Friday, June 26, 2015

keep out

It has been a long time now but I once had a terrible boyfriend that I loved. We bonded over books and writing, wrote long notes and letters, tried to figure things out with words. However, when it came time to do our own work, he became wary and watchful.

All he could imagine was that I was writing in my journal about him, or about my desire to be with other people, because what else could be going on inside of me? What else dare go on inside of me?

It has been a long time now but it still makes me angry.

click to enlarge
When I read this page by Summer Pierre in Forgive Me #2 I started to feel sick. When I got to the part where she cuts out the passages that obsess and terrify her boyfriend, my heart broke a little. Now I know that no matter how much you give away to that person it is never enough, and it is never worth it because you get wise, you get lucky and you get out, but a little smaller and little more rounded than is best.

If you don't get out, you get The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado. This story is framed by familiar urban legends and concerns a woman's sacrifices for her desire.

"– I have given you everything you have ever asked for, I say. Am I not allowed this one thing?
– I want to know.
– You think you want to know, I say, but you do not.
– Why do you want to hide it from me?
– I am not hiding it. It is not yours."

Though the above quote is plain and bare, the story itself is subtle and entrancing. I love how Machado takes on how women are punished for being complex, the resignation inherent in many life choices and the importance of an inner life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ley Lines: Thank God, I Am in Love by Cathy G. Johnson

Grindstone Comics and Czap Books' Ley Lines series collects work from exciting cartoonists about art. Sometimes the comics are about influences, sometimes about the art world, but Thank God, I Am in Love gets at the primal, wrenching feeling of finding work that speaks to your soul.

The brown pallette of the pages seems an odd choice for a book about love, but the plainness of the images lets Cathy G. Johnson's words take center stage.  "I don't need portraits or actors pretending to be him. I don't need the mythology. I have the swirls of ecstasy, the impasto, I have his presence his presence his presence" Johnson recreates those swirls of ecstasy for each panel of the comic. I could recognize some of them from my very limited knowledge of Van Gogh's work; I wonder if a more versed reader would gain extra insight.

Though descriptions of the physical sensations that art love cause dominate the text the (not unrelated) line that most stuck with me was: "His work alleviates my loneliness." That is the most precious gift of falling in love, that melding, that recognition, and Johnson truly captures it in this book.

I was deeply into Golden Smoke by Warren Craghead and Unholy Shapes by Annie Mok, and I can't wait for the next issue of Ley Lines. If you did not subscribe, well, now's your chance.

Monday, June 15, 2015

a thing for ghost ships

I've got a thing for ghost ships.

G90F270_027F from the NYPL
There is something deliciously creepy about a floating reminder of the dangers of isolation in the wild world. The possibility of treasure, or just something to do after days or months of monotony, is a true lure on the open sea and I love pondering the possible malevolent intelligence behind such displays.

So here are two derelict boat stories, one very old and one new, both expertly read:
Tales To Terrify 177: Derelict by William Hope Hodgson
Pseudopod 440: Octavius Bound by Nathan Ehret