Win the Classic Bicycle Coloring Book

Taliah Lempert’s coloring zine was one of our bestselling and favorites, and now she’s releasing a full sized adult coloring book of her amazing classic bicycle artwork with us, and we absolutely adore it.

This month this family friendly coloring book is officially in stores, meaning you can get it at major and indie bookstores around the country (or ask your local art and gift shops to pick some up!).

You can also get one on our site, of course.

Or!

Win one!

 

You can enter just by signing in (using an email address or facebook) and get extra entries by doing things like visiting us on social media or tweeting about the contest.
(Please note that we can’t add your name into the contest outside of the rafflecopter platform. The good news is that it’s really easy!)

Giveaway runs til April 27th, so enter, share, and good luck!

 

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Make Your Place 2E in stores now; Or win one HERE

The brand new, hardcover, 10th anniversary, 2nd edition of Make Your Place is officially in stores and everywhere tomorrow– so how do we celebrate?Make Your Place cover

GIVING SOME AWAY!

If you’ve never gotten to check out this charming DIY tome, you’re missing out.
It’s full of simple skills that anyone can and should learn, from creating tinctures and salves, to concocting all-natural cleaners, to gardening basics, and more. 

It’s  great for anyone looking to live more simply and truly do it themselves. And this new hardcover format has a smooth, durable weight to it that doesn’t disrupt the book’s hand-made feel.

I’m giving away 5 copies of the snazzy new hot-off-the-press hardback, do-it-yourself must-have. You’ve got until midnight on March 27th to throw your name into the hat. If you’ve haven’t entered one of our new giveaways this year, we now use Rafflecopter as a contest platform, which is weird but handy. So check out the strange form below and the different ways to enter.

May the odds be in your favor ;-D

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cannabis As Empowerment with the Stoner Babes Coloring Book

Cannabis, currently only legal in about half of the US, is a dicey topic that tends to either get reactions of full-on support, disinterest, or disdain. We’ve been blown away by the initial support of the project (so many shares!) and disconcerted to see some backlash against the presence of cannabis themes in our catalog. So with just over 24 hours left in our Stoner Babes kickstarter project, I wanted to take a sec to talk about why we’re publishing it.

The more we learn about the science behind cannabis, and the racist history that brought it to where it is now in cultural mindsets, the more we see the stories of femme, marginalized, and differently-abled folks who use cannabis for positive change as important to share.

In this first take on that goal, Katie Guinn has presented a dreamy collection of self-identified “babes” beyond the stereotype of lazy, munchie-fueled stoners who are most often white, straight, cis, and male.

Personally, in my time in Portland I’ve found an incredible network of womxn who use cannabis as a tool for self-empowerment, self-improvement, and to stay healthier and happier. I’ve felt supported as a woman and a person of color, a stoner and a creative, flawed human being. So when The Stoner Babes Coloring Book was brought up as a possibility, here was a mission I was firmly behind: highlighting diverse stoners who successfully use cannabis as a power for good in their lives and communities. Yes, please!

 

And now, here with are, with one day left and less than $100 to go. We got this, babes!

-Cyn, Microcosm’s Resident Stoner Babe

Learn more about the work behind the book, and Katie’s thoughts on cannabis as empowerment, on the kickstarter page at Microcosm.Pub/SBK.

22 Years and Counting — Where Were You?

This month Microcosm celebrates its 22nd anniversary — can you believe we’ve been growing small worlds for over two decades??
Yeah, us either. 22 years is a long time, so out of curiosity, I asked some of our staff what they were up to when Microcosm was just beginning.
Some of us were young rebels or struggling punks; some were bookworm romantics; some were babies!
Check it out all the juicy personal details below, and tweet us @microcosmmm to tell us where you were 22 years ago.

Joe in Joshua Tree

Joe

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
At shows + parties in Cleveland. Young, drunk, angry, anxious rocker.
What was your life like? What were you up to?
It was chaotic and unpredictable. I was riding my bike with a gallon of homemade alcohol on the handlebars to the next adventure.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
I’m no longer angry, anxious, or drunk but I’m still young and I’ve achieved the specificity of my vision more than I ever dreamed possible and shared it with the world.

Elly

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was 17, a high school dropout with serious wanderlust and a lot of idealism.
I was making zines in my bedroom, reading books I found out about in the Whole Earth Catalog, working, and preparing to run away and hike the Appalachian Trail later that year.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
In the past decade, a lot of what’s motivated me is wanting to make the sort of books and resources that saved me when I was a teen. Young me had some pretty intense values and I’ll always try to live up to them.

Baby Kayla

Kayla

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was in a suburb east of Seattle, being a baby.
Eating, crying, pooping, laughing, etc.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
I would like to think I’ve become a much more capable, interesting person, but not nearly as many people tell me I’m cute. So, you know, you win some, you lose some.

Trista

Young Trista’s diary comics

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?

I was 5 and growing up in the south. I was mostly a ball of hair and daydreams.
What was your life like? What were you up to?

Young Trista’s diary comics

I think I was in kindergarten or first grade then so I had school which was really cool cuz the place I went to we sign language and french was part of the curriculum (sadly I didn’t retain much of it over the years). Other than school stuff though I was pretty much in my head all the time, drawing and reading. I didn’t really need supervision because I could occupy myself for hours with some pencil and paper. TV was pretty new for us, AC was more of a priority, so when we did have it I was watching the best of the 90s cartoons haha.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?

I’ve moved a lot, been through college, came out as trans, was homeless for a short period, met some wonderful people, struggled with mental health, and now I get to work around books all the time so life is pretty good at the moment.

Kristine

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
Literally: Oakland/San Francisco. I was a book-loving nerd, like I am now.
What was your life like? What were you up to?
Lots of art openings and poetry slams and substance abuse. Here’s a pretty good scene report. I didn’t have sex with Daphne Gottlieb, but I kissed Michelle Tea, and hung out with Bucky Sinister all the time.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
Better: I don’t do drugs anymore. We had a fun kid so I hang out with my family more often.
Same: The books are still terrific. I will read anything by Beth Lisick or Bucky (check out his new Black Hole novel) or Michelle, and I heartily recommend the Kapow! poetry/comics anthology that just came out.
Worse: I don’t get to see as much live music/art shows/poetry/performance art as I used to, but am working to improve that. It’s hard to bring a kid into a nightclub, so thank heavens for Gilman St.

Nathan

Young Nathan

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you/your life like?
 1996 was a turbulent time for me personally and a lot like Joe’s big decision to start his own company, I also made a huge decision which monumentally altered the course of the rest of my life. I had graduated from high school in 1994 and started college, but then dropped out to work full time and then after a year I quit after an argument with my boss. I was dealing with a lot of inner turmoil due to some childhood trauma between my father and I which manifested itself in lots of rudderless wanderings between work and school, and arguments at home were frequent, despite my trying to work things out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. It was also around this time my mother, who had previously been my ally, made a comment to me about not being able to get a job due to drug use. In a moment of desperation I went to my previous boss at my former job for advice and mentoring, she suggested joining the military. Based on that one recommendation and my mother’s concern, I went to a recruiter station in defiance to show her I could pass a drug test, but the strictest drug test of any employer. Unfortunately, even after I joined, they weren’t ready for me to start basic training, so I had to continue to live at home with my parents for an additional three months before leaving for basic training in September of 1996. Military life was rough because as a result of running away from an abusive father I was suddenly surrounded by what felt like a hundred abusive adult men all yelling and screaming at us privates to try harder and push ourselves further. It was the most micromanaged I’d ever been. It felt like I had traded one male adult over stepping their bounds and attempting to control every aspect of my life to a hundred adult males attempting to run me into the ground. It was a very important time for me as I attempted to reconcile with the hard truth that I had dropped out of school, quit my job and ran away from home because I had serious issues with authority figures as a result of that childhood trauma, and it was going to continue to follow me no matter where I went or what I was doing, so if I wanted to truly be free of my fear of those in authority I was going to need to find a way to surround myself by people who directly opposed authority in all its forms whether it be in government, the workplace or personal relationships I could finally see power and the abuse of that power to be the true source of all my pain and suffering.

As a result, and after several years of soul searching, I finally found Microcosm Publishing and a place where my pacifist, punk rock ideals could be encouraged. Every day I reminded of this by a poster I walk past each and every day that gives me hope in humanity and the role I can play in bringing it to a better place, “i will not rule and also ruled i will not be.”


Cyn

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was an 8 year old bookworm and an early Romantic, feeling quite displaced in North Carolina after moving from south Florida not long before.
I was obsessed with Sailor Moon, and magic, and fantasy books, horses and unicorns, and feminist pop/rock music like the Spice Girls and Alanis Morissette. I helped take care of my brother, a toddler at the time, and spent a lot of time at my family’s workplaces. I had a Sega Genesis and played Sonic and Ecco and played Doom on our cobbled-together PC. I spent lots of time imagining or in books, my mom reading the Wizard of Oz series to me, my dad, The Hobbit.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
I’ve moved across the country — one coast to the other — which has changed virtually everything. I traveled a lot before now, which I actually blame on a wanderlust my mother instilled in me with sudden roadtrips and activities throughout my childhood. (Having driven across the country three times now, that wanderlust has mellowed out quite a bit.)
I didn’t know it at the time, but I grew up poor, and my parents spent years working to build a better, more stable life for us all, so by the time poverty was something I could understand, we weren’t dealing as much with it anymore. As an adult I’ve re-entered this cycle, but every year things get a little bit better financially, and mentally for that matter. Growing up I also had a lot of basic, unfixable health problems — anxiety, dismenorrea, insomnia, ulcers, etc — that I learned to put up with, and eventually learned to manage more functionally with cannabis, which (growing up in an opinionated Puerto Rican family that said NO to drugs) I never thought I’d do, and things continue to be on an up-swing. These days I feel fully independent and capable, and supported by my workplace, which I love. 22 years ago, this is not the life I would have expected, but I dig it 🙂

Sidnee

Looks like someone took away Little Sid’s book…

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was hanging out in my teen mom’s womb, waiting to come disrupt her life in the best way.
What was your life like? What were you up to?
Life was chill, just developing limbs and organs!
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
Things have just changed, period. I think I’m due for a rebirth soon. I’m really glad I was born, and I’m really glad Microcosm joined me in the endeavor of existence.

 


 

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And if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter to win our March mental health books on the blog HERE!

On the Podcast – Bringing Your Book To Its Audience

Microcosm owners Joe Biel and Elly Blue bring you a workshop they presented at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association regional trade show, about the importance of connecting your work to an audience and the vitality of putting books in boxes (and all of the various dangers and how to avoid them).

Link

5 Ways to Fight SAD (& win books!)

Feeling down more than usual in these grey (or white, if you’re buried in snow) winter days? It could be “SAD.”

With two mental health books coming out next month, and the grey days of Portland still coming and going, we’re talking with Dr. Faith and Set Sytes about Seasonal Affective Disorder, AND giving away free books!

So, you think you’ve got SAD.

First: Don’t Panic.
But also, don’t ignore it.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that ebbs and flows with the seasons, typically causing extra depression during the winter months. This is especially common for folks with mood disorders already, women, and folks who live further from the equator.
Winter is the big SAD season, though some do experience it during summertime (me, right here, for real!), and it can often take sufferers by surprise.

A Survival Guide For Imaginative Pessimists

Set Sytes, author of How Not to Kill Yourself, says this about his experience with SAD:

“I often find things more difficult during the Winter months (which in Britain is 11 months of the year). I get much less daylight (although I’m better than I used to be on that, when a week could go where I wouldn’t see the sun), I’m always cold and without the motivation to move to warm up, and the weather is so miserable not only do I not want to go out but I’m not happy inside too. While hot weather can have its own reasons for lack of productivity, the cold months can encourage depressive symptoms and make you more interested in curling up in a blanket than getting anything done, especially if you’re worried about heating bills. It’s hard to engage your brain and be creative and productive when you’re cold, there’s little sunlight and you’ve been sleeping in in a conscious (or unconscious) attempt to hibernate through it all.”

In This Is Your Brain on Depression (coming Dec 2018), Dr. Faith defines it loosely as “winter blues thought to be caused by lack of sunlight.”

“When my brother left sunny Texas to go away to college in Boston, his SAD was horrible. He went from thinking snow was pretty and exotic to thinking snow was some kind of evil plan from the universe to repeatedly beat him in the face. The light box our mom sent him was stupendously helpful.” – This is Your Brain on Depression: Finding Your Path To Getting Better (zine version available here)

 

What to do about it?

When I asked about SAD, the first thing Dr. Faith noted was that too many people ignore the recurring symptoms: “If a tooth fell out of your mouth every February, you’d see the dentist and figure out why,” Dr. Faith points out. “S.A.D. should be taken just as seriously.”

“I’ve seen a lot of people do well with adding vitamin D in their diet and using sun lamps (blue light that mimics the missing sunlight they are getting…there’s lots of evidence behind this treatment),” she says.
Set’s advice? More layers!
“I often wear 5 layers indoors and sometimes include scarf gloves and hat in that! And my best is 7 outdoor layers, but then I’m strange and nobody else seems to do that) means you’re warmer but don’t have to spend as much on heating (and you’re more comfortable just sitting in one spot). It also means you can move around the house and maybe god forbid open a window for a few minutes without suddenly catching hypothermia. Worrying less about cold will relax your survival skills enough to hopefully think about more creative pursuits.
Also, candles, candles, candles.”
“The big thing that I always ask everyone is about their sleep,” Dr. Faith adds. “Getting enough good quality sleep is the foundation for all wellness. People are always surprised when I point out that their sleep is complete shit and getting more sleep will make everything else far easier to manage. Sleep hygiene should probably be it’s own zine, eh? It’ll def be a chapter in Unfuck Your Body.”
Set totally agrees with the doc here:
“It sucks setting alarms for yourself but sometimes it’s worth encouraging your sleeping pattern to shift not necessarily to a “normal” time frame (who decides what normal is) but at least one where you get more sunlight in the day. Even if you’re more creative at night, it helps to be able to separate each day into both day and night, otherwise it just all becomes one big murky dark abyssal pointless mess and there becomes no sense in doing something at one time to another – and when that’s how you think, you end up never doing things at any time.”

The Breakdown:

1. For your bad SAD days, try these tips from our authors:
2. Add Vitamin D to your diet.
3. Get (or make) a light box; get more sun.
4. Stay warm; add layers and blankets if you must.
5. Get enough SLEEP!

The Giveaway

For a chance at our two upcoming mental health books to help get you through the winter slump, check out our Anti-SAD giveaway packs below, and enter to win BOTH books by entering below, with extra entries for following us on social media or checking out some of our pages.
Winners get THREE free books:
-1 Random health & wellness back list title or galley
-AND our Book Tour Boardgame, to fight back against those bored winter blues!
Ends Feb 22nd.

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Books to Beat the Winter Blues (+ a giveaway)

It’s the edge of winter here in the pacific northwest, and in Portland that means wet, gray days that are chilly but not frigid, damp but not stormy. On these many gray days, I know how easily sadness can sneak up and creep in, so we’re giving away books, of course!

This time of year makes me think a lot about Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the careful line a person suffering from mental illness often has to tread to stay above it. SAD can mean a lot of different things to different people, but so often this time of year makes people feel extra blue, extra down, extra shitty; with depression, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and sadness all more likely to pile up on your shoulders like a miserable coat of fuck-it-alls. This is a line I often have to gently tread and have grown quite familiar with.

Wherever you are, we want to help you get through that shit. One way is with our March mental health books:

This is Your Brain on Anxiety shows you exactly what’s going on in your head when anxiety comes barrelling through, with down-to-earth breakdowns of the science behind it and practical tips to getting through it. Written in her signature style of swears, wit, and pop culture references, Dr. Faith gives you the tools to deal with, and perhaps even get over, your anxiety on your own terms.

How Not To Kill Yourself wants to keep you away from the spiraling hole of suicidal thoughts and get you back into the world, with tips, tricks, and pep talks to remind you that it’s worth it to keep getting up in the morning. With an introduction by Dr Faith, this survival guide is for anyone dealing with intense depression or suicidal ideation.

If you haven’t heard about these yet, here’s a few clips:

“The interesting thing here about anxiety as a stress response? The good thing? Anxiety means the body is still fighting back. This is fundamentally different from depression, which is essentially a wired response of learned helplessness.

Anxiety symptoms are active coping skills in the face of threat. The problem is only when the brain has decided that most everything is a threat.”

“Name That Bastard. Give your anxiety an actual persona to inhabit. Name it after a heinous ex, a shitty grade school teacher, or Kim Jong-un. Create a whole character for your anxiety. Anxiety feels so nebulous that giving yourself someone to battle really helps. Then you can have convos with Donald Trump’s Epic Hair Swirl (or whomever, but personally I think all panic attacks should be named after that hair) whenever it comes calling. You can focus on that entity the way you would an actual person that was threatening you in a real-world situation. You can negotiate, you can yell back, you can lock it in a box. Whatever works.”

This Is Your Brain on Anxiety: What Happens and What Helps, by Dr. Faith G. Harper, PhD…

 

Depression is a swamp because it subtly evolves, it changes. It’s a delicately balanced ecosystem, where every little thing affects something else. Crowding trees and vines and darkness obscure what else might be out there. It seems endless, but it’s not. It seems abjectly awful, but it isn’t. There’s life in a swamp. There’s hope. It’s small and it’s wild, and it’s as apt to run away from you as it is to approach you, but it’s there. It’s real.

Don’t let the world win.
Don’t let it keep robbing great people and dumping them in the bin of history.
We can put a stop to it. We can be the first to say NO!—or better yet, FUCK OFF!
Stand tall, stand straight, and tell the world where to go. This is one soul it’s not going to crush. You are stronger than that. You can FIGHT BACK.

How Not To Kill Yourself: A Survival Guide for Imaginative Pessimists, by Set Sytes & Dr. Faith Harper

 

To celebrate these rad books being officially released next month, I’m giving away 10 packs of How Now To Kill Yourself and This is Your Brain on Anxiety: two books that take common problems and gives you as much advice as possible to kick that shit to the curb!

AND (because it’s our fricking 22nd birthday, y’all!) I’ll be adding one random Microcosm backlist title on health, wellness, DIY or taking care of yourself to each bundle (possibilities listed below). I’m calling these Anti-SAD Packs, because we hope they help get you through the heavy winter season. Enter below, or check out the books webpages by clicking any images in this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Alive with Vigor!

Grow!

Punk Rock Entrepreneur

Congrats to the Victors, and Prepare for More!

Winners will receive one of last year’s Fix Your Clothes arcs, + our Book Tour Board Game (and stickers of course!).

Our test giveaway is over, and the results are in! Winners have been contacted and the books go out tomorrow.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered — and everyone who gave feedback!

We like this Rafflecopter platform and will try it out a few more times.

Interested in more giveaways?

This month, slogging through prime Seasonal Affective Disorder season, we’re raising our spirits (and hopefully yours) by celebrating Microcosm’s 22nd year with a shit ton of giveaways!

To start off, Monday we’re going to be giving away “SAD Packs”, featuring our March mental health releases, This is Your Brain on Anxiety: What Happens & What Helps and How Not To Kill Yourself: A Survival Guide For Imaginative Pessimists, so check back here then to enter.

After that, watch out for giveaways here and on our other Social Medias for a chance at more brand new books, past ARCs, and cool swag.

Stay awesome (and strong)!

New Giveaway Process

FINAL of Fix Your Clothes: The Sustainable Magic of Mending, Patching, & Darning

For years Microcosm has run pretty rad giveaways through our friends over at Goodreads. This year, however, their terms have changed to include new charges for giveaways that we’re not quite willing or able to pay.

So instead, the next couple months will feature giveaways here, on our blog, instead, while we try out other options.

To try one out, we’re running a test giveaway below for some of last years Advanced Reader Copies. It’s super easy to enter using your email address or facebook, AND you get extra entries for doing cool shit, like tweeting about the book, answering a question, or visiting us on social medias.

I’m offering five copies of the advanced reader copies of Fix Your Clothes: The Sustainable Magic of Mending, Patching, & Darning.

Never even heard of this book? Here’s the description:

Ever had to say goodbye to a favorite item of clothing because of a busted zipper, fallen hem, or gaping hole? Want to save money and the world by not buying new clothes at the time? Concerned about the labor practices of fast fashion? Learn to repair your clothes from this cheerful illustrated guide. Raleigh Briggs, author and illustrator of the bestselling Make Your Place and Make It Last takes us on a mending journey through stocking your supplies, quick fixes, types of knots and stitches, buttons, mending seams, patching holes, darning holes, hemming, fixing zippers, waterproofing canvas, leather, and nylon, and so much more! Raleigh’s style is simple, playful, friendly, fun, and builds your confidence. You can do it!

Win one!

Enter below for a chance at one of 5 copies of the Fix Your Clothes arc, by the legendary DIY zinester Raleigh Briggs, now through January 31st.

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Call for Submissions: Introducing the Self Care Healthcare series

Introducing Microcosm’s new open submissions series:

Self Care Healthcare

How do people stay healthy in an unhealthy world? That’s the question this series of small, practical, accessible books will answer, with a focus on taking care of your physical, mental, and sexual health.

Are you a nurse, an herbalist, a physician’s assistant, a naturopath, a surgeon, an acupuncturist, a family doctor, a physical therapist, a midwife, a reproductive health clinic worker, a dental hygienist, a medical anthropologist, an epidemiologist, or any other sort of health expert or practitioner?

What do you wish more people knew about taking care of themselves?

What would you tell your patients if you could see them for longer than 15 minutes at a time?

What knowledge and skills would most improve your patients’ health and quality of life?

This is your chance to share your expertise!

We are seeking authors for short, instructive books that fill a gap in public knowledge and augment the resources provided by the current healthcare system. Books should be focused on building practical skills and understanding the science behind why they work. Holistic perspectives preferred. A focus on the health of people in marginalized demographics is especially encouraged.

Help us reclaim these ideas from the reference shelf and make them easily and cheaply available to the public!

Manuscripts can be 10,000 to 30,000 words. You can come to us with a completed or partial manuscript or just an idea. We prefer submissions for this series by credentialed professionals, but we’ll consider proposals from folks with lots of hands-on life experience in their topic.

To submit, fill out the contact form on our FAQ page and mention that you’re submitting to the Self Care Healthcare series.