the tale of the purple sketchbook

Gather near, collectivers and friends, and I will tell you the tale of the purple sketchbook.

It was long ago, circa 2017, before the pandemic–back when we could nonchalantly hug people, share snacks, share juice, and use the same markers and sketchbook.  How innocent we were!


I went to bed one night and dreamed the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective had a purple sketchbook–dreamt it back then, in 2017.  People enjoyed writing and drawing in it, during meetings, as a thing to do with our hands.  A calming activity, one choice of many.  It was magical, and its purpleness was important to the collective’s success.

So Ming took me to a craft store, so I could buy a purple sketchbook.  (This was before I understood that I can make my own sketchbooks.) But there were no purple ones.  We ended up choosing a white sketchbook meant to be colored, and purple paint to paint it.


Then, yes, like the dream, it was a thing we brought to all the meetings, with markers.  Many people drew in it–doodles, mandalas, symbols, arts.  I wrote poems in there.  The purple sketchbook became a comfort.

Mostly the art is unsigned.  Whoever showed up that day and left their mark, blessing the collective in their unique way.

I photocopied some sketchbook art for the radical mental health collective’s first zine, Radical Mental Health is for Everyone.  Please reach out if you would like a copy!


The future of the sketchbook?  It’s waiting for covid to end, I guess.  When we meet again in person, hugging again.  Sharing snacks and markers again.

Maybe I could bring it to an online meeting to show, just for fun.

Thank you for hearing the tale of the purple sketchbook.  I hope you write in it again, one day!  The paper is thirsty for the ink you want to share, dreaming of your attention and time.  Mad love to all artists everywhere, but especially the open-hearted crazy ones.

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