Update from brain tumor central

Everybody I know is now reading this blog.  Who knew that getting a brain tumor was the way to push blog traffic? 

I wanted to get on here for a minute and let folks know that I'm still here, and I'm still me.  Every day I'm a little more energetic--today, for instance, I didn't even take a nap.  My body's adjusting to the anti-seizure medication, and although I'm feeling somewhat less steady on my feet (because of the medication and also probably because of the major trauma my body's been through in the last week), in general I'm myself.  I can still read and think; I can still hold a conversation.  I haven't been all that up in arms about sexism in the last few days, but never fear--it's only a matter of time.  Biffle and I will both surely have ongoing feminist commentary about the medical industry, among other things.

So far the most annoying medical side effect I'm dealing with is mouth-related:  I bit the crap out of my tongue in every seizure I had, so I have a fairly substantial open wound in my mouth.  This means that my holiday diet has consisted primarily of soup, oatmeal, and ice cream.  My tongue is healing, but slowly.

Oh, I should say here, to calm the fears Biffle raised in his last post, that Dr. Hollywood is not my neurosurgeon--he was the neurosurgeon on call at Summit Hospital in Hendersonville, TN.  Due to fabulous family connections, my neurosurgeon is the chief of the division of neurosurgery at Duke University Medical Center.  My brain will be in very good hands.


It's beginning to look a lot like Girl Zines...

Cindy Crabb has a great review of Girl Zines up at the doris zine blog.  I'm really glad she liked the book, considering that her work and her thoughts feature largely in it.  A cool quote from her review:

Truthfully, it usually is zines that inspire me, when I get a really great zine, or even a shitty one that is honestly looking at shit and working it figure it out - the voices of girl zine writers inspire me more than anything.


In retrospect, high points from our trip to New York

The moment we returned from New York, it was final exam time, and I started the last busy push of the semester. So I haven't had time to reflect on our trip until now. Here, three weeks later, are the high points of our NYC experience, with pictures.

    At Macy's Santaland
  • The Christmas stuff.  We saw the tree at Rockefeller Plaza and the windows at Macy's, and they were great--as magical as you would want them to be. We also made a visit to Santaland inside Macy's because Christy said it was great, but the line to get in was an hour long, and Maybelle was asleep.  I decided that for both those reasons, as well as because Maybelle is too little to care at all about Santa, we were not going to Santaland.  I was surprised, however, to see how many parents were waiting in that one-hour line with babies Maybelle's age or younger.  No thank you.
  • The food.  One thing I can say about Christy and Joel:  every time I've ever visited them in NYC, they've taken me to absolutely fabulous places to eat.  This trip was no exception.  We ate Uzbek food, truly delicious burgers and shakes, and indulgent artisan-bakery-made versions of Oreos and Nutter Butters.  The best food of the trip, though, was the ramen restaurant Christy and I went to after my event at Bluestockings.  We had pork buns, noodle bowls, and cold cucumbers in sesame oil that were all so delicious that you had to make a face and groan after every bite.  And since two of the servers were students of Christy's, we got in without having to wait the hour plus that everyone else was waiting.
  • Bluestockings 2The book event at Bluestockings.  It was terrible weather on Saturday night--cold and windy with a rainy snow falling.  Weather like that in Charleston makes the whole city shut down, but New Yorkers are a sturdy bunch, and despite the unpleasantness outside, a lot of people came out to Bluestockings to hear me read from Girl Zines, and to hear five zine creators read from their work.  I loved the whole event--and I especially loved getting to answer questions with Lauren Jade Martin, Vikki Law, Jenna Freedman, Sarah Dyer, and Ayun Halliday.  People in the audience would ask things like, How do zines negotiate between being public and private documents?  Or, how are zines different than blogs?, and several of us would weigh in.  As I'd answer, I'd be thinking of the lengthy conversations I had with each of these women three years ago when I came to New York for a research trip for the book, and I'd be tempted to quote them back to themselves.  They were all so insightful, in our original interviews and then again at Bluestockings.
  • Walking
  • The strollers.  This is something Biffle and I both commented on.  New York is, of course, a walking city, and so if you have a kid, you toss the kid in a backpack or stroller and you walk.  If it's miserably cold and snowy, you bundle the kid up, wrap the stroller in a plastic cover, and you walk.  Every day that we were there we walked long distances with Maybelle, and we saw loads and loads of other parents doing the same--hauling the stroller up and down the subway stairs, negotiating crosswalks and crowded stores.  In the burger and shake restaurant Christy and Joel took us to, they actually had a section up front for you to park your stroller, and it was overflowing.  What a great thing!  In Charleston it's easy to toss Maybelle in the car and drive someplace if we're feeling lazy, but I loved the no-car culture of Manhattan, and it was really easy to adjust to it, even with Maybelle.
  • SwingingUnion Square.  This may be my official favorite place in New York.  I spent a lot of time walking through there on my zine research trip three summers ago, and when Biffle and I came back to the city for Christy and Joel's wedding, we visited the farmer's market there--a farmer's market so impressive that New Yorkers could probably more easily buy all their food there than we can do at farmer's markets in Charleston.  There wasn't a farmer's market there the day we visited on this trip, but there was an expansive holiday market filled with all variety of funky crafts--so many cute baby t-shirts that it was only with significant effort that I restrained myself from spending $20 on an item of clothing that Maybelle will outgrow in three weeks.  And although it was super-cold, the excellent playground was jam-packed with happy kiddos in heavy coats.  It may also be worth mentioning that it was in Union Square, during our visit for Christy and Joel's wedding two and a half years ago, that Biffle and I decided that having a kid was a pretty good idea for us.  So it's a place that I value for lots of reasons.  If I ever get a bajillion dollars and move to New York, I'll get an apartment close to Union Square.


In which Alison certainly stretches the tolerance of Baxter Sez readers with yet another mention of Girl Zines

Justin Moyer, self-proclaimed "bad feminist" at the Washington City Paper gives a shout-out to Girl Zines.


The blog tour continues

A new review of the book is up over at Afrogeek Mom and Dad, this one with an academic slant. And the best title yet for a blog post about my book!


Kids with disabilities and the holidays

I've written my December post over at Girl with Pen--check it out.


Girl Zines continues to be of interest to bloggers who used to make zines

Another thoughtful review of Girl Zines, this one by Ciara over at if you don't have anything nice to say, come sit here by me.  Ciara rightly points out, as she did in the comment section of this blog, that the distro list in the book is wildly insufficient and doesn't highlight nearly enough distros created by girls and women.  I'm going to try to get a more complete and girl-centric list up on the book's website (still in production at NYU Press) and the book's Facebook site (I ought to be able to do this myself, once final exams are graded).

You should read Ciara's review just for her explanation of her love of toads in her teen years.  Very funny.  Toads = "more precious than kittens & unicorns! more adorable than a kitten/unicorn hybrid!"


The Ween Bean singing along

The singing ween bean from Alison, Walter, and Maybelle on Vimeo.

More Girl Zines news

Girl Zines was today's cover book for the Chronicle of Higher Education's weekly book list, and somebody named Jen Sabella over at the blog After Ellen wrote a nice review of the book, too (this one might be kind of old--I just found it).


Blog tour: Change Happens

Change Happens, the SAFER blog, has posted a review of Girl Zines today.  Sarah Martino engages with the book and with the larger significance of grrrl zines in thoughtful ways:  this is a review you can really sink your teeth into.  She offers particular reflections on the significance of zines for women who've experienced violence, since preventing violence against women is a major part of SAFER's mission.

Thanks, Sarah!

And one more shout-out for the book, this one not part of the official blog tour:  the Feminist Law Professors blog is spreading the word.  How exciting!


Our New York experience

This picture captures our New York experience:

Our New York experience!, originally uploaded by AlisonPiepmeier.

More later.


Christmas in New York

The best Christmas tree ever
We had our first day in New York today. Once we got there, Joel took us for lunch at an Uzbek restaurant in their neighborhood in Queens. Then we took the subway into Manhattan where Christy and Joel took us on a Christmas tour, which included a visit to FAO Schwartz (a store that everyone in Manhattan was trying to get into--a little overwhelmingly crowded) and to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza. It was a great Christmas tree--really beautiful, and crowds of people were there, smiling and taking pictures.

When we came back to their apartment, Christy made us sukiyaki for dinner--really delicious. Before we got here, Christy told me, "I am a great host. I am a servant to my guests," and so far, that seems to be true. For Joel's iPhone photos documenting today's events, go to our Flickr page.

Tomorrow is the book event at Bluestockings!


Big day for Girl Zines

In addition to Martin's review of Girl Zines, which I posted about this morning, I've gotten two more links today for reviews of the book. My former high school friend, now big-time journalist Tracy Moore, reviewed the book for the Nashville Scene, Nashville's alt-weekly. And the book has also been reviewed in Book Forum. So you Girl Zines fans have got a lot of reading ahead of you.

Also, if you're a fan of the book, please come over to the Facebook page that I created after my brother berated me for being uncool. I'm posting all the links to all the press about the book on that page.

And in other news, I went to a big state meeting today in which our proposal for a major in Women's and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston was approved! Enthusiastically! I'm thrilled beyond belief, not to mention relieved. It'll be in place by fall 2010, which was what we'd hoped. If you're looking for a place to major in Women's and Gender Studies, consider the College of Charleston.

And finally, Biffle, Maybelle, and I head to New York tomorrow morning for the first (and probably only) stop on my book tour: an event at Bluestockings on Saturday. I'll keep y'all posted.

Blog Tour: Martin

I am way behind the curve on this--sorry, Martin!--but the blog Martin has a review of Girl Zines up that you should have a look at.  I particularly enjoyed the narrative trajectory of this review, which takes us from Martin's "oh, shit!" feeling on receiving the book in the mail (it's an academic book, as it turns out) to a happy ending.

Thanks to another fabulous blogger for having a look at Girl Zines!