Zoë Ruiz Interview

Zoë Ruiz Originally posted on DUM DUM Zine

Taleen Kali (DD): Hey Zoë it’s Taleen from DUM DUM!
Just going to casually text you questions for our “Txt Msg Interview” over the next few days. You’ve been obsessed with the color pink lately, sup? Can you tell us why?

Zoë Ruiz (ZR): Hello!!
I’m about to fall asleep in Connecticut…but wanna chat mañana?
Oh ok! I’ll answer that tomorrow!

DD: Yea totes! Answer at your own pace

ZR: For about a year, I’ve found the color pink very soothing and for the last few months, I spent a lot of time looking at art. And one sleepless night, I thought, Oh! I’ll just combine the two and look at art that is primarily using the color pink. Now I’m falling into a pink-soaked rabbit hole and I don’t quite get it but love it.

DD: Lovely! Can you send us 3 recent pink photos you’re in love with?

ZR: Yes! That’s a tough but really fun exercise.

DD: (They can be existing ones from your Instagram, haha, I love what you’ve been posting!!)

ZR: (Full disclosure: I have a file on my desktop labeled “Pink”)

DD: Ahaha hell yea. I have one I call “Shart”

ZR: Nice! First one: death by cotton candy by Daniela Edburg

ZR: Tree of Life in Island by Lee Jeong Lok

ZR: This last one is a series of self portraits in camouflage by Lucia Fainzilber

DD:  I love how the first 2 images invert the area where the pink takes up space: they’d make an amazing diptych. About to attend a workshop at Women’s Center for Creative Work, talk later!

ZR: Aren’t they so great! I hope the workshop goes well. I keep wanting to do workshops they offer.

DD: The WCCW workshop was amazing and that space is a godsend! Speaking of pink, and feminism at large, I think you especially would appreciate it because it’s such a safe open space for feminism and inclusivity.

I remember when I ran into you on Pi Day at the Knowreality pie truck in Eagle Rock, you dropped an awesome knowledge bomb from a bell hooks essay, right there in the street, and we riffed hard about feminism in the light of day like total unapologetic badasses. What essay were you quoting, can you remember? Can the world be like this all the time?

ZR: I’m back in LA! WCCW sounds even more awesome. I’m all about safe spaces.

So there was a point in my early twenties where I read 6 books by bell hooks in a row. It’s hard to figure out what ideas are from what book.

I did find this: https://caringlabor.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/bell-hooks-revolutionary-parenting/

Rebecca Solnit also had a great Facebook post about mothering that I shared.


DD: Welcome home! This is apropos reading for Mother’s Day. I’m reading the passage about collective parenting…this was exactly what we were talking about: hooks talks about destigmatizing a communal view of child rearing which has taken on new meaning in our millennial, single-woman led landscape


ZR: exactly!
And yes!

DD:  Pie truck feminism convos all the time! Btw I never got to grab a copy of your zine(s) that you premiered at L.A. Zine Fest this year! Will you be reading from any of them (and what are their titles)?

ZR: Yes! I think I will read from one of them. I need to make more! Maybe I will do so before this reading. The zines are called: “Donna,” “Mexican Pain Pill” and “Roger Rabbit.”

DD: That’s wonderful to hear. This year I read 3 female memoirs in a row in the span of a month: we need it when we need it. It created so many paradigm shifts in the way I view creativity and connectivity. After you read 6 hooks books in a row, did you find your writing to change?

ZR: If I am remembering correctly, I read bell hooks when I was trying to abandon writing so her writing probably didn’t affect mine in terms of craft. But reading her books did change my thoughts and feelings about A LOT. In that way, her writing probably affected my writing as it elevated and transformed how I was thinking/feeling. She inspires me to think more deeply and critically. What were the memoirs you read?

(I did just read that bell hooks critiqued lemonade and some people are upset by it.)

DD: Sophia Amuroso GIRLBOSS
Amanda Palmer The Art of Asking
Carrie Brownstein Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl

Oh yikes! That’ll create giant ripples.

ZR: Oh interesting! Those are all kind of similar

Yeah. It’s not the first time.  Roxane Gay once wrote about it in The Guardian

DD: Yea I suppose they were all marketed within the same “edgy white rocker chic/chick” lit bracket (sigh). The first was a capitalist mindfuck, I read that one first and I sort of needed the second 2 to recover and regain faith in connectivity

ZR: Oh good! Capitalist Mindfuck is going to be a new caption for my pink insta
And I meant oh good about regaining faith.

DD: Pink power strikes again! Could you tell me what “Mexican Pain Pill” is about?

ZR: I’m so terrible at describing my writing

DD: I know me too: I hate doing this to people. But I wanna know since I didn’t get to buy your zine when you still had copies left!

ZR: here’s a previous draft
I cleaned it up a bit for the zine though.
I will give you copies as soon as I make more.

DD: Jesus this is amazing Zoë. It makes me want to take a Mexican pain pill and get a lightning bolt stamp tramp tattoo. I’d love to buy a copy once you reprint! I really identify with creative outgrowth, there was a time I felt I was outgrowing this zine and sort of muscled through to the other end and it managed to grow with me.

ZR: Aww thanks for the kind words!!
Yes, I will bring them to sell!

DD: Wheee thanks! Actually a question just for me: where are some spots in L.A. to get a little sloppy drunk with WiFi so that I can read some submissions?

ZR: ohhh.
This is a good question.
What part of la are you in?

DD: Eagle rock. My studio is in echo park so I’m there often too

ZR: Oh! That’s right we are practically neighbors.
Every place that serves beverages doesn’t seem to have wifi. It’s not fair!

DD: Yo fuck this. All the small L.A. presses need to be BFFs and invest in a bar with wifi that also sells books

ZR: haha
Intelligentsia serves beer and wine
In Pasadena

DD: Nice! Thank you. And here is the final question, as part of our 1-question interview series that we ask all our readers: What keeps you inspired and astonished as a creator?

ZR: Well, I am not always inspired or astonished. But right now what keeps me inspired is looking at art with the lens of pink. And my friends who are so amazingly creative and brilliant and hardworking and kind and wise inspire and astonish me. And reading books still inspires me after years and years and years of reading books. And stories astonish.

Zoë Ruiz lives and writes in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in The Weeklings, Salon, The Rumpus, and Two Serious Ladies. She is a freelance books editor and publicist. She has worked for Kaya Press, Phoneme Media, and Writ Large Press. She curates a L.A.-based reading series called “readings.” Follow her on Twitter and her pink Instagram @ruizzoe.