header photo

The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318


Franny Howes

Table of Contents

Keywords: pooping, correspondence

Categories: Creatively Caring for Self, Others, and Place; Visual, Sonic, Tactile, Interactive Texts as Self- and Collective Care

I made this zine in May 2020. I painted it with a brush on old photo printing paper I found while cleaning: I always find it freeing to paint on top of garbage. Oh Shit, I’m in Grad School was the name of my old comic series (2008-2014), so the title is a call back.

Being able to wryly metacomment on my own experience makes me feel more like myself. The zine contains the kind of mortifying autobio comic confession that I usually confine to only print. You just have to trust that no, it wasn’t your zoom call.

Realistically, the most important thing about the zine was what came after. I put up an order form on Twitter and Facebook for people to ask for a copy and venmo me a little postage money if they were able. (The full professors and a couple friends who work in tech definitely came through.) But more importantly, people gave me their mailing addresses. And it was really meaningful to be able to send that many people a little handwritten note when I was feeling so isolated.

Mailing out all those zines led to sending mail, postcards, and varying degrees of surreal drawings to people in my life. This hobby has sustained me throughout covid-19. Realistically, most of my written output has been correspondence. Also, coincidentally, my whole family got really into stamp collecting at the same time, because my people are serial collectors, but that’s another story.

I bought myself a cute little address book. I like to look at it and think about all of the people who like, love, and trust me enough to actually give me their mailing address. It makes me feel connected and just a little bit less lonely.


Cover (page one) of black and white sumi brush painted zine. Title: %u201COH SHIT, I%u2019M IN A QUARANZINE%u201D by Franny Howes. Brush painting of Franny: looking stressed, wearing glasses, hair in a bun, with angry eyebrows, under-eye circles, and surrounded by flying sweat droplets.
Cheerios%u2019 gay cousin.%u201D A brush painting of a %u201CGIANT SIZE%u201D box of Lucky Charms cereal, featuring Lucky the Leprechaun looking happy with his arms up in the air. Bottom caption: %u201CMy #2 pandemic cereal.
I am too short for my desk at home, so i don%u2019t fit in the zoom%u2026%u201D Brush painting of Franny, in front of a row of shelves, visible in a zoom window on a computer monitor showing the zoom user interface--but, Franny is only visible from the nose up. Caption: %u201C...but that%u2019s where the bookshelves are?
I watch a lot of YouTube.” A brush painting of a TV set showing the Crufts dog show arena, a trainer, and a dog, ears up and tail wagging. Caption: “I have cried over at least six YouTube videos of old dog shows.
A brush painting of Franny, hair down, eyes closed, looking relaxed, in bed, face partially obscured by a quilt. Caption: “I bought a new fancy comforter to go to sleep feeling like I’m somewhere else.
A final brush painting of Franny looking embarrassed, eyes tiny dots inside square glasses, eyebrows up and to the sides, mouth a straight line, arms held close to the body, bra strap showing out of the collar of a sweater, clutching a coffee mug. Caption: “Um. So. How are you?


Franny Howes is an associate professor in, and chair of, the Department of Communication at Oregon Tech (aka Oregon Institute of Technology, aka OIT if you enjoy flaunting brand guidelines) in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  

Table of Contents