ferro-grumley awards

May 7th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Here I am blogging not from the woods, but from Manhattan. With my good old friend Sarah Van Arsdale. We’re on our way to the Ferro-Grumley fiction award ceremony. The Essential DTWOF is a finalist! Wish me luck!

78 Responses to “ferro-grumley awards”

  1. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’m sitting in a park somewhere on this same island. Lucky for us all it has stopped raining and has become a delightful evening. Good luck on the awards, and let us NYCers know where you will be opening the champagne after EDTWOF wins. We’ll all help you celebrate!

  2. emconnell says:

    good luck! i just read that–it’s terrific. have a blast!

  3. b.l. says:

    good luck!

  4. cybercita says:

    good luck! hope you didn’t get caught in the rain today.

  5. NLC says:

    So what’s an “Iron Grumley”?

  6. hairball_of_hope says:


    Yeah, I had the same ferrous thoughts. WMTA (Warped Minds Think Alike).

    Read about all the awards (including Ferro-Grumley) here:


  7. iara says:

    good luck!!!

  8. amyx says:

    good luck! Have you ever seen any of Holly Andres photographs? There’s something about the way she approaches her art that reminded me of how you approach projects like Fun Home. Thought you might be interested in her work: http://hollyandres.com/splash.html

  9. sparks says:

    No news…no news … fingers tapping anxiously…

  10. Alison says:

    I won! But now I have to go to sleep. More later.

  11. Aunt Soozie says:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear the details! Yay Alison!!

  12. Aunt Soozie says:

    and now I have to sleep too….

  13. Mary E says:

    Celebrating by sleeping? I thought that was something that only I would do.

  14. AC says:

    Congratulations! To be honest, I was not familiar with the strip until my partner came home with Essential DTWOF a couple of weeks ago. I was floored — it is jaw-droppingly smart, funny, and often prescient. Reading it, I felt such tension between wanting to savor every news headline and t-shirt and wanting to find out what happens in the next episode. So hard to put down. Now I’m finished and I’m going through withdrawal. But I just bought a copy for a friend — and I will buy more. It must be satisfying to have delighted your fan base and yet attracted a whole new audience with this compilation — I’m so pleased you’re getting this recognition. Of course I hope you return to the rich, complex, lovable characters you’ve created in DTWOF, but either way, I look forward to reading Fun Home and finding out what’s next in your creative future. Many thanks for the gift of your work, and again, congratulations!

  15. Alex K says:

    Well, hot DAMN. Good for you!

    When Oprah picks D2WO4 for the book club, don’t forget to link to the on-air interview video…

    Are you the 2008 winner? The F-G website lists awards only through 2007. And — what with the Judy Grahn thing a couple years back — how many other double-headers / switch-hitters for these awards ARE there?

    Once again, congratulations!

  16. Renee S. says:

    wooo-hooo! Break a leg, AB!

  17. Sweetwind says:

    I have a copy of The Book Lover’s Page-a-Day Calendar for 2009, and Fun Home was the May 7th page. Surely that’s auspicious! Good luck Alison!!

  18. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hey! It’s the morning after, and still no champagne (at least none that was shared with us). I hope your private celebration post-award ceremony was fun. Surely you did more than get forty ZZZZs?

    It’s a fine morning in Manhattan, time to wake up and start your day singing “Chelsea Morning”:

    Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I heard
    Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words
    It came a-reeling up like Christmas bells, and rapping up like pipes and drums

    Oh, wont you stay
    Well put on the day
    And well wear it till the night comes

    Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I saw
    Was the sun through yellow curtains, and a rainbow on the wall
    Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you, crimson crystal beads to beckon

    Oh, wont you stay
    Well put on the day
    Theres a sun show every second

    Now the curtain opens on a portrait of today
    And the streets are paved with passersby
    And pigeons fly
    And papers lie
    Waiting to blow away

    Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew
    There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too
    And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses
    Oh, wont you stay
    Well put on the day
    And well talk in present tenses

    When the curtain closes and the rainbow runs away
    I will bring you incense owls by night
    By candlelight
    By jewel-light
    If only you will stay
    Pretty baby, wont you
    Wake up, its a Chelsea morning

  19. hairball_of_hope says:

    Damn… the computer ate all the apostrophes… eeek!

  20. hairball_of_hope says:

    Opinion piece on gender-neutral marriage from Bloomberg:


  21. hairball_of_hope says:

    Calling all Francophone budding graphic novelists and comic writers: Belgium needs a few good writers. The country of TinTin fame is looking for a successor to Jean Van Hamme.


  22. ksbel6 says:

    Congrats AB…that is awesome!

  23. judybusy says:

    Great news! Congrats!

  24. Kate L says:

    Congratulations! 🙂 It turns out that Sarah Van Arsdale looks a lot like a woman who attends my Unitarian Fellowship! When I first saw your picture, I wondered, “What is Sylvia doing in Manhattan???”

  25. Renee S. says:

    Congrats, AB. Well Deserved.

  26. Dale says:

    Woohoo! Congrats Alison!

  27. The Cat Pimp says:

    Congratulations! Well deserved!

  28. meg says:

    yah for you! 🙂

    well deserved, and so say we all.

  29. iara says:

    Congratulations!!! Well deserved!

  30. Ian says:

    Congrats on yet another deserved award! Does this mean you can now ut “award-winning author” on your PR blurb? 😉

  31. cybercita says:

    mazel tov!

  32. NLC says:

    And by the way:
    While I recognize the original allusion (cf Episode #526) I also stumbled across this recently:

    Hope is like a hairball trembling from its birth…
    –Christina Rossetti

  33. hairball_of_hope says:


    That’s a fabulous quote. Thank you. I wonder if AB had that stored in her brain somewhere.

    For me, beyond the usage in episode 526, the word ‘hairball’ evokes memories of the sound of my cat going, “Gaaak! Gaaak! Gaaak-pa-took-ka-ak!” as he coughed them up.

  34. Renee S. says:

    We call them furballs at my house…
    hmm…Furballs of Faith?
    Pelage of Presumption?

  35. Renee S. says:

    should have said pelageball

  36. LA Steve says:

    Oh, good luck, good luck! Every time I send someone a copy of The Essential, they weep and blubber and say they had no IDEA a “comic” could be that riveting, moving, relevant, and, well, more, but it’s hard to make out sometimes with all the weeping and blubbering going on. If ever a book deserved a big fat gaudy rich award, it’s that one.

  37. hairball_of_hope says:


    Good article. I always fume at those who claim children are being “indoctrinated” in LGBT stuff, and that somehow this will “turn” children into LBGT. If it were that simple to “turn” someone into one orientation or another, how do they explain that ~10% of the general population is LBGT after being indoctrinated in all this heterosexual stuff (and with all the disincentives to identifying as LGBT)? DUH.

  38. Renee S. says:


    Prejudice has no logic

  39. hairball_of_hope says:


    How true. Must be why the Spock piece of my brain hurts when I read that stuff. “How illogical,” said Mr. Spock.

  40. Renee S. says:

    Live long and prosper, baby.

  41. hairball_of_hope says:

    “Live long and prosper, baby.”

    Is that Telly Savalas doing his Mr. Spock imitation?

  42. ksbel6 says:

    Every time anyone mentions Spock I think about all the times during the original show that he would give a time to the hundredths of a second. Like, “the photon torpedo will hit in 23.42 seconds.” Of course by the time he finished the sentence, the .42 was wrong. I love being a geek!
    Has anyone seen the new movie?

  43. hairball_of_hope says:

    @ksbel6, Kate, and other fellow nerdlings

    Thinking about the early days of Star Trek (which I watched on a black and white TV) just brought back memories of all those futuristic things which seemed so fantastic back in the day, but seem oh so laughable now.

    The enduring legacy of the original Star Trek, as Kate pointed out quite a while back, is its take on the human (Vulcan?, Klingon?, Romulan?) condition, where prejudices that were in the then-current headlines (racism) were all resolved in the future. Of course, the original Star Trek was atrocious in its treatment of women, despite the obvious braininess of Lt. Uhura. Uniforms with short skirts. Phew.

    Although we’ve made great strides in the racism and gender-equality departments since the original Star Trek first aired 40+ years ago, we’re nowhere near anything approaching the ideals many of us dreamed about as kids.

    Ksbel mentioned dreaming about being George Brett’s replacement at third base. There was no Little League for girls in my era (and although I also wanted to play third base, I didn’t have the arm for it, so I played shortstop on all those pickup games with the boys). I’m guessing ksbel played Little League. But today’s girls still don’t have a shot at those dreams.

    It’s not just the athletes (although I think some of the female softball pitchers would succeed in Major League Baseball), look at the umpires.

    There was one female umpire in the minors, and she got hounded out of the game. Only one major league umpire has come out as LGBT, and he was hounded out of the game too.

    Perhaps there will be LGBTQI equality in the current crop of set-in-the-future dramas, and it will take 40 years or so for some of those ideals to come to fruition. I can dream, can’t I?

    Speaking of the futuristic-then-but-laughable-now, check out this “home computer in 2004,” as envisioned by the white males at Rand in 1954, courtesy of Caitlyn Martin:


    (N.B. The steering wheel is a dead giveaway, this is really a submarine trainer. But the photo has been making the rounds as a futuristic vision of a home computer. I’d like to think the steering wheel is supposed to be some kind of input device, perhaps a precursor to PARC’s original wooden mouse.)

  44. hairball_of_hope says:


    Photon torpedo… There were many incongruities in Star Trek, the whole idea of Spock giving an impact time with precision to the hundredths of a second was one of them.

    It’s just plain silly in the first place, since in the vacuum of space the matter/antimatter/photons/whatever are traveling at or quite close to the speed of light (c = 3 x 10^8 meter/second, for you non-nerds), and they’d likely get whacked by the enemy weapon long before they knew what hit them. I don’t think interstellar space dust would give much of a propagation delay (and alas, the time domain reflectometers I use at work are only set up for copper and fiber optic, so I can’t measure this).

    I’ve had fun rummaging about my brain in the TV wasteland department thinking about the futuristic nirvana that never was and hasn’t been. I don’t even own a TV now, I have no idea if there are utopian nirvanas shown on mass media these days. I’m still waiting on my personal jet pack, thank you very much.

    Another memory dredged up from the TV wayback machine… I recall helping a classmate prep for the physics Regents exam, and he later credited me with getting wave/particle duality firmly implanted in his brain by my physics-land imitation of the classic Saturday Night Live skit, “It’s a floor wax, it’s a dessert topping, it’s a floor wax *and* a dessert topping!” Our physics Regents happened to be the same year as the first season of SNL, and of course we were in a haze watching SNL instead of actually studying for the exam. But it all worked out.

  45. Renee S. says:


    I think Telly would look rather sporting in Spock Ears, especially with a green sucker. Not sure if he could sport the Vulcan Gang Sign.
    But the word “baby” is a local colloquialism used to emphasize a statement. Most often it’s used as an affirmation, such as “You got that right, baby!”
    In the instance where I used the “baby” word above was to agree with you emphatically.

  46. hairball_of_hope says:

    Thanks, baby!

  47. hairball_of_hope says:

    Speaking of Vulcan gang signs… extra points to anyone who knows how Leonard Nimoy came up with it.

  48. Renee S. says:

    Uhhhh, The Jerome “Curly” Howard eye poke?

  49. hairball_of_hope says:

    No, but I like that!

  50. Ready2Agitate says:

    oh please, Hairball (said with warmth), there are so many Jews around this place, no? (hee – it’s the Cohain/priest blessing sign, right?).

    Now I hafta go back and see how this thread wound its way to Star Trek (which I just saw and got weepy nostalgic about my childhood).

  51. NLC says:

    As a sign of D2WO4-synchonicity, where all good things are brought together:

    I went to hear AB speak in Northhampton as part of the EDTWOF tour. Arriving, I was running a little late when, so basically I parked my car, jumped out, and scampered down the street to the bookstore.

    Post-reading/signing/all-round-enjoyable-evening, I strolled back to my car in a pleasurable haze, plunked down in the driver’s seat, took a deep breath, and then looked at the building-front before me, whereon was a sign, reading, in letters a couple of feet high:


    (Turns out, as many folks may know, LN is also a well-respected photographer. He had a major exhibit at said gallery [whose name, alas, I no longer remember].)

  52. hairball_of_hope says:

    DING! R2A gets the prize.

    Yup, blessing of the Kohanim, which is pretty controversial in my synagogue, due to its non-egalitarian nature. One year, a bunch of Kohanim hijacked part of the Rosh Hashonah service and did the blessing, in contravention of the published order of the service, which was to have the chazzan (cantor) read the blessing.

    De-clique-ification note for Goyim (non-Jews): A Kohan (plural = Kohanim) is a member of the priestly caste, derived from one of the original 12 tribes of Israel. In Orthodox Jewish communities, there are proscriptions and commandments regarding certain activities for Kohanim. For example, they cannot handle the dead, cannot marry a convert, etc. Kohanim traditionally have the obligation of saying a priestly blessing (Birchat Kohanim) at certain services, accompanied by a two-handed version of what secular folks will recognize as Mr. Spock’s Vulcan greeting.

    There’s wide variance in the practice of the blessing of the Kohanim. Orthodox Jews of Eastern European origin (Ashkenazim) only perform the blessing on certain holidays. Orthodox Jews of Spanish/Middle Eastern origin (Sephardim) perform the blessing daily. I have no idea what the Indian and Ethiopian Jews do, their religious practices diverged way before the Ashkenazi/Sephardi split.

    Among the non-Orthodox Jews, the blessing of the Kohanim varies widely. Typically, the more liberal and egalitarian the congregation/denonmination, the less likely they are to have the Kohanim perform the blessing, or to include it in the liturgical service at all.


  53. hairball_of_hope says:


    Cool. I’ve run into Nimoy a couple of times in the city, once rather literally (I physically bumped into him during intermission at some Off-Broadway play). I forgot the play, but I remembered Nimoy! He looks much better in person without the Vulcan ears. 🙂

    Haven’t seen the new movie yet, it’s getting good reviews. Lots of folks are surprised Nimoy came back in the Spock role, he swore he’d never do it. Funniest comment I heard was about William Shatner’s toupee… it came back in the new movie as a Tribble.

  54. Renee S. says:

    @HOH, R2R & NLC

    Enlightening info!

    We are the Dykes of Serendip.

  55. hairball_of_hope says:


    I’m still laughing about the Three Stooges eye-poke as being derived from the Birchat Kohanim. “Whaddaya wiseguys?” BOOP!

    Ok, another chance for extra credit… what is the current name for Serendip, and what was its prior name?

  56. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: I was moved to shortstop after 2 years at 3rd, but ended college ball playing 2nd base. In my last game as a player, one of my best lifetime friends played shortstop because the starter was hurt (she moved over from 3rd). We turned two double plays! For those of you that don’t know, a ball hit up the middle with a runner on first is known in baseball circles as a “double play ball.” However, turning that same play in softball takes much more quickness on the part of the defense since the bases are only 60 ft apart. My high school teams average about 1 per season. Great memory!

    Anyway, there is a fairly successful profastpitch league now. And there are several softball players that have equipment lines and endorsements. Women athletes are making progress.

    Also, I love to say “space/time continuim anomaly” and “reverse the polarity”…go Star Trek!

  57. hairball_of_hope says:


    Hmmmm… next I’m late getting somewhere I will use the excuse, “I encountered a space/time continuum anomaly.”

  58. Ready2Agitate says:

    Star Trek reflection in today’s NYT (mentions, of all things, Soupy Sales!):


  59. Ame says:

    @ NLC That would be the R. Michaelson gallery in lovely downtown Northampton. Great place!

  60. Ellen O. says:

    I had heard a more simple explanation of the Vulcan greeting. It was simply the way that Orthodox Jewish kids were taught to make the Hebrew letter Shin (which looks something like Neptune’s pitchfork.) Of course, the Shin is a big deal Hebrew letter, as it is the first letter of the word Sh’ma, the prayer at the heart of Judaism.

  61. Kate C. says:

    Congratulations, Alison!

    I hope you’ll forgive the gushing, but I really love your work. Just devoured the entire essential “Dykes to Watch out For” in basically one sitting. Can’t believe I wasn’t hip to it before. We are fellow Obies, by the way (I am class of ’90). I really got a kick out of seeing the town and campus depicted in “Fun Home”(which was my favorite book of ’06/’07).

    Anyway, just wanted to say good luck and thanks…


  62. Ready2Agitate says:

    It’s for the letter Shin even among the Kohanim – for Shadai.

  63. hairball_of_hope says:


    Impressive DPs. Good infielders are said to have soft hands, obviously yours qualify. Infielders are also taught that if they can’t catch the ball, they should always keep the ball in front of themselves by letting it bounce off their chests, which is why I stopped playing shortstop with the guys around the time puberty made those ball bounces painful.

    I never knew the distance between the bases in softball is 60 feet, as compared to 90 feet for baseball. What is the pitching rubber distance to home? I know this is not straight Pythagorean geometry (C/2), the rubber isn’t centered in the pitching mound.

  64. hairball_of_hope says:

    Random haiku way too early on a Monday morning…

    Congrats Alison
    Waiting for you on Oprah
    Or maybe Ellen?

    Well-deserved award
    Ferro-Grumley. Try putting
    that in a haiku!

    Live long and prosper
    Said Spock, who hated his ears
    How illogical.

    (Pours another cup of coffee as she writes yet one more stupid report, but not in haiku)

  65. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: The pitching rubber is 40 ft for most 18 and under situations (including high school) but moves to 43 ft for college. Some of those college girls throw at over 70 mph, and trying to hit that from 43 ft is a big deal (from 40, almost impossible). If you are interested, check out Lauren Delaney. She pitches for Northwestern (and the national team), but played her high school ball at a school that we play every year. My biggest claim to fame is that when she made “Sports Illustrated-Faces in the Crowd” after her sophomore year for an undefeated season, and her ERA was 0.09 my team was the “9” part of that…we were the ONLY team to score an earned run on her.

  66. hairball_of_hope says:


    Yikes! That girl had a 14.79 strikeouts per 7 innings record that year. Over two strikeouts/inning. Wow. In high school.

    She holds the Missouri state HS records for career wins (84), career strikeouts (1,096) and career ERA (0.11). Career high school record was 84-3.

    And she pitched a 10 inning perfect game with 25 strikeouts. Damn amazing your team didn’t just forfeit the game seeing her on the mound, even more amazing they scored a run on her.

    Definitely, some of the women fastball pitchers could pitch in Major League Baseball. And she’d be at the top of the list.

  67. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: Wow…I didn’t expect that thorough of a stats check. They beat us 4-1 in that game. That was our only conference loss that season. She is an amazing athlete.

  68. Renee S says:

    Sri Lanka

  69. hairball_of_hope says:


    DING! You win the prize. And you get extra credit for making the allusion to “Three Princes of Serendip” in the first place (the origin of one of my favorite words, ‘serendipity’).

  70. hairball_of_hope says:


    I put the ‘anal’ in ‘analysis.’ And Google makes it easy. Can of corn.

  71. Ready2Agitate says:

    Roxana Saberi has been released and should be en route to the US in a few days.

    Interesting analysis here:


  72. Aunt Soozie says:

    yep, I heard that good news too!

  73. Anonymous says:

    Thanks,Ready. And it’s way past time for Laurie Berensen to
    be released (U.S. journalist imprisoned for 16+ years in Peru). Google laurie berenson peru to find out more.

  74. Ready2Agitate says:

    (‘zat you Feminista?) Sadly, I doubt Laurie Berenson will be released. Roxana’s situation is so different from Laurie’s — especially the very tenuous r-ship betw Iran and the US that is currently (politically) in need of ‘humanitarian concessions’ on the part of Iran toward the US. Not so for Peru. Roxana inspired an outpouring of support including facebook pages and berrages of letters. Not so for Laurie. Iran now holds 5 other journalists. It’s time for their freedom too. I wonder how Laurie’s health is holding up in those cold Peruvian prisons…. 🙁

  75. Ready2Agitate says:

    Oh my, Lori just had a baby! There is a renewed campaign to call Washington (Obama & Clinton) to pressure Peruvian president Alan Garcia to commute her sentence on humanitarian grounds (she is due for spinal surgery).

    Let’s call! 202-456-1111


  76. Feminista says:

    @ Ready. Peruvian law lets incarcerated mothers keep their babies with them in prison. Horrible conditions,of course,but some stab at humanity…She married her companero by proxy some 5 years ago.

    I hadn’t heard anything about her case lately,so spent over an hour this weekend reading the updates. I think it’s time to press Clinton and Obama on this. Over the last 15 years, Laurie’s gotten support from,and received visits by,numerous congresspeople,clergy,family and friends. If not for all their support–financial,legal,personal–she would be in even worse physical shape than she is now.

  77. Feminista says:

    P.S. re: Lori B.: White House Hot line listed above only takes msgs.from 9-5 Eastern time,making it a challenge for those of us in the wild and wooly west. A more direct # is 202-456-1111,which I’ll try tomorrow.