Gabi Clayton. Olympia, WA


I'm in the process of turning my digital art into prints, t-shirts and more. Search for Gabi Clayton on Amazon (just a few t-shirts) and (lots of stuff!) with more coming soon. To see more of my newest work, see me on - Search for Gabi Clayton or go here: For more (older) art, see my gallery pages on this website (which is due for a major overhaul) here:


My name is Gabi Clayton. I was born in New York City and have lived in Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Vermont, and Mississippi. I've been in Olympia, Washington since 1988. That is longer than I have ever lived anywhere!

I've always been an activist one way or another. My parents were left wing progressive people and I grew up on picket lines and protest marches. My dad was a member of the Communist Party - making me what is called a 'red diaper baby' - so our house was watched by the FBI when I was a child.

I've been married 40-odd (very odd) years to my husband, Alec, and am the mother of two sons, Noel and Bill. See below, and if you came to this page looking for Bill's story, it is here.

My life has been anything but boring.

I've been on the internet writing for my own website and doing web design since November 1995.

Alec and I co-own Mud Flat Press, our independent book publishing company. From rough draft to finished book, Mud Flat Press helps authors with: editing, interior design, cover art and more!

We also do web design, graphic art and desktop publishing. We each bring over 30 years experience and a dedication to high quality, dependable and timely service. Click here for more information and links to websites we have designed.

My undergraduate degree was in drawing & painting and film & animation. See my art galleries here and some of my films on YouTube here.

I'm also a licensed mental health counselor. I believe that the work of therapy is about developing a healthy relationship with oneself and with other people in the community. It is about finding ways to live in balance and with integrity in what can be a complicated and difficult world that does not always make that easy.

I'm a nontheist (aka atheist) Friend (Quaker). I spent one year plus a couple of summers in the the late 1960s as a student at John Woolman high school, a Quaker high school in California, and then I started attending Olympia Friends Meeting here in 2011-- assured by a Friend that my atheism was not a barrier and that I would be welcome. I finally went thought the Quaker process, wrote my letter to the Meeting requesting membership, which was approved by the Meeting, and I moved from being an Attender to a Member (Quaker language) of the Olympia Friends Meeting on December 17, 2017, which has made me very happy.

In early 2018 when I was laid off a part-time job I had (because having some steady income when self-employed is a great thing) I was very happy that Olympia Friends hired me to be their first Hearthkeeper, which is work I love.

I'm a co-founder of FUAH - Families United Against Hate, I do the co-design the website and co-edit the newsletter for PFLAG-Olympia, and I work with and do the website for Olympia Unity in the Community. See my Organize web page for more information.

My Family
my husband Alec   our son Noel and his wife Liz   our grands, Leo & Joseph   our son Bill   our friend Catherine

Okay, I know I'm biased, but I believe my husband, Alec, is a fantastic writer and artist. Alec has written eight novels: Tupelo (just out in 2016), The Freedom Trilogy: The Backside of Nowhere (Book 1), Return to Freedom (Book 2), Visual Liberties (Book 3), Reunion at the Wetside, The Wives of Marty Winters, Imprudent Zeal, and Until the Dawn. Alec published his books through our company, Mud Flat Press. If you are an agent or publisher interested in working with him, contact him. I think his novels would make terrific movies! Alec writes for two publications in Tacoma (between Olympia and Seattle): an art column called Visual Edge for The Weekly Volcano and a theater review for The News Tribune and The Weekly Volcano. He writes for Oly Arts in Olympia. After they are printed he publishes all his reviews and information and more in his blog South Sound Arts etc.   Alec doesn't paint anymore, but he does show his paintings occasionally and will show them also by appointment. His art is contemporary/abstract. His book about art is As If Art Matters You can see more about his writing and his art on Alec Clayton: Art and Writing.

Our friend Laurie Efordham started a series, "South Sound Love Stories," on Thurston Community TV.  Alec and I were honored to be the first couple interviewed. Here it is, filmed in Febraury 2015. Lauri did a great job interviewing us (otherwise we would not have talked about so much) and editing the interview for the show.

Our son Noel lives in Seattle. He is a Key Electician at The 5th Avenue Theatre and Journeyman at IATSE Local #15, the labor union representing the crafts of stage and projection-- and the same union my dad was a member of in NYC as a film editor. Noel has a degree in Theater from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. He's been a vegetarian since high school and a marathon runner since 2007. Noel is a very special man with a warm heart and a wonderful sense of humor. Do I sound like a proud mom? You bet I am!  This is Noel...  is an old photo collage I did of him many years ago.

Noel married Liz in August 2011! We adore her and are very happy that she is a part of our family now. Liz is a stage manager for StoryBook Theater and Studio East Training for the Performing Arts. She is originally from Speedway, Indiana. She's a graduate of University of Notre Dame and has a Master of Fine Arts in Drama/Theatre for the Young from Eastern Michigan University.

Liz and Noel made us happy grandparents in May 2014 when our wonderful grandchild Leo was born and then again in September 2016 when Joseph was born!

Our son Bill was openly bisexual. In April of 1995, he was assaulted in a hate crime based on his sexual orientation here in Olympia, WA (USA). On May 8, 1995 Bill committed suicide, despite loving support from his family, friends and many wonderful people in our community. Bill was 17 years old. He was a bright, warm and creative young man. He is greatly missed. Please remember him, and speak out to end discrimination, hate speech and violence against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender -- and against anyone for any reason. I published Bill's story online after his death. Posting his story has been a way for me to turn the pain of his suicide into something that can help end the hate and ignorance, and hopefully save other people from what he went through because I know that silence is where the hate grows.

 If you would like to know more about what happened to Bill, please read Bill's Story -- Portrait of a Son's Suicide.


Catherine Dawdy is very much a part of our family. She was one of the very first people we met on the evening of our first day in Olympia in 1988. She was our housemate for several years, and she was and is second mom to our sons.

I also have a great sister, Mimi, and brother Michael in Northern California. If you want to know more about where I come from, check out the essay I wrote about my family, Encircled By My Heritage.


That's Steve Schalchlin hugging me!  Steve is also family for me. I created The Steve Schalchlin Fan Club (his name is pronounced Shack-lin) A wee bit of silliness meant to seriously celebrate this man who very seriously honored Bill and me.  This amazing friend of mine is a songwriter and is the composer of the powerful musicals The Last Session (1996) and The Big Voice: God or Merman? (2002) which he wrote and performs with his wonderful partner Jim Brochu. His website site features a wonderful online diary, Living in the Bonus Round and then he is the person who inspired me to begin a blog with his Living In The Bonus Round: Where time speeds up and the prizes are better. Steve released a CD The Bonus Round Sessions in May 2000. Included on it is Will It Always Be Like This , about which Steve wrote: "Inspired by the true story of our friend Gabi Clayton and her son Bill." The lyrics of that song are here. In August 2002 Steve released a new CD "Beyond the Light" which has another version of the song about Bill on it. His songs are fabulous. In October 2002 he released the original cast recording of The Big Voice: God or Merman?


Soon after September 11, 2001 I wrote:  I want to recognize that this is a time when we all are aware of the vulnerability of our country and our people after the attacks on the east coast. I have been reading about people feeling that those acts of terror have stripped away the sense of safety that we as a nation felt. While I acknowledge that is true in some important ways, I would also like to say that it has been a long time - if ever - since many of us felt safe, when so many people in this country and in our world are targeted, harassed, beaten and killed because of bias based on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, etc. Many of us have been aware that we have lived in a war zone all along. Six years ago my youngest son was beaten because he was bisexual. He committed suicide a month later because he believed he lived in a world filled with hate he could no longer face. When I watched the news and heard that people were throwing themselves from the windows of the World Trade Center as it was being destroyed, I thought of my son Bill.

Please see this page for my response to 9/11/01 and then to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Medical stuff: I've had Claudication in my legs since around 1990 or 1991 during the first Gulf War when my legs started hurting during peace marches. That's caused by smoking cigarettes and high cholesterol. I finally quit smoking in 2003, a few month after Alec had open heart surgery. I found out I have Epilepsy when I had my first grand mal seizure in 1998, and I have had eleven so far -- but haven't had one since 2008 -- yay! The kind of seizures I have are called complex partial seizures. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2003, and started on insulin at the end of 2009 when oral meds, diet and exercise were not controlling my blood sugar. I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in 2008 which is related to the diabetes. In 2017 I found out my blood pressure was running high - it had always been low before. So I'm on meds for that too. Considering all that, I'm doing well and feeling healthy.


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