September 16, 2012

IS THIS THE REAL LIFE? IS THIS JUST FANTASY?

WELL HI.

We have a lot to catch up on. I guess I've put off writing this because there is SO MUCH.


It was always in the back of our minds that we* would do a yearly print edition of Rookie, and by the time May rolled around, we realized that we should probably get on that if we wanted to publish it in time for our September anniversary. After a call with Drawn & Quarterly (and years of admiring basically everything they publish), it was clear that they were the perfect publisher for this...book? magazine? of online content, edited by a minor. IT IS SO AMAZING THAT THEY BELIEVED IN US. I cannot think of better hands to have been in.

In early June, I spent the summer days I had at home living out the PG version of Dazed and Confused and working on the book. In late June, the Rookie Road Trip kicked off in New York. We went record shopping and banner-making in Philadelphia, got ice cream in Columbus, played arcade games in Ann Arbor, made zines and saw Girls Rock! Chicago in Chicago (and my WORLDS COLLIDED through a viewing of Superbad with my school friends and Rookie staffers), went vintage shopping in Iowa City, saw Moonrise Kingdom and crafted at Urban Outfitters in Omaha, raced go-karts in Boulder, made banners in a sculpture park in Salt Lake City, I was sick in Boise, made crowns in Seattle, got Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, got ice cream in Eureka, got ice cream in San Francisco, hung out at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, and created an installation in Los Angeles, where we held a week of events.

These diaries on Rookie and tidbits on the Rookie tumblr might begin to give you an idea of how amazing it all was.

I realized recently that most of my memories are of things that never happened -- I rarely get nostalgic for actual events, just for book illustrations or scenes from movies or fantasies or unmet expectations. This summer created the kind of moments that I always thought would've only existed in my memory as fantasies. But they were real life! And they were shared with people who really wanted to be there! It's all too much for me to wrap my brain around, frankly. Last summer was when I really started transforming my room into my own world, and it became the school year's setting for feeling really happy and really sad and everything in between. Last summer I also started working on Rookie, and it became the school year's setting for a bunch of us for dealing with feeling really happy and really sad and everything in between. The installation in LA, Strange Magic, was basically a mutant teenage bedroom/gigantic shrine, with photography from The Ardorous curated by Petra on the walls, and teen bedroom arrangements by both of us everywhere else. The whole thing -- creating it, dismantling it, and all the events -- was heinously and overwhelmingly emotional in a way only silly teenagers crave and thrive off of. I'd shipped a huge box of stuff from my own room to the space for us to use, and we asked girls who came to our meet-ups to bring souvenirs from their own sanctuaries as well, and it was such a perfect manifestation of everything that's shaped how I see things these past few years that I feel like there's nothing else I can do to honor them all. Like it's time for me to get really into sports and black clothes and never watch The Virgin Suicides again. We ended up shipping home FIVE BOXES of everything accumulated, and I think I just need to put it all in a time capsule. Then I will simply lie on a mattress on my floor with nothing on my walls but a Pulp Fiction poster as a reminder to just be Mia Wallace. Then my parents will suspect I have turned to drugs, and then I will probably once again go back to all that Strange Magic stuff eventually. You can see photos of the installation here, and photos of our last event -- a prom -- here.

Rookie Yearbook One is officially out, available on Rookie, Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at various independent book and zine stores. Because it's a more unique situation than if I had just written a book, this is how it worked: I send the moodboards/theme/musings about the theme to our contributors for every month of the website, Anaheed and I choose from our contributors' resulting pitches, Anaheed and Phoebe edit everything and I put together the photo albums, I sometimes have a couple notes on written pieces. For Yearbook, Anaheed and I narrowed down the pieces from the site that would go in, I gave initial direction and feedback on how every spread should look, every photo story edit, every title font, every border, every illustration placement, I scanned my doodles and fabrics and handwriting for decoration, etc. Sonja decorated most spreads with her beautiful collage and illustration, and Tracy from D&Q designed it. I knew we couldn't just transfer all this content you can get for free online in a simple, minimalist layout, plus I get too excited about the look of each monthly theme, so this book was obsessively art directed with lots of love. I don't think I've slept since Rookie started last September, and I couldn't be happier. Not sarcasm!

Then I went on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to talk about it, and to teach him how to bitchface (and got to wear a lovely dress by my pal Rachel Antonoff, which had me feelin' like I could lead a ladies lunch seminar on DRESSING FOR CONFIDENCE):


I am also on the August/September cover of one of my favorite magazines, Bust, which you can get here. Support them! They rule! Anaheed did the interview, and Laia styled the shoot, and I just think often about how grateful I am that my favorite people are also the people I work with.


I suppose that's it for now? Life is very strange and very funny and I am very, very, very lucky that I get to do something I love and that you pay even a smidgen of attention to it, so thank you, times a lot, times a bunch.

*We = me, my dad (our unofficial business advisor), managing editor Lauren, and editorial director Anaheed.