More about Lif Strand

The long, rambling version

(Periodically updated as whim hits me)

First thing you should know about me is that I’m a hermit.  I like my privacy.  I live way out back in New Mexico, off the grid.  I like the challenges of my primitive (relatively speaking… after all, I’ve got internet access) lifestyle.

I’ve hiked all my life.  I love hiking.  I don’t need a trail.  I’m one of those people who can’t get lost.  I might not know exactly where I am at a given moment but I can always find my way to where I need to go.  Hiking is a form of meditation for me.

Arabian stallion SE Kokopelli Kid Photo by Lif StrandI’ve always been into all kinds of art.  I didn’t just want to fool around with art — I wanted to be an artist.  So I went to art school.  That didn’t work out.  So then I decided to become a philosophy major.  That morphed into graduate school in linguistics.  But I didn’t want to study language, I wanted to use language.  So dropped out and went into the horse business (because that’s such a logical progression).

My husband and I were Arabian horse breeders and marketers, and endurance riders.  At one point we had something like 35 horses.  I trained them, spending half my life in the saddle, it seemed.  I completed the hardest hundred mile endurance race in the world twice.  I thought I’d ride forever, but then not long after we moved to New Mexico my two soulmates died — first my husband and then my stallion — and somehow riding, much less racing, lost its appeal.  I still have horses, if not so many, and I’ve kept one of my old stallion’s sons (photo above) but it’s just not the same.  I might get back on a horse again someday because I loved riding and I love my horses.  You never know.

I taught myself how to program back in the early days of computers.  I developed a bunch of websites for people, but ugh, I do not like maintaining them.  So I don’t do that anymore.  I still do social media volunteer work for a few organizations, though.  Gotta keep the halo polished somehow.

When I was in my 20s my dad gave me his old Leica to replace my Brownie camera, and I learned how to process black & white photos in a friend’s darkroom.  I was already fascinated with photography, and later when I got my Canon SLR I built my own darkroom for printing color slides.  I knew I could be a professional photographer given half a chance (or with a whole lot of effort), but I got diverted by financial realities.  Check out some of my photos in Facebook albums and Instagram (you don’t need an account).

Music.  I love music.  I started out with classical music.  I learned how to play the violin, taught myself guitar, and now mess with a tenor uke, kalimba (10 key thumb piano), and recordings I make of ambient sounds.  Early on classical music gave way to Motown and blues, and then I discovered rock music and that’s all she wrote.  I still love classical music — but there’s Jimmy Page.  ‘Nuff said.  Read more about my love for music on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever.

And oh yeah, I write

I scribbled silly stories as a kid.  Wrote for my high school literary journal.  Wrote articles for horse publications.  All for free.  Finally, when I was tired of struggling as a substitute teacher — bound to fail there because I don’t like kids — I started writing for money.  I was a news reporter for a regional weekly, the Defensor Chieftain, for a while, then was snatched up by a research center at Western New Mexico University, which eventually led to becoming a freelance nonfiction writer-for-hire for local governments and businesses.

I started writing about music and magic, because creativity is a kind of magic.  I also blog about my homesteading/thrivalist lifestyle on the blog part of my website, with older stuff on my old blogger account).  Daily nattering happens most often on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   But while I enjoy blogging, what I’ve always wanted to do was write fiction.  I’m writing (and have published) short stories; have written, illustrated, and self-published a couple chapbooks (not for sale);  finished a couple novels — and am working on more.  

I do creative acts.  It’s all magic.

Teaser cover


It’s a thing!

Evolution Device was published by Positronic Publications July 28, 2020! It was edited by Gerald Hausman, who’s written the most amazing back-cover text I could imagine. Mt. Hausman wrote:

Evolution Device is a kind of hymn to the origins of rock in the early 1970s. But it is also a love story between a man, a woman, and a guitar. The woman in the story is a Muse, corporeal and ephemeral. She can be both and, quite naturally, she can also fall in love.

“All well and good. But the author adds yet another twist — a guitar called the Lady. Once mused, the instrument, too, becomes a mysterious source of power.  So, the story is then about a threesome: the guitarist, the muse of his dreaming psyche, and his supernatural guitar. Who gets the man? Two spirits are fighting to take possession of him. Who wins?

“Actually, the man is somewhat reminiscent of Freddy Mercury, Jim Morrison, and Keith Richards, all three rock-and-rolled into one charismatic yet very fallible human being. It’s a fairy tale of sorts, one that never seems unreal even though it is always fantastical.”

Wow.  This is an example of the truism that writers/artists create their own visions, but readers take away what is most meaningful to them no matter what the artist intends.  Mr. Hausman calls Evolution Device a kind of love story — I never would have thought of it that way and yet now I can see it, myself.

I catch myself grinning a lot these days!  

If you’d like to support an artist/writer (me), that would be cool.  I have a Patreon account and hope you’d consider the fact that at even at just $1 per month you’d really boost my ego and keep me enthused and I’d be ever so grateful!

Also, you can subscribe to my blog (see right-hand column, top) for updates about what’s going on with my art and my writing.  If there’s anything I’ll be offering (artwork or books or whatever) for sure I’ll let my subscribers and patrons know first.  Sometimes I might just send you a little thing with my thoughts just because I appreciate what you’re doing for me.  Thank you!

You can, of course, just send money for no reason at all.  Just use the donate button below.  But honestly — I’d prefer you did it because you want to support my approach to the creative act.



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