Zip Books

Stumbled onto this page on my local library system’s website while looking for a way to request a graphic memoir about care homes and learned about something magical: ZIP BOOKS.

It does my heart good when I yell about library stuff on Twitter and lots of people share the tweet. The Internet being hot for libraries gives me faith in society. Although it’s also rough that the library’s website is so labyrinthine that I had to stumble onto this program by accident. I wish every library had a website as functional and fancy as a startup meditation app.

(I really liked The Library Book by Susan Orlean.)

Haven’t been blogging because my brain is really excited about thinking in images right now and also I can’t seem to muster the follow-through, so this is one of those “done is better than perfect” posts.

Two EXTREMELY Different Phone Lines

Since launching The Right Number in 2020, I’ve become more and more aware of the ways people are using phone lines in creative projects. There’s services like Dialup, where you can connect to strangers for live conversation, and SARK’s Inspiration Line (a formative one for me), but there are two new ones that I caught this week and needed to put next to each other:

A photo of a hand holding a slip of paper torn from a sign with many such slips on the bottom. It's blurry in the background, but says There are things missing in us all. This isn't one of ’em, but maybe it has the shape of ’em. Call 503-928-7008.

My friend Anis, who happens to be the current Poet Laureate of Oregon, is running a phone line this month where you can dial every day to hear a different poet read you one of their poems. It’s lovely.

For poetry: 503-928-7008

A black and white image of a hand making the "call me" sign with pinkie and thumb extended, beside a mouth with its tongue out. The text above reads bureau of telephone fornication

My friend Shing, who happens to be A MENACE (and brilliant creator of the absurd), just launched an existential horror phone sex hotline. You will definitely not be speaking to any live humans if you call, but you will probably shudder and then laugh and then shudder again. Make sure you Press 8 for aftercare!

For horrible bureaucratic phone sex: 760-993-5828

?th Plunge

I lost track of how many plunges I took last year, I just know it’s been a minute since I marked the two little wavy lines on my calendar that indicate “Had the opportunity to get in a body of water and took it.”

Wait, no, I do remember the last time: New Year’s Eve!

Lucy, a young white woman with an sodden undercut, grins at the camera in front of a muddy river swimming pool.

Oh man, it was frigid and perfect and early enough in the morning that I just got to the river and stripped down and flung myself in and then screamed and jumped up and down and dried off and walked home as the sun was rising.

Bliss.

Anyway, all this to say that I dropped James at the airport yesterday and then immediately took myself to the beach next door (Santa Barbara, you outrageous creature) and Got in The Sea. We’ve got a horrible heat wave on this week, but the wind was also blowing somethin’ fierce so I didn’t stay in long. Still: every time I take those first strides across the sand, feel the water on my thighs, mutter to myself until I can’t deny it any longer and plunge under—it’s like I’m coming home to a part of myself I didn’t know was missing. And the more I come back to it, the more it works. Every return heeds the voice in my head that says “You want this. You’re made of this exuberance. It will enlarge you.” while ignoring the one that says “You don’t have a change of clothes. It’s too cold. Ew, there’s seaweed.”

The “ew, there’s seaweed” voice can take a hike.

Good Weird Stuff

Four Five! places to poke around when the sight of another bland-looking personal website or social network makes me want to launch my brain into low orbit:

  • Multiverse: A CONSTELLATION OF INTERNET CORNERS HELLO HELLO HELLO
  • Secret Room Press built a Google Doc guest book for their website and it’s v cute
  • Meatspace, the friendly little chat website that pairs outgoing messages with 2-second GIF recordings of participants faces, still exists
  • thoughts, a quiet microblogging space
  • The joyous surge of personal website action happening on Neocities

I don’t even know that this 90s revival aesthetic is my aesthetic (at least on this go around), but I still love seeing it come back because of what it stands for. It’s reminding me of how much I thought about anonymity as a feature of my early web experiences while reading Better Than IRL. Post-Facebook, it felt as if anonymity became synonymous with cruelty, trolling, and lack of accountability. The real move was to be Extremely Online under one’s own name—especially if one hoped to make a career out of making creative work on the web.

But that stifling trajectory has also led to a culture of fear. Fear of imperfection, fear of unprofessionalism, fear of everything and everyone. I’d forgotten all about the freedom and exuberance of being anonymous. The weirdness. Now it feels like a liberation.

And maybe that’s the root of the fear: if you’re someone who believes people are inherently shitty, then a liberation looks like a return to one’s worst impulses. If you believe in altruism and basic goodness, maybe it’s something better. A weirder web, yes, but also a kinder one.

A Collection of Small Things

I’d never even heard of Infinity Zines before, but this one Kori made is just stunning:

Then there’s a tiny essay Anne sent me in the mail that’s modeled on a cootie catcher. It’s about care and capitalism and giving and receiving, but it’s more complicated to photograph than I have the energy for tonight, so this is just to say that I am having a lot of feelings about unusually-formatted zines lately. I think they’re very good.


A photo of Lucy's desk with four half-inked comics pages on it.

I’m inking my entries from Hourly Comic Day, which knocked me on my ass this year. It’s not that it was a lot of work (I mean, it was), but more that it forced me to really look at what’s happening in my life during this season. To examine the monotony and poignancy and fear and humor of caregiving. To feel as if part of me is still trying to maintain a life like the life I had when I did Hourly Comic Day last year (and the year before that, and the year before that, and so on x 10).

Not wanting to draw my dad because to draw someone you have to really look at them and sometimes it’s too painful to look at him.

And then also understanding that sometimes the best thing I can do is look at my pain.


An ink drawing of a lumpy, leafless tree with two tiny people at the base of it.

I hosted another Chill Drawing Hangout on Zoom earlier today and it was lovely. I’m grateful to know so many people who are willing to gather and be generous with each other and enjoy making art together. I’m going to do my best to make it a monthly practice, which means next one’s March 4th from 12-2pm Pacific. (That’s one day before we’re due to open a show of the collages I’ve been making with my dad, so I’m anticipating that I will be a mess, but that probably also means a couple hours friendly drawing will be much-needed.)


I want to write properly about how long it’s taken me to realize that one of the MANY reasons I’m in love with Lewis Hyde’s A Primer for Forgetting is that it’s basically a blog in book form. So many small chapterlets subdivided into loose categories, all titled with brief words or phrases, all circling similar themes. It’s how I think about what I’m doing here (or with my Rambles)—building a database over the course of many months of Stuff I Am Thinking About so that someday I can surprise myself by finding out the seeds of the next thing have been germinating for longer than I’ve known.


Nisabho’s been recording meditations and sharing them online, which I only realized recently while trying to Google the name of the monastic community he’s working to establish up in Seattle. We went to college together (he features very prominently in True Believer, the first comic I funded on Kickstarter) and he’s remained one of my lighthouse humans. Anyway, Wednesday this week was rough and so I found myself listening to this half-hour talk on grief and mourning to try and cope. It was so lovely—like we were still walking together in the early dark of Portland in October 2020. He recited the same Mary Oliver poem for me on the sidewalk there. I got to share my 100 Day Project with him and his parents.


This post is basically Sarah Ruhl’s 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, although she was caring for small children when she wrote it, but I feel an increasing affinity with anyone who’s doing 24/7 care work these days.


Okay that’s enough small things, back to doing dishes.