Mermaid Sushi

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Whatever you do, do not Google “mermaid sushi” unless you really, really want to see mermaid sushi. 

Got the book files out today and then had to double check to see if I still remembered how to draw without the Wacom tablet. Sketching is easier on paper, but lettering is harder. I could mess with this picture for another 2 hours but I just wanted to remind myself that it’s possible to quick tell story in pictures without digital help. Although I fixed the lettering up in Photoshop. Plus, it’s almost midnight. So here is a silly comic.

No nipples on these mermaids. I’m not sure if that’s self-censorship or just a simple fact of life. Like, do mermaids lactate? Presumably they lay eggs like most fish, because their reproductive parts have to be located in the fish section, but the human section has hair, so maybe they are mammals on top even if they don’t get live birth. Although you never see mermaids drawn with armpit hair. But obviously they eat sushi every night, and raw steak would be a glamorous, unusual foreign treat.

2 Rainbow Zentangles

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Just trying to unwind here. 

I hope these scans are high quality, because in the process of making them, I got my knee tangled in the cable and knocked the scanner off the shelf and onto the floor. It still seems to function normally, but who knows? Every piece of digital equipment I own seems to be malfunctioning lately. I’ve got a phone with a shattered screen, a laptop with an almost useless battery and a frayed power cable and very limited memory, and suddenly I can’t get any decent macro images out of my camera. At least my brand new Wacom tablet is still under warranty.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty focused on finishing up the book, but it seemed more or less done so of course I spent 2 hours drawing abstract rainbow designs. Tomorrow I can prepare the files to be printer and probably get them sent off. It could be printed this week. I may have to take a break from using the tablet for a little while so my hand doesn’t fall off. Maybe some photography is in order. That camera will do my bidding.

Killer Clover Mandala

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In hindsight, I notice the alien quality of some percentage of this project. 

My head is pretty much swimming from working to finish this comic book. There were sixteen pages for the Mothers, Tell Your Daughters project, plus the original Susanna comic, plus a front and back cover for the book, which leaves one blank page. Wednesday at the latest, though, I should be through. And I might have to take a break from the Wacom tablet for a while, just to ensure my hand doesn’t fall off.

Maybe I could have gotten more done today, but the Fox randomly showed up before I had even gotten out of bed, and we ended up on a magical journey that included being comped into the roller rink and visiting the Misseses Kitties, who have both been sick. That’s probably good, though. Any more work in one day and my hand might have really fallen off.

Progress

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Does anyone still get psychoanalyzed? And where does one buy a psychoanalysis couch? Do they sell them at Ikea? And, if so, do psychoanalysts fight about them in the middle of Ikea?

Sometimes I do feel like I’m cursed. I’ve lost track of the number of times I had reason to believe my ship had come in, only to find myself running off the end of the dock and falling into the frigid sea. At this point, I have zero reasonable expectation of success in my lifetime, and yet, even when I know that failure is imminent, I can’t seem to shake this stupid optimism that tells me, no, this time it will work out. This time you’ll get where you want to be.

I have a lot of respect for people who manage to work as therapist 40 hours week (maybe not for Freudian analysts, although you have to hand it to people who manage to hold onto a perspective that’s long been discredited) because it’s really emotionally draining work, listening to people whine day in and day out, most often about the same thing, week after week, with no intention of actually changing their circumstances. For a while, I thought I would be happy doing that job, but 2 internships and a practicum in mental health convinced me otherwise. Now I just give advice for free. People seem to think I’m good at it. Even strangers on the internet thank me for my insight, and if you’ve been on the internet, you know what a big deal that is.

Another thing I was thinking about was transference/countertransference. To do therapy, a therapist has to get the patient to like them in a certain capacity. I’m frankly astonished at the number of people who go to therapy for months or years and are afraid to tell their therapists the truth. I know it’s a goodly percentage of people, because people tell me things, and then, pretty often, add, “I’ve never even told my therapist that.” And I say, “Why not?” Because therapy is freaking expensive and it seems silly to pay someone $150 an hour to not tell them the truth (and then tell it to me for free). But people are filled with shame.

Anyway, you have to get your patient to like you, in a sort of parental way, where they trust you and feel safe with you, and you have to like them back, but not too much, because you can’t be emotionally involved with your clients, even if your entire relationship is about your emotions. You’re supposed to develop feelings for one another than you can then use to open up discussions about those feelings and how similar feelings affect their lives outside the office. But pretty often people aren’t that comfortable with their therapists, and I think it’s safe to say that some therapists don’t like their clients, and sometimes it shows. And people get discouraged and assume therapy doesn’t work, when it’s really the therapeutic relationship that’s not working, and they should just cut their losses and find a more appropriate therapist.

I can’t afford a therapist. But if I could, I would definitely be talking about the 101 examples I could give of moments in my life when I had every reason to believe things were going to unfold in a way that would improve my life, and instead didn’t unfold at all. I swear, it’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why I drew this comic, instead of not drawing a comic.

Who Are You, Again?

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It seems unfair that it takes me just as long to draw a comic with terrible artwork as it does to draw one with beautiful illustrations. 

Just a little bit of silliness, plus an excuse to use a lot of sesquipedalian words, because I’m not abstruse enough.  I do have a little bit of face blindness and a marked inability to recollect people’s names 30 seconds after meeting them myself, actually, although I learn to recognize people after repeated exposure, so hopefully no offense taken by people with legitimate neurological disorders.

Long, tired day.

3 Polymer Clay Dragons Just Hanging Out

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Life is good, here on the edge of a discontinued Woodeye glass. 

I made these little guys a couple days ago, in the midst of the BJC project, on a night I couldn’t bear to pick up the Wacom tablet. Apparently, I don’t know as much about Sculpey as I thought I did, because the blue dragon’s wings fell off the minute it came out of the oven, and it doesn’t really stand by itself, even though it was totally designed to stand by itself. Maybe it’s a pendant that’s meant to hang by the loop in its tail. I had The Man glue its wings back on, because his hands are much steadier than mine. I don’t think I’ve ever crazy glued anything without also gluing my fingers together.

The braided dragon reminds me of Celtic knot work, and also, it’s a dragonicorn. A unidragon. He’s got a single green horn.

The third one is my little sigil I use. It’s a dragon, but it’s also a monogram. Sometimes I draw a little arrow at the end of its tail, and give it an open mouth, but you can see how it’s a dragon, and a cursive M, without the extra details.

Will make more tiny polymer clay dragons soon. I bought all these materials for myself for my birthday last year, and the Girl has used more of it than I have.

Sleepover (More or Less)

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Obviously, I took a couple liberties with this one, but I think I caught the gist of it.

Well, that’s a wrap. There were a few moments when I didn’t think I’d make it, but I did: 16 comics in 4 weeks and 1 day, 6 panels for every one of the 16 stories in Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell. And now I can tell you that these comics will all be available in print, an actual physical comic book that you may have the good fortune of possessing if you happen to check out Bonnie Jo’s upcoming book tour this fall, and maybe if you attend the Tucson Festival of Books this spring, and perhaps some other places as well. It’s pretty exciting.

So, yeah, it’s more about me than about “Sleepover,” but I think, if you parse this comic the way I parsed the rest of the stories, you’ll see the connections. From the very beginning of this project, while trying to figure out where and how to begin, I knew that I would have to tell this story, and so the first piece in the book would have to come last, because who wants to read about Monica? Besides the people who apparently read these blog posts, I guess. Actually, more people read any of my individual blog posts than have read all of my novels put together.

Really, I don’t think I totally understood “Sleepover,” or Stu’s advice entirely until reaching the last panel. Although, don’t you just understand everything on an increasingly deeper level the older you get? Maybe in another decade it will all carry even greater meaning.

It seemed imperative to get Stu’s actual words and handwriting into this comic, which necessitated spending nearly an hour going through papers for this one particular paper, and even though I was kind of freaking out about the time as it happened, looking over some of this stuff was delightful. I had forgotten what excellent feedback both Stu and Bonnie Jo gave, voluminous critique. Stu covered almost an entire page with comments about “Changing Planes,” a story of fewer than 250 words. He wrote almost as much about the story as there was story, and it wasn’t even for class. He gave me an extra critique just because I asked. And Bonnie Jo headed my thesis committee, even though she wasn’t even employed by the university at the time.

I miss grad school. But the future might be even more fun.