August 31, 2016

In the waiting room

My first boyfriend and I got back together in university. He developed cancer, was successfully treated after surgery and radiation. It was a very rough time for him. The cancer was testicular, and aggressive, and at the outset we didn't know whether it had metastasised.

Throughout, I was not a comfort to him (our relationship was already crappy) but he got some laughs out of a book of humour for cancer patients, I think by Ben Wicks. Haven't been able to find it since.

A friend and the drummer of a garage band I joined for a little while died of brain cancer. Peach cracked a lot of jokes on the way out. Tumour humour, he called it. He would've loved that Ben Wicks book.

We have a book at home written and illustrated by a husband and wife with a daughter with autism. It's called, Don't Touch the Buttons on the Microwave: An Autism Social Story. Who knows how we got it. I buy things out of bargain bins, bring them home. The book is for insiders. It's comforting, since there's a bit of that in the house, undiagnosed.

It helps to have a picture in mind of where you want something you draw or write to go. I did my best drawing and painting when I was blogging seriously because I figured there were a few people paying attention. It felt like I was talking to someone.


Maybe my little book is for people in infertility clinics or people who have had miscarriages. For the people in their lives who want to know what they are going through. It might end up being too grim to be useful to anybody, but that might be the idea.

This is a panel from a point in the story when the couple is in the waiting room of their clinic. There's a lot of waiting on the TTC (Trying To Conceive).

August 22, 2016

A possible collaborator (sounds so Cold War) asked me about working again on a graphic novel project. This galvanised my thoughts around Engineeress, which I'd originally conceived as a short graphic novel about ten years ago. I couldn't find those pages when I looked recently - and it's probably just as well.

Working with the comic format over the last few weeks has been a revelation. The story as I wrote and re-wrote it isn't suitable for a comic. Comics let you communicate a great deal in a few words and images, like poetry. Yet they also have a lot of the same constraints of short stories. How do you get from one scene to the next, or to a new point in time - namely, plot. My little story, as I originally wrote it, was almost a prose poem. I've written in new scenes and plot elements. Because comics is a much more developed medium than what I had had in mind - a shorter short story with a few images - I'm able to explore areas that are pertinent to this story that I thought couldn't be part of it.*

On the risky side, this is a long undertaking, and longer than what I had already had in mind. I would really like to finish a major art project. I haven't done that in many years, I guess since I wrote my book of short stories in 1999.

Everything I need is in front of me. The story, the pictures. But I don't have much knowledge, time or technique. It's hard not to be discouraged. It's also one thing to do the planning and thumbnails with my bits of time sprinkled here and there. But inking and painting happen at a desk.



If you want to follow the development of this story, all related posts are labeled The Engineeress.