Interview with Pen woMan #4: The Rogue Taylor Reveals All

tei1. What prompted you to join Men with Pens? You already have your own business, right?

I do, and I intend to continue expanding it. The Men cannot bring me down! Seriously, though, James has been indispensable for business advice, and working with the Men frequently has helped me understand how I’d like to operate independently.

We rogues aren’t averse to alliances, though – and working with MwP has given me a lot of freedom I wouldn’t otherwise have to pursue my own projects without worrying that my experimentation would cost me my livelihood.

I suppose the best way to think of it is that I’m taking advantage of James while he’s still in love with me. The bloom will wear off the rose eventually, but by then I’ll have stolen all of his secrets. And possibly his knitting needles.

2. How do you feel about being part of Men with Pens when you’re the rogue woman on the team?

Pretty damn special, really. It’s not every day your gender gets overlooked in favor of your talents. I’ve been accustomed to working with men for the majority of my career, so it doesn’t really change my environment at all. After you’ve been the lone woman in a team of weapons experts, men wielding pens aren’t really all that intimidating.

Though I find myself being very grateful we don’t actually share a bathroom. I cannot stand that toilet-seat thing.

3. What benefits come from becoming a Pen Man? Are there any drawbacks?

A lot more freedom. I hate marketing more than anything in the world, and James happens to love it. That means I have all the perks of a solid nine-to-five, which is to say a steady amount of work coming in and consistent expectations, without the extraordinary detriment of having to actually work nine to five.

Also, to my knowledge, most people aren’t allowed to call their usual bosses funny names like “Rampant Dingleberry.” Which makes me feel sad for all those suckers, but pretty great for me.

The drawback, I suppose, is that unless I watch myself constantly I get complacent. I’ve been meaning to get my own business re-launched for some time now, and fans of the old Rogue Ink know how well that’s going.

Thankfully, teaming up with the Men means I’ve got James on my back all the time telling me to stick my neck out there, which, after I’ve punched him on the arm on pure reflex, is actually very sound and necessary advice for me.

4. What has been your biggest challenge in freelancing? How did you overcome it? (That is, if you have overcome it!)

Probably that complacency I was just talking about. I’m working on overcoming that one. Largely it’s just having the drive to do more than enough. Being good enough is a lousy way to go through life, but it’s a habit we all get into. Once we stop worrying about putting bread and butter on the table, we don’t tend to start plotting how to get some steak on there instead.

We should, though. Steak is delicious. My challenge is going for the steak.

A freelancer should never get stagnant. For one thing, it’s no good for an artist to get bored. For another, stagnancy smells bad. And as the lone woman, it’s sort of my duty to be the good-smelling one around here.

5. Our readers don’t know anything about you. Give them some interesting and completely useless facts that make you a cool person.

I wind up bruised from stem to stern most weeks, since I swordfight and practice Krav Maga and kung fu. I curse like a sailor. I have very tiny feet and a tattoo. My handwriting is minuscule and archaic looking. I speak four languages, most of them badly. Though I make a living off of manipulating one of ‘em, so I suppose that indicates some level of mastery.

I get hit by wanderlust hard and fast many times a year. I tend to anthropomorphize my vehicles and name them after fictional American heroes. I’m not big on oceans. I have a book collection that rivals the public library’s. I like walking around my town at three in the morning. I can change a tire in under five minutes. I’m a fan of Syrah. My eyes are green and kinda spooky. Sorry about that.

6. Name three qualities that you value and uphold as much as possible.

Loyalty, unconditional love, and honor. Not in that order. But when you’re a professional writer, you have to make some allowances for rhythm and meter.

7. Tell us one goal in life that you haven’t yet accomplished but are still determined to reach.

Publish a book. Ride a horse across the Isle of Skye. Find a forgotten city. Shake Jack Nicholson’s hand.

8. Describe three things you can’t live without.

Good books, a fine-point pen, and my people.

9. What are you most proud of in business? In your work? In life?

Probably intuition, for all three. Being able to intuit what someone wants before they can fully articulate it themselves has served me well in business, in work, and in life.

If we had to go for a secondary quality, I’d say doing my best always to do good by all the people I encounter. Unless they’re ninjas sent by my nemesis. In which case they die. Though don’t get me wrong, some ninjas are great folks. One of my good friends is a ninja. I don’t hate on the ninjas.

10. Think fast! Give readers your most valuable piece of advice.

Being ruled by fear makes you an animal. Being ruled by passion makes you human. A damn good human, come to that. Sometimes it even makes you an artist, and we are the very coolest kinds of humans there are.

11. What’s it really like to work with James, Charlie and Harry?

::sigh:: I didn’t want to have to say this, but . . . you know that feeling you get when you see someone you know and you wave and they look at you and you realize that you DO know them, but that they weren’t the person you thought you were waving to, and that you just remembered you owe them money?

It’s like that. All the time.

12. Bonus question! Are we going to see more of you around here?

Apparently I’ll be hosting Wednesday blogging here in Men land. Which may have had something to do with the above answer.

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.