Archive for September, 2006

Malaprop’s Bookstore, Asheville NC

September 30th, 2006


Such a huge throng showed up for my reading last night at Malaprop’s that we had to scrurry and rig up a bigger screen, because the tiny living room-sized one was clearly not going to suffice.

impromptu screen

It was a very lovely evening. People asked some difficult questions, like, how did writing Fun Home change me. It’s like having therapy in front of a crowd.

Here’s how pretty Asheville is at the ungodly hour I at which had to arise this morning.

dawn in asheville

As soon as I pack my tents, I’m going back to my favorite airport, ATL, en route to St. Louis. Maybe on the flights I’ll have time to finally read all the comments on the Michigan Fest brouhaha, which I now see number three hundred and two.

Books and Books, Miami Beach

September 29th, 2006

I had a really nice reading last night at Books and Books. Actually, it was at the Design Within Reach store next door, which is a furniture showroom. So everyone sat around on these groovy modern couches and chairs, like we were in a big living room. And there were a lot of people there because the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce sponsored it, and many of their members came. I love the Chamber of Commerce! I like just saying it. Chamber of Commerce.
reading in the furniture store

(Right now I’m at a Chili’s in the Atlanta airport. The waitress just asked “What can I get you, sir?” Usually people say “I’m sorry” once they hear my voice. But she just came back with my coke, “Here you go sir.” It’s 10:45 in the morning and I’m having a hamburger because this is the only restaurant on the concourse and that’s all they have.)

The Atlanta airport is full of soldiers—lots of guys in white navy uniforms, and men and women in those strange new digitized camouflage fatigues that look sort of fake, like a kid’s halloween costume. (Uh…and by the way, I think I’ve spotted about a dozen lesbians so far.) It reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting of Grand Central Station during World War II, with soldiers from various branches bustling through, meeting relatives. I remember looking at that as a kid and thinking, wow, that’s what it looks like when there’s a war going on. Yeah, it is.

This is a very blurry picture because I didn’t want to be conspicuous and use my flash.

It’s easy to forget about what’s going on in the world when I’m traveling and doing all this self-absorbed stuff about my book. I try to retain a grip on reality by watching Democracy Now when I can. Like last night, while I was having my room service dinner at the Ritz-Carlton.

amy goodman at the ritz

I took a picture because it seemed so incongruous, Amy Goodman at the Ritz. She’s on an eighty city book tour! Every time I watch, she’s broadcasting from another place. And I bet she’s not staying at no Ritz-Carltons.

Feeling Pale in South Beach

September 28th, 2006

What a very odd time I’m having. Austin, Atlanta, now Miami. I’ve never been in Florida before. It’s, like, HOT. Who knew? My glasses steamed up when I went out last night for a walk. In my corduroys and jacket, an instantly regrettable ensemble.

But get this. Yesterday before I left Atlanta, I had lunch with Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor for the New Yorker. He happened to be in town and was being driven by the same literary escort service as me. I don’t know exactly how it happened, I guess the escort must have mentioned she was driving around another cartoonist. And Bob (I call him Bob!) had recently heard about me from some other New Yorker cartoonist (I’m not sure which one, some guy who apparently also wrote for Six Feet Under) so he suggested that we meet. And so we did. We had lunch, see?
me and bob

He invited me to start submitting stuff to the magazine, so I can join the august ranks of cartoonists, including Roz Chast, who get their work rejected on a regular basis.

I haven’t even been able to process that yet.

new yorker

Right after lunch with BOB I was whisked off to ATL. Where I made this short film entitled, Why Am I Always the Only Lesbian at the Airport. In the long and badly managed line to go through security, I noticed this curious instructional display of things you’re not supposed to pack.


Did you know you weren’t supposed to bring chainsaws on the plane? What about circular saws? Or hedge clippers? Or shoulder-fired rocket launchers for that matter. Why stop with chainsaws?

And now here I am this morning in South Beach.


The ocean’s like bathwater. The beach was kind of sad. There were homeless people sleeping and changing their clothes, some daring to sit on the fancy furniture put out by the ritzy hotels. Speaking of which, I’m actually staying at the Ritz-Carlton. Very lovely, but disconcerting. All these guys opening the doors for me as I walk in or out. Now I’m gonna go get some work done.

Time to spare

September 25th, 2006

Things to do at the airport when your flight is delayed:

1. Get your shoes shined. Surprisingly sensual!

2. Take an extra moment and use the tissue paper toilet seat cover.

tissue paper

3. Do some wildlife photography. I spotted this cricket on the concourse, and it reminded me of the mouse I photographed on the floor of the Philadelphia train station in June. As I tried to get a better shot, it climbed onto my shoe and up my leg. I thought of bringing it along to Atlanta, but it jumped off.

4. Have a properly-steeped cup of tea.


5. Catch up on your reading.
tender land
This is the most astonishing book. The Tender Land, by Kathleen Finneran. It’s a family memoir about her brother’s suicide. But the most moving thing about it so far (I’m on page 75) is its description of a loving, intact family. A functional family memoir—what a concept. Yet it’s not remotely sentimental or predictable. It reminds me of something my friend Judith Levine recently said that a friend of hers said: Tolstoy had it wrong, it’s unhappy families that are all alike.

I actually went to college for a brief period with the author, Kathleen Finneran. We bonded around being lonely, socially awkward transfer students. She left school after a few months, though, and I haven’t been in touch with her since 1979. But I’m going to see her when I’m in St. Louis at the end of the week. It’s weird that after our little oasis of friendship in college we both went on to not only have suicides in our family, but to write memoirs about them. Oh, and we have the same publisher.

Holy Michigan, Batman!

September 24th, 2006

Thank you everyone, for the 72 feet of discourse (at rough estimate) spawned by that last post. I’ve been totally crazed with work for the past several days and haven’t even been able to read all the comments yet. In fact, the last time I checked, there were 78—astonishing enough. But now I’m staggered to see the count is up to 226.

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the conversation. People have said some really smart things, and for the most part are being civil. I think. As I said, I haven’t read everything yet.

I feel bad I haven’t been weighing in, and I’m too fried to add anything right now. I stayed up all night last night finishing my latest batch of strips, threw some clothes in a suitcase, caught an ass-crack of dawn (thanks to Katie for that excellent expression) flight to Austin, Texas, and did a reading for a very engaging and inquisitive crowd at BookPeople this afternoon. Tomorrow, on to Atlanta. Tonight, crash. Now.


Episode 495

September 19th, 2006

Here’s th’ latest episode. Trying a new technique for posting it here. Let’s see how it goes.

Read the rest of this entry »

it’s a mystery

September 17th, 2006

The UK edition of Fun Home was just released, and got a nice review in the Times. Thanks to Pam Isherwood for alerting me to it. I don’t understand why there needs to be a separate UK edition, though. It’s not like it has to be translated. Unless maybe they threw in some spanners or torches. Or puddings maybe.

Another thing I don’t understand is these bugs that keep appearing in my basement. They’re some kind of ants that crawl up through cracks in the floor, metamorphose into winged bugs every night, and in the morning they’re all dead.


Fall Tour: space-time coordinates

September 17th, 2006

space-time continuum
I’m leaving in a week for another book tour. I thought making a map of where I was going might help me to pre-emptively (god, that word is ruined forever) adjust to the psychic displacement entailed by serial air travel. In case you can’t decipher it, here’s the text version, too.

Fun Home Fall Tour

Austin, Texas
Sunday, September 24, 2006, 3:00 pm

603 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin TX 78703
(512) 472-4288

Atlanta, Georgia
Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 8:00 pm

Outwrite Bookstore
991 Piedmont Ave. NE
Alanta, GA 30309

Miami, Florida
Thursday, September 28, 2006, 8:00 pm

Books & Books, Miami Beach
933 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach FL
Co-sponsored by Miami-Dade G&L Chamber of Commerce

Asheville, North Carolina
Friday, September 29, 2006, 7:00 pm

Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café,
55 Haywood St. Asheville, NC 28801

St. Louis, Missouri
Saturday, 30 September, 2006, 7:00 pm

Left Bank Books
399 N Euclid Ave, St. Louis MO 63108

Washington, D.C.
Monday, October 2, 2006, 8:00 pm

Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008

Cleveland, Ohio
Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 7:00 pm

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Legacy Village
24519 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst OH 44124

Oberlin College
Wednesday, October 4, 2006, 4:30 pm

I’ll be giving a lecture about Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home for the Comparative American Studies program. But anyone’s welcome to come. It’s in the Craig Lecture Hall, Science Center, 119 Woodland St., Oberlin, OH

University of Michigan
Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 7:00 pm

The School of Art & Design and the Office of LGBT Affairs is bringing me in. I’ll be speaking at the East Quad auditorium. This is a National Coming Out Day event.

Toronto, Ontario
Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 7:00 pm

Pages, ‘This is Not A Reading Series’

I’ll be having a conversation with Ivan Coyote and Zoe Withall.

Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St W,, Toronto.
Wed, Oct 11, 7:30-10pm (doors 7pm), free

Coming up:
London and Paris at the end of October

NY ComicCon in February

analyze this

September 11th, 2006

Whoa. Guttergeek, The Discontinuous Review of Graphic Narrative, just posted a lovely, academic review of Fun Home by Michael Moon, a professor at Emory. It has some interesting psychoanalytic insights. If you like that sort of thing. Which I do.

Take for example the amazing picture (top of p. 44) of her child-self in silhouette, observing her father laboring in his embalmer’s role over a bearded and naked corpse from which he appears to have extracted heart, lungs, stomach and bowels through a gaping hole in the front of the body….Here is meticulous, Thomas Eakins-like physical detail, in both drawing and writing. But here too (although we may overlook it) is probably the book’s most harrowing visualization of Bechdel’s worst fears about her father: that he lacked, to a radical degree, some kind of crucially important interiority.

Site maintenance in progress

September 11th, 2006

Things might look a bit bent out of shape until 12pm today. Doing some site maintenance. Thanks for your patience.