When pregnant Monica moved in across the street from me, pregnant Zia, I saw a potential companion in a black neighborhood we were both gonna be blamed for gentrifying–artists who risked turbulence in exchange for cultural diversity and an affordable mortgage. When she brought me her book, Clown Girl, and I gave her 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia, it represented the new version of the old 1950’s home baked goods, a welcome to the neighborhood by trading gluten free art. Clown Girl made me laugh out loud. Thank god it was pre lol, because I had no intention of abbreviating my experience. Years later I’m honored to receive the neighbor/fellow artist copy of The Stud Book. I feel no pressure to reciprocate or critique. I’m just a privileged neighbor. This time I’m part of the landscape, the fabric this tale is woven with. The geography, the culture, the characters are even more familiar than before. Monica’s track record is good with me. She’s edgy, honest, absurd…She puts blood ‘n guts on a domestic plane. No zombies, no spies, nothing out of a fifteen block radius. As a vintage sci-fi enthusiast, I’m used to far out things happening far way. This time a lot of the fun was envisioning it all happen in my neighborhood with characters I could give real names to having problems me and mine have all had. Life in the Portland micro. I love it.
Photos from Zia’s Facebook page–because they’re amazing.