Thank you so much to the people who have already donated to my Patreon page – you are stars!!! I am planning on tweaking the rewards and the video to make it all a little more enticing, and then boring everyone silly on social media. Or perhaps I will just trust that my Patreon supporters will organically grow, without me having to make a secret YouTube channel where I give you tutorials on how to draw as messily as I do. I have ideas for a serialised comic as well as my usual sporadic one, drawn in response to whatever is going around in my head at the same time as I get out the paper and ink. Let’s just see how I get on! Oh, and if anyone has any ideas as to what I should be doing next, please leave suggestions in the comments.
So I decided to give Patreon a go because I figured that I could get paid to blog. As you may know, I share these comics because I really like to receive some kind of response to my work, and I like to have a forum where I can think/draw out loud. I don’t get paid to do so. I also thought that if I could get people to financially support my work, I would have to post every week, rather than my on-again, off-again relationship I have with my blog. Let Me Be Frank would become legit, one of the real things that I do, rather than the thing I fit around paid work and big projects.
Please don’t feel obliged – you will still be able to see my comics whether or not you pay. It just would be nice, and a way of telling me that you value what I do. There are rewards if you pay me loads of money, but $1 a month is gratefully received. Also, if you check out my Patreon page you’ll be able to see the dorky video I made (although maybe you don’t really want to know what I’m like IRL!)
I was interviewed by TV1 yesterday and they asked me about the significance of the damage to the house. I only had this realisation – that the earthquake functioned in the same way that a Mansfield story did – after they switched off the cameras. Dammit, I always do that! The best thoughts come to me in retrospect. Maybe that’s why I’m a writer – because I can never think of the right thing to say on the spot; I need time to consider my words. On the spot, words swarm out of my mouth like bees, complaining because a brick wall has fallen on their hive. I seem to have no control over them, and no memory of what I said afterwards. Anyway, I will post a link when it comes to hand!
First of all, commiserations to my U.S. readers, who now have to live with Donald Trump as their leader. I really didn’t imagine that this would happen. This comic may seem facile, but I felt like I had to draw something, no matter how simple, to mark this day. I don’t want the kind of world that Donald Trump represents. I want a world that is kind and full of compassion. Aroha nui.
NEWS FLASH: (did I get your attention?) I’ll be at the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden at 2pm this Sunday, in conversation with Helen Rickerby and Anna Jackson, chaired by Claire Mabey! Come along – there’ll be afternoon tea! I’ll draw a picture for you if you buy my book!
This comic is partially a response to this article by Brannavan Gnanalingam in The Spinoff, amongst others. I always include non-white characters in my work, but I’m not sure they’d pass the racial Bechdel test. My central characters are usually white and middle class, like myself. I am a bit scared of writing non-white characters, scared I will get it wrong, that someone will tell me off, knowing that there are many things non-white people experience that I have not imagined. I would love it if more non-white-middle-class narratives were published in New Zealand. I just finished Black Ice Matters by Gina Cole, a Fijian New Zealander, and it was great – excellent writing, gripping stories, showing me a New Zealand that I knew existed, but that I wasn’t always party to. It made me feel like New Zealand had so many more layers than I could perceive, and that to me is a wonderful thing.
I do feel, quite passionately, that if we eradicated poverty and inequality, if we redressed the damage my pākeha ancestors did by stealing land and language from the Māori, if we were more welcoming to immigrants and refugees, our art and literature and society would be so much richer for it. How do we do this? It feels so hard! It seems like something the government should do, but the government we have is callous and imagines economic growth to trickle down and solve all of these issues. We need a new government, that’s what we need!
And talking of new governments:
Here is a comic from my journal, which is sitting in the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden right now. I’m going to be on a panel there next weekend, along with Helen Rickerby and Anna Jackson, and it would be lovely if you could come along! There will be afternoon tea in the garden, and November is when all the roses come out.
If you live in the Wairarapa, I will be giving a talk in Carterton on Sunday.
Mansfield had a complicated relationship with her sexuality – it wasn’t ok to be queer in the early 20th century, and she definitely had Oscar Wilde impulses, as she liked to describe them.
(Actually Katherine does know what she’s talking about – she had a relationship with Māta Mahupuku and Beatrice Hastings, amongst others)
Kind of an act of voodoo, don’t you think? Sophie and Henri left, and Katherine and John never saw them again.
I was tidying out my office this weekend and I found a bunch of comics I did for a job, when I was still figuring out what the job was. They are a bunch of NZ literary jokes and it helps if you have an understanding of NZ lit!
Frank Sargeson was a short story writer and novelist who was famous, amongst other things, for being an excellent gardener and for offering his shed to Janet Frame so she could write her novels there.
I am quite excited about Catherine Chidgey’s new novel, which is going to be out in a week or so – I’ve been a fan since way back.
“The Magpies” is a classic New Zealand poem I first encountered at school – I can’t go past a magpie without thinking of it (and also thinking of how I must greet it or else I will have bad luck.
And I was raised on Margaret Mahy – her first book, A Lion in the Meadow, was published only a few years before I was born.
I was also born at the right time to enjoy Maurice Gee’s children’s books, and when I moved to Auckland, I thought I’d stumbled across the inspiration for “Under the Mountain”.