open spaces and closed places

There are wide open places,
small towns and closed in spaces.
hiking trails and mountain terrain,
forests, oceans, and the stinging rain.
there hotels and motels and late-night gas stations.
towns, states, and complete other nations.
there is here, there, and far away.
but i know as long as i hear twenty one pilots play,
(no matter where i roam),
i will always, always, feel very much at home.
—  //t.e

Stuff I received and bought from Nozmo’s/Saicoink’s TCAF table 241!! They’re both super cute and nice and they even signed and drew stuff on the books too! Even though most of the stuff was paid for, there were extra things that came with the purchases. 

I seriously love everything that I bought, but my most favourite thing has got to be the drawing Nozmo drew for me on the illustration board.. it really means a lot to me and in my opinion worth so much 

Debuting at TCAF 2017 - SO PRETTY / VERY ROTTEN by Jane Mai and An Nguyen

Published by Koyama Press

ISBN: 978-1-927668-43-6
5 x 7”, 300 pages, b&w, trade paper
May 2017

A short story and essay collection exploring the Japanese fashion subculture, Lolita, by two cartoonists who go beyond the clothes.

In a series of essays and comics that are at once academic and intimate, cartoonists Jane Mai and An Nguyen delve into Lolita subculture and their relationship with it. Empowering and beautiful, but also inescapably linked to consumerism, the Rococo-inspired fashion is indulgent and sublime, pretty and rotten.

AN NGUYEN is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Ottawa, ON best known for her romantic comic series Open Spaces and Closed Places. She has drawn comics for Spera: Ascension of the Starless, Electric Ant zine, and various Love Love Hill anthologies. In addition to So Pretty / Very Rotten, she and Jane Mai also released a zine titled Don’t Talk to Me or I’ll Set Myself on Fire.

JANE MAI is a freelance illustrator and comic artist from Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in several anthologies and self-published zines. Koyama Press published her first book, Sunday in the Park with Boys, which was followed by the zine Sorry I Can’t Come in on Monday I’m Really Really Sick, and See You Next Tuesday.

NOVALA TAKEMOTO is a Japanese author, fashion designer and prominent promoter of the Lolita lifestyle. Soleinuit (Kokushokankai), his first collection of essays, was published in 1998. He debuted as a novelist in 2000 with Missin’ (Shogakukan). He achieved wide recognition when his 2002 novel Shimotsuma Monogatari (Shogakukan) was adapted into the movie, Kamikaze Girls, in 2004. His most recent work is Rakkusei (Cyzo, Inc.).

“Expertly mixing comics and essays, An Nguyen and Jane Mai take us on an excursion into the fascinating culture of Lolita fashion. These beautifully realized stories, which range from humorous to haunting, involve young people looking for context and place, searching for a balance between materialism and identity within their chosen social reality. Nguyen’s and Mai’s work blends together seamlessly, each approaching the theme with their own unique vision and aesthetic. So Pretty / Very Rotten reveals universal experiences within a distinct and subversive style of self-expression.” — Jesse Jacobs, author of Safari Honeymoon and By This Shall You Know Him

song request by @2momsmakearight, who is also to blame for this (thanks for always being there to shoot ideas off of it and being patient). I’m a girl from the city who grew up on classic rock and hip/hop so I’m sensitive to country music and brad paisley, bear with me and extra feels tonight. 

Remind Me 

She hadn’t seen him this passionate about something in a very long time. She knew that coming back to The X-Files would be good for him, and good for her, but she hadn’t realized it’d be good for them. She wondered if there was still a ‘them’. Silly, she thought, there will always be a ‘them’, no matter what they said or where they went. She had walked out on him because he refused to help himself, take his meds, forget the past. She had walked out on him for him, but she had never walked out on them. Dana Scully could never walk away from Fox Mulder.

“Scully?” he said, staring at her from the other side of the desk

“Hmm? Oh uhh ya, sure Mulder. Hey, what are you doing tonight?” she said before realizing what had just come out of her mouth

Mulder was startled but intrigued, shifting in his seat and giving her a small smirk he replied, “I have a date with my couch and the Lakers game. You?”

“You wanna come over?” Scully said, again wondering how her tongue moved faster than her brain

Mulder was shocked for a second, “Uhh”

“For dinner. We earned it, after a long case” she added with a smile

“Ya…ya.. okay. Want me to bring anything?”

“No, just be there by 7” she said before walking out

Mulder sat there silently after she left, fear and anxiety had made themselves present in his chest. He hadn’t been to the house since she left. Funny, she walked out on him, but he’s the one who left their home. He was worried what all these reminders could bring.

He arrived at 7:00pm sharp, partially because he wanted to impress her with his new found appreciation of punctuality, and because he was too anxious to wait another second. Wine in hand, he rang the doorbell to his own house, legally at least.

Scully opened the door in a tight sweater and his favorite pair of jeans she owned. He swallowed and his palms became sweaty like a teenager on his first date.

“Hey Scully” he said in a pitch higher than his usual

“Hey” she said, frowning at the wine, his doctor had advised him to stay away from alcohol. Didn’t look like he was taking the advice.

She stepped back and let him in.

“You brought wine?” she said, taking it from him, letting her fingers linger on his for a moment longer than usual.

He cleared his throat, “I uhh, I just didn’t know what else to bring. We don’t have to drink it. You can just save it for another time”

Scully raised an eyebrow, challenging him, “Do you want to drink it?”

He wanted to take her challenge but he also wanted to keep this night free of anger and fighting and hurt.

“I uhh, whatever you want Scully, your home, your decision”

He didn’t mean it the way it sounded and Scully knew that but it hurt anyways.

“Still your home Mulder, I’m not the one that left” she said, putting the wine down and taking a seat on the couch

He walked over, remember all their nights on that couch, some innocent, some not. He decided against sitting down.

“Left? You had me out before I could put my shoes on” he said with a hint of anger and lots of resentment

She looked up at him with hurt in her eyes, “I gave you an option, more than one, and hundreds of chances. Take your meds, get a job, come home and sleep every night. That’s all I asked. Instead, you raced from state to state following every email that said a bright light in the sky was a UFO and refused to take your meds. You left long before I brought it up, Fox.”

At the use of his first name Mulder drew his shoulders back. This night wasn’t supposed to go like this, he had a speech planned, he had wine, he put on his good suit and showed up on time.

He took a seat next to her then, taking a deep breath and placing his closed hands in the open space between his knees.

“It was that bad?” he said in a soft tone

Scully lowered her head and let the hair fall over her face, “No” she whispered as tears fell down her face.

“Scully…” he sighed, taking her in his arms and holding her close.

“I wish I could be the person you wanted me to be. But we had our good times, we can still have those and be who we are.” he said against her hair.

She looked up at him with tear-soaked swollen lips and bright eyes and he felt his knees buckle, “Remind me.” she told him

He searched her eyes and couldn’t stop himself even if he wanted to, but he didn’t.  He kissed her slowly, letting his tongue roam over her lips and his fingers caress her face.

He moved back to shift her against the couch and leaned over her, “You know I still love you, right Scully? It’s not because I don’t love you.”

She nodded yes, even though she had her doubts about how he still felt about her, “Remind me.” she whispered again

He would go to the ends of the earth for her and tonight was no exception. He kissed her again, harder, waiting for her to invite him in and taste all that Dana Scully had reserved for no one other than him.

She moaned against him and he felt a burning in his stomach that made its way across his body and met the heat she returned. He let go of her mouth slowly, letting his own linger on her bottom lip before he moved towards her neck.

He gave her an open-mouthed kiss and was rewarded with her hands moving their way across his thighs, “Thats for that time we went to the Carribean and your skin couldn’t take the sun. Remember that Scully? How we spent most of the vacation in our hotel room?” She nodded slowly as she arched her neck for him and he continued his path.

She went to unbutton his pants and he stopped, shaking them off quickly. He helped her with her sweater, revealing a black lace bra he had picked out for her the last Valentines Day they spent together.

“Scullyyyyy” he said, his Adam’s apple bobbing and his eyes darkening.

“Remember? The way the sales girl looked at you when you told her to try it on because we were the same size?” she said

“She thought I was a perv but I just didn’t want to see you with it before that night.” he said, never tearing his hands from her hips or his eyes from hers.

“That was a good night.” He said with slight sadness

“Remind me” she repeated 

He obliged once more, intertwining his fingers with the lace of the fabric and placing a trail of kisses between them that burned her whole and tasted like home to him.

She felt his legs shake above her and he felt her skin start to sweat, reminding him of all that he missed on lonely nights on his couch.

He made his way to her navel, tracing his finger around it slowly. He lowered himself towards it and replaced his finger with his lips and let his tongue do the tracing.

“Fox..” she mumbled

“That is for the time we went to San Diego for Christmas and we had to be very quiet. Remember Scully? How your teeth dug into my neck so your family wouldn’t hear us?”

Scully nodded, her cheeks bright and hands sweaty as she ran her fingers through his hair and met him halfway, kissing him with enough breath to fill both their lungs, enough to make up for the nights they spent away from each other. She took off his shirt and ran her hands over his chest, “Working out?” she said with another raised eyebrow

“I have extra energy nowadays.” he replied with a hunger in his eyes

She leaned forward and kissed him again, moving her lips to his ear and then his jaw, until she reached his neck. “Well, lets see if we can remind your body where that energy is supposed to go.”

He felt a shiver run through his entire body at the voice she used. Her fingers painted his chest like fine brushes and he felt alive, a painting coming to life.

He could barely hold himself any longer, wanting to be a part of her and never leave her or this couch or this home or moment ever again. The devil had other plans for him.

A vibration came from the coffee table next to them, followed by a ringing phone.

She lifted her lips from his neck as they both looked towards it, their moment crushed.

He grabbed it and looked at the screen and wanted to grab her and never let her go when she started pulling away.

“Mulder” he answered, his eyes pleading with her to stay

Scully only heard half of the conversation, but she heard enough.

He shut the phone and brushed her hair from her face as he moved away from her, placing both feet on the ground and pulling his shirt on as he spoke, “I uhh, I’ve been waiting for this informant, I have to go” he said in shame and embarrassment

Scully nodded at his familiar words and put her clothes back on, “Ya” she choked out.

He left that night, kissing her goodbye and looking around the living room like a soldier who knew he would never return. She didn’t see him for another week, but every time she saw the wine in her kitchen, sat on her couch, or looked at the red marks on her body she was reminded that Fox Mulder was a part of her, the good and the bad. She spent 22 years of her life with this man, knowing from the start that he chased flimsy leads and left her on couches half-naked and empty. That night he reminded her of the Fox Mulder she knew before the depression absorbed him and before he chased the darkness faster than the darkness chased the dawn. For Fox Mulder, 22 years was enough to crush him.

“I tried” she whispered, “All you had to do was remind me. One night, and I would’ve chased the darkness with you again” she said to herself in a quiet kitchen with a full bottle of wine on the table and 3 empty seats around her.