February 5th, 2012 | Uncategorized

I finished my book last night!
I finished writing it months ago, and the Advanced Reading Copy went out weeks ago. But I still had a million things to do before it was actually finished. Hundreds of little drawing corrections, plus new art for the title page and endpapers and the case of the book. It was a long, hard, isolated slog. And now I’m done.

Here is my cat’s latest favorite spot. We bought this rotisserie thing to make chicken with because Holly loves rotisserie chicken but you can never get happy rotisserie chicken. We took it out of the box and immediately the cat got on the box and she hasn’t left. This is unfortunate because we discovered that the rotisserie thing is damaged and we need to return it but we can’t because the cat is on it.

79 Responses to “done”

  1. Ruth in RI says:


  2. Ruth in RI says:

    Oops. Looks like I made a mess on your blog. But that’s how excited I am to FINALLY see this post. Blog-messingly excited!

  3. THank you, Ruth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Robin B says:

    Congratulations, Alison! I can’t wait to read it.

  5. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Alison, how completely wonderful!!!! It must be such a weight off your shoulders. Think of all the time you’ll have to play with Holly and the Doctor. Think of how many chickens you can rotisserie! I am now officially on tenterhooks until it’s completely published and in my quivering hands. This is fabulous news!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations. I so look forward to reading it. You signed a copy of Fun Home for me once, and I was stuttering so badly I couldn’t even thank you 🙂 Maybe I’ll do better this time around 🙂

  7. Ellen Orleans says:

    Congraaaaaatulations! What does it feel like to wake up and remember you are done? I hope you can treat yourself to a spa day (if you go for that sort of thing) or at least a shoulder massage. Or wild night of dancing? Are you still going to teach in Chicago?

  8. Ian says:

    Wooooooooooo! Congratulations Alison! I can’t wait to read it now it’s done. You must be so thrilled and relieved in equal measure! It sounds like this has been a tough one, but you got there!

    My signed copy of the DTWOF anthology is one of my prized possessions and Fun Home was a revelatory read that’s helped to inspire an idea of my own. Looking forward to this one.

  9. Nora says:


    And as a Person Tolerated by a (Late Lamented) Cat, I can completely relate to your box dilemma. May the can be done with the box soon, so that you can feed her chicken scraps.

  10. Josiah Rowe says:

    Woo hoo! Dying to read the new book!

  11. Andi says:

    Congrats Alison!!!!! Happy Dance, Happy Dance!

    Now you can go out and buy a new rotisserie – leave the old broken one in the box for the cat, so she can dream of roast chicken… rrrrrowwrrrr….

    Wishing you stunning sales and no remainders,


  12. hairball_of_hope says:


    That is fabulous news. Mazel Tov!

    Related… As I continued my decennial archeological dig (or dig out) of my apartment this weekend, I found the Spring 1994/Issue 5 of Hysteria magazine.

    Flipping it open, the reverse of the cover page is DTWOF #77, “Resistance.” (For those who don’t have a copy of Essentials handy, Mo is kvetching to her therapist that her mother stopped kissing her goodnight when she was six, verisimilitudinous to AB’s experience.) I wonder if the new book will include some relevant DTWOF episodes, such as this one.

    Flipping along to page 5, there’s an ad for Ellen Orleans’ “Can’t Keep A Straight Face” with a blurb from AB.

    It’s a keeper. Back it goes into the archives. No wonder I never seem to make progress in decluttering.

    (… goes back to thinking about buying a Ganesh to help me …)

  13. Diana says:

    Congratulations from me as well! Very eager to read this.
    One thing I’ve found in my sparse creative life is that the lag between finishing a work and its public consumption is disjointing. I mean, you’re going to be done with this for how long before it hits the stands? Months? Amazon has it solicited for May 1. That’s 3 months from when you declared it done. Not so much jarring as disconcerting, I think.
    And good luck returning the rotisserie. The cat always comes first!

  14. This is the best news I’ve heard all year. Congratulations!

  15. Annie Blue says:

    This is fantastic! Congratulations and thank you! I can’t wait to read it!

  16. Farah says:


    And now I must go buy a rotisserie.

  17. Marta says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait for May (is Amazon right? Is it due to be out in May?)…

  18. Becca says:

    Wow, what a great start to my week – to find out that your new book is ready to appear! Congratulations, and thank you so much for continuing to create work that pushes boundaries as well as entertaining. Happy Imbolc!

  19. Anja says:

    I couldn’t care less about the kitchen appliances story, but the info about your book is amazing. I’m in pre-ordered line of what looks like a very cool Spring. Ar i es pi i si ti.

  20. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I’m boycotting Amazon a la Mo, but I’m pre-ordered at my local independent bookstore. Nyah Nyah Nyah.

  21. Pam says:

    Mazal Tov! I can’t wait to see it! Is there any chance of including Philadelphia on the book tour?

  22. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Oh, but you know what is going to be so neat? There will be another book on display along with Essential, Fun Home and Best! AB, can you show us a picture of the cover for AYMM at least?

  23. John Boren says:

    I’m just adding to the chorus, but congrats on finishing the book. I can imagine just what a struggle it was to get it done. Here’s hoping it’s warmly received.

    Cat removal from a box is always a tricky affair. I recommend transplanting to fresh, new box, if possible. Our cat loves Amazon boxes. Maybe it’s the smiley logo, I’m not sure…

  24. John Boren says:

    …to a fresh new box, even. Damn crappy keyboard…

  25. Mentor says:

    Here’s a link to the AYMM’s page at Powell’s books which shows an image of the cover. [CLICK HERE]

    (If your boycott of Amazon does not extend to viewing their pages, there is a larger/zoomable image of the cover on their site.) –Mentor]

  26. Congratulations! So looking forward to holding a copy in my hands!

  27. Cathy says:

    So what’s the next book going to be about?

    Bad joke by this editorial person aside–couldn’t resist, sorry!–I am thrilled for you and congratulate you.

  28. mkg says:

    Whahoo! May already? I can’t wait! Those people in commercial publishing are just amazing at speedy production! I guess that’s why they make the big bucks!

  29. Pam I says:


    I hope it’s going to be available as hardback in the UK. Amazon UK lists the paperback with 3rd May date, and a blurb for the HB but Info Currently Unavailable. Hardbacks are so much better for anything that will be read more than once, so special plea here that I dont have to do what I did for FH ie import it. I can be a better UK publicity harvester if there are shiny hardbacks to promote. Price difference is the proverbial cup of coffee.

  30. Judybusy says:

    Wonderful news, Alison! It has been a slog,hasn’t it? I’ll be very eager to read it as well. Also, I have had tremendous luck reclaiming personal items by simply picking up the cat and gently putting her down in a different spot. You then must move very quickly to secure the item. Best of luck!

  31. Andrew B says:

    Well, mazeltations!

    And I’m glad to see you understand your place vis a vis Dr W. So many cat servants delude themselves that they are “owners”, which just leads to tears all around.

    Pam, 21, when that question has come up in the past Alison has said that her tour is partly determined by invitations from bookstores. You might want to try going to a good local bookstore and asking them if they plan to host an event with Alison. Even if they don’t, you’ve at least let them know that customers are interested in this book.

  32. Dr. Empirical says:

    Great news! I’ll be first in line to read it!

    I don’t boycott Amazon, but I pay for everything I get there using Amazon Visa points. Since I pay off my balance in full every month, ain’t nobody making money off me! (Presumably Alison still gets her commission.)

  33. Kate L says:

    My reaction to A.B’s book news was the same that I had back in the 60’s when I heard that Alfred Hitchcock had just released a new movie, or that Picasso had just unvieled a new painting! 🙂

  34. Acilius says:

    @AB: Someone once said “There is nothing more wearying than a long uncompleted task.” So I imagine this must be a great relief to you. It certainly is exciting news to us!

    @Ruth: I like your style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Acilius says:

    Apparently the actual quote is from William James, “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

  36. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    I am very happy for you, Alison, and for us.

  37. shadocat says:

    What Kate L. said (#33)

  38. Karen says:

    @Pam & Andrew B: Philadelphia Free Library Central Branch lists Allison reading on Thursday, May 3, at 7:30PM. And it’s free!! Details here:

  39. freyakat says:

    Congratulations, Alison, on finishing your new book.
    I can hardly wait to read it. Yay!

    Now it’s time to get the kitty off the newly bought
    bedsheet so that said sheet can actually be put on the bed …..or not.

  40. Renee S. says:

    and yay.

  41. Deb Rox says:

    Congratulations. I can’t wait!

  42. Eva says:

    Memoir-ist extraordinaire, I salute you!

    Calling in an order to my favorite independent bookseller is the next task on my to-do list.

    Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!


  43. rinky says:

    Yay, congratulations. Can’t wait to see it. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  44. Ben says:

    Knowing that you’re done makes my anticipation all the greater. 🙂

    My cat’s taken the rocking chair. I sat down there during a rare moment when she wasn’t sprawled out on the seat, and she shot me a dirty look when I got back.

  45. yk says:

    Congratulations, Alison! How does it feel? Are you going to take a little break now or are you itching to jump into a new project? I’m nearing the end of a big project myself, and already have some other things in the works. But that is the nature of academia. Either way, enjoy it! You deserve to be proud of yourself.

  46. Marian says:

    Oh my god, yay this is the best news! Does this mean you’ll be in Chicago soon!!!?

  47. Alex K says:

    I like the phrase “happy rotisserie chicken”. I don’t know what it means. Maybe that is why I like it so.

    Rotate. The frequentative of rôtir? Rôtisserie rotateuse. All those boucheries along the market streets in Deauville, ceaselessly turning ducks, chickens, poussins in glazed cases near the door — the odours drifting out, lures awaft — and of course, from boucher to bûcher, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, roasted vertically she was indeed, mais tourner sans cesse, no, not quite. Prie pour nous, prie sans cesse, Sainte-Jeanne! Franco-Tibetan culture, prayers attached to the poultry, praying forever / ceasing never, fluttering up and over and down again through the steady drip of hot grease, around and around evermore.

  48. Pam I says:

    @ Andrew and Karen, not expecting UK tour this time (booo) but I would like to be able to buy a hardback AYMM in a UK bookshop. Don’t understand the reasoning of the UK publisher that we will only buy paperbacks over here. Hardbacks are just nicer all round, usually use better paper and cost peanuts (one packet in posh pubs) difference.

    I was able to buy a hardback FH by ordering from USA but there can’t be many like me. (Then I got a spare copy direct from Alison, ‘payment’ for collecting reviews from here, so now I have a reading copy and a keeping copy. Book fetishists will understand the difference.)

  49. Dr. Empirical says:

    I will definitely be at the Philadelphia reading in May. Who’s in?

    OT: When Archie Comics introduced a gay character a while back, I applauded the gesture, but said that it was ultimately meaningless, because the character would quickly fade into obscurity once the initial hoopla died down.

    Apparently his hoopla is more durable than I’d anticipated, because he’s getting his own title. Kevin Keller #1, sure to be a collector’s item, will hit the stands of the better comics shops, if not today then some time this month.

    Those of us who wish mainstream comics would expand beyond adolecent power fantasies applaud this positive step.

  50. […] Alison Bechdel posted done. […]

  51. nic h says:

    Are you my mother? – to me that sounds like
    ”are you my mummy?” an epic Dr Who story.

    my partner has just said
    “you ain’t my muvver!”
    “Oh yes I am”

    Uk residents may know the reference

  52. Ah, great. That is such lovely news. I’ve ordered my copy!

  53. Aunt Soozie says:

    Great news!!
    Dr E. I’m in for a deja vu rendezvous at the Free Library in Philadelphia on May 3rd. I think I’ll bring my daughter and my partner along as well. Can’t wait to get my copy of the new book! Yay, Alison!!! See you in the Spring!

  54. Aunt Soozie says:

    Hmmm… if I place an order with Powell’s will it arrive by May 3rd?

  55. Aunt Soozie says:

    Ordered from Powell’s anyway… can always buy another on May 3rd if that one hasn’t arrived yet.

  56. Linda says:

    Am I the only one who, seeing the photo under the caption of “Done”, leapt to the conclusion that you were shipping your completed pages to the publisher in a camoflaged/recycled shipping container?

    Congratulations!! 😀

  57. Dane says:

    @Alex K: I believe “happy chicken” refers to the sort of ethically-raised-and-slaughtered specimens that generally don’t populate rotisseries. But that’s just my use of the term – “happy meat,” “happy bacon” and so forth.

  58. Kate L says:

    A little off-topic, but let it be recorded that the first coin on another planet will be a 1909 Lincoln penny, attached to the camera calibration chart on the side of NASA’s Curiosity rover, currently en route to Mars.

  59. Ben says:

    Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait … (ad infinitum) … Thrilling!

  60. Eva says:

    The guy at Bear Pond Books took my order for AYMM and then thanked me for making him realize it was time for him to order a bunch for the store. That’s me, the early adopter, showing the way… 🙂

  61. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Alex K (#47), Dane (#57)

    I’m conflicted and confused about calling any chicken on a rotisserie a happy chicken.

    Consider the industrially-raised chicken. It’s leading an unhappy, miserable life. Butchering the chicken puts it out of its misery, it is no longer suffering. So is it now a happy chicken, or at least a happier chicken?

    Consider the free-range chicken. It’s leading an idyllic life, by chicken standards. Now it’s plucked out of chicken nirvana and butchered; that can’t be a happy event in this chicken’s life. Is this now a sad chicken?

    Obviously, I have way too much time on my hands. And too much chicken on my brain.

    (… goes back to looking for happy root vegetables …)

  62. cybercita says:

    Alison, that is wonderful news, and I look forward to seeing you when you read in NYC!

  63. PJeannechild says:

    A joint shall be smoked tonight in your honor. The exhale on my part shall be both real (for how long can it be held in?) and metaphorical (for how long have you waited to breathe freely, without an editor wondering about the wasted time?). Surely a trip abroad is in your future, to a warmer clime where no faulty heaters are needed and you can bask in the sun and your accomplishment? At the very least, treat yourself to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. I smile for you once again. xox

  64. Feminista says:

    Re #25 Mentor: Checked out the Powell’s website,and there’s a great blurb by Gloria Steinem! So lucky to have a Powell’s branch only a 5 minute walk from my house.

  65. Alex K says:

    @Dane, HoH… This morning, blanched the broccoli and the asparagus stems for tomorrow morning’s quiche; also butter-cooked the mushrooms for that quiche and for a quart of mushroom / olive vegetarian ragu all’arrabbiata. Butter, yes; and eggs, yes; non-vegan; yes; but… well. No rabbis were injured to make the sauce. Happy rabbi sauce. Ragu dello rabbino allegro ma arrabbiato. If he’s happy why’s he enraged? And there, like the rotisserie, I start going round and round again.

  66. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic, but more of the SOS (Same Old Stuff)…

    The Westboro crazies were scheduled to picket today’s funeral of the two litle Powell boys killed when their father intentionally blew up their house.

    I get it that the WBC’s primary intent is self-promoting publicity, but even using their tortured logic of somehow equating this tragedy with the WA state governor’s support of gender-neutral marriage, I really don’t understand how they are oblivious to the negative publicity that this would bring to them.

    But perhaps their real intent is to trade potential bad publicity for radio airtime, which when provided by right-wing radio hosts, is far more favorable.

    Check out this article in the Boston Herald:

    Their modus operandi sounds awfully close to extortion.

    Quoting from the article:

    “As I was doing research on Westboro Baptist Church I was made aware of the fact that they have called off pickets in favor of radio interviews. I offered up The Bobby D Show as a venue to talk their talk if the agreed NOT to come to the funeral of the Powell boys. Everything worked out but then, I had a change of heart. What if they showed up anyway? Well, after getting a call from someone we believe to be close to the family, we called off the interview unless we could air it on Monday as to keep the focus on the family. They said ‘no way’ to a Monday interview and we moved on.”

    “This morning though, Fred Phelps Jr. from Westboro Baptist Church did call in. He seemed fine to chat with us and let the interview air on Monday. Having said that, if they choose to show up to the event anyway, the interview will be destroyed and will never see the light of day.”

    Interesting that radio host Bobby D was so worried that the Phelpses religious beliefs do not include being truthful to one’s word, that he would only air the interview after the funeral to ensure he wasn’t going to be double-crossed.

    (… goes back to watching the snow flurries, wondering whom/what the WBC might blame for winter weather …)

  67. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Alex K (#65)

    “If he’s happy why’s he enraged?”

    It’s the crushed red pepper. You’d be pretty arrabbiato too if you were swimming around in a capsaicin-laden ragu.

    High-quality vanilla ice cream is the fastest way to undo the hot pepper’s angry effects, but while it works on internal and external areas, it’s not suitable for the eyes.

    Your pairing of quiche with ragu all’arrabbiata is a good one; the casein and high fat content of the custard moderate the capsaicin’s heat. Vanilla ice cream works better for chili pepper burn than the quiche custard because it also has sugar, vanilla, and low temp, which further modulate the burn.

    (… goes back to dumping Tabasco on her omelette …)

  68. Ready2Agitate says:

    Spritzhead: What’s a happy chicken?
    Hothead: My cat.

    Congrats, Alison. What an incredible accomplishment. I can’t believe you did it – it seemed so daunting. Enjoy these next few months, as we all wait with pre-ordered anticipation.

    Thanks for pouring your heart, soul, wit, intellect, insight, reflection, humor, energy, talent, perseverance, vigor, and quirky perfectionism into another book for the world to read. Can’t wait.

  69. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#68)

    Ok, I’ll bite…

    “I’m not your fuckin’ spritzhead girlfriend, I’m Hothead Paisan!”

    What is Dianne DiMassa doing these days?

    (… goes back to wondering how Chicken learned yoga …)

  70. Mazel Tov! SO excited to read it. Go you!!

  71. anna says:

    RE: #49
    A reading in Philly in May? Date/time/location? I looked under events here & couldn’t find it. I’d assume Giovanni’s(?), but still need more info.

  72. Aunt Soozie says:

    anna… .Free Library of Philadelphia Main Branch in Center City.

  73. Jay says:

    I am about to stab myself with excitement.

  74. anna says:

    Re: Aunt Soozie #73

    Thank you!

  75. Christina says:

    Any info on a spring book tour? I keep hoping and scouring the internet. I’m in San Francisco and I might be able to fly out to Toronto…Can’t wait to read the new book.

  76. Christina says:

    P.S. I’m a librarian, and we’d be overjoyed to have you at my library in the Bay area!

  77. Brooklyn Phil says:

    a little late to post, but still oh-so psyched about the new book!

    I’ll plunk down full price the moment I see it on a bookstore shelf. 🙂

  78. A guy, actually says:

    Ever since hearing this book was coming I remember every few months to check to see if there’s any update on its completion. And now, congratulations. I look forward to reading it!