Posts By: Elly Blue

Read Independent PDX Publishers Bundle

Celebrate and support Portland, Oregon’s thriving ecosystem of independent publishers during the pandemic crisis with this stellar bundle of choice nonfiction books. Discover your new favorite book, author, or publisher with this fascinating, varied collection of biographies and memoirs that will open up your world, allowing you to mentally meet new people and travel to new places.

Quit Your Day Job: Build the DIY Project, Life, & Business of Your Dreams

A practical guide for creative people with great ideas for independent projects who want to achieve success and sustainability.  Drawing on her years of experience helping people succeed with do-it-yourself projects based in independent publishing, music, food, art, craft, activism, and community work, Eleanor Whitney empowers you to clarify your vision, get organized, set goals, create a plan, raise funds, market, and manage your do-it-yourself project. The book is full of real-life inspiration and creative business advice from successful, independent businesses owners and creative people with projects that began in the do-it-yourself spirit.

Firebrands: Activists You Didn’t Learn About in School

Illustrated portraits and life stories of American heroes hailing from Chile, Canada, and everywhere in between, from the 1500s to today. Instead of the powerful rich, white folks history textbooks focus on, these pages recognize the work of grassroots organizers, revolutionaries, visionaries, anarchists, workers, and artists. Get inspired to step up and create the world you want to live in.

Bread of the Resistance

Make sourdough at home without measuring or weighing your ingredients, with the help of Tessalyn Morrison’s patient, friendly tutelage—she makes it truly easy to build up and maintain a starter, and get an excellent loaf every time. Plus lots of recipes for when you have too much sourdough or want to ferment other foods. Healthy gut bacteria, delicious food, this is the good life.

Unfuck Your Worth

Work through your feelings about money, financial freakouts, and how to achieve your goals with the indomitable bestseller Dr. Faith Harper. Figure out what your monetary baggage is all about, get angry about how capitalism makes it impossible to have a truly healthy relationship with our self-worth, and learn to align your work and budget with your values no matter what your economic status or background.

Rest in Purpose, Ruby

This is a sad one.

Ruby and Joe at Powell’s Books in January, 2019

Ruby was the medical alert dog for Microcosm founder and CEO Joe Biel from February, 2012 to June, 2020. She was a constant presence in our office and at events.

At a reading at WhyNot Fest in Minot, North Dakota

Her service dog training meant she was skilled at making herself invisible most of the time, often sleeping curled up next to Joe’s desk or under the table at a convention or a restaurant. Even so, she made friends everywhere she went, when she ventured out at Joe’s side, or to occasionally alert someone passing by that their blood sugar was dropping (she did this by poking their leg with her nose). When she walked by one of Portland’s many brunch spots, she would often go down the line of people waiting, alerting them all. One day, a couple was fighting on the street and she ran up to alert them. She wanted to help everyone. Her intelligence and loyalty were astounding. Once she had met someone, she considered them part of her pack forever, even when meeting them again years later.

Long convention hours meant lots of napping on the job.

Along with her remarkable skill at detection, she was also trained for public access, which meant she could handle herself gracefully in situations, like a grocery store, restaurant, airplane, or train, that would challenge even a well-trained pet dog. She never learned to pedal her own bike, but we celebrated her bikeyness a couple of years ago with this fanciful enamel pin.

Just another daily commute.

Thanks to her unique assistance in managing his disability, Joe was able to lead Microcosm out of the recession, growing us from a small press to a midlist publisher and wholesaler, and more important, to begin to regain his health and safely live a full, active life.

Joe, Ruby, and Elly at the Microcosm office. Photo by Laura Stanfill

Ruby loved to travel everywhere with Joe by train, plane, and bicycle. Food was her primary motivation. And she loved people; her training taught her to be standoffish when she was wearing her service dog vest, but in her off-hours she loved nothing more than a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears. And even when working, she knew when someone was talking about her and perked up with great interest.

Ruby and Joe walking in Detroit.

She passed away on Tuesday, June 23rd, just hours before her first book, Do Not Pet, arrived from the printer. She is dearly missed by all who knew and admired her.

Ruby’s trainer told us that she was the rare dog who found her purpose. In her honor, we’re continuing to center our own meaning and purpose every day. We hope that her legacy will outlive her, educating people about the amazing work of service animals in opening up the world to people with many kinds of disabilities.

In Downtown LA

Unfuck Your Year

Dr. Faith Harper’s weekly unplanner that’s also a workbook to help with your anxiety, anger, adulting, self-care, sleep, relationships, and so much more, all year round.

Seeds of Spring #1

“The Prince & the Birch Tree” is the first volume of a serialized graphic novel about Canadian Mi’kmaq teenager Naguset, who exchanges books and mix tapes with her pen pal, Chris. Her imagination sparks when he sends her a biography of the 19th century Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin. The story juxtaposes Naguset’s personal and political coming-of-age in her loving family home with Kropotkin’s rocky upbringing in a princely palace.

Essential Oils to Destroy the Patriarchy

With a hefty dose of irreverent self-satire, Eryn O’Neal shares the essential oil recipes that she uses to treat her own patriarchal woes, so that you can too. A tincture of clary sage may not dismantle the patriarchy singlehandedly, but it’ll help you get enough sleep so you can keep working on destroying the power dynamics that are dragging us all down.