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.

i’m here i’m here i’m here i’m here!

let’s recap.
last summer, a year ago this week, i was homeless for a month and a half while waiting for our new apartment to open up.
then at the new year, i packed up my four minions and moved two hours north of dusty to a different home.
then, this spring, my landlord/housemate asked me to leave so she could have the place to herself.
and i moved again.
this time to another state, to my childhood home, with dusty & the minions.
i wasn’t ready to live with dusty again.
but circumstances….
so now, though i think of moses jones & other projects every day, i have a new place to settle. land & house in serious need of care-taking. a yard & garden. a flock of chickens. two dogs who need training. four minions on hyper-drive as they try to adjust to the fourth move in a year….

i’m here though. never far away. treading water.

i am in the process of collecting all of my poetry from my other blog to put into a collection of sorts. then i will delete the bulk of that blog to convert it (once more) into a different blog. this time about the dysfunctional adventures of a homesteading family.

and i look at my barely started first page of just me and my lizard brain every day, sighing softly.

and i daydream about doing some fantastic & wildly popular chinese ink brush paintings of the central illinois landscape.

and mojo. i think about mojo. her humble beginnings, her journey thus far, and her future in the graphic novel world….

chaos never sleeps

it has been a long time since i have finished or started anything. i could blame my kids (two of them are actually climbing on me as i try to do this), but in truth, my life is just chaotic–again–right now and i am unable to focus.

i did however work on this treasure map, for my kids, an experiment in ink on canvas…actually the back of a used canvas. things to learn from, the way the water in the canvas spread the ink to places i did not intend for it to go. i was going to go back with black ink, but the treasure map has been stolen and since it was intended to be played with, i guess they don’t mind the ink that got away from me. the back of the canvas is rougher, it seems than the front. but i do like painting with ink & hope to do more of it soon.

meanwhile! my life is in upheaval again. my housemate/landlord has asked me and my tribe to move along. this will be the fourth time in a year i have had to pack up everything my family owns & relocate with them–and do all the things again that a relocation with a big family entails. at least we have a place to go at which we will hopefully be able to put down roots. we are going to my childhood home. it is a few acres in rural illinois. the heart of illinois, they call it. if you read my comic about racism…yeah, that place. but our place is in the country & hopefully i will be able to create a beautiful existence there. and maybe contribute in a positive way to the existing culture?? we will see. i have lots of plans. which should include more art! more moses jones! more whimsy! more lizard brain! along with all the fun of homesteading!

dusty is coming with me. he is excited about it. could be good for us…or we might be reenacting the shining. either way, it should be interesting. might be i can turn my other blog (quixotic mama) into a homesteading blog.

goodbye dusty knickers

when i did the prototype pages for this comic, back in my drawing II class. way back when i was pregnant for poppy, spring of 2013, there was no dusty in the panels. the dusty in my life asked me, “how come i’m never in your comics?”

so when i started the actual comic pages, i wrote in a dusty. but he morphed into how i felt, deep down, about my own dusty–abandoned. his character has been forever absent from the story, only appearing in flashbacks.

then, briefly, i thought things were going to work out between dusty & me–so i started to bring his character into the present pages of my comic. while i was doing this, it came to light just how deceptive & damaging he was to me and my love for him.

episode two ends with dusty knickers coming back into the life of moses jones.

but now i have packed up everything that is mine, and i have left the dusty in my life. we have 4 kids together. we will always be connected, but i am starting a life without him. a life i have dreamed of starting all these years of feeling abandoned by him–lonely in his presence–but a life i never escaped to because i worried about him and couldn’t leave him for that worry.

i am in the middle of leaving. finishing up at our old place and packing the kids into a car for our new place. i have to get settled, but then i will continue my story, and we will find out how things work out between dusty & moses jones.

i’m not optimistic that their relationship will fare much better than mine with my dusty–my dusty who is no longer mine.

the ending is the beginning.

new directions

just two weeks into school and i am ready to try some new things. something i was thinking of doing anyway which was also suggested by one of my professors, going bigger with my originals. back way back when i first started doing comics, i was a purist and used story boards. i penciled. i inked. i used a printer service to reduce and produce my final sheets…. then when i started moses jones, i started doing it the way i wanted to–not the way the bossy male “friend” comic artists told me i had to do it. i worked smaller & used just ink! ink! ink! but now i am ready to compromise. i even bought one of those blue pencils and am entertaining the idea of using pencils again. maybe….

i used a blue pencil here to try to make a slightly cleaner picture....
i used a blue pencil here to try to make a slightly cleaner picture….

so the last page of episode two will be larger & i will photograph it instead of scanning it. with the help of student loans (i am hoping our education system will be socialized soon & all these loans will be forgiven!) i am getting a new & better camera for art. i also have to get a new laptop. this one has at least four nonworking keys, overheats constantly, moves at the speed of snot, and has no battery life. i have to use adobe illustrator for one of my classes & i was afraid to install it into a dying computer…. so my buy nothing new is a bit conflicted right now because in order to get the drop & spill protection (four kids!!) i had to buy new….

so lots of stuff going on here.

the last page should be done soon! then i will make a second zine & start episode three!

zine fest 2015

remember these guys? well, i’m hoping they will have a new sibling soon. there are just a few more pages until episode two is complete…just a month or more before zine fest 2015 happens here in madison.

so i have to somehow get my shit together–finish episode two of moses jones–make another zine–and get my pretty little butt to zine fest.

also. i am back in classes at UW madison. i went to my intermediate drawing class yesterday &–good news–i can do whatever i want. i can work on mojo…or another graphic novel for my class. yay. considering i get grants to go to school, it’s almost like i’m getting paid to make graphic novels.

my other class is an introduction to digital media.

meanwhile, my life sucks & i’m trying to dig myself out of the funk i’m in.  i will post page 37 tomorrow.

ps. i found this camera while looking for a good camera to use for art…. canon camera …hmm…maybe with my student loans?

slowly i creep…

i paneled two pages. inked the first layer of ink onto one. i did that two nights ago, while watching dexter. i didn’t get to work more on it yesterday as i was struggling to fight off a crippling case of zombie-ism. or flu season is starting early this year…. but i pumped my body full of immune boosting foods and slept a lot. so i can comic on!

physically i feel much better today. though i’ve been in a bit of a funk, feeling like a failure at most of life–relationships, parenting, being an artist & writer…so it came as a very pleasant surprise to find out that moses jones had received her first donation!! sarah over at problems with infinity–who has been very supportive of moses jones since our comics first crossed paths, donated to my efforts to continue! yay! it feels so awesome to accept that people like my comic enough to help me. it feels good. i feel good.

money brings to mind what i need to invest in to make a better comic & better art and to bring that comic and art to its audience. a new camera. i did a little research. in order to make prints of my work, i need either a better digital camera, a really kick-ass scanner/printer, and-or a good relationship with a print shop. money. also! i am just a few pages away from the end of episode two of moses jones, which means i will be making a second zine. plus, for zine fest, i will need to make more copies of episode one. money money.

i am hoping to get financial aid. i was late applying for it this year & even though school starts in less than 2 weeks, i still don’t know if i will be able to supplement rent & zines, much less pay for classes. i asked for a loan from one of my sisters. i’m using a credit card (i avoid using credit cards…but….)

money.

i wish we lived in a society of trade. i have so many homemade things to trade. kimchi, chocolate chip cookies, life advice, hugs, drawings, an ear for listening, mead, elixer, entertaining stories, bread, blanket forts…. as it is, i am just giving these things away. stop by if you need any!

alas. money. stupid money.

so i have to either figure out a way to topple the monetary system (i am jack’s smirking revenge) or find a way to make my art into money….

either way, new pages soon! pages 36 & 37 are becoming ink on paper.

ready…set…draw!

my desk is set up!!!!! i could not be more excited. which goes to prove i am a total comic booking geek. i love working on comics! i get so excited just thinking about them! but not just any comics. i cannot do the hero comics–as eddie campbell calls them. i love the alternatives. like most of life, i love the alternatives. i love being a woman graphic novelist.

i went through a lot of my stuff as i unpacked & organized. i did not (as i was tempted to do due to minimalism or fear of criticism) recycle all of the stories from my last writer’s workshop. i kept them. i want to be serious. i want to do re-writes & edit & fine tune. i want to do it all. and i want to draw pictures to go with my words.

i want to draw pictures.

i am 45 years old & i know this about me: i want to draw pictures.

i’m headed back to school after a semester off. maybe i will get my degree. maybe i will get my mother-fucking MFA. who knows? poppy will be weaned in the foreseeable future. misha is already crazy independent. i am only going to have more & more time to work on my comics. and i am going to work on my comics. this is who i am. this is what i do.

so, come hell or high water, there will be new pages of moses jones next week! and, you know what, just for shits & giggles, i might work on another comic as well.

here i am. here i stay.

while my children scream at me

i sneak away to my scanner….
since my camera is sad these days, i will try scanning more. since i have a home again, i will try scanning more.

i finally have the right ink in my pens. though this page was done before it occurred to me that i could dump the wrong ink out of my pen and refill it with the right ink. i was just trying to run it out by using my pen. my pen was not digging that and no amount of shaking or tapping was getting it to draw. so this journal page is a bit rough. also, i was using styles that aren’t mine. just for fun.

iggy called the bikini top “weed boob sacks”–ha!

i’m still reading amanda palmer’s book. i am tempted to contact her. maybe i will. she touts her own accessibility quite a lot in her book, however, i am new to the fan base…and i think i just rub people the wrong way–so i dread contacting her & being ignored. as she says in her book, social rejection hurts as much as physical pain. it does. plus, i realize that i may never be good at asking. as a child, i was ignored by my parents. the fourth of six, they just kinda forgot about me. they were pretty lackluster parents to begin with, and i was lost in the shuffle. instead of making a ruckus–like poppy does (i admire his 4th child technique of constantly demanding he get at least equal consideration, even though said technique exhausts me!)–instead of demanding attention–i decided to disappear. my feeling, even as a young child, was that if they weren’t going to give me the attention i deserved, i would not stoop to ask for it.

and i didn’t.

and now the art of asking is an art that i cannot grasp.

though i need to.

so how do i start interacting on a better level with my fan base? how do i reach out to people? how do i become human? these are the puzzles i occupy myself with these days. i hope to figure it out. being a successful artist & writer is important to me, but it may never happen if i do not learn how to interact with my audience.

ay fuck.

as for moses jones…my living room is still full of the wrong furniture & unpacked boxes. my desk sits amidst the mess, calling to me. hopefully, i will get the excess furniture & boxes out of the living room tonight so i can set up my desk & feel like myself again. and get some pages of mojo out to y’all. soon!

with my desk en route

at the point of this update, my desk–the home of my art & writings–is in a uhaul somewhere in stoughton, wisconsin en route to madison. i miss my desk terribly and anxiously await her arrival.

meanwhile, i doodle on. as my life rises and falls beneath my feet, i doodle on. i ride the waves of my own drama while i doodle and vent in the pages of my journal.

mojo, i have not forsaken you! i keep you close, but do not dare remove you from the portfolio which is your temporary home for fear of young children wreaking havoc on your fragile pages….

and i continue to read amanda palmer’s book the art of asking. i think i have ventured past the point where i am envious, petty, and sad–and now i am able to enjoy the book. i fear repeating my mistake of making contact with someone who seems a kindred soul. lynda barry has taught me to stay hidden in my hole. but i still fantasize about it. what would amanda palmer & i talk about at lunch? would she like my comic? would she make me some new eyebrows? what would she wear? would she let me draw on her eyebrows?

i’m a crazy stalker chick. there is no denying that. however, the book does have me wondering–in addition to what would happen if i started asking for things–where in my life can i be more giving of things? any book that gets me thinking is a good book in my opinion. hers is a good book. a memoir more than a self-help. and it isn’t chronological. and there aren’t chapters per se. she seems authentic. i like that. neil chose well. i look forward to attending one of their anniversary parties once amanda palmer & i have become best friends & gotten matching tattoos.