dancing, go to a party, go OUT, take class, volunteer – even when you don’t feel like it. Chances are, once you get there, you’ll be grateful you did. Being around others, listening to others, sharing common interests, and discovering new things will help get your mind off past sadness.

Real Life Story: A handful of days after our house burned to the ground there was a big celebration for dear friends of ours. We didn’t want to let them down by not showing up, and at the same time, we didn’t want to bring the party down by being there. It wasn’t easy, but we went. The first few minutes were the hardest – I wanted to run away. But after a moment, seeing good friends and being surrounded by a positive social environment helped me so much. The day was a positive distraction from my sadness and the good effects of the day were lasting.

Here’s a picture of us at that event – sticking together and finding hope in each other and our friends.
Picture 71

I will never forget how much you all of you on this online community did for us. Your support, letters and love kept us going more than you’ll ever know.

If you’re going through a hard time out there – remember you’re not alone and there is hope.
Don’t give up.
Better days will be headed your way.
Trust me on this one.
I’ve been down many a crooked road and I know this to be true.

Today at 5:45pm, Burke and I will be holding hands on the rock in our backyard, just like we do every year to send good thoughts back to our old selves in 2011 who were dealing with a really hard time.

Here’s the post where I talk about the special ritual we do every year since the fire.
I put my heart into writing it and I know it can help you, too.

Sending out my love to all of you –
and if you know someone that might need this today,
please share.

Love it? Share it.