This is my post from yesterday’s substack for my mom because I love her and she doesn’t understand how substacks work and wanted to read it. My substack is just a place for sharing my art each week but it’s somehow become more than that at times and I apologize for sometimes being more wordy than arty:
Last week was very peopley. My parents came to stay, and Hailey and their sweetheart came home from college, and I spent hours at the bookstore signing anything that people wanted to bring in. And so I am absolutely on-the-floor exhausted because I am a forever introvert, but also feeling so lucky that I was able to see the people I love. So many people who stopped by Nowhere had the same shaky hands I do and were helped in line by friends or family who understood their anxiety and encouraged them to do the hard thing and were proud of them for doing something that might seem so easy for others who don’t deal with mental illness, but can sometimes feel incredibly difficult even when it’s also wonderful.
One mom came in with her young daughter who was just as shy as I was at her age and she was so patient and kind and created such a lovely, safe place to encourage without shame, and the conversation I had with her daughter was like talking to me when I was little…a way of saying to little me that it will get better…that we are not alone…that all of the best people are a little bit different. I’m so lucky to be able to see this in real time. I’m so lucky to have friends and family and community who support me even when they don’t understand me, and to be able to see others being supported as well. It reminded me of the fact that sometimes we don’t always have safe places to hide when things get scary, and how important it is to be able to create those soft places inside ourselves where we can give ourselves the love and understanding we need. But more importantly it reminds me of how often others become our safe places. And also how often we heal and grow ourselves by becoming a sanctuary for others.
I have a lot of people who say incredibly kind things to me about how I’ve helped them or people they love, but I wouldn’t be able to do that without others saving me, again and again. And that means you too. If you read or listen or care then you have helped save me and I can’t tell you how much you’ve done. The ripples you send out make such differences that you may never see, but if you want to just one small example, look at me. Thank you for giving me shelter from the voices in my head that aren’t always so kind.
In case you can’t read the tiny words I wrote on this weeks drawing: “If you can’t find a safe, gentle escape, you can always build one inside of yourself… And with enough practice, you can become one for others.”
The thing inspiring me this week? Have you met Mychal? He works at he Solano Library and is probably the kindest, most joyful person ever and he always makes me smile. You should love him too.
This Sunday I’m doing a Second-Chance Book Tour and that means we’re having fun at Nowhere and you need to come because I’m bringing the most ridiculous gifts for you. Keep reading for details.
And if you can’t make it to San Antonio you can still be part of it because I’ll be signing books for you too and if you order online this weekend you can get 20% off my signed books using the code SURPRISEME. Just let me know what you want me to sign when you order your books, but be aware that if you say “dealers choice” you may get something insane. Need proof? I was going to share some of my recent autographs here but it was too image heavy so I put them on instagram if you want to click through the slides to see 70 examples of why I shouldn’t be left unattended with books and markers:
And I just did a live instagram video to show you everything we’re doing on Sunday and it was a mess but very indicative of everything I do, so here you go:
Also, some people have asked me why we keep porn in the kids section and I’m baffled too because we don’t even keep porn in the porn section. In fact, we don’t even have a porn section. Sorry to disappoint. I assume this is really about LGBTQ+ books? Or maybe it’s about science-based books for children that discuss where babies come from? Or maybe The Very Hungry Caterpillar was just too phallic? No idea.
We also have at least three items in the store that don’t have expletives written on them but we are considering investing in a label-maker so that we can remedy that, and (if requested) our baristas can probably write creative swears on your coffee cups.
Nowhere is a reflection of the team who creates it and almost every week I have someone tell me how happy they are to find a safe and inclusive space where they can explore new worlds and learn and hide away in the stacks or read and connect with other like-minded weirdos. That said, I do have friends and family who consider themselves somewhat conservative who really love the bookshop, even if not all the books speak to them. Some of them are slowly growing to appreciate that reading about race, or sexuality, or feminism or any of the hard subjects that we may fear can lead to a greater understanding of the human race and help how we can celebrate our diversity and create compassion for others and ourselves. And some of them just like our offensive sock collection and wine and would prefer I stop correcting their pronoun usage but are grudgingly getting used to it and I appreciate it. If we celebrate diversity we have to celebrate that each of us brings our own perspective and knowledge and flaws and that is a lovely thing. I hope to see you Nowhere.
Sorry I disappeared for a little. I don’t know if it was depression or a weird physical sickness but either way I sort of fell apart for a little bit. Feeling tentatively better, but I’m also noting that it’s November and if you’re anything like me it means you need to unpack your light therapy lamp right this second and stop putting it off. Do it now. Done? Awesome. Let’s talk about books.
Written by Michelle Porter, a descendant in a long line of Métis storytellers, A Grandmother Begins the Story follows five generations of Indigenous women as they reach for the stories to remake their worlds and rebuild their futures.
And I know what you’re thinking…five generations of women? Isn’t that hard to follow? And it would be if the characters weren’t incredibly unique and well-rounded. Also, one of them is a bison.
Additionally, it’s apparently delicious, as Hunter S. Thomcat has tried to eat it several times.
It sounds like a strange sort of book, and it is, but in a really intriguing and important way that I loved.
The Paleontologist is an atmospheric sort of mystery about a haunted paleontologist who returns to the museum where his sister was abducted years earlier and is faced with a terrifying and murderous spirit. I’m not going to tell you anymore because I don’t want to spoil anything. And if you’re a member of the club your November book is going to come with this fantastic book bag. Whoop!
(By the way, we currently have spots available in both clubs if you want in before the new year.)
Need more than one book to get though the month? Me too, friend. Here are a few November releases I enjoyed:
Starling House by Alix E. Harrow – A grim and gothic new tale from author Alix E. Harrow about a small town haunted by secrets that can’t stay buried and the sinister house that sits at the crossroads of it all.
The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose – When I finished Nita Prose’s The Maid I was like, “Can we get a sequel?” AND WE GOT A SEQUEL. When an acclaimed author dies at the Regency Grand Hotel, it’s up to a fastidious maid to uncover the truth, no matter how dirty—in a standalone novel featuring Molly Gray.
The Manor House Governessby C.A. Castle – This spirited debut pays homage to the British classics—with a genderfluid protagonist and 21st-century twist—perfect for fans of Emily M. Danforth and Andrew Sean Greer.
The Madstoneby Elizabeth Crook – With echoes of Lonesome Dove and News of the World, the story of a pregnant young mother, her child, and the frontier tradesman who helps them flee across Texas from outlaws bent on revenge, even as an unlikely love blossoms.
The Bittlemores by Jann Arden – Some tough themes (child and animal abuse) but Jann Arden is always worth reading.
The Last Love Note by Emma Grey – In the aftermath of crushing grief, sole parent Kate Whittaker must learn to live and love again. I’m not usually a romance fan but this one caught my attention and kept it.
The Favorites by Rosemary Hennigan – This book was listed as “dark acadamia” and I thought that meant boarding school horror but turns out it was about the abuse of privilege and power and I liked it even though I kept waiting for the vampires who never showed up.
Mimi’s Tales of Terrorby Junji Ito – Nine true stories and urban legends brought to you by the master of weird horror.
Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros – I haven’t actually finished this one yet because I just picked my copy up but this the sequel to Fourth Wing, which I really loved.
Happy reading and thank you for supporting Nowhere Bookshop! We wouldn’t exist without you.
I’m not here right now because I’m a little bit mentally bleh and I’m sort of too tired to explain so instead just go to my substack if you want. It’s open to everyone and if you don’t want to get emails from me you can just click “no thanks” when it asks if you want to give your email and it’ll let you straight in.
Welcome to xanaru: A mostly funny blog about the quest for happiness through authenticity, Great Danes and indiscriminate swearing. Plus hand-painted, custom artwork on bags, jackets, backpacks & more.
How the Hell Did I Not Know That?: Humorist Lucie Frost shares daily Instagram reels with learnings of the day—words, music, whatever–with plenty of laughs and all the curse words.
Beautiful Writers book: Writers! This coming-of-career memoir (w/ the BEST advice from celeb authors, real shit you haven’t heard) is life. A page-turning beach read doubling as how-to. #Magic
Uncommon Creatures Digital Portraits: Animal art inspired by Earth’s most magical creatures. Got your own beloved pet you’d like to memorialize? Have no fear… let me turn your fur-baby into a work of art.
The Dating Days of Marta O: When I told my sister I was building a blog she said: “Do people still read blogs?” I do not know, but if YOU want to read it, here it is. Keep in mind, my stories about dating after 40 are for the brave.