Posts By: Elly Blue

Please Let Me Help

Zack is unemployed, overweight, recently divorced, and lives with his mother. Whilst a lesser man would wither away in emo-laden angst, Zack has found inspiration during this difficult stretch of life. A renaissance man, Zack conjures up brilliant ideas (soap on a rope, a Sammy Davis, Jr. biopic starring Tom Cruise, vases of flowers in Port-a-Potties nationwide), offers services (babysitter for Sophia Coppola, compiler and burner for a Beatles Best-of), and attempts to woo unsuspecting ladies with his lifelike sketches of firearms. Please Let Me Help is a collection of letters Zack has written to companies, actors, directors, his local police department, Hulk Hogan, Canada, and scores of other easy targets. Some write back; most don’t. Please Let Me Help shows how we can turn our weakest moments into creative opportunities and never give up hope!

A People’s Guide to Publishing

Microcosm’s founder, Joe Biel, wrote this book to give you access to his over two decades of publishing experience and skills. Relatable, funny, incredibly detailed, and iconoclastic, this is an essential handbook for anyone who wants to get into the industry or take their small press or zine to the next level.

Unf*ck Your Adulting

Adulting is about sooo much more than making your bed, changing the oil in your car, and understanding your 401k. Actually, it’s not about any of those things at all, argues Dr. Faith—it’s an attitude, a willingness to do the work, to make sure you’re carrying your own baggage as you sort it out, and to carry on with kindness no matter how tough things get.

This is Your Brain on Depression

Let Dr. Faith guide you in her trademark funny, science-y, empathetic way through the ins and outs of depression. This is survivable. You’ve totally got this.

Walking with Ramona (2nd Ed)

Explore the streets, schools, and sights of Portland, Oregon in the 1920s and 1930s—just the way that Beverly Cleary lived them! If you read the Ramona books as a kid (or Henry or Ellen), you’ll love Laura O.Foster’s deep dive into the history and culture of their setting. Includes a guided walking tour, photos, and generous notes.

What It Means that We’re Leaving Amazon

This week, when we made the announcement that we will part ways with our trade distributor at the end of 2018, we also announced that we won’t be seeking a new distribution relationship directly with Amazon. We’ve gotten a lot of virtual high fives for this, and there’s also been some misunderstanding about what exactly this means.

“I feel terrible because I still sell / buy on Amazon,” is one reaction we get. “But won’t your company / authors suffer if your books aren’t available on Amazon?” is the other. The answer is simple, but the background is complex, and this post is meant to help clarify the relationship Amazon has with publishers, authors, and consumers, and will hopefully give you some guidance in making more informed choices. (more…)

Call for submissions: Bikes in Space, trans/nb edition

Trans pioneer Roberta CowellIt’s time: We’re requesting stories for the seventh volume of feminist bicycle science fiction series Bikes in Space.

The fifth volume, Bikes Not Rockets, is funding on Kickstarter through August 8th. The sixth, with the working title Dragon Bike, is in edits. This seventh volume is scheduled to come out in early 2021.

For the first time we’re excited to welcome a guest editor to the series: Lydia Rogue, who stepped in to edit the most recent issue of the Taking the Lane zine, True Trans Bike Rebel, pitched the theme for this volume and we couldn’t resist.

Without further ado, here are the submission guidelines:
The theme for this issue is: trans and nonbinary characters and writers. Working title: The Great Trans-Universal Bike Ride
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Where We Work: The Story of Our Building

This post was researched and written with Microcosm intern Lydia Rogue.

microcosm's green storefront today
As Microcosm kicks off its 23rd year, we’re taking a look at our history, starting with the building we now occupy with our office and bookstore. When we purchased the building in late 2013, it had already been around for sixty years! We painted over its dull beige exterior with bright green and purple paint that only upset one neighbor enough to leave some alternative sample paint chips taped to our door.

The location was always zoned as a small office space, even when it was originally built in 1953. The original owners were H.C. Plummer & Co, a real estate agency who sold houses all over north Portland.

But it was in 1957 that the most famous occupant moved in – the NAACP moved their credit union here from the house of the organization’s leaders, Otto and Verdell Rutherford; by 1964, the NAACP also had their chapter headquarters here and it was the place you went to register to vote.

three people holding up a calligraphed sign

The 14th Amendment graced the walls of the NAACP headquarters. Photo courtesy of Oregon Historical Society

Portland has a long history of racism, and during the 1950s and 1960s, the Albina district (where we call home), was one of the few places Black people were allowed to live. Most banks would deny them home loans – and real estate organizations deemed it ‘unethical’ to sell them a home in a ‘white’ neighborhood.

The NAACP advocated strongly for the community and against school segregation and racist real estate practices. Under the Rutherfords’ leadership in 1953, the historic Oregon Public Accommodations Act was passed, making housing discrimination illegal, among a wide range of other changes.

An undated photo taken at the NAACP headquarters – at the far right is Otto Rutherford, next to his daughter Charlotte. Photo courtesy of Oregon Historical Society.

While most of N Williams has been gentrified over the years, buildings torn down and turned into parking lots and trendy shops, this building remains, nestled between historical markers that proudly document African American history all up and down the road.

The NAACP remained in this building until 1983, when they moved to NE Portland.

This Oregonian news article that ran on August 2, 1983.

The credit union, however, remained for several more years, until the building changed hands yet again in 1990. This time, CH2A & Associates took up residency in the building – a consulting firm that specialized in affirmative action, labor relations, conflict resolution, personnel management, and counseling.

Harold C. Williams Sr. co-founded the firm and was its president at the time of his death in 2012. He had been a community leader and on the board of directors for Portland Community College. His son (Harold C. Williams Jr.), following in his father’s footsteps, currently has an active political career.

Now, we hold down the fort in this building, trying not to freeze in the winter or melt in the summer, and trying every day to live up to the activists who worked here before us.

The Post-Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book

Never fear, neither gender essentialism nor pretentious continental philosophy are safe from the all-seeing gaze of The Post-Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book. Quotations from postmodern theorists intertwine with diverse vulva imagery from the sacred to the profane to bring you a one-of-a-kind meditative coloring experience. Edited by Elly Blue and illustrated by Meggyn Pomerleau.

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.