pioneer press

Maybe that’s why people want to go to heaven so bad—all your friends and family (present, past, and beyond) there and accounted for. I know a few things but I don’t know about heaven. What I know is this: Life is short and lonely and mean but there are good things that make it worth living. The idea is to grab those things when they show up and hold onto them as long as you can. Of course you can’t hold them forever, but what can you hold? Nothing. Life is water through wet cloth. It’s all trees and sky passing by a car window, and you can never own any of it, no matter how hard you try and no matter how much you want it. The key is to make your peace with that and have as much fun as you can without hurting anyone. There’s no meaning of life but there is meaning and life, and it’s there waiting for you. All you need is to open your eyes wide enough to see it when it comes along.
—  Adam Gnade
Temerarious

Adjective

[tem-uh-rair-ee-uh s] 

1. reckless; rash.

Origin:
Temerarious comes from Latin temerarius, “rash,” from temere, “rashly, heedlessly.”

“So, on a pleasant weekend in March, one crew member and three fellow hardy fools – a truly temerarious team – set off across the ice.”
Rare Look Inside Caves; St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota); Apr 27, 2008.

okay I’m sorry if this has already been posted but now that Half Life 2: Episode 3′s summary has been released (look it up–I can’t link to it or this post won’t show up in the tags, thanks Tumblr), WE NOW HAVE A MORE PRECISE LOCATION FOR APERTURE!!!

Okay, so, we have the Borealis’s drydock here:

[screenshot of the Borealis’s dry dock in Old Aperture in Portal 2, courtesy of the Half-Life Wiki]

We also know that Aperture is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (or UP):

[image of a newspaper clipping found in Old Aperture, reading “THE UP PIONEER PRESS: LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR BUYS SALT MINE – Cave Johnson to Bring Science, Industry to Upper Michigan,” courtesy of the Half-Life wiki]

(Upper Michigan always refers to the Upper Peninsula)

But… the UP is a big place, and there’s no known salt mines up there (personal headcanon: the salt mine was wiped off the map when Cave Johnson bought it). So where is Aperture?

We never knew… until now.

[screenshot from the official summary of Half Life 2: Episode 3, emphasizing “a dry-docked liner situated at the Aperture Science Research Base in Lake Huron,” courtesy of the valvetime forums]

The summary states that the Borealis was originally in a dry dock in Aperture’s research base in Lake Huron. Now, this could imply there was a separate research base, except…

[screenshot from the official summary of Half Life 2: Episode 3, emphasizing “the ship … would then travel instantaneously to any chosen destination … Unfortunately, the device had never been tested,” courtesy of the valvetime forums]

The Borealis’s transportation mechanism had never before been tested. Meaning that, yes, the aforementioned dry dock is indeed the one we see in Portal 2. Which means…

[map showing Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas, with the southeast coast of the UP circled, courtesy of Google Maps]

Aperture is somewhere along the southeast coast of the UP.

Now the question is… anyone know if there’s a wheat field around there?

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A Wood-Engraved Feathursday

This week we present some of the avian illustrations from the soon-to-be-cataloged Jerry Buff donation Fables of the Late Mr. John Gay, printed in 1970 by the Stinehour Press in Lunenberg, Vermont, for members of the Imprint Society, with 66 original wood engravings by Gillian Tyler in an edition of 1950 copies. Roderick Stinehour designed the book, using Romulus Monotype Bembo and Caslon types printed under his supervision on watermarked Imprint Wove paper specifically manufactured for this edition by Monadnock Paper Mills in Bennington, New Hampshire. The edition was bound by the Russell-Rutter Company of New York.

Gillian Lewis Tyler is a wood engraver and painter based in Thetford, Vermont. A graduate of Smith College, these wood engravings reveal the Pioneer Valley school influence, and the aesthetic values of her teacher and mentor Leonard Baskin. Our copy of Fables is signed by the artist.

View more Feathursday posts.

View more posts on the work of the so-called Pioneer Valley School.

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GUEST POST: Jessie Lynn McMains on “She”

When Dookie hit the airwaves and my twelve-year-old ears, it was everything I’d ever wanted. It was everything I’d needed without knowing I needed it. I was a tortured tween-ager, a nerd grrrl, a late bloomer in some ways and in other ways growing up too fast. That was the year I realized I wasn’t straight, the year I first battled depression, and the year a group of boys began to dog my steps. They hissed insults at me when the teachers couldn’t hear: geekfreakslutdykeprudewannabenerd. But I heard Dookie and I felt like Green Day got it. I felt like, well, I felt like that album was for me. It didn’t matter that everyone loved that album, it belonged to me—and to all the other freaky slutty geeky kids, the other misunderstood outcasts. It became a talisman, a shield. I carried my Walkman with me everywhere, and my cassette tape copy of Dookie was almost always inside it. I listened to it as I walked the halls between classes (if I turned the volume up loud enough I couldn’t hear what those boys were saying). I listened to it on the bus trip home from school, while riding my bike down to the lake, while sitting on my garage roof and scribbling in my journal. That album said everything. All the songs said everything, but most especially, I’m talking about “She.”

It starts out with a bouncy bass line (to me, Mike Dirnt’s bass work has always been one of the best things about Green Day), drums, Billie’s voice. Then the guitar comes chugging in and it makes you wanna fucking pogo. As for the lyrics…the lyrics are what take it from a hop-up-and-down jam to a fucking anthem. They include two of my favorite traits about Green Day’s songwriting—their capacity to write about girls in nuanced, interesting, non-objectifying ways, and their ability to describe mental illness so succinctly you feel like they read your diary. When I first heard the line She screams in silence / a sullen riot penetrating through her mind, it was like oh, oof, that’s it. I was always screaming inside but no one heard me, and a sullen riot was exactly what my burgeoning mental illness felt like. Not to mention Are you locked up in a world that’s been planned out for you? Yes, and yes, and yes—I didn’t wanna be like everybody else, I knew I wasn’t like everybody else, but the world was still trying to mold me into who it thought I should be.

“She” came back to me again at nineteen. Not that it had ever really gone away, but at nineteen I needed it again like I had at twelve. At eighteen, I’d left home to attend a Prestigious University. I ended up having a Breakdown which involved never going to class and instead drinking/drugging and wandering the streets of Chicago alone at night. After that, I returned to my parents’ house in Wisconsin, to stay until I moved back to Chicago in the fall. There I was, nineteen years old. Summertime, my last teenage summer, and I had no idea what to do. About anything. That was the summer I first rapid-cycled between mania and depression, the summer I dated three people at once, the summer I never slept. I was always driving to different towns to visit my paramours and friends, or just to sit at diners and coffeeshops writing writing writing. I’d go to sleep at three a.m. only to get up at seven so I could be at work by nine. One of the only things that eased my mood swings was riding my bike, so I did that a lot, too. On one of those bike rides I listened to Dookie for the first time in a while, and there “She” was. Are you locked up in a world that’s been planned out for you? Oh, fuck. See, my parents were still disappointed in me for leaving the PU. I was going to be starting art school in the fall and they saw that as a step down, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go to college at all right then. I was fucking crazy and my parents did not understand/accept that. Then there were my boys and my girl—they all knew about each other, but they weren’t all gung-ho about the arrangement, and I knew that most people outside the situation thought it was weird. And I was getting heavy into anarchism, activism, wheatpaste and graffiti and dumpster diving and Fucking Shit Up (real good). I had all these doubts about myself and my desires, was torn between staying true to my identity and what I wanted from life and being the Good Girl the world wanted me to be.

And one beautiful lakebreeze summer day, as I pedaled so hard and fast my lungs and legs burned, Billie Joe Armstrong and that old favorite song once again gave me what I needed.  She / she’s figured out / all her doubts were someone else’s point of view.


Jessie Lynn McMains is a writer, small press owner, and the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. Recent and forthcoming publications include 10 Poems By Jessie Lynn McMains, an e-chapbook released by Hello America, and What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk, a memoir-in-fragments revolving around punk and her misspent youth, coming from Pioneers Press/Punch Drunk Press later in 2017. She is also a long-time zinester—she published her first zine the year Dookie was released.

Think about your biggest hero. Would you respect them as much if you saw them hunched over their phone all day like a fucking zombie? No, you want them out there in the world doing heroic things, writing that great novel / song / whatever, saving the planet, sticking up for the little guy, etc, et al, whatever it is that makes them mighty. Let’s try to be as good as our heroes.
—  Adam Gnade, Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty
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GUEST POST: Jessie Lynn McMains on “Letterbomb”

We’re worried about the two of you, all our other friends said. The two of us being me and my then-best friend/roommate, Maggie. We thought our friends were being boring and just not getting it, but oh my God, I’d be worried about the girls we were then, too, if I encountered us now. Our whole situation was weird and sad. Long story short, earlier that year we’d burned half our bridges—some of them because they needed to be burnt, others simply because, hey, the match was already lit—and become this codependent unit of two. We barely left each other’s sides, we barely left our apartment, we were broke and depressed and self-medicating with pills and weed and liquor. I truly, truly do not understand why I romanticize ye olde days so much, because when I look at them objectively I think: My life is better in almost every way than it was back then. Yet I continue to long for the past. But I digress—it was September 2004, me and Maggie vs. the world, and the few friends we hadn’t set ablaze rarely wanted to hang out because they were either worried about us or depressed by our habits. Because a party is no longer fun when it happens every night.

It was a crushingly lonely time. As much as I loved Maggie, it’s impossible to have all your needs for intimacy, connection, and affection fulfilled by one person. All my other Chicago friends thought I was a bummer to be around, my faraway friends were, well, faraway, and my romantic life was a shambles. And the Fireside Bowl—the legendary punk venue of Chicago—shut down; that place was the site of so many of my best memories that losing it felt like I’d lost another old friend. The other thing I remember about that September was the constant staticy noise in my head. I likened it to having a radio antennae connected to my brain that picked up the soundwaves of the city, so not only did I have to listen to the voices that were already in my head—I heard everyone else’s chatter, too. Everything was lonely and hard and cold and loud and I was just fucking exhausted, really.

It was in that bleak landscape that I heard American Idiot. I hadn’t loved a Green Day album since Nimrod. (Warning had a few great tracks, but the album as a whole didn’t thrill me), but I instantly fell in love with American Idiot. And there was one particular track that felt like it was speaking directly to, for, about me–“Letterbomb.” As I said in my piece about “She,” I love the Green Day songs about/from the point of view of girls. They’re so different from the casual misogyny that infects a lot of other pop punk bands’ Songs About Girls (I’m not naming any names, but…) Sure, maybe the girls/women in Green Day’s songs tend to be a bit larger-than-life, a bit idealized, but they’re also rebels and troublemakers, and they have their own distinct emotions. It’s so refreshing! American Idiot features three of them in a row–“She’s A Rebel,” “Extraordinary Girl,” and “Letterbomb.”

“Letterbomb” opens with the unmistakeable vocals of none other than Kathleen Hanna, someone whose words and songs had meant so much to me for nearly as long as Billie Joe’s had. In her sweet-bratty singsong she chanted the exact thing I was feeling: nobody likes you / everyone left you / they’re all out without you / having fun… The song is a poppy punk rock rager, wherein Billie reassured me that as bad as things were, my life wasn’t over (it ain’t over till you’re underground). And then the final verse harkens back to that lonely feeling from the opening. She said, I can’t take this place / I’m leaving it behind / Well she said, I can’t take this town / I’m leaving you tonight. I heard that and I thought–maybe I needed a break from the city that was beating me down. Though I loved Chicago, maybe what I needed more than anything was a change of scenery. And some new friends.


Jessie Lynn McMains is a writer, small press owner, and the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. Recent and forthcoming publications include 10 Poems By Jessie Lynn McMains, an e-chapbook released by Hello America, and What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk, a memoir-in-fragments revolving around punk and her misspent youth, coming from Pioneers Press/Punch Drunk Press later in 2017. She is also a long-time zinester—she published her first zine the year Dookie was released. You can also find her on Tumblr at @rustbeltjessie

Welcome to the Hard Fifty Farm tumblr!

ABOUT THE FARM Based on the Hard Fifty Farm in rural Kansas, the Pioneers Press staff went “back to the land” in 2010 after stints in San Diego, CA, Norfolk, VA and Portland, OR. As beginner homesteaders and self-identified “farm punks,” they raise a variety of crops as well as care for an ever-growing group of rescue animals, including sheep, goats, chickens and ducks, all of which are supported entirely by Pioneers Press sales.

ABOUT PIONEERS PRESS Pioneers Press is a publishing house and small-press distro focusing on survival and sustainability on the farm and in the city, in addition to health, gender, sexuality, social justice and food movements, and literary works by up-and-coming authors. Since its launch in 2012, Pioneers Press has consistently produced titles that have made the best-seller lists of independent bookstores all over the world, including Powell’s Books #1 best-selling small press title of 2013 and 2014 (Adam Gnade’s The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad).

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Today’s harvest!

If you aren’t growing your own food yet, I highly recommend you start! I barely know more than my toddlers do about gardening (dig a hole, plant a seed, give it water, pull the weeds, harvest the food) and we’re still getting great results. Such an amazing feeling to get food fresh from your own backyard to feed yourself and the people you care about!

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“I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest dejection.” Frankenstein’s Monster, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Today, we wanted to share images from our Pennyroyal Press edition of Frankenstein, designed and printed with original wood engravings by print-maker Barry Moser. 

Special Collections recently received the latest installment of a multi-year gift from New York collector Jerry Buff. This latest donation of over 1550 books consists mainly of fine-press and deluxe publications, considerably augmenting our collections of several American, British, and German private presses, as well as the work of important designers, publishers, and pressman. We are delighted that the donation included a number of Pennyroyal Press editions, including Frankenstein.

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Got the boys to help me prep fruit and veg for meals for the next few days (some from our garden, some from the farmer’s market, some from the boring ‘ol grocery store). Jack got distracted and started playing space robots with the chicken scraps, but Liam hung in there the whole time. Both of them ate an absurd amount of veggies while we worked. When I thanked them at the end of this nearly two hour process, Liam said, “Eh, it was nothing.”

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We’re all mad here in Special Collections - mad about this Pennyroyal Press edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! The book was designed and illustrated with wood-engravings by print-maker Barry Moser. Our copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was part of a deluxe set, including an additional suite of over 100 wood-engravings signed by Moser. 

Special Collections recently received the latest installment of a multi-year gift from New York collector Jerry Buff. This latest donation of over 1550 books consists mainly of fine-press and deluxe publications, considerably augmenting our collections of several American, British, and German private presses, as well as the work of important designers, publishers, and pressman. We are delighted that the donation included a number of Pennyroyal Press editions, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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We did our soft launch for the Hard Fifty Farm Zine Mobile yesterday at the Johnson County Resource Library in Overland Park, KS. Had to make some last minute adjustments on account of the wind but I think it went pretty well overall. Had close to 100 visitors. Liam and Jack got bored and ditched us to hang out with the steampunks inside making eye patches! ;) I’ve got lots of ideas for how to make this better moving forward. 

Huge thanks to the Charlotte Street Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Spencer Museum of Art and the Johnson County Library for helping us get this project rolling!