my whereabouts

March 12th, 2013 | Uncategorized

Sorry, I have completely gone off the radar.

I had a tumultuous and ultimately very frustrating spate of travel last week which I keep trying to find a way to narrate here on the blog. All I’ve managed so far is this sketchy map.
spring map low res

On Monday March 3rd, I was set to fly from VT to Columbus Ohio, to Otterbein University where I had classes and a public talk scheduled all day Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, I would fly from Columbus to New Orleans, to speak at Tulane University. Then on Thursday, fly vertically cross-country from New Orleans to Cleveland, to do a talk at my alma mater, Oberlin College. Then on Friday, fly from Cleveland to Boston, for an afternoon talk with Jeanette Winterson at the big giant writer’s conference AWP. I had been terribly excited about that event for months and was looking forward to having a conversation with this literary titan about our respective mother memoirs—my book Are You My Mother? And her book Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?

Hm. Both of those titles are questions, one of many convergences that I noticed as I was poring over JW’s books for the past several weeks—not just Why Be Happy, but its fictional forerunner from 1985, the novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit–an account of JW’s childhood being raised by Pentecostal evangelists who adopted her in the UK in the 1960s.

Well the short story is, my travel was beset with delays and detours all week. My first flight, from Burlington VT to Detroit, took off five hours late. I missed my connection to Columbus. Fueled with claustrophobic frustration, I decided to rent a car and drive there from Detroit, in the middle of the night, rather than wait for a morning flight. That worked out okay, and I spent a nice day at Otterbein University. But Wednesday morning, my flight to New Orleans was also delayed. I managed to squeak in in time to meet with a class, do a tv interview about the freaking Bechdel Test, have dinner with students, then do a public talk and booksigning. I was looking forward to getting a little more sleep that night, but when I woke at 5am to pee I saw a note shoved under my door recommending that I get to the airport TWO hours, not just ONE hour early. That meant calling the car service and rescheduling, and of course after that I could not manage to get back to sleep. Travel is so brutal. Why do we live like this? In an increasingly depleted state, I arrived at the New Orleans airport in plenty of time, only to find my flight to Cleveland delayed.

But I squeaked in there, too–just in time to get called to meet the President of the college! He wanted to say hello, which was a great honor of course but a little nervewracking. I couldn’t get over a feeling of being summoned to the principal’s office. Plus there have been a string of disturbing hate incidents on campus, which I felt spectacularly unable to address in any productive way.

I was becoming progressively more and exhausted. Over the course of the week I was checking in with my mom each day—she’s been sick with a virus. “I have what the Queen has,” she reported. Every day I hoped to find her improving, but in fact, each time she sounded worse and worse. When I called her from the motel in Oberlin, she said, “When are you done with this trip?” and I realized that meant, “When can you get here?” So I told her I could be at her place in PA on Saturday night, as soon as I did my Boston event with JW at AWP.

After that conversation, and some quick recalibration of my travel plans, I had dinner with some Oberlin students. When we all sat down, they introduced themselves with their names and “pronoun declarations.” One preferred, “She, Her, Hers.” Another, “They, Them, Theirs.” By this point I felt like my brain was on frappée. They were all very charming and earnest, but I could hardly process what they were saying. “What parts of speech are those?” was all I managed to ask. After dinner I did my talk to a pleasantly full room, which was nice, and thanks to President Krislov, who arranged it, met my old drawing professor John Pearson and his wife Audra Skuodos for a drink. That was quite lovely, but sapped the very last of my introverted energy cells. I returned, exhausted, to the Oberlin Inn—which coincidentally was the last place I saw my father alive, when he paid me a visit during the spring of my junior year of college.

Next morning I got up and packed for the last leg to Boston. As I was doing so I had this disconcerting text exchange with my friend Sarah, who was already at the AWP conference there:


Boston can handle snow, I thought, and proceeded on my way to the Cleveland airport. I was still reading Why Be Happy, and making notes for my conversation with Winterson, and tweaking the presentation I would do, as I waited for my flight to take off. There were a few delays, then they had us all line up to board, then they had us sit down again. Then they dealt the fatal blow—the flight was cancelled. There was too much wind and snow in Boston to land.

I stood in a rebooking line for over an hour…

Photo on 3-8-13 at 2.21 PM

…but it was rapidly becoming clear that I would miss the talk with Jeanette Winterson. I had a very hard time processing this information. I was so geared up for it, and had friends who were going to be there. My girlfriend Holly was in fact on her way to Boston in the car to meet me. But no. There was no way to get to Boston in time, and no way to reschedule the talk.

I had been working on a list of topics to discuss with Jeanette. Fact and fiction, the role of literature in our respective families, Jeanette’s confident voice and my self-doubting voice, and how those were traces of our mothers…forget it. There was not going to be a conversation.

In fact, it started to seem absurd to bother continuing on to Boston. Why fly there at 10pm, long after Jeanette had finished handling our session (splendidly, no doubt) on her own? I was only 5 hours from my mother’s house. I might as well rent another car—I was getting pretty efficient at this—and just head to her place. Through numerous conversations with Holly, we determined that she too would change course. We both started driving toward Central PA. Here is Holly’s photo, driving west on Rt. 80 in the afternoon.

Here is my photo at about the same time, heading east.

There was no sign, as we converged, of any massive snowstorm. The sky was pellucid.

As I drove East, I watched the clock. At 4:30 Jeanette would be taking the stage without me. I can’t quite express how frustrating and disorienting it was to miss this event I had been so intent on for so many months.

Late Friday night, Hol and I met in PA at my mom’s house. My mother is doing rather better. We have all been spending a lot of time in big box stores, trying to find edible food. Here is Holly at the absolute nadir of our shopping experience. Packaged apple slices. What sort of abomination is that?

And one last thing…there’s something kind of …something… about missing a discussion of mother memoirs to spend time with one’s actual mother.

okay! another longer-than 140 character post. Sorry about that.

76 Responses to “my whereabouts”

  1. indigo says:

    Mercury retrograde!
    Glad your mother is better.

  2. Vicki Fraser says:

    Hello Alison and Holly 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the “Winter”son fiasco. Giggles To Holly’s abomination declaration! … Big box nutrition is a rough a go but so glad your Mom is on the mend.

    So here is a symmetrical connection…You coming for Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s memorial lecture and release of her book; Childism. My school had booked EYB to give a 2 day presentation for Feb 2012 but passed away, sadly. A year later Adam Phillips came this Feb. Incredible. As I sat at the book table someone who was at the lecture you gave in Dec- her and I were having a lovely exchange about your amazingness and Adam who was sitting beside me in a book signing lull got in on it and we all riffed out about how you touched us all. That was a good moment and just a lovely full circle..

    In so many ways,

  3. Josiah says:

    Every character written by Alison Bechdel counts.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard that pre-sliced apples are supposed to appeal to people who like apples but feel that having to actually cut them up is too messy and time-consuming. Pretty hellacious. (Is that a real word? Is that how it’s spelled?)

    On the one hand, I envy your world — jetting from booking to booking, meeting people who are fascinated in you and your work. One the other, these days I have less energy for that level of go-go-go overload.

    I do remember driving all over the Midwest in the early ’90s, sleeping in unfamiliar in bookstores, bars, and barns. I was in my 30s. I had stamina.

    I’m sorry that the AWP (the premier overload conference) didn’t work out but why-o-why do they choose Boston in March?

    How long is Jeanette Winterson state-side? I bet you two could book an auditorium and fill it up in no time.

  5. Ellen Orleans says:

    Oh, heck. That last post was from me.

  6. StephLove says:

    So sorry you missed your talk with JW. A disappointing end to an exhausting tour, it appears. The part about Oberlin made me smile. I think I would find it hard to refer to anyone in the plural.

    Steph Lovelady
    OC ’85

  7. StephLove says:

    Not that it matters, but I made myself four years too old in my sig. I blame daylight savings brain fog.

    OC ’89.

  8. Kate L says:

    Poor A.B. 🙁 What we all need is a good teleportation system! Hey, they designed cell phones to resemble the original Star Trek communicators (I still think that you should hold a cell phone out in front of you to talk into it)… can’t a transporter be next? And, don’t get me started about replicator technology!

    One of my best students was thanking me after class for writing him a letter of recommendation; he was so happy that he beamed and said, “Thank you, ma’am!”. Ma’am? Does anyone else remember the episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show from the 70’s when she was called ma’am for the first time by a younger person? Don’t get me started about the 70’s!

  9. Lauren Vachon says:

    Hi Alison,

    I was at AWP — and wanted to see you — but don’t fret. What I have to say here is all good 🙂

    I was absolutely excited to about you and Jeanette Winterson. I got to the auditorium early to get good seats, etc. I have attended lectures/book signings of yours before, but have never seen Jeanette speak. I knew, though, that you and Jeanette together was going to be an AWESOME thing.

    Of course the audience was disappointed when the AWP representative came out and said you weren’t able to make it. However — the weather in Boston was AWFUL at that point — just walking around the city was nearly impossible. Nobody was surprised, I don’t think. Nobody thought it was anything you could have controlled.

    And Jeanette Winterson was AMAZING. Wow. Her reading/talk was SO great. She’s a wonderful speaker. I thought a couple times during her lecture how nerve-wracking it must have been for her — whatever she had prepared for your joint talk had to go out the window. In her shoes, having to change the agenda last-minute — I would have had a nervous breakdown. But she provided us with a talk that was engaging, funny, emotional, and inspiring. She was fantastic.

    I still say, it would have been great to hear you two together discussing memoir, of course. But I wanted to let you know that Jeanette was incredible and the audience walked away very inspired.

    Don’t sweat it. Most of the audience, I am sure, is familiar enough with you to know that you are very committed to lecturing and making yourself available to writing communities, LGBTQ communities, etc. And that if you could have been there, you would have been.

    Now go home and rest!

  10. NLC says:

    And on top of everything else, you had to miss Town Meeting Day…

  11. Alex K says:

    I am often called “ma’am”. As people who do this offend my warrior princess sensibilities, I “sir” them right back. Fierce!

    Ms Bechdel, ma’am, nice to hear from you again.

  12. cybercita says:

    As always, the worst travel snafus make the most entertaining stories. But it’s a pity that you missed the talk with Jeannette Winterson.

    So glad your mother is feeling better!

  13. April says:

    What a trip! Sorry you missed your talk. I’d blame Mercury’s being in retrograde for all those delays…and well, Mother Nature too!
    Love the picture from Holly’s journey West on 80… I’ll be hitting that same road this weekend on my journey back to Clinton County to see my family. Gotta get me some of those pre-sliced packaged apples haha!

    Glad your mother is getting better!

  14. Joe Code says:

    Yay, a post from Alison! I’ve been waiting forever for an update. Glad to hear that your mom is feeling better, sorry you missed the talk on mother memoirs, loved the coincidence of visiting your mom instead.

  15. Chris Kelly says:

    The acute frustration! I was getting anxious and a bit claustrophobic/antsy/in panic-mode just reading that horror! If it happens again, be sure to at least change the geographical settings to Italy or Greece and have the delays be due to wine, abundant amounts of pasta, or eyes being blinded by sun-drenched sight-seeing.

  16. Diamond says:

    Lauren, 10. Yes, Jeanette Winterson is a wonderful speaker isn’t she? I always come away somehow changed and expanded. I’d urge anyone to take the opportunity to see her if it’s ever on offer, admittedly a lot more likely here in the UK.

    Failing that, there is quite a bit of audio on her website at:

  17. Dr. Empirical says:

    I just received my Harvey Awards nomination ballot. Besides RUMM?, I have no idea what I’ll be nominating.

    To the Archives!

  18. That does sound exhausting, stressful, and –arrgh — so thwarting to miss the conversation with Jeanette Winterson. So sorry — and hoping that all of the things you’ve been thinking about in relationship to her work and your work will bubble up in another way that’s useful for you, sooner or later. And, yeah, there’s something very, very something about missing the discussion to spend time with your mother. Glad to hear that she’s feeling better.

  19. NLC says:

    It’s too late to do anything this time, but if something like this were to happen again, there’s always Skype, FaceTime, GTM, or one of those guys.

    I.e. you hole up in a hotel with a good WiFi connection, they wire-up a projector on their end and you’re good to go. Not as good as having you there, sitting on stage, of course, but it might do in a snow emergency.

    …on the other hand, maybe it’s not too late.

    Maybe you and JW could still do something similar to the above –on a system that allows recording– and, voilà, instant web-worthy video.

  20. Andrew B says:

    What NLC said, especially the second part about doing something now. You also could do it a lower tech way, with a text chat or an exchange of email questions and answers.

    If that just sounds like working for free, please forget about it. (And obviously it would depend on whether Winterson wants to do it.) But if you really feel like you had some ideas prepared that you never got to express, that could be a way to get them out.

  21. Kate L says:

    My 54-pound harrier hound goes in for surgery tomorrow to remove a tumor from her lower eyelid. How do I care for a dog wearing a plastic cone? I mean, I’ll still care for her and all, but how do I take care of her?

  22. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    Your hound will hate the cone and do everything possible to convince you that you have to, just HAVE to remove it or she will die. Don’t give in to the reproachful looks and whimpers. She will immediately scratch her eye, of course. She’ll be frustrated and upset and feel clumsy as she bangs into things (no peripheral vision). I suggest keeping your body close to her and petting and soothing a lot. Treats and distraction. It will just be hard until the cone’s off. Good luck with it all.

  23. Cathy says:

    Good luck with the cone, Kate. I’ve only had experience with cats in cones, and they mainly pouted and went on hunger strikes as they tried to “guilt” me into removing their little satellite dishes. The cats refused to be consoled by affection while their dignity was compromised, but Anna is right to recommend lots of petting and calming conversation for dogs. Thinking of the hounds I’ve known and loved, I suggest earplugs, too–for your own ears. Let us know if that cone amplifies the doggy’s conversation!

  24. Jesse Kalvitis says:

    I was so excited to be able to hear both you and Jeanette Winterson! So sad that we both ended up missing that event. My fiancee and I had decided to drive from north-central WV, so we could stop by the Bryn Mawr campus where she went for undergrad. We got snowed in for TWO DAYS in Connecticut. When will AWP stop scheduling the conference in northern cities in March?? Last year Chicago, this year Boston, next year Minneapolis. Seriously. :sigh: Glad you stayed safe, and hope you’re feeling better!

  25. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    NLC full of good ideas for next snowstorm. And believe me, even if you had managed to reschedule, you would have had to reschedule again. Snowstorms were a inescapable fact of life around here for a good solid month. Melting in patches now, what with all the rain.

    so who can you hook up with now for a good discussion of mother memoirs? Proust?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Kate L–there are different kinds of cones. The plastic kinds are uncomfortable for pets, but there are soft recovery collars that are much nicer. Petco has them, but they are also online. The dogs hate them just a bit less.

  27. Kate L says:

    Thanks, all. It did not occur to me that my dog should fast and abstain from food and drink before surgery, so imagine my surprise when, at local planetary dawn Friday, I was filling out the consent forms at the local veternarian hospital when the clerk at the desk casually asked me if she had had food or drink that morning. Mission scrubbed. We’ll try again at local planetary dawn* Wednesday.

    Is it wrong of me to keep wondering about Mott’s prepackaged apple slices? I mean, how do they keep them from turning brown? Do I even want to know???

    * In what episode of the original Star Trek did George Takei’s character use this expression?

  28. Nancy says:

    Pellucid. Smiling.

    I hope your introverted energy cells are recovering. It’s a bittersweet irony that something lovely can sap the introvert’s energy. I completely get it, being one myself.

  29. Mentor says:

    [For those interested in seeing the “tv interview about the freaking Bechdel test” mentioned in the article above, [CLICK HERE] –Mentor]

  30. Anonymous says:

    Prepackaged apples do not turn brown for the same reason that apples which are canned do not. Ascorbic acid. You can toss your cut apples with lemon juice or lime juice–the packagers probably use either juice or they just use ascorbic acid. There’s no need to get fancy as these are both very cheap.

  31. LondonBoy says:

    Glad to hear that your mother is feeling better. When you next speak to her, please let her know that she has a fan (me) of her writing at the BellaFontana blog. I’m particularly grateful to her for her reporting of tomato soup in a spice cake. I can confirm that it does work! By the way, I’m not sure how your mother managed to make a Friendship Cake that incorporated canned fruit salad, as most recipes just use self-raising flour, rather than a yeast-type dough. Peg Bracken’s old recipe works like a charm for this.

  32. LondonBoy says:

    I mean the canned-fruit-salad-cake recipe uses self-raising flour, not the Friendship Cake, of course. I imagine that if you used self-raising in a friendship-type dough the whole thing would grow so big it would crawl out of its bowl and try to take over the kitchen!

  33. NLC says:

    London Boy #33:

    Interesting. At supper last night –which involved meatloaf– the question came up whether there were any ketchup-based (or, at least ketchup-containing) deserts.

    I’ll have to admit that I had never heard of tomato-soup-containing spice cake. However, a couple minutes googling turned up a recipe on the Campbell’s Soup website. Then, after which another 90 secs, I found an almost identical recipe on the Heinz website, but with ketchup replacing the tomato soup.

    A perfect complement, I suppose, for the next time I make Coca Cola cake.

    What a synchronous world we have…

  34. LondonBoy says:


    Ah, but have you tried Coca Cola Chicken?

    As it happens, my current favorite cake is Chocolate and Beetroot. The bright socialist red of the beetroot would probably appeal to people at the Maoist Orange Cake blog (if it still exists). Sadly (?) the red vanishes during the cooking process.

  35. Kate L says:

    Someone bought the house across the street from Fred Phelp’s Westboro Church in Topeka, and is painting it the colors of the LGBT flag. CLICK HERE to see it.

    Sandy, the 54-pound harrier hound, goes in for her tumor surgery at local planetary dawn, tomorrow. I’ve got some porterhouse steak I’m going to surprise her with this afternoon, before she starts her pre-surgery fast. Btw… George Takei’s local planetary dawn line was said by Mr. Sulu’s Evil Twin in the alternate Star Trek universe (the one with the bearded Spock). I did look at those soft cones at the local pet store. I was impressed by all the pictures on the packaging of indignant-looking dogs and cats wearing the soft cones. The local vet hospital says they can put a transparent cone on Sandy, and I think we’ll go with that. She would probably resent the loss of peripheral vision most of all.

  36. Kate L says:

    Just got the call… my dog is out of surgery, awake and she has already eaten and drank water. I pick her up this afternoon.

  37. Kate L says:

    Just got another call… my dog’s vet called me to say that, although it was rapidly-growing, my dog’s tumor was benign and not cancer, and that it was completely excised.

  38. Diamond says:

    Great news Kate!

  39. Marj says:

    Excellent news, Kate.

    “pronoun declarations”? Puhleeze.

    The meeting with Jeannette Winterson *has* to happen. I didn’t know one had been planned, but the need for it has been clear since both memoirs were published. Re Jeannette’s skill and confidence as an orator: remember she was raised to be a fire-and-brimstone evangelist missionary, and began preaching as a child. Helluva training for public speaking… helluva cost.

  40. shadocat says:

    Kate L.-How are you faring under the last great snowstorm of the year? (I hope!) Hope your doggie is doing well.

  41. Cathy says:

    Kate, glad the doggie’s test results were good and hope for a speedy recovery for the sake of you both.

  42. Kate L says:

    Thanks, all! 🙂 When my vet called Friday morning with the good news about our 53-pound patient, she seemed tearful and relieved. With the aggressive growth of the tumor, I think that she was expecting to deliver a different prognosis (!) shadocat… Winter Strom Virgil (as per the Weather Channel) dumped about half a foot of snow on Smallville, but it is melting just in time to refreeze tonight. How are you doing with the storm? During the height of the storm last night, someone came into our yard and stole the yard sign for the pro-LGBT city commission candidate I’m supporting in the upcoming city commission election. 🙁

    Hey, Mentor, thanks for adding spellcheck to the posting box! Unfortunately, “Smallville” is spelled all too correctly.

  43. shadocat says:

    Kate-we got about 10 inches here-enough to bury this cars again. My girlfriend spent most of the morning digging them out, only to have a snowplow come down the street this afternoon and cover them all up again, Ah, springtime in the city…

  44. Pam I says:

    Well AB will just have to come back to the UK to meet JW on JW’s home turf. It’s at least four months since she was here. We can film and broadcast it on whatever devices can be unfrozen in time. I’d suggest mid-August, the snow may have gone by then.

  45. Had I know it would be published on your blog, I would have tried to be cleverer in that texting. We all really missed you in Boston.

  46. Andrew B says:

    Well, decrepit middle-aged people give you points for spelling out “are you” (twice!), if that’s any consolation. (Directed at Sarah, 46, if an unexpected barrage of comments should intervene.)

    Chag Sameach to those who are celebrating, and an early Happy Easter to those who will be celebrating.

  47. Pat says:

    Dear Alison,
    my name is Pat Carra and I am an Italian cartoonist. I am a member of the Women’s Bookshop in Milan, an historical place of the radical feminist movement. In the ‘80s a small group of us at the Bookshop published ‘Aspirina. Rivista per donne di sesso femminile’ (Aspirin, a magazine for female sex women), a magazine based on cartoons and humour. Contributing to the content were promising young authors and others important to us, such as Bretecher and Nidasio. As of March 2013 ‘Aspirina’ is online, and we are looking for authors we love, who we feel share our political passion. Dykes is the favourite book of all of us ‘aspirins’, and the books Fun Home and Are You My Mother? are also permanently in the bookshop window.
    We would be happy and honoured to publish one of your works in our June issue. We cannot offer to pay, as ‘Aspirina’ is the fruit of political work for free. What we can offer is the desire to be in your company, and to bring together graphically and symbolically our respective protagonists.
    Many thanks, love

  48. Pat says:

    Dear Alison
    my name is Pat Carra and I am an Italian cartoonist. I am a member of the Women’s Bookshop in Milan, an historical place of the radical feminist movement. In the ‘80s a small group of us at the Bookshop published ‘Aspirina. Rivista per donne di sesso femminile’ (Aspirin, a magazine for female sex women), a magazine based on cartoons and humour. Contributing to the content were promising young authors and others important to us, such as Bretecher and Nidasio. As of March 2013 ‘Aspirina’ is online, and we are looking for authors we love, who we feel share our political passion. Dykes is the favourite book of all of us ‘aspirins’, and the books Fun Home and Are You My Mother? are also permanently in the bookshop window.
    We would be happy and honoured to publish one of your works in our June issue. We cannot offer to pay, as ‘Aspirina’ is the fruit of political work for free. What we can offer is the desire to be in your company, and to bring together graphically and symbolically our respective protagonists.
    Many thanks, love

  49. Kate L says:

    The news here in Smallville is that they are interviewing for a new geology chair at Moo U. And, one of the candidates is a woman! Wow, a woman departmental chair sounds like something right out of the 21st century! I’ll be over in my spaceship. 🙂 Btw, she is also English. However, she speaks real good Merican.

  50. Kathryn S says:

    Edinburgh book festival – that would be a good event you and wishes Kathryn

  51. Kate L says:

    The English woman who may be Moo U’s new Geology dept. chair used the word gobsmacked during her interview here. Blimey (as we say on the High Plains), was that a good sign?

  52. Kate L says:

    The pro-LGBT woman that I campaigned for in the Smallville city commission election came in fourth last night, in an Australian-style election where you get to vote for three candidates (the top two getting four-year terms, the third a two-year term). However, as Deb told her supporters in a gracious e-mail this morning, the worst of the city commission candidates finished even farther behind, and that is cause for optimism.

  53. Mentor says:

    [Just in case anyone who’s in the neighborhood isn’t aware of this, AB is appearing in SF this Thurs (4Apr):

    See the Events page, or [CLICK HERE] — Mentor]

  54. Cecile says:

    Thanks to this post, read when it was first posted, I re-discovered Jeanette Winterson and have since bought & read her brilliant memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal.

    (just in case you were wondering if there was a point to not making it to Boston…)

    The Bechdel/Winterson mix would have been awesome, but I’m convinced it will only be “partie remise”.


  55. Alex K says:

    For aficionadas of comiques, particularly in New England — Boulet, Mostly in French, bits and bobs in English on a parallel and linked site; and to be on tour soon in Boston, in Hanover. I do hope that someone attends one of his presentations and tells us about it.

    Wednesday, April 10, 12:30 – 1:30pm
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    Alfond Auditorium
    465 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, Massachusetts 02115

    Wednesday, April 10 | 4:30pm
    Public lecture at Dartmouth College
    Dartmouth College
    Haldeman 041
    Hanover, VT

  56. Kate L says:

    Comiques – fancy! I can remember walking into a drug store in Arlington, Virginia, as a 10-year-old, and being told by the guy behind the counter that I was a little too old to be reading comic books! Ha! I was simply too avant- garde for The Man (behind the counter)!!!! Thanks, Alex K (#56). One more childhood trauma resolved! 🙂

  57. Suzanonymous says:

    I can’t believe no one mentioned New Jersey is not shown in that very detailed map. New Jersey seems to have been swallowed up by Pennsylvania..! Actually, I see no mention of that map, which is amazing considering it must have been drawn from memory!

    Pat, there is actually a contact page for Alison:

  58. Kate L says:

    Hi, Suzanonymous! I was beginning to think I had been left all alone in here! I was starting to worry that the langoliers would come get me! New Jersey has gone missing? Hmmm… if memory serves, didn’t A.B. post a photo showing a geologic map on the wall, only New Jersey and Pennsylvania had switched places? Sure, some might say the photo was simply reversed, but you have to wonder. I’ve decided that New Jersey must be like Brigadoon, a place of wonder and mystery! 🙂

  59. Alex says:

    Today, in Manhattan, sitting outside “The Bean” having a cup of coffee, I looked across at “The Strand” and there was Alison Bechdel.

    Well, AB’s photo, taped to the window. I went inside, and they’ve got some of AB’s work on a table — prime location, just to the right of the person who greets you.

    After the news from Boston, it’s nice to have the better things in life sneak up on you.

  60. Mentor says:

    [Just so ya’ know:

    Public Theater has announced its schedule for the 2013-2014 season:

    The long-awaited production of FUN HOME is listed as scheduled
    for October 1 – November 3, 2013. –Mentor]

  61. shadocat says:

    Off the radar again?

  62. Kate L says:

    shadocat – did you wake up to a blizzard in K.C. like we’re having in Smallville (an hour’s drive west of Kansas City on the I-70)? Hey, all, wasn’t there an episode of DTWOF where Mo bought everything for refreshments at the end of a gay pride parade, then no one could find what she bought? That’s what happened to me with Smallville’s gay pride parade last Saturday. I must have been channeling my inner Mo. When I found out what happened, I went home and curled up with pre-sliced apple slices in a piquant ascorbic acid sauce…

  63. yes, I am off the radar. my mom is sick and I’m spending a lot of time with her.

  64. Ginjoint says:

    Alison, best wishes to your mom, a truly awesome lady! (She probably hates the over-use of the word “awesome”in today’s society, but dammit, it fits.)

  65. Suzanonymous says:

    Best wishes to mom. 🙁

    (I assumed she wasn’t all that ill — I had read everyone gets gastroenteritis, and the queen of England is well over her bout with it.)

    Best Wishes,

  66. shadocat says:

    Kate L-Yes I
    did wake up and go to work in a blizzard this morning (Doncha just love spring?)
    And Alison, I apologize for my flipant comment.

  67. Thank you for the kind mom-wishes, Ginjoint! Yes, she hates the overuse of that word. And yes, she is altogether awesome in its original sense.

  68. Cathy says:

    Sorry to hear about your mom–take good care of her AND yourself. You both are awesome.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Wow–“ascorbic acid sauce.” You mean, vitamin C?

    There are people who write to this blog frequently who really ought to get themselves checked for orthorexia and nocebo affects. It is funny in characters in a comic strip–but it is concerning when people take what are essentially eating disorders and turn them into a lifestyle.

    There is nothing wrong with pre-sliced apples that are sprayed with Vitamin C (or sprayed with lemon juice) to keep them from turning brown. Some people are very busy individuals who don’t have kitchens (they live in dorm rooms), who don’t have a place to keep a lot of apples (presliced apples take up less room in a communal refrigerator), and for parents who get off work and have to pick up a quick snack for the soccer team–when they are already running late.

    It must be nice to be a middle-class individual with enough free time to prepare your own meals and to mock people who have to use time-saving or space-saving options. But, if you don’t like pre-sliced apples with added Vitamin C–don’t buy any. And, if people don’t post as often as you think they should, maybe there’s a good reason for it. Sheesh.

  70. Ginjoint says:

    Hey, to Anonymous at #70 – BOOYA! There’s nothing I love more in the morning than a twenty-something crying poormouth and sanctimoniously railing at the Evil Bourgeois, what with their audacity of whole fruit! AND REFRIGERATORS, Goddamn them! Though…I am trying to figure out how a box of sliced apples (which probably contains all of two apples) that, based upon the photograph, looks to be about 6″ x 9″ x 4″, takes up less room than, say, three unadulterated apples. I know lots of things are up for grabs in dorm rooms, but even physics? Well, much has changed since I was in school. I’ll have to take your word for it.

  71. Alex says:

    I think the problem with the apples is that, well, let’s be blunt: it’s a freakin’ apple. You’re taking something that is already packaged, introducing a bunch of extra steps, jacking up the price, and tricking people into thinking that, somehow, the amount of time they used to waste on slicing up apples was, somehow, the only thing that was holding them back. “Gosh. If only I didn’t have to spend all this time slicing apples for snack purposes, I could be like the other middle classers and really get out there and achieve!!!1! Thank God for CostCo pre-sliced apples. Now I can write the Great American Novel.”

  72. makky says:

    I don’t think anyone has explicitly pointed to the critical issue of plastic packaging. Isn’t there a Mediterranean sea sized floating pile of plastic containers & wrapping out in the earth’s oceans? killing marine life etc ?? guess this is what it has come to, this staggering cultural blindness, even by seemingly “educated” people. I thought people were mostly getting smarter. Sheesh, 2 whole
    apples do not need to be refrigerated for a couple of days before being consumed. As for soccer Moms, I wonder if it’s a good rule of thumb that if you have to stop for sliced plastic wrapped apple, maybe you should just go strait home and let the kid play in the dirt or read, color pictures etc etc. Stop the damn running around. Most kids seem lethargic about sport teams, as if they’re just going through the motions.

  73. Alex says:


    I read an item the other day where someone advanced the thought that what’s being called ADHD is actually just sleep deprivation, specifically delta-wave sleep.

    I think we have, as a culture, arrived at the point at which we are all running around engaged in too many pointless activities. And it’s exhausting us. But we wouldn’t want to give up texting while we walk. If we do, the terrorists win.

  74. makky says:

    Hellloooo Alex!(is that an echo?) Yeah, something like that(lots of fear). People just don’t sit on the porch anymore in the evening with family, being quiet, maybe not even talkng, imagine that! Looking outwardly(materialism) instead of looking inwardly(spiritualism) Both are necessary I guess, but you have to be quiet and still to settle yourself and truly become connected to “the greater cause”. It seems like common sense that people minds are so engaged outwardly these days that their overly filled minds never settle down enough to sink down into much Delta sleep and thus they don’t hook up to deeper connections to the “great chi”(God I think)energy source.

  75. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    Some people have false teeth or other dental problems and can’t bite into whole apples or have arthritis and can’t be steady enough with a knife to cut their own slices, etc. Why shouldn’t they be able to buy apples in a form they can eat? Not everyone is 20-something and healthy. Quit judging.