Archive by Author

The Quiet Really Is Not Enough

17 May

Things have been pretty quiet around here in 2010, but it’s not going to stay that way. We’re working on some new plans and a reemergence in the summer. Check back here June 1 to see what’s coming next for Dove&Snake.

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Go Heart Your Own City

1 Dec

This is a shirt you can buy from Urban Outfitters. It pretty much sums up what we’re trying to do with D&S. Enough with all the ♥ing of NY. More ♥ing of Tucson.

Ironically, the shirt is from somewhere far away. The fine print nestled underneath the Y in CITY indicates that this is New York kindly but sternly admonishing the rest of us to be citizens of our own cities, not piners for the Big Apple.

So pick up a copy of Tucson Weekly. Head down to a show and buy a painting made by someone who lives here or listen to a band made of people you know. Bypass Starbucks and buy your coffee at Avenue Coffee or Caffe Luce or Raging Sage. Eat a Sonoran hotdog from El Guero Canelo or a vendor in a vacant lot with some folding chairs set up under a tarp for an awning.

♥ Tucson.

Dove&Snake Subscriptions in the Works

27 Nov

We’ve heard enough D&S readers ask about subscriptions lately to make us move from wondering* about how and when we would set up subscriptions to figuring out the necessary particulars to make it happen.

Here’s what the deal will most likely be: Somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 will get a Dove&Snake subscriber four issues. We’ll do some more math to narrow that neighborhood down. Instead of calling it a year’s subscription like most print publications, we’ll say four issues because the nature of this particular beast** requires a flexible view of regularity.

We’ll do our best to publish four issues in the four quarters of a year. If we find we must adjust our schedule, subscribers could rest assured that they would still be in line for a quartet of issues, whatever they may be****. One of our goals is to be creative in publishing. We promise to be interesting, and a subscription would just guarantee that you receive the benefits of our creativity and curiosity over a sustained period of time.

We also have this thing about making issues special. No.1 included custom doodle and short-short edition, and several copies of No.2 were either stenciled or screen printed by local artists Keegan Rider or Reflective Collective. We would continue that trend with subscribers in mind, so you never know what surprise your issue would carry with it to your mailbox.

In short, the time seems right. Subscriptions would begin with D&S No.3, parts of which are either ready or getting there. Once we nail down the final details, we’ll post them here.

Right now, we’d love to hear if you’d be interested in a D&S subscription. If so, please let us know by commenting below, informing us on our Facebook page, or sending an email to doveandsnake@secondmi.org (feel free to ask questions or explain your excitement at the impending arrival of your prepaid D&S issues in your mailbox).

*We’ve always wondered about it. Yes, from the beginning. We just want to make sure we can do it well.

**Original content from people who don’t consider themselves writers*** but whose stories are interesting and unknown and local. Edited by someone who cares about writing and reading enough to add running a zine onto a day job as a Writing educator.

***Don’t get the wrong idea, though. They are good. They’ve studied it, even. They wrestle with words and they write pages worth reading. They are also people who just needed a nudge to get those words flowing. We are in the business of nudging people.

****Current plans include an immigration issue as well as an issue comprised of photographs by local photographers. Our goal with both: perspectives (stories on immigration from educators, volunteers, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, and more; photos from all over Tucson from students, amateurs, and professionals).

Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs Blogs

4 Nov

One of the last pages in Issue No.2 is something called “Our Job is Awesome.” The words on that page are a mini-play, a transcription of a real-life seven line conversation between John and Andrew in which they discuss the merits of a shared workplace. This dialog was captured by Alisa Wilhelm and originally published on her eponymous blog. We were hoping to find a couple of short pieces for the second issue when we stumbled across Alisa’s blog and saw that little gem nestled in her blog (and tagged “crumbs”). We asked permission to publish it, and she agreed.

Alisa’s blog is more than crumbs. It’s student art projects, art projects detached from school, thoughts on travel to distant lands, thoughts on studying at the University of Arizona, and more more more. We interviewed Alisa to find out why she puts pieces of her life on the Internet for all to see. Because she’s an artist and photographer, we also asked her to choose some images from her blog to repost here. She obliged us with answers and images. Enjoy.

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Dove&Snake: When did you start blogging?

Alisa Wilhelm: I started blogging in 2003. I was 12, and I used Yahoo Geo Cities instead of a blogging platform. I had to manually archive all of my entries. We had dial-up internet at my house.

D&S: Why did you decide to start a blog?

AW: I’ve always been obsessed with documentation, preserving, trying to keep remembering. Even before I read about Anne Frank, I wanted to be used like she is used today: a historical record for future generations. When I started blogging, it was just another expression of me documenting my life. I didn’t care to attract an active audience, but I secretly hoped that I would.

D&S: Why do you continue blogging?

AW: For a while, I really wanted to be a part of this cool blogging community called 9rules. It is very exclusive. You have to submit your blog to be reviewed and approved, or more likely denied, and they only accept submissions during certain times. I wanted to be a well known blogger, that’s why I wanted to be in this cool blogger’s club, and that’s what drove my blogging.

9rules accepts blogs that have a very narrow niche. The niche could be in any field, but it has to be specific. I knew that, so you can see points in my blog of me being like, “Concert reviews! THAT is my niche!” or “Life of a university student! MY NICHE!” However, I really didn’t care enough about those things to base every single post around them (also, they aren’t narrow enough). I stopped caring about how many people read my blog and I turned my visitor trackers off. I like pretty blogs, so now I just try to make my blog posts pretty. I continue blogging in order to create a pretty blog.

Colorblind

D&S: Do you know your readers?

AW: I know some of them. I stopped using visitor trackers a couple years ago, so I have no idea how many people read my blog.

D&S: How are the readers you know of connected to you in real life? Do they read your blog because they know you, or do they know you because they read your blog?

AW: I would guess that the majority of readers that I know of read my blog because they know me. None of my family members live nearby, and I have friends who are far away as well. I think they’re curious to find out about what I’m doing. When I read blogs from my friends and family, I find out things about their life that I might never think of to ask about. It’s probably a similar situation.

D&S: Do you get much feedback from your readers? What do they say?

AW: I used to get a lot more feedback than I do now. I don’t invite feedback. Some bloggers ask a question at the end of their post to get a discussion started, but I don’t. Lately I’ve been getting more non-traditional blog feedback than I have actual blog comments. Strangers email me encouraging notes saying that they like what I make, and people that I come into casual contact with often start conversations with, “I hope you don’t think I’m creepy, but I was reading your blog the other day…”

D&S: Have they (the strangers who hope you won’t think they are creepy because they read your blog) ever been creepy? If so, how did you respond?

AW: One time I was in a park, and a man came up to me and asked if I was Alisa and if I had a blog. I thought that I must have met him somewhere before, but I hadn’t. That was kind of creepy—an adult man approaching a teenage girl to ask her about her blog that he found. I was guarded, but I answered his questions. It turns out that he is a librarian who found my blog by searching for “Casa Grande Public Library,” a library that I have a love-hate relationship with. I used to volunteer there, and I love books, but I’ve had some bad experiences involving a very stereotypical, stern, shushing librarian.

D&S: What blogs do you read?

AW: Right now I’m subscribed to 283 blogs. I’ll give you a sample of my favorites: Ample Sanity, a deluge of New York Times blogs (Idea of the Day, The Moment, Schott’s Vocab, and others), artist’s blogs (Camilla Engman, Fine Little Day), and Things Magazine.

D&S: How do you encounter other blogs? What makes you want to subscribe to certain blogs?

AW: I find other blogs by reading other blogs. My favorite posts to read are ones that show photos, have a paragraph or two of text that might not even relate to the photos, and share a couple links. It’s those links that I find most valuable. They usually lead me to other blogs that I’ll like. When a blog is pretty consistent with my idea of a good post, I’ll subscribe. I don’t mind a lot of text if it’s interesting to me and well written.

D&S: Do they influence what you post on your blog?

AW: The most influential blogs that I read come from European women artists. Their photos are so calm and nice. I try to do that, but it’s difficult.

D&S: How do you decide what events from your life become blog posts?

AW: If I’m proud of it, then I post it.

D&S: This summer, you were out of the country and unable to access the Internet. Did you miss updating your blog?

AW: Not really. I wasn’t editing any photos, and I didn’t make much art, so I really had nothing that made me think, “I want to blog this.” I was more worried about my archive list looking less complete. I didn’t blog for two months, so the list goes: April 2009, July 2009.

*Alisa went to China. Here are 1723 photos compiled into a timelapse journey to East Asia:

China 2009 from Alisa Wilhelm on Vimeo.

D&S: Your blog is quite the miscellany. You post school projects, personal projects, observations about your university, notes and images from your travels, and more. What do you hope to communicate by posting these kinds of things?

AW: I want to give interested people a sample of what I’ve been thinking about, working on, and looking at. I used to think that my blog could give people an example of what my life is like, but there’s no way it could ever do that.

D&S: Who are the “interested people” who you are communicating with in your blog? Do you know who they are and what they’re interested in?

AW: Some Blythe doll owners read my blog. They are interested in Blythe dolls, haha. The community that forms around Blythe dolls is very close knit—adult women, strangers, gather for tea parties for their dolls, and they send people they don’t even know little gifts that are Blythe-related. I have a Blythe doll, her name is Marcie, and I read blogs about the lives of other Blythe dolls. Those people (and their dolls) read back. Other people have varied interests: family and friends care about me as a person, instructors are interested in seeing what I do out of the classroom, other artists like to see art.

D&S: Do you ever read your old posts? If so, what do you think of the you from the beginning of your blog?

AW: I try to avoid reading old posts, as anything older than a couple months I find to be extremely embarrassing. I guess it’s good that I’m not stagnant.

D&S: You started a joint blog project with Adam called Adam+Alisa. Who is Adam?

AW: Adam is my boyfriend! He’s an artist and photojournalist, among other things, and he lives in Boulder, Colorado.

D&S: Why did you start that blog with him?

AW: We have very long lists of things that we want to do together, and a blog was one of those things (Adam started the idea). We also have a very long list of future posts to make for the blog. Adam sometimes thinks of it as PDA, but I don’t. I think of it as an ongoing collaboration project with someone that produces work that I know I’ll like.

D&S: What will readers of Adam+Alisa find there? How is it different than your individual blog?

AW: Everything that has been posted on Adam+Alisa so far has been a collaboration project. We make each other a poster every month and mail a hard copy of that, but a jpeg diptych is posted on the blog. Along with that, we send each other preview swatches of the poster, and those are posted as well. Photo diptychs and audio are also there. It’s different from my blog because we both have access to it, and we come up with little assignments for blog posts (example: take a picture of a tree today). I don’t give myself assignments for my blog.

D&S: How long do you think you’ll keep blogging?

AW: As long as I keep loving the internet, I bet I’ll keep blogging.

Editor’s New Addition

13 Oct

Janice and Lucy

Here’s my new daughter, Lucy, sleeping next to my wife, Janice. When she packed her bag to be ready for a hospital stay, she threw her red D&S tee in and ended up wearing it the first full day of Lucy’s brand new life.

Dove&Snake is a project that happens mostly in spare time, and there may be a little less of that with a new daughter now staying in our home, counting on us for food and warmth and all that. However, this zine is important enough to still get some spare time. I was planning on sending a copy of Issue No.1 to Glasgow this weekend (Glasgow!), but Lucy’s arrival pushed that back. Now I’ll fill the Etsy order sometime this week during my time off from my real job.

I’m also working on the possibilities of placing D&S on some local bookseller shelves. Right now, I’m working contacts. I’ll post notice if D&S becomes available in fine sellers of words-on-pages anywhere here in our locale. Oh, and speaking of our locale, a second D&S + Reflective Collective shirt is in the early stages of development. We’re really excited about this one because it’s 520-centric, it’s a play on words, and it includes an exclamation point.

Issue No.3 is in the works. I’ve already seen early drafts of the pieces about marathons, psychology, and life as a medical intern in Africa. This issue should be fun because it’s the first one that will, if all goes as planned, contain only content developed specifically for D&S.

Also, I’ve been planting the seeds for an issue entirely focused on immigration, something that should not be overlooked for those of us who call the Southwest home. That issue will include many different perspectives on the life of immigrants: educators, graduate students who study Latin America, community college students just trying to study, legal immigrants, undocumented aliens, those who have lived abroad and at home, volunteers, those in charge of volunteers, and more.

After the immigration issue, I also want to do a photo issue. Instead of words bound into a booklet, the idea is that each copy of that issue would be an envelope full of photos from local photographers, professional or amateur. They would be the sort of photos that would be suitable for your wall, but you wouldn’t know exactly which ones you were getting as you open up your envelope. I don’t want D&S to focus on words words words and overlook images and the people who capture them. Part of the goal of D&S is to be creative with what an issue of a zine can be, so this is part of that exploration.

Those are the big ideas coming up. I’m going to being working hard at raising my two daughters, but I also want Dove&Snake to keep telling stories and connecting people with what’s going on here in Tucson (and telling of the adventures that occur when Tucsonans venture far away), so I’m going to work hard at building D&S, too.

– Scott

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe Art Opening

1 Oct

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 1

We released Issue No.2 at the beginning of September at Keegan Rider’s Whata Cafe Art Opening. Keegan did a special edition, so he let us sell copies of Issues No.1 and No.2. We set up shop on a table at Caffe Luce and sold some zines to the good people of Tucson.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 2

Reflective Collective also did a special edition. It’s is the one at the top of the picture. They printed some art (halftone motorcycling couple printed in silver under big block letters saying NOBODY WANTS TO BE A SUCKER) on the inside covers, front and back, before we put the zines together.

Keegan’s special edition is a stencil based on his current show, which involves rabbits in a sort of Alice in Wonderland motif in some of the work. He numbered and signed each of his editions.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 3

The reader in this picture is Alisa Wilhelm, a contributor to Issue No.2 (“Our Job is Awesome” is from her blog). The other folks are John Weatherford, of Reflective Collective, and his wife Emily. They set up shop right next to us and sold some t-shirts (and donated cardboard to D&S for a makeshift sign).

Several people purchased the zine, and several others perused a copy at the show. The best part of that perusing was that we didn’t know the readers leafing through the pages of Dove&Snake, but they were interested nonetheless.

Caffe Luce is a D&S favorite, and sitting at their table with friends while selling zines was highly enjoyable.

Thanks to Caleb Jackson for taking the photos and letting us post them here.

36 Down, 14 to Go: John Weatherford’s Quest for 50 Books in 52 Weeks

23 Sep

Back in May, we asked John Weatherford about the first four months of his attempt to read 50 books in a calendar year. Our last interview covered his list, his plans, and the difficult mountain of books he faced in the final two-thirds of 2009. We asked him if we could check in when September rolled around, and here we are. John answered our questions about reading during the summer, reading about food, keeping current with the bee keeping world, comparing fiction to famous painters, exploring the world, and finishing what he started.

Dove&Snake: When we talked to you in April, you were at 16 books. Your most recent blog entry shows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round as number 34. Mathematically, you picked up your pace a little over the summer. Did reading over the summer feel any different than the first four months of the year?

John Weatherford: The big thing in the summer is that there are far fewer distractions than the rest of the year. TV is not really worth watching, and it is so hot outside that I don’t feel conflicted about sitting around inside the air conditioning.

D&S: You’ve read a lot about food. Why is that a subject of interest for you?

JW: I didn’t exactly grow up with good healthy eating ideals instilled in me. Lately, I have been making some changes, so I have enjoyed reading some good, well thought-out defenses for eating the foods God put on the planet for us versus the foods we cooked up in a lab.

D&S: Your blog entry from August 23 is particularly interesting. I’ve got a few questions based on that one. First, you said reading Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire was “the first time this year, possibly in [your] entire life [you] read 2 consecutive books by the same author.” Is there any particular reason you wanted to read two books in a row by Pollan?

JW: Basically, I had two books left by Pollan. After I read the first one, I really wanted to go ahead and finish.

D&S: Also, you mentioned, as a sort of disclaimer for your thoughts on that book, that you “subscribe to several seed catalogs as well as bee keeping catalogs.” How did you find out about them? What made you so interested in them that you decided you wanted them delivered to your home on a regular basis?

JW: I grew up with seed catalogs and plant and gardening books as a fixture of my surroundings. I suppose I wouldn’t feel right without flipping through this year’s catalog each February. I don’t really have a way to put the information to use, but I figure that shouldn’t stop me. The bee keeping catalogs were just a passing fancy. I went through a phase a few years ago where I read a bunch of books about bees and bee keeping. From that came a desire to keep bees someday. It probably won’t happen, but I guess I’ll keep up on the current trends just in case.

D&S: The last question from that entry pertains to the heart of your quest. You identified August as your “late summer slump.” What do you think caused that slump? Have you come out of it yet?

JW: Yes, I am out of it. I think I just got tired of reading. It was bound to happen. When you do things out of obligation they will eventually become a chore, but even that will pass.

D&S: You read two issues of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. In your response to McSweeney’s 14, you compared the short fiction in that volume to art you saw in museums when you were a kid in a very specific way: “I could have done it. But I didn’t.” What about the fiction in McSweeney’s left you with the feeling that you could write those same kind of stories?

JW: I really meant that as a complement more than a critique, but it might not have come off that way. I suppose that there was nothing in those stories that would have been outside of my ability to write, but I was trying to say was that even if I could have written them, I didn’t. I didn’t have the inspiration to think those thoughts, I didn’t have the dedication to see them through, I didn’t have the courage to put them down on paper, and I didn’t have the tenacity to see them through to publication. Anyone could paint a Rothko with a little practice, but would you? And would you fully commit to it even if you did paint it? Probably not.

D&S: Have you ever wanted to write a short story? What has kept you from doing so?

JW: I suppose I have, but it definitely doesn’t compel me. I’m pretty visual so maybe if it was a graphic novel or a children’s book with illustrations. I’d definitely consider writing non-fiction.

D&S: You didn’t respond in that same way to the other fiction you read over the summer (two by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and one by Chip Kidd). What was the difference between these novels and the McSweeney’s fiction?

JW: With the Kidd book, I think I felt differently because the author has such a different life experience that there is no way that I could see things from the same point of view as he has. With the Garcia Marquez, I feel like he is operating on a completely different plane that other writers so I sort of feel like nobody is going to touch that stuff. I suppose if anyone could paint a Rothko, then no one could ever have painted Guernica, except Picasso himself.

D&S: You read How to Be an Explorer of the World and indicated that some might not even think it should count in your quest for fifty because it’s a light read full of 59 challenges “designed to increase your imagination, problem solving, story telling abilities, and overall hipster appeal.” Did you act on any of those challenges? What was the result?

JW: No, but I have a few planned to conquer once the year of reading is finished.

D&S: You read a book about your own faith and a book about a different faith. What did you learn about your own worldview, spirituality, and theology as a result of digging in to not only your own beliefs, but those of others?

JW: I’d say I was confronted with the lack of dedication that is expected of me by my culture. If I were a Muslim in a nation governed by an Islamic majority there would be so many more cultural expectations placed upon me. I guess being a Christian in the United States is “easy.” I don’t really like easy. It makes me uncomfortable. The thing is that with all of my cultural freedom, I have to hold myself to a high standard, and I have to live my life to my standards whether I am being called on it or not.

D&S: What do you have next on your list?

JW: I have read two more books since then, and I am almost through a third book on adoption. I am planning on reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies soon, and possibly another McSweeney’s.

D&S: By that count, you only have fourteen left to go. Do you think you’ll be able to get to fifty books by December 31?

JW: I will do it. It probably won’t be easy with the holidays coming up, but I am going to make sure it gets done.