Say Hello to Microcosm’s Fall 2019 Titles

Oh, 2019, how happy we have been for you to arrive. For one thing, now we get to tell you all about this Fall’s new books.

In a recent post we announced 2019 as “The Year of Adventure,” and this season exemplifies that theme. From exploring new cities to making new friends (or treating the ones you have right); standing up for your self to building underground music scenes; finishing projects to handling freak-outs; these incredible titles take on adventures big and small, all set for release between September 2019 and February 2020.

We are proud and excited to share these amazing books (and some pretty fantastic covers!) with the world this year.


SEPTEMBER

This is San Francisco:The Ups, Downs, Ins, and Outs of the City by the Bay
by Alexander Barrett

Through thoughtful and funny anecdotes, essays, and illustrations, Barrett takes you on a journey through one of America’s most famous cities and makes you wish you were right there with him.

Colorful depiction of a white bird, hills, and a bridge over water.

What About Tomorrow?: An Oral History of Russian Punk from the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot
by Alexander Herbert

This oral history takes you through four decades of Punk evolution in Russia, from its origins in St Petersburg and Moscow to uniquely thriving punk scenes in the provincial capitals.

A trio of punks look to the future on a red book cover with flags (soviet and Russian) and a radio tower in the background.
Cover art (freshly painted!) by Matt Gauck

OCTOBER

Unfuck Your Intimacy Workbook: Using Science for Better Relationships, & Dating
by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Made to be a companion for her book, Unfuck Your Intimacy, let this handy workbook guide you on your quest for healthier relationships and more excellent sex with the incredible Dr. Faith.

Colorful workbook cover featuring heart shaped puzzle pieces.

From Chaos to Creativity: Building a Productivity System for Artists and Writers
by Jessie L. Kwak

From Chaos to Creativity will help guide you through the clutter and teach you how to focus on the good ideas, manage your project, make time in your life, and execute your passions to completion. Make great art by changing your chaotic creative force into productive power!

NOVEMBER

Friending: Creating Meaningful, Lasting Adult Friendships
by Gina Handley Schmitt, MA LMHC

We’re pretty sure no other book like this exists. Here you will learn the art of choosing and making friends, supporting them and letting them support you, maintaining friendships even when your life paths diverge, repairing friendships after a conflict, the difficult decision to break up a friendship, and much more.
Life is so much sweeter with good friends by your side.

Colorful young friends ride a tandem bike on a path through heart-shaped flowers.
Cover by the incredible Cecilia Granata

The Life & Times of Butch Dykes: Portraits of Artists, Leaders, and Dreamers Who Changed The World
by Eloisa Aquino

Throughout history, many women and nonbinary people have defied society’s expectations of feminine behavior and appearance in order to live a more authentic life. These short vignettes combine biographical sketches with evocative illustrations for an impact that is as bold, powerful, and inspirational as the brilliant artists, writers, and musicians they represent.

A purple, pink, and teal book cover featuring historical icons.

This Is Your Brain on Anger: Manage Your Irritability, Channel Your Frustrations, and Develop a Healthy Relationship with Your Rage
by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Your brain actually knows what it’s doing, and anger can be a good thing sometimes—just not if it’s ruining your life. Expanded from the zine of the same name, this is a brief, heady dose of neuroscience and cultural explanation of what anger is and what it does to you. There’s even a handy four-step checklist to help you deal with maddening situations after (or before) the fact, guidance on getting over things, and a chapter on forgiveness.

Red book cover with line-art of a person whose head is a lit bomb

Can’t wait for the book? Grab the quick & dirty zine version.

DECEMBER

Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycles, Feminism, & Dragons
Edited by Elly Blue

From the great, winged, fire-breathing lizards of the west to the wise, flying serpents of the east, dragons play a powerful role in our myths and imaginations. In these fourteen stories and one comic, bicyclists encounter a diversity of dragons, whether foes or friends, hoarders or helpers, powerful symbols or terrifying and very real beasts.

A fierce bicyclist battles a dragon with a lance
Another fantabulous cover from Cecilia Granata

JANUARY, 2020

Boundaries: Say “No” and Take Control of Your Life (Even if You’re Conflict Avoidant)
by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Expanded from the zine of the same name, Dr. Faith presents common problems people run into when it comes to personal boundaries, and offers advice on defining, understanding, implementing, and respecting the boundaries that are important to you and your loved ones.

COVER TBA

Can’t wait for the book? Grab the zine version until the book’s release.

If You’re Freaking Out, Read This: A Coping Workbook for Building Good Habits, Behaviors, and Hope for the Future  
by Simone DeAngelis, Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

Simone shares the vital skills that she’s learned over years of therapy, managing her mental health and remembering her reasons to live. Even if you can’t afford a therapist or hospital stay and the people around you are anything but helpful, you can still use those same tools to get better. With a foreword by the one-and-only Dr. Faith Harper.

Simple green background with the pink and white words "If You're Freaking Out Read This!"

FEBRUARY, 2020

Hardcore Anxiety: A Graphic Guide to Punk Rock and Mental Health
by Reid Chancellor

Nervous breakdowns, anxiety, seeking acceptance, attempting to overcome internalized demons, and reacting to harmful and oppressive symptoms—punk rock has always embodied and emboldened our feelings and experiences, positive and negative. Hardcore Anxiety charts and tracks punk movements from the 70s till today, from small towns to stadiums, from the struggles in our heads to the people actively harming us in our communities.

Comic illustration of a punk wearing a flower teeshirt plays giant medication bottles like drums with sketches of people in the background.

For questions related to sales or customer service, email Sidnee@MicrocosmPublishing.com
For media inquiries email Cyn@MicrocosmPublishing.com

The Microcosm Publishing 2018 Money Report (with pictures!)

Happy new year!

This is the week! After eight years with a trade distributor we have returned to distributing our books independently in the U.S. We hear from people almost every week that our books are saving their lives, and we feel that we have an obligation to extend that as far and wide as possible. Few events in the history of Microcosm have improved our morale and brought our staff together like this has. 

The stress relief as we counted down the days until we were free was worth it alone! And the proof is in the pudding—we’ve had to lay the groundwork for this for the past 18 months. Sales were up 24% in 2018 over 2017, making this, once again, Microcosm’s best year ever. Advance shipments for 2019 are already up 600% by doing it ourselves. It’s been a wild ride.

We constantly get really wonderful feedback on Microcosm’s reborn independence and it seems to be really inspiring to other independent publishers and bookstores. Speaking of, there are 38% more indie bookstores than there were ten years ago! They are also each selling an average of 34% more books!

We took our staff from 12 to 14 in 2018 and experienced many growing pains. We expanded both our warehouse and our offices so everyone has a bit more space and we added several additional storage buildings. Nate Beaty (who will have been with Microcosm for 18 years this July) finished our new software so that we can use our existing database to send our book data to everyone who wants it. This has been a ton of fun and a ton of work to do. Our big surprise for next year is that we hope to be ready to package the software that we have made and hopefully revolutionize our fellow publishers and help give other independents a fighting chance in our industry.

In the past year, we’ve published 29 new books and 52 new zines as well as adding over 1,000 titles to our distribution catalog (which we were intending to completely dismantle in 2016 in favor of publishing). The sharp increase in witchcraft books continues and we are continuing to focus primarily on gift and specialty accounts.

Instead of our previous Dinner & Bikes tours, we now focus on attending conferences and events in other cities and having more time at home. Which is a good thing, because our publishing schedule is filling up through 2025 and we finalize Fall 2019 covers this week. 

We sold about 218,500 books last year; that’s about 600 per day!

Here’s a breakdown of some math about our year, with handy charts created by our WorkingLit software: 

Our total income for the year was $947,142.77 Here’s what we’re selling:

Here are our bestsellers, by profitability: 

As you can see, the shift continued this year towards new releases of lifetime evergreens. The older books are still there but they are no longer holding the key positions. We’re succeeding because we’re publishing new books.

And here’s our distributed bestsellers, by net income:

And here are our expenses, totaling $946.292.41. We are again able to afford to finance our own growth and have increased employee wages, with four more people receiving raises this month. 

Here’s each month in 2018 compared to 2017:

And a friendly reminder: While we’re legally a “for-profit” organization, we choose to operate on a break-even basis. This means that when we have profits (which isn’t all the time, but we try), they don’t go into our owners’ yacht fund; they go into staff wages and taking a chance on publishing new books we believe in. Getting to do work we care about every day and put books out there that help people change their lives is way better than a yacht. Which is an important attitude to have in the publishing industry!

The Year of Adventures

Instead of New Year’s resolutions (ugh), at Microcosm we like to have loose themes to organize our year’s goals and activities around. And we’ve decided that 2019 is our year of adventure!

For us, it’s our first year of being independently distributed. This has already proven to be a serious adventure — not so much a leap into the unknown as a voyage back to our homeland, which has changed considerably since we last visited.
There’s a lot to remember and a lot of new skills to learn. And like on any good adventure, the way we can navigate it safely and have fun is to work together, believe in ourselves, and stay flexible.

But What Is Adventure

Here’s a little from some of our staff about what adventure means to us (in general and in terms of this transition)…

Elly: When Joe and I met 10 years ago, he asked me what my needs in a relationship are, and top of my list was “adventure.” 

Elly rides a bike through Portland with a trailer full of book boxes and event stuff.

He reminds me of this every time I’m pedaling a cargo bike overloaded with books in the rain, or setting off in a cab to pick up event supplies that didn’t make it to our destination, or pulling late nights to make sure our database transition goes smoothly.

And while I don’t require the constant adrenaline to get through my day that I did at 30, I do love that this work is full of unexpected revelations, surprising new areas of growth, and always a problem to solve and a challenge to learn from.


Sidnee: “Adventure” is the word I use when I’m afraid of what’s gonna happen next; but being afraid isn’t going to help me. To me it’s a prettier word for “holy fuck, here we go!” But I’m starting to believe that adventure is in our DNA. Like growing teeth or developing chronic aches. A will for the pursuit of adventure will appear in each of us at some point, programmed to persist and emerge.

cartoon character jumps over an explosion and a vampire dragon
visual representation of Sid’s feels about 2019

The thing about adventure is that uncertainty is a necessary ingredient. I’m ripe with uncertainty. The other thing about adventure is that it forces you to grow. After ten short months, I’m bursting at the seams with growth too.

Joining the Microcosm team is my first post-school adventure. It’s like going from Chutes and Ladders to cross country parkour some days. Other days it’s like going from only ever wading in a swampy pond to sailing on a calm ocean during a brilliant sunset.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?

Continuing to survive adult life.


Trista: For me “adventure” means to seek change either from one state of being to another, or in the pursuit of something more meaningful like a change to one’s character. Often this will take the form of a journey, literally or metaphorically, where in the end a person will have experienced something new or experienced something old in a new way.
In my own life the adventures I’ve enjoyed the most are the ones that have altered the way I view the world, the people in it, or the way I view myself.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?
Something more gentle, like camping. Or getting to see more of my favorite bands. I got to do a little bit of both earlier in 2018 and I think I should do it more often.


Cyn: Adventure can feel like a loaded word. A big red X on a theoretical treasure map we never get to see. Some expensive, aspirational vision quest into new territory. Ugh. In my reality, my social anxiety makes it so my partner has to push me out of the door to get me to go to any social event, even when I know the people attending or it’s with a close friend. Why isn’t that ordeal considered adventure?

I guess I’d say that adventure is anything that pushes you outside of your boundaries in a way that is unexpected, daring, and propels you forward in some way. For me it has meant everything from the most daring trips to the simplest new get-togethers, to anxiety-ridden standard experiences or exciting, bizarre new friends. The experiences that push at our boundaries and fears and expectations are the ones that give us the space to grow, but those don’t have to be big, giant experiences of exploration, success, or conquest.

I don’t know about you, but just getting outside and meeting someone new is just as much of an adventure as traveling to a new place — and really, aren’t you doing that anyway, emotionally, by putting yourself out there, both literally and psychologically?
With that in mind, I’d like to think that “adventure” for our (and the future) generation will be less about conquest, personal excitement and glory, and more about exciting changes, growth, and building new experiences and communities for each other.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?
I’ve started “bullet journaling” and am working on making both productivity and self care balanced priorities in my life. I suppose I look forward to figuring that shit out and clearing out the mess that is my life right now for my future.
Am I adult now?


Joe: Ten years ago, Elly told me she wanted adventure. I don’t think she realized what I was capable of providing in this department. Cars caught on fire unintentionally and it feels like we spent many years fixing the Millennium Falcon during combat.

What adventures do you look forward to in 2019?
Getting WorkingLit [our secret work project] into a form that other publishers can use it, trips to new regional book trade shows, and continuing to grow as an independent publisher. It seems like we ship more boxes every single day around here.



Gifts for Rebels

This week our staff recommends their favorites for the holiday gift-giving season. Some things overlap, because sometimes we’re just all really fucking excited about a project or book, and it’s on everyone’s minds and shopping lists. So here are our picks this year, for spreading rebellion, and fun, because it’s our new favorite activity. Stay strong, keep reading, keep resisting.
-The Microcosmonauts

(more…)

End of Watch — Hanna’s Last Day

Each month we share a little bit about our selves, our staff, and our volunteers. Earlier this Fall, on her last day, intern Hanna B. wrote on her last day about her time here for this month’s issue. What she learned, loved, and hated.
A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be accepted as a summer intern at Microcosm Publishing. I’m from California, which meant that I would be spending the summer moving to a brand new city completely separate from my family, friends, and basically everything I know. I won’t say that this wasn’t a little scary; it was. But the opportunity was far too great to pass up. So I moved up the coast and settled myself into the City of Roses.
Moving away from California was hard, it meant being on my own for the first time in my life. But Microcosm gave me a home. The experience has been one I am incredibly thankful for; I learned more than I could ever have imagined. Microcosm truly attempts to make the world a better place.

They want to bring books that diversify people’s understanding of the world, that help people’s voices be heard, that improve communities, to their readers. They are always looking for new experiences, new voices, new books, things that hadn’t been done before. I don’t have much experience within the corporate world, but it was touching to see how this company truly focused on things that mattered. I felt this in every single aspect of the company, from the books I saw being edited and published, to their outreach with the community, to every single detail.

And the company cares; about its readers, about its employees, even about the lowly interns. They wanted my experience to be positive; they wanted me to feel that my contribution was valid, that I wasn’t just doing busy work that no one else could be bothered to do. There was a purpose for everything I worked on. I got a hands-on learning experience that I would never have expected normally. I was able to work on and help edit actual books, and do tasks that I would never have dreamed of with normal intern duties.

I want to thank all of my bosses and co-workers for making me feel so safe and welcome – when I struggled or was confused they were there to support and teach me. I was able to learn with some great teachers, and I truly feel that I have grown and learned a lot over this summer. I know I am incredibly lucky in this aspect, many people simply do internships for the small line on their resume, they send meaningless emails for a couple of months, and then leave with no true impact being made. I hope that I have been able to leave my footprint in this company, and cannot express my thanks and gratitude enough to everyone working here for their support, the work they helped me accomplish, and the world-view they allowed me to see.

This internship, most importantly, succeeded in doing what all internships aim to do: showing me what it was truly like working in this industry, and showing me that it truly was what I wanted to do.

 


 

If you want to know more about volunteering or internships at microcosm, check out the FAQ and send us a message.

Please Let Me Help, Out Today!

Last month Jordan took on the giggle-filled task of reading and reviewing our latest hilarious book, available in a bookstore near you this month, Please Let Me Help. This unique book of letters may be too wild to be explained, but Jordan did a pretty good job. 

Book cover showing a leaking pipe fixed with band-aids

Starting my internship here only two weeks ago, I immediately started hearing perplexing comments on our new book Please Let Me Help. One coworker enthusiastically encouraging me to read it, referencing a multitude of tiny, hand-drawn vampires. From another, an elusive comment of, “It’s weird…” And a lot of conversations about who the heck our target market is.

So I committed a couple hours to sitting down and reading through it.

I’m not sure where to start.

But I’m a feelings person, and  Please Let Me Help: “Helpful” Letters to The World’s Most Wonderful Brands. makes me feel snarky, slightly rebellious, and like I’m “in” on inside joke with Zach Sternwalker at the companies’ expense.

Reading Please Let Me Help put me in that beautifully drifting and nonsensical mindset one has when musing on something absolutely ridiculous that also makes an element of sense. Like a modern epistolary Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where Port-O-Potties all have flowers and Christian Slater stars as Princess Diana. A place where the brief and formal rejections of Zach’s ludicrous suggestions become that which is laughable. Go fuck yourself, Taco Bell legal department. You obviously don’t get humor.

A strange and humorous letter to Michael Jordan

And that is the real value in the book, I think. Perhaps it was because I read it straight-through in one sitting, but Zach Sternwalker sucks you into this realm of nonsense, until you stand there with him looking across at the rest of the world with altered eyes. And we see its prude stuffiness. Please Let Me Help defamiliarizes us from our world’s business and consumer norms, showing its puffed-up silliness in an ironic, counter-silly way.

But the book doesn’t have to be all this. It stands on its own as just a gosh-darned funny read. It has that unadulterated silliness that reminds me of being deliriously tired, laughing over ridiculous ideas with an equally loopy friend. Who cares if none of it is realistic? For a moment, that which is realistic means nothing. And scheming up Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing plan for toast is the most logical thing one can do. Like a much-needed breath of fresh air.

So I’d recommend Please Let Me Help to anyone who could use a break from the no-nonsense, logical professional environment we’ve become so accustomed to. Because you know what’s more fun than that? A teeny vampire in a pear suit. Or imagining how to pitch a post-workout human refrigerator to General Electric.

 


Thank you to Jordan Ellis, our Fall intern, for writing up this review. Get a copy of the book for yourself at Microcosm.Pub

Let’s Get Sour: 5 Books on How to Ferment Your Foods

We’ve all been there – you left something in the back of the fridge too long and it went sour. Maybe your favorite bottle of wine became vinegar when you weren’t looking, or maybe you left the vegetables in your crisper for too long. Oof.

But fermentation, when done intentionally, is both tasty and a great way to preserve your garden bumper crop. Rather than leaving pounds of zucchini in your neighbor’s mailbox when you have too many, why not leave a jar of zucchini pickles? Why celebrate with overpriced sweet wine when you can make fresh honey wine with only a few items? Or, save money on yogurt by making big batches of your own.

Don’t know how? Here are our recommendations for books to get you started….

 

Basic Fermentation: A Do-it-yourself Guide to Cultural Manipulation

by Sandor Ellix Katz

If you’re a visual learner, Basic Fermentation: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Cultural Manipulation is packed with full-color photos that will walk you step-by-step through the art of fermentation.

 

This book is where Sandor Ellix Katz got his start as a fermentation super-star, so it’s a perfect starting point for you, too. It will help you learn techniques and teach you tasty recipes for all your fermentation needs. Even if you’ve tried your hand at fermentation before, it’s a great addition to your shelf for the recipes. This version is even updated with full step by step photos to get you going.

 

Everyday Fermentation Handbook

by Brandon Byers

When you think of fermentation, chances are your mind goes to staples like sauerkraut, kimchi, and even pickles. But there’s a whole world of fermentation out there beyond vegetables.

Everyday Fermentation Handbook is a primer on fermenting just about everything. Ever wanted to start making your own cheese and sourdough? What about brewing your own kombucha? This book takes you to vegetables and beyond, letting you add fermented foods to every meal. (Fermented waffles are amazing, FYI.)

Even better, this book includes ideas of how to use your tasty treats – taking them from just a side dish to a whole meal.

Fermented Vegetables

by Christopher Shockey and Kirsten K. Shockey

So you’ve got a green thumb for more than just zucchini, which is great. But it also means that you don’t have six million pounds of zucchini to use – you have six million pounds of everything to use.

Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes (a mouthful, I know) is a fantastic reference for when you’re drowning in vegetables. This book helps you preserve a lot of different types of vegetables – not just cabbage and pickles – in creative and tasty ways.

Like it spicy? The same authors also wrote Firey Fermentation, which provides a spicy twist on fermentation.

Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World

by Sandor Ellix Katz

No list on fermentation is complete without the Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World. If there was a religion based on fermentation, this would be its bible.

If you’re acquainted with fermenting already and looking for a comprehensive book on the subject, this is the one for you. With over 500 pages, it covers the history and cultural nuances of many different types of fermentation, as well as providing illustrations and recipes. It’s great for the experienced fermenter who wants to know more, or for the newbie who wants to jump right in.

Fermenting is a great way to preserve fresh foods without losing their nutritional power. With just a little bit of effort, you too can be fermenting in no time!

 

Brew It Yourself: Professional Craft Blueprints for Home Brewing

by Erik Spellmeyer

Kombucha and kimchi not what you’re looking to whip up? Brew It Yourself outlines the key methodologies of the two most common home beer-brewing techniques: extract and all-grain brewing. It provides professional advice on how to get started from square one at home, introducing the reader to the industry jargon and terminology, while providing clear instruction on the formalities of home brewing.

Equipped with illustrations, images, glossary, photography, and step-by-step assembly instructions for building your own equipment, Brew It Yourself is your craft brewing bible.

 

 


 

This book list (with the exception of #5) was written by past intern and occasional contributor/editor, Lydia Rogue. Follow them on twitter and patreon.

Do you have a favorite fermentation book we missed? Let us know!

Talking With Faith & How to Be Adultier

This past summer, intern Hanna B. took an interest in Dr. Faith’s books, and asked our favorite foul-mouthed doc a few questions about her work. Then, check out an exclusive excerpt from Dr. Faith’s next book in stores this month: Unfuck Your Adulting.

Everybody struggles at points in their lives. It’s inevitable! Nothing is ever perfect, and there will be times when you will need someone to help you get through the inevitable bumps in the road.
And while often times good friends and a strong optimism can get you through most things, sometimes more professional help is warranted. However, this can be a huge struggle, if not impossible for many, and so we can offer you the next-best-thing: Dr. Faith G. Harper.

Dr. Faith G Harper is a hilarious women with a PhD, who has written multiple zines and books for Microcosm, all about dealing with issues in our own lives, from Unfuck your Brain to her “Five Minute Therapy” zines, she gives you the honest facts on how to deal with whatever you’re dealing with, how it affects your body/brain, and even gives you the tough-love you didn’t know you needed. Her next book, Unfuck Your Adulting, hits stores this month. Filled with humor, science, and damn good advice her writing has the ability to enact positive change within each of us. A woman with a confident smile leans on a brick wall.

I recently had the chance to connect with Dr. Faith and ask her some questions about her books and zines, her practice, and her writing! For those of you who already know Dr. Faith and are dying to hear more or for those who are just interested in this kick-ass women, here are some words of wisdom from the woman herself.

What drove you to initially take your knowledge/practice and develop them into books?
Faith: Frustration! I write the books I want to read. They didn’t exist and I could bitch about it or write them myself! My first book with Microcosm “Unfuck Your Brain” started with the five minutes of brain science psycho-ed that all my clients get at some point that I had entitled “Brains are Assholes.”

What effect do you see from your writing that differs from your in-person practice?
The most obvious answer is that I get to connect with people in a different way…and connect with people I wouldn’t have come in contact with otherwise, just sitting in my office seeing clients who live in Texas. The more interesting answer that is, in terms of the meta-message of my books, there isn’t much difference. My private practice clients who have read my books say they sound EXACTLY like in-session me. I don’t write any differently from how I talk. I’m not trying to sound hip when I write (because trust, I figured out by age 11 that I am deeply uncool and have made my peace with it). If I say “Dude, that’s fucked up” in my writing, those same words in that same order probably came out of mouth at least three times in the past week with clients. No-one needs me to put on my white coat of expert doctorness, they need me to be authentic and present with them in their experience. The expertise may be the backseat navigator, but they aren’t in charge.

Which of your zines/books have you enjoyed writing the most, and why?
I don’t like rehashing topics that have already been covered. In fact, there are plenty of topics that have been suggested in which my response has been “so and so already wrote that book, wrote it better than I ever could, and I have nothing to add.” So any writing (and research process) in which I end up conceptualizing something in a new way ends up being the most enjoyable (even if it’s harder work in the process). For example, in the Coping Skills book I ended up creating a new category system for types of coping skills. It gave me structure for the book, and I think lends a better understanding to how coping skills can be operationalized. I want mental health strategies to just fucking WORK better. So when I think I hit on something that will make that happen I get all the excites.
(FWIW, I am working on something now, where I ended up changing the model of a psychological concept that has never been fucked with in the past. I may end up in academic purgatory, but I was really struggling with making it more accessible, and the only way I could figure out how to make it work was to add to it!)

What do you hope to do in the future with your writing?
World domination!
Or better yet, creating equal access for mental and emotional health for folx. It shouldn’t be the domain of the elite. If we reduce shame and stigma, and make quality tools that support people’s recovery journeys available for the cost of a paper and cardboard zine we’ve done good in the world.

 


 

Want to know more about Dr. Faith?

Check out her books here, and learn a thing or two about being a decent grown-up with this excerpt from Unfuck Your Adulting: Give Yourself Permission, Carry Your Own Baggage, Don’t Be a Dick, Make Decisions, & Other Life Skills:A book cover with a punk cat trimming its nails and adulting

How To Be An Adultier Adult:

#1: DON’T BE A DICK

Growing up, my kids had two household rules: “Don’t be a dick” and “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.”

(And honestly the second rule is really covered by the first, but a couple people I gave birth to had some struggles with the “stop fucking with other
people’s stuff” portion of the program, so we had Rule Two. But I digress.)

This rule was so well known that everyone who was invested in the welfare of my kids (teachers, counselors, etc.) would invoke it: “Well, are you being a dick right now?”

Thank you, Wil Wheaton, for adding “Don’t be a dick” to our common vernacular. Because, seriously, if you are only going to have one life rule, have it be this one. You don’t need an explanation on this one. You know when you are being a dick. Don’t.

When this now-book was first released as a zine, I wondered if “Don’t be a dick” would resonate and make sense with the people who read it. Or would there be a bunch of “Dude, what the fuck do you mean by that?” going on. Not once has that happened. This is a rule that everyone totally intuits immediately. We know
what dickitude looks like in all its shapes and forms. If we call it out in ourselves and refuse to tolerate it in others, we are already acting way more grown than most motherfuckers out there.

#2: BE A TINY BIT NICER THAN YOU HAVE TO BE

OK, you aren’t being a dick. Badass. Next step? Push yourself to put a little more good into the world than you are required to by the situation present. Say please and thank you. Use markers of respect (ma’am, sir, or whatever is appropriate). Be kind. Tip extra. Hold the door open. Smile sympathetically at the parent with the screaming child. Be engaged, present, and just a little bit more awesome.

Recently, someone kept breaking into our neighborhood mailboxes (because some people haven’t read Rule Number One). This meant the mailman couldn’t leave our mail and it had to be brought back to the post office for pickup. My Boo saw his truck one day and asked him if we could get the mail from him and skip the drive. Mailman said, “I’m totally not supposed to do that, but for you I will. Your wife is always soooo nice to me.”

All I had ever done was to smile and wave when I saw the postman in the neighborhood (you know, like Mr. Rogers taught me to), thank him when he brought me packages, and if I saw him in front of the house, walk out to his truck so he didn’t have to get out. This is small, small stuff. And it’s stuff that most people just
don’t do anymore. We aren’t talking about working in a soup kitchen every Saturday (though that is pretty badass, too). We are just talking about taking the time to recognize and respect other human beings on the planet.

Think about all the times someone being nice to you made your day bearable. Things that were pretty small for them were huge for you in that moment. We can put the same goodwill out into the world. Hell, even if it doesn’t work you totally earn serious karmic power-ups for trying harder than you have to.

 


 

This interview was conducted and written by summer intern Hanna B. and the excerpt taken from chapters one and two of  Unfuck Your Adulting: Give Yourself Permission, Carry Your Own Baggage, Don’t Be a Dick, Make Decisions, & Other Life Skills by Dr. Faith G. Harper

Where Are They Now? Past Inter-Cosmonauts

Every few months we welcome a few new folks into our office to help out and learn about what we do. Most often these are volunteers or interns looking to be a part of what we do and learn, for themselves or for college credit. Any of us who’ve been there can tell you it’s a wild experience that is sometimes radical, sometimes tedious, sometimes bizarre, and at other times empowering AF. But… what happens to those brave young people afterwards?

Over the summer we asked some Micro-intern-alums what they’re up to these days, and there’s a lot going on. Writing projects, book recommendations, zines being made, and more…

 

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Host a Book Emporium!

Remember those book fairs in elementary school? When your sterile school cafeteria or gym was briefly transformed into a book-y wonderland, where you could browse for a whole period and make your careful selections?

We still get a little dreamy remembering those days, so we decided to bring the book fair back, this time for grownups who need a break from work to get lost in books.

If you’re in the Portland area and have at least 30 workers, drop us a line (elly at microcosmpublishing dot com is your person) and ask us about bringing a Microcosm Book Emporium to your workplace for an afternoon.

Our books are mostly nonfiction and they all turn on self-empowerment. We have fun DIY projects, mental health power-ups, hard-hitting histories, inspiration for everything from cooking to bicycling to punk rock, and even books for kids.

We’ll be selling books, but there’s no cost to have us there—we just ask that you provide a few tables, let your staff know about the bookfair, and give them a bit of time to browse and shop. We’re happy to bring requested titles and topics from our catalog.

Here’s a testimonial from one of our hosts:
“Microcosm brought a Book Fair to our office and it was amazing! The expressions on a few staff faces were priceless – I think we all were expecting some books laid out on office tables, but the displays Microcosm brought in really made it feel like we stepped right into a book store. Their team was also great to work with logistically and made the event a breeze to set up.” -Stephanie Fudge, Zapproved