Welcome to my writing portfolio!
Looking for a professional, creative and dedicated writer who's passionate about helping people?
Writing evokes joy and is my first love. I have been a published writer for over 20 years. My writing has evolved with my life: I offer grant writing and curriculum development alongside articles on self-improvement, mindfulness, yoga, health, and the power of music, mantra and rhythm on the human mind. You will find here but a tiny sampling of my published work over the last two decades.
Thanks for visiting and connecting!
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Curious about my "Why?"
I began to write soon after gifted a second chance at life. On my fourteenth birthday, while walking through a crosswalk, I was struck by a Suburban traveling 45mph. The collision almost (and "should have") killed me.
During those first few months, everything about me radically shifted: I intuitively understood spirituality, life, and the power of the mind in radically different paradigms than I had ever been taught. Because those paradigms clashed with my cultural and religious beliefs, and because I had no words for some of what I felt, I began to write stories, poetry and diary entries. I wrote about living in traction for over a month in the hospital pediatric ward, about my six surgeries to re-brake and re-set my femur and about living for six months in a full body cast. I wrote about spiritual matters foreign to my learned beliefs. I wrote short stories and poems about the desire for romantic love and a life of influence (I was just a teenager, remember!)
Writing became much more than an internal analysis of my ever-shifting beliefs, paradigms and world. It became the form of exposing my innermost self, expressing ideas I couldn't verbalize.
I enrolled in the UCLA Honors Program and graduated with dual degrees (Bachelors, Cum Laude) in Spanish Language and Literature and Russian Language and Literature. I wanted to study creative writing and filmmaking, but my parents and I are immigrants who believed that a degree in the arts was not valid or practical...so I wrote in secret. I had a few small op-ed pieces published in the UCLA Bruin Newspaper. I joined a writing club. I wrote prolific diary entries and travel journals. I worked for two literary agents. Eventually, I enrolled in the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. But I still kept my writing to myself.
Three years after graduating UCLA, I found my community in the underground burgeoning electronic music scene and the writing began to flow. This article started my published writing career. As with anything that comes from the heart, it struck a nerve within the dance music community. Lotus magazine picked up for publication. I wrote about the late 90's LA rave scene, a world saturated with non-stop parties and events. My friends drowned themselves in distraction and it bugged me. I offered tips on how to create solo time and get to know yourself. My article ended with these still-relevant tools for self-awareness: Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, The Alchemist, The Artist's Way, and The Tao Te Ching...
I continued writing for Lotus, and began pitching other dance music magazines. Two years after that first published magazine article, I moved to London for a few months and booked a gig as the West Coast Editor for UK-based DMI Global.
Back home in LA, I began interviewing "real" bands and musicians alongside electronic music artists and producers. I was in my mid 20's, being flown abroad on assignment and I loved every second of it. I got in to any event I wanted, backstage and VIP. I networked with promoters, artists, publicists and editors, who, in turn, hooked me up with local promoters, artists and publicists as my friends and tour guides. NYC, London, Miami and LA were my playgrounds. I was a regular contributor for Detour and Flaunt Magazines. I interviewed Oscar winning D.P. Emmanual Lubezki and made the cover of Film&Video Magazine. later I interviewed the former Surgeon General of the United States, the man who saved my life as an ER Surgeon, and made the cover for LA YOGA Magazine.
My recent LA YOGA Magazine articles explore environmentalism alongside music.
Keep scrolling for features, op-ed pieces and technical pieces which offer glimpses into my younger self and my passion for music, dancing and self expression.
Scroll even further for a separate Reviews Section, with over 42 pages of reviews...many of which predate the days of the online publishing industry and exist only in scanned format.
You will notice varied bylines, each reflecting incremental stages of being:
Deana Morgan (college and early years), Deana Aria Mayland (early married years), Aria Mayland (later married years), Aria Morgan (current self, post-marriage).
Thanks for visiting!
Lightning In A Bottle 2018: What's your WHY?
"Hi Aria, Good morning from Melbourne, Australia. This is just a simple message across the oceans to say that I am moved by your beautiful words. I read your article on LIB in LA Yoga and was very moved by your overall message.
I am sure you hear this all the time, but you certainly shine an incredible light that has surely resonated with me. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. Have a wonderful weekend. Good vibes from me.
- Michael Thomas"
Michael - thank you. I don't hear this all the time and it warms my heart that you reached out and wrote me. Blessings to YOU!
Jai Uttal: The Journey from Disillusionment to Devotion
I interview celebrated Kirtan devotee and Grammy-nominated performer Jai Uttal Jai shares about addiction, his search for meaning in India and how he found devotion through his Guru. Spirituality and kirtan saved Jai and this is the message he continues to spread through song, mantra and chanting.
The Dream: Jai Uttal and his Guru meet at the Train Station
The Surgeon and the Yogi: 25 years later
In 2011, I wrote a story about my life and my journey from near death to thriving. My story made the cover of LA YOGA Magazine. I talk about my reunion with the man who saved my life, Dr. Richard Carmona, former ER Surgeon who later became the Surgeon General of the United States. Twenty five years after he saved my life, I fly back to Tucson to thank Dr. Carmona, who now presides at Canyon Ranch Institute.
The Dangers of Drift Nets and Our Dying Oceans - MANTRA
Mantra as Medicine: A Conversation with White Sun's Gurujas
I interviewed the incredibly radiant Gurujas in Venice Beach, just before White Sun II won the 2017 Grammy for Best New Age Album.
Funny thing... prior to meeting Gurujas, I spent years <and I mean YEARS> trying to love kirtan. I'm a yoga teacher. I should love kirtan and chanting... but I never quite "got it." As a writer, I'd occasionally review kirtan artists, though not for their music (shhhh!), more so because of the human being behind the music.
I almost didn't listen to this album. I was afraid I'd hate it and have to tell my friend her artist wasn't my thing. But this album struck gold within my heart. I have become a White Sun devotee. I don't even consider this music in the same genre as kirtan. It soars above. White Sun's music is blessed with an essence of the Divine. To this day, whenever I listen to it, I am bathed in peace and radiant love.
Lighting Lemony Snicket
"Plotting Lemony Snicket," starring Jim Carrey & Meryl Streep, made the cover of Film & Video magazine. At the time, I was a fervent documentarian who wanted to learn more about lighting. I was gifted with the incredible opportunity to study/work with future Oscar winning D.P. Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki on Paramount's Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The Strength to Save Sea Turtles
Save the Humans Now
Kombucha: Wonder Food or Dangerous Yeast?
Lightning In A Bottle Rejuvenates and Inspires
My second article on super festival LIB, a yoga + music + art transformational experience, explores how the rhythm and ritual of the festival heals and harmonizes us in this modern life. As always, I bring my daughter with me and write from the perspective of a parent attending a family-friendly, kid-friendly festival.
The Gifts and Challenges of Empathy
In this article, one of my very first for LA YOGA Magazine, I explore what life is like for the deeply empathetic. I encourage anyone who's even mildly gifted with empathy to create a grounding physical practice and learn how to work with healthy boundaries.
Machine Gun Fellatio - FLAUNT
Designer Labels | The Story of Global Underground, dance music's most fashionable DJ-mix CD's - REMIX
One of the most fun writing assignments of my career! I was flown to the UK to write this story on the hottest dance music label at that time - Global Underground. Had the BEST time, ever! Andy and James were incredible hosts - funny and charming. Our interview started off with this true-life story. "I nearly crash landed a plane once...we were on a flight from Miami...and the steward straps himself into the seat in front of us and says, 'If I die, it's your responsibility to get everyone else off the aircraft.' "
Spinning in the Sun - Coachella coverage for DETOUR
Another super fun assignment: I covered Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for DETOUR Magazine, back when Coachella was still a baby. Press Pass...backstage, all access, you name it. Once I got a taste of the VIP/Press experience, I couldn't go back.
One Tribe: Lotus examines the Tribal Gathering and its effect on Modern Culture
Ahhh... one of my very first "real" writing assignments. I was a self-taught writer. Never took a journalism class. Just started pitching and writing about what I loved - music, dancing, culture, tribalism. This was my first investigative piece. I interviewed. I wrote and I rewrote. Still proud of it to this day: One Tribe
Visual Bliss - REMIX
At this time, the art of visuals was still emerging onto the burgeoning US rave and club dance scene. DJ's like Sasha, John Digweed, Tiesto, Orbital, Jimmy Van M and DJ Shadow were pioneers in gifting their audience with a wholistic performance art experience: visuals and audio that synced and told a story, as opposed to simply the same loop over and over again.
Incense, Demons, Fire & Silence: The Balinese New Year - LA YOGA
The Balinese New Year is unlike any other. For a week straight, it's a party. Families return to their hometown village for a massive reunion and celebration. At the end of the week, it's 24hours of silence - Nyepi.. No talking, no cooking, no police presence. No airport. Everything shuts down. Nothing. Nada. It is the day to be silent and pray so that the evil spirits pass by your village...until the next year, when it begins all over again.
No Rest for the Wicked - LOTUS
The WICKED crew still rocks it. If you don't know who they are, you don't know your electronic music history. If you've EVER attended an outdoor full moon event and you don't know who they are, tsk, tsk...read this quickie interview and educate yourself, young music lover!
Can Eric Morillo use House Music to take over the World? - BPM
Eric Morillo is still making music and entertaining. I enjoyed interviewing him for BPM Magazine. My favorite takeaway from this: "Suits and ties will never understand. It's a culture they will not get." True dat.
The Politics of Dancing: Richard Humpty Vission - REMIX
How to Sparkle Everywhere - LOTUS
This was it. This article started my writing career. I was pissed at my boyfriend and I needed to write about it. The op-ed piece turned into a commentary on the late 90's LA rave scene....Oh, and that ex boyfriend? He's an awesome guy. We're still friends.
Event Reviews, CD reviews, Tech reviews....
Reviews are mini works of art.
I've felt so incredibly privileged to enjoy free music delivered to my door. I'd receive new releases MONTHS before they came out on the market and drown myself in the music for hours, listening for the heartbeat of inspiration that created this work of art. Sometimes, I commented on the history and technical production value...but for the most part, I wrote about what the album inspired in my soul.
Reviews never paid much, if at all, but that's not what motivated me. I did it for the music. I considered it a duty, and it was fun to write whatever the hell I wanted and see my words in print.
Come on. How many times can you write these words and get away with it:
"Succulent, sexy and sassy, Wax Tailor's Hope and Sorrow is part sunlit-Parisian cafe, part red-velvet Brooklyn jazz bar-- before the smoking ban..."