2021.08.12

I decided early this time around that I’d boycott Tokyo 2020. I was already growing weary of what the games have become. (I hold no illusion that they were unsullied when I started watching them, but that was Barcelona 1992, and I was 10.) Having lived through Vancouver 2010, and the aftermath, I know even better what havoc the Olympics can leave behind.

But the idea of the games; I’ll probably never let it go.

When I woke up to the news that Canada’s soccer team had won gold, I discovered the Olympics can still make me cry, even when I’m not paying attention. I remember the injustice of London 2012. I was there for the World Cup in 2015. They lost that game, but it’s often the losses that get me writing more than the victories.

I wrote #CanadaRED after the team was knocked out of the World Cup, but it’s not an elegy. It’s about the best thing in sports: the way it brings us together. Even though I believe too many sacrifices were made for the Olympics this year, the power of sport won’t be denied.

You can read the essay on my blog or download the zine.

I made that zine during my Sunday Zine project: 52 zines in 52 weeks. But this month, I’m thinking about August 2018, when I was getting ready to go to XOXO for the first time and feeling like I had nothing for show and tell. I’d done a few game jams, but mostly, I’d been coasting. So I set myself a challenge: a zine a day for a month.

I was teaching a 7-year-old student who had fallen in love with zines after I showed her how to make them (I folded them; she drew them). So I had a head start with a handful of books I had made from the 7-year-old’s prompts (space, flowers, family).

And I’d been wanting to make some more games, too, so I left the parameters broad: a paper-adjacent ~thing once a day, and I was posting on Itch. It’s primarily a video games platform, but there are analogue games and zines, too. Games are just a different type of zine.

By the end of the month, my zines had become broadsheets, designed in Apple Pages, most of them on my phone (an iPhone 5 screen!), but I did it. I made a ~thing every day in August.

Did you miss NaNoWriMo last year? I host the write-ins at my local library, and without that motivation, I didn’t feel much like writing. But what if we do something this year? Those of us on this list, and whatever friends want to come along. What if we all tried to make a ~thing every day in November, and we gathered together to cheer each other on? (Maybe in Discord?)

Thank you so much to everyone who replied to my last letter with great ideas. (If you missed it, you can still click this link and take the one-question survey.) You might’ve noticed I’m back on Twitter @JessMakesZines. Right now, this is still the best place to keep in touch with me, but I know that if I want to keep in touch with you, I need to spread out a little more.

My friend, Annie, has set herself a goal to have 1,000 subscribers by the end of the year. She writes, she sings, she plays guitar, and if you click this link, you get to see her uh-mazing Moira Rose costume. I think you’ll like her letters.

Who else are you reading right now? I had to unsubscribe from most of my pandemic newsletter follows, so I have a little space to fill on my list. Tell me about the best thing you’ve read this week.

PS. the best thing I ate this week was whole wheat spaghetti and a pesto I made because of a vacation. At the beginning of the month, I booked a spontaneous 4 nights in a downtown hotel, my first real trip away since 2019. But I knew the spring mix in my fridge wouldn’t last, especially with the expected heat. So I stuck it in the freezer, planning to make pesto when I returned. I had also recently cleaned out my freezer and found another jar of roasted onions and garlic which I had frozen in ice cube trays. So, spring mix (spinach and arugula and probably something I’m forgetting) plus onion and garlic plus the nuts and seeds from my oatmeal trail mix (minus the raisins) plus oil, salt, and pepper, of course, mixed up with an immersion blender. Boil some pasta, save a little water, add a bit of butter (I use Earth Balance) and the pesto. Stir until coated. Sometimes I remember to add frozen peas, too, and then I feel invincible.