dazed, confused, addled, and befuddled

February 12th, 2012 | Other Projects

Thank you all for your kind congratulations on finishing my book. I’m starting to dig out my office out now. I’ve been working on this new memoir ever since Fun Home came out six years ago. So a lot of matter has accumulated. Not just related to the book itself, like this pile of drafts and sketches.

But all kinds of other detritus like a camcorder that died four years ago with a cassette still inside it. I couldn’t bring myself to throw a $500 object away, but fixing it would cost hundreds more. Plus I had to get the tape out. So today I took a screwdriver to it. It was not as satisfying an experience as I had hoped. Plus I cut my finger.

The disorganization has brought me to a standstill. To take any action I have to move something and there’s nowhere to put anything. I know it doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but it is.

But the most disorganizing thing is that my email is not working. I very wisely waited until I finished the book to upgrade my Mac to the new Lion OS, and switch from using their old synchronization service, MobileMe, to the new one—iCloud. Ever since I effected this “migration” on Friday morning, my new email is being sent to another galaxy, or into a black hole, or perhaps it has migrated to a parallel universe where it hasn’t been written yet, or has already become obsolete. Irksome as email can be, not having it is much worse. I feel completely unmoored. Even the Apple tech, with whom I spent three hours on the telephone, kept saying, “Weird.” He has now passed my problem along to “the engineers.”

I guess I’m coming online to tell you all this because I feel so offline.

83 Responses to “dazed, confused, addled, and befuddled”

  1. Athena, with the gray eyes says:

    You mortals can be so slow sometimes…

    Do you know the old joke that ends with the punchline “But we sent you two boats and a helicopter”?

    This is a sign, girlfriend.

    As a reward for the brave and studious bearing with which you faced up to your recent ordeal, We have granted you a few days completely disconnected from the grid. (We needed Steve’s help with iCloud details, of course, but as a long time fan, he was more than glad to help.)

    Use the time wisely.

  2. Minnie says:

    I hope it is / was a lovely day for a walk! It’ll all get righted, no worries. Hope you can find a way to appreciate the iCloud-free view, strange though it may be for a bit!

  3. QTP says:

    Thinking of you even if out of touch. Good luck with the Mac.

  4. Andi says:

    Well, let’s see, it’s February in Vermont, and you have just finished a major, major undertaking. I would,

    1.) Ignore mess
    2.) Pack suitcase
    3.) Call friendly cat-sitter
    4.) Get on plane to someplace warm and tropical
    5.) Nap in hammock, listening to sound of ocean, and
    6.) Ignore email. Let them fix it while you are away.

    Just sayin! Congrats again. Enjoy that amazing feeling of “Done! Really done!” as ungrammatical as that may sound.

  5. Laura J says:

    You did know you got a shout-out for the new book on Pop Culture Happy Hour, I hope? http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2012/02/03/146341534/pop-culture-happy-hour-smash-talk-and-getting-serious-about-reading

    Warm congratulations and your cat _might_ just accept a different box…

  6. Eva says:

    Athena, you seem to know whereof you speak.

    Alison, I hope the frustration and unmoored-ness passes quickly and painlessly.

    You haven’t gotten to the point where you need to rent one of those dumpsters the size of a NYC apartment, have you? Probably not. Assuming that’s true it may well be a good time to find someplace to go and smell the roses. Where’s the nearest botanical garden?

    All the best to you in your post-book-finishedness.

  7. hairball_of_hope says:


    I like Andi’s suggestions, especially the nap in a hammock while the Apple geniuses futz with your e-mail.

    As for your purported “mess,” it’s no mess at all if you can still see the floor. Really.

    (… goes back to her own decennial dig …)

  8. Aunt Soozie says:

    didn’t make the move to iCloud… yet… when they push us along it would be nice if it all worked as it should. hope it’s fixed soon.

  9. Lee Ann says:

    I’m with everyone else … it’s a sign that you need to unplug from society and RELAX for a while! You’ve earned it.

  10. Pam says:

    Could you get a yahoo or gmail as a stopgap until this straightens out? BTW, Alison, my husband and I are very excited about the Philly reading in May!

  11. Cathy says:

    Re: backing up data–including that external to one’s own PC (e.g., FaceBook, LinkedIn)–this article reviews various products for the cloud:


  12. LurkingLibrarian says:

    A long walk in the woods and a paper shredder might help…

  13. Andrew B (with the bags under his eyes) says:

    What HOH said. If you have open floor space, not just corridors between stacks of paper, you don’t have clutter.

    If you feel like you still have some momentum from finishing the book, and you’d like to get some more things done before it dissipates… Or if you’re looking for a way to feel less offline… There have been several inquiries lately about your upcoming appearances, and the “Events” page hasn’t been updated in months. Just sayin’… If you’d rather go for a walk in the woods, please, go for a walk in the woods. Someplace warm, if that’s what you want.

    Aside from that, congratulations again and I hope “the engineers” get their act together and get your iCloud working.

  14. hairball_of_hope says:

    I couldn’t resist…

    To the tune of “Both Sides Now”

    Bits and bytes of files spared
    An e-mail inbox in the air
    And image backups everywhere
    I’ve looked at iClouds that way

    But now they only block access
    They 404 and make me stressed
    So many things they’ve made a mess
    ‘Cause iClouds got in my way

    I’ve looked at iClouds from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It’s iCloud’s illusions I recall
    I really don’t know iClouds at all

    (… goes back to apologizing profusely to Joni Mitchell for bastardizing her lyrics …)

  15. Ben says:

    I relate so well to the inertia caused by disorganization. Sometimes, though, the best thing is to walk away from it all for a little while.

  16. hairball_of_hope says:

    Totally off-topic…

    For those who wonder why ponytails look the way they do, comes this BBC article explaining the science behind hanging bundles of hair and other fibers:


    Quoting from the article:

    “It’s a remarkably simple equation,” explained Prof Raymond Goldstein, who is the Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems at Cambridge University.

    [… snip …]

    The Ponytail Shape Equation represents the first scientific understanding of the distribution of hairs in a ponytail, say the researchers.

    It provides new understanding of how a bundle is swelled by the outward pressure which arises from collisions between the component hairs.

    Together with a new mathematical quantity known as the Rapunzel Number, the equation can – they say – be used to predict the shape of any ponytail.

    It opens the way to a better understanding of materials made up of random fibres, say the researchers.

    This will resonate with some in the computer graphics and animation industry, where a realistic representation of hair and fur has proven a tough challenge.

    The “Rapunzel Number” mathematical constant and a professor of complex systems saying the equation was “remarkably simple” piqued my BS detectors.

    I would have guessed this was from the April Fool’s file but it’s now February. I might have also guessed that the study was published in The Journal of Irreproducible Results or The Annals of Improbable Research. But no, the actual verifiable abstract appears in Physical Review Letters as “Shape of a ponytail and the statistical physics of hair fiber bundles.”

    No doubt, the first uses of this equation in computer graphics, as in most technological innovations these days, will be to make ever more realistic animated pr0n, followed by more realistic avatars who get blown to bits in the latest militaristic shoot-em-up videogame.

    (… goes back to singing “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” while releasing her own greying tresses from the ponytail ligature …)

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m with Andi, but I’d like to hark back to an earlier post in which you were glad that you didn’t burn your house down. Now’s the time, girlfriend. Start clean!

  18. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Sorry to leave an anonymous (and inflammatory) post! I just switched to Google Chrome from Explorer, and the cookies aren’t baked yet. I hope it will recognize me now.

  19. Kate L says:

    Poor A.B. ! πŸ™ … when I have any sort of wound, my 54-pound harrier hound tries to heal it by licking the wound (ugh!). Off-topic: Last night, my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines in the Smallville Bugle-Dispatch read, “NBAF AXED!”. It seems that President Obama’s new budget, released yesterday, stops the contruction of the National Biological and Agricultural Facility (the replacement for the Plum Island biowarfare lab) right here in Smallville. And, it calls for a re-evaluation of the lab’s safety. It turns out that Obama listened to the Long Island, New York, Democratic congressman who wants to keep the Plum Island lab just off the eastern end of Long Island. Gosh, the city fathers here in Smallville that were so looking forward to hosting the lab are probably wondering if trading in our progressive Democratic congresswoman for an influence-less tea party crazy in the 2010 elections was a good investment, after all!

  20. […] Alison Bechdel postedΒ dazed, confused, addled, and befuddled. […]

  21. Hang on, Alison! There’s a wide, at least partially-sentient world out there.

  22. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Holy Shit, you finished your book! πŸ˜€
    Why, it seems like only yesterday that you were signing my copy of _Fun Home_ at Amazon Bookstore on my 22nd birthday. Which sucks, because I still have not finished my dissertation. πŸ™‚ Congratulations on having the git-er-done to git it done!

  23. Kate L says:

    First fire, now injury. πŸ™

    Btw, HERE is a link to a statement by a young woman who had wanted to testify to Darryl Issa’s House Oversight Committee in favor of the new health care rules on contraception. For some reason, the Republican majority only wants to hear from opponents, and all but one of the opponents are male. Back in my day, we’d call this Patriarchy! (Revolutionary Sister’s Fist in the air). Today, I’m told by the young ones that it is called Hegemony.

  24. John Boren says:

    Commiserations on the dead camera and the Lion OS snafus.

    I totally understand hanging on to something expensive, even after it is broken, but the best option will probably turn out to be just pitching it, sad to say. I’ve tried having expensive electronics repaired before, and I’ve found that it usually costs more to repair than to just buy a new whatever-it-is. I hate the wastefulness of it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s a paradigm that’s going to change any time soon.

    I hope the ‘engineers’ sort out your iCloud troubles, but I second the idea of setting up a backup email, via one of the free options, like gmail.

    I would suggest, if at all possible, taking a day to just goof off and do something you like, catch up on some reading, visit friends, whatever.

    You might also consider doing some spring cleaning in and around your workspace–archive the drafts and sketches, put things away, toss unwanted junk, that sort of thing.

    Anyway, I hope you and the people you care about are doing well.

  25. Suzanonymous says:

    “Never clean. After four years, the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”
    — Quentin Crisp

    I’m really surprised no one has yet mentioned recycling the electronic camcorder properly. You pay a recycling center about 10 bucks (IIRC) and they deal with it responsibly so it doesn’t pollute via the landfill or overseas dumping.

    However, before resorting to trashing it, you might search on youtube, and online in general, for a how-to about fixing that camcorder.

    When I finish something, I feel totally disoriented, I question the meaning of my existence, and the validity of my point of view (and therefore the project). Relaxing is a pipe dream. But I do hope you are able to relax, Alison! Congratulations on completing the book!

  26. Alex K says:

    You eponym, you…


    The 2011-12 crop of Oscar contenders are subjected — without lube — to a probing Bechdel examination.

  27. Kate L says:

    Let’s apply the Bechdel Test to congressional hearings on contraception!

  28. Dr. Empirical says:

    Suzanonymous: I prefer “There’s only so much dirt that can stick to you before it starts falling off on its own.”
    -Douglas Adams

  29. Brigham says:

    So…… I don’t suppose you might be thinking of what the DTWOF folks might be up to four years later…… (I’m NOT suggesting restarting the strip; but maybe a pen & ink equivalent to a Brady Bunch Reunion special?) There are some hardcore junkies out here who still haven’t withdrawn.

    Seriously. Congrats on the book.

  30. hairball_of_hope says:

    Something for the artists and geeks among us…

    Wacom makes this neat digitizing gizmo (Inkling) that allows the user to sketch on normal paper and upload the resulting image (including layers) into PC or Mac for use in Adobe Photoshop, CS, etc.


    It’s better for rough sketches than fine drawing, according to Wired reviewer Simon Lutrin. But hey, it’s portable, only costs about $200 list, and holds 2Gb of data, which likely makes it a useful adjunct to someone’s traveling sketchbook.

    I’ve been waiting for a decent affordable device to do exactly this since the first IBM devices (CrossPad) came out about 15 years ago. Looks like technology is getting closer to what I need for the way I work. Alas, the Wacom thing uses proprietary software and is only compatible with Mac/Windoze, not Linux. Yet. Let’s see what FOSS Linux Wacom Project developers can do.

    I haven’t found anyone actually selling it yet, and it’s been delayed about six months from the initial release date in Sept 2011, so I hope this doesn’t end up as vaporware. But a review device in the hands of an real person does seem to indicate it may actually make it to market sometime this year.

    N.B. I take notes on paper, and I want a device to import my notes and diagrams, OCR them so they are searchable, and produce an image so I can review the pages in their entirety. I am not inclined to scan my notes in, and do the whole OCR/PDF shebang. It never happens, just like I never transcribed hours of taped lectures back in school. If it doesn’t happen in realtime without any extra work on my part, it ain’t gonna happen at all. Hence my piles of legal pads, notebooks (the paper kind!), and folders full of STUFF everywhere.

    (… goes back to avoiding real work …)

  31. Kate L says:

    Trouble-making progressives are committing art in Wisconsin to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the pro-union protests. Republicans are not amused. Details from The Rachel Maddow Show World Headquarters.

  32. Feminista says:

    @31: Wasn’t 2011 amazing? From Egypt to Madison to Occupy everywhere,we haven’t seen the likes of this since the world-wide student and antiwar movements in 1968. The main differences are that this movement has involved a greater variety of people and we have so much more access to info due to the internet,alternative media,and social media.

  33. Kate L says:

    Yep, back atcha, Sister! πŸ™‚

  34. rinky says:

    @hoh 30. thanks for sharing, that definitely looks inviting

  35. Duncan says:

    Pardon me if anyone has put up this link here before, but I found it at the Sideshow today and immediately thought of Alison:


  36. Kate L says:

    … Duncan (#35), it took me a moment to realize that the TinTin covers you linked to were a send-up (or, mash-up, as the young ones say)! Ha! πŸ™‚

  37. Cameron says:

    Congratulations! And sorry corralling the chaos has been so traumatizing…
    Slightly off topic, I thought you might like to see this

    I think it might cheer you up – you have truly influenced culture, in so many ways – this is one of them! πŸ™‚

  38. drawmedy says:

    Alison congratulations!!! I was thinking today about how much I’ve learned from your process blogging, and had a thought / question based on a really powerful talk I heard Joe Sacco give on Friday. Joe was talking about his experience posing for reference images for his work (he uses the mirror instead of photos); because his work deals with, y’know, war and atrocity, he talked about how intense it was for him to pose with his arm raised, as a soldier about to brutalize a teenager, and then pose as the teenage, hands up asking for mercy – in this way he literally embodies the people and moments that populate his work. It got me thinking about the practice of posing for reference pics for comics as a form of embodied drawing / performative mark making. I know you have referenced your copious reference shot posing a lot – have you talked about the experience of positioning yourself *as* your mother, your father, your brother, etc…? Perhaps you have talked all about this and I have missed it! I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts! Anyway, congratulations again on the completion of your book!!!

  39. corrie says:

    Hi Alison, I was just wondering (since the events page looks a little out of date) whether you’ll be touring/speaking for the release of the new book?

    Also, I recently got the Essential DTWOF and (this is going to sound trite, but whatever) I really found that I could relate to the profound despair Clarice felt after the 2000 election, because my heart is just aching for the fact that Santorum is a serious candidate. Just thought I’d share with you that I found some solace in that.

  40. Samia from Bangladesh says:

    Dear Alison,

    I came to know you when you stopped in Boston on the “Fun Home” book tour and since then your work and this blog have become essential parts of my life. I am really SO HAPPY that you have finished working on your second novel! I feel as though I have butterflies in my stomach in anticipation of the time when I will finally get to read it. Please post your tour dates whenever you have a sense of them, so that I can make arrangements for a friend to get me a signed copy of your book.

    CONGRATULATIONS on pulling through the years of hard work and painstaking effort that goes into making a graphic memoir. I’m looking forward to another emotional read, beautifully drawn and rendered in images and words.

  41. Kate L says:

    Speaking of distinguished young women like A.B., I just wrote a letter of recommendation for a young woman geology major here at Moo U. In addition to her work as a student, I mentioned in the letter that I was please that a young women like her had decided to become a geology major at my alma mater. Did you know that alma matter can refer to any school you graduated? I used to think that it had to refer to your first school of higher education. Also, alma mater means, “fostering mother”, in Latin.

  42. Kate L says:

    alma mater, that second of the three mentions should have been spelled. Word’s spellcheck let that slip by in my original letter, but I thought it looked wrong and checked it myself. That’s why I got to see the definition.

  43. Cathy says:

    I refer to a college I attended–but transferred away from–as my “almost mater.”

  44. Kate L says:

    Cathy (#43) Chico Marx said that his alma mater was Whatsamatta U.

    I almost attended Syracuse U. with my sister… but no.

  45. Pam I says:

    Blog swerve – the Raspberry Pie. HoH, one for you, except you probably have one already.

  46. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam I (#45)

    No, I don’t have one (yet), but it looks very cool. Anyone who wants to plunk down Β£22 for one for me will be rewarded in heaven.

    Also, that’s Pi, as in 3.1415926…

    There must be something in the UK water supply that encourages entrepreneurs to build very small, very inexpensive computing gadgets. Recall the Sinclair computer from the early 1980s? Likewise, there must be something in the USAnian water supply that encourages entrepreneurs to load up gadgets with chrome and tailfins, like a 1950s fuel-guzzling behemoth. I’ll take small, light, and functional any day over chrome and shiny.

    On another technology front, the besotted Kindle that was my unbidden Xmas/Chanukah gift has bitten the dust, after a mere two months of extremely light usage. The screen is a mash of hashlines and semi-permanent screensaver. I kept it in a padded bag in the padded section of my backpack, no sharp blows or jolts as far as I can tell.

    A quick Google tells me that this is not an uncommon failure of the Kindle 3. Let’s see how well Amazon honors the warranty.

    Good thing I hadn’t hacked it yet, I was planning on using that free 3G to tether the laptop.

    Right now I’m playing with rooting an Android phone. It’s giving me the hankering to get a Color Nook to hack (the Nook also runs Android).

    N.B. Get your minds out of the gutter, Commonwealth English speakers. Rooting in this context does not mean what you think it does. πŸ˜‰ Rooting a device refers to modifying it so as to give the user superuser access (aka root, akin to administrator). This allows one to customize the device, remove restrictions, install apps of one’s choosing, etc. It’s a super-duper equivalent of Jailbreaking an iPhone.

    (… goes back to flashing ROMs and muttering incantations to the tech deities so she doesn’t brick this new phone …)

  47. Kate L says:

    Good news! I just got Moo U permission to teach the Geology of the Planets! Why, I feel just like Admiral Janeway teaching at Starfleet Academy!:) Or, rather, I would if Starfleet Academy in 24th-century San Francisco had a lot of cows nearby.

  48. Ready2Agitate says:

    Happy International Women’s Day, y’all!



  49. Ready2Agitate says:

    oop! That’s

    [Let’s try it like this: –Mentor]


  50. Ready2Agitate says:

    oh forget it.

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh, for the late lamented bookstore. You know, that place which sold deadwood copies of books, where authors read and signed and met their faithful fans. That place where the bulletin board and conversation in the aisles among customers and staff forged a community. That place. Before Medusa, before big box stores, before soul-less e-books took over the literary universe. Yeah, that place.

    A friend passed along a link to the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world (or so it’s claimed). Any bookstore stuffed to the gills with whatever looks interesting is beautiful to me. But if you need some *atmosphere* with your books, these bookstores certainly have plenty of charm.


    Take that, Amazon.

    (…goes back to an abnormally warm March Thursday that was 45 deg F/20 deg C warmer than Tuesday …)

  52. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Ready2Agitate! What a great website! I loved it. I’ve been enjoying, over on the Other social networking site, a picture of a woman with a sign that says “I can’t believe I’m protesting this shit AGAIN.” Of course this is all a ploy to distract us from the real failure of the Republicans to legislate our way out of the present economy. Oh wait. I forgot. The economy has already recovered. Never mind.

  53. Kate L says:

    Ready2Agitate… that is a great website, esp. on International Women’s Day! And, thanks to Mentor for the link assist! I’ve been thinking great thoughts out here, in Smallville, on this auspicious day. I think that the Rush Limbaughs of the world could use an encounter with Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman of the 1970’s TV series, and her golden lasso. Once, when Wonder Woman was apprehending a particularly hegemonistic villian, she shut him up by saying, “You must be taught respect for women!”.

  54. Ian says:

    Congrats on the Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award, AB!

  55. Andrew B says:

    Congratulations, Alison. For anybody else who doesn’t know what the Whitehead Award is, see here. If you click on “Awards” in the menu at the top left, you can see a list of previous winners. Pretty fancy company!

  56. Kate L says:

    Congrats, A.B.! πŸ™‚ You’re steppin’ in tall cotton, now, as my mother from Texas used to say! πŸ™‚

  57. Andrew B says:

    Interesting long interview with AB

    Favorable short review (starred) of AYMM from Publisher’s Weekly

    Good to see some new material about AB and I hope she’s having fun or at least learning some new things in Tahiti or Chicago or wherever she is.

    [Freed from URL-limit limbo. –Mentor]

    Mentor, if you’re reading this, you might want to take a look at the last comment in the previous thread (“Done”). I think the spam filter may have missed one.

    [Hmmm… I thought I’d flushed that one. I’ll take care of it. Thanks. –Mentor]

  58. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Andrew B, thanks for posting all the good news! I really liked the interview, and now I’m both chewing and drumming my own fingernails awaiting for the May day on which my local bookstore, the Toadstool in Milford NH, calls me to say that AYMM is waiting for me. Of course, I will drop the phone before they finish speaking and arrive at the bookstore before they have a chance to hang up!

    AB, congrats on the award. Although you seem awfully young to be accumulating lifetime achievement awards. What do they expect you to do for the rest of your life, chop wood and draw water?

  59. Feminista says:

    #48 Ready: Great “talking”link.

    IWD is important to me for several reasons.

    1)My first big march and demo was in honor of IWD in 1971. I was attending Beloit College in Beloit,WI and took the bus with dorm friend Carole Rosen to Madison. It was ***cold,but we were young,and our spirits were soaring. The march’s demands: free abortion on demand,equal pay for equal work,free child care. Made sense to me.

    2)I met my late husband, Richard,on the Portland IWD Steering Committee in Jan.1977 (I had just moved to Portland from Eugene).

    3)It’s a rockin’ day!

  60. Feminista says:

    #53 Kate L: Didn’t watch WW,but that’s a great quote.

  61. Kate L says:

    Yep! Btw, HERE is a recent clip of a woman at a Toronto Maple Leafs – Ottawa Senators hockey game proposing to her partner on the ice. And, another clip of one U.S. Navy petty officer welcoming her partner home after a deployment. Maybe every place isn’t like Smallville.

  62. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    Where’s Alison?

    [The quick answer is Chicago. πŸ˜‰

    I don’t have any particular “insider information” (and I’ll let AB answer for herself when she has a chance) but here’s a tiny bit more:
    – In the past few weeks AB has been extremely busy (between wrapping up the new book; some related travel; preparing for the upcoming fellowship; and, I hope, some well-deserved downtime…)
    – The classes associated with AB’s Mellon fellowship at Univ of Chicago begin soon (next Monday?) and I believe she’s currently in Chicago preparing for the course, etc.
    – There will be a book tour following the release of
    Are You My Mother in early May.

    – Mentor]

  63. Kate L says:

    … that tall cotton keeps gettin’ taller and taller! Way to go, A.B.! Thanks for the update, Mentor. πŸ™‚

  64. hairball_of_hope says:

    Okay fellow booklusters… I stumbled upon this two-part post “Libraries of the Rich and Famous” on Book Riot. I’ll have to split this into two posts, lest this fall into the >1 URL spam trap.

    Part one:


  65. hairball_of_hope says:

    And now, part two:


    Some of these personal libraries are beyond humongous. I wonder about the square footage and ceiling heights, many of them look larger than some houses. Certainly the table in Karl Lagerfield’s library wouldn’t fit in any of the rooms in my apartment, even if there were a way to navigate it down the hall and through the door.

    I guess my bookshelves would be featured in “Libraries of the Poor and Infamous.”

    (… goes back to awaiting “Spice Racks of the Rich and Famous …)

  66. Andrew B says:

    Neil Gaiman has a pretty cool library. (Has that come up here before? After a while I lose track of what I’ve already read where.) Take a look at a couple of the high resolution images.

    Hoh, I’ll say this for the libraries in your links: with the exception of Hearst’s, they all look like they’re really used. I was prepared for a lot of empty show.

    And you’re lucky to have bookshelves. My library would be featured in “Cardboard Boxes of the Poor and Unknown”.

    (… goes back to watching Monty Python’s “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch …)

  67. Andrew B says:

    Answering his own question, no Andrew, aside from being at the top of Hoh’s second link, Gaiman’s library has not been mentioned here before. Sometimes I should listen to those voices in my head… If anybody cares, the high resolution images at my link are pretty cool…

    (… crawls back under his rock …)

  68. Ginjoint says:

    I know I’m a little late to the game, but congratulations, Alison, on finishing the book!! I cannot wait to read it. I hope you’re now enjoying the bizarrely warm spring we’re having here in Chicago – I’ve lived my whole life here (well, to date), and we’ve NEVER had anything like this. Suh-WEET. But kind of scary. But sweet.

    HoH, those libraries!…mmmmm, libraries….I live in a condo, and I used what was supposed to be a dining room for a library. It has a fireplace! And lots of dark wood! And I had bookshelves installed! It makes me so happy! (Alas, my reading material is probably not as sophisticated as HoH’s, I have to admit.) I do have a book called Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books, which I purchased before realizing that Alison’s library is featured in it. It’s a fun read for those who love to nose through the libraries of others.

    I thought Karl Lagerfeld’s library looked just like him.

  69. Ginjoint says:

    Andrew, those pictures were quite cool – it’s fun to see titles in Gaiman’s library that I’ve read too. It allows me to con myself into thinking I have good taste. I do wish the close-ups in these library shots were posted sideways, so we didn’t have to crook our heads to scope out the titles. I ‘spose I could cut n’ paste them into my photo program, then flip them, but that’s just too much like work.

    Speaking of books, I’m reading a great one right now – Jeanette Winterson’s memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? That’s a line that her mother actually said to her! Nothing like maternal love. Winterson, of course, wrote Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, for one. She’s an adoptee, and I’m looking forward to the part where she looks for her first mother.

  70. Diamond says:

    Ginjoint, you can listen to Jeanette Winterson reading an abridged version in five thirteen-minute episodes here:


    We went to see Jeanette reading from the memoir recently, not far from her home town. Heartbreaking to find out that in the otherwise highly autobiographical Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, the kind and caring aunt-like character was not based on anyone who actually existed in Jeanette’s life at that time.

  71. Ginjoint says:

    Diamond! THANK YOU! That is so cool. Once I’m done housekeeping, I’m going to curl up and listen on this foggy and rainy day. And yes, when I read the line in her memoir that stated that Elsie didn’t exist, my heart just broke for her. That church of her mother’s….vicious. Sick and vicious.

    Thanks again for the link. Very kind of you.

  72. rinky says:

    was just wondering, erm, now that you’ve finished your book, if maybe it might be possible for us to have a quick visit from Raffy? I just want to make sure he’s ok, I’ve been worrying about him.


  73. Acilius says:

    @Andrew: We used to dream of cardboard boxes to keep our books in! We had to stuff them into hornet’s nests. And we were grateful for those hornet’s nests, believe me!

    @Diamond: Add my thanks to Ginjoint’s!

    @rinky: I’d like to see him too, and J. R. as well. I know they’re fictional characters, but being fictional has never kept anyone safe.

  74. Fester Bestertester says:

    Acilius@73: You were lucky. We had to keep our books in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down the the library, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our librarian would thrash us to sleep with the glasses-chain from around her neck!!

  75. hairball_of_hope says:

    @FesterBestertester (#74)

    Your librarian didn’t shush you to sleep? Thrashing seems too noisy.

    (… goes back to looking for hearts and love amid the stacks, 616.12 and 700.4 …)

  76. Ginjoint says:

    Fester, you had bread?

    Sheesh. Spoiled.

  77. Acilius says:

    @Fester #74: Fourteen hours a day? Luxury! We had to report to the library at dawn on New Year’s Day and weren’t allowed to take a break until sunset on New Year’s Eve. We’d reshelve books day and night with only dust mites to eat. New Year’s Eve night we’d go home to the pit of an active volcano where we’d be beaten black and blue until it was time to go back to work.

    Now if you told kids that these days, they wouldn’t believe you.

  78. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    @72 Rinky, I am with you. Trayvon Martin makes a lot of us ache for young men, even those we know are fictional. They’re not fictional to *us*. I myself think that Raffy joined the Marines and is thriving on the discipline, although he misses the company of women.

  79. grrljock says:

    Yet another loss: RIP Adrienne Rich

  80. freyakat says:

    @#79: A great loss indeed of such a special human being and poet and woman and lesbian……

  81. Ginjoint says:

    Oh no! Adrienne Rich! I can only hope to be half as courageous as she. A role model for the ages.

  82. Eva says:

    Rest In Peace, Adrienne Rich. What an enormous loss for poetry lovers of all stripes.