DTWOF episode 502

January 21st, 2007 | Strip Archive

My first post-Julia episode.

125 Responses to “DTWOF episode 502”

  1. mary anne says:

    my chance to be first on this blog episode. Loved it as usual. I hope I’m not enjoying the pain of others but I’m looking forward to Toni and Clarice dating others while living in the same house. It still amazes me that that is such a common occurance… in our lovely day and age.

  2. Christine says:

    awwww… Toni and Clarice… *sniffle*

  3. Amy in Madison says:

    Particularly good srip 🙂

    I really liked that the strip’s whole focus was on C&T but we got to hear the opinions of other major characters… and as always, excellent political parallels!

  4. Viva in New Zealand says:

    Good one! The golden touch is still there, have no fear!

  5. DTWOF_FAN says:

    Loved the episode. Julia would be proud.

  6. curious in Manchester says:

    Excuse me for asking this question, but can someone please tell me what happened to Amy Rubin? The last time she is mentioned is Feb. 3, 2006. I hope this question is not too inappropriate but I can’t bear not knowing anymore.

  7. kat says:

    wow…..
    Its a very good episode, Alison. Well, they all are, but this one is especially great.
    Oh Raffi….Alison, you’re doing such a great job of portraying that age. He thinks he’s big and cool and all that, but he still looks (and, when he thinks no one’s looking, acts) like such a little one……I feel for him and the situation he’s going through.

  8. Ellen Orleans says:

    Particularly love the shark on usury.com.

    And YOUR DEBT=OUR DELIGHT. Just wrote out my mortage check today:
    $95 to principal; $384 to interest. Youch!

  9. Monique says:

    I still have hope for Toni and Clarice…

  10. *tania says:

    No offense, curious in Manchester, but I think that is an inappropriate question. Methinks that as Alison has gained popularity and readers in the last year, she’s become a lot more selective about the information posted here. Though we may feel we are getting a privy look at Alison’s inner life, it’s still a public forum and I’m certain she’s protective of the people in her life.

  11. Xanthe says:

    Well, you haven’t lost your touch, even without Julia’s proofreading. Great strip, particularly in the midst of some pretty difficult circumstances.

    Curious in Manchester – I don’t think it’s something that’s discussed here, but Alison did give an interview to the Guardian (a UK newspaper) last October.

  12. Xanthe says:

    (Please feel free to delete my comment if you feel it inappropriate)

  13. curious in Manchester says:

    Alison used to post things about their wedding, etc. which I really loved. And then nothing. It is disconcerting to have loads of information and then nothing that states why the avalanche of information is no longer forthcoming. Therefore, I just wanted to know what information I had ‘inadvertendly’ overlooked. I’m not trying to pull out private information…just trying to get public knowledge which I seem to have overlooked. Thats all. I wont ask the question again. Apparently its too private. Sorry.

  14. shadocat says:

    Curious- don’t feel bad; you’re not the first person to ask this question. If you’ll look back to the 1/16 sketch diary “Exercise Do’s and Don’ts” and scroll down the posts, you’ll find the answer to your question.

  15. 12bms says:

    Hey curious, don’t feel bad. Someone else asked the question awhile ago and got a similar rebuke. Here’s a link to an interview with Alison where she talks about it:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1923213,00.html
    It’s hard to believe that anything is too personal for Alison to reveal since, thanks to Fun Home, we’ve seen her having sex with someone and masterbating as well.

    I think it explains a lot about Clarice and Toni.

  16. Virginia Burton says:

    A new episode! A cherry on top of this delicious Sunday (sundae, get it?) Hillary Clinton on the front of the Washington Post, a snowy afternoon and a brand new strip.

    Since we know that Alison poses for each of the figures, don’t you just LOVE the image of AB sliding across a slick floor?

  17. Aunt Soozie says:

    Alison,
    Love this strip…but, oy vay…have you been reading my diaries again?

    To all of those advocates of Clarice and Toni’s relationship who think that conversations like;

    how can we afford to separate and stay in this school district?
    and two mortgages?
    and what about the kid?
    and not a tent but…
    do you think we could run electricity out to the shed?
    it’s not that small really…
    would it be a tad annoying if my girlfriend came to visit me out there? In the shed??
    and in conclusion,
    why don’t we just live here together and co-parent?

    …mean anything conclusive
    or that Clarice and Toni will be able to pull it off…
    take it from me…it ain’t that easy.

    Let’s just say Aunt Soozie has her own mortgage now.

    But, there was that one time that I was calling my paramour around 2am…and my ex and the kid were sound asleep.

    My paramour lives where the area code consists of two nines and a one. And so maybe I misdialed and I accidently called 911 by mistake but it could happen to anyone. And maybe I didn’t realize that I had done that and hung up and redialed my paramour.

    And maybe I was on the phone with my paramour when someone started pounding on the front door. and maybe it was the local police. and ever efficient they came to check and see if everything was alright. then maybe they insisted that I wake my ex so they could see her because they wanted to be totally certain that everything was okay.

    and maybe I said, “well, if you make me get her up there may be a domestic violence call shortly thereafter”
    but, actually that part didn’t happen, I just complied with the officer’s request…

    Well, there’s hope, maybe Clarice and Toni are more proficient telephone dialers than I am.
    yeah, it could all work out just fine.

  18. lavendersparkle says:

    My best friend at high school’s parents lived together for about five years after they legally separated because they couldn’t afford to live in two separate houses. They even went as far as to move house together after their break up.

  19. J says:

    Whoa…I hate reading about people’s real lives in some ways because sometimes life sucks and it’s a real downer. I just read the article posted by 12bms and I am now totally bummed about AB’s break-up! It was, I guess, like Clarice and Toni—an institution.
    ….SO BUMMED OUT!!!!!!!!

  20. Tera says:

    curious in manchester…
    don’t feel bad. I also asked this question in another comment stream…I think it’s totally natural to be curious about allison’s life when she shares so much with her readers- it is easy to feel like we know her. Especially after fun home, which was so personal. I read the article and was really sad to hear about the break up : ( however I’m sure a catch like allison won’t be single long….

  21. Kat says:

    The interview from the Guardian bummed me out as well, but for a slightly different reason. I loved Fun Home (as we all did) and found it so amazing and incredible, but it didn’t immediately occur to me that it must have been a really emotional process for the whole family. We read posts that dealt with Alison’s mom, to a certain extent, but the line in the article about “making her brothers objects of her version” of the story really struck me…..

  22. ally says:

    ha ha that the monitor says “dull” can anyone read what the sticker on the back of the monitor in the middle panel of the thrid line says? I’m a dork for all the little hidden jokes.

  23. Okay, I was trying to be dignified and ignore the occasional speculation here about my relationship status. It seemed …uh…unseemly to drag the sordid details of my personal life into such a public forum. Then I read 12bms’s comment, “It’s hard to believe that anything is too personal for Alison to reveal since, thanks to Fun Home, we’ve seen her having sex with someone and masturbating as well.”

    Touché.

    To remain silent any longer seems not dignified at all but obnoxiously coy. Yes, Amy Rubin and I broke up. Last summer. After 13 years. And there aren’t any juicy details. It was a mutual decision, all very proper, and we’re still friends. I’ll see if Amy wants to weigh in on this topic.

  24. Amy Rubin says:

    All true. I don’t plan to be a regular participant here, but I’m glad to weigh-in this once to confirm a completed fact check of the above. Oh, and thank you to the person who noticed no mention of me around the death of Julia, our kitty. (That omission was necessary in our pre-disclosure phase.) The three of us spent Julia’s last 12 hours together, so it feels great that somebody out there thought of me.

  25. shadocat says:

    Call me crazy (okay, don’t) but didn’t we all have the same conversation Mo and her friends are having about Toni and Clarice several months back?I myself made posts with EVERY ONE of these positions, at one time or another (Clarice’s not comitted enough, they should just end it now, what about the kids?, etc.)

    This is strange new relationship territory we’re going through now–where we can get legally married, but it’s ruled invalid, “civilly partnered”, but it’s only recognized in some places, but not others. In my state, Missouri, we have a constitutional amendment that declares my relationship with my best gal in an unholy union, yet in our city, Kansas City, we were able to register as domestic partners, which gives us some advantages, legal and otherwise. But only within this ONE city.

    At least in a straight marraige, a legal divorce provides some framework for ending the union. And even though I had one of those (divorces) and it was kind of messy, it did provide some emtional closure. It seems almost something of an insult that when a gay marraige ends, we just break up, as if it were just another boyfriend or girlfriend splitting. I suppose in the eyes of the law , that’s all it is.

    I am kind of glad Toni and Clarice are going to try to live together as singles and parent Raffi. If they can keep from fighting, he’ll be better off. And maybe they can salvage a friendship from this. (Or maybe they’ll realize they’re still in love, and get back together. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?)

  26. shadocat says:

    I just saw Alison and Amy’s posts–thank you for leting us know what happened

  27. Suzanonymous says:

    ally, nice catch on “dull”

    Greetings and salutations, Amy! And Alison, of course. 🙂

  28. cybercita says:

    the strip was brilliant, alison. i loved the subtle pokes at the situation facing current occupant of the white house. julia is watching over you, with a cheshire grin and an unwavering, unblinking gaze.

  29. Ben says:

    I grew up living with my mom and dad, and athey stayed together after Dad came out. They both had ‘lovers’ come and go (they were called ‘lovers’ in the 70s). And then Dad’s lover Ernie moved in with us, and lived with us for the next 10 years. When Dad and Ernie broke up Dad moved out and Ernie and my Mom remained housemates for a while.

    So I was already following this story with special interest as Queerspawn, but now we’ve got the prospect of a kid living with parents who are not sharing a bed. All sorts of interesting things can happen in that situation, believe me!

  30. Aunt Soozie says:

    It’s nice that the three of you had that time together.

    Breaking up can be challenging when people think of your relationship as an institution. It’s enough to manage your emotion and deal with each other and get through the tangible realities of separating. Then, in addition, you find yourself comforting someone who starts to cry to YOU when they find out it’s over…and no, I don’t mean your ex-partner. There are also the people who look at you like you’ve betrayed the entire lesbian nation. Ugh.

    It gets better over time, really.
    They forgive us for being human.

    Oh, an aside…depicting yourself masturbating or engaging in lesbian missionary position or writing here about your breakup all seem tame next to drawing yourself sitting on the john wadding up a ball of t.p. in a lame but noble attempt at (what is commercially referred to as) feminine hygiene. I guess we each have our sensitivities.

  31. LondonBoy says:

    Dear Alison,
    Now that it’s been said here, I’ll just say how sorry to hear the news we all were/are. I’m sure many of us knew and were also trying to respect your unstated wishes. You’ve been in our thoughts, even if we couldn’t mention it. I’m confident we’ll continue trying to respect your boundaries. Sincere good wishes to both of you.

  32. The sticker on the back of the computer is just a bar code. But dang! Maybe if I learned bar code language, I could embed clever jokes for all you close readers. Like, that sticker on the computer would say, “If you can read this, you need to get out more.”

  33. Jen says:

    Even though the main focus of this strip is Clarice and Toni, I really enjoyed the interaction between Sparrow and JR. That subtle little smile and hand hold in the panel “Public Opinion has Turned” spoke to me– after Sparrow was so reluctant to have a baby, it is lovely to see this warmth.

    Layers and layers! Keep up the good work AB.

  34. shadocat says:

    Jen; You’re right! It’s nice to see Sparrow showing some Mama/Baby love, for a change…

  35. Virginia Burton says:

    Dear Alison, Dear Amy, Thank you for your disclosure. This last year must have been terribly hard on you both, reaching its nadir with the loss of Julia. Here’s hoping that 2007 brings you happiness, health and contentment.

  36. Robin says:

    0100100101100110001000000111100101101111011101010010000001100011011000010110111000100000011100100110010101100001011001000010000001110100011010000110100101110011001011000010000001111001011011110111010100100000011011100110010101100101011001000010000001110100011011110010000001100111011001010111010000100000011011110111010101110100001000000110110101101111011100100110010100101110

    Or, “If you can read this you need to get out more,” in binary. And I get out plenty when I’m not sick, thanks.

  37. Robin says:

    Sorry, didn’t realize how the formatting would turn out. Troglodytic geeks are the worst kind.

  38. Cindy says:

    Oddly enough, as revealing as your book and this blog sometimes are, Alison, nothing comes across as sordid or undignified or even coy. You are just yourself.

    I’m so glad Amy was there with you and Julia.

  39. Maggie Jochild says:

    Speaking of fun with labels, two years ago I bought a bag as a gift from Tom Bihn because I’d discovered the last two lines of their label read, in French, Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n’avons pas vote pour lui.

    Which, translated into English, was:
    Wash with warm water.
    Use mild soap.
    Dry flat.
    Do not use bleach.
    Do not dry in the dryer.
    Do not iron.
    We are sorry that Our President is an idiot.
    We did not vote for him.

    This strip made better use of the Idiot’s declarations about the invasion of Iraq than the media does. And sometimes (like, most of the time, really) being a grown-up means doing what’s right without demanding the sacrifice of others. Kudos to you for this subtext, Alison.

    Glad to hear from Amy. But, as a writer, your private life really is your own. Fun Home may have been autobiographical, but it was a slice you chose to share, which really does not obligate you to continue sharing on demand. In my opinion. And D2WO4 is *fiction*, kids. I’m not whaling on anybody for asking personal questions, but I would really love to see a discussion here about how to support art and artists (especially that which is as completely brilliant, transgressive, and inspiring as Alison’s work) without turning it into adulation or celebrity of the individual. I believe adulation and celebrity, like romance, distances us from the work. There are deep layers to respect we don’t seem to be able to plumb in American pop culture. I happen to really like Alison, too — but that’s not the point, honestly, when Fun Home wins the awards it does or D2WO4 breaks down the barriers it has in one generation. It reminds me a little of how fixated the media is on what Nancy Pelosi is wearing. Alison’s love life may play a role in her creativity, but we don’t have to know about it in order to appreciate, and be transformed by, the content of her work. And if we feel like we can’t appreciate it as much without knowing the details — well, that bothers me. I think her art transcends gossip. But maybe I’m being touchy here, as a writer and a dyke.

  40. Deena in OR says:

    Maggie et al…

    I had a *tiny* taste of the involuntary fame thing when I was an elected official here in my small city for a time. I think the most difficult thing was the coming out process…and my worries about what the consequences would be for my children who were and are in public school. Oh, that and losing my job as the preschool director in a small private school. Direct quote from the director of the school. “Your being out is a deterrent to student recruitment.” Never mind that it was my soon to be ex husband who was going around outing me. Yeah. Classy behavior, indeed.

  41. Suzanonymous says:

    “And if we feel like we can’t appreciate [DTWO4] as much without knowing the details — well, that bothers me.”

    Bravo, Maggie Jochild. Well said.

  42. Duncan says:

    shadocat raises an interesting point — what processes are built into “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships” for ending them? Let alone Massachusetts, Canada, the Netherlands, and other places where same-sex couples can legally marry? As one who’s skeptical about this marriage bandwagon (and some of my best friends have jumped onto it), I’ve been teasing the marriage advocates about their position on gay divorce for a long time. Haven’t gotten any answers, especially from glb Christians who say they just wanna follow Jesus’ teachings — but like their phobe fundamentalist counterparts, prefer to ignore his teachings on divorce.

    My parents also went on living together after their divorce, even after we kids were grown. And it wasn’t exactly amicable, but I think there was (especially for my mother) a sense of closure from the fact of the divorce. For us kids too; we’d known it was coming for a very long time, and that the marriage had been over de facto long before it was terminated de jure. I really think that nowadays when people live so much longer than they used to, the fact of relationships’ ending by other causes than the death of a partner needs to be confronted and accepted more. In the ‘good old days,’ remember, there was also abandonment: both my parents’ families were abandoned by their fathers during the Great Depression. This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t have long term relationships, only that I think we should recognize that they aren’t likely to last a lifetime.

    I started to write a column about all this earlier today, and felt a sudden tug of guilt and decided not to. Then I remembered tonight, reading the Guardian article (what little I know about Alison’s mom reminds me of my mom), that my parents are now both dead, and there’s no danger what I write here will reach their eyes. I don’t view my own open gayness as something they have/had a right to object to, but their lives were not mine to write about freely while they lived.

    I like the new strip too, it’s as good as anything you’ve done, Alison. Don’t worry, you’re still in the saddle. I noticed that you’ve caught the way Toni is aging, around her neck. And it occurred to me today that if this were a hetero comic strip of more than 20 years’ standing, the breakup of two characters’ long-term relationship would rate some media coverage. I’m imagining a drawing of Toni and Clarice on the cover of Newsweek, with a photo of Alison playing either marriage counselor or divorce-court judge. (I can picture you very clearly in the robes and gavel!) I don’t know whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing, but I can’t quite get it out of my mind.

  43. Lydia says:

    Thanks for your words, Maggie! I agree with your assessment of our seemingly pop-culteral compulsion to celebritize artists rather than taking in the meaning of their work.

    I don’t know if celebritize is really a word. But I kinda like it.

    Support the arts! Give the artists a means to exist and a bit of personal space. Great graphic novels may ensue…

    (and support your local symphony orchestra)

  44. Josiah says:

    It’s interesting that as a culture we don’t seem to have developed a language for dealing emotionally with the end of a relationship. We have an extensive language for grief in general, but most of it is tied to death. The end of a relationship may at times feel like death, but it’s not the same thing.

    I think that part of the trouble is that (again, as a culture) we’re deeply ambivalent about the ending of any relationship. “It is not good that man should be alone”, says God in Genesis, and even those of us who’ve realized that the binary union of a man and a woman isn’t necessarily the sole logical corollary of this statement have trouble shaking it. The cultural forces which encourage living and staying in pairs are arguably even stronger than those which encourage heterosexuality.

    I’m what Bridget Jones called a “smug married”, and I have an unfortunate tendency to project (or try to project) the happiness of my marriage onto other couples. I tend to assume that what’s good for me (a lifelong, exclusive commitment to one person) is good for everybody else. My mind knows that this is not the case, but my heart has trouble remembering it. So when a couple that I know break up, I feel more sadness than perhaps I should. Surely, the people in a relationship are better qualified than I am to know whether it should end or not? And surely if they come to the decision that it should, they’ve done so because they believe that in the long run they will be happier apart than together?

    So says my mind. But my heart has trouble looking past the immediate pain that comes with any break-up, even the most amicable. And maybe that’s as it should be — because it is in the nature of love to touch eternity, even when it is not eternal.

  45. Montrealais says:

    Let alone Massachusetts, Canada, the Netherlands, and other places where same-sex couples can legally marry?

    I can answer for Canada: the definition of divorce was made equal in the same law that made marriage equal, the Civil Marriage Act. Although you must be careful — although there is no residency requirement to marry, at least some of the provinces have a residency requirement (for both opposite- and same-sex couples) in order to divorce!

  46. curious in Manchester says:

    Thank you Alison and Amy. Best wishes to you both.

  47. Pam I says:

    More kitties at the Sylvia strip today: http://www.comicspage.com/sylvia/ 01-22-2007
    for those who haven’t already saved this as a Favourite daily check.

  48. Elisablue says:

    Maggie Jochild, thank you for writing what you wrote above.

    I do too feel a little disturbed sometimes by those very personal questions, popping in, from time to time …

    It seems to me that Alison just doesn’t “owe” us any answers at all, as her personal life is concerned. And, in my opinion, it is not because , in Fun Home, she told of intimate matters and events that she has to answer questions. There is , there, some kind of confusion between the level of art, creation and the individual, personal dimension. Some questions can get a little rapacious.

    Having said that, when I discovered the other day Alison nearly fell unconscious in the snow, I got worried and wrote something about not doing that again (!) …

    And, well, Alison did choose to answer those questions after all, so there is something there about the author /reader dynamics that cannot be neatly enclosed in some kind of theory.

    This is a complex matter, as this place, apart of being the medium for DTWOF, is a blog, therefore letting us see and feel a lot about Alison’s life. Blogging is some kind of autobiographical process, in which everybody can join in, through the comments (sorry about stating the obvious ). The blog gets “overblogged” or “underblogged”, sort of colonized in some way, by dozens of other lives which get told also, by ricochet. So it seems natural, in a way, that some questions will get a little too close. But that’s only my feeling.

    She is the only master of this ship and, I guess, the only one to know when it comes too close …

  49. Meghan says:

    Well said, Si.

  50. Aunt Soozie says:

    Wow Josiah,
    thank you for bringing me to compassion for the weepers.
    your sentiments were totally sweet.

    Maggie,
    I hear your concerns about our culture of idolatry but
    I agree with Elisablue, she said it well.

    I don’t think anyone was saying that they would garner more from Alison’s work if they knew more about her personal life. I think some folks are just…as in the name of the asker…curious.

    Art is communication and it’s natural to want to know more about the communicator. When someone’s work seems to resonate in your own life, in your spirit, it’s not unusual to seek to connect with the artist more deeply. I believe that was a difficulty for even the Shaman cave wall painter…people always wanting to know; were the bison really that big? that ferocious? was your spear really that pointy?

    Even purchasing a piece of original work isn’t merely about owning a thing. It can be about sharing in that creative moment, the inception of the work, the energy the emerges and pushes through the artist’s hand to the paper, through the brush, the pen, the word processing program… having that essence in close proximity to your own energy. For artists, that can be terrifying…people wanting to surf off of their creativity…harness something of their soul…yet, it’s inevitable I believe, if you touch people with your work. They’ll want to feel you, feel with you.

    I know that’s not the same thing as asking, uhm, what’s up with your girlfriend, haven’t heard much lately? But, if Alison wasn’t as open and forthright as she is people wouldn’t even know to ask…what about Amy Rubin? Where’s Amy? To a certain degree that’s a culture that Ms. Bechdel has created for us, right here and in her previous work.

    It’s the artist’s perogative to share as little or as much as she likes about what, if anything, resides inside or beyond the blantant immediacy of the artwork.

    Personally, I’m a believer in never shaming the asker…it’s okay to ask me almost anything as long as I have the right to decline answering. I prefer that people not edit their questions on the basis of not wanting to offend me.

    As a lesbian and a mother…I welcome awkward questions. I’m not shy. (can you tell?) I’ll answer almost anything anyone asks about how my daughter came into my life and what her legal and emotional relationship is with me and my ex. Some gay parents find these questions offensive and want folks to just “accept” our families without the interrogation.

    I welcome the discussion as a way to humanize and personalize the issue of queer parenting. I see it as an opportunity to pave the way for families like mine. The person who interrogates me has at least one reference point outside of the conventional paradigm. When you’re visible, people are gonna wanna know stuff. You don’t have to comply with their desires…personally, in the arena where I’m noticable, I’m glad to be grilled.

  51. Aunt Soozie says:

    and Alison…
    You are my idol…
    touch me, grill me, paint my cave walls…

    (can you tell I lost my day job?)

    (Paramour? I know you’re reading this…you know I’m yours and yours alone, right? It’s just that Alison is so cute and she’s all alone up there in Vermont and it’s cold in her house and lonely and the spidey ate the buggie and…)

  52. DeLand DeLakes says:

    *Groooaaannnn*…
    On the whole “we wish we were divorced but we’re living together for the sake of the kids” thing…
    I grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the most Catholic town in America (the librarian once told me we had more Catholics per capita than Vatican City.) So, I am well familiar with this strategy. One little problem…IT DOESN”T WORK!!! I am absolutely at a loss why parents think that soldiering on for the sake of the kids is better than getting the inevitable over with, and starting to forgive and more on. Do they really think their children are too thick to notice that they hate each other? I had friends throughout my childhood whose folks were trying this arrangement– that much was obvious, because they couldn’t stop screaming at each other even when their children had guests over! Divorce sucks, folks, but kids do recover from it- believe me when I say that coming home to a house where the people within it can’t stand the sight of each other is much, much worse. Getting divorced was the best thing my parents ever did for this family.

  53. jmc says:

    Has anybody else noticed that _Fun Home_ is written up in the newest _Women’s Review of Books_ (with several images from the book on the front cover)? Not as earth-shattering as the appearances in the more mainstream pubs, but in such interesting company!

  54. Deb says:

    Alison……I love the strip. Nice tie-in comparing relationship with war and it’s casualties.

    Alison, you have a lot of class, you know that? I am also friends with the X after we broke up this summer after many years of being together and it’s not easy is it? To consider her feelings while trying to keep your personal life out of the spotlight……I applaude you both. Amy, best of luck to you! I feel very lucky to be able to share you with the rest of the world.

  55. purlypuss says:

    Aunt Soozie and Elisablue – Thank you for your comments.

    I was reading along feeling increasingly terrible that I had shared in the curiosity about Alison’s private life (especially after the recent midnight icy adventure she had). After reading your thoughts I felt a little less like a sleazy tabloid reporter and more like someone just curious about my favorite artist. Not as highminded as some other people but also not terribly inappropriate.

    I learn so much from the posts on this blog! All kinds of things to mull over – what the heck does it mean to become ‘distant’ from ‘the work’?

  56. Phredd says:

    I too had parents who were ready to split, but who stuck it out until I left for college. So, from the ages of 12 to 18 I had to put up with low level tension and hostility and the occasional (albeit rare) outburst. While it could have been far far worse, I really just wanted them to divorce already and get it over with. It did not benefit me in the least, and in fact, it most likely contributed to my alienation from both of them.

  57. shadocat says:

    When I was writing my post of last night ( on marraige, divorce, splitsville, etc.), Alison and Amy had not yet posted—I just wanted to make clear I was not commenting on them, but on the strip and just breaking up in general.

    Maggie; I understand your position on keeping our distance and respecting the artist. But I also understand the concerns of those who want to fill in the blanks. My favorite straight writers will have their personal “updates”
    on the “People” page in the back of “Time” magazine’ divorces, break-ups, births, deaths, etc. But the artists outside the mainstream, well, they ain’t gonna be in “Time”. (Unless it’s for book of the year.)

    Aunt Soozie, IMO you hit the nail on the head: I think only 99&44/100’s % of the people just want the fact, ma’am, not all the “juicy details”. I have only been coming to this blog since what, April or May? If Amy had been frequently mentioned before, and then suddenly not at all, it only seems natural someone would ask about her. I answered this question when someone asked it a couple of topics ago. Even though I kept it short, you would not believe the e-mails I got from friends saying “Why didn’t you keep your mouth shut?” So when the question came up again, I tried to answer it in some poor ass-backwards way. I figured if someone didn’t do it, people would keep asking. Thank god Alison and Amy came through and set the record straight. And I was glad to hear Amy was there for Julia’s last hours.

    Josiah, thank you for your comments. I feel as if I’m in uncharted waters here, In this “domestic partnership”: what if we buy a house and later break up? What box do I check on the medical form when it asks “marital status”?

    Elsablue(and others): I also freaked when I read the “Winter Exercise Do’s and Don’ts” and fired off some probably totally unwanted comments of concern. But I care about what happens to AB, which, well talk about your weird situations–I don’t even know her, even though by reading her work I FEEL like I do. But I really don’t. I’m not sure I would really want to…this whole fan thing, where the person that I’m a fan of can read what I write whenever she wants is kind of, well weird to me. Sometimes it seems difficult to walk that line between showing concern and coming off like a fawning stalker (Which I’m not! Really!)

    And DeLand DeLakes (love that name!) Regarding this comment:

    “Getting divorced was the best thing my parents ever did for this family.”

    When our youngest daughter turned 17, her dad and I gave a joint birthday party for her at his house. It was a wonderful party, and a good time was had by all. When she opened our present (a cell phone) she took my left hand and his right, and said with tears in her eyes, “I’m so glad you guys finally got divorced!!!”

  58. Gina says:

    I am in a situation similar to that right now. It’s rough.

  59. Jaibe says:

    Phredd, thanks for that perspective! Though I can promise you, divorce is alienating anyway — why put in the effort to be with people you never promised to stay with forever in the first place if they did promise & then didn’t bother? I’ve heard lots of intellectualising around that, but I think that is the gut of the matter.

    I do think that it shouldn’t be called though “staying together for the children” but rather “doing your best to meet your commitments.” The financial issues are very real, as are the co-parenting responsibilities. You can never completely break away from the other parent of one of your children unless at least one of you gives up all parenting altogether.

    Which is one of the reasons I don’t really buy the legal separation arguments some people are making above. Yes, marriage is a right which gives you legal rights & responsibilities and makes legal things more set in stone (for better or worse), but raising children together is the ultimate commitment (for the reasons I just stated — you can never uncommit!), and even joint home ownership can be harder to get out of than a marriage.

    ———

    On another topic, I was totally stressed when I *suspected* Alison & Amy weren’t getting along because Alison was talking about things differently — I was immensely relieved to see a picture of them together posted in the blog some time ago marching at a parade & thought I’d been paranoid. I know it’s totally not my business, but I have to say: When I read the Guardian article, knowing for sure totally reduced *my* anxiety about it, because I stopped worrying whether (for example) encouraging Alison to spend so much time on the blog was helping mess up her life. I don’t want to enable! But if it’s over, it’s over & everyone can stop worrying. Though I suppose part of the reason these things are & should be private is because “overness” is not that well defined, and (as I said earlier) quite independent of legal status. Lots of divorced couples wind up living together again later. I just found out one person I knew of had got married a third time but not told anyone that time (the first two were big weddings) & that was the time that’s worked.

  60. Laura says:

    I know someone who lives in a house with her two children, her ex-husband, and her mother. I think the ex has a separate entrance to his basement suite (ie bedroom & bath) and the kids seem very secure in the love of all the adults, so sometimes it works out.
    The parents of author Zadie Smith also did something like that because they couldn’t afford separate places, and in interviews she admits it was weird but OK.

  61. hetero genus says:

    Good logic/ And that is true love. They are staying together as a family, and Toni and Clarise don’t hate each other, they squabble-big deal. It does make a difference for the kids,it actually does work, unless there is total misery or abuse. Raffi will learn through his committed parents that people are not disposable, even if they get a bit battered on the rocks. He apparently has learned well the lesson of independant thought, and curiiousity and truly has inherited clarices disregard for unquestioned authority. Good job, moms! Raising a good American citizen (vs. a dittohead). Besides, as pointed out by one reader, this new state of affairs, as it were, could be future funny fodder. Universally applicable material, as always, suitable for the broad varieties of human family.

  62. Xanthe says:

    I guess it’s an act of love to stay together for your kid/s … but it’s hard to look at Toni and Clarice and see so much sadness in their faces (and how gaunt they look too). Like they’ve had the will to live kicked out of them.

    (Best wishes to you both, Alison and Amy).

  63. Elaine The Cat Pimp says:

    Alison, I’m glad you are back in the saddle. You have a great handle on kids and the internet and an amazingly astute way of observing the male mind. The turn of Toni and Clarice separating officially with a decision to stay together will certainly season the strip as much as turning Lois from femme..er…butch fatale to wise counsel for Jonas/Janice/Name of the Week did earlier.

    As for the discussion of personal lives. Hey, we’re all curious monkeys here. Let’s all cut each other some slack.

    Send my kitty condolences to Amy Rubin, too. I know a number of people who went their separate ways, but who reunited to grieve over beloved pets. (And rejoice over new ones, she said pimping the cats again… .. Yes, I am inccorigible, thank you.

  64. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Thanks for sharing, Phredd. (Love the name by the way- is it inspired by Phranc, perchance?)

    And to Shadocat- HA! Funny story. Reminds me of my graudation dinner- it was so nice that my (now very large) family could all be there and be not only civil, but perfectly pleasant to one another. BTW, just to comment on some of the other folk’s feedback above, if anything this strip has made me realize that divorce is rarely a clean break, and that it can be very financially as well as emotionally draining. But the main reason why I was (eventually) happy that my parents split is because I got to see them HAPPY again after they remarried. I think that not only do you owe it to your kids to bring them up in a tension-free home, but that the separation can actually be much more amicable if the couple doesn’t try to prolong things by living together. My parents weren’t very fond of each other when they divorced, but they put aside their pride and worked out a fair custody arrangement to keep from putting my sister and I through a lot of pain. They have a good working relationship today, and I admire them for it.

    On a final note to Laura about the somewhat unorthodox living situation- yup, I had a good friend all through high school whose parents had been divorced since she was knee-high, but her dad lived in the basement of her Mom’s house. Until my friend moved out. For some reason. Told you my town was hopelessly Catholic!

  65. Hariette says:

    Alison —
    Great strip, great emotion, great layering. Now that this is done could you make everyone have a shiny, happy life? No, huh? Oh well. I like living in my fantasy world where everyone is happy and people don’t break up. This world also includes ice cream as health food and broccoli as junk food.
    Looking forward to seeing how the Saga of Clarice & Toni plays out. Will they stay together as a couple or will they become single co-parents? Will they seek counseling — again? Will Gloria become a frequent overnight guest? Will Raffi rebel & look for a male role model at the local Promise Keepers group? Will Toni’s parents visit bringing the latest eligible male? Will he fall in love — with Carlos? Will Clarice’s parents visit? Will she get support from her brother? Will I be able to patiently wait until the next episode?
    Thanks for your gift of DTWOF. Thanks for letting us become part of your world and sharing with us.

  66. Feminista says:

    Hey DeLandDeLakes–My maternal grandmother graduated from St.Cloud Teacher’s College ca.1901! And no,she wasn’t Catholic,but a mild Presbyterian and feminist in her own way; Eleanor Roosevelt was a heroine. Her name was Inez Stickney Hagen and she was born in Maine Prairie (and you’re a true Minnesotan if you know where that is),taught in Mpls. schools,but had to give up teaching when she married in 1912.

    I grew up in MI but our family visited Grandma every summer at her lake cottage near Erskine in Polk County.

  67. Deena in OR says:

    DeLand DeLakes…I was at CSB from 1979 to 1982. Married a Johnnie before I knew better. I know the area quite well. Doughnuts from Cold Spring Bakery…yummm.

  68. Str8butnotNarrow says:

    I dunno about y’all, but I LOVED “usury.com”.

    Hub and I have actually purloined some of Alison’s shop titles for real-life use…every now and then we visit Bunns & Noodle or order stuff off Medusa.com. Great stuff.

  69. NewGal on the blog says:

    Alison,

    I first read about Fun Home in a Brazilian website I frequently check and couldn’t wait to get a copy of the graphic novel. I bought and fell in love with your story, and have been recommending it nonstop to all my friends. I think your work is incredible and have found myself in need of a daily passage thru this site. I’m planning a trip to attend NYC Comic Con in order to congratulate you personally and hopefully get an autograph ;). Will you be available to speak to your fans? And if yes, in what days and time?
    (This is the first time I post, don’t know if you have time to read everyone’s comment so if anyone can answer the Comic Con q for me that would be awesome!)

  70. D.F. says:

    Congrats to AB for picking it up again, san familiar at that. As a sometimes writer / aspiring artist, I know how challenging that can be. I hope it felt good, and still alive, not a heavy weight. (which, however, is totally ok too.)

    And huge props for keeping it fresh for what, a couple decades, right?

    Here’s to the spirit of Turning and Renewal. For the new year.

  71. Mtrafiha says:

    Hi all,

    Been an avid reader of the blog read all the archives and wait for the comic to come out every fortnight with great zeal.

    Problem: My ISP has decided to block flickr (yes they can do that here) and now I can’t see the comic! Any suggestions to find a way around it?

  72. A. in Paris says:

    Mtrafiha – where are you, that your ISP would want to block flickr? (Sorry, no idea how to get around that)

  73. Mtrafiha says:

    Well to be honest I really don’t know. Usually they block ‘adult’ content and websites they believe will cause social unrest. I don’t see where flickr comes into this but there you go..

    Until my ISP comes to their senses would anyone mind emailing the comic to me?

    wolf3tt3[at]gmail[com]

  74. Stephanie says:

    done, Mtrafiha! At least I hope so. (I also hope you don’t get 50 copies from everyone emailing it to you.)

  75. Ovidia says:

    Hi Mtrafiha–are you in UAE? Are you talking about Episode 502? Not sure cos you seem to be posting here, but if you haven’t seen it I will try to email the comic to you…

    (Alison–sorry… this would probably be a mega copyright violation–just this once okay? I mean Mtrafiha’s got to find out what’s happening with Clarice & Toni & the phased withdrawal not happening & Raffi’s great sock skating… great episode, thank you!)

  76. Mtrafiha says:

    Thanks Stephanie & Ovidia got your email *sends lots of love*

    Yes and yes. There isn’t any problem with the DTWOF website just flickr.

    Alison: Very sorry didn’t realise there’d be a copyright problem. Will try to find out what’s going on and when/if flickr will be unblocked.

  77. Mtrafiha says:

    Relieving to read the comic again, great comic as usual! (Thanks GG for a copy too)

  78. Katie says:

    Hi NewGal- More information about NY Comic Con should be posted as soon as I get a chance, so check the tour page.

  79. NewGal on the blog says:

    Will do Katie, thank you 😉

  80. S. Bear Bergman says:

    I’m not so sure about this “if you reveal anything, you must reveal /everything/” business for writers who use memoir as a part of their work. Talking about my relationship to my cock, as a butch, isn’t the same as giving the details of my current relatonship life – if for no other reason than that my lovers may not be in a big hurry to be part of a public consciousness about my life and work. There’s a big difference between sex (re: but we’ve seen you masturbating!) and intimacy or intimate relationships, which is what breaking-ups-with and, for that matter, taking-ups-with are.

    I have written extensively, and specifically, about my own gender and orientation also my sexuality – as in what I’m up to, not with whom. Some of those things are private, some of them are show up in my work in edited ways, and most become art fodder way, /way/ after the fact. I would not expect Alison Bechdel to give me an update on her current relationship life – we’re not friends. I read what’s available to me, what she chooses to make available, and I am glad to have it.

    And then this, personally: I am not nearly the household name AB is. Even still, sometimes, being so public with my life and work, it feels really comforting and helpful to me to be able to keep some things private, and not discuss them. Which things they are is not always rational, nor does it always follow a predicatble pattern, but I live with the hope (if not necessarily the expectation) that people will respect it.

    My nickel’s worth. Your mileage may vary. See dealer for details. Void where prohibited by law.

  81. Sri says:

    Hello to Alison, Amy and every other avid poster.
    I am from Malaysia. I first read DTWO4 when I fell in love – if only because I wanted some sort of Lesbian 101 that was perceptive and stereotypical and realistic at the same time. The comments pages have evolved into great community forums, inspired by Alison’s postings of the day; I do love how everyone takes seriously the characters and challenges of Alison’s creation. I loved your work long before I googled your personal life, Alison – as much of the affection I have for your stories translate into a magnified affection for their storyteller.

    I imagine I will suffer, if ever you decide to pace your postings to develop attachments beyond DTWO4, while wishing you the best. Your readership lovesya – obsessively and demandingly perhaps – for being an emotional anchor through the lifespan of our attachments.

  82. shadocat says:

    There IS one thing about #502 that is making me happy: Mo and Lois are in the smae panel! (even if they’re not actually conversing with each other). And Mo is out on her own , protesting with her friends! Makes me feel young again! Who knows, she may even stop to have a cup of coffee with Lois and indulge in some “girl talk”? One can only hope…

    And now for something completely off topic: Once again I need some advice from the vegetarian readers out there.

    I’ve been doing the vegetarian thing for almost a month now (ok, I’ve been eating a teeny-tiny bit of fish so I guess I’m a pescatarian(?) Anyway, the gf has been jonesin’ for a chicken casserole I used to make, so last Sunday, I made it. And I thought “I’ll have a litttle nosh, what could ir hurt?” Well, I got really sick. Two bites of chicken, and I was done for. My question is, is this normal? I was sick all night! I thought I’d do this until my health improved, then maybe, just once in awhile, I could have a little something? So am I doomed to vegatables forever?

    Here’s a link to a little cartoon describing some of what I’m going throught now…

    http://www.salon.com/comics/lay/2006/12/26/lay/index.html

  83. shadocat says:

    Katie–I just made a post, hit the “submit comment” button, and it just disappeared into a black hole or something. Do you know what might have happened?

  84. Feminista says:

    Katie and shadocat–The same thing happened to me re: submitting a previous comment.

  85. Maggie Jochild says:

    Katie, I put a check in the mail but now the place says they never received it. Also, I worked and planned for the revolution for my entire 20s and 30s, but it’s as if none of us ever did ANYTHING. Can you please get on this and restore order?

  86. Jen in California says:

    I’m really interested by the thoughtful discussion about the tension between a complete break vs. a staying together for couples with kids. (thanks DeLand for bringing out a side that hadn’t really been expressed before you spoke).

    I grew up with parents that shouldn’t have been together. They didn’t stay together for my sake, but because they were too broken to separate until things got so insanely dysfunctional that it forced the issue. I have no idea whether I would have been better off if they separated though. I agree with DeLand that there are definitely situations where staying for the sake of the kids leads to worse and worse bitterness, unhappiness, and torment for all involved. But on the other hand, how the couple breaks up is important too. If they can do it with compassion or both stay involved with the kids, or even marginally function without rivalry and hatred, then it definitely is a better situation for the kids than staying together with animosity and tension. But even though my parents managed to delay any breakup until I was college age, they still managed to use me as a puppet in their bitter hatred and did everything possible to try to turn me against the other, with absolutely no compassion for any pain I might have felt at seeing my family dissolve. I think that would have been much worse if I hadn’t have grown up enough (and gotten enough therapy and loving friends and partners for support) to help me get through it.

    I don’t mean to go on so much sorry. I just mean to say that I think it’s a really really tough decision as to which is better. I don’t believe parents should sacrifice their own sanity for an abusive or heartbreaking situation, just to save the kids, that kind of sacrifice can’t help but somehow come out onto the kids eventually. However, giving kids a family to feel safe and to rely on is so important. I don’t think there is one “across the board” right answer. And it has to be situational, and I have no idea how anyone in that position would actually be able to sort through their own heartache and pain in order to actually come to the right decision.

    I was so glad to see this strip. I don’t think Alison is implying that there is one right answer, or that Clarice and Toni will nec. stay together. But the way the issue came up in 502 brings up the whole dichotomy and tension of that choice, weighing those options. And the difficulty of it.

    Wonderful strip, thanks.

  87. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Feminista- How cool about your grandmother! Funny, I’m now living in Minneapolis and going to school to become a teacher. I wasn’t raised Catholic, either (making my sister and I two out of about six kids in our town who weren’t!) Old habits die hard, though– until the 1920s, the area was about 99.9% non-English speaking German Catholics (anyone here seen the movie “Sweetland”?)

    And Deena-I will pass your Johnnie comment along to my stepmom, who teaches at St.Ben’s! Oh, the naughtiness that my friends and I used to get up to in those woods around St.Johns… 😀

  88. Desi Femme says:

    Maggie you are hilarious. Yes, somebody please do something ’bout that missing revolution. Pronto. (dang did i misplace it AGAIN??!!)

    Sri, nice to see your post on the blog. I’d say ‘welcome’ ‘cept I’ve been so absent myself, and it sounds like you’ve been around for awhile.

    But, if I’m wrong: Welcome.

  89. shadocat says:

    Speaking of the war: (okay, I know we weren’t, but the strip was–along with Toni and Clarice’s marraige) Did anyone see the “Steak of the Onion” speech last night? Well I did. I work at a social service call center in a big old building with 2 other people, so we keep a little black and white TV on, just for some comforting noise at night. Well there was noise all right,but certainly NOT comforting.

    Thanks to the media, we all knew pretty much what he was going to say. And they were right: it was “a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.”

    What drove me and my friends crazy was all the applauding, standing ovations and so on. Why do they always do that? We know that most of them think he’s full of crap, and it just comes off as hypocritical and annoying. So we spent the speech-time looking at the crowd, watching for nose-pickers, or yawners. Didn’t find any yawners, but at one point did anyone notice it looked like McCain was asleep? Did to me.

    Anyway, imagine my suprise when I got this e-mail from MoveOn this morning:

    Dear MoveOn member,
    Last night, President Bush told Congress to give his escalation plan a chance. Congress wasn’t buying it: there was little applause

    WTF??? That’s ALL there was: applause. And standing ovations! I mean please! I understand if the Dems had to do this because it’s protocol, or custom, or even that they have to kiss ass a little to get what they want, but be honest with us! Don’t piss on my leg and then tll me it’s raining! And all that talk about healthcare and “securing our borders”. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about that–he was just trying to divert some attention away from his Iraq policy!

    I wrote MoveOn back—said basically, I support your message but don’t try to gaslight me.

    Politcs!! Aaarrrggghhh!!!

  90. Sophie says:

    Hello, my name is Sophie and I’m a DKWOFaholic. How do I know? I’ll just tell you this: Last night, I got back from two weeks in Cuba and the very first website I went to when I turned the computer back on this morning was here.

    I just love the way this blog brings a community together. Hats off to Alison for sharing just enough while upholding the integrity of everyone concerned.

    And oooooh, I love-love-love the strip!

    Toni’s proposition to “live together as parents, but not as a couple” seems to me the opposite of “staying together for the sake of the kids”. What if all the misery they’ve been experiencing came from trying to maintain the exclusivity of their relationship?

    As hetero genius says, Clarice and Toni “don’t hate each other, they squabble.” What if they gave each other, and themselves, the freedom to love others, without having to destroy the deep bond they obviously still have? Their shared obligation to Raffi could actually push them into having to explore new ways of loving.

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if their bond developed into something along the lines of Ben’s post? I can see Raffi growing up in a household composed of several parents and co-parents, each sharing a unique loving bond. This would be a very interesting direction to explore, in times when more and more people tend to “love outside the box” one way or another.

    From ages 20 to 40, I went through a series of serial-monogamy relationships, sometimes with a woman, sometimes with a man. During all that time, I was never really happy because I always had to cut off part of myself for as long as the exclusive relationship lasted.

    After yet another failure, I got so fed up with the pain and loss that I finally managed to stop looking for love in all the wrong ways, and spent several years as a single. Putting my commitment back where it belonged, i.e. my life, I went back to school, pulled my daughter and myself off welfare and embarked into a rewarding career as a translator.

    When I started going out again, meeting new people, it was with a completely different outlook. Somehow, the whole concept of The Couple as the The Only Valid Form of True Love had completely dried up.

    I think Josiah’s comment about “the binary union of a man and a woman” is very significant in this regard. It is difficult to see this concept from the outside, as it were, because it seems to have such a hypnotic force on everyone. But it is not built into human nature. It is a cultural dictate. It has nothing to do with the actual phenomenon of love: experiencing warm heart feelings towards someone, or feeling happy in their presence, or sexually attracted, or wanting to hug them, etc.

    I share an apartment with a man I love very much. We also enjoy traveling together, and just spent the last two weeks holding hands on a beach, where everyone saw us as this cute, romantic couple. What they didn’t see was that we each have our own bedroom and office and that we both see other people, sometimes on our own and sometimes together.

    We do not entertain any idea about being a couple together. To us, this just doesn’t exist. Let’s say that if we were shoes, instead of being a pair of slippers, he would be a rolling skate and I would be a Japanese sandal worn with a tabi sock.

    Now I’m happy!

  91. Sophie says:

    OMG. I meant DTWOFaholic.
    How am I going to come to terms with this addiction if I can’t even spell it right?

  92. shadocat says:

    Sophie-you could always write D2WO4…anyway, welsome to our den of iniquity

  93. shadocat says:

    oops–I must warn you; one of the side-effects of this addiction can be losing your ability to spell…

  94. Sophie says:

    hehe
    Thanks for the welcome, shadocat. Actually, I’ve been here before. I’m the Frenchwoman who always manages to sound like she’s got it all figured out… just because I’ve found my own recipe for happiness ;P

  95. Katie says:

    Shadocat- I found yours – it should appear shortly

    Feminista- I could not find yours…black hole, Im afraid to say.

    Maggie J.- Sorry to hear about your check and your revolution. The one I work for by day seems to be an uphill battle as well.

  96. Anonymous says:

    I think the revolution must be keeping company with those dratted WMDs…

  97. shadocat says:

    Katie; I love you!!! You risked life and limb, reached into that black hole, and pulled out my insignificant vegetarian post!!(probably covered with some primordial slime, I’m sure). I think you deserve a raise…

  98. Meghan says:

    Shadocat- I’ve done the vegetarian thing before, and during those times even eating vegetables that had been cooked with meat (as most vegetables are in the south) made me ill. However, I don’t think that two bites of chicken after just a month should be keeping you up all night. Maybe it was something else you ate?

  99. Sir Real says:

    Thanks, S. Bear, for laying out the differences between _opting_ to reveal information that is usually considered private, and having any _obligation_ to do so.

    And big thanks to Sophie for your story… very glad you’ve happened upon a useful arrangement for you. And I’ll just feel smug here because I never attempted a misguided monogamy. And feel lucky because I got to read _The Ethical Slut_ before I made _too_ many painful mistakes!

  100. thomas5_38 says:

    I was pleased to see that Clarice and Toni seem to be making a decision based on what is best for Raffi. As the subtext heading indicates it will be traumatic for him if they separate.
    On a general note, this strip is so excellent – the character writing, the art, the interweaving storylines, and the frequent use of news or other background activity interwoven into it all make DTWOF a masterpiece. I am a big fan of comics, and this strip is among my all-time favorites. Not to mention that it is great to see topics that are relevant to us cultural fringe-dwellers (you know – gay folks) presented in an honest natural context.
    Thanks Alison. I wrote an email to you recently and you replied in e-person, so thanks for taking the time to reach out to the little people.

  101. shadocat says:

    Meghan–I thought about that too, but the casserole was full of chicken, so after the “two bites” I thought it would be ok to just push all the meat aside and just eat the rice, veggies, etc. But maybe that was a bad idea, due to the “chicken influence”.

    Sophie—Doh! Of course I remember you posting here! Maybe this addictive thing should sport a label,”Some women over 50 have reported short term memory loss while writing on this blog.”

    Sir Real—Long time no read!

  102. rosagrigia says:

    Raffi will feel the tension. Better apart and happy than together and miserable. Separate, divide, split, break up, detach, whatever. Sophie, you are an amazing person. I love your ideals. Do share.

  103. Sophie says:

    Wow. Thanks. This place is full of amazing persons. Amazon piercings? “Some women just a little bit under 50 have reported funny mental associations while writing on this blog.”

  104. shadocat says:

    Ya know, I once dated a woman with so many “Amazon piercings”, I couldn’t tell if I was makin’ love to her, or workin’ on my truck…

  105. Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel says:

    GREAT line, shadocat! I’ll remember that one–with attribution, of course!

  106. rosagrigia says:

    Amazing persons….yes. Amazon piercings….no. I have never dated anyone with more piercings than me. Now, tattoos. My girlfriend has nine. I have none. I gotta catch up. Shadowcat, I love it. What kinda truck do you have? I used to have am F-150. It was a gas guzzler.

  107. mlk says:

    for those who’re worried about Toni and Clarice looking so tired and unhappy, seems to me that they’ll do better once they’ve worked out the mechanics of this decision and get on w/their lives. granted, that’ll take time, but at least they’ve *made* a decision, and one that seems to be sane. they’ll all suffer if one mamma lives in the house and another in a tent — even if Clarice and Toni take turns staying in the tent!

    maybe, someday, they’ll decide that they can each get their own place, but Raffi’s education is the priority just now. and, as I see it, they aren’t staying together “for the sake of the kid” but because they believe it’ll be best for him. and for them (financially).

    and, as others have pointed out, this opens bunches of plot possibilities — and opportunities for these two to learn about different ways of loving.

    I *loved* the comment (can’t find it now) about taking care of one’s responsibilities without making others pay a price. can’t find it, so I may have butchered the author’s intent, but what I remember of it applies to all layers of this strip.

    Alison, you DO have a way of telling 2 (or more) parallel tales in a meaningful way! and it’s fun to see how some of our chatter is reflected in your work — looks like you’ve done some reflecting on the use of speculative strips . . .

    and I don’t know where all this is going so maybe I’ve said enough here.

  108. shadocat says:

    Mrs. Biscuitbarrel–Thank you! (And I LOVE your name…)

    Rosagria— I used to have an F-150 too! Rusty, red and could go through gas quicker ‘n I can go throough a 2 liter bottle of diet coke (which is pretty damn fast!) Now I drive a little Focus—can’t haul anything, but the mileage is a lot better.

  109. Natkat says:

    Breakups. Oy!

    I just went through one. I thought I was miserable with her. I was even more miserable without her. Our breakup lasted all of four days and I turned around and came back “home”. *sigh*

    Speaking of living with exes, I have been divorced 14 years but often wonder if my ex-husband and I couldn’t have cohabitated comfortably anyway. We’re still very close and the best of friends. We had already started dating other people before the split. He was always respectful of my girlfriend du jour, and not in skeevy hetero male “i’ve always wanted to see two chicks do it” kind of way, but as a geniune caring and concern for my well being.

  110. Monique says:

    I commented before, but I forgot to put this: My parents are currently living together in the manner that Toni suggested in the last panel. It’s been going on this way for years. They don’t speak to each other unless they have to do so. I guess it’s going okay for them, but for us kids it’s pretty hard. My sister and I don’t live with them anymore, but my little brother (who is 7 years old) does. It’s difficult to grow up in a house where you know that your parents aren’t in love, but can’t afford to live separately.

  111. Cori says:

    “Your debt = our delight”. No kidding.

    Will Toni & Clarice stick together or fall apart? I’M TELLING YOU I DON’T KNOW.

  112. Dianne says:

    Monique: My parents did much the same thing. I agree with you: it is weird and not very pleasant. Especially when the child’s “they’re doing this for me, therefore I’m the one making my parents miserable” perspective is factored in. I hope your parents can find a better solution to their problems and please remember, the situation is NOT your fault. Or your sister’s or brother’s.

    I can’t help wondering if Raffie is trying to percipiate a crisis that will force Clarice and Toni to deal with their situation and either break up for real or get back together by his various actions (watching the Saddam hanging video, the youtube clip, filming the fight in the first place, etc.)

  113. ducatigirl says:

    Wow, halfway through Clarice’s first sentence and I could feel my chest getting tight. . .memories of moving into the “guest bedroom” and deciding who gets what. Yikes. No matter how necessary, it’s awful.

  114. Solex says:

    Stop giving Raffi so much shit, you two (I mean Clarice and Toni.)

    The boy’s just curious about certain things in the world, and he just sought them out on the ‘Net like most of us do. Maybe this is his way of dealing with the world, and your problems, so chill out!

  115. MoonFyre says:

    wow…. when I read the last panel here, where Toni & Clarice are discussing their options… “what if we kept muddling along like this? Living here together as parents but not as a couple” (and the reply) I groaned out loud. Because that’s exactly the situation I am living in – and have been since 1996 (when my daughter was only 3 years old) She’s 14 now. And here we are… still living in the same house, separate bedrooms, separate schedules, separate lives – the only thing we have in-common is our daughter and the mortgage & bills. Even the cats (4 of ’em, all girls) show more of a preference for me than my partner – because I’m around them more often, I guess. Its not how I ever envisioned my life ending up, but now that I’m in my late 40s, I feel like this is as good as its ever gonna get. I just hope that Toni & Clarice can find a way to grow and survive, for Raffi’s sake. (let go of jealousy & control & pain and perhaps create some kind of polyamorous extended family living situation…?) that would be my personal dream, for them and for me. Someday…

  116. AB ManFan says:

    If I di’n’t know better, I’d would say AB is setting up little Raffi to grow up into a tall, strong, ideologically pure Republithug. LOL I can just see it now 10 years hence, strips showing him as the mouthpiece of the Far Idiot Right Fukamendalists

  117. Riki says:

    ::sigh:: MadWimmin Books…Lois&Moe…Tony&Clarice… ::sniff::

  118. mlk says:

    ManFan, I can’t see Raffi growing up republican. where do you get that??!??!! I don’t think his ‘net surfing signifies much, and he’s got a definite bond with Clarice. he’s even done some democrat/progressive campaigning. remember when, at 11, he campaigned for Nader? I think he’ll be OK.

    at least I hope so . . .

  119. mlk says:

    somehow, I don’t mind Clarice and Toni “muddling” along — I think it has merit — but would hate to see our government do the same. as far as I’m concerned, we’ve gotta get out of Iraq!

  120. LoisGnosis says:

    Living together as parents, but not a couple–yes, that seems like it would be trouble. But what of the couple that still loves each other, but aren’t lovers anymore, but want to live together?

    We are lesbians. We don’t need to do it like straight people.

    I’m looking forward to what Clarice and Tony explore with this. Once again, AB has touched a current in our culture.

  121. minimamma says:

    I am happy that Clarice and Toni are finally splitting up. That relationship has been dead so long it was starting to smell. When a couple hasn’t had sex in 10 years, it’s way overdue! I hope they both can find some happiness with other people, it’s always better for the relationship with the kid if both parents have some joy in their lives.

  122. b-raw says:

    This is also not funny, interesting, or relevant. This is as boring as Genesis

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  124. Jeff says:

    Alison, I love your drawing of the usury.com website with the loan shark. That is the best that you have done in a long time.

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