Snakes on a Chthonic Plane

We regularly ask you to reply to us — We get every email! We respond to every one! We miss you! — and you send us everything from one-liners to play-by-plays of your in-depth snake dreams THANK YOU READER DARYL and we get excited about every single one. But what you may not know is that Pipe Wrench readers are also here for each other: If you, like me, have been sitting at home wondering what’s going on in Daryl’s psyche, fellow Pipe Wrench reader Kelly has your back.

Continue reading “Snakes on a Chthonic Plane”

Embrace the Sky Rats

Pigeons! “Pigeons” is what we mean.

We know that at least 70% of the people reading this who live in urban areas think of pigeons as sky rats. We also know that self-reflection and change are never impossible, especially when folks like Shanna Tiayon and Rosemary Mosco are leading the way. So OF COURSE Shanna’s story about the Roller Men of South Central was recommended by Longreads and Longform and Roxane Gay, and OF COURSE Rosemary’s pigeon comic took #birdtwitter by storm, and OF COURSE we had to make some pigeon stickers to give public expression to our newfound pigeon respect.

For the birders, the “I contain multitudes” drawing is also available on a notebook — hardcover or spiral, lined or blank — for all your birdwatching notes. And of course, we had to make a Pipe Wrench sticker while we were at it:

a drawing or a feminine hand holding a large pipe wrench, in white on a black background

The world needs more smoochy pigeons. Do something good for the world.

The world also needs more joyous feelings. Reply here with happy pigeon thoughts. Tag #birdtwitter!

The week in Pipe Wrench, other than pigeon.

  • You might have noticed we weren’t in your inbox last week. We’re trying this wacky new thing where we don’t send email if we don’t have something new, useful, interesting, or funny to say.
  • The stories for issues four and five are a steaming ahead and we’re starting to brainstorm contributors while we put the finishing touches on issue three’s lineup. Y’all: there are so many interesting people in the world. So. Many.
  • Catherine and Michelle each used the phrase “text stack” independently of one another, prompting each of them to have a small-scale existential crisis and question what they know about language.

P.S. from the Editor in Chief

If you use Twitter and you’re not following @probirdrights, you are making an error. Or as Julia Roberts circa 1990 might say, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!”

(We will fully encourage grassroots caption contests — tweet your favorite sticker with a caption in the style of @probirdrights and balloons will fall from the SKY.)

Before You Ask What the New Thing Is About

Maybe what you need next is a surprise.

I am not great at chit-chat at the best of times, but I’m most challenged when someone asks me “What do you do?” By which they mean for paid work, because wealth-generating labor is the only labor that counts and the point of chit-chat is to figure out what someone can do for you and therefore how nice you should be. (Anything else is conversation, not chit-chat, and conversation is great.)

Whew, that was developing a tone. What I mean is: when people ask “What do you do?” and I say, “I edit a magazine,” the next question is always, always the same: “What’s it about?” The question I answer is never the one they asked.

Continue reading “Before You Ask What the New Thing Is About”

How To Cope With Shortages

Don’t get the newsletter via email? Here’s the one from Tuesday, May 4, 2021. If you’d like the email version, sign up here!

Last week, Catherine and I had a multi-hour, intense Pipe Wrench Zoom call that clarified things that had been unclear, put some longer-range ideas on the back burner, and made concrete things that had been inchoate. We’d both been carrying around more stress than we’d wanted; now we’re not. It was productive and exciting and useful, and we were both so physically wiped and addled the next day that Catherine thought she had a hangover and I wondered if I’d had a stroke.

That said, here’s a story about a dog.

Continue reading “How To Cope With Shortages”

You Can’t Control Feelings: A Bulleted List

Don’t get the newsletter via email? Here’s the one from Tuesday, April 20, 2021. If you’d like the email, sign up here!

Oh, did we tell you? We published a magazine last week.

If you’ve also been thinking about publishing a magazine, I can tell you that it involves a lot of email, a lot of clicking “preview” and then panicking that you published to the actual internet instead of just previewing, a lot of coffee, a lot of take-out, a lot of help, and a lot of feelings. So that you might be prepared for what you’ll have to deal with, I offer you this comprehensive list of all the feelings I had in the 24 hours leading up to publication.

Continue reading “You Can’t Control Feelings: A Bulleted List”

We’re Heading to Venus (Venus)

Don’t get the newsletter via email? Here’s the one from Tuesday, April 6, 2021. If you’d like the email, sign up here!

Niew niew niew niewwwww.

Because we publish issue one next week so it’s the final countdown, do you get it, PLEASE LAUGH AT OUR JOKES, WE ARE OVERTIRED AND MISS YOUR VERY SPECIFIC LAUGH.

Continue reading “We’re Heading to Venus (Venus)”

How to Reach X,XXX,XXX Goals by XXXX

Don’t get the newsletter via email? Here’s the newsletter from Tuesday, March 23, 2021. If you’d like the email, sign up here!

Knowing what counts, without the quota

Last week, the Medialyte newsletter ran an interview with Pipe Wrench’s favorite Catherine that included this question and answer:

Is it the hope that Pipe Wrench will become a full-time job for its members? What kind of financial and audience goals have you set internally?

We expect the business to sustain itself. Michelle and I both work second jobs that we intend to bequeath to successors when the time comes. There are break-even numbers.

But to quote Margarita Noriega, “Metrics are not goals. And goals are not values.”

Continue reading “How to Reach X,XXX,XXX Goals by XXXX”