Archive for April 17th, 2012


April 17th, 2012

Man. I have been trying and trying to find time to write a blog post, but I have never been so busy in my life. Thanks to Mentor and others for noting some of the recent developments around here—the Guggenheim, The joint review of my new memoir and Jeanette Winterson’s new memoir in New York Magazine. And also this week’s New Yorker profile—which the author Judith Thurman is having a live chat about on Wednesday.

Here’s a small close-up of the illustration I got to do for The New Yorker piece.

blog of NYer pic

Any one of these items would have sent me to bed for a week, but they’re all happening at once. Plus this week I’m traveling from Chicago (where I’m teaching at the University of Chicago until June) to NYC to attend the Publishing Triangle Awards where I will be receiving the Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award. I protested that I am too young to receive a lifetime achievement award, but by the end of all this I may have aged into the proper bracket.

Here’s what I’ve done since finishing Are You My Mother on February 3rd: Took my mother on a trip to Las Vegas. Uprooted myself and moved away from my home to teach in Chicago. Co-curated an exhibit of my work with my colleague here, Hillary Chute. Had an opening for the show. Did multiple public talks, including a Graphic Novel Symposium at Colorado College last week with Hillary and Chris Ware. Drew a self portrait to accompany The New Yorker profile. (below are some studies.) Received copies of my book hot off the press and spotted billions of tiny errors, and some not so tiny, which took me a long time to recover from. Did many publicity interviews, with very fancy people like Lev Grossman at Time Magazine, and Maud Newton, though these are not out yet.

But the big thing has been teaching a class twice a week, on autobiographical comics, with Hillary Chute. These kids are very smart and it is hard staying even half a step ahead of them. Plus Hillary has us reading all kinds of dense, difficult autobiographical theory that I barely understand.

I want to return to Jeanette Winterson for a moment. In some interview I read with her recently, she said that she feels ill if she can’t read every day. And I would say that I start to feel a little ill, or at least hollow and insubstantial, if I can’t write every day—at least a very minimal diary entry or blog post about what I’ve been doing. And I haven’t been able to do that in many weeks now.

I hope that this post makes me feel better.

Here are some of my studies for The New Yorker illustration. It was very helpful to have a drawing to work on while I’m living in this strange faraway place.