Thoughts on Love

What does love feel like to you?

sonoffortuneI found this description in Son of Fortune by Victoria McKernan:

“Aiden had almost starved to death once.  Love felt exactly the same, only the complete opposite.  Starvation had scraped out the center of his bones, numbed his hands and feet and shimmered his vision.  It conjured weird, distant music in the back of his brain, and made everything he touched feel oddly unreal.  The same symptoms seized him now, only the ache in his gut was a lump of silver.  The strings that fastened his heart in his chest had come undone, so the muscle skidded around with every beat.  His lungs could never get enough air, for the air contained the breaths she had exhaled.”

I have collected more thoughts and ideas about love from books and poems in a zine that is on sale for $0.99 for Valentine’s Day week.  Love… contains quotations from Kate DiCamillo, Rainer Maria Rilke, and everyone in between.  It may make a unique gift for someone special or a little treat for yourself.  Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

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P.S. Son of Fortune is the sequel to The Devil’s Paintbox.  Both are excellent historical novels for teens.  Recommended for readers who like adventure with just a touch of romance.

Zinefest 2013 Recap

Yesterday was a long day.  I was up early for last minute stapling, and then I was off to spend my day asking where people were from.  Last year I asked people at the Zinefest to share a book they had read recently.  This year I tied my question in to my new zine, Whereverland, which explores my here-and-there roots, with a new question: Where are you from?

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For many, it was a straightforward question.  They wrote their answers with confidence.  Others shared several answers.  “I’m not from only one place,” a woman said almost apologetically as she wrote the names of three different cities.  By the end of the day, I had collected many, many places.  Some came with tidbits of trivia: Did you know that Waseca, WI is the home of Cool Whip?  I did not.  Some were from far away (three from China, two from Germany, one from Australia), but most were from Minneapolis or very close.  I loved the neighborhood pride that popped up occasionally.  Powderhorn, Northeast, Bryn Mawr, and Uptown are all represented at least once.

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As for me, I like to say that I’m from Minnesota, but you can read more about that in Whereverland. :)

Fall is for dreaming

Fall is for dreaming.  The leaves haven’t even started to turn yet, but it seems that we have our eyes fixed on what lies ahead.

cloud

My daughter’s school sent home a blank cloud for us to share our hopes for the new school year.   The new minister at the Unitarian Universalist church I’ve been attending asked the audience at last Sunday’s service to scribble aspirations for the upcoming season of assemblies on scraps of paper, which he collected and read aloud.   My partner is already figuring out ways to make his fall as fulfilling as his summer was with music and travel at the forefront.  It’s catching, I think.  The more everyone talks about their dreams, writes about them, the more I start to imagine my own cloud filled with writing and ideas and opportunities.  Thanks for the push, everyone.

Fall is in the air, and it is beautiful.

This week and next are all about zines. The Twin Cities Zine Fest is September 21st at Powderhorn Park.  I’ll have new stuff available, and I hope to see you there.

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Free Art Fridays

A zine hiding at the Minneapolis Central Library last week.

A zine hiding at the Minneapolis Central Library last week.

Art is everywhere.  I say that all the time, but on Fridays, that’s actually a little more true because there are people in the Twin Cities hiding art in unexpected places for you to find.  I’ve done it the last couple of Fridays with my zine about becoming a mother, Will There Be Smoking?.  You can join too as a hider or a seeker.  Read more about it in this article from the Pioneer Press:

Here’s how it works: Artists are invited to create a small piece of work, hide it somewhere in the Twin Cities, then on Friday, post photo clues on Facebook and/or Twitter. The finder is asked to post or tweet a photo to let the group know the art has found a good home.

Of course, not all of the art is found by group members. A random passer-by could just as easily snag a piece, adding to the mystery.

“There’s some joy thinking about who discovers it and thinking about where to hide it,” Wang said.

There’s a Facebook group and a hashtag to use.  Keep your eyes open.  The whole city is a potential hiding place for some little treasure.  If that isn’t a happy thought for today, I don’t know what is.  :)

A New Zine for Women’s History Month

For Women’s History Month, I dug into my own history.   Several years ago, I started a zine about the books that shaped my ideas of feminism and femininity, but I set it aside.  I revisited the idea back in 2011 when Bitch Magazine published their list of books for the young adult feminist reader, and the resulting controversy over the titles left me too intimidated to share my own such list.  It took a while, but I got over my intimidation.

Here is the final version of Being a Girl: A Recommended Reading List:

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If you peek inside, you can see it is a mix of the old (typed) and the new (handwritten).  My original book picks and comments are unedited, but I couldn’t resist adding my current thoughts.

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You can order it online here.  

Also, if you are interested in books and feminism, you might check out a new series from First the Egg in which feminist readers share childhood favorites and current children’s book picks.  Watch for my contribution, and share your thoughts in the comments! :)

Zinefest 2012

I spent this past Saturday immersed in the best of local DIY publishing at the Twin Cities Zinefest.  It was a lot of fun, but I must say that I was so completely exhausted by the end of the day.  The highlight for me was The Penny Project.  You might recall from last year that the table next to me was offering pennies for your thoughts with the promise to collect the thoughts into a zine for the following year.  They made good on their promise, though I am sad to say that not only did I not leave a thought this year, but I actually forgot to buy the Penny Project zine.  I am so disappointed!  Here’s hoping it finds its way into Infinite Monster’s Etsy shop.

I was inspired by the Penny Project last year to try my own interactive element to my Zinefest table this year.  I’m always curious about what people have read, and I figured that zinesters would have excellent taste in books.  I was right, of course.  :)

I loved talking books with people, and I’ll be blogging more about all the responses I got later this week.  So stay tuned!

I sold out of Adrift and Fake Arm 101 (which is the updated version of this zine from last year), and I met so many interesting people.  All in all, I would count the 2012 Zinefest a success!  Thank you to everyone who made it possible. :)

My zines are available for purchase online in my zine shop.

In anticipation of Mother’s Day

A couple of Mother’s Days ago, I wrote my story as part of a writing class for moms.

We were supposed to explore what motherhood has meant to us and how we have changed since becoming mothers.  What started in that class eventually became a zine, Will There Be Smoking? (and other questions), that covered the usual mom stuff along with what was personal to me–the creative block that plagued early motherhood for me and my step away from the religion of my youth.

This Mother’s Day, I am particularly grateful.  The past four years have meant many changes for my family, and we are happier for them.

Do you know a mom interested in exploring doubt?  Why not buy my zine?  It makes a great gift. :)

For more about secular family life, see my Secular Thursday page.

Art & Artpolice in an afternoon

Sometimes I actually manage to get out on the town without a four-year-old in tow.  This usually happens with weeks of planning and with a definite Plan for the Evening, but a couple of weekends ago, we were spontaneously without child for an afternoon and evening.  I knew just what I wanted to do: the latest exhibit at the Walker Art Center.

I’m not sure I really qualify as an “art person” since I really know very little about it, but I am pretty much exactly what you would call a “zine person.”  And it isn’t every museum exhibit that puts zines on display.  Frank Gaard: Poison & Candy is a retrospective exhibit that features the work of Twin Cities art legend, Frank Gaard.  In addition to Gaard’s provocative paintings featuring religious and sexual imagery, the exhibit also includes illustrations from the Artpolice zine that he edited for decades which satirized the art world with wit and humor.  Mpls.St.Paul Magazine described it this way: “Artpolice was free speech in all its messy glory, a place where stupidity and brilliance co-existed on the same page, creating a hilariously subversive form of cognitive dissonance.”

I was, of course, intrigued by the description.  If you are similarly intrigued, I recommend the exhibit.  Leave the kiddos at home.

You can learn more about Frank Gaard and see photos of his home and work in this piece from MPR or hear him talk about his work in a gallery talk on February 9th.

 

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with the Walker Art Center. My family received a gift membership to the Walker from my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad! :)

Zinefest 2011

This year’s zinefest was different for me.  Instead of popping in to browse the tables for an hour or so, I was sitting at a table for most of the afternoon watching people walk by.  I was grateful to be next to some very interesting tables.  On one side there was this:

As you might imagine, it attracted a fair amount of attention.  Some people were confused about whether they got to take a penny or had to give one, but most got it and were delighted.  I was  surprised at how few people asked about what was going to happen to the thoughts.  In case anyone reading is wondering, the thoughts will be immortalized in zine form to be sold at next year’s zinefest.  If you need one reason to come back next year, that’s it.   I am sure that Monica will be doing something very interesting.  I picked up her children’s story “The Land Sick Pirate.”  It’s very cute, and I think that Ladybug will like it.

The table to my left was also quite eye-catching.  Tiffany, the artist behind Hyena Zine, had several handmade hyenas decorating her space:

The adorable hyenas were accompanied by comics that satirize relationships.  Highly recommended for anyone interested in feminist issues.

I also traded for a zine by illustrator Aimee Pijpers about people who ride the bus.  As a regular bus commuter, I know many of the people/types profiled in this small zine.  I look forward to the second installment.   Greer Lawson was giving away copies of her zine A Bunch of Different Kinds of Ponies, which is rather amusing.

The zinesters involved in the fest contributed to the How-To Encyclopedia, which includes lots of great information.  Zines aren’t just for poetry and personal expression.   They can be useful resources too. I contributed a page with tips for talking to kids about people with physical disabilities or differences.  One of my suggestions was, of course, read books about people who are different.  I directed people to my wiki for suggestions.  Here is the list for those who want to get started now before their kids start asking (or if you just want to explore some interesting books).

Happy reading!

I had the same zines for sale at the fest as I did back in July at Genrebeast.  The most popular item was What People Say, which is a zine about the things people have said to me about my prosthetic arm.   I got some good feedback, and I feel even more inspired to write and create zines.  Thank you to everyone involved in the 2011 Twin Cities Zinefest for a great afternoon.

I’m already looking forward to next year!  Meanwhile my zines are available for online purchase here.

 

 

Even Just Grace likes zines, or Zinefest 2011

Just Grace is the eight-year-old heroine in series of children’s novels.  In Just Grace and the Snack Attack she finds zines,

“At first I was disappointed because it seemed like the whole present was just a piece of paper. But after we looked at it together and she explained it, I was a lot more excited.  Augustine Dupre said that the little paper was called a zine, and that zines were popular with people who liked to draw comics and tell stories.  People just like me.”

The book also includes a several page-long how-to section for a beginning zinester.  Speaking of how-to’s, you can pick up a copy of the How-to Encyclopedia created by local zinesters at the Twin Cities Zine Fest this weekend.  More info here.

Don’t miss it.  Zinesters know DIY.

Not to mention, I’ll be selling zines there.  :)