This book is in the can.
Back on Earth
I’ve been finishing up a book. I’m done!
The book, you may remember, is One Week in January, my illustrated 2001 journal. It features twenty-eight full color paintings and a handful of ink drawings and it documents a single week of my life at age twenty-five in minute detail. If you would like to know what I ate for breakfast in 2001, or what book I read aloud to myself one-and-a-half times in a single sitting, you are in luck.
The book will be out next fall and there will be a corresponding show at Nationale, the Portland gallery that represents me. My gallerist, May Barruel, has been my friend since 2001 and was my neighbor in the warehouse I lived in back then, so I think it will be sweet.
I’ve been working around the clock on this book for about a month. The home stretch of a book project, as some illustrators out there will know, is all-consuming business. It’s solitary and intensive. This book is autobiographical and nostalgic to boot. I have been swimming in the deep, murky sea of my barely remembered life at twenty-five. And now, suddenly, I’m back! With you all. Back among the living. Back on Earth.
My First Order of Business
Thanks to the all-consuming nature of the home stretch, I’ve neglected this newsletter. I feel especially grateful to those of you who pay to subscribe. Thanks for hanging in there. I’m going to make a paid post post on Friday. Does anyone have any special requests? Here are some ideas: an embroidery tutorial, a painting demo, a look inside another sketchbook, a farm tour, a studio tour, a Q&A. Let me know. I appreciate you guys and I aim to please.
Read recently and recommended:
Roaming by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
I love all the Tamaki graphic novel collaborations (Skim, This One Summer, Roaming), but I think this one is my favorite. I finished this book and thought to myself, Wow, I have so many questions. So I was thrilled when Drawn & Quarterly asked me to moderate an event with these guys at Powell’s on Thursday. My questions have mostly to do with how this collaboration worked and what is in the water at the Tamaki houses. (Jillian is one of my favorite artists, but I am also a fan of her illustrator sister Lauren and, obviously, her cousin Mariko.) I also have nerdy illustration stuff I want to ask Jillian, whose technical skill in bringing to life a place as busy and complicated as NYC boggles my mind. If you have a question you think I should ask them, let me know in the comments. And come on down to Powell’s this Thursday if you are in the neighborhood.
The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner
The first five pages of this book are so good. SO GOOD. The rest of it is pretty good too, if you are into wry historical novels about the day-to-day experience of 14th century nuns written in the 1940s, which you know I am.
Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
I picked this up and started reading it on a whim at the Book Bin in Salem. It’s a devastating book, set in late-sixties Los Angeles, exploring the myriad ways that women suffer at the hands of men and are laid especially low by the abusive culture of Hollywood. Recommended if you like sad stories.
Phoebe’s Diary by Phoebe Wahl
Play It As It Lays is about the grim culture of sexism and misogyny that all women are forced reckon with, and Phoebe’s Diary is about a teenager working in her small but earnest way to undo it. It’s about lots of other stuff: finding love, smoking weed, making out, making art, theater kids, indie music, vintage clothes, big feelings. Also, my personal favorites: body and sex positivity. I loved this brave, funny book teeming with great art. It brought me close to my high school years in a way that felt important and instructive to me as the mom of a teenager and a tween.
Au Revoir, Pee Wee
It’s been a catastrophic couple of weeks and so many people are suffering. I’m sending love to everyone and hoping with all my heart for peace.
I’ll leave you with a photo of ninety people watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on the side of my barn. This was the highlight of my month. We were celebrating our joint October 5th birthday - Colin and mine - and the extraordinary life of personal hero, Paul Reubens. It also happened to be the ten year anniversary of the week we got the keys to this old farm.
Until next time,
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