I know! What was I thinking? But it’s a scary prospect, fishing a weta and a spider out of a letterbox. What if they run up your arm?
I just came across a card from my grandmother who died 18 months ago and felt sad that that was the last one we’d receive. On the news the other day I heard that postage was going up because nobody was sending letters anymore and it was unsustainable. Letters were dying out along with my grandmothers’ generation. Of course we still communicate, copiously, but there is no longer that paper record of your intimate thoughts and feelings at a particular point of time – words chosen for an audience of one, rather than the group audiences that social media provides. I salvaged a lot of Katherine Mansfield’s dialogue in my book from her letters. I wonder how future biographers will go about recreating lives from our texts, feeds, emails and vlogs.
Also, I emptied out my handbag:
Every morning I get an email from The Nib, sending me political comics about mainly American issues. Sometimes I read them, sometimes I don’t, but mostly I pick one that appeals to me stylistically the most. (I always read my Kupu o te Rā but only sometimes remember what it was a few hours later.) Comics are a very powerful medium for politics, but sometimes they lack complexity. I hesitated about posting this comic because it oversimplified the issue. Or perhaps it didn’t. I really enjoyed this blog post by Bernard Beckett, which seemed quite a lot more nuanced, and something I’d like my son to read. I also really liked this article by Emma Kelly, putting the onous on men to change things. And this powerful piece by Emily Writes. But since things seem to crazy right now, since the world feels like it’s in crisis, I feel obliged to hold up my little mirror to it. It’s so crap that young women today have to deal with the same issues
How has your past week been? Mine is continuing to be a mixed bag.
Apologies for the double-posting today, especially those of you who are on my email list. I respond very well to parental pressure, and since my dad was giving me shit for not delivering on my one comic a week promise I’d made over on Patreon, I thought I’d post two to make up for it!
I was really grumpy for a week when my toe was sore. It was weird – or perhaps completely obvious – how out of sorts it made me feel. It had the strange effect, similar to when you’re wanting to be pregnant and it seems everyone has an egg belly, that everywhere I looked I could see limping people, people on crutches, people struggling to walk through pain. And I realised that I hadn’t really been noticing them before – it was my own pain that was making them apparent. I think that we all want to believe that we have great empathy, that we can imagine what it’s like for other people, but in fact we can’t, fully. There’s always some kind of membrane, a spider web nest between you and the other person’s experience. Which is probably why I like novels and personal essays so much – you can feel like you are seeing another’s life without the membrane, that this is the insight you were lacking.
Still, I think we’re fooling ourselves a little. Not that I think we can’t imagine another’s experience, but that there will always be that gap. That gap is important though – it keeps us curious, it keeps us reaching and reading and changing. I gorge myself on articles on the internet. I listen to podcasts* as I colour comics and do the housework. I fill myself to the brim with information and some of it sticks, most of it dissipates. I long for the clarity the podcasts bring, but mainly my thoughts jumble about, willy-nilly. My sore toe – it’s not so sore now. The joint aches when I walk but not when I’m sitting still. I know I will forget what it’s like to live with acute pain and I am pleased about that. It’s unbearable, but many people bear it.
(*Of course, if I wasn’t trying to find a decent podcast in the first place I never would’ve sprained my bloody toe!)
Thanks for indulging me – I mostly think the funny misshapen things are far more interesting than the perfectly formed things. This comic was prompted by all the little ideas that had been irritating my brain, but hadn’t formed into proper comics yet. The proper comics will come but they need more time! I am working on a longer comic at the moment – one that the kids can read (no swearing! No nudity!) and I think that is also getting in the way of me writing a comic this week. I am such a serial monogamist when it comes to creative work.
Following up on reviews, I got a lovely celebrity endorsement this week:
“In Mansfield and Me you will find many pretty things: landscapes and flowers and historical literary figures. You will also find birth, sex, blood, rock and punk, artistic rejection, motherhood and mercilessly real depictions of relationships.”
Adrian Kinnaird also reviewed M&M on his NZ comics blog, From Earth’s End.
“It’s a remarkable ode to creativity and a personal journey to achieving one’s ambitions. If you love great memoirs and want to experience one that’s a bit unconventional but highly entertaining, this is the one for you.”
And here’s one by Melinda Johnston, over on The Spinoff.
“The struggle to find a place in the world, to reconcile sexual identity, and to find a working balance between ambition and everyday reality are all successfully realised.”
Like I say, nice reviews, no declarations of my genius, dammit, but I suppose there’s always the next book. Or else I can recognise my desire for validation as a sick addiction that I have to let go of!