no internet access! or rather, nothing but the most rushed internet access. my brain is a little scattered and over-coffee’d right now so i don’t know what to say, really, in any kind of coherant fashion.
the minneapolis reading was the best-attended and also the one where i made the least money. it’s okay. i got a lot of support and love from the audience and that’s what matters! afterwards, i went out to din with some of the event organizers, plus my new BFF debbie r., who i’d only hung out with once before when SHE was on zine tour going through pittsburgh. but i love her! we had so much fun roaming around minneapolis together for days.
in milwaukee we were supposed to read at a super cute feminist sex shop, the toolshed, but only 2 people showed up, so we decided to all go to the bar & play a zine drinking game instead. we made a list of common zine buzzwords and drank every time somebody read one. SO FUN. so ridiculously fun. especially when LB was reading their zine, because one of the buzzwords was “euphamisms for genetalia” and she read a piece where every other sentence was like, “weiner, area, etc.” and we had to drink so fast while giggling. scarily fun!
in chicago i hung out with zinesters, went to a riot grrrl cover show in the middle of the afternoon, at a community rec center, which was fun but kinda weird. i went to a zine reading the next day at an art gallery (i didn’t read, jami did) which was both good and bad. i liked the first 3 readers and the second 3 readers went on FOREVER. and ever. i think the key to being a good reader is noticing when yr audience is bored. these people did not notice that. but chicago was mostly fun bonding hilarious times.
and here i am in champaign, il. hanging out with my old friend caroline—who, incidentally, is the only person i’ve seen this whole tour that i’ve ever hung out with more than once. caroline and i lived together ten years ago, in the wildest collective house ever. it is SO NICE seeing an old friend, and not having to feel like i have to be cheerful/funny/interesting, that i can just be honest about where i’m at (although i have really liked making lots of new friends too!). my time in champaign has been: laughing, gossiping, drinking coffee, reading, sleeping enough for the first time in nearly two weeks. i also had my first cigarette in nearly 5 years last night and i enjoyed it way too much (although, thankfully, it does not seem to have re-awakened my addiction—right now is the first time i’ve thought of it, and i’ve been up for hours now). it’s like, oh. THIS is what it’s like to not need a cigarette! i’d forgotten. i am so hopelessly addicted to cigarettes, even after 5 YEARS of total abstinence!
tomorrow i go to detroit and on friday i go home. 2 days ago this tour seemed as though it would never end, and now it’s ending so fast!
madison was good, it made me cry a little bit but we don’t need to talk about that. let’s talk about the bike paths, the community gardens everywhere, the co-ops. or, since i only have ten minutes left on this computer, i’ll just mention it.
i got lost & was late to my show, which is bad form! d’oh! i felt like such an idiot. only 6 people showed up, but i still felt like the show went really well. we sat in a little circle, it was very intimate, and i sat on a green comfy couch (i was initially standing, but it felt wrong, like i was towering over people, like we weren’t all on the same level.) and read my stories to the people assembled, looking into their eyes. i sold a lot of zines afterwards (including to one woman who insisted on giving me $20 for 4 zines because i “made [her] cry”) and then my lovely former penpal jen stubbs and her lovely domestic partner anne took me out for nepali food! madison, i’m so spoiled. and charmed.
then a long bus ride to minneapolis, kinda emotionally difficult. i went to see alas, alas! with my sweet couchsurfing hostess and that was kind of hard too. small punkrock potlucks/house shows are not my forte on the best of days. and i was feeling so awkward and missing pittsburgh like so bad. i think it took leaving, temporarily, to realize how important the roots are that i’ve put down. and now i have to go!
my show in cleveland was really good. the bookstore owner didn’t think that anyone was going to come besides me, my co-reader bree, and her friends/boyfriend that she brought. but lo and behold, at the last minute a bunch of zine-loving clevelanders showed up. hurray! we both read intense stories. i sweated a lot. i felt nervous that nobody liked me, but that was mostly just silliness, i think.
after everyone left i went next door to tommy’s and ate some quite frankly mediocre falafel and read the new issue of “bitch” magazine. i was the only person at the lunch counter who wasn’t a creepy old man. (even though i suppose, in some ways, i am a creepy old man!)
i took a very long public transit journey, which was oddly soothing. in some ways, i never feel more myself than i do when riding on public transit in a strange city. got lost looking for the megabus stop and dragged my heavy suitcase many blocks out of my way. but i found it and got there with over an hour to spare, still. a hyper-masculine frat dude called me “chief” and “buddy” and i had no idea they were talking to me! and when i opened my mouth and gave myself away as a woman i think everyone in their excessively gendered group was embarrassed for me. oh well. i shared the megabus with 17 girl scouts, no exaggeration. they were loud and funny and all entering 9th grade next month. i feared they’d shriek all night and i wouldn’t be able to get any sleep, so i took a sleeping pill when the bus came in at 1:30 am and snoozed fitfully.
chicago! 7am central time! i splurged for a cab. heather is the best and let me nap in her incredibly comfy bed after i’d eaten some raisin toast and gossiped a little. then we woke up and jami sailor came over and we three went out to lunch. i got a text from my best friend asking how i was doing and i replied, “chicago is fun, hanging with winesters, talking shit and eatin fries!” apparently, predictive text has never heard of the zine revolution. is “winesters” even a word? sommaliers? i don’t even know. yup, that’s us, the winesters, jami & heather & me, laughing in an empty bar at 11am. i felt so far from my old life in pittsburgh, in a good way.
i hung out with jami all afternoon, got rained on, almost missed my bus because it came to a different place than the other megabuses, ran with my 50 lb suitcase in a downpour and got on just before it left. i was thoroughly soaked, wringing out my socks, shivering in the air conditioning. but i was feeling good, like i was doing something with my life. i had a good moment listening to “the guns of brixton” by the clash with the sunset super pink in front of me, and another good moment listening to “ain’t got no/i got life” by nina simone, as fireworks exploded in the sky to the left of us. everyone in the bus watched silently, transfixed. it was a nice moment. i haven’t seen fireworks in so long!
now i’m in madison and it’s pretty fun. i am feeling momentarily homesick right now, but i am mostly having a good time with nice people and lots of bikes. i will write more later though, because this post is already too long!
this morning in pittsburgh it was gray & rainy. my sweet ex-lover and i had a madcap drive to the megabus stop & a sweet redlight poignant-radio-song kiss. i was sad & happy all at once, of course. not that this is anything new to me, leaving.
i traveled with this big yellow suitcase for nearly 4 months when i was 18. not quite as heavy, but i was probably more afraid. i went to san francisco, and then traveled the country by greyhound for months. i was a teenager from long island and i didn’t know anything back then. i was so excited to see this big country, so excited to find ways to live that i knew were out there. so excited to find a few places where i felt okay. but i was also really scared, it was really overwhelming logging all those miles. & when i left i was also at a weird place in my life, just like i am now, kind of between homes & not really certain where i’m going when i get back. there are a lot of things that are different now. back then i didn’t have a cell phone. i didn’t have 11 years of adulthood and urban living behind me. i hadn’t yet gone through a lot of the bad things that have made me stronger. the world was also the kind of place where you could leave a suitcase for a minute & not have people think you were trying to blow them up. there were luggage lockers everywhere. & things were, well, different.
my suitcase is so heavy! but i guess that’s what happens when you put 300 zines in it. duh. plus lots of snacks, a bike helmet, a bike lock, several outfit changes, and a bunch of books. at least the zines will, hopefully, go away. i’m just glad that i got them all copied. with mercury being in retrograde, my friend amanda’s copier broke (but she fixed it! because she is amazing), there was a miscommunication about the toner that i ordered so i wound up paying significantly more than i thought i would, the long-arm stapler wasn’t working, and i got a slightly persnickety person to help me fold who kept complaining about my crappy margins. BUT! i am done! 300 copies! probably 40 pounds, with all my other shit! i’m a tough lady, and my suitcase will only get lighter. right? that is what i will chant to myself, mile after mile after mile.
i’m pretty nervous & excited, but oh well, right? even if i wanted to just rot on my sofa in pittsburgh, that’s no longer an option. one of my favorite astrological quotes, that i recount again and again, is from free will astrology. i read it on my first night in brooklyn, almost a decade ago: “the most dangerous life an aries can live is a safe one. if you invite boredom and complacency, you’re asking the universe to kick your ass.” this has been proven, again and again, to be true for me. maybe someday i’ll learn. i’m not meant for easy. so, deep breath. keep moving, keep loving, keep fighting. here’s to unsafe lives.
okay. i am still in the process of booking, my life has weathered a few hiccups since i first got the notion to go on zine tour. my whole life looks very different now than it did last month. but that’s okay. here is what i have so far.
AUGUST 6th—CLEVELAND, OH. Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights. 7pm. With Bri from “Motor City Kitty” and a local book artist whose name I do not know!
AUGUST 8th—MADISON, WI. Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 426 W. Gilman Street, Madison. 7pm. with local zine readers, TBA!
AUGUST 11th—MINNEAPOLIS, MN. Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis. 7:30 PM.
AUGUST 12th—MILWAUKEE, WI. The Tool Shed, 2427 N. Murray Ave, Milwaukee. 8pm.
my aug. 9th date at quimby’s in chicago fell through. i might be able to get in on another reading in chicago on the 14th. also might be reading at the zine library grand opening in detroit on the 18th. trying to get a reading in between, at a convenient city—columbus, indianapolis, iowa city? i’m feeling most hopeful about champaign, IL. but we’ll see.
also! please check out this excellent article that my pal karen lillis—writer, bus rider, librarian, book nerd—wrote about my tour! thank you karen!
my name is ocean capewell. i’m a zinester living in pittsburgh. i got laid off from my job this summer. i love giving readings in pittsburgh, but there’s only so many readings i can do in my lovely adopted city. so… unemployment + reading love = zine tour!
i am 29. i have been making zines since i was 14. since 2003 i have been publishing under the title “high on burning photographs”. you can read more about it here, here and here. i write about sobriety, ridiculous stories from work, queers, compassion, death (oh, a lot about death), heartbreak, pittsburgh and love. and more. a common compliment i get on my zines is that they make the reader both laugh and cry.
cities i’m interested in reading in:
i am open to suggestions. and i have a fairly solid date for NYC, with a bunch of awesome zinesters! if you live in any of these cities and want to help out, or if you live in another city that’s serviced by megabus and you want me to come read, please email me at escape_well AT yahoo DOT com. thanks!