my everlasting process

December 19th, 2011 | Uncategorized

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.

12 Responses to “my everlasting process”

  1. Ruth in RI says:

    Love this! Well worth the lost hours of drawing (to me, anyway).

  2. Ginjoint says:

    It’s good to hear your voice, Alison.

    I’m wondering if I should read some Winnicott this winter in order to better appreciate your book. Also, the title, Are You My Mother? strikes such a chord in me. As an adoptee who didn’t fit particularly well into my adoptive family, I used to wonder that same question about many women I saw who looked even vaguely like me! I’m fairly certain that’s not how you’re “using” that question in the book, but there it is. When I hear that question, I remember the sadness and loneliness of that little kid.

  3. Wow. That “It’s too good to let go” moment with the child’s writing from the train echoes back to one thing I was thinking at the beginning, watching you draw the letters from the newspaper. (Different kinds of texts/selves with the image of your mother in the middle. So interesting.) Watching you drawing the words over blue images of themselves, and listening to what you and Hillary were talking about, I started thinking about whether the drawn version of these texts, made sort of a true and a false newspaper, say — the one reproduced in the usual way (or the ways that have changed over time), and the drawn one. Hard to say which one would be true in that framing, but it feels like the drawn one. Am also thinking about the images of your mother in church, and your grandmother in church, and the conversation about simultaneity — I so see it, how that can be so direct in drawing, and, novelist that I am, (writing, lately, as you know,about centuries not my own) also want to say that while it’s usually not visible (literally and probably in any other way), I feel that in any writing that is fiction another version of the same thing happens all the time, in that the writers’ self and perceptions is there with whatever the story is on the page, giving the sensory and emotional details, the whole human landscape, at the same time that the story is coming alive in a reader’s mind. It’s kind of an eternal moment in every time-based, sequential sentence. Says me (late night.) What an interesting video, conversation and process. Thanks for letting us see it.

  4. HistorianInTraining says:

    This is marvelous.
    I always admired your talent and felt so curious about your writing/drawing process of a book. And, here it is. It is a revealing image of how a brilliant writer and cartoonist collects her thoughts, categorizes them, and creates a narrative to tell a story.
    Thank you so much for opening up your process to us.

  5. Mentor says:

    [A bit off thread-topic, but [HERE] is an article that contains some news about the musical version of Fun Home. (Scroll down to the last two paragraphs.) –Mentor]

  6. Kate L says:

    To ourselves, our lives all seem lived in an instant.

    When you do need to buy a new scanner, there must be some way to adjust the blue contrast so you can keep using your light-blue sketching technique, and not have it scan over the finished drawing.

    My first thought when you mentioned Winnicott’s True and False Selves idea was, “A.B. listens to her cat?”. 🙂

    My sister and I are trying to find what assisted living center the matriarch of our family has been moved to…

  7. Eva says:

    Wow. Thank you for yet another window into your world. Much food for thought and delightful anticipation for “Are You My Mother?”.

  8. lulu says:

    Nice video, thanks for posting it. Just want to note that among sci-fi fans ‘Are You My Mummy?’ is a famous two-part episode in the first season of Dr. Who.

    It may be one of the most oft repeated questions in television history.

    References are where we find them…

  9. […] Bechdel posted my everlasting process and return to the light (both videos of her writing process) and the musical based on her […]

  10. Anne says:

    Wonderful. Also, nice Vince Guaraldi in the background at the beginning. I like listening to that album while I work, too.

  11. Anne says:

    Or Oscar Peterson, rather!

  12. Tasha says:

    It’s so awesome to see all the different videos you have online about your process. It’s really educating and inspiring!

    I just finished Fun Home- it’s really a masterpiece. Thank you so much for it!