off to France

January 23rd, 2007 | Uncategorized

blogging at BTV

My local airport has free wifi! God, I love Vermont.

I’m waiting for my turbo prop plane to take me to JFK, where I’ll catch my flight to Paris. And instead of doing something productive, like reading a book, here I am fiddling on my computer. And eating this rather indifferent cinnamon roll. And adjusting to suddenly having nothing particular to do after spending the past 48 hours racing around like a madwoman getting ready to leave. That abrupt shift can sometimes induce a sudden zen flash of What It’s All About. But not, apparently, if you immediately plug in and start blogging.

50 Responses to “off to France”

  1. Pooka says:

    Bon voyage! Hope you have a lovely time en France.

  2. Alex the Bold says:

    6 million French women can’t be wrong!

  3. ryan says:

    I hope that’s a CINNEMONSTER. Best name ever…even if they’re not the best rolls ever.

  4. Susanna says:

    Please eat some really amazing bread for me when you are there. Warm bread if you can manage it. mmmmmm…

  5. Elisablue says:

    Bienvenue on the other side .. 🙂 …

    It has just started to get cold over here ( winter at last !, snow and all !! )..

    I thought for a minute you were munching through a Big Mac … It sort of didn’t feel right …

  6. Ali says:

    Wanna know something weird?
    The Sunday ‘Times’ in London ran an excerpt from a new autobiography by an English writer called Miranda Seymour, called ‘In My Father’s House’. It’s about his obsessive care for the estate home Thrumpton and his eventually revealed love affairs with young men. In the excerpt, she details his constant suggestions for her and her mother to dress better. Weirdest parallel ever.

  7. Alex K says:

    Can I make a joke about tooth vs. (bear) claw? No? Dang…

    Question for pondering, once you get to JFK and settle in and (again) check your e-mails, y’ol’ obsessive, you: Are your artistic approaches changing with the onset of so much quickie feedback?

    Likely I’m wrong, but pre-blog, when you dropped an episode of D2WO4 into PLANET OUT, or even earlier, sent it off to your syndicator, didn’t responses / reactions take a longer while to trickle back to you? Might you have had a bit more of a feel of “I’m doing this for myself, really – “?

    Tennis from the back of the court, long lobs and time to position yourself, and now here you are up against the net doing chop-and-slash volleying. It might feel different. Does it?

  8. Megan says:

    It’s amazing now the Burlington airport has improved over the past – ack! – 17 years since my family moved up there. When I first flew out of there, I think they had 5 or 6 gates. And now? Neat artwork, JetBlue and free wifi. I love that airport. 🙂

  9. Peggy says:

    Safe travels! I am new to posting here on your blog, Ms. Bechdel, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say how deeply affecting Fun Home has been to me. I’ve read DTWOF for years, but this book has unmoored me in so many ways which I am still trying to decipher. I recognize the little girl I used to be in so many of your scenes. Re-reading (and re-re-reading) your volume is not even an option…it’s just a must.

    Really, I’m not trying to butt-kiss, but it must be said: you are brilliant! 🙂

  10. Trump says:

    Just finished Fun Home; brilliant. Congratulations on a great book.

  11. Helene says:

    Don’t know if you’ll read this in time Alison, but perhaps it will comfort you to know that you’ll be eating madeleines for breakfast in Paris.

  12. --MC says:

    Yeah, bon voyage to the land of Bon Voyage. If that were a Cinnebon you were eating, I could say Cinnebon voyage.
    Jim Woodring from Seattle has an art show at Angouleme this year, some of his disturbing but well crafted charcoals and amazing color work. Stop by and say hi if you can.

  13. ABunMugShot says:


    You look ready to charm les femmes francaise with your sultry bun eating savoir faire. I despise indifference in buns. Wishy washy buns are hardly worth eating. But there’s just this je ne sais quoi about how you’re tackling that thing.

    That is an odd feeling isn’t it?
    That crazed rush to the airport and then the lull…the sitting…especially when they delay your flight. I generally try to arrive at the airport with not a moment to spare so I don’t have much time to do any soul searching. I always pack knitting or a sketch book and colored pencils or sudoku puzzles…further diversions.

  14. --MC says:

    Oh, and waht’s all this about”fun Home” winning a Stonewall Award?
    (see pg. 4. Thanks to LiveJournalist Deifire for the link.)

  15. Sara says:

    Safe travels!

    what’s that quote on the wall behind you say?? It’d be a funny “finish this” exercise:
    forgive the _____
    they are not _____

    my stab: Forgive the muggles, they are not informed

  16. Andrew O. says:

    Even an indifferent cinnamon bun is better than no cinnamon bun at all.

  17. Ellen O. says:

    It’s kind of freaky how fast you can find answers on the internet. I now know not only the words to the poem on the wall behind Alison, but its author and what book it appears in. (thanks to medusa…)

    That said, it would be more fun for everyone to guess.

  18. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Forgive the forgivers,
    they are not forgiven?

  19. liza from pine street art works says:

    Forgive the security checkers for
    they are not well paid.

  20. Maggie Jochild says:

    Forgive the fathers
    They are not our mothers

  21. Ian says:

    Have a nice time in France – this might come in handy while you’re wi-fi-ing:

  22. LondonBoy says:

    Forgive the indifferent cinnamon rolls
    They are not freshly baked

  23. Ann S in Madison says:

    Forgive the madeleines.
    They are not responsible for their calorie count.

  24. Jana C.H. says:

    Alex K–

    I have no idea how it is for Alison, but when I was doing my comic strip, Pagan Cowboy Joe, in the Nineties, the lack of intelligent feedback drove me nuts. Sometimes I would hear, “It’s the first thing I read in GREEN EGG,” which was great ego-boo, but I was starved for commentary that showed anyone was paying attention to everything I was putting into it.

    For example, though I never said so, it was obvious from some of the backgrounds that the strip was set in Seattle. A few times one could even identify specific buildings. Did anyone notice? I don’t know. One time I had a yak–a reincarnated Norwegian fishmonger–thinking in runes. Did anyone bother to translate them? I don’t know.

    I was also in dire need of someone to bounce ideas off, and had no one locally to do it with. A few correspondents would have been great. A few months before I gave up the strip (mainly for health reasons), someone finally wrote a letter to GREEN EGG of the type I was hoping for. I wrote back to her directly and we had a brief correspondence. But at that point it was too late.

    I can’t revive PCJ because I’m no longer a Neo-pagan; I’ve not kept up with the scene, and I don’t know what to make fun of any more. And then, I have that book about my grandparents to write. Maybe I should start a blog about that. Would anyone come?

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

    P.S. Forgive the Republicans; they are not sane.

  25. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    Alison, your photograph bears a frightening resemblance to a panel from DTWOF. Something about the tilt of the head and angle of the mouth.

  26. Lea says:

    I would check out your blog, Jana C.H.- but forgive the republicans??? I think I’m with Stuart on this one: it’s not too late… 🙂

  27. Ovidia says:

    Forgive the cross-hatchings
    they are not yet completed panels of Alison Bechdel’s work

    cinn amon break

    Have a great trip to Paris!

  28. leighisflying says:

    Yay! Turboprops!

  29. Josiah says:

    Thanks to MC for pointing out the Stonewall Award. I also notice on p. 6 of the same ALA publication that their Reference and User Services Assocation has included Fun Home in their 2007 list of “Notable Books”. I wonder if the Marshall, Missouri Public Library will take this into consideration for their new materials selection policy? (They’re apparently meeting on Thursday — no indication of whether Fun Home and Blankets will be back on the shelves.)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Cinnamon rolls, free WiFi and on your way to Fance……… doesn’t get any better than that! Safe travels and send us some pictures if you get the chance.

  31. Samia in Bangladesh says:

    This blog is so completely hilarious! I am loving every word of the quotes everyone is making up after the one on the airport wall. I love how everyone comes to DTWOF and shares a bit of themselves. It’s just great how the blog is NOT threaded and the conversations we have hop around from one thing to another. It’s great to come here everyday.

    Alison, thanks for posting frequently these past few days. It injects some excitement and musing into my work day and I look forward to that.

    Have fun in Paris! You are quite the globetrotter these days. Any chance of coming to the East sometime? Would love to see your work be promoted here.

  32. Alex K says:

    Thanks, Jana. The need that each of us has for an audience must differ. My work matters (really, REALLY matters) to, oh, maybe thirty people worldwide. Talk about finding your niche! Most of the time I say to myself, “You’re doing it for your crown in Heaven.” Wish me luck getting there.

    (My partner is proud of me, in a generically supportive way, but couldn’t tell you, not even with knife at throat, just what it is I do. After thirteen years, mind you, and well into our second cat. Go figure.)

    AB’s work has always seemed to me very clued-in, very up-to-date. Her cultural references, like the word “wifebeater” for sleeveless undershirt, often make me sensible of my own ignorance, make me feel that I’m lagging behind the Zeitgeist. Certainly she’s uncommonly perceptive; maybe she picks up, processes, refracts all the things at which we marvel, that give her work such depth and that so reward repeated interaction with her art. But I’ve inferred as well that her community of auditors, her audience, has been interacting with her closely, providing her with feedback of the sort that you say you lacked.

    That feedback nowadays may be arriving faster, thicker, than she was used to, with more to sort through, and to sort through sooner. How has she responded to any such change? Will her art come to differ? Part of tracking influences, registering shifts.

    Can she maintain DTWOF? Produce another Meisterinwerk like FUN HOME? Step into the same river twice?

  33. Elisablue says:

    Alex K , I don’t know if Alison will answer all these questions , but I find them very thought-provoking …

    Thank you.

  34. silvio soprani says:

    Your reference to the “wifebeater” brings back one of my favorite episodes of DTWOF–when Carlos explains to Raffi the difference between looking frumpily macho vs looking fabulously stylish, all illustrated by the wearing of the (loathesomely termed) “wifebeater” undershirt.
    I remember some years back when the local newspaper casually used that term in its style column, and I felt so outraged that bad male behavior had been commodified into a style descriptor. Even though the DTWOF episode did not specifically address that point, I loved how Carlos was the instrument for helping Raffi deal with his school buddies’ homophobic use of the word “gay” to mean “stupid” or “weak,” etc.

    Forgive the bloggers
    They are addicted

  35. Eva says:

    Do you all think Alison is purple-ish, in this post, on purpose? If it is purposefull, good job underlining the weirdness of waiting in airports with indifferently tasting food.

  36. Liza from pine street art works says:

    Alison has some pieces up in the new show at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe Vermont. The show is called FineToon:The Art Of Vermont Cartoonists. Curated by Idoline Duke, the show features cartoon artists who live in Vermont, including Harry Bliss, Ed Koren, Frank Miller and many others.

  37. R says:

    hi all,
    so what is the full quote?…Forgive the ,
    they are not and by whom, thank you

  38. Ed says:

    Shouldn’t that be “I LOVERMONT” like those old bumper stickers I used to see? Ha. As a teen, I used to think Vermont was dull (just trees!) which was mainly because I was too young and nearby (down I-91 in Springfield, MA)now I miss my regular jaunts up there in my twenties. Vermont to me is a place I’d love to retire in (if I can afford to retire.)

  39. Maggie Jochild says:

    I’m going to skip around threads here — Josiah, haven’t stopped thinking about your beautiful consideration of permanence and change in relationships. We are fixed creatures craving endless love in a world of illusion and entropy. The dissonance from that creates great art, but also heartache, eh?

    Sri, New Gal on the Blog, Mtrafiha, great to hear from you. I mean, it’s great to hear from EVERYBODY, dammit, Samia, S. Bear, so many names and voices from all over the place, so many different ways of looking at things. It’s funny, I have visuals for you, a notion of what you look like that I’m sure is completely inaccurate. I’d love to see Alison doodle some sketches of what she thinks we look like.

    But that’s assuming we play as big a role in her life as she does in ours, which is also (almost certainly) inaccurate. Alex K., I love your questions about how Alison copes with reading this blog and its mental intrusion into her art. I, for one, would NEVER open up the novel I’m working on to general commentary, even from ya’ll. It’s hard enough that my cast of characters keep revolting and refusing to go along with the plot I’ve imagined for them.

    Deena and DeLand DeLakes, are you using the term “Johnnie” with a regional meaning or in the way Anna Livia does in her amazing books to refer to any husband or boyfriend of the main characters who are women — i.e., any male attached to a named female is just referred to as “John”? And by the way, Anna Livia, if you read this blog, when do we get another book from you? Miss you, honey.

    To all the contributors to the Cakeblog alternate universe: You are screamingly funny. And I long to hear those plausible-sounding works of music. Maybe if we have a blog reunion…

    Liza, thnx for the tip about the FineToon exhibit. Went to the link and poked around. It was interesting to see Alison not the headline act. I do love Koren (but I’m a New Yorker fan since childhood). Never saw Sin City, too violent for my taste. Vermont is clearly THE place to be with regard to art, where all the cool crowd lives. I associate Stowe with Postcards From Buster — is that where the lesbian families lived who were featured in “Sugar Time”? My godson and I watched that episode raptly. Those women and their children are heroes in my world. I especially remember Buster’s innocent voice remarking “You sure got a lot of mommas.”

    When my daughter got married to a man who was the product of an affair between a white married woman and a black single man, leaving her new husband with a white family full of six half-siblings and a black family full of cousins and aunts, they hit a brick wall with regard to who was going to sit at the head table with them during the reception afterward. My daughter had me (the “other mother”) plus my current involvement, her biological mother who was now married to a man, her biological father who was married to another woman, her half-siblings, not to mention the other “other mothers” during her childhood, plus her husband’s unusual family. Finally they just sat by themselves at the head of a long U arrangement and let us decide for ourselves where to sit.

    Finally — yes, somebody give us the real quote now, please. Watch it turn out to be something like “Forgive the construction mess / They are not done yet”.

  40. Deena in OR says:

    Maggie Jochild–
    A “Johnnie” is a student or graduate of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, an all-male Benedictine institution of higher learning with an attached RC seminary and monastery in the Lake Wobegon vicinity. The College of St. Benedict is the women’s college…seven miles away in St. Joseph, with an attached convent. Strangely enough, this school produces “Bennies”. 🙂 They share classes, major programs…but not campuses or dorms.
    “St. John’s University…where men are men and sheep are worried.”

  41. Ellen Orleans says:

    “Forgive these words
    They are not birds”

    Cora Brooks

  42. Alex K says:

    “Woyfbe’ah”, here in London, is cant for Stella Artois. Gives you a mean drunk, they say.

    Silvio, that exactly was my recollection – my gasp at the amazingly vivid (Stanley Kowalski played by Brando, man-as-[lower-class]-brute, wearing the garment in question) and to me novel use of language, my shock at the summing-up / caricature of misogynist sociopathy it evoked, and my grin at Raffi’s mothers’ practical response. All inside a half-minute scan of the cartoon.

    AB takes us on some E-ticket rides, doesn’t she?

  43. Robert K. says:

    Hey, the Kansas City International Airport also has free WiFi. I was astonished as well. Suprisingly civilized for the midwest. I love France, can’t wait to go back.

  44. silvio soprani says:

    Alex K,
    Thanks for the phonetics. I drink Stella Artois, almost exclusively (except for the last month,because it is in the middle of changing distributors so it has not been available in Baltimore.) So the “cant” (does that mean “slang?” I am too crazed to stop and look it up…) means that Stella is a strong beer, NOT that “wifebeaters” (Stanley Kowalski/Marlon Brando types) drink it?

    (Because trust me, I have neither the muscles nor the beer belly to back that image up…)

  45. shadocat says:

    Robert! A fellow Kansas Citian!!! Maybe we could use the free WiFi to lure AB here someday? (yeah I know, that and a million bucks…)

  46. Josiah says:

    Silvio, I’m not an expert on British slang, but I’d assume that part of the reason “wifebeater” is associated with Stella Artois is that because Stanley Kowalski’s wife in A Streetcar Named Desire is the former Stella Dubois, which rhymes with Stella Artois. Cockney rhyming slang, like “take a butcher’s” to mean “take a look” (derived from “butcher’s hook”).

    It’s certainly interesting to see Alison grouped with Frank Miller in the art gallery — apart from medium, talent and geography, they have almost nothing in common. (Well, I suppose Alison occasionally uses silhouettes for emotional emphasis, like Miller does, but although he’s known for the technique it was hardly original to him — Will Eisner was doing it in the ’40s, with better stories.)

    Rick Veitch, on the other hand, could be an interesting conversational partner for Alison. I didn’t realize that Vermont was home to so many good comics artists.

    Maggie, I’m glad my late-night ruminations on love and loss touched you. I sometimes feel staggeringly unqualified to speak on this blog, since I happen to be a member of just about every privileged group going (white, male, straight, monogamous, wealthy…). But that’s another glorious aspect of the community that’s developed here — it’s truly open to all, and the common bond (love of Alison’s extraordinary work) helps us to reach across these stupid barriers our society establishes.

  47. Josiah says:

    Oh, and Deena — I’m a “Johnnie” of a different stripe: St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (and Santa Fe, New Mexico). It’s the most exclusively Western Civ-based liberal arts college going, but it does give a solid (and not uncritical) grounding in that tradition. It’s also a very whimsical place: for example, the athletic highlight at St. John’s is the annual croquet match against the Naval Academy (regarded by Johnnies as Athens vs. Sparta).

  48. Ovidia says:

    Thanks for the quote, Ellen Orleans!

  49. Nea says:

    than l you so much for the conference you gave at university , in Tours, yesterday!! It was really good, and i hope it ‘ll open some french student mind 🙂
    hope you hope a good journey in france

  50. Alex K says:

    Silvio: Because it gives you a mean drunk – makes you more likely to beat your wife. Getting you drunk fast is part of the 5.2% ethanol content of your pint of Stella, of course.

    Although I can’t exclude Josiah’s hypothesis, Tennessee Williams is a bit poncey for the East End. Gissa proper show – Babs Windsor wiffa Bristols out, innit…

    Oi! Wotchoo lookin’ at?