Sunday round-up

December 17th, 2006 | Interviews & Reviews, Oddments

Instead of using my reprieve from my strip deadline to do all the other work I have to do, I seem to have plunged into a blogging frenzy. But I have a few more things I want to post about, mainly a whole bunch of Fun Home stuff.

  • The Times (London) said Fun Home was one of the 10 best books of 2006—books! Not “graphic books,” not “memoirs” (not that there’s anything wrong with that), just Books. Crikey! Sarah Waters’ Night Watch is number 3. Fun Home is number 10.
  • Salon has posted an excerpt and an interview with me.
  • Time and Entertainment Weekly have both included Fun Home in their ‘best of the year’ round-ups. I think they’re on the newsstands now.
  • Medusa…I mean Amazon.com has picked FH as one of the Top 50 Books of 2006 (it’s #44 on the list), and one of the 10 best memoirs.

On another note, I finally got around to reading some of the coments on episode 501, and have a few remarks.

  1. I see that Pjeannechild had my sabbatical under discussion on the blog before she emailed me about it. Sorry I missed that.
  2. The library in #501 is indeed an old Carnegie library. It’s based on the Franklin library in Minneapolis. I found it on google image search, and liked the look of it. I.e., it seemed easy to draw.
  3. Raffi didn’t say FTW, he said WTF. Which as far as I know means What The Fuck. (But doesn’t FTW mean “fuck the world?”) And ‘tool’ in my book is a synonym for ‘dick.’
  4. I love syd’s insight about Mo’s new boss at the library perhaps being a Gay Librarian Bear.

I need to get on the threading project so your instructions for zesting oranges don’t get all buried in the theological discussions about original sin, or the nostalgic reveries about ancient computers (and ancient languages). Though I kind of like everything all mixed up together. I love the comments on this blog. If I do say so myself.

And hey, did anybody notice what happens when you push the ‘play’ button on the “Buy Alison’s Art from PSAW” button? Gahlord the webmeister made this cool little pan & zoom quasi-animation.

19 Responses to “Sunday round-up”

  1. Maggie Jochild says:

    I did notice the new animation, and loved it. Just loved it. Thanx.

    I also prefer the “mixed up together” aspect of this blog, as opposed to the threading that occurs on other blogs. Frankly, I don’t read down through threads unless it is of burning interest to me — but I read ALL the comments here, and especially appreciate how extraordinately wide the minds of these folks range. In particular, as a writer, I am struck by the synergy — how one thing leads to another, which is in fact how my artistic method works, and how I believe revolution occurs. If I got to vote, I’d vote for “let’s all hang out together” instead of pretending at “keep it simple, stupid” by segretation. This blog is a one-of-a-kind. It’s not broken, and I don’t think it needs a fix.

    And, to answer yet another comment (see, how it works?) — a long time ago, as an activist/artist/parent, I discovered that unless what I really needed was something specific like sleep or a particular nutrient, the best “rest” was to be found in doing something completely different. So if poetry was not ringing my chimes, write an essay, or create a puzzle. To take breaks from my novel, I write newsletters or parodies. Because it is the WRITING that I love, and taking a “break” from it is not a vacation for me.

  2. wednesday white says:

    FTW can also mean “for the win”.

  3. dammit says:

    Oh, dear. I was under the misaprehension FTW meant “For Teh Win”. I may have committed something of an internet faux-pas. Many times. Shiiiiiiit.

  4. PML says:

    I thought the library looked familiar. I have to say, a good part of the fun of reading DTWOF is seeing all of the pseudo-Minneapolis locations, having spent several years there.

    Of course, the best part of it is the wonderful, wonderful stories. I’ve never taken the opportunity to say it, but I’ll do so now: You’re great, Ms. Bechdel! Take a break, whatever you’ve got to do to keep going! (Isn’t horrible I only want you to take a break so that you can keep working?) You’re one of the best! Glorious kudos galore! Etc!

    Thanks for all the great characters!

  5. tallie says:

    i totally heart this blog, so if “taking a break” = “more blogging” than i’m even more for it than i originally was. where else would one get literary geek refrences, gender theory, baking advice, political debate, fashion advice, and to top it all off, seminal dyke culture?

    congrats on all the fun home stuff.

    okay, so i’m a grad student, right? and some of my collegues just passed their qualifying exams. (which is a big, scary, important exam that lasts a week. failure is not an option. resistance is futile) immediately after they pass, they go into what is called the “post-quals slump.” instead of (finally) doing their own research, (which is what you are now “qualified” to do) they, you know, read romance novels and sleep.

    so you just finished writing, publishing, and promoting a rather significant book, one that critics seem to eat up. i think a bit of a slump is called for, no?

    so, a question for commenters: favorite de-stressing/relaxation/guilty pleasures that take your mind off “work”… no matter how much you might love your chosen profession, what it is you do to make life a bit friendlier.

  6. Maggie Jochild says:

    Have to reply, Tallie — for me as an artist, it’s not “work”. I use Annie Lamott’s quote, “I write because it will kill me if I do not.” I’m not happy/healthy if I’m not doing my art, because it is my purpose, my joy, my window to god — all those things, and more. Taking a break from it is taking a break from my soul. It’s not a job, and it’s not school – it’s not even a profession, unless you’re lucky enough to earn some or all of your living at it. But, when it starts feeling like a job, then I’m not doing it the way I want to, and changing how I do it is the key to rejuvenation, not escape.

    When you achieve success, as Alison has, then there are lots of other “jobs” that get added onto the art, especially marketing and dealing with your public. Which can be fun/fulfilling, sometimes, but they are NOT the art.

    Additionally, for me, there’s a daily tightrope of input and output. I have to put stuff into the hopper in order to grind out the grain that feeds me. Conversation, reading, nature, being with children, other forms of art (though not television, for sure, and not junk reading) can all help “rehydrate” me so I can draw on a full well in order to express myself. This is essential once your art has become a daily practice. I can well imagine that this blog — and the tangents it provides — would give Alison fresh nutrients, because it certainly does for me. We are primates, after all — following our curiosity is in hardwired into us.

  7. Jaibe says:

    I for one am about to take my longest holiday since 1993 — 3 weeks! But a sabbatical should be a whole year where you get to get something new done :-). Actually, there are some cool artist fellowships that let you go work in interesting places and hang out with other artists & not have to pay rent or whatever. Next time I see one I will post the URL here, but I’m sure some of your new high-flying friends might know about these?

    PS hurrah, bring on the threads 🙂 *after* the vacation!

  8. Aslynn says:

    Just wanted to chime in that FTW usually means “for the win.” No worries comment-poster named “dammit.”

  9. shadocat says:

    I for one vote for “leaving things all mixed up”. I love how the conversation bounces around from the strip to current events to personal stories to the strip. etc., etc, Just as I imagine it would if we were all together in one big New York penthouse at FABULOUS cocktail party…(sigh)

    Is there any way to have both???

  10. mlk says:

    I like the mixed up approach, too.

    as for the Big New York Penthouse Cocktail Party . . . those kind of crowds give me the willies. I immediately feel insecure and shut down. I interact more with the setting than the people.

    any other introverts out there??!?! I thought so!

    besides, I do such a terrible job of envisioning people from their disembodied voices or words on paper (or in cyberspace) that I’d have a time reconciling who you really are to who I *thought* you were. that’s probably the only thing I’d be able to talk about!!

  11. shadocat says:

    No, no, MLK, this is my IMAGINARY cocktail party–if it were a REAL party, I’d, be back in the corner, wearing too short pants and picking at my cuticles. In my IMAGINARY party, I’m wearing a tailored black suit, and I’m standing by the terrace window, a martini in one hand, making witty, Dorothy Parker-like conversation with one and all, And YOU, MLK, look MAHVELOUS!

  12. Deborah says:

    I. too, am voting for keeping the comments as they are. I also realize that our benign dictator, AB the Great, did not ask for feedback from us, but I am giving my 2 cents anyway.
    I hate threaded comments and rarely read them. I like the mix.

  13. tallie says:

    that was a great response maggie – i think the difficult thing for me is that i love my work and feel blessed to be able to do it, but have a hard time reminding myslef that there are other things in the world i love to do, too.

  14. Alex K says:

    THE TIMES / December 16, 2006

    The 10 Best Books of 2006: Number 10

    FUN HOME
    Reviewed by Tom Gatti

    FUN HOME
    by Alison Bechdel
    Cape, £12.99; 232 pp
    Published: September 14
    UK sales: 567

    “Alison Bechdel did not expect FUN HOME to cause such a fuss. Having built a cult fanbase with DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR — a razor-sharp cartoon strip chronicling the lives of a group of intellectual lesbians — she did not imagine her memoir straying beyond this coterie of enthusiasts.”

    I’m a member of a cult! A fanbase! A coterie! Yowza!

    And (as of whenever this review was typeset) my partner and I have accounted for slightly over 0.5% of Alison’s UK sales. One copy for ourselves, two for prezzies.

    More about this cult thing.

    Really I do feel smug, cultishly so, for having admired Alison’s work well before she garnered appreciation for FUN HOME. (I love feeling smug. It is perhaps the emotion that I do best.)

    But on reflection: FUN HOME is wonderful, amazing, and, yes, frightening in ways that DTWOF was not for me.

    “DTWOF is wit. FUN HOME is art. Discuss.”

  15. dammit says:

    Alex K, I think that in implying that art and wit are mutually exclusive you are underestimating wit and taking art far too seriously. One of the things I love most about DTWOF is it’s insight and poignancy, two qualities that could be defined as artistic; and Fun Home is all the better for it’s ability to make you laugh whilst still maintaining its tragic integrity. So, in conclusion: wit+art=good. Yay!

  16. Alex K says:

    The discussion begins! Yay again!

    I agree with everything that you’ve put forward – thank you.

  17. shadocat says:

    Alison, I repeat-I have not read one bad review of “Fun Home” Not one, and I read lots of mags and newspapers, and everytime I see a review for “Fun Home”, I zero in on it, and all have been excellent!

    For years, I have been passing your books to my straight friends, and they all say the same thing; “This is great stuff! Why haven’t we heard of her before?” And after my long talk regarding heterosexism in the publishing industry is fininished, I have always said, “Trust me. One day you’ll hear about her in a big way!”

    And now that time is here. Once again, congratulations.

  18. Suzanonymous says:

    A tool is something to use. It’s that simple, and tragic when applied to fellow humans.

    Love the sketches, Alison. 🙂

  19. MaggieM says:

    Ha ha–anyone notice the remarkable similarity between the covers of “Fun Home” and Amazon’s #42 book of the year, “Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters”?