2012 Twenty Questions Interviews : Deonne Kahler
20 Questions Interview
with Deonne Kahler
Writer, Photographer, Business Owner
1. What's your name?
2. Where are you from?
Born in Winner, South Dakota, but I was barely a year old when Mom and Dad put me in the back seat, loaded up the U-Haul, and moved us to Los Angeles. My first road trip!
3. Who are you today?
A writer, photographer, business owner, avid road tripper, and mom to Sam the Wonder Pup.
4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)
I run an online store called Journals and Notepads. We sell a huge selection of reasonably priced fun and beautiful journals, notepads, sticky notes, planners, and organizers.
5. What's your story (how did you get here)?
Everything I've wanted to do in life I've made happen based on two questions: 1. What the hell? and 2. What's the worst-case scenario? (i.e. Will it kill me? No? Then go for it.)
6. Why is art and writing important to you?
Writing and photography are how I make sense of the world. I'd be fumbling in the dark without them.
7. When did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I first got the itch when I became obsessed with copying cartoons and drawings in elementary school. Even though that never went anywhere I was terrible at drawing without something to mimic it got me addicted to that feeling of making art, and it never left.
8. How did you embrace it?
With unabashed relish.
9. How did that feel?
Like coming home.
10. Where has your journey taken you?
I've moved from San Diego to San Francisco to Oakland to Taos to New York and back to Taos. I've been a musical theater pro doing songs from the 30's and 40's, played folk and rock on my own, with a duo, then put together a band and released a CD with songs that made it into TV and film. I worked for a New York publisher and a Bay Area nonprofit helping women get off welfare. I was a freelance writer for regional newspapers and magazines, published personal essays, had two blogs and am starting a third. I also owned two businesses in San Francisco, and founded something called the Women's Freedom Fair in Berkeley. I've road tripped all over the U.S. and learned to make a mean paella.
11. What challenges have you faced?
The wax and wane of income, with emphasis on the wane. Doubt and insecurity. Lots of near misses of various magnitudes, the last of which had me almost dying from a head injury.
12. What worked for you?
Belief in my abilities. Hard work. More saving than spending. Following my gut.
13. What didn't work for you?
Ignoring my gut. Caring what other people thought.
14. What three tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?
- Go where the energy is. If you're excited about something, follow it.
but figure out the worst-case scenario. Can you handle it? If so, go. If not, adjust.
- Never be afraid to make big moves, and make them happen baby step by baby step.
15. What are you working on now?
Growing the business. Customers love Journals and Notepads once they find it, so I'm trying to help a lot more people find it.
16. What's coming up for you in the next year?
In addition to building the business, I'm planning monthly road trips. I have a 13' Scamp trailer named Sadie, and she's been sorely neglected. Plus Ireland in June.
17. What else do you desire/dream to do?
Publish books. I write memoir and creative nonfiction, but so far have only published personal essays, and I've got an idea for eBooks that I'm excited about. I'm fascinated with the online world and social media, so plan to learn all I can about that. Also, Scamp from Taos to Alaska. Those are the short-term dreams.
18. How will you make that happen?
For the publishing and studying, it's really just a matter of putting butt in chair. The Scamp to Alaska will have to wait until I can get away for a couple months.
19. What question do you want to answer that's not on this list?
What's your motto?
Life is short. Don't wait. (A good reminder for us all.)
20. What's your Web site address?
service [at] JournalsAndNotepads.com. I answer all emails!