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What's in my trophy case? — Rusty Blazenhoff


What's in my NOW?

November 10 · Issue #128 · View online

One interesting person shares the tangible and invisible things that are influencing the NOW — 3 physical, 2 digital, and 1 invisible.

Rusty Blazenhoff is a professional free spirit and Fluff superfan. When she’s not busy spreading her love of the absurd through her inbox zine, you can find her making magic for Pee-wee Herman, Boing Boing, Children’s Fairyland and/or Burning Man. You can find her Fluff-superfan Instagram feed @thereallynnewhite.

Living a creative life can be really fun but it ain’t easy! One of the ways that I’ve learned to cope with crippling self-doubt is with a “trophy case.” It displays things that remind me of who I am, how far I’ve come, and why I need to keep doing what I do. It works. Everything in or on it brings me a smile and an energetic boost. It helps that it’s right next to my desk, I walk by it 20 times a day at least. 
The items I picked for this exercise are not the flashiest or most valuable, just particularly meaningful to me.  
This is THE letter that started off my Fluff super-fandom. I moved from Massachusetts to California in the mid-90s and couldn’t get Fluff, so I mailed the company a letter to ask what was going on. They sent me a funny explanatory note on embossed Marshmallow Fluff letterhead in return and that began an unusual journey linked to a product.
For decades, so much of my identity was wrapped up in having long red and super recognizable hair. When I decided to lop off a significant length, I saved some, packaged it up, and had my hairdresser authenticate it — a fun product idea I stole from El Vez. I sell my locks in my home’s art vending machine. Recently, I cut my hair even shorter and wish I had done it a lot sooner.
My daughter just turned 17 but when she was younger, maybe 8, she drew this portrait of me at an art camp. Oh gosh, it still melts my heart so much. Still today, she is a voracious creator of beautiful things.
I get a lot of attention for another Burning Man gift but this one is a little more near and dear to me. For my sophomore year on playa, I handed out personalized matchbooks and told people to “burn the Man early.” That was 1996 and this is the last one I have left. You can still see the faded stamp of Drinkie the Drunk Guy, the anthropomorphic icon of the zine-making/drinking group I was in, Bigrig Industries. Inside the cover is our website address. The oldest version of that site I could find on the Wayback Machine is from 2001. The same link has the Fluff letter exchange in its entirety. Copy and paste this into your address bar:
What's in your ...?
We want to hear about unusual and unusually useful items that you have in your desk, bag, closet, fridge or where ever you keep things. It can be anything really: work bag, pantry shelf, beauty drawer, toolbox, etc. Start by sending an email to with a photo of the things in your chosen space (you can use your phone). If you get a reply from us, fill out the form. We’ll pay you $50 if we run your submission in our What’s in my …? newsletter and blog.
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