This time around I will be supporting hipsters and their cult following. I swear, that’s the snarkiest thing I will say about hipsters all blog. If you haven’t heard about Tumblr by now, it’s pretty much the place that all internet memes, gifs, fangirls, people who take photos and then filter in “vignette,” girls in combat boots, Ryan Gosling “Hey Girls”, or Feminist Ryan Goslings, naked selfies sans face, and lots of sad grammar issues, go to die. It’s the land of everything great and awful about the inter webs, and there is definitely something for everyone.
In fact, recently a lot of publishers have been looking to popular Tumblr sites to find first time authors. My favorite one of these is 40 Days of Dating where two friends, and designers, chose to date for 40 days and write about the entire thing. I won’t ruin it for you before you’ve checked it out, but you can read it from the beginning, or from the end and it’s still the same amount of broken at top or bottom. I’m really looking forward to the pub date on that one, Abrams is supposed to publish it in the fall.
These are just a few of the fantasies you can have on tumblr. However, there’s also a deeply seeded life of romance on Tumblr. There are tons of sites with couples and fairytale pictures from weddings, and just people kissing each other square on the mouth. And who are the queens of romance? That’s right; Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Little Mermaid. Yes, I’m aware, that these girls have relationships equivalent to Romeo and Juliet, they were most likely teenagers who fell in love in a single night, hinged on a single moment that usually involved stars brilliant over a rising horizon, but I think it would be safe to say that the majority of girls look for this kind of blind spot in romance.
The newest version of these teen dramas comes in the form of a tiny and illustrated book called Alice in Tumblr-Land. Tim Manley, a cog in the wheel of tumblr created Fairy Tales for 20 Somethings and it become this 90’s baby’s dream.
I read this book in one sitting and was hooked as soon as Manley mentioned Dunkaroos, a staple of my childhood packed lunches. He has so many references to my childhood and teenagehood that I couldn’t help but laugh in glee. All of your favorite Disney stars and even just some children’s book stars like Ugly Duckling are popped into modern times and expected to cope. Peter Pan desperately wants his blog to be a hit and so he creates a viral meme (where was Wendy when he needed some guidance because we all know Tiger Lily would not put up with any of that SHIZZ). Sleeping Beauty has self-esteem and self-expression problems, we all saw that one coming. I mean for heaven’s sakes, the girl was raised with three babbling crazy aunts. Usually, we only have one of those in every family, but she had a mighty and strong three. I’m truly surprised the Ugly Duckling wasn’t mildly obsessed with the Aflack duck, but she did go to a high school reunion and take plenty of selfies.
Let’s be honest, I grew up in the original selfie generation. First, we created juice packets that you had to stab in order to sip. Then, we had the misfortune of letting acid washed jeans come back. We led the boy band movement and wallpapered our rooms in Nick Carter’s face (okay, that one was just me). We can all sing the F.R.I.E.N.D.S theme song and when I have children, they will definitely yell “Smelly Cat” into the faces of Fromage and Jasper. We kept small creatures alive on Tomagotchi. Now that was a cool aspect of the 90s, proven by Sheldon on “Big Bang Theory” still carrying his Tomagotchi around on his keychain. Tomagotchi was the last straw before AIM. I believe my aim name was OompaLumpa76. It changed frequently, but that was the beginning from dial-up to “dtf,” and here we are.
Memory lane can be so good to me sometimes. Manley captures all of this in Alice in Tumblr-Land. The Fairy-godmothers provide service through twitter. The little beauties have self-esteem and jealousy issues because of this social media world of “only the happy” that we live in. Listen, your ex boyfriend is on vacation, that doesn’t mean every moment of his life is a cheerleading session starring him. Just because your frenemie is living in New York and making it work doesn’t mean that he isn’t, like you, drinking coffee at four am just to keep up with the amount of work he has. We all wear socks with holes in them, we all cry sometimes in the privacy of a very small closet and if we’re lucky, in front of people. And we all get let down, multiple times in a row. I understand the power of social media, especially as it pertains to my students, heaven forbid a boyfriend forget to “Woman Crush Wednesday” his current girlfriend every. single. Wednesday. Can’t we just go back to the camel, guys?
Either way, this internet based fake reality has caused a lot of problems in our society (and a lot of gifts) and I think Manley covers these aspects really well in his new vignette collection with illustrations. The illustrations are hilarious, the characters are stock and unlike everyone who follows us on instagram, we actually have a good handle of who they are, even if in this collection they’re not at all sure of themselves. Would mermaids be mammals or fish?
Each moment in this collection is a conversation. I posted snapshots as I read on Instagram (because I, too, live in this dry abyss of “likes”). I found The Tortoise and the Hair to be the most accurate of our fast-paced and ever changing lifestyles. Both animals really have to learn to love themselves before they can even promote the other. Then again, were they ever really friends? I ask myself that a lot about people I haven’t talked to since high school that I follow on Instagram. It has to be some minor version of stalking, as in, I want to know you, I just don’t want to know you well enough to call you.
Let’s get to the best part of why you should read this book; it’s perfect for your coffee table. No not really. He’s a high school teacher. Bless the high school teachers of the world and promote and support this book. It’s literal magic, both with characters and the way that Manley analyzes the silent social aspects of our technological world. It’s a book for the lonely and the aggravated. When you’re alone in your apartment and you can choose pinterest, ex-boyfriend googling, or Alice in Tumblr-land, always choose the stories that give you the ability to laugh. At least, enjoy the Little Red Riding Hood section because the poor girl just keeps meeting wolves, and none of your ex-boyfriends could possibly be that hairy.
Other cool things you can find on Tumblr:
I am a writer, educator and genuine creative living on the coast of NC. Our house is built on sunshine with my husband BJ, dog named Tucker, and our two very sassy cats: Fromage and Jasper.