BuinFrom May 22 – July 3, 2019, Andra will be writer-in-residence at Buinho Creative Hub in Messejana, Portugal.

From Buinho Creative Hub’s website:

In 2015 we created one of the very first rural FabLabs in Portugal.

Today Buinho is something more than just a FabLab. It is a place where you can eat, sleep, enjoy the unique nature of Alentejo and make cool stuff.

The residency is a work in progress — we are, together with our residents always improving the spaces and adapting them based on the overall vision and current needs.

In 2017 Buinho added another house to provide more space for the residents.

The new house is located on the main square of Messejana. Built in 17th century, it has a beautiful garden. Now the two houses together can accommodate up to 6 people in single and double bedrooms.

Our vision is to build a network of creative spaces in the historic town Messejana, always available to our members and residents. Those spaces will complement each other and offer diverse possibilities of collaboration and experimentation.

Artists, makers, designers, digital nomads, researchers — individuals and teams — you are invited. Let’s build the creative network of Messejana together!

To learn more about Buinho Creative Hub or to apply for a residency, visit their website HERE.


Speaking of creativity, I set up a little social media side project. I’m not ready to invite a bunch of people yet, but it’s where I get a lot of inspiration.

Like this video of comedian Patton Oswalt talking about creativity.

A group member shared it with me yesterday, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched it. Oswalt’s talking points are SO MY EXPERIENCE with being a creator. I cried the first time. Then I wanted to hug him.

Whether you’re a creator or know someone who is, you need to watch this video.

Seriously, it’s only five minutes. I’ll wait.

I think my first takeaway was asking myself questions about my own behavior: How many times have I stifled someone else’s creativity? Are there times when I could be more supportive? Do I owe anyone an apology for stomping all over their juju?

Because let me tell you, I KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE. Creators talk about their ideas because they’re an extension of passion. They burble up like a geyser, and trying to contain them is like putting a stopper in a geyser. As soon as too much pressure builds, that stopper’s gonna blow.

For most creators, it is SO HARD to share part of that super-heated water and steam and get “Here’s why that won’t work.”

And I’ve done it to creators. Hundreds or maybe even thousands of times. I don’t even want to contemplate how much penance or karma I’m being smacked by as a result of my own poor choices with others. I’m sure that’s why I’m getting a hefty dose of it myself.

But from listening to Oswalt talk, I’m not unique. EVERY CREATOR deals with negative nellies, people who shit all over a person’s creative ideas and flow. Our entire publishing industry is built on the notion of writing what will sell, sticking to the very defined rules of a genre, and watering down a project every time someone says, “That won’t work. Do this instead.”

So watch this video. I’m going to use it the next time I start to tell someone how their idea won’t work, and I’m going to be their cheerleader instead. I hope you will, too.

Creators who reach for their dreams make EVERYTHING POSSIBLE.

Check out my books here.

And if you’re in a spendy reading mood, please buy them direct from my publisher HERE.

Image credit: pattonoswalt.com


Some stream of consciousness for your Tuesday.

I found this while cleaning my desk. Penned the first day of my December toxo relapse, it captures the hysterical grief and fear that gripped me.


It’s 1:15am the first day.

I haven’t slept. Hearts race into thoughts pulse into acid burns into fingers tremble.

I’m already exhausted to the point of madness.

My stomach won’t be still.

What am I going to do?

In some other life, I must’ve buried someone alive. Watching the vivid glorious oil-painted world burn like a movie reel must be my karma for getting it wrong.

Or maybe I was the woman from my mother’s childhood, the one who died but squeezed my great-aunt’s hand as they were preparing to bury her. And I awoke in that pit to scream myself hoarse and tear out clumps of my hair and claw the skin from my face AND NO ONE HEARD ME.


No one hears me.

I used to think I could conquer anything.

But this disease will consume me.

Bit by bit.

Reactivation by reactivation.

Morsel by morsel.

Until I’m someone I don’t recognize, a shade glimmering just beyond the frame, a lost, helpless, sightless, probably mindless void of humanity.

Who had talent.


Who tried harder than anyone she knew to reach her full capacity before the parasites consumed her.

Already, I’m failing.

A little more floats away in black specks. Streamers. An unraveling of the world I used to see.

And I’m left with this.

Loony scribblings at 2am.

While the world embraces darkness, I fear closing my eyes and missing what’s left of the light.


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