Tag Archives: marriage

Celery Fields

waoa 11 celery fields_edited-1

Grass lawns are the absolute worst.

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.

Advertisements

Shotgun Wedding

waoa 6 shotgun wedding_edited-1.png

Well, if this isn’t the most gendered thing I’ve ever drawn…

“Shotgun Wedding” is a pure example of flash fiction, not just due to its length, but to its form. It’s the story of a single moment of revelation, which, in my view, is the point of a flash. It reduces a story down to the climax, takes a massive web of understanding and compresses it into a tiny dot: this moment, in which one person has to let go of another.

The love between the sisters, and particularly of the big sister, who is the first person narrator, for her more vulnerable sibling, is really beautiful. The little sister is both the embodiment of feminine perfection but also the odd girl out in the family, too magical and delicate to exist in the world where everyone else lives. She’s balanced by the strength of her sister’s determination, and the sense of responsibility the narrator has always felt to protect her like a precious treasure. In the space of the story, the dynamic has just ended. The little sister has her husband as a counterweight now, but the big sister is going to be reeling backward, as you do when you’re pulling hard at something that suddenly gives way.

But time, to my way of thinking, is infinite in both directions. The moment in which the big sister was a teenager standing at the window with a shotgun protecting her family will always exist, as will this present moment of release.

There’s a fun balance in the pinky-pinkiness of the little sister’s world and the metallic shotguns of the big sister’s. It was challenging but entertaining to draw. Took me forever to get the little sister looking over her shoulder right.

Gratitude: This Guy

IMG_5973 (1)

He’s The Man. And he’s not at all threatened by his relationship with a hideous, fire-breathing dragon who could destroy him.

I probably don’t say it enough, but this guy keeps me going. And, of course, he has substantially more hair on his head than his namesake character is drawn with in Dragon Comics, which is a bonus, but it’s not the most important part of a stable marriage. Knowing that someone always has your back is a much bigger deal. It’s a huge deal, and it’s not easy to always make that work. It’s a lot of effort to make it work most of the time, and effort alone is no guarantee of success, so a functional marriage, in this day and age, is kind of a big deal.

This picture was taken on the Marin Headlands; that’s the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. As air travel has, since 9/11, become increasingly uncomfortable, unpredictable, and invasive, I’ve gradually come to a point in my life where I would rather spend days in a car than hours at the tender mercies of the TSA/FAA. So The Man drove me to San Francisco. From Tucson. That’s 13 hours door to door. On the way back we had a little extra time so we spent 2 nights in LA, but he still drove the entire way. He’s my hero. I am very grateful to have found him.

 

Charming

prince-charming_edited-1

It’s a family name. 

Please understand that this comic in no way reflects my relationship. The Man would never a) keep a pair of socks with holes in them, b) wear tighty whities/a tank top, or c) own a La-Z-Boy. He would also not miss his mouth if I made him nachos. He is too fond of nachos to treat them with such disrespect. Also, I don’t think I could get him to wear a crown no matter how many beers I got him. Well, maybe, but it would have to be a lot of beers. Anyway, he never claimed to be a prince.

I should have given the prince a 5 o’clock shadow. You get the picture.

Today I applied for a job, one that pays money. Got a callback right away because–yo! I gots mad writing skillz. At least where those skillz pertain to the writing of cover letters. Also, I have 20 years of experience. But I still have to take a test. Between that and making a new bulletin board for the elementary kiddies (the old one blew away and the librarian replaced it with a sign that read “This sign is out of order. Please do not read this sign.Oh, no, now you’ve done it. You should stop reading this! Why are you still reading this broken sign? Now you must go back to the top and start over”) and trying to finish 2 books and write articles about them, and of course, draw a comic and maybe work on a novel, Dragon will be a busy Dragon tomorrow.

Now Dragon is a migraine-y Dragon. No more screens.

Fifth Wedding Anniversary: Wood

wooden-marriage_edited-1

OK, let’s go back and unpack that statement. Or unshell it. 

I wanted to draw a matryoshka comic for weeks, every since I saw a comic where a matryoshka doll is trying to get into the movie theater and the dude at the concession stand asks her if she’s sure she only needs 1 ticket. This one came to me while I was looking at such a doll on my mom’s tchotchke shelf: first the “full of herself” line, then the realizing that she needed a spouse who was also made of wood and some kind of doll. Well, of course a nutcracker. They’re both Russian, right? And they both have similarly wooden personalities. The exact wording took a while; I changed it 2 or 3 times, before and after drawing the image.

From where I sit, this marriage is over. They don’t respect each other anymore. Check out dude’s body language. They can’t even make eye contact.

Just gonna keep drawing marital counseling comics until the New Yorker calls me.

That’s all there is to say about this one, because I ate cheap Chinese food and I have a massive msg headache. But it’s so great to have the ability to sit down and create a complete comic in an hour. When I started, it usually took 4.

After some initial confusion, my book is definitely available in paperback. Click this Amazon link!

 

My Bliss

bjc my bliss_edited-2

I get wanting to be married once, but I don’t understand how anyone could do it 25 times.

Originally, I thought this would be the hardest story to adapt to comic format. Even though it’s a very short flash fiction–that’s literally the complete text in the comic–it leans toward what I would call “experimental” and doesn’t lend itself to summary. Like, what would the yellow box say? “A woman claims to have married a variety of inanimate objects and non-human animals”? That’s not a story.

Admittedly, when I first read the book, it was my least favorite piece. I thought it was too precious, too blithe. Drawing this comic helped me see it in a different perspective, though. The narrator is much like many other characters in Bonnie Jo’s books: clueless about relationships. Once my brain delved into the layers of the story, the way to adapt it seemed obvious.

My first stylistic idea was to use the full text as a background and draw everything on top of the words, but that makes it even more experimental. If you can’t figure out what’s going on with the entire story, you’re not going to get much out of the entire story with half of it covered up. But as I started writing out the actual words, the idea of putting all the pieces, words and images, together with only one sentence of commentary from me seemed like the way to go.

It’s entirely possible that I have it wrong, and this is not what the author intended.

Then again, I know people like this. The next thing is always the thing. Whatever catches their eye, that’s the thing that’s going to save them. And they drop what they have and run after something new. A lover, a job, a hobby, a car. It’s not really the lover, job, hobby, car that they’re chasing. The reward is hope, because it’s easier to maintain hope about something new and totally unknown than it is to focus on all the problems and obstacles in your current situation.

There are always obstacles, though.

Lisa and Robyn Got Married

Friday night we were out with some friends, dinner and karaoke (in case you’re wondering, I *rocked* “Only the Good Die Young.” The entire bar was into it), and then headed back to another couple’s house to chill out. I brought the Wacom tablet because sometimes I just feel like messing with it all day. (I almost skipped karaoke to go draw.) Demonstrating to my friend, I said, “Hey, I’ll paint a picture of you.” The first image I came up with of her was one my husband took on her wedding day a few months back.

“You’re really going to paint that?” she asked.

“Sure, why not?”

The “why not” would probably have been because she was wearing a birdcage veil, and her wife a necklace made of 10 thousand tiny beads. Those would have been reasons not to paint that particular image anyway, because those things were not easy to draw. But I was committed. And it took 3 days. And I did this.

So in love <3

So in love ❤ I had a WAY better background and Photoshop crashed as I was saving it! Tried to recreate but it’s so late and it’s not going well. 

I had fabulous plans for a background, but every time I attempted to execute it looked awful. I’m not 100% satisfied, but I’m not entirely certain how to make the pixels do what I want them to do here, so I’m sticking with this reminiscent-of-the-’80s design for now. The great thing about digital paint is that you can always come back. I can easily put the background in the trash and try a new one.