She was the singer of the Santa Cruz band Ashes & Crumbs. In 2004 and 2005, she played bass and sang for Hue & Cry, a San Francisco-based punk band with MRR distro coordinator Clara Jeffers and shitworker Chloe Jensen. They put out a demo tape. In 2009, she sang for the San Francisco punk band Year One. She published five issues of the zine Ration between 2002 and 2008.
Arwen graduated from UCSC in 1996 with a BA in Language Studies, with an emphasis on Theoretical Linguistics and Italian. She received her Master's from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism in 2006, and is currently producing and directing a documentary film about the writer Ursula K. Le Guin.