Activism Getting Shit Done

Maintenance supports change

Bookmarked The Year Ahead by Nora N. Khan (

What I’ve learned: their maintenance in crisis seems both a matter of “grit”, as much as a matter of great invention… Maintenance is the daily, unsexy work that’s needed for the radical to bloom. It is thinking-heavy work that doesn’t get labeled as intellectual. Maintenance allows for a practice of *thinking with,* and *thinking through,* to a way out… The work of maintenance is foundational to create new spaces to protect that rare idea, that tender practice, that thread of a thought that can so easily be lost.

Not sure how I feel about this argument but I’m intrigued.

Comics History

Read We Hereby Refuse

Read WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Warti…

Three voices. Three acts of defiance. One mass injustice.

The story of camp as you’ve never seen it before. Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II — but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

In this groundbreaking graphic novel, meet:

— JIM AKUTSU, the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, who refuses to be drafted from the camp at Minidoka when classified as a non-citizen, an enemy alien;

— HIROSHI KASHIWAGI, who resists government pressure to sign a loyalty oath at Tule Lake, but yields to family pressure to renounce his U.S. citizenship; and

— MITSUYE ENDO, a reluctant recruit to a lawsuit contesting her imprisonment, who refuses a chance to leave the camp at Topaz so that her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based upon painstaking research, We Hereby Refuse presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.

Overall this was an effective and moving history. It was interesting to trace the path of three different forms of resistance. This expands on what I learned in Takei’s They Called Us Enemy.

Jim Akutsu’s story was the most fleshed out, followed by Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s. His could have used a bit more clarity, and I would have liked more on Mitsuye Endo.

Two artists use significantly different art styles to illustrate the stories. Though the art in Kashiwagi’s segment looked rough and sketchy, I did like it for the tone. I’m not sure it was complementary to the more traditional art style for the other two segments. Perhaps a third art style might have pulled the distinctive styles together better?

Reflection Writing

NaNoWriMo 2022 Day 3

Four hours of writing two days in a row, and I’m feeling it today! I slogged through a rough 650 word session early this afternoon, and kept putting off doing a second session through the afternoon and early evening. Finally I got back on after dinner and hammered through another thousand words, which felt much easier. I’m calling it good with only two and a quarter hours today — I met minimum word count, even if not 70k word count 😉

You know how they say don’t start running by running a 5k every day? NaNo is that for writing.* But at least you’re doing it alongside thousands of others 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️

I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again,** but breaking my brain back into intense daily writing is absolutely training. Writing is a heavy brain-draw, and even with building up my work endurance during Preptober, I have to adjust to go from writing nothing to writing two thousand words a day. It’s a balance of listening to my body and recognizing when I need rest and when it’s just resistance. Today was a little of both. (And I’m sure it didn’t help that I slept kinda crappy last night. NaNo is an important time to take care of your body!)


* There are some things about NaNo that I think are great for new writers, but I also sometimes worry that it’s harmful to people who it doesn’t work for. I don’t want people to feel bad and quit writing if the binge approach isn’t for them. (There’s probably something toxic “suffering for your art” mentality in this style of just do it.) There would be something to be said for stretching it out over a longer time period and starting with writing a sentence, then a paragraph, then a page, and working up to 2k words a day. Frankly, that would be a much healthier approach to building a healthy writing habit than NaNo, which is something that I (and many of my writing friends) have struggled with over the years. Hmmm…. Page Zero to 2k 🤔 I think this is actually a good idea…. that I really don’t have time for 😂

** Depending how this month goes, in the future I may be trying to work more intensive writing into my life throughout the year, rather than during one annual marathon.

Comics Fantasy History

Read New World

Read New World

The discovery of the Americas forever changed the landscape of the world as cultures collided with violent consequences. New World weaves the stories of three characters from unique backgrounds—a Native Indian seeking revenge against those who invaded her land, an African musician fighting for freedom against those who enslaved him, and a Portuguese sailor in search of redemption. These three unlikely heroes, connected by fate, will work together to free the New World from the darkness of the old.

Simple but expressive artwork, with vivid color used effectively. Iracema is a great lead character for the story. Some metaphors I get (monsters as disease), there might be more I’m missing or maybe those elements are just magical realism.

Stunning cover.

Activism Future Building

Rest is resistance

Liked (

Please remember that fascism is relentless by design.

It is not an accident that the bad news is relentless.

They want you to burn out. They want you so tired and sad you never show up to protest them.

Rest is resistance.

Don’t let exhaustion do you in.

Activism Comics History

Read On Tyranny – Graphic Edition

Read On Tyranny: Graphic Edition

A graphic edition of historian Timothy Snyder’s bestselling book of lessons for surviving and resisting America’s arc toward authoritarianism, featuring the visual storytelling talents of renowned illustrator Nora Krug.

Timothy Snyder’s New York Times bestseller On Tyranny uses the darkest moments in twentieth-century history, from Nazism to Communism, to teach twenty lessons on resisting modern-day authoritarianism. Among the twenty include a warning to be aware of how symbols used today could affect tomorrow; an urgent reminder to research everything for yourself and to the fullest extent; a point to use personalized and individualized speech rather than cliched phrases for the sake of mass appeal; and more.

In this graphic edition, Nora Krug draws from her highly inventive art style in Belonging–at once a graphic memoir, collage-style scrapbook, historical narrative, and trove of memories–to breathe new life, color, and power into Snyder’s riveting historical references, turning a quick-read pocket guide of lessons into a visually striking rumination. In a time of great uncertainty and instability, this edition of On Tyranny emphasizes the importance of being active, conscious, and deliberate participants in resistance.

Chapter one title page from On Tyranny, with an illustration and a few explanatory sentences that regular people tend to give authoritarians what they want without even needing to be asked
Do not obey in advance.

Continuing my education in resistance, I picked up the graphic edition of On Tyranny. I’m not sure how much has changed from the prose edition, but this acknowledges the pandemic and has a lot to say about the previous president and his tactics. We are deeper down the path of totalitarianism than any American who thinks democracy is a foundational value wants to believe. History has shown the final tipping point can happen extremely quickly.

On a meta level, this is the format I want philosophical works: short and graphic. Another graphic non-fiction work I particularly enjoyed this year was Seek You. Using a graphic format forces the author to pare down to the most essential information, and find the simplest, briefest way to explain their point. Well-chosen photographs and graphics illuminate the message, adding emotion, visual evidence, and tangible memory markers for me to tie new ideas to. I’d say mixed success in the design and illustration of this particular work — some readability challenges in the placement of words.

page from graphic version of On Tyranny showing a collage piece of a 'storm trooper' style fighter, face composed of folded paper and black body adorned with skeletal remains of dead clover
For violence to transform not just the atmosphere but also the system, the emotions of rallies and the ideology of exclusion have to incorporated into the training of armed guards. These first challenge the police and military, then penetrate the police and military, and finally transform the police and military.
Comics Science Fiction

Read Shattered Warrior

Read Shattered Warrior

It’s been eight years since Colleen Cavenaugh’s home world was conquered by the Derichets. These aliens are bent on harvesting the planet…

Interesting world, both visually and in design, and a fitting story to match. I like that several segments are told without dialogue. Nice to have a complete story, in a new world, in one book — I’d have liked a little bit more development for the romance but also thought it worked as it is.

The cover looks cool but I don’t think quite matches the story, which uses much earthier colors, and is set in a place that’s reminiscent of beautiful old European cities, with interesting skylines and hints of art nouveau in the metro and type.