Sighted: stickers in SE Portland

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I often post photos captioned only with the word “Sighted.”

I thought about posting these that way, but I think they have greater impact when viewed as a group. They were all posted on a wooden security fence around one of the many buildings under construction in the neighborhood, close-in southeast Portland, on Division Street.

There were more stickers than I photographed, but we were on our way to (Re)Writing The Future: Social Justice and Science Fiction, and thought, correctly, that there’d be a packed house.

I’d love to properly credit the origin/creators of the stickers; if anyone who sees this knows the story, let me know.

stickers reading "Hello I wish I could:" escape debt, have collective resources, feel safe, get three meals a day stickers reading "Hello I wish I could:" retain long term residents, change city policies, get affordable groceries without getting on a bus, protect my children from being shot Stickers reading "Hello I wish I could:" respected by WHITES, afford to live in my own neighborhood, not be profiled when I walk into a store, trust my neighbors

(Stickers are all the same design; they look like the traditional “HELLO my name is” style, but instead say “HELLO I wish I could…” People have filled them out expressing the following wishes: escape debt, have collective resources, feel safe, eat three meals a day, retain long term residents, change city policies, get affordable groceries without getting on a bus, protect my children from being shot, respected by whites, afford to live in my own neighborhood, not be profiled when I walk in a store, trust my neighbors.)

 

Home from Austin

I just got back from YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium. Although this photo is from a few weeks ago and today I’m wearing a different hoodie, me and the cat are in a similar position as I type this.

B06qyQwCEAAGCvL

Here are a few things I saw while wandering Austin:

IMG_4281

 

IMG_4282 IMG_4288

I really enjoyed being part of the “YA Realness: what makes ‘contemporary realism’ feel true to readers?” panel with Matt de la PeñaCoe Booth, Jo Knowles, and Sara Zarr.

yalit14panel

(photo by Kim Johnson Dare, found via Facebook.)

We didn’t have a moderator, just asked questions of each other, and I liked operating that way; it felt more like we were having the kind of conversation that usually happens outside of official conference sessions, in the hallway or a restaurant or the hotel lobby late at night.

I had many of those latter kinds of conversations too, and I was often reminded of a post I wrote a few years back, “Shapeshifting,” about how the role someone has when you first meet them — how they’re described, or describe themselves, when you’re introduced — is almost certainly not either a. the only role they occupy or b. the one they’ll be in when you meet them again.

Here are before/after pictures of my table at the Book Blitz, an event during which authors are set up at tables with big stacks of their books. Attendees get a small number of tickets that they then ‘spend’ to acquire copies of said books (generously donated by our publishers).

IMG_4289 IMG_4290

It was pretty chaotic but in a lovely way. Kudos to the folks responsible for merchandising the books. That curving stack of copies of Bad Houses was merely one among many examples of niftily displayed titles.

Since you’re reading this post I bet you will also find the handouts from GenreQueer: Exploding the Closet and Who gets to tell our stories? Authentic portrayals of Trans* Youth in YA Fiction relevant to your interests.

And a few books I’m reading either directly or indirectly because of the symposium: The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea, Swati Avasthi‘s Chasing ShadowsS. Bear Bergman‘s The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, & Kekla Magoon‘s How It Went Down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some things that have happened and will happen in the future

I had a great time teaching comics writing workshops for kids & teens at Columbus Metropolitan Library! Here’s the group at the Franklinton branch as we’re looking at Carla Speed McNeil’s pencils and inks for a wordless page from Bad Housesto show that we need to write scripts even for scenes where no one’s talking:

franklinton

You know what else we need? Diverse books. If you haven’t contributed to the Indiegogo campaign yet, what are you waiting for?

A little background: “diverse books,” like “graphic novels,” is a phrase that may not seem especially resonant if you haven’t been immersed in the circles where it’s in common usage. “Diverse books” is shorthand for books by and about people who’ve been marginalized — whose stories haven’t had the opportunity to occupy much, if any, bookstore and library shelf space — and We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. It’s important work. Help make it happen.

Speaking of diverse books and encouraging writers from marginalized communities, I’m really proud to say that I’ll be the Genre Fiction instructor for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices next summer! I’ll be focusing on YA and comics writing. Apply!

Finally, very soon, I’m going to Austin for YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium to be on a panel with Sara Zarr, Coe Booth, Jo Knowles & Matt de la Peña on YA Realness: what makes ‘contemporary realism’ feel true to readers? I look forward to seeing some of you there!

 

5 things

1. I’m working in a new space, in my old neighborhood which I haven’t had much occasion to frequent in the decade-plus since I’ve lived there. So the commute puts me in a weird mental state: focused simultaneously on the future and the past.

2. Which I guess is also a thing that happens when seasons change.

3. I got a 2015 calendar from NeuYear.net and am both comforted and aghast by how much is already on it.

4. Took this photo last week at the Oak Harbor Library. I like to think the possum is squinting to see what the owl is reading.

IMG_4172

 

5. If you’re in Columbus, Ohio, next week you can go to several comics workshops; some taught by Gene Yang,  some by me!

En route

…to Seattle as I type, for an event tomorrow at the Oak Harbor Library with Lish McBride that I’m looking forward to.  Have been finalizing details for other events, too — some comics writing classes for teens at Columbus Metropolitan Library in October, a panel at the YALSA YA Literature Symposium in November — all of which I will no doubt mention again closer to when they’ll be happening, with links even.

In the meantime, Portland has had some dang lovely sunsets lately. Here is one.

image

Book recommendations from the BGL retreat

Book-recommending has unsurprisingly become a tradition at the BG Literary retreat (see 2013, 2012). Below are the titles we talked about this year, and as a bonus, miscellaneous productivity & other tools. In no particular order.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

California Bones by Greg van Eekhout

Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Last Dragonslayer series Jasper Fforde

The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

The League of Seven by Alan Gratz

We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

All the Way to Fairyland by Evelyn Sharp

The Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French

At The Bottom of the Garden: a dark history of fairies, hobgoblins, nymphs, and other troublesome things by Diane Purkiss

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

A Stranger in Olondria and “Selkie Stories Are For Losers” by Sofia Samatar

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Comics

Pretty Deadly Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

The Sixth Gun by Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn

Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja

Ms. Marvel v. 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber

Craft Books

 Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers Workshop by Kate Wilhelm

 The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

The Fiction Editor, the Novelist and the Novel by Thomas McCormack

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sacks

Productivity & Other Tools

Epic Win

Self Control

Planner Pads

NeuYear.net calendars

Mind mapping with coggle.it

SpiderOak as a DropBox alternative

For outlining: Screenwriting Beat Sheets

And finally, not a tool, but forever my favorite article about procrastination, Robert Benchley’s marvelous “How To Get Things Done,” which begins: “A great many people have come up to me and asked me how I manage to get so much work done and still keep looking so dissipated.” Read the whole thing, then get to work.

 

A gross but perhaps useful metaphor

I don’t post here often enough for a period of silence to seem especially notable, but this time, the silence has been on purpose while I’ve been reflecting on current events.

Today I went to use the restroom at a coffeeshop and found the toilet clogged. (Aren’t you glad I’m not accompanying this with photos?)

I thought of leaving. I thought of telling the staff.

Then I picked up the plunger. Sure, I hadn’t made the mess, but whoever had left the toilet in its heinous condition was long gone, and the coffeeshop staff had a lot of other things to do. I unclogged it myself.

I’m not saying that dismantling the befouled toilet’s structural and institutional equivalents is nearly that simple. But that’s the approach I intend to take: recognize the mess, use the tools at hand to work on cleaning it up.

 

Objective correlatives

Obvious metaphors are obvious, but still.

I have to tell you that I’ve begun to rethink a thing I’ve been struggling with for some time.

IMG_3966

Rocks to navigate, river to cross, the woods to get through.

IMG_4004

The fallen tree that seemed like it could be a bridge doesn’t extend far enough.

IMG_3986

Intricate obstacle.

IMG_3997

Maybe a way to proceed.

IMG_3977

Still not sure where exactly I’m going, but on my way again.