Zine-terest: A Review for local Zines every Thursday

‘Zines are making their way to A Week by the Bay! With all the things I’ve been doing in the city, reading is almost ALWAYS one of them. So I was thrilled to finally put a name to the little newsstand I’d always pass on Market and Steuart Street near the Ferry Building, because now I’m slowly turning into their biggest fan. A friend of mine had asked if I ever heard of The Grand Newsstand and sent me their website. And the little kiosk I always thought was just another newsstand hocking SF Chronicles or WSJs was actually an independent boutique devoted to zines. This week I got to stop  by the kiosk and splurged. I now have 3 zines lined up and I’ve been enjoying each one! These little publications, from at to writing and photography, are quick but delightful reads that keep you on your toes. The inspiration is surely there, no matter how little. And sometimes when nothing is going on in my week, a zine read is just what I need.

So every Thursday tune in as I present to AWBTB a cherished and much recommended read in a zine:

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Rail Pass by Courtney Riddle

Found at: The Grand Newsstand

Pages: 32

Cost: $8

Subject: Travel, Informative

This was the first zine that I was SO excited to read as it’s very rich and insightful about good old train traveling. The 101 facts scattered throughout its 32 pages alone help the traveler and writer, Courtney Riddle (who also owns the Grand Newsstand!) tell the stories of her month long travels around America via her Amtrak Rail Pass. Taken in 2013, Riddle’s journey follows 8,667 miles, 11 states, and 2 coast lines in which she shares journal entries and photos and tips. There is no definitive catalyst for why she took this journey other than wanderlust and curiosity, and she doesn’t end the zine on some grand introspective note. It just so happens that she took a train, explored America, and, with the publication of this zine, hopes to help future fellow adventurenaires, lest they run into a rut finding a place to stay or vegetarian food on Amtrak or– not surprisingly– sitting next to bigots.

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Or, if you’re me, her zine will help you reminisce on the last train ride you took in late September. How I miss that journey, how short it seemed for an overnight from Portland to Martinez, California. I was in coach and managed to grab a window seat and was accompanied by Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie that I’d gotten from Powell’s. But it was also a time I ran into the most warm and open human beings from different reaches of the country, like Vincent traveling back to see his daughter in South Lake Tahoe and Maureen who was so cheerful and ready to share her inflatable pillow with me. The most intriguing of the camaraderie was Mark, who had just open up his third outdoor/kayaking shop out in Seattle where his British fiancée was a top executive at the Yahoo branch out there. He was making his way back to Colorado, to his son, to his city outside of Boulder that he loved dearly for the crispness of air and the never-ending activities bestowed upon its inhabitants by nature. He seemed to be doing well, and he seemed to want the same for me– sitting five hours by that dark window of the observation car as the train paced through the Oregon night, talking about our love lives.

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I may have been a little annoyed at the little solitude I was given during this ride. Yet reading Rail Pass only reminded me that the journey I did have was indeed a lovely and unexpected memory. It was all out of my norm, and that’s what adventures should seem like– if they were commonplace occurrences then they wouldn’t exactly feel special. Riddle knows this too– she tells readers after all that train traveling is “like a behind-the-scenes take on America, with minimal billboards or other vehicles, grand displays of nature, and wildlife you probably aren’t used to.” You might forget what America looks like, especially for staying in one spot your whole life. So travel, and travel by train, so you can see not just all these behind-the-scenes aspects to geographical America, but its Americans, too.

Stop by The Grand Newsstand on the corner of Market and Steuart Street in downtown SF, or purchase it online for pickup here.

Next week I’ll be reviewing Hey Girl Hi from Courtney Riddle and Sara Diamond on the roller coaster of sisterhood told through text messaging. Stay tuned! Stay zine-terested.

 

 

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These San Francisco Things5: My Featured Piece on theLittleThing5

Here is the guest post I wrote for the site theLittleThing5. Read the original piece here:

For while, I’ve not written anything I actually do consider good.

My first love for the little thing that would influence my whole being was an attempt at a novel. I can fondly remember senior year of high school as not only being when I completed a full novel, but being only seventeen.

I found that rough draft not too long ago, and was astonished at how underdeveloped scenes were and how wordy one or two meaningless sentences had gotten.

But there was the passion at least. Anyone who read that terrible piece of work about artists living in the San Francisco Bay Area could see that it clearly had been written by a Bay Area artist themselves.

This little thing I call writing has dictated my every move since that attempt. Changing my major to English and deciding on staying in the Bay Area to further explore both writing and this place I loved so much, and still knew so little about, hasn’t gotten me much further, but it has maintained my motivation.

And so for someone who loves to write, what hasn’t been good? What have I been doing this whole time?

Life is what.

I’ve been doing exactly that, keeping busy from my passion in order to keep finding inspiration that will fuel the passion. Confusing? Complicated, but understandable. How can I write about things when there’s nothing to be done to write about?

Enter these weekly musings I document in my series called A Week by the Bay. Myths and truths to living in one of the leading cities of the world in technology and creativity. I’ve only given up on the novel and short story writing for now because in the unknown adventures to come with each passing week, my reality has given only the best tales to tell.

And this life thing, it’s worth it.

It’s worth listing off which specialty cocktails I recommend from The Corner Store and Natoma Cabana, or the luck of discovering a new bus line to get me to work without having to run into old friends or summer flings. Views from Market Street rooftops and the people I meet in these microhoods are worth sticking around for.

San Francisco and its surrounding area aren’t the world, I know that. But it’s a big part of it now in this decade that I can happily and easily find myself telling you more about.

And some day, I’ll find myself beyond here and chronicling a week spent somewhere else. But as fate has it, I’m meant for here, and I shall not fight it. Big adventures await, but the adventure of this city right now seems big, with each little thing encountered.

And together, that is good enough.

A Year by the Bay…and Announcing an EVENT by the Bay!

One of the most surreal moments of being a writer has only just occurred for me… it would have been another ordinary day in the office had my book A Year by the Bay not arrive today. But it has! And I am so pleased to share with you all this incredible work of mine that took only a few months to prepare and a year of living in San Francisco to give you the photos and stories within.
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My collection of essays, written per week from 2015-2016 and published right here on this blog, are available now via Blurb! I hope you get a chance to check out my latest full length book for yourselves, especially for new and silly insight to the San Francisco Bay Area.
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There will also be a fun chance to hang out and celebrate the release of A Year by the Bay! I’ll be hosting a small gathering at Novela bar in San Francisco, March 30th at 6 PM. Stop by and say hey, drink literary-inspired cocktails, and check out copies of my book in the flesh! I’ll be taking loads of photos on my Instax Mini camera and give away some personally typewritten work as well.
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I thank of course all my readers and friends and family who encouraged me to pursue my literary dreams and on my own terms. I am so proud of this book that I can actually hold and read for myself, written by me, a dream come true.

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The Winningest

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February 1 – February 7

Superbowl Week.

This resonates a lot of sentiments with the inhabitants of the Bay Area, like, including myself, rerouted bus lines and unwanted traffic of legions of tourists here to support their team.

You could say that San Francisco’s time hosting Superbowl L is a definitive moment in the history of the NFL and for the city itself. For some, they feel that way. But after enduring this week of hype– only find the actual game lack any girth or excitement– it was just another passing piece of failed promotion that only deepened the city’s debt. The game didn’t even happen in San Francisco– it is the city of Santa Clara who reigns as the champ in reaping all the benefits SF so dearly wanted. Life in the Bay goes on, it reeks of sports no more.

Not now at least. But just because Superbowl was lackluster in San Francisco didn’t mean that the city didn’t deserve to host it. It’s a city of winners, for sure. Especially for sports, the Bay Area’s own teams reign supreme in great achievements. We live for the past, the glorious past. Growing up with a Raiders fan in the shape of my dad, I’d be watching old replays on ESPN Classic not really knowing what was going on especially because The Raiders hadn’t won anything since 1983. But they won then, and in 1977, 1980, and they’re listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most “winningest” team in any sports. Not to mention the 49ers in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994. Even outside football we’re gaining ground as a new dynasty in the San Francisco Giants with their even year wins and of course, more exciting this year than the Superbowl itself– Dub Nation.

But San Francisco wins all around in everyday. The champion of passion, tech, ethereal landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, photographed more than the Statue of Liberty. The game we play is success, America’s favorite sport. We compete against LA, New York, and even Portland; that city is an unlikely underdog in the most exciting place to experience. That energy runs well and alive along the streets and in the crowds that I see each day heading somewhere for a purpose. Just for trying at whatever it is we do in a city landscape, we’re already winning. And in winning, it’s nothing without the teamwork you build with the faces around you. The new YouTube videos to promote at work so you and three other girls get into the office at 7 AM to beat the bad day lighting. Having open countless Slack channels to monitor all the work you’re putting in with giveaways, promotions, and shenanigans that require you to talk with the Customer Support or Business team. Venting about such bullshit in local taverns or swanky little bars with the same people. Work brings you together, the game is simple if you play by the rules and not by yourself. You got this, you got the right people here and a neon sign behind a bar remind you that EVERYTHING, no matter what little setbacks, is amazing.

Winning is also waking up before 6 and the rising sun in a soft bed with gray sheets with ridiculously high threadcount; you’ve slept in your underwear because you’re staying in a high rise overlooking the Bay Bridge and the skyscrapers that surround the bare dirt ground where they’ll be putting up the Salesforce tower. You didn’t go home. You or your sister. Instead you stayed the night in this highrise that belongs to a tech company a relative works at where they stash visiting investors or employees from abroad. The walls are bare and the furniture is minimal and brutal and plushes of the company’s mascot are placed in every room. It’s 6 AM and you have nothing but your purse, a phone that died, a shiver, and a hazy memory from hanging out the night before when you tried getting into Superbowl City just to dine at Sens Restaurant. I’d never woken up to this, the stars nestled in the buildings around you that gradually cease as the sky brightens and the glass no longer glistens with fluorescent reflections of the night.

There is nothing else to prove because in San Francisco, you’ve already won.