Archive for February, 2010


February 25th, 2010

Last night the power was out so Holly and I had to wade through two or three feet of snow to rescue our neighbors’ snake. They were away and the snake needed to be kept warm. Isn’t she sweet?


February 15th, 2010

Photo on 2010-02-15 at 08.31
Here I am reading the big sprawling old fashioned color comics section from the latest issue of McSweeney’s. McSweeney’s is a literary journal whose physical form morphs peculiarly from issue to issue. One number resembled a stack of junk mail held together with a rubber band. This one takes the shape of a multi-sectioned Sunday newspaper, a vast 320 page broadsheet. Which includes the above funny pages with cartoons by a whole mess of cartoonists, including me.

Here’s the piece I did for it. It’s based on The Game of Life, which I played obsessively for a while as a child, often by myself. (the colors come out really garish here…sorry)

Life low res

I think if you click on that, it’ll take you to Flickr, where you can see a larger version.

Anyhow, I just wanted to put that up. Now I’m off to give a talk at the University of Chicago. If you’re in the area, come by! I’ve also updated my events page. Maybe I’ll be in your neck of the woods sometime soon. Apparently I have nothing better to do than travel around talking about myself.

comics squared

February 6th, 2010

Look! Tickets just went on sale for Kate Clinton and Lily Tomlin, performing together in New York in April. It should be a pretty amazing show.


Here’s Kate’s site for more info.

Here’s another item. I went out to get the mail yesterday, and there was my Oberlin Alumni magazine. I was idly glancing at the cover as I walked back inside, and something looked oddly familiar about it. It wasn’t just the drawing of the iconic Oberlin library womb chair, or the obstreperous Richardsonian silhouette of Peters Hall visible behind it through the window…no, it was something else.

Heatley Oberlin cover

“Oberlin Writes.” Hmm. Could it be? Indeed, it was. Cartoonist David Heatley drew the cover art for this issue, which includes this very sly allusion to an image from my memoir Fun Home.

womb chair

I don’t know whether anyone else will notice, but I’m very flattered. The issue is about all the various writers who’ve come out of the college, and it notes the unusually high ratio of cartoonists among them, including Heatley, me, R.O Blechman, and Josh Neufeld. (Also, though not mentioned in the article, David Rees, Barry Deutsch, and Jason Little.)

facts vs. truth

February 3rd, 2010


Today I spent hours creating a timeline of my life over the past ten years.

That was before I got to this passage in Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf, which I just started yesterday. Actually, I’ve been meaning to read this bio for a while but what prompted me to finally undertake it was Joan Schenkar’s biography of Patricia Highsmith, which I’m also reading. Schenkar begins her effort to describe Highsmith’s life by referencing Hermione Lee quoting Woolf on the impossibility of writing biography. Here’s Woolf:

” Facts have their importance—But that is where the biography comes to grief. The biographer cannot extract the atom. He gives us the husk. Therefore as things are, the best method would be to separate the two kinds of truth. Let the biographer print fully completely, accurately, the known facts without comment; Then let him write the life as fiction.”

I feel very dedicated to the project of writing my own biography as nonfiction. But she’s right. Trying to convey the facts AND the true story at the same time is not for the faint of heart.