Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public) — Now in Paperback!

Notes to Boys PB cover

Hello Giggles Item of the Day

One of The Hairpin‘s “15 books to read now”

“…what makes the book so good is that Grown-up Pam has enormous affection for Little Pam, who is, like a little sister, horribly embarrassing on the one hand and a fiercely protected loved one on the other. It’s a collection of embarrassing stories and mortifying notes, yes, but it’s also a pretty deeply felt memoir about her introduction to boys and sex and—perhaps most painfully—learning when not to tell people how you feel.”
—Linda Holmes, NPR Monkey See and NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour

Miserably trapped in small town Texas with no invention of the internet in sight, Pamela Ribon spent countless hours of her high school years writing letters to her (often unrequited) crushes. The big question is: why did she always keep a copy for herself?

Come for the incredibly bad poetry, stay for the incredibly bad poetry about racism.

Buy your copy at Amazon, Powells, or contact your local independent bookstore.

Also available in hardcover … or an unforgettably long day with me if you buy the audiobook!

“…I enjoyed the book, and I rooted for [Little Pam]…hang around for the payoff.”
—Tiffany Turpin Johnson, LitReactor

Praise for SLAM!

SLAM #1 is one of the strongest first issues I have read in awhile. A bright, genuine approach to the human spirit… Has the potential to be one of the best new series of the year.” — Geek

“A hot neon safari into a fascinating subculture…as brash as that exclamation mark suggests.” — The Guardian

“This is just a fun damn comic book, full of vitality and optimism, successfully avoiding any whiffs of sentimentality. An assured and joyous debut.” — Doom Rocket

“…beautiful and fantastic. …[Slam is] changing the medium.” — Strip Panel Naked, Comics Alliance

“Pamela Ribon’s script reads like the best sports movie Edgar Wright will never make. [T]his is the best book being published right now. You need to read it. It’s really that simple.” – MyM Comics Buzz

“This is the book I look forward to the most right now.” — Outright Geekery (SLAM! #2)

“Oh my goodness, I love this book and Veronica Fish’s work so much that it hurts.” — Court of Nerds

“Charisma that cannot be ignored. This is another awesome comic about kick-ass women created by some kick-ass women.” — All-Comic

“[A] breath of fresh air…absolutely joyful and should absolutely set precedent for how women’s sports comics handle competition and friendships.” – Graphic Policy

“SLAM! #3 is an incredible and touching exploration not only of the power of derby but the strength and subtleties of relationships forged between women on skates and off.” – Newsarama, Best Shots Reviews

“[T]houghtful and emotional…a visually beautiful book with a strong premise and a great deal of promise.” – Newsarama, Best Shot pick of the week

Visual storytelling, ladies and gentlemen. This is how its done.” — Primary Ignition

“One of the most original comic books that I have read all year and after one issue I am already hooked. It is fresh, fun, emotional and exciting. I found myself with a smile from start to finish.” – Big Glasgow Comic

“That’s actually one of writer Pamela Ribon’s strongest points with SLAM!– the story flows perfectly from start to finish, incorporating flashbacks and cutaways with unusual but pleasing symmetry- like angles of incidence on a pool table. Ribon, who has worked on several titles for Oni Press as well as various animated features including the upcoming Moana, is very pro-girl-power without requiring girl-power to look like a specific set of behaviors for any particular person.” — NerdSpan

“Pamela Ribon crafts an excellent opening chapter that tackles issues of fear and self-doubt and the importance of perseverance and camaraderie among women.[A]bove all else a delightful read from start to finish.” — Talking Comics

“…nail[s] investment-worthy interpersonal relationships…”— Paste, Required Reading: Comics for 11/16/2016

“…no doubt this one will be a hit as well. I mean, seriously the colors in just the covers are fantastic.” — Guide Live, Must-Have Comics of the Week

“…the joy it exhibits, its winning characters, and its focus on one of the few sports dominated and defined by women, makes its sense of fun infectious.” – Capeless Crusader

“This roller derby drama has the tenacity to go the distance and I can’t wait to see what happens next.” – Geeked Out Nation

“It’s not just a comic about girls kicking butt and being competitive, although it’s that too and that’s great.” – Comics Alliance “Best Comics Ever (This Week)”

“This is a story with chutzpah and tenacity…absolutely fierce and terribly adorable.” – TFAW

” Warm, inviting and full of solid writing and characterisation surrounded by great interiors this is one of those that will charm your socks off.” – Reading with a Flightring


“…celebrates strong women, friendship and roller derby with vibrant art, punchy dialogue and grade-A  puns. …Highly recommended.” — Outright Geekery (SLAM! #1)

“It’s not often that sports comics come around and it’s even less often that a sports comic would focus on love and feminism. What makes “SLAM!” stand out is a sense of innocence. That sense of unrelenting innocence feels almost like a political statement in the current climate of not only comics, but the world; this is a comic about women and it is a comic about friendship and love and connection through strife and striking back at the world.” — Multiversity Comics

“…a fun story that I think will surprise a lot of people.” — Comicosity, Hot Five pick

“…utterly unique…Slam! offers one of the most unique perspectives on a gendered gaze in comics because of the subject matter and the fact that it’s a female driven production from top to bottom, with letterer Jim Campbell the only man involved in any stage of production. As a result, writer Pamela Ribon can leave the subtleties of interactions and evaluations open ended in interpretation knowing that the spirit will remain intact from editorial guidance through to final artwork.” — Comicosity

came out the gate with a strong first issue and is still skating hard. Slam! has my highest recommendation.” — Outright Geekery (SLAM! #3)

“Rating 9/10: Pamela Ribon lays out real and relatable characters while Veronica Fish brings them to life. This is one heck of a rewarding, and different, read. ” – Court of Nerds, Issue #3

“An incredible, character focused drama about real people and real connections and a focus on female relationships. Exactly what comics, and the world, needs right now.” — Multiversity Comics, Issue #3

Top Comics of the Week – IGN, The Weekly Stack

Staff Picks for Issue #1: Broken Frontier, Paradox, Alter Ego Comics, Arcane Comics, The Wizard’s Wagon, Danger Room Comics, First Aid Comics, Redd Skull Comics, DCBS, ABC Ladies Night @ Austin Books, Forbidden Planet Belfast, Gosh! Comics London

When It’s Not a Game For You

Pokémon GO has exploded all over my life. My friends are playing it at work, others are boasting finds in my Facebook feed– this morning I watched a young family catch something outside my gate on their way to the farmer’s market. But I can’t stop thinking about this essay I read: Pokémon GO is a Death Sentence if you are a Black Man..

I have never been as aware of my white-based public safety as the time we were playing an Amazing Race-style game that required us to stop strangers in downtown Los Angeles and ask them if they had something for us. At one point we were even running toward Union Station, one of us yelling, “We have to do it now, we’re running out of time!”

My brain kept whispering, “Nobody is even batting an eye, while you’re running past people who would be detained, if not flat-out shot for doing what you’re doing.”

My friend was sure she’d found one of the “informants” who had our next clue. She called me over and told me she’d asked him if he had something, and he said that depended on if she could tell him what train you take to Hollywood. “This is how we get our next clue! Tell him, tell him!” The only problem was he was now being questioned by two bike cops who assumed he was harassing us.

This is where I mention he was black.

“I’m just going to give him directions,” I said.

“Ma’am, you don’t have to do that,” the officers said as they talked in code over the receivers near their shoulders.

“I want to,” I said. I was pretty sure he was the informant, but my friend was getting nervous, and it was getting tense around us. What am I supposed to say to the officers— “We’re okay here?” I didn’t summon them, they were already bothering him when I walked up, and I was frustrated that they thought they were interrupting either a drug deal or a panhandler — both of which were entirely race-based assumptions.

As officers again told us we should just walk away, I instead told the informant how to get to Hollywood. He opened up a folder from his messenger bag, and handed me my next clue.

He then turned to the bike cops. “It’s a GAME,” he said. After the officers left, I was feeling so shitty.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “All of that sucked.”

“You guys are the only ones with the clue, by the way,” he said. “None of these other people have even once come up to me.”

I would never play Pokémon GO — especially at night — because it sounds like the perfect way to get hit by a car, followed, or mugged. The things I have to think about when I walk alone out there are for who/what I am and what has happened to me. But it’s an entirely different thing to realize you can’t play a kid game because it makes you behave in a way that gets racists and profilers feeling antsy. Or maybe it isn’t different at all. Whatever it is, it’s definitely not a game.

How to Make Listening to Adele Even Sadder

I’m in the car, driving my almost three-year-old to her preschool. Music’s playing.

Her: What is this?
Me: This is the Breeders.
Her: It’s fast. Fast and loud.
Me: That’s right. Fast and loud music helps us get all the wiggles out. You can shake your head and shake your arms and yell really loud and dance.
Her: I like super fast fast loud.
Me: Then you’ll love this.

I turn it to “Cannonball,” so sure I’m going to blow her tiny mind. I watch her face in the rearview mirror. As those opening alarm calls sound — AH-WOOOOooooo! AH-WOOOOooooo! — her face crinkles with slight confusion. She looks unsure. What is about to happen?

Me: Oh, man. This is the best song.
Her: No, Mom. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is the best song.
Me: Okay, first of all, you’re wrong.
Her: No! “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is the best song. It’s my favorite.
Me: Off the top of my head I can think of three other songs you claim to be your favorite that are better than “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Six songs. All songs.
Her: I don’t like this.
Me: Because you’re supposed to play it louder. Here.
Her [grabbing her chest]: Mom, this song makes my heart hurt.
Me: Okay, I’ll play something different.

We whiplash over to Adele’s “Hello.”

Her: We’re in California, too. That’s where we live.
Me: Yes.
Her: Why’s he sad?
Me: She. She’s sad.
Her: Why’s she so sad, Mom?
Me: Well…she misses someone. This is called a love song. We love people so much we have to sing about them, and sometimes we love someone so much it can make us sad.
Her: She’s yelling.
Me: She is. Sometimes sad songs can be loud loud, too.
Her: Why’s she yelling?
Me: She’s yelling because she’s sad about someone.
Her: We need to make her laugh.
Me: Yeah, I don’t think we can do that right now.
Her: What is he yelling about?
Me: She. She’s yelling because she misses someone far away she loves very much.
Her: So she has to be loud?
Me: Yes, because she wants that person she loves to hear her.
Her: Because she’s far.
Me: She is. Very far.
Her: Mom, you’re sad?
Me: This song is sad. It does make me sad.
Her: Are you going to be yelling?
Me: If I sing along.
Her: Let’s do it. Loud loud.
[we sing the chorus]
Her: Why’s he so sad?
Me: She’s sad. The person singing is a woman.
Her: Why’s she yelling?
Me: Because she misses someone she loves–
Her: And she has to yell?
Me: Yes, because the person she misses isn’t listening to her. She’s trying to say she’s sorry.
Her: From the other side?
Me: … yes. You’re learning the lyrics very quickly.
Her: Why’s she sorry?
Me: Well… sometimes uh, in life you make choices, and sometimes you maybe have regrets, like sometimes there’s people you have to leave behind when you… oh, uh… when you love someone, sometimes you can love them so much and still…and sometimes you have to just… uh…
Her: She’s yelling so loud.
Me [at this point just trying not to cry]: She sure is, sweet girl.
Her: I’m sad.
Me: Me too.
Her: So sad. This is so sad, Mom.

The song ends as I park the car. I turn to look at my kid. Her eyes are downcast, her mouth a small pout. Her hands are folded in her lap. Quietly, so very quietly, she says just one word.


Recent podcast appearances

I link to things on Twitter and Facebook, but never come here to post them, so if you’re looking for places to hear me talk about work/process/being awkward in public, here you go. This is also a list of some fantastic podcasts/people.

GILMORE GUYS: These guys are so funny. They invited me to gab about episode 502, “A Messenger, Nothing More.” TWoP fans will enjoy this trip down memory lane. Newer readers might be shocked to see just how easily I can slip back into a snarky asshole.

SHE DOES | Conversations with Creative Minds: Elaine and Sarah are smart, funny and sweet. They also interview some of the most fascinating women in media. I was flattered to be invited to share my own story. My episode: Finding Your Own Fun.

CHICKS WHO SCRIPT: Three powerhouse ladies in film with a whole lot to say. My episode: Pam Ribon and the Big Personality

The following aren’t recent, but you might still enjoy them:

THIS AMERICAN WIFE: Eric Martin is so calm and cool that I end up dorking out like you wouldn’t believe. And yet, he had me on his show TWICE. Episode 73: Only the Young and Episode 56: Side Gigs. Eric folded this podcast shortly after our last interview. He said it wasn’t not not entirely my fault.

BOOK CIRCLE ONLINE: This was a fun one. We discuss Notes to Boys, writing online and Anne Heche.

THE SEND-UP: Robyn and I talk about writing comedy for TV as a lady person, Sassy Magazine, asking for Tom Selleck and getting Harry Hamlin, and being in a twenty person improv troupe. The episode is here.

In Celebration of Roxane Gay’s BAD FEMINIST

I wrote this piece for Roxane’s LA book party at the Last Bookstore on August 18th. It was an incredible night — people were packed deep into the store, on every floor, sitting in corners, hidden between stacks of shelves — so many men and women who stayed the entire time, despite the intense heat from all those bodies waiting to hear Roxane speak. It was a blast. Thank you again to Roxane for inviting me. Roxane’s books are making all kinds of year-end lists, and it reminded me that I meant to post this here.
Continue reading

I Can Be… Exhausted

I just wanted to thank everyone who was a part of this crazy week.

As someone who spent years in the tech world before becoming a comedy writer, I’ve worked in two industries that openly debate gender when it comes to capability. I wanted to write “Barbie Fucks It Up Again” after finding a book aimed toward the youngest minds as they’re just starting to define self-worth. I’m thrilled the Internet seized the spirit of that essay and took up the fight. I’m proud to watch this worldwide discussion. (Not to mention this kickass piece of business.)

I wish Mattel had chosen to adjust the title instead of shelving it. I think we all would have appreciated that kind of reboot, even if it did take two girls (and Brian AND Steven) to get the job done correctly.

Thank you for sharing, for talking, and for making a difference. Thanks for reminding me why I love writing at

I’m sitting here with a fractured nose realizing I haven’t even told you yet that my mom called yesterday to let me know that my dead dad stopped a robbery in her storage unit. But that’s a story for another time. I promise to come back here more often.

…Especially since I had to upgrade my shit after we crashed this site five hundred times this week.

That Time Retta Called Me Out on Twitter (Further Adventures in Fan Face)

I need you to know that I have been working on keeping my Fan Face in check. The other day, Nick from Project Runway/Under the Gunn passed me on the street and said hello to the baby and I acted like he was a face I didn’t recognize. An elevator door opened to reveal Maya Rudolph standing right in front of me and — you guys — the fact that I did not immediately launch into an impression of her impression of Oprah shows you how much I’ve grown as a person who periodically goes outside.

But this is a story from before I had labelled my Fan Face. Back when it was so obvious my husband would just look away and go, “Damn, Ribon. You look like you’re taking a photograph of Marcia Gay Harden with your retinas. Either work on that, or go talk to her before we get on the plane. It’s getting creepy. …oh, you’re going to go talk to her? I’m going to go over here and not know you, then.”

Marcia was very sweet, even though she had an understandably protective lean decidedly away from me. I normally never go up to someone, but Marcia had talked to my acting class back when I was in college, and I wanted to thank her because it really stuck with me, and many of my friends from that year. Plus I was pregnant at the time, and that state of being apparently turned my “give a shit” meter all the way off.

That missing self-check mode made for all kinds of new experiences during the months I was pregnant. One that immediately comes to mind, one I just can’t seem to let go, involves another airport encounter.

Being pregnant makes you have to pee. All the time, a lot. This is probably not news to you. But it can make something as mundane as getting through airport security turn into a stakes-are-very-high situation inside your body. One time I was struggling through security check before a red-eye flight to New York, keeping my mind focused on the first finish line: the ladies room inside the United Lounge. There had been some delays, some traffic, some longer-than-expected lines, and by the time I reached the bathroom door, I was hunched over, inching my way to the stall.

I peed with great relief. I remember this. I remember a feeling of accomplishment that almost made me sleepy.

Afterward, while I was washing my hands, a woman stepped out of another stall. After a quick glance in the mirror, I thought, “That looks like Retta. But, Retta if she were not in makeup and wanting to sleep during this upcoming redeye.”

I tried not to Fan Face. After all, we were in a bathroom. Let the lady have her time.

Just after take-off I rushed to the airplane bathroom, as it had been almost a full forty-five minutes since I’d been allowed to pee. On the way back I saw that the woman I thought was Retta was sitting in the aisle in front of me. But now she was tucked in all cozy and asleep. Couldn’t be one hundred percent sure, sure as hell wasn’t going to ask her, nor inspect further.

After the flight, maybe-Retta was sitting near us, waiting on a taxi or shuttle or something. This is when I realized I knew the best way to find out if that was, in fact, Retta on my flight. Twitter. If she was on a plane to New York, surely she would have mentioned it.

Turns out Retta had tweeted just before her flight.

“Damn, lady in the United stall next to me. Why the orgasmic experience? #personaltime #keepmeoutofit”

So, you know, it’s not always just my face that ruins things.


If there were a kind of porn site where I just watched people who had time on their hands do all the things I wish I still had time to do, I would… well, I wouldn’t have time to watch it. These days I hear about people binge-watching entire seasons of a tv series over their weekends and I’m drooling, it sounds so luxurious. I get jealous every night when the baby has her bath, because sometimes there are bubbles, and I miss just deciding to take a long, hot bath and then taking one while reading an entire book. I used to have so much time! Time I wasted thinking I needed to be doing something with all that time! I never appreciated it and now it’s gone and you guys, I have regrets.

The other day I couldn’t find my library card. “It’s on Qwerty’s keys,” I said to Jason and Kristen. “Do you guys know where she keeps her keys?”

“Did you check her pink purse?” asked Jason.

“I did. No keys.”

Kristen said, “I know they aren’t in her owl purse. I found that earlier and all it has is her phone.”

This keys-having, phone-toting, two-purse-and-a-library-card owning child is seventeen-months old.