sylvia plath, lynda barry, and a sheep named tyler durden

i am going to get some pages of moses jones done. i really really am. i have been busy…a bit suicidal…depressed…and busy.

i would be lying if i said i had been working on this zine that i started by drawing the cover. although i have worked a bit on an essay about john irving and also lynda barry. but that is all. and i did this journal page thinking about doing some ink brush paintings of livestock:

journal-page-2

livestock!
so now i have ten chickens and four sheep. i have a tendency to just wing it in many areas of my life. like i never seem to get adequate directions, do not have a smart phone or gps, yet constantly set out on adventures saying, “we’ll find it.” so i got chickens before i had a coop built. i got dogs before making sure my chickens would not be harassed by them. and i got sheep before i had a fenced pasture. long story short. i have lost one rooster to an over-zealous herd dog and have poisoned one sheep by not researching very well and just thinking, “it’ll be fine.” strange that someone as neurotic as me would be so okay with winging it. but i am. another example of my oxymoronity.

we named our sheep after favorite characters from favorite movies. i got to name the ram. i really wanted to name him tyler durden…but decided on harold (from harold & maude) because i was afraid a sheep named tyler durden might be prone to fighting as well as challenging the status quo. but harold the ram got really sick after eating something (acorns? toxic lambsquarters? too much chicken food?) and was looking awful. so i re-re-named him tyler durden and “drenched” (which means to force liquids on–not to douse with a hose!) him with apple cider vinegar and began my journey towards being a holistic shepherd.

but it is my depression more than anything that has crippled my creative process. i read something recently that said that depression is “living in the past.” you know, with anxiety being “living in the future.” i can see that…but my problem is my depression is a current event. i am very unhappy–not with my homestead…but with my live-in ex-husband. aka dusty knickers. he is happy to live at my folks place, contributing only when he sees the whites of my eyes, and otherwise playing video games and being a pain in the ass. i don’t know how to get him to move on…move out…move! i have come to peace with some things–like that it is not my job to let him know he is an asshole…but i do not know how to find peace with him always here. always being dusty.

but i have not taken the sylvia plath route. mostly because of what it would do to my kids. i decided that suicide is something best done when you are young and childless. i passed my open window of opportunity in 1998 (the last time i seriously contemplated suicide but ended up marrying some guy i just met instead. marriage & suicide are on about the same level for me, i guess. ha!) now i have four kids and have to commit to being here no matter how painful it is.

yay.

so i’m putting together this zine. you can be in it if you want. right now it is in a very loose stage of development. but, you know, art–poetry–essays.
and i’m still working on all my other projects: moses jones, lizard brain, whimsy, one up on sylvia plath, space aliens & serial killers…. kids, homestead, survival, etc. you know the drill. and reading, always reading. i totally recommend david wong. but most recently i finally read lynda barry’s notes of an accidental professor. as you may or may not know, i attended uw where she teaches, but somehow i never made it into her class despite her being an early influence for my comics. self-sabotage? fear of my heroes? just plain goofy? we had a nodding acquaintance, mostly because i took my kids to her monthly drawing jams…but i never became soul sisters with her even though my inner geek dreamed of this.
it’s a regret i have.
so i’m sending her a postcard.
you know, a moses jones postcard.
(who knows, maybe she will be my best friend forever after all.) a postcard, and then i will close that chapter and open a new one.

doodles.

here’s a doodle from my journal.

i am working on a new page. i have some words…some panels…. now i wait for a break in the chaos to pencil in some interactions between mojo & dusty.
man, she is stupid for that man.
i know the feeling.

i hope to have it finished today.
okay, just kidding.
a page a week?
maybe i can beat that this week.
we’ll see.

while the baby naps…

i have doodled a bit.

& written bad poetry…as i am prone to do when feeling heartsick…or hopeful. or both at the same time.

and i have started reading neil gaiman’s collection of short stories trigger warning. i have only read the introduction and the first couple of stories, but i can tell you this–though i have always loved neil gaiman’s writing…now i am in love with his writing. plus, he seems like such an authentic person. i think about trying to contact him…but i’m still recovering from lynda barry’s callous treatment of my heart.

i miss my bubble. i know i live in somewhat of a bubble. the fictitious town of madison, wisconsin. where farmer’s market abound and local organic food is a given. where everyone recycles and liberal bumper stickers decorate many a hybrid car. not the kind of town that in on the landscape of moses jones’s world. and a rare town in my own world, i am realizing as i leave my bubble.

i miss my dusty. i can’t make the coffee right on my own. i have no one to tell the funny stuff to. and the scary stuff. well, no one i want to tell it to. how does moses jones live so long without her dusty? she must have strong walls around her heart. she must be protecting herself. not just from zombies…but from love.

ah, the insight one gets from leaving one’s comfort zone.

while uploading the picture of my daily doodles, i realized i also had pictures of dusty & poppy–and dusty & fidgit–on my camera.

& daddy 007 & daddy 012

i miss dusty…i even miss watching him playing killing floor 2. (dusty spends a lot of time preparing to fight zombies.) i think we will be back together soon though. he has given me reason to feel hopeful that we can save our relationship from the (w)horrors that cannibalize it. however, i find that dusty waxes and wanes like the moon, controlling the tides of me. right now the moon is full & bright…although i have learned the hard way, there is always a dark side to the moon.

zombie mama book reviews

so…getting a chance to work with wet, messy ink while being attacked on all sides by an invasion of creatures i created myself…getting a chance to make art while being cannibalized by toddlers (well, that’s what it feels like sometimes)…long story short–i haven’t been able to ink any pages because my kids are nuts.

however.

i did get to read this book, Sharp Teethby Toby Barlow.

sometimes while nursing incessantly needy babies, sometimes, i get to read. or sometimes i just hide away with a book and listen for the screams to hit that certain pitch that means i absolutely must return and take away any sharp or blunt objects.

i picked up Sharp Teeth at the library. i always check out the display tables–themed by bored librarians. this one was a table for an independence day celebration where they picked books that had red covers, white covers, and blue covers. nothing but the red cover put this book on a table where i had easy access to just grab it as i wrestled kids toward the check-out desk. i grabbed it, probably thinking something deep & stimulating like, “huh, i like dogs,” and shoved it in my bag where it hung out through a couple of relocations to temporary homes until i finally pulled it out and opened it a couple of days ago.

upon seeing that the text was all in verse form rather than prose, i almost put it right back in my bag.

for someone who dabbles in really bad poetry, i can be pretty biased and seem to have an aversion to verse.

maybe realizing this, i gave the words a chance to prove they weren’t going to be annoying. and they weren’t! they were a story, written like a poem, but still a story. and a really good story. this first book by Toby Barlow impressed the crap out of me. murder, intrigue, werewolves, some feel-good dysfunctional romance, and a somewhat complicated plot with a variety of characters that wasn’t too difficult for a mother of four to follow. i didn’t feel forced into liking or disliking any of the characters. i wanted characters to survive (i wasn’t rooting for their death like i was when i watched that god-awful film Blair Witch Project). at a certain point i was unable to put the book down & had to neglect my horde until i had finished the book.

oh! and it is a book with a werewolf theme that isn’t one of those annoying jump-on-the-bandwagon-and-write-a-book-about-werewolves-or-vampires books. it feels original. refreshing even.

in the “ps” of the book there is a conversation with the author. he comments that someone described the way his book was written as a graphic novel without pictures.

huh.

maybe that’s why i liked it so much.

also! i have thought about doing books with more text & less pictures (but still with pictures)…& my style of poetry is more like a story than a lyric…and i also like to dabble with mixing genres…. hmmm. maybe i can borrow some inspiration from this.

now…if my children would just let me create something other than more children!

home is where you ink your comics

i sit in a borrowed house that is home until the end of july. peaceful chaos abounds. not quite a room of my own but also not staying in a guest room. not being forced to “helicopter parent” my children for fear they will break, damage or be damaged in another person’s living space. parenting in someone else’s space has to be one of the most stressful ways to parent. parenting with an audience–also extraordinarily stressful. add in stressed out minions who are amped up on uncertainty and lack of familiar routines…it is a perfect storm of a parenting nightmare.

in the nick of time, before i lost what was left of my mind, a friend of mine abandoned her house, leaving the door open for us to squat here for a few weeks.

i miss moses jones. i think this journal page shows how much i miss her.

yesterday, at an impromptu birthday party for me, a friend of a friend who is involved with the michigan womyn’s festival asked if she could use some mojo for the back cover of the zine for the festival. i agreed–though i do worry about some of the politics–i mean, i am a feminist, but i am a very inclusive feminist…a feminist who believes that all the infighting among women should stop and we should be a united front…and that one of our best hopes for the future is to raise feminist sons as well as feminist daughters….. anyhoo, one of my early early moses jones pictures (done for an art class) is about to be used as the back cover for this zine. it will be cool to get some exposure.

speaking of zines, i am hoping to get the final pages of this episode finished & have two zines for the madison zine fest this year. hopefully, now that i have a space almost of my own, i will be a bit more productive.

artist, mama, student, baker, writer?

or candlestick maker?

i doodled this as my daughter, misha, did a study for language and development. she is delayed in her speech. the speech pathologist made a point of telling me how important it was that we get her ways to communicate all the amazing things that must be going on in her head. or else she will become frustrated with not being able to show people how amazing she is. “it’s especially important with children as bright as she is to learn to communicate.” dumb kids need not apply, i guess. ha! i felt sad thinking of her frustration–perhaps because i know that frustration. being misunderstood. not being able to put into words–or the right words–all the amazing things in your head. my own delayed speech, i think, must have contributed to my wanting to be a writer and an artist–to my wanting to find a better way to communicate where spoken language had left me wanting.

as i watched misha play with the speech pathologist, i was reading hip mama’s latest issue and trying to read the short story that won first prize in a contest i did not place in. the story was…lackluster? it did nothing for me. this won? i thought, and tried not to take it personally. i need to try harder. i can do better than this. were the next thoughts to run through my mind. doing better. i can do better than the entry i sent to the contest, and i can do better than the story that won first prize. i am actually a very good writer. it’s true. i need more focus maybe. more practice. but i do have something. i need to start writing again! i determined. i quit writing fiction (other than graphic novels) because i was tired of being rejected and tired of competing with the never-ending parade of writers there are these days. but i have a renewed desire to write and to compete. some of it is a need for money–should i start winning contests and getting published–but a lot of it is just my need to communicate. graphic novels are my first love, but–fuck me–the story unfolds slowly. i think i need to be spewing other thoughts of mine in a quicker fiction.

speaking of money. i have not “worked” since shortly after fidgit was born. almost 10 years ago. i have worked–hard for no money–as a mom. i have done some freelance writing for demand studios (google “em connell mccarty” for your ehow articles on how to give a dog a birthday party…ha!) and i have gone to school for writing and art. however, as unconventional and low-impact as our family is–we need a bit more of the green stuff. and not the green stuff we can forage for. today i am trying to write up my resume for a baking job. i love baking–but i’m not sure about the hours. so far i have my name & phone number written down. no address because i’m not sure where i will be living at the end of the month. though! good news there. the woman we met with about renting part of her home seemed to like us, and having had two sons of her own (now grown) she was not terrified by the antics of figdit & iggy. so we might might might have a place to live other than my mazda5…. and maybe more income if i can remember my work history from my previous lives and use it to find work. or! maybe i will win a fiction writing contest…hmmm.

what keeps me busy

i am so wrapped up in house hunting. i think of little else. plans. back-up plans. panic attacks and deep funks. i hate house hunting. house hunting when four little people are involved is…oh my god…how do i do this? today we are meeting with a single woman who is entertaining the idea of renting part of her home to us. i think about someone else having to live with my children and i find myself thinking, “i don’t even want to live with them–how can i ask a stranger to?”

okay. i don’t always feel this way about the minions. lately is just…special. poppy is grumpy. iggy is grumpy. i am grumpy. we act and react to each other all day long.

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meanwhile, in my comic process, i did manage to draw something. just a journal page. but it turned out kinda cool. also, in my quest to be a better artist, i am reading the gift by lewis hyde. it is taking me awhile to read it. just snippets here and there when i’m not wrapped up in needy kids or house hunting. but so far so good. i am finally in the second half which is more applied towards artists. i will let you know what i think.

that’s all i can update you on today. poppy is screaming at me and iggy is screaming at fidgit. yay. good times.