Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s December Already?

This morning, I slept past six a.m. and now I need to do about a million loads of laundry. My ears are ringing in this quiet house. Today is the kind of day that makes people become snow birds and fly off to the desert where I live.

An update of some happenings in my wee literary art life:

My third post on DIY MFA went live this week: The Art of the Graphic Memoir: New Book by Indie Cartoonist Tom Hart.

I joined the ranks of local thought provokers: Interview on VoyagePhoenix with some of my hybrid artwork.

I also joined the Sonoran Small Publishers collective, attending the inaugural meeting at Wasted Ink. Excited to be a part of a grass roots collective devoted to indie publishing, art, words and community.

graphic for the meeting by Hollum Press

I was on a panel at NonfictioNow with Nicole J. Georges (her work is awesome!), an international conference that was held this year in Phoenix. My book also joined the author collective of books table. I also read from my teen journal for the diary bingo karaoke event, which was so much more fun than living in that silly moment when I thought I wanted to have my high school boyfriends baby.

Author Collective organized by writer/professor Jennifer Sinor

I just finished an amazing chapbook workshop, led by Ariel Gore, in the Literary Kitchen. My chapbook, Water Marks, is at the printers now! It’s a hybrid collection of words and images, my musings on water.

PHX Zine Fest 2019 was awesome!

My friend Sari helped me table, which made the whole day fun.

As was Meet Your Literary Community

Tabling at Meet Your Literary Community. BTW I like this shirt. And Sari helped me again!

I did a workshop for Off the Page at Wasted Ink Zine Distro, sharing ways music can be a catalyst for drawing/painting. Here is the music of trees work from the workshop.

we listened to music inspired by trees and made these.

Reading and Tabling

The reading at Changing Hands Bookstore last week was awesome! I meant to post these pictures right away, but the week just zipped away.

This Saturday morning, I’ll be tabling at Meet Your Literary Community at Phoenix Public Market. I’m reading in a big reading marathon (I go on last at 11:30) and people can come to my table (#57) where my friend, Sari, and I will be selling books, zines, and helping people print bookmarks on my Multigraph.

print this bookmark!

Then, on Sunday October 28, I’ll be tabling again at PHX ZINE FEST! Zines, books, printing love post-cards that you can personalize and then pop into the Tiny Joys Post (and then into the USPS for delivery)! It’s an awesome event, full of zines, art, music, food, panels, buttons, and all things zinester.

 

Love for the Graphic/Literary Arts Community

I just want to give a shout out the graphic/literary arts community that so enriches my writing/drawing life. I’m a shy quiet person by nature and spend a lot of my time alone, but somehow (not somehow, through words and drawings) I’ve managed to connect to a crazy number of people. Within the long (unfinished and incomplete) list below are thousands of people dedicated to writing and drawing as life, vocation, art and joy. I’m grateful to them all:

Wasted Ink Zine Distro

Hippocampus Magazine and Books

HippoCamp: a conference for creative nonfiction writers

Literary Kitchen

Women on Writing

Brevity

NonfictioNow

Off the Page, a monthly workshop and open mic event through WIZD

All the Binders full of writers, the many FB groups full of women (thanks Mitt Romney)

Changing Hands Bookstore

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast

Debutante Ball

Fear No Lit

Punctuate

Under the Gum Tree

DIY MFA

Femme Fotale

Mutha Magazine

Hip Mama

Phoenix New Times

AWP

Desert Nights Rising Stars

Poets & Writers Live

ASU Creative Writing Program

ASU Landscape Architecture Program

ASU The Design School

All the cartoonists, illustrators and artists who post their work on Instagram

Franz Kafka and all the other writers who have passed on, but whose printed words inspire me.

Book Turns One (Month) Old!

The flurry leading up to the book launches in Phoenix and Berkeley has subsided. I’ve spent the past month doing interviews, knitting and cleaning up the mess the house had become while I was busy with the By the Forces of Gravity.

By the Forces of Gravity Book Cover

Not that I do much house work. I don’t. Basically, I bought another vacuum robot and threw out old food.

baby gift I knit for two expecting musicians

Below are links to interviews about making the book, By the Forces of Gravity, including the experience of drawing, writing, and finding my voice. At the end of this blog post, I link info about readings, presentations and workshops I’m doing this Fall:

Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O’Meara, episode 106. It was so fun doing the podcast. I was in my SCUBA diver friend Barb’s dining room in the Berkeley Hills the morning of the Berkeley launch and Brendan was up in Eugene while we chatted via Skype. Now I’m hooked on podcasts and have listened to a bunch of CNFPod and more.

Drawing Out Grief, New memoir explores girlhood friendship, hippie parenting, and buried grief. Interview by Ariel Gore for Psychology Today, posted June 18, 2018

It took years for author to find the voice with which to write her memoir, article by July 15, 2018

Lancaster founder of online literary magazine ventures into book publishing with a ‘unique beast,’ article by July 15, 2018. I love that my book is a ‘unique beast’!

These articles ran in the print version of the newspaper, which was so awesome to see.

in the Lancaster Newspaper, July 15, 2018

It’s been super fun seeing reviews by readers, doing interviews. I love getting to talk with people about crafting the poems and cartoons, and working with my amazing publisher, Donna Talarico, and her new imprint Books by Hippocampus. I’m so happy to have By the Forces of Gravity be the press’s first single-author book. Keep your eye out for the next one, Dig: A Personal Prehistoric Journey by Sam Chiarelli. Check out this cover!

Next Up:

Guest Authoring for The Debutante Ball, a blog celebrating up and coming authors and their books. There will be a book giveaway with this, so click on over on July 28 to see how to win a signed copy of By the Forces of Gravity and a pencil. (update, link now goes to the interview)

I’m the new Books with Pictures columnist for DIY MFA, a website listed in the 100 Best Website for Writers by The Write Life. I’ll provide links as my articles post on diymfa.com. We just had a big group meeting via Zoom, 14 women from all over talking about the site and writing. DIY MFA is Gabriela Pereira’s brainchild. I met Gabriela at HippoCamp 2017, the creative nonfiction writer’s conference created by Donna Talarico and her team at Hippocampus Magazine.

Speaking of Hippocamp, I’ll be reading from By the Forces of Gravity and leading a session called Doodling for Wordies. I’m 100% in love with helping writers let drawing into their writing life.

There are a few more irons in the fire, including a reading at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe this September, tabling in October at Phoenix Zine Fest, being on a panel  at NonfictioNow called Nonfiction Graphic Narratives: A Diversity of Approaches and doing an Off the Page workshop at Wasted Ink Zine Distro, both in November.

Berkeley Book Launch at Maybeck High School!

It was such a wonderful experience to return to my alma mater (class of 1979 and also where I started my teaching career at 19!) to read from my new book, By the Forces of Gravity. A total joy to see so many familiar faces, and meet new ones! Many thanks to Maybeck High School and Trevor Cralle (also class of 1979 and author of The Surfinary (awesome book and home to my first-ever published cartoon, the Valley Sheep)) for co-hosting the event with my publisher, Books by Hippocampus! Donna Talarico, a million thanks to you! Thanks to everyone who came out on a full moon evening in Berkeley to celebrate the book! Here are a few images from the event.

Reading in the Fireside Room at Maybeck High School (still renting rooms in a church, but way more swanky than when I went to school there)

 

best math teacher I ever had 🙂

Cartooning the Landscape author and my cartooning mentor, Chip Sullivan

UC Divers representing fish love (note, there is nothing about SCUBA diving in By the Forces of Gravity. That came later in my life)

author, publisher, book and school mascot

Booksplaining something to my dad and step-mom. They’re super sharp so it probably didn’t need to be said, but I was pretty excited.

I made a ginormous painting/collage/book timeline/artifact museum exhibit for the book launches.

Maybeck community members (note the overlap of UC Divers and Maybeckians. Maybeck encouraged exploration, of the mind and the world, so of course it spawned a love of SCUBA)

Co-author of Illustrated History of Landscape Design, Elizabeth Boults contributing to the memory canvas I made to allow people to share memories of loves in their life no longer with them.

me reading and trying to remember to advance the images as I read, so people could enjoy the cartoons.

Launch Afterglow

The Phoenix launch at The Hive, co-hosted by Wasted Ink Zine Distro and Books by Hippocampus (my publisher) was such a delight. Here are a few pictures from the event.

cake donna had made, isn’t it amazing!

reading in the gallery at The Hive. I made the 30′-long hybrid art hanging on the wall the week before the event, a great distraction from freaking out about the book coming out 🙂

all the lovely folks that joined me in celebrating By the Forces of Gravity

On June 19, By the Forces of Gravity’s official birthday, I went to my favorite indie bookstore, Changing Hands, in Tempe and here is me and the book hanging out together. I’ll be doing a reading there in September (when it cools down and ASU is back in session). I’ll post the details soon!

me, kafka and princess leia hanging with By the Forces of Gravity

Love and gratitude to all the lovely people who came to the launch and/or have been sending me pictures of the book when it arrives in the mail. It makes me so happy!

Prepare to Launch!

It feels magically real that tomorrow boxes of books will arrive in the mail, then on Saturday people will gather at The Hive (yay Wasted Ink Zine Distro and Charissa Lucille for co-hosting with my publisher Books by Hippocampus and the amazing Donna Talarico-Beerman!)  to help me celebrate the book release, then on the 19th By the Forces of Gravity will land on shelves and in mailboxes, and then (what another and then!) I’ll head to Berkeley for another launch celebration at Maybeck High School (where I went in the 1970s, some of which is featured in the book). Thanks Trevor Cralle for helping make the Maybeck event happen! Pineapples forever! Here are the fliers I made for the events. Now I need to go paint. Peace, love and gravity!

I also made Facebook event info pages for each of these events:

Phoenix Book Launch at The Hive

Berkeley Book Launch at Maybeck High School

Book Launch Events in Phoenix and Berkeley!

A few days ago By the Forces of Gravity went to the printer! It’s such an amazing feeling to know this story will be out there in the universe of books. I’m super excited as well that there’ll be launch events at two places that are so dear to me and have been instrumental in the development of my creative life: Wasted Ink Zine Distro in Phoenix and Maybeck High School in Berkeley.

I can say without any doubt that Maybeck saved my life. If I hadn’t gone to Maybeck High School way back in 1975, I wouldn’t be blogging about anything right now, because I would not have lived to be pushing sixty had I stayed on the path I was on. Also, being able to start my teaching career at Maybeck when I was just 19 years old, gave me the push into adulthood I needed (though being a grownup really didn’t stick for another decade or two).

Wasted Ink Zine Distro introduced me to the awesome world of zines and I am forever grateful to be a part of this community of people who love making things with paper as much as I do. I started Plankton Press, inspired by the DIY spirit of WIZD.

Below are the links to the Facebook event pages for both launches. I hope to see you there! My publisher, Books by Hippocampus, will have limited edition signed prints of this sketch I did for the first 25 people who come to the event. We also have pencils! (see images below)

If you can’t make it, check out Maybeck High School and Wasted Ink Zine Distro anyhow. They’re both doing awesome work for young minds and are always looking for support!

Phoenix Book Launch at WIZD

Berkeley Book Launch at Maybeck HS

from my sketches in By the Forces of Gravity

Why I Love Pencils

I’m taking an online writing workshop with Jenny Forrester through the Literary Kitchen and each week she gives us a seven-minute free-write warm-up exercise. This week we were to think about what/where comforts us. I wrote this and want to share it. For the love of pencils, but also to acknowledge that life makes you who you are while you’re busy dreaming about going elsewhere to become someone else, so you might as well love the result.

I go into my sketchbook for comfort, through my pencil, making lines. I draw when I’m tense or fretting. I draw outside, inside, in meetings, on the train, in other people’s talks about so many things. When I was a child, I mostly drew elephants, sometimes lions. I imagined Africa as the most wonderful place in the world to go while I doodled the big animals I’d seen on television. Born Free was my favorite movie then.

I’ve never been to Africa.

In high school, I drew in my binder, on the edges of my homework. I loved math the most, probably because I got to draw a lot of triangles and parabolas, curves arcing off of circles, cylinders and cones. I loved lines and would fill pages with them. Escher was my favorite artist then. And Georgia O’Keefe. And Maurice Sendak. Fantasia was my favorite movie and I thought I might grow up to be an animator, working for Disney like my great uncle Ernie who was the art director for the film’s “Dance of the Hours.”

I’ve never worked for Disney.

This could go on and on. All the ways I imagine my life going. Me and my pencil. Then I go another way. I used to feel bad about all the forks in my roads, but now I just feel too old to fuss about what I might become someday. Today I get to go on a walking workshop with an amazing sketcher who is so generous with her craft. Her sketchbook will fill up with awesome watercolors.

I’ll never be Virginia Hein.

But I don’t care. I’ll keep in mind my favorite Oscar Wilde quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” I won’t even care that professorbuzzkill.com claims Wilde never said this wise thing.

Peace out 🙂

While I have many other pencils, the Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Black is my favorite and is also the pencil I used to do all 200+ drawings in By the Forces of Gravity (out in June! Woot Woot!)

Whirlwind in Florida at AWP18

My brain has just begun to settle from all the excitement at AWP18. Though as I sit down to write about it, my mind starts ping-ponging around. Tell them about reading your book ARC in public for the first time! No, the comics panel! Oh, all the people at the Hippocampus table! The pencils! All the beautiful print publications! Posing with Oscar Wilde!

Wilde: “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.”
Me: Cool, want a pencil?
Wilde: “Writing bores me so.”
Me: You can draw with it
Wilde: “All art is quite useless.”
Me: People kiss your tombstone all the time, with bright red lips.
Wilde: “I have nothing to declare except my genius.”
Me: Sweet, bye 🙂

Signing Prints! Unboxing the ARC! The moon lamp! All the awesome writers and drawers! Bianca Stone! Tom Hart! Alexander Rothman of Ink Brick! Chelsey Clammer! I won her knit hat! Donna Talarico being her amazing kind self! Kevin Beerman in a dinosaur costume! Believing I won $1,000 from The Pinch and then getting a free issue instead and reading a lovely essay in it by Olivia Dunn about driving through prairie grass in Iowa! MotionPoems!

Then I have to think about seeing a manatee breathe. The slow patience in the wait for it to surface, just a nose up for air. Then down again. Then the wait. Ah, a breath.

I think about cedar tree knees. Lettuce Lakes. Great egrets snatching up fingerlings in a swamp. Orchids. And the trees.

peace out 🙂

p.s. you can still get my signed prints with pre-orders of my book, By the Forces of Gravity, through Books by Hippocampus!