In Bonnie Jo Campbell’s first novel, Q Road, there’s this character, Nicole, a young woman with delusions of homicide. I think there’s a scene where she maniacally stabs a pumpkin (honestly, I haven’t read Q Road since it was released so I’m not remembering it perfectly, but I’m definitely rereading both novels after I finish this comic) and the implication is that it has to do with the sense of disappointment or discomfiture she feels as a young wife versus the expectations she had as a young bride. When I interviewed Bonnie Jo in 2002, she said,
I think that every married woman can sympathize with the homicidal bride. Think about those poor brides who worked for a year on their wedding ceremony and made everything just perfect. And then what? They’re married to some guy who probably smells. They’re stuck with this guy for all eternity and it’s nothing like the wedding.
That, I expect, is what’s going on here with Georgina. She had plans today, and her husband’s stupidity ruined them. And this is a woman who’s already living on skim milk and rice cakes in order to fit into the physical parameters of society’s expectations for a young woman, so her temper is probably pretty short to begin with. And then here’s this idiot to whom she is legally tied, trespassing, stealing, and driving his truck into a situation that any person with a lick of common sense would avoid. I mean, if you’re going to trespass and steal, don’t drive the getaway car into a swamp, amirite? Andy’s being a dope. He deserves to have mud sprayed on his face while his dumb expensive truck sinks.
I like the way Georgina’s life has this upward momentum, but she still feels these warm ties to her past. Maybe they were poor and all the people were freaks, but her grandmother’s cooking was better than anything you could buy in a store. Things were hard when the soil went bad, but now it’s rich enough that people can grow food in it. Living down by the river in the poor part of town isn’t so awful. Nowhere near as awful as living up on the ridge but losing your pony in the mud. Apparently not as bad as being married to someone who doesn’t consult you on big financial decisions, or someone who insists on maintaining a perfect lawn.
In The Man’s defense, while he did just have lunch a couple pages back in comic time, it’s been almost 4 months in real time. And he does love barbecue.
If a dragon eats a human, obviously, it’s not cannibalism.
Even though I got stung by a bee, again, and suffered what would be categorized as a “moderate” reaction (my entire forearm swelled up and it itches from my wrist almost to my shoulder) I made a comic. Hooray for me. It was weird typing these words I originally wrote months ago, especially today, as The Man is Away on Family Business and he might be back tomorrow or he might be gone for a couple days. I guess I go away without him a lot more often than he goes away without me, so that feels strange, too.
Otherwise all there is to say is that this background took way longer than I thought it would and I should have made the black stripes be rainbow stripes running perpendicular to the other rainbow stripes. It would have been at least 20% cooler. Live and learn.
Probably could have added a little paper fancy toothpick, but this sandwich is glued together and unlikely to fall apart.
Last week I attended a retirement party for a woman who’s worked at the school where I do bulletins boards since the Reagan administration or something. Like pretty much every educational administrative assistant I’ve ever met, she liked to project a gruff and unyielding persona, covering up her sweet side to prevent people from bothering her unnecessarily, but really, she’s very nice. She used to live in the town where spent my uncomfortable adolescence, and always wanted to reminisce about this particular diner, which my mother told me has long since closed.
She recalled, rapturously, the sandwiches at this place, but my memories are quite different, and I only have one. I never actually ate there; there was a cheaper and better deli closer to my house, but one day, my friend the Vampire Bat took me there. We were in high school and she had a crush on a busboy who worked there. We went in around 3 pm, when there were few customers. The busboy apparently had a crush back, because he greeted her effusively, sat us at a table, and, at her request, brought us ice water, pickles, bread, and butter. No sooner had we laid in to our ill-gotten feast than the manager noticed that we were not paying customers, but freeloaders dirtying a table and distracting the busboy, and promptly threw us out. This was one of many establishments from which the Vampire Bat got us ejected when we were in high school.
To celebrate the AA’s retirement, I painstakingly crafted a paper pastrami sandwich on pumpernickel rye swirl with a Kosher dill pickle. She was appreciative. I’ll probably get this design in my RedBubble store.
Bitter melon is very bitter, but I suspect cocoyam doesn’t taste like cocoa.
It’s time to recommit myself to a lot of things, including this blog. Even though nobody seems to care or notice that I haven’t drawn a comic in over 3 weeks, I remind myself that this blog is for you. It’s for me. You just happen to be lucky enough to read it. There are going to be some Dragon Comics soon.
For this gratitude, which was supposed to go up last week, I was thinking about all the foods in the world I haven’t tried. Like a lot of kids, I was a boring and picky eater with a very limited repertoire. A lot of people would still consider me picky—I largely avoid grains, particularly wheat, and white sugar, and won’t eat anything made with ground or preserved meat, or most fast or junk foods—but I’m fairly open to trying new things, especially if they come from older and healthier cuisines. Lately, we’re obsessed with West African cuisine, particularly fufu and peanut sauce. It’s delicious, and if you haven’t tried it, especially with goat, you’re missing out on some of the good things in life.
For a little pick-me-up it’s fun to go to new grocery stores, especially ones run and patronized by immigrants. There are 100s or 1000s of fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried, with which other people are familiar, and now that we have the internet there’s no excuse not to try them. In all honesty, I tried the bitter melon a few different ways and it was too bitter for me, but I’m glad I tried it. You never know what you might enjoy. The cocoyam I’ll try to work up into something tonight.
My gratitude is for the existence of and will to experience countless new foods.
I recognize that some of that’s drab olive green but that doesn’t make a very good title.
If someone were to grade me on my commitment to my art for this weekend, I would flunk, but if the grade were for running around like a crazy person and accomplishing half of everything that requires doing: A+. The Man and I are gearing up for a couple big things plus I had to celebrate my upcoming birthday with all the people I won’t be able to hang out with on my actual birthday.
Saturday, The Fox and Ms. Kitty took me out to one of our favorite restaurants, Feast, which is what we did, and then to a Japanese garden where I fed koi. And pet them. Because that is a thing dragons enjoy. And then there was a big party that night, and then we went to another big party Sunday night. And now most of my tasks remain undone.
It’s important to get to gatherings like these, though, because they remind me that there are good, caring, compassionate people in the world, that there are whole communities of Americans who believe in a doctrine of love and will never support hatred, who will actually speak out and take action and defend others.
Technically speaking, knight errant must be free-range by definition.
Back when I was single, after the invention of the internet, but before newspapers seemed completely obsolete, I placed a personal ad in the local alternative rag, which included an anonymous voice mailbox where my suitors might woo me by recording spoken word messages, to be retrieved at my leisure. I ended up dating the glibbest of these guys for a year, and still talk to him occasionally, but most of the wooers failed to wow me with their woo. One of them failed really spectacularly.
His message began by saying that he was a vegetarian, which was actually fine with me. At the time, I was a vegetarian, too. But this guy was very passionate about his vegetarianism, to the point that his entire message was about how important it was to him that he never find himself in the vicinity of meat, and how disgusting meat was, and how he could never date someone who ate meat because the smell of it, the idea of it upon his lover’s lips, was overwhelmingly vile. He spent so long complaining about his distaste for meat and meat-eaters that the voice message cut him off in the middle of the sentence. Undeterred, he called back and continued his tirade for several minutes more.
Needless to say, he did not get the callback.
As to this comic, I just keep thinking of Temple Grandin saying, “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.”
If I felt better I would have taken the shading further (like, but making the tower look cylindrical instead of 2-dimensional) but you can see I tried. I really tried.