I made a little zine to go with my ‘At The Bay’ one to sell at Auckland Zinefest this weekend (11 am-4 pm at the Auckland Art Gallery). I will give you a sneak preview of some pages:
It’s the same genre as Mansfield and Me – part biography, part memoir – except it’s only 16 pages long!
But of course I want you all to come and get a copy of ‘At The Bay’ as well!
Hey, did you know that I’ve been keeping this blog for over 6 years? I posted my second comic on the 6th of July, 2010. Otto was 7 and was still only allowed one hour of screen time a day, Gus was 4 and Violet was almost 1. Now Otto’s a teenager and I have to hide all the computer hardware in the house in order to get him to stop gaming. Back then I was writing a novel – The Fall of Light. Right now I’ve sent my graphic novel off to print and have not yet started a new project. Is a writer a writer when she is not writing?
Also, I am going to be in Auckland this Sunday for zinefest! I am going to bring up my ‘At The Bay’ comics to sell, along with some copies of Three Words and other stray comics. Come and say hello and buy some comics. It kicks off at 11am at the art gallery and goes until 4. Find out more here.
And that book I was talking about: it’s this one. I still have to read it. I hear it’s very funny.
When I was cleaning up in preparation for doing my tax return (oh joy!) I found a comic that I drew that I never posted. It fits in with my celebrity obsession theme:
… which is one of my recurring themes, as evidenced by my Mansfield and Me book:
I still love Miranda July, but sometimes I think it’s best that you don’t meet your personal heroes. You know so much more about them than they do about you, so the relationship is going to be off-balance. Not to say that I haven’t had some lovely encounters with writers in signing queues – it was so great meeting Jeffrey Eugenides, and Alison Bechdel, and David Mitchell said such encouraging words, and I’m nourishing my inner freak, in accordance with Junot Diaz’ inscription. I cringe when I think of my embarrassing fan letter delivered to Morrissey’s bodyguards. Mostly I think your imagined relationship is so much better than the real one is ever going to be, and it’s fun fantasising about this different world you might inhabit, that your heroes have so vividly evoked for you. I’ve really enjoyed hanging out in Mansfield’s world for the past couple of years, even though when I imagine her with me, she’s a bit disparaging.
Anyway – I’d better get back to my tax return. I’ve been a bit busy to post comics here lately, but I have made a few for the Academy of NZ Literature, as well as writing book reviews for The Spinoff. But I will post some more soon! And I will be at the Auckland zine fest on the 24th of July, so I’d better draw something for that.
For those of you who live in Wellington, there’s a zine fest on at Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba Street, this Saturday. It starts at 12 noon and ends at 5 pm. If you’re in town, please swing by! I have copies of the first chapter of Mansfield and Me to sell, as well as a mini comic of collected comics from this blog.
Here’s also a a little movie that I made of how to bind a zine using the eraser/short armed stapler method.
I will also have a few copies of Three Words to sell at a special zine fest price (although I see it’s also on special over at Beatnik – get in quick!)
This idea – of memories in objects – is explored beautifully in Anna Smaill’s book The Chimes. You should read it if you haven’t already. It’s so original and a page-turner to boot.
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that it’s Winter Zine Fest at Thistle Hall, Cuba Street, Wellington, this Saturday 4 June between 12 and 5. I’m going to be there, selling the first chapter of Mansfield and Me: a graphic memoir if you want to have a sneak preview. Maybe I will also staple up some of my Let Me Be Frank comics – it depends on my finances! Anyway, come and say hi if you’re in town – I’d love to meet you.
Apologies to the vegetarians! I used to be a vegetarian and I feel like I still should be, but I’ve succumbed to my children’s demands and the fact that they don’t seem to be as enthusiastic about chickpeas and tofu as I am.
But – I am fascinated by my local butcher’s shop. It’s like going back to the 70s, before my mother turned our family vegetarian and we’d pop in for our wiener schnitzels and casserole beef, and the butcher would always give me a saveloy. The butchers know the customers by name, chat away and do meat deliveries to the old people in the neighbourhood. I was listening to poet Vincent O’Sullivan on Kim Hill last year, and he talked of his own butcher romance:
“I used to be fascinated by how [butchers] could both chat up their customers at the same time as doing things with knives and half carcasses and sliced luncheon. The whole business of going to a butcher’s shop as a child and later was always a curious treat that was partly aesthetic and partly it was just a bit of theatre.”
Also, I was struck by this random encounter Gus had. The moment the other boy turned up in the shop, there was something very familiar about him. He was just as bouncing-off-the-walls, talking-too-loudly-in-public-places as Gus was. Recently, I read Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes, and he explained that the reason why there were so many families in Sillicon Valley with autistic kids was because their parents recognised latent autistic traits in each other. I think that Gus and this boy quickly recognised that their brains were both wired in an amped-up way.
I have always felt a bit restless – I’m a nail biter, a fiddler. I imagine my life will be better if I lived in New York, Mexico, Vietnam. I wouldn’t be so nagged by ennui. I used to feel jealous of cigarette smokers because they had something to do in awkward social situations. They could concentrate on rolling, lighting, inhaling, blowing smoke rings and – all that nervous energy channeled – they’d have the best conversations at tea break. Or perhaps they weren’t having the best conversations, but it seemed like that was where the party was going on. There would be disclosures. Upstairs we were talking about the weather.
Now I have my phone – I can look at it whenever I feel bored or uncomfortable. The party is there, somewhere – I see evidence of it on Facebook and Instagram, I eavesdrop in Twitter. I read amazing articles about interesting ideas by people I’d like to know. I read interviews with writers; I listen to podcasts with Zadie Smith. I read too many articles. I read ones that make me feel like a bad mother. I read about how I could become more productive, or how I should be less productive. I feel slightly nauseous with all the articles I’ve read, like Oliver Jeffers’ book-eating boy, who consumes so many stories that nothing makes sense anymore.
My whole family is addicted to the internet. Right now Violet and Gus are watching Netflix and Otto is gaming downstairs. At six o’clock we’ve taken to hiding the modem. It should be the only way to stop us from gobbling up data. But of course I have a mobile plan and I cheat.
When I am hanging out with other people I don’t check my phone or the internet so much. When I have a deadline I also suspend my obsessive browsing. But mostly I work alone, or else I am watching children climb trees or waiting for them to put their shoes on (do you know how long that can take?!) and the temptation is too great.
I don’t know what I’m going to do about this. I suspect this is a form of growing pains – what’s the difference between phone surfing and my old days of reading newspapers and magazines? Now at least the music news isn’t three weeks old, having been sent over from England and the US. I don’t think I notice less because I am always looking for things to photograph. But maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing anymore.