rae schwarz


I was born in New Hampshire at the end of the Summer of Love, but moved after the first few weeks of my life. I lived in Rhode Island for a bit, and then my family moved to New Jersey. Most of my growing up took place in Chatham. I graduated from Chatham Township High School in 1985 and that fall, started college at UC Santa Cruz. The late 80s was a great time to be hanging out in Santa Cruz, and I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts with an emphasis in Costume and Makeup. I also took a lot of writing classes and was fortunate enough to find two that would let me write science fiction. One class made an assignment out of applying to a prestigeous sf/fantasy-specific writing program, and much to my surprise, I was accepted! And just in time to ask for a fully-funded, writing vacation as a graduation present too, so....

Rae with one of her favorite childhood toys:   Hermann, the Bat-guy

In the summer of 1989, beginning just one week after my UCSC graduation, I attended the Clarion SF Writer's Workshop. I got to spend six weeks on the MSU campus in East Lansing, MI. One of the strangest educations of my life so far. The teachers that summer were Thomas Disch, Karen Fowler, Octavia Butler, Spider Robinson, Kate Wilhelm and Damon Knight. In six weeks I fell in love, got my third tattoo, mixed up dozens of shots named "Slippery Tits" (Kaluha & Bailey's & Peppermint Schnapps) and learned a heck of a lot about writing. As I had to pack light for the whole trip, I only brought two books of my own to read, figuring I'd find books on a college campus at a writing workshop pretty easily: the two books were RE/Search's J.G. Ballard #8/9 issue and the brand-new Modern Primitives. Needless to say, Modern Primitives changed my life. With my three tattoos, my dozen earrings, my pink hair and that book, I was the edgy Californian that summer.

After Clarion, I went back to Santa Cruz and worked, wrote and generally lived. However, first up for post-Clarion experiences was the Loma Prieta Earthquake in October 1989. That completely capped 1989 as one of most exciting and busy years of my entire life.

portrait of Rae by Mark I Chester

I moved from Santa Cruz to San Francisco in the fall of 1992, to begin attending graduate school. My family and I traveled to Costa Rica in January of 1993. When we got home from that trip I began grad school classes at the Academy of Art College in SF. My friend Jayson was very sick with AIDS that year, and his health decline and death in May of that year competed with school for my attention that entire first semester. I painted and printed a ton of fabric and made some quirky clothing, and learned that I have great patience for sitting at a computer, just moving a few pixels, trying to get that perfect repeat on the computer screen. I earned a Master's of Fine Arts with an emphasis on Fashion Textiles in the summer of 1995.

Before its closure in the summer of 1998, I participated in an artists' collective on Haight Street called The Soft Touch. I was a consignee for a bit, then a full member for a year (working in the store and all) and then a consignee again for a year. I sold silk scarves, hand-gilded candles, one-of-a-kind masks, and limited edition greeting cards.

From January 1996 through December 2002, I worked for Stormy Leather in San Francisco, first in the wholesale department and then as their web manager. I sold a lot of toys and fetishwear.

I earned the qualification of Certified First Responder and held valid credentials for this from 1998-2006. In spring 2002, I was accepted to and completed the San Francisco Sex Information training program. I then volunteered at their switchboard, staffing a weekly shift with other SFSI members, providing free, accurate and non-judgmental sex information.

In August 2002 I was invited to become an editor for the body art topic on a women's web site called Bellaonline.com. I publish regular articles and newsletters there on as many angles of body art as I can think of or invent. The following year I took on the pagan topic as well.

In December 2005, I bid a somewhat sad farewell to the Bay Area and the outrageous cost of living and rejoined my biological family, now all located in Seattle, WA.

me as a South Park character

me as a South Park cartoon

My personal geographical history:

  • Hanover, NH
  • Cranston, RI
  • Providence, RI
  • Toms River, NJ
  • Chatham, NJ
  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
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