Friday, September 30, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Poem #12


sometimes I think
about the movies we
were all obsessed with
when I was in college

pulp fiction
natural born killers
which I saw with a boy

on what would turn out to be one of the only random dates with a random person
I would ever go on in my young life though of course being me I didn’t quite realize
that it was a date at the time but regardless when he got us to the movie twenty
five minutes late that categorically guaranteed we would never hang out again

guy ritchie robert rodriguez
naturally tarantino even our
cohen brothers were the extra
violent cohen bothers of fargo

what was with us?
what was our deal?
where the heck were
we coming from man?

I don’t presume to know but
even now you can get a smile
out of any forty-year-old if you
just mention Royale with Cheese

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


I've gotten very into reading comics lately. I've always read graphic novels, and still do, but recently a few things happened: I've gotten into the Saga and Ms Marvel trade books (bind-ups of multiple comics issues that you can buy in a regular bookstore); a ten-year-old friend lent us a stack of comics he was done with (see directly below); and we had a little book club at work to read the first four issues of Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther. As well, two of my favorite graphic novelists / memoirists, Lucy Knisley and Raina Telgemeier, have new books out, and other juicy treats keep presenting themselves as well. All of which has lead me to read a lot of this stuff in recent months and I must say I'm enjoying it wholeheartedly. I make no admissions but it's possible I might have more on order. Next stop, I suppose, is a propper comic book shop, but I still feel a little shy about that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Big Book Sale

Every year for a great many years one of my favorite days of the year has been the SF Public Library's BIG BOOK SALE. Held at Fort Mason and full of thousands upon thousands of books costing no more than three bucks apiece, it is pretty much our idea of pure heaven. This year we bought 45 books for 96 dollars (you can see them all stacked up in our home in the bottom photo). Nicely done, us.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stumbling Upon Stella

New buildings in San Francisco are required to have a certain amount of public open space. They are also, I have heard, required to spend a certain amount on publicly-visible art. The latest great big corporate building in my work neighborhood has an enormous public atrium with tables and chairs and a cafe. Though I've walked past it many times I only went in for the first time yesterday. And that's when I realized the three very-large-scale artworks hanging in this space are in fact real live bona fide Frank Stella pieces. One of them, just above, not dissimilar to the ones I fell in love with a the big Whitney show last fall (that show, by the way is coming to the de Young this November and I highly recommend it to the Bay Area folks among you) (oh, also, they also have several of these Stella wall constructions in their own room in the new wing at SFMOMA which are well worth a look). Wonders abound.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poem #11


how we used to sometimes
climb the path to Indian Rock

no street associated with this path
a narrow sidewalk cutting straight

through the middle of three blocks
backyards and fences facing onto it

branches overhanging and shrubs and
flowers and weeds all along the sides

running between the Alameda and the
Arlington two parallel north-south streets

in the Berkley hills that both start
with the letter A and the word The

image source is here

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Publishing 101

I had the honor of writing a post over on the Chronicle Books blog explaining the publishing process of how a book gets made from start to finish. I like how it came out so much that I thought I'd just reproduce the whole thing here for your enjoyment. Here goes:

When you work in publishing all day long, you come to think of the process of making books as being this natural and organic thing that everyone understands just as intuitively as you do. But alas, many of the processes of book publishing are not familiar to the general public, or are cloaked in industry jargon, or both. Let’s demystify some of this stuff, shall we?

This is a general overview of some of the most usual publishing practices that we use around here—of course, there are always exceptions and other possible scenarios that come in to play from time to time, and other publishers may do things differently. But here are the basics of how it works here at Chronicle Books, in a dozen simple steps.

Step 1: Book Proposal

To kick things off, you send in a book proposal. Publishers have submissions guidelines telling you what to include in your proposal and how to send it. Chronicle’s submission guidelines live here. (And a handy post I wrote about how to propose an art book lives here.)

Step 2: Initial Conversations and Approval

First, there are some initial conversations between you (or your agent) and your would-be editor. If the editor likes your proposal and wants to publish it, he or she takes it to an acquisitions board meeting for official green-lighting.

Step 3: Offer

The editor is now empowered to make you an offer. This is a formal letter outlining the materials you will deliver, due dates for those deliverables, how much the publisher is offering to pay you, and other details.

The financial piece of a standard publishing offer takes the form of an advance against royalties. An advance is a sum you are paid upfront to help offset your costs of working on your book. Royalties are the percentage of the sale of each copy of the book that you earn. Down the road, when your book starts selling, the royalties on each copy go towards earning out the advance you were already paid. When enough royalties have accrued to zero out the advance, you start getting royalty checks. But even if your book never sells enough copies to earn out your advance, the advance is still yours to keep—you do not have to pay the balance back to the publisher.

Step 4: Contract

You (or your agent) negotiate a deal with your editor. Once you’ve reached an agreement you both are happy with, you virtually shake hands and you have a book deal. A contract follows several weeks later. Since the contract contains a good deal more detail (and a lot more legalese) than the offer letter did, there may now be some new points for negotiation. Once that’s done, the contract is signed and everything is official.

Step 5: Writing/Art Making

You go write a book. Or, in the case of many of my authors since I work on art books—you go make the art for a book.

Step 6: Final Draft

Your deadline rolls around and you turn in your final art and manuscript to your editor. Art takes the form of high-res reproduction-quality digital art files. A manuscript is your clean final draft of the text for your book in a Word document.

Step 7: Editing

Your editor edits your delivery. For text this means marking up your manuscript with questions and suggested changes, most likely using the track changes feature in Word. For art this can mean discussing the matters of the image edit and image sequence. Once the editor has done his or her big-picture edit, the manuscript will also go to a copyeditor to catch the smaller stuff (spelling, grammar, typos, etc.).

Step 8: Galleys

The final clean manuscript and art go to the design department to lay out the book. You, your editor, and a proofreader all review galleys. Galleys are the book all designed and laid-out, viewed either on-screen as a PDF or as paper print-outs. This is the time we all make sure no mistakes have slipped though, and that everything is making sense on the page.

Step 9: Proofs

Once we’ve gone through several rounds of galleys to make sure everything is just as it should be, we send the book files to the printer and they output color-accurate proofs. Our production department reviews the proofs in a light booth to make sure the color looks great. With my authors who are artists, I send proofs with them as well to confirm color accuracy.

Step 10: Advances

The book is printed and bound at the printer. Your book is finished! We receive advances. Advances (not to be confused with an advance) are a small number of copies of the book that are air-freighted from the printer to the publisher so that we can see the finished book as soon as possible—we send a couple of copies to you the author, and our publicity department uses advances to pitch the book to long-lead media (aka glossy magazines that determine their content 4-6 months in advance).

Step 11: Marketing and Publicity

Our publicity department and marketing department coordinate with you to make plans for the book’s release and promotion. Just like the publication process outlined above is a collaboration between author and publisher, so too is the execution of the book’s marketing and publicity plan. We reach out to the media, you reach out to your fans and followers, we work together to coordinate promotional activities specific to your project.

Step 12: You’re a Published Author

The book comes out. The world is astounded by your brightness.

PS—A word about timelines: all of the above typically takes about 1-2 years total. This sounds like a long time until you get down in it, and then the time flies by like the wind.

Photograph by Irene Kim Shepherd

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Continuing the fashion-by-color theme (here are pink, pink, yellow, and gold) today let's look at bright cobalt blue, shall we? (Ok, so strictly speaking the blue in the above photo is more cerulean than cobalt but I love this image of Helsinki street style way too much not to include it).

Above: photo by Liisa Jokinen and/or Sampo Karjalainen of Hel Looks

Photo by Vanessa Jackman

Roksanda Ilincic

Photo by Tommy Ton

Photo by Soren Jepsen of The Locals

Claire Pignot

Photo by Anastasiia Sapon


Tsumori Chisato

Brittany Watson Jepsen in Honey of California

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lite Brite

When someone gives you a lite brite and you get to play with it with your grandma, life is pretty good.

Friday, September 16, 2016

SFMOMA Post 1 of Many

I have probably been to the new SFMOMA 20 or 30 times since it opened in May (and that's with being out of town for the whole month of June). I adore it. Are there problems with it? Yes. One very big one: women artists are massively underrepresented, and one small one: the cafes aren't very good. But nevertheless it is a gorgeous enormous building chock-full of amazing art well worth ogling for hours on end. I have taken hundreds of photos there and, as a result, have been utterly daunted at the thought of trying to craft a blog post about it--I kept picturing one enormous post, the post to end all posts, showing everything I have ever noticed or loved in the whole darn place. But, well, that's insane. Instead I offer you the first post of what I now realize will be a series of a great many SFMOMA posts. Some of my favorite things are in here, but also just some random things that caught my eye. There will be much more on subsequent Art Fridays. For now, there is this.

Above, Bill and Mabel admire an Yves Klein

Richard Serra (you can walk this enormous sculpture like a labyrinth, and it's free of charge)

My dear old friend this Rothko

Travis Collinson

Ursula von Rydingsvard

Lee Krasner

Agnes Martin (detail)

Ruth Asawa

Richard Diebenkorn

John Harding

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Poem #10

June 2015

one summer evening warm but not too warm
when we were on martha’s vineyard we drove
to the small town nearest our vacation cottage
all the towns there were small but this one was minuscule

really just a crossroads with a school a store a tavern (dry)
a community center an improbable chocolate shop
and a church where on tuesday nights the ladies
with their broad shoulders in loose tee shirts and

their gray curls under baseball caps sold lobster roll supers
for a modest price you got lobster on a hotdog bun
a bag of chips a cookie and a paper cup of lemonade
I was afraid you’d have to sit there and eat it that

they’d want to talk to you and maybe even want
to prosthelytize but no they gave you your food in
a plastic carrier bag with handles smiled goodbye
happy to see the back of you and the front of the next one

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


It's here! It's here! The moment I wait for with great anticipation twice a year--when all my advances are in and I get to show you all my books and things for the upcoming season, in this case Fall 2016.  Hooray! As always it is my great delight and honor to have gotten to work with so very many wonderful and talented authors and artists. Here's what we have:

The Art of Beatrix Potter text by Emily Zach, essays by Steven Heller, Linda Lear, and Eleanor Taylor

Wild Babies by Traer Scott

Ladies Drawing Night by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachel Cole

Two of a Kind by Sandrine Kerfante

Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa

Ceramics by Kate Singleton

Creative Writing: A Journal With Art to Kickstart Your Writing by Eva Glettner

Marimekko Large Notebook Set

Marimekko Birthday Book

Marimekko Notepad Set

Helen Frankenthaler Notecards

Pantone 10 Notebooks Set

Pantone Garlands

642 Things To Color

642 Things To Draw Colored Pencils

642 Big Things to Draw

642 Things To Draw Postcards

Art Before Breakfast: The Workbook

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


In addition to pink and pink and yellow I also have a gold board. There are many more gold-toned things on it than only fashion, but let's just enjoy some gold-toned apparel today, shall we?

Above: from Glamour magazine

Victoria Swing


Jenna Lyons in gold J Crew pants

Jeffry Campbell men's oxfords

Children of the Tribe

To Be Adored

Monday, September 12, 2016

Brunch Pals

As this, nevertheless adorable, photo attests, Mabel has never really learned how to smile for the camera. Apparently this is a skill other parents teach their children somewhere along the way--all the other kids her age (and even much younger) seem to know it. But to get a photo of her smiling I have always just made her laugh or smile about something else, or waited until she was laughing or smiling about something else, and then snapped away.