I did these drawings around November 29, the seventh anniversary of my mother’s death. Click on them to see them bigger (I know you know that but for some reason I say it anyway.) Starting to use a fountain pen (Lamy Safari) which I like a lot.
I love how Nicola wears fancy frocks to comics events, and then decides to tap dance or pull on a winter hat partway through her presentation. Elegant and playful at the same time. Is that a particularly British quality?
Cartoonist and publisher Corinne Pearlman at her fabulous home. I did not find this article about the house until after we returned to Canada.
This is our new friend Katie; we stayed at her place in Newcastle. She is talking about some of the symptoms of M.E.
Katie changed her surname in her 20s. What’s really cool is that then her mother and sister followed suit. I’d never heard of that before.
As you can see, I’ve been experimenting with styles. Neither of these really looks like Katie, but I had fun doing them. And here is Katie’s dog Jodie.
And last of all, a wee angel. I love all the angels who only have heads and wings. They are all over the cathedrals. Maybe I will do some comics about these body-less angels.
My last event in England was a conversation with Nicola Streeten at Orbital Comics in the West End… The store is awesome, especially the side room full of small press comics and graphic novels where we did our presentation. Thanks to the lovely Camila at Orbital for posting a podcast that includes our slideshow! Watch it below or download the podcast and open it with iTunes or QuickTime to see the accompanying images. Thanks to Paul Gravett, Corinne Pearlman and Camila for making the event happen. And thanks to Donimo, my saviour, for procuring enough cold medication to enable me to hold myself upright and be semi-coherent. (In case you wonder while you’re listening to the podcast, I’m not crying, just congested.)
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Nicola wrote/drew Billy, Me & You, and is also co-creator of Laydeez do Comics. So amazing that I got to meet her and talk to her! And even make fun of her silly version of a Canadian accent. Long live traumatic autobiographical comics by Laydeez!
Donimo captured us being serious artists and total dorks…
I kept wanting to tell everyone in the entire world, but I couldn’t, because the radio documentary hadn’t come out yet, but now it has. So guess what? This is Part 3 of 3 in the amazing series, How I Spent My Summer Vacation: I went to Torngat Mountains National Park! I had the extreme good fortune to be one of five writers chosen by radio icon and all-around awesome lady Shelagh Rogers to join her on this adventure.
Watch for more coverage in The Independent and The Jewish Chronicle.
Tomorrow I leave London after a lovely two weeks here. Will be posting some photos and notes from the trip soon. Thanks so much to everyone at Jonathan Cape, Leeds Comics Forum and Newcastle University, along with all the fabulous people I’ve met here (Nicola Streeten, Sarah Lightman, Paul Gravett, Ian Williams, Corinne Pearlman, Francesca Cassavetti, etc etc). England rules.
Thanks to everyone who recommended Tangles — apparently there were 10,000 recommended books, so it’s super great to see Tangles in the top 40! I am also just excited that there are three graphic narratives in the list: Tangles and Scott Chantler’s Two Generals and Chester Brown’s classic, Louis Riel. Comix FTW! You can see the whole list and vote over at Canada Reads. Voting will determine the top ten; then 5 judges will each choose one book to champion. Fun times!
This year the Canada Reads contest on CBC is limited to non-fiction. I’m really glad they are doing this, after last year’s focus on the novel. And it has been fun to see the reader recommendations for Tangles showing up in the daily roundups of recommendations on the Canada Reads blog. If you are so moved, recommendations are accepted until midnight Eastern Time October 14: http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/2012/recommend/index.html.
Aargh, I am so bad at keeping a regular blog. I mean, not that it has ever been my intention to blog daily or weekly or anything, but this is a bit ridiculous. ALSO, there are things I want to tell you. So here it is, how I spent my summer vacation, part 2 of 3.
In Toronto, Julie Wilson hosted a conversation with me and Andrew Westoll at Ben McNally Books called “You Think You Know Me But You Have No Idea.” Andrew and I read from our work and talked about what it’s like to publish memoir, how the portrayal of yourself in your book is different from the Real You. The title of the event sounds a bit hostile, but really it didn’t turn out that way. Check out reports on the panel from Canadian Bookshelf and The Toronto Quarterly. Highlights of the evening included meeting the incredible Julie Wilson in person for the first time, and my agent Samantha Haywood, too! (Get a sense of Sam’s passion for publishing in this great interview on Open Book Toronto.) Andrew Westoll and I have written very different books but we think along the same lines when it comes to shaping narrative from life experience.
Julie Wilson, me, Andrew Westoll: all of us are much more dynamic and smiley in person.
In Kingston, the wonderful essayist and lovely friend Susan Olding and I did a version of the same event at the tiny Novel Idea Bookstore, and managed to cram an attentive (and patient) audience into the narrow spaces between immovable bookshelves and we stacked books and small tables creatively to make a perfect stand for the projector. I love doing readings in little bookstores where you have to figure out how to make everything work with the space you have — there is always someone in the crowd with good spatial sense and/or expertise with projectors and the experience of setting everything up together creates a sweet atmosphere for reading and talking and answering questions. Highlights included seeing the wonderful art and writing that Susan’s young daughter Maia has been creating, and being in the city where Alias Grace was set. I just read Alias Grace this spring and am somewhat haunted by Grace Marks and her murdering ways.
Last but not least, I took the train to Montreal (broken air conditioning on the train + worst day of heat wave = completely hideous arrival in the most aggressively stylish city in Canada, but oh well). There I did a reading at the Yellow Door Coffeehouse with a small but extremely smart audience who asked great questions and took me out for Ethiopian food. I lived in Montreal in the late 80s and early 90s. Things are different but that electric, crackling energy that I remember is the same (that energy that made me think the people in Vancouver were in a coma or something when I first moved here). My favourite night included walking by a park where Judas Priest videos were playing on a large screen, continuing on through the dancing crowds of the Nuits d’Afrique festival, and then running back to my hotel through a wild thunderstorm.
You can read a bit about my reading on the wonderful blog, She Reads and Reads, and I had a coffee in Old Montreal with Ian McGillis, who wrote a lovely review of Tangles back in December. You can read his interview with me on the Montreal Gazette blog. I also met up with my dad in Montreal!
We went to the D&Q bookstore! And found Tangles on the shelf! I bought Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning and Hilary Chute’s Graphic Women and a bunch of mini-comics from the awesome Life and Times of Butch Dykes series. And more! Until I regained a semblance of self-control and frugality.
Oh, were you wondering what my cute dad looks like? Well here he is!