Archive for December, 2011

buy this book

December 31st, 2011


I just heard Ellis Avery on NPR talking about her new book The Last Nude. It’s based on the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka, and the relationship she had with one of her models. I majored in art history and never heard of this woman for godsakes. But the novel sounds great—set in 1927 Paris, all very steamy and literary.

The book comes out next Thursday, January 5. Ellis is going on a tour—go hear her if she comes to your town! Also, buy or pre-order the book! The way books make the best-seller lists is if a lot of people buy them right when they come out. And then if they make the best-seller lists, even more people will buy them. There’s something slightly circular about that logic, but it seems to be the way things work.

return to the light

December 22nd, 2011

I seem to have finished penciling the last chapter of my book at the moment of the solstice.

paper or plastic

December 21st, 2011


June Thomas has a new nonfiction book podcast over at Slate. Her first episode is a chat with Steve Kleinedler, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary. (See here for a post about my own fascinating visit with Steve a couple years ago.)

I’m on the Usage Panel of the AHD which means I get to weigh in on things like whether “their” as a gender neutral pronoun is okay. (I’m lobbying hard for a yes on that one.) It also means that I get a free dictionary when a new edition comes out. The Fifth arrived recently, resplendent as ever with its profuse photo illustrations. But this time it came with an app for my phone! And it’s a pretty cool app. It contains the full text of the dictionary, which is great, but the search function is…what do you call it…like how Google works now, where with each letter you input it’s finding new search results? Anyhow, the AHD app does that, with each letter you input, a list of words comes up. One of the amazing things about the hard copy dictionary, of course, is the serendipitous pleasure of finding other words on your way to looking up one particular word. And some of that analog experience is preserved by the app’s alphabetical list of possible answers to your search.

(SOmebody please tell me what that technology is called. My brain is so fried from drawing 16 hours a day I can’t even try to look it up.)

ANyhow, June’s talk with Steve is fascinating. One of the things they discuss is whether the Fifth Edition of the AHD could be the last printed dictionary.

my everlasting process

December 19th, 2011

The journal Critical Inquiry has posted this video of my friend and colleague Hillary Chute interviewing me while I was working on my book last summer. If I had talked less and drawn more, maybe I would be done by now.

Hillary Chute Interviews Alison Bechdel from Critical Inquiry on Vimeo.

stand-up shorts

December 12th, 2011

stand up shorts

I’m working hard on finishing up the drawing for my new book. All day long I sketch and take pictures of myself in various poses, then sketch some more. I use different props and clothes for all these reference shots.

I have this ancient pair of Patagonia “Stand-Up” shorts from when I was twenty-five, so I wear them in some of these little tableaux to help me conjure up my younger self. They’re too small now–I can barely button them. So I take them off as soon as possible after the shutter releases. As I was rushing about today, I caught this glimpse of them living up to their name.

They also reminded me of that Dr. Seuss story about the empty pants in his book The Sneetches and Other Stories.

I saw a pair of pale green pants
with nobody inside them…

pale green pants

gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights

December 6th, 2011

Holy shit!
I’m listening to Hillary Clinton’s staggering, mind-blowing speech in honor of International Human Rights Day. You can too, right here.

Here’s the transcript. It’s totally worth reading every word.

(Thanks to Rex Wockner for these links!)

inking away

December 1st, 2011