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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013


A picture of me from this Christmas. 

Looking forward to February.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some people in comics [in the world] live under rocks and should stay there. However, it is important that their ways are brought to the harsh light. That way no one can say they didn't know, that that is the reason that they don't believe us.

Read MariNaomi's account of being harassed at a comics' convention by another panelist. Then read Rachel Edidin's examination of the pathetic apology by the perpetrator. 

Then never wonder why we are full of rage, but never surprise.

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I imagined my cool green cards appearing in the mailboxes of my friends and becoming a kind of signature. Whereas my old picture postcards were about the ephemeral land of dreams and potential, these new postcards were about the vulnerable space of now.

This love letter to postcards by Jamey Hatley is the perfect thing to read on a lonely day. She goes down so many trails in this short piece, that it left me wandering in the forest long after I finished it. The power of affordable art, the need for images of our idols, the desire for a connection: All these are combined in the simple postcard. I think about mail more than your average human, and wonder why I persist in the sometimes arduous task of making space for my friends in my mind, trying to tell a little story just for them, without the instant gratification of a response.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

heart, broken

Tom Hart's site about his daughter Rosalie blows me away with its open-heartedness. He posts snapshots of his work on both his book about his late daughter and his own journey through grief. It is basically an incredible interpretation of the "process blog," and one that is more helpful to me than I expected.

-----

As a kid I was possessed of the idea that life, the life I was living, couldn't possibly be the right one. My brother and I joked that we were aliens in disguise, just waiting for the mothership. To be transported, I read. When I was a teenager, I got in to all those books that old dudes read for the thrills but can still be called literature, including Philip K. Dick, in order to shift into another life where I could have fun and be taken seriously. Dick's kind of weird was always a little too man-centered for me, but I understood the humor, paranoia and hope. A Scanner Darkly and Ubik are my favorites. "Bummed Out and Ugly" by Alice Sola Kim is a skillful essay about finding one's own teleporter:
 "I read about anywhere but here. I read about space shit. No one wants to be that predictable and psychologically obvious, but sometimes things are exactly the way you expect them to be."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

spriations & siams

I loved this Inkstuds interview with Greg Means. Means talks about being a librarian and editor, and about how, in both of those roles, a motivating force is the the unbearable idea that there is amazing work in the world that no one is seeing. Trying to remedy the unfairness of life and art with enthusiasm and a big mouth is so familiar!  I loved to learn that this motivation was behind Papercutter--one of my favorite comics projects of all time.


Greg wrote me a note a few years ago that simply said that he liked my writing and I should keep doing it. It was short but incredibly encouraging when I was questioning why I was writing at all. Few people would spend the time to do such a thing and I still keep it on my desk along with a drawing by a kiddie friend and a picture of Polly Styrene.




Monday, December 02, 2013

Selling, souls, etc.

Soul-selling, in various permutations, has been saturating my reading and listening. Not as a result of any plan of mine, of course, but it's been all bargains and hunger and figuring out what is worth it. While the traditional idea of the soul is not compelling, the concept that an individual has something precious that can be lost or taken is complicated and true and nestled right next to my heart right now.


NYPL Image ID: 833476  Down among the mashers. (c1892) by Art Young
In the suburban wilds of Duplex, a minor character disappears as a child and comes back changed. There is another character that seems to be missing a soul, certainly missing something, and he is the most dangerous of all. I feel pulled along through Duplex--I am enjoying the ride and looking forward to finding out what comes of all the negotiations. This book is on sale right now from the publisher and you should buy it.

In the story “Daedalum, the Devil’s Wheel” written by E. Lily Yu, and read by Kate Baker at Clarkesworld Magazine, a demon torments a cartoonist during a fever dream. It is not just just the promise of money and success, there is something more intimate happening between the demon and the sleeping man. In exchange for his dreams and his body, he is also being released from something, but what? This is one of those stories where the reading makes it, so let Kate Baker take you away.


"Ha! That was also a joke! Why flinch? You used to appreciate the soft, surreal psychosis of cartoons. Mallets and violence! Bacchanals, decapitations, shotguns, dynamite! That’s my sense of humor.

I don’t give, darling. I take. Sometimes I negotiate. It’s always unfair."

^^^
I've talked before about comics subscriptions and how they help lazy people like me get new comics and discover new artists. The joy of packages in the mail is a part of it too. I tend to only subscribe to projects that pay their authors and artists, but will make exceptions, like Rumpus Letters in the Mail.

Today I subscribed to Ryan Sands' Youth in Decline because of Sam Alden's work and the roster of new translated comics. The chance to read translated comics is a huge part of why I subscribe to the Latvian anthology kuš! and stories from around the globe are also featured in The Cartoon Picyaune, to which I also subscribe.

Subscribing to your favorite art, be it comics or podcasts or whatever, gives the publishers a way to plan future projects and figure out how to pay contributors. Important stuff.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Comic Arts Brooklyn 2013

The day I found out that my dad's cancer spread to the innards of his giant skull, I went to CAB. I was not as social as I wanted to be and I didn't see as much as I wanted to. I ran into people I work with, people I see only on the internet and people I see only at cons.
Stage decoration by Erik Z and Chris Uphues
I really enjoyed the show, despite my state of mind. I thought the space was used well, the green cast of the upper floor comfortingly unpleasant and the folks courteous. The volunteers were sweet and didn't laugh too much when I asked if there were any CAB T-shirts still available. But is the fest still invite? If that is the case, what is the deal with Microcosm being invited?

My haul:

Mostly picking up debut comics that my patchy memory thrust forth, I did manage to browse a bit and find some things I'm really excited about like should-be superstar Eroyn Franklin minis and Caroline Paquita's Womanimal #3. I saw many more books that called out to me than my wallet could help me buy--an excellent sign for the revamped fest. There prints galore and fewer neon meltface bullshit items and a ton of inky stinky handmade books. Kids and oldsters mingled freely in the cramped aisles which made browsing a little tough but more conducive to getting a "excuse me" from your comics crush. Micro presses were out in full force and I regret not taking more notes on who is putting out whom. I missed picking up the Sam Alden and Laura Knetzger comics on my list but I know that my local store will carry them soon. At least those tears will not have to fall!


Upstairs

Downstairs
Hellen Jo's mail teasers
Oily Comics publisher Charles Forsman, blurry but unbroken

Hic and Hoc publisher Matt Moses, mid-wink

Katie Skelly mid-smile

Not tabling but winning in life: Aaron Cockle and L. Nichols

Natalya Balnova

Neoglyphic Press' Drew Miller

Pat Barrett, the battling barbarossa
Jen Tong pedals gorgeous fantasies.
Yam Books, home of the new Renee French
Check out the Comics Arts Fest tumblr for many better pictures done by better people than I.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm sorry, Paul

This year I picked up no leaves to tuck into the pages of my journal. I love doing that for some reason, but this year I missed it. Not totally, of course, the trees are still raining down colorful bookmarks, but I still find myself thinking more about doing it than actually looking at the ground for something pretty.
 
***

This is how you interview an author. Kameelah Rasheed balances familiarity and interrogation well while talking with Wendy C. Ortiz and the end result makes me want to read more by both.
"I have the courage in my late 30s and now at age 40 that I did not have in my 20s. To be honest, some of it—maybe most of it—is a feeling of what do I have to lose?" 

***

An excellent dead brother essay by Karen R. Tolchin.
Like a pervert poised to cop a feel, I looked around to make sure no one was watching and then I put my hand on Paul’s coffin. It looked as if it had been buffed smooth as a river rock but felt rough as a cat’s tongue to my fingertips.
“I’m sorry, Paul,” I whispered, rubbing my finger across the grain. “I miss my brother."

***

I greatly enjoyed listening to this story about alien abduction over at Clarkesworld: "The Aftermath" by Maggie Clark, read by Kate Baker.
Mostly, you recall, you were left in a garden of some kind—communal, or just large—and you could not tell the owners’ children from other pets allowed to roam within. 

***

Oh shit this is a great essay about reading and grieving over at Bookslut: Magic and Loss: Reading Akilah Oliver by Mairead Case
“My grandma died,” I’d say, or “I had a family emergency,” or else I just wouldn’t go out. It is impossible to talk about everything a person is, or everyone they were to you. Especially right after they go. Once I told my doctor I was late because the alarm was working wrong, which was a lie unless you count my brain as the alarm.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

speaking out of your mouth

I've always enjoyed the stories I've heard by Will McIntosh. They tend to be filled with great ideas about dim futures as well as characters that feel fully human. I just started my first novel by him, Hitchers. A few pages in and there was the dead sister.

::::

Last night I was sitting with my husband at a mediocre, but expensive, dinner. Nothing is tasting that good and we are a little out of conversation. The group of young women next to us were good eavesdropping fodder. They were talking about MOVE and a recent documentary about the Africas. I turn them and quote Adam & His Package: "We only bombed our own city once, one time."

And, because the world is small, it turns out that we went to the same high school. I was even in her sister's class. And, because the world is unfeeling, she was in my brother's class. Her face froze when I said his name.

::::

I am enjoying Hitchers, despite the fact that everybody starts dying. Books rarely get the paralysis survivors feel after any kind of sudden death, and this book is not exactly an exception. The narrator has other things on his mind, for sure, and it is hard to sustain a first-person account of sobbing, staring, and sleeping for too long. This is a fun book, despite it all.

I think about grieving without anthrax attacks and possible demon possession and read: "It wasn't fair. I'd already suffered my losses."

::::

"I sat next to him in history class. He was a riot."

How could a woman so old have known my brother? She looked like a grown up.

Cue the single bare bulb, sparking, then fading.

Sure, it was "nice" to meet someone who could put together a few recognizable sketches of my brother over dinner. Sure, it was.

"He definitely was a riot."

Monday, October 07, 2013

She should have been the first person I talked to when we decided to have a baby, the one I came to with all my questions and doubts, certainly the first one I told if and when my partner was actually pregnant (sorry, Mom).  Now everything I want to say to her wilts and dies on my tongue, and I sit there on the couch with her number half-dialed in my phone.

Lindsay King-Miller says it over at Mutha Magazine.

xxx


"Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog" by Shaenon K. Garrity over at the Drabblecast takes us to the stars on wings of pure vitriol. A nice respite from the realities of constant anger, I suggest listening to the narrated version while you do some stretches.



xxx
I've been into spooky, creeping, weird, recently. Just finished Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson and will dip into the anthology of old ghost stories as the days shuffle toward Halloween. Spooky times in Greenpoint at WORD bookstore with Laird Barron, Susan Bernofsky (translator of the NYRB release The Black Spider), Tobias Carroll of Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and others, seems like a good way to find some new stories to shiver to.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Dottie rides




Dottie is still looking for her forever home. Help her out by spreading the word. She is looking for a home with no cats and no kids. Sound like you? Here is her listing at the rescue: Dottie!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Some thoughts on Joy Williams

This year has been seasoned with a sprinkle of Joy Williams. I love checking out writers that were widely read in the past, then fell off the tongues of the book talkers. I picked up Breaking & Entering mostly for the name and concept: a couple breaks into houses in Florida and live a drifting life. The Changeling came recommended (and was in the library) and I thought, why not pick up some short stories, so Honored Guest it was.


The thing I find challenging about Williams' writing is encapsulated in this passage from the story "Claro" that takes place in a resort library after the main character asks for some children's books:
"Are you kidding? Take them all. No one's been in this place since the Second Annual Chili Cookout we had int he garden last week, a great turnout. People love their food booths. May I suggest what I believe? There was once a single language which all creatures possessed. It was highly complex and exceedingly beautiful. Latin was a gross simplification of its glories. Then some sort of cataclysm, we can't even guess.Overnight, a soiled, simpler world of cruder possibilities. Words had to be invented, they became artificial. Over centuries we appeared to evolve but our language didn't. Words aren't much more than a waste product now, space junk. We're living post-literaly. It's all gleanings and tailings. It's boring, it's transitory, but a counterliterate future is at hand. It's what's coming. The only thing language does now is separate us from the animals. We require something that separates us from ourselves."


Woof.

In Williams' writing, minor characters appear, monologue, disappear and what they say seems to have little bearing on how the story progresses. The character Poe in Breaking & Entering speaks entirely in this fashion and simply hangs out at the end of the book, being annoying, or as the main character Liberty thinks " It was nonsense the woman was speaking. She was just an old, rich, crazy woman." As a fan of digression, I still haven't come to any conclusion about whether I like this or not. The balance of her writing is steeped in sensory details, specific moments of pleasure or discomfort--hairs in the mouth, the taste of a drink--so the monologue moments can wrench me out of an otherwise compelling story.

This bumps up against the other thing: women characters that just float around. In both The Changeling and Breaking & Entering, the main character is a young woman, completely willless and ambivalent, who gets attached to a strange, powerful, and usually somewhat malevolent, male character and then led on an adventure. Sure, the women act act with drinking and wandering, but they don't have much inside and that gets boring. The short stories don't fall victim to this which is why I like them better.

I enjoy that dogs appear in many of her stories. I still think about the quiet whiteness of Clem, the dog in Breaking & Entering. His presence was always noted, but he never moved plot points along. Clem was a fun, silent shepherd that accompanies the reader through an increasingly twisted story. The story "Hammer" includes a dog and some terrible speechifying, most egregiously from the daughter character.

Speaking of "Hammer," I really liked that story for its set up and insight into the parent-child relationship. Much of Honored Guest focuses on permutations of that relationship. The most charming and terrible is the title story. About a teenager, Helen, with a cancer-ridden mom, I read this at the best/worst time: while abroad with my dad for a cancer treatment. The many mundane horrors of watching your parent die, high school, dying yourself and the slow burn of cancer are explored here with a sense of compassion and humor that sings along with the sharp-eyed observations. The last paragraph of the story expresses what I love about her writing:
"The girl with the gum had been the one that told Helen how ashes came back. Her uncle had died and came back in a red shellacked box. I looked cheap but it cost fifty-five dollars and there was an envelope taped to the box with his name typed on it beneath a glassine window as though he was being addressed to himself. The girl considered herself to be somewhat of an authority on the way these things were handled, for she had also lost a couple of godparents and knew how things were done as far south as Boston."

Friday, September 20, 2013

bittles

Once upon a time / two planets fell out of love: Yumi Sakugawa's The Rumpus comic is boss, as usual.

&&&

E. Lily Yu's short story "Loss, With Chalk Diagrams," read by Eleiece Kraweic, over on Escape Pod was a good exploration of old friendship and grief. It also covers the final demise of the U.S. Post Office, highlighting what we can draw from that 6x per week delivery that we can't get anywhere else.

&&& 

Writing cards and letters today, tying up loose ends, signing papers and that sort of thing. Life's busywork, I guess. What are you doing?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A few nights ago B and I were walking in the neighborhood. We were thinking about drinking. We were thinking about what combination of music, lighting and crowd would make that drink taste the best. We were stretching our legs. We were walking the beat.

It was late, but not too late, to be a little aimless. On one street, my favorite book store sits: Unnameable Books. My feet pulled me inside as usual. It was packed despite it being almost closing time. I announced that I couldn't buy anymore books then remembered the credit in my wallet, pink paper folded away. I burned that credit and then some.

I also saw a book my brother would have loved. I wanted to shout out to the book buyers: "Guess what? My brother would have loved this book!" I wanted to shout it to everyone. He was here and I loved him. I guess I am shouting it now.

Instead I showed the book to B. He didn't act like he cared enough about being shown this piece of my heart, this best-guess about my long-dead love. I only showed him because there was no one else to show. I had a hot flash of anger and self-pity. Then I forgave him for wanting me to live here with him instead of in my mind with my brother.

*** 
Less maddening are the books:
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
because who isn't obsessed with Lulu  
Threats by Amelia Gray because I've been wanting to read her for awhile  
The Apple in the Dark by Clarice Lispector because why the hell not

***
Unnameable Books is my favorite bookstore for many reasons. There are new and used books.  Attractive, bookish people flock there. It pulses with a sense of imminent satisfaction through discovery. You remember forgotten obsessions and find related loves. Plus, it's cheap.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I've been catching up with my Letters in the Mail subscription. The white, booklet-size envelopes fit perfectly into the back of my notebook along with the stamps, minicomics and other things. Sometimes they are about ghosts, sometimes they are about Los Angeles and sometimes they include a section on T shirts. Unsurprisingly, I like letters that are about letters; Maud Newton's was my favorite so far. Her writing is both comforting and subtly sly. Her letter was no different.

>>>>>>>>>
<<<<<<<<<

Went to my PO box and it was empty as the piggy bank on the last day of summer. This fact was slightly ameliorated by the fact that they had the new lighthouse stamps in stock. Also, my visit wasn't the usual shit show that it normally is. Everyone there was working and being awesome. Is there a new breeze blowing through the stank heck that is Atlantic Times Plaza Station?




Monday, August 12, 2013

ruined people

I've been dreaming of my friend Sally. I dream that I tell people about my dreams about her. I dream that I ask my ex if it makes sense for me to go to her house, let myself in and "wail into the carpet." I wake up before there are any answers.

As I've tried to do since my brother died, I think of ways to turn these dreams, this grief, this reality into something else.  I churn with stories unwritten; I am worried that they are all the same story.

But, enough about what I've been up to. Read this essay, Grief Magic, by Emily Rapp.
"What do ruined people do? Weird shit."


Friday, August 09, 2013

Writing poetry, riding in cars, comparing columns of numbers to rows of desires, picking up dog shit, reading Angela Carter, dreaming of old friends and, this:


And you?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Correspondence Artist by Barbara Browning

"Obviously, these kinds of questions interest me, because, as I mentioned, I occasionally dick around writing fiction. Look, I'm dicking around right now."

This book should not work. It is a series of repetitive meditations on a fading relationship that includes a one-sided email correspondence, Lacanian analysis, references to Simone Beauvoir's letters to Nelson Algren and a sestina. The narrator, Vivian, is in love with her story of almost-love and retells it with slightly different details, the rather unappealing "paramour" cloaked in four guises: an elderly writer from Israel, a pop star from Mali, a young conceptual artist from Vietnam and an aging Basque separatist. Vivian tells her stories slantwise to protect her famous-in-some-
way fuckbuddy, from what, we are not ever quite sure, but she tells it because she wants to write something.

That feeling of wanting to connect, both within the correspondence and with the reader, is what energizes Vivian's slight and circuitous story. There is also a satisfying sense of fun that carries everything along. Browning throws you out of the story at surprising moments, reminding you that it is all a story, whatever that means:
"When I met Tzipi I'd been around the block. Although she's twenty-three years older than me, I'm at the antique end of her spectrum. And I'm not dumb. Even Tzipi's acknowledged that. I went into this with my eyes wide open, and she's been honest with me every step of the way.
I told you, I have no idea why I got a little reckless with my emotions with her, when I managed to be so self-contained with the paramour."
While I read, it was irresistible to ponder which lover I could fall for. Browning knows this of course, and has Vivian think about the same thing. For me, the answer was none of them, which in turn subtly deepened my understanding of Vivian's desire.

I really enjoyed this celebration of epistolary writing. It was light, but hypnotic, and even led me to try my hand at the sestina form, along with inspiring me to write several letters and postcards. How can I help but recommend a book that made me DO something?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dottie!

Meet Dottie!

Dottie is a 3 year-old, petite pit mix with an unusual spotted coat and beautiful golden eyes. At 48 lbs., she's a great size for any home. She loves toys, going to the dog park, playing ball, car trips and exploring. She also loves learning tricks and will delight you with how quick she learns!

She is a little shy at first, but once she warms up, she is a loyal, loving friend. Give her your time--she is worth it!

She is wary of small children and cats, though, and should go to a home without them.

Dottie is housetrained, crate-trained, spayed, and up-to-date on her vaccinations.

Check her out at Sugar Mutts Rescue: sugarmutts.com or call 646-732-3795.





Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cartoon Picayune #5--Summer 2013 edited by Josh Kramer

Reading Emi Gennis' site, I saw that she was coming out with a new nonfiction story called "Radium Girls." From the teaser it seemed to be filled with drawings of old-timey ladies and gross medical stuff, two of my favorite things, and so I knew I would have to track it down.



The story, "Radium Girls," covers the media scandal and resulting trial against Radium Dial, a U.S.-based clock company. Gennis pulls out great details from the transcripts, like "Factory managers told them not to worry if they swallowed a bit of radium-- that it would 'make their cheeks rosy, '" that show the chilling indifference of this particular company and some of the horrific side effects of capitalism. Gennis balances distinctive features with an every-woman look that gives he girls humanity without sacrificing their emblematic nature. That is hard to pull off in a comic with such little dialogue.

The rest of Cartoon Picayune #5 was just as satisfying. The editor's letter covers the development of the Picayune over the years, and, as a first-time reader, this was super interesting to me. I always like to know how the issue I am reading relates to the series. Would I have liked to see the letters section after the editor's letter or on the last page? Yes, but that might be just the traditional magazine editor in me wanting to make sure that everything important can be found.

In the other feature, "Sex Workers of the World, Unite," author/illustrator Andy Warner covers the world of California sex worker rights by explaining concepts such as decriminalization and legalization and introducing us to some of the personalities involved, such as organizer Maxine Doogan and writer/activist/prostitute Carol Leigh. I love how he draws attention to the various settings where sex workers' rights come into play--the strip clubs, the streets, protests and press conferences--moving the story through any preconceptions the reader might have about where, and to whom, these rights matter. The way the talking head panels are drawn is really engaging; the emotions of the speakers in those moments really come through.

The short pieces, "Feeding the Meter" by editor Josh Kramer and Erik Thurman's "Seoul Grind" were less interesting to me, probably because food carts and coffee places are lower stakes than death and (possible future) taxes.

I love Pat Barrett's covers, especially the six-panel of portraits on the reverse. His drawings always feel somehow irrepressible, as if the energy behind the images is going to burst out of the page. I wish the healthcare worker had gotten the cover--she seems to embody the forebearance required for all work.
 
Speaking of the theme of work, the Cartoon Picayune pays, which is even more of a reason to support them. Cheap subscriptions are available!

Dottie the foster dog!

After the nightmare of medical Switzerland, I decided that it might be nice to foster a dog again.  Luckily I discovered that a bunch of the dogs in the ACC have videos made for them that you can access through Urgent Pets on Death Row and Facebook. I am a sucker for spotted ears, and after seeing this girl's love of playing ball, I had to see if she was still available.

Meet Dottie! Dottie is a 3 year-old pit mix with an unusual spotted coat and beautiful golden eyes. At 51 lbs., she's a great size. She loves toys, playing ball, sniffing and exploring. She likes to be near us at all times, but not right on top of us, unlike our last foster. She doesn't seem to have any separation anxiety either, which is great for those that don't work at home.

Right now she has mild kennel cough, so she can't meet 'n' greet other doggie friends, but she seems interested.

Here is her listing on Sugar Mutts, the rescue that pulled her from the ACC for us.
Here is the video that won my heart.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Booking in Basel

I scrambled to pack for this weird trip to Basel. I am accompanying my father for a cancer treatment, watching him, nursing him, etc. What a time to read, right?

I struggled to bring books that were both absorbing and light, in both senses. I ended up with:
 The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Honored Guest by Joy Williams
The Skating Rink by Robert Bolano
Twin Time or How Death Befell Me by Veronica Gonzalez
Conjunctions 59: Colloquy (much less depressing than Conjunctions 60: In Absentia)

So far The Bloody Chamber was an, um, unfortunate choice. Angela Carter's psychosexual fairy tales might be great for a rainy night with a lover or enemy, but they are not so great for long nights spent in bed with your ailing Dad. Honored Guest is better so far, projecting a sense of strangeness, unease and hope that better suits my circumstances.

As for comics, the Cartoonmuseum Basel is closed for the time I am here. Boo. Anyone have tips for comics satisfaction in this town?


Friday, May 10, 2013

your public face is broken

One of the things that I promised myself when I started this blog was that I would never be afraid to write about the complete shittiness of depression or grief. If you are wondering why I would be afraid then you have never applied for a job knowing that you will be Googled. Or maybe you've never has so few good days that you don't want to ruin one by thinking about why you have so few good days.

Here are two amazing pieces, posted yesterday, on what happens when life is something you suffer through rather than live. Improvising a Bone Graft by poet Nikki Reimer is deft examination of public grief and private pain. Let's just say that I identify: I loved my brother with a fierceness that is not ashamed to stand howling and naked in the middle of the road, and what I miss is the material essence of him. The only thing in the world that I want, and can’t have, is my brother’s arms around my shoulders, his infectious laugh, his shit-eating grin, his middle finger pointed at me in response to sisterly teasing. His “jerkface!” in response to my “jackass!”

Depression Part Two by Allie Brosh is both a hi-lar comic and the most apt description of chronic depression I have ever read: Months oozed by, and I gradually came to accept that maybe enjoyment was not a thing I got to feel anymore. I didn't want anyone to know, though. I was still sort of uncomfortable about how bored and detached I felt around other people, and I was still holding out hope that the whole thing would spontaneously work itself out. As long as I could manage to not alienate anyone, everything might be okay!

You might want to read the first part first. Check the dates of the posts to get a sense of the cyclical devastation even those who are treated experience. Wait, that doesn't sound funny at all! I promise you will laugh (or at least approximate the sound with your mouth).

Monday, May 06, 2013

Meet me by the angel, or travel

30th Street Station will always be my favorite. I've looked at its soaring ceiling while waiting for my father to come home, while fleeing my brother's death, while trying to warm up or cool down on yet another journey. I am small and large, young and old in that place. In the midst of such transmigrations, I've got a lot of reading done in 30th Street.

Last time I was there, days ago, I decided to check out the station's bookstore. Though I was nicely prepared for my trip with a few issues of I Love Bad Movies and a copy of lost traveler Cookie Mueller's Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, I figured that I'd kill some time away from the ghost smell of McDonald's past. Amid the usual magazines and Victorian porn novels, the bookstore carries Tin House, displays Two Dollar Radio and other small pub books, and boasts a decent sci fi and short story section.

Debating whether to buy a (gasp! full-price) novel, I headed up to the counter, behind which the several staff members screamed catchphrases at one another in a jovial manner and avoided eye contact. Hmm. The door looked locked. "Are you closed," I asked. "Yeah," grunted the security guard.

After all, no matter how good the surprises, it is still Philadelphia.

###

A new thing that the New Jersey Transit train has been doing is being a time machine. Before every stop the speakers emit the strangled warble of a dial-up modem before announcing that you are not as close to your destination as you thought. No superhighway, then or now.

###

It is no secret that the anachronistic nature of train travels is part of the appeal. Despite today's florescent lights we can all be an incognito heiress or a man on the run on the train from big city to bigger city. There are always people to watch. If you are lucky, layovers include not only a reasonable bathroom but also food made by a human. The newly remodeled (well, new in the timeline of government and memoir) Trenton train station has both of those things. Despite my love of old things, I am so glad that the former Trenton transit center is gone, taking all of those chicken grease, brown-lit, bad boyfriend memories with it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

MoCCA 2013

Due to everything else you read about on this blog,  I was really thinking of skipping MoCCA this year. I did skip Saturday--a very good idea considering how much life stuff I got done.

On Friday I hit up the hic + hoc party here in my neighborhood. I thrust B at Matt Moses and got the hard sell on Tumblr from Alabaster. I picked up the Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends: A Collection of Unsolved Mysteries anthology, edited by Emi Gennis, and then sat at the bar trying to tell B who people were in an unintelligible undertone.

Hot foot
On Sunday I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my camera and made my way to Murray Hill. The entry was still $15 for the day and still too expensive. The $5 for the show's brochure was laughable. I busted a chuckle when the poor MoCCA volunteer let me in on that great deal!

After I completely lost my shit over the OMG CURTAINS, like any sane person would, I noticed that the armory was not too crowded. I tend to list like a sinking ship when I am in crowds so this airiness allowed me to bump into many fewer people than normal. I didn't hear a ton of bitching about it being a "bad MoCCA" or anything; many books sold out before my eyes from big publishers and one-man-bands alike. Since cartoonists love to bitch, I am going to take this as a good sign.

As usual, I missed all panels. Sadly, good intentions rarely trump oversleeping and general reluctance to force a smile. One of these days! Was that even worth saying? Well, no, not really, but I already typed it and this needs to get out before next year's MoCCA.

The back of the space was set up as a mini-gallery of the Society's collection (formerly the Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art's holdings?). I loved the interaction between old newspaper work and new stuff. I was psyched as usual to see Eleanor Davis's work, originals from In Our Eden. Some other standouts for me were Nora Krug, Adam McCauley, Miriam Katin (who Robin interviewed at inkstuds recently) and Natalya Balnova, whose work reminded me of Wendy MacNaughton's illustration.

The schools were out in full force. There was a ton of amazing student work available from usual suspects SVA and CCS as well as some surprises, like Kutztown University.  I was especially intrigued by SAW's table. They ran out of the awesome-looking student anthology, but I did pick up a 3-part mini by visiting instructor Ron Rege because I was told it was about grief.

And now on to the only part that anyone cares about: The pictures! Help me fill in the blanks.
Intrepid concession workers
Happy crew: Pat Barrett, Aaron Cockle and L. Nichols
Every year I take a picture of Three-Armed Squid and every year I miss a member. Pictured here: Estrella Vega, Alden Viguilla and Alexandra Beguez
Guest of honor Jillian Tamaki
Happy crew member Darryl Ayo says Hi!
Whit Taylor likes plants and doesn't deserve this horrible photo
CCS-er Amelia Onorato sells selkie stories
Greg Means says he can find pictures of my face on the internet. He means it!
Nikki Desautelle. I wish I had picked up more here!
Award-winner Kenan Rubenstein and Neil Brideau battle comics ennui
Gabrielle Bell choosing not to hide while doing a sketch for me.
Mark Delboy sold me Pizza & Sex but I didn't tip
Sabrina Elliott, Jensine Eckwall and Dilek Baykara present a united front

Yao XiaoJudith Kim and Judy Wong(?) are consummate saleswomen
???
Ran out of money then ran into Katz Sisters and Andrea Tsurumi. Bad timing.

My haul
My tip top item: This letterpress print by Nikki Desautelle
So what was your pick from the show?