An amazing creative surprise from a fan…

“So I ‘covered’ three of your songs today.”

The message was from one of my fans and fellow songwriters, George Kelly, who sometimes performs as Saint and Kings. We’ve played shows together and he bought my lyrics + poetry book the very same hour it was posted.

He took some of the lyrics in the book and wrote his own music to accompany them. Then he sat down at GarageBand and whipped out a few demos in a day.

I was floored.

I’ve never had someone do this for my songs before. It’s so amazing how someone’s completely fresh perspective can then influence my own perspective on my songs.

The delightful thing is, of the three songs he ‘covered’ (listen to them below), there’s one song he chose, “The World Didn’t End,” that I myself haven’t even written the music to yet. That’s the whole point of me publishing the book: I wanted to share my creations even in their unfinished format.

Well, George inspired me to fast-track finishing that song. Who knows, he may even get a cowriter’s credit on it.

With his permission, I’m posting his versions of my songs below.

I’m rendered speechless.

Thank you, George.

on Big Anger

we are in a trying political climate, and some of us are feeling the burden of an overwhelming, existential anger for the first time. if this is your first relationship with Big Anger, well, welcome. some folks have been feeling Big Anger for decades, so we have much to learn from them. (want to hear their voices directly? start here. and here. and here. and here. and here.)

i have been privileged enough to be sheltered from Big Anger for a while, until a few years ago when this kid named trayvon died, everyone said it was about race, and my ignorant white ass had to sit down and take a hard look at what was going on.

when i did, with the help of an anti-racism workshop, my worldview crashed down. i had no idea all this suffering was going on right under my nose, and my lack of empathy was helping to perpetuate that suffering.

i got depressed. and then i got angry.

someone once told me anger was a step up from depression. because with depression, there is no sense of worth, there is nothing to defend, there is just hopelessness.

with anger, there is something to protect. anger knows you have something of value and is upset that something is taking that value away. someone has wronged you or people you love, and nobody deserved that injustice. anger tells you that something is worth fighting for.

and anger is correct.

it’s an important messenger. listen to it. let it call you to action.

but also, if you can help it, please don’t move into its house.

Big Anger likes to tell you it’s the only path to change. Big Anger is an abusive partner who makes you feel special, important, who says they’re the only one for you, they’re the only one who can provide for you and give you want you want.

Big Anger is a fucking liar.

we need you to keep in touch with love, gratitude and humor if we are to sustain ourselves through this. this is a marathon, not a sprint. Big Anger will always be there, but Big Anger is not the only pathway to progress. in fact, Big Anger is the surefire way to burn out a swath of humanity right when we need the energy to resist.

don’t get me wrong: anger is important to listen to. and PLEASE don’t lecture other people’s relationship with anger. it’s important that people feel it and have a relationship with it, but you do not need to forsake every other feeling you as a human being are capable of feeling.

anger is an amazing motivator. but so is love. so is gratitude. so is sadness. so is joy.

so by all means, feel angry. and then act.

but also feel gratitude, then act.

feel relaxation, then act.

feel sad, then act.

feel joy, then act.

do not let Big Anger be the only thing that drives you to action.

the b in lgbtq

LGBTQ Night at El Rio

some of you know, some of you don’t, but i am bi.

no, i am not confused, i am not undecided, it does not mean i want to sleep with anything that moves. but it *is* complicated.

when the wonderful agatha ‘the phoenix violinist’ varshenka posted an open call for musicians in the lgbtq community to play with her at El Rio in SF this friday, i hesitated to come forward. and even though they deliberately put the b in lgbtq, i just…


i hesitated. big time.

am i allowed to take up space from others who are more marginalized? i mean, i have this thing called “passing privilege.” i get to hide behind relationships with men and look normal. i sometimes feel i don’t deserve to take up the spotlight when there’s probably someone else who has it worse and needs the platform more than i do.

and that’s what has kept me from fully embracing and identifying myself in this queer community. i still feel funny about it, like i’m not queer enough or something.

but here’s the thing: in really, really uncertain political times, we need all voices to step forward. including those of us who don’t feel like we fit in. even in the misfit crowd.

we need to be our full, authentic, awkward selves and be brave enough to be fully seen.

that’s what i’m doing this friday. it’s lgbtq night, like it is every friday night at el rio. there will be celebration, music, art and community. there will also be no cover charge to anyone who says they’re there for the show. (you can even win two free drink tickets to the show.)

this is sorta kinda my first public foray aligning myself with the lgbtq community. you could consider it my coming-out show.

so if you’re in the bay, come out, too.

and if you’re not in the area, come out loud with your badass self. anyway you can. queer, straight, tall, short, as the best funk dancer in chicago or most introverted book nerd in kansas. a closeted christian in a family of atheists or a closeted wiccan in a family of christians.

come out, come out.

however you are.

❤️ 💛 💚 💙 💜

thoughts on the ghost ship fire


this is a song lyric of mine. i made this image a while ago. and the past few days, it’s haunted me. really, really haunted me.

i don’t know how much of the news has spread to wherever you are, but last friday a major fire in oakland claimed the lives of at least 30 artists, musicians and music fans gathering to hear live electronic music at an artist collective warehouse.

these are friends of friends of mine, here in the bay area. there’s footage of my friends weeping in the streets, broadcast on CNN. there’s friends who lost several — SEVERAL — friends in the span of minutes. my facebook feed is chock full of safety checks, desperate pleas for info and memorial posts. there’s community grieving and calls for action.

i’m thinking of the duo Introflirt. its two members are still unaccounted for. i can’t wrap my head around the thought of a band ceasing to exist because its members ceased to exist. i pray to god they’re ok, but the prospects do not look good. i’m just so heartbroken and shaken.

and i wonder what would have happened if it were me.

and i wonder how much of my music, my purpose, would be lost to the world.

when i go, so will my unfinished songs.

that’s why my brain is returning to this line.

art in my head doesn’t count.







if i ceased to exist tomorrow, and my music isn’t out in the world, that’s it. that’s the end.

i can’t let that happen.

not everyone is afforded the privilege of being alive and creative. and so, in honor of those who died, i am going to stake my claim and say yes. yes, i’m alive and i’m going to do something with that privilege. yes, i believe in my music. enough to risk everything. yes, i will create while i still have the chance.

for them.

this fire has brought some soul-searching and much needed perspective. and i’m committing, recommitting, and will recommit again, to make sure the art i have in my head does not remain there.

it can’t.

it mustn’t.

that’s not what art is meant to do.

a song has finally been birthed.

i am not myself / i am so much more

remember when i had that contest where all y’all voted for your favorite @ Little Spiral @ quote?

remember the quote that won?

it was “i am not myself / i am so much more.”

and it was funny, because i actually had not finished the song. like, at all. i had some scraps of ideas, but nothing was coming together. it felt stuck in waiting.

but this week, a big stumbling block shifted out of the way. i was at a Social Artistry retreat, focused all on bringing our highest selves down to earth to do good work.

hmm. sounds familiar. it’s as if i was… not myself…. but… more?


that big stumbling block i talked about? that was me. i got out of this song’s way. I channeled this song in two days’ time —lightning fast in the @ Little Spiral @ galaxy. and i performed it at a talent show at the retreat.

you guise.

let me tell you.

it was fucking MAGIC.

i recruited the entire room to sing along with me, like a human-powered loop pedal. a friend caught it all on video. the rest of the retreat i got people telling me how the song won’t leave their heads, how the lyrics were perfect, how it sent chills up their spine, how awesome it was to participate in that moment of music-making.

and i cannot fucking WAIT to share the video of that magic with you.

it’s called Not Myself, and it will be my first official Patreon-supported piece of music.

what is patreon, you might ask? it’s a way to crowdfund creative projects on an ongoing basis. instead of pledging one time for a massive project, like an album, patreon lets me take pledges per song i release. i am only planning on releasing music once every other month or so, but you can put a cap on your pledge in case you need to watch your budget.

i’m planning on releasing this song soon, while it’s still fresh from the ether. patrons will be the first to hear it outside of the retreat.

i can’t wait to tell you the back story of this song.

i am teeming with excitement.

your pledge means the world to me.

am i really the woman you don’t want to be?

@ Little Spiral @ in all her fat queer blue-haired glory
@ Little Spiral @ in all her fat queer blue-haired glory



I wrote this in response to my friend Lila Rose’s Facebook thread:

I am 230-something pounds. It has been a lifelong struggle to love this body. And every time I hear a thinner woman have such struggles too, my heart just breaks for them. I can’t believe society has told all of us (yes, men too) to feel so ashamed of ourselves.

And yet… is my life really that bad?

Is my heavyset life that horrible that girls and women everywhere will hate themselves, starve themselves, cry themselves to sleep… just to avoid looking like… me?

But I’m here. Here I am. I’m the thing that everyone doesn’t want to be. And I’m being it. And I am alive. And I am awake. I am connected. I am healthy. I have friends. I go out on dates. I go to the gym regularly. I get to do some cool shit professionally and artistically. I’m living a life people would kill for.

Well, except for the whole weight thing.

I have days — months, sometimes — where I struggle with loving myself. I have days — months, sometimes — where I am on top of the world and loving every moment I have consciousness. And I hear that women of every weight experience these highs and lows too.

So, is my life really what everyone is scared of?

When women say they don’t want to be fat, do they not want to be me?

Because I’m alive, and worthy of that life. I am love and I’m worthy of that love. I’m good. Life is good. The body I live with, she is good.

It’s not that awful to be me.

It’s beautiful.


pulse | by Wilson Bilkovich
pulse | by Wilson Bilkovich


yesterday i visited a local lgbtq center to find out about the resources they offer. they had a stack of printouts on ways to deal with the Pulse tragedy. but tucked in a bookshelf was an older brochure for a gay-friendly vacation to orlando. i kindly, sadly, turned the brochure in to the front desk. no one needs to see that right now.

this morning at the gym, the instructor told us to lie flat on our backs, then bring our right shoulder to our left knee and pulse. pulse. pulse.



the echo of that word, over and over again, unrelenting, is still in my head.

last tuesday, a teenage girl was killed in a shooting in broad daylight, during rush hour, not even a block from a clients’ office, where i would have been if i didn’t video-conference in that day.

i was reminded through facebook that last year, 6 irish victims were killed by a faulty balcony just blocks from my home.

also this time last year: charleston. people shot for being black and christian.

in 2010, the bishop at my mormon home congregation was shot and killed at his church, just as services were ending. killed for being a mormon leader.

and here i am, with the audacity to have a pulse.

here i am, alive, despite a universe stacked against life.

here i am, with no guarantee that i will be.

what am i going to do with my still-beating pulse?

what are you going to do with yours?

a new blog home.


i am experimenting with a blog idea for my @ Little Spiral @ project.

there’s stuff coming up that i am far too fucking excited about, and i want to keep it all in one spot.

it’s daring to stake your claim in the internet on your own turf and not on a third-party blogging site. i mean, i have my patreon blog and my medium blog, but i’m about to launch some really sophisticated stuff where i’ll be hand-coding some features, so i wanted to retain full creative control.

having my own site is a bit like not being on a label. there’s tradeoffs, depending on your goals. i’m not anti-label at all. i just want to try my hand at a few new things.

stay tuned. make sure you sign up for my email list.

that is all.


oh, and i love you.


ok, now that is all.

that thing that can’t be codified (with the help of things that can)

there is so much going on in spiraland right now and i’m teeming with excitement. allow me to indulge for a second:

in the middle of all this promotion and event and creative pushings, i have to keep reminding myself:

hey, suzanne, hey buddy, yo. you still have to do the music part of your music career.



i thought this was all just a creative expression of promotion, right?

hahhahhaa! ha!



i mean, i do all this digital marketing stuff for a living. i believe the business end of music is a creative act in and of itself.

and somehow, i feel… creatively fulfilled from promoting? could that be true?




cannot go down that route.

so i did something risky to protect my musical creative time. i’m blocking off my fridays to work on the music itself. not the business or promotions part, the actual music itself.

it’s risky because that’s one full workday of not “working.” i mean, it’s plenty of work, getting great at a craft, but in the traditional i-need-to-earn-money-now sense of work, it could make things complicated.

but i had an epiphany a few years ago as i was working in the web production world.

someday, someone is going to make my tech job obsolete.

someone somewhere will program a better system that isn’t so labor-intensive. someday coding will be as easy as speaking into a screen telling the computer what you want. someday websites will truly build themselves. someday the web will be replaced by something better, faster, more efficient, and the fewer human hands that get in the way of that efficiency, the more cost-effective it will be. and them’s the rules of business.

so what use am i if the only thing i do well is something that will become obsolete sooner than later?

i’m not lamenting the loss of jobs to robots here. PLEASE, ROBOTS, TAKE OUR JOBS. if you can automate it, and we don’t have to put up with that kind of labor-intensive bullshit anymore, then maybe we can be a little more free to do the things humans do best. to do that one thing that comes from the heart, that can’t be replicated or replaced by code any time soon.

and for me that’s songwriting.

being fully human is risky. but you know what’s a bigger risk?

NOT being human.

what’s the one thing you do that could not be replaced by technology? what’s the one thing you do that makes you fully human?