we went to portland

i keep forgetting to mention that i made more copies of “ella funt” #1. i am all sold out of the version with the cloth covers, but i made color photocopies of the cloth covers for these paper versions. & obviously the writing is all the same.


these are cheaper too: $3 each, or $1.50 each for wholesale (distros, stores, etc). i accept paypal at learningtoleaveapapertrail@hotmail.com or cash/check made out to ciara xyerra, 307 e. 8th st., lawrence KS 66044.

i busted my hump putting these zines together before jared, ramona, & i left for portland a few weeks ago. i thought i was going to go to the portland zine symposium & maybe do some trading, possibly sell a few copies to local stores or something. & i did manage to pack a stack & even remember to bring them along when we went to the symposium. but the whole scene was so noisy, crowded, & overwhelming, i forgot all about them until i got to nicole georges’s table & she was like, “didn’t you make a new zine? i want to buy one!” so i sold a copy to her & then we left.

it was kind of nice to be able to put in such a brief appearance. it was a lot less stressful than years past when i would table with the distro & felt all this pressure to man my table the whole time & be available for questions & bend over backwards trying to keep my inventory organized & well-stocked. sometimes i didn’t even get a chance to walk around the room because i was too busy at my table. when i did get to walk around, i felt obliged to examine every table carefully for possible new titles to add to the distro.

it’s a little bit of a bummer that now i don’t have much reason to examine unfamiliar tables. sometimes you can turn up some real gems that way. but it’s also a relief to be able to just blow through, say hello to the handful of people i know, pick up the few zines i know i want to read, & get the hell out to enjoy the rest of my day elsewhere. we only stayed at the symposium for about an hour, & then we left & walked from the steel bridge to the hawthorne bridge & back. & then we got milkshakes. & then we went back to our airbnb & just sat around doing nothing until dinnertime. it was nice.

but it was also cool to see zine people. even though i feel so out of the zine loop now, “ella funt” did enable me to make a new zine friend, & i got to hang out with her after the symposium. even though we have only really known each other for a couple of months, it all felt very comfortable & familiar right away–which is especially awesome given that sometimes with zine people, you hit it off through correspondence but the spark isn’t there in person.

we chatted about zine people we know in common & she wound up bringing up one zine person in specific with whom i don’t particularly get along. she said that she felt this zine person has been “single white female”-ing me for a few years now–like, kind of trying to assume my mantle in the zine world (or what this person assumes to be my mantle; i am not so presumptuous as to think i particularly have/had one). i had felt the same way but never talked to anyone about it because i thought it all sounded so conceited & crazy. i mean, i’m 34 years old. it feels ridiculous to think, even in passing, “hey, that person is copying me!” but this other person brought it up, without even knowing me until recently, & without really knowing the other person all that well, & it was SO GRATIFYING. so i’m not crazy after all! other people (well, one person, anyway) see it too! i’ve been flying high on it for a couple of weeks now. it’s something that had been bothering me for years, so it was nice to have a little support for my feelings.

there have been times when i have really questioned my ability to judge character, just because i’ve gotten myself into a few messes where i had to end friendships with people that turned really vicious on me. i was like, “whoa, how did i not see this until now? how did i allow myself to become so enmeshed with this person who is so horrible? what’s wrong with me?” but i guess i’ve also had quite a few experiences of holding someone at an arm’s length, & people questioning me for that & treating me like i’m being unreasonable, only to be proven correct in the end. i mean, it totally sucks when someone proves to be just as much of an asshole as you think they are (or more, in some cases). but it’s gratifying to be right.

i haven’t really written much about the portland trip. it was great in some ways–amazing weather, & portland is even prettier than i remembered. we did some fun family things, like going to the playground in grant park on sunday morning & having chocolate croissants, & taking ramona to see the rose garden in washington park. but it was also stressful. i lost a crucial piece of my breast pump, like, as soon as we arrived, & while i could still pump, it took three times longer. thankfully, we were renting our airbnb from a family with a child a year older than ramona, & the mom still had breast pump pieces from when she’d been pumping, so she was able to replace the parts i needed. but it sucked there for a while. plus, since i used to live in portland, jared relied on me a lot to navigate us around town, but we were going to a lot of places i’d never been to before (deep southeast, washington park, practically anywhere in northeast, etc). & we were in a car, & obviously i was all bikes/buses when i lived in portland. i kept forgetting that jared didn’t know where he was going, & he also kept expecting me to just make all the decisions about where we should eat & what we should do for fun, even though portland is a completely different town than it was 14 years ago. by the end of our vacation, i was pretty exhausted by the whole thing.

i’m still kind of recovering from our vacation. i haven’t been able to get my shit together all month. i’ve been so tired & out of it, hungry & hot all the time, that i actually thought i was pregnant again! (i’m not.) it doesn’t help that ramona is at a somewhat difficult stage developmentally. she needs constant supervision. she’s not crawling yet, but she can scoot, & she can scoot her way into some dangerous situations. right now she’s napping, but she woke up briefly while i was on the phone (still trying to get reimbursed for all my medical expenses related to giving birth…she’ll be nine months old on friday) & managed to roll all the way out of her crib & halfway across the bed before falling back to sleep. & jared started school again today, & he’s teaching this year…so there’s a lot going on.


ramona & the ramona quimby statue in grant park in portland.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

3 thoughts on “we went to portland

  1. Of course I want to know who has been single white female-ing you. Despite the fact that I’m sure I don’t know to whom you are referring.

    1. you are familiar with the name, at the very least. in passing, anyway. but obviously i’m not going to go into details here. i wouldn’t be at all surprised if this person reads my blog, so that’s all i will say.

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