March 6th, 2008 | Uncategorized


My talk at Rutgers last night was attended by a huh-uuuge crazy crowd of 400 people. They were all really amped up, and it was nice, but a little overwhelming.


It was a strangely ardent audience, and I was signing books till the cows came home.


I think it had something to do with Hillary Chute, a Rutgers Ph.D. who had taught my book to a bunch of classes last year, and returned to introduce me. In a corduroy suit. (vide)


Someone pointed out the mellifluous rhyme, “Hilary Chute’s corduroy suit.” Speaking of which, the Seussian rhymes about episode 523 were most delightful. I should point out that all those white on black passages were actual Dr. Seuss quotes…maybe it wasn’t clear. Hope I don’t get sued…it seemed like fair use.

No, I didn’t misnumber the last episode 524 on purpose! I’ve fixed it now. It’s so funny how you guys attribute so much more intentionality to little things I do, like giving Mo and Clarice different kinds of phones. And numbering things incorrectly. Or like the students I just met at Dickinson College the other day who were reading all kinds of raunchy sexual subtexts into the panels of Fun Home. (Well, one of those was intentional, one wasn’t.)

A bunch of people said something about the accuracy of JR’s sleeping positions in #523. I have YouTube to thank for that–found this cool time lapse video of an actual five year old, actually sleeping. (the things people put online! God!) Anyhow, YouTube has had a profound impact on my drawing process–now I can get motion instead of the still pix on Google Image Search.

Oh! And thanks for the link to the Garfield Minus Garfield thing! A bunch of people have sent me that, and someone linked to it on the blog. It’s kind of stunning.

Um, random other stuff before I fly to Minneapolis…oh, if you’re in the Twin Cities and want to hear me talk/read tonight, here’s the info: University of Minnesota. 7 p.m. Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey Institute, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Oh, and one of the million things I did yesterday was get interviewed by some Rutgers students. Here’s a brief fragment of our conversation.

36 Responses to “random”

  1. Jacks says:

    I was there last night and can understand why you were a bit overwhelmed, we Rutgers folk can be a bit in your face, but we’re harmless (most of us anyways…). Don’t worry though, you did an amazing job and your nervousness and/or uncertainty came out as quite endearing and charming (or at least my friends and I thought so). You did wonderfully and your sense of humor and ability to be so honest about your life and yourself rocks, I really admire it. Thanks again for a great night. 🙂

  2. Jersey Girl says:

    I was also surprised at how excited everyone at RU was to hear you speak. I had hoped to stand up and confess my undying love (of your work, of course!) but so many Women and Gender studies Professors and higher ups were there, I got cold feet. So to make up for my lack of courage, this is my first time leaving a message on your blog. Thank you for visiting my corner of the world.

  3. Melissa says:

    I’ll leave the showering for your numerous other admirers, but I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for everything. Your work reassures me, daily, that dysfunction isn’t always necessarily negative.

    p.s. – I briefly asked you a question last night regarding the black lesbian in literature, and I was wondering if I could possibly incorporate your statement that you just drew what you saw, basically? If not, completely understandable. Thanks again.

  4. Sonya says:

    My girlfriend wants you to know that she really really really wanted to go to your talk in Minneapolis tonight, but can’t because she is too ill. Uh, you wanna come up to Duluth and give a private reading? I promise that me, her, and the cats will be a very attentive audience.

  5. laura says:

    AB, are you by any chance planning a tour in Europe? I know you have recently “done” France, but what about Italy?

  6. Dr. Empirical says:

    I’m trying to get the publisher of the little pop culture website I write for to go out to the reading tonight, but he has childcare issues that must be dealt with.

    I sent him an autographed copy of Fun Home last year, but didn’t hear back for a long time. After I pestered him a while to tell me what he thought of it, he finally replied:

    “It made me cry ya bastard! Happy?”

    THAT’S a rave review!

  7. Fern says:

    I enjoyed hearing you speak last night at Rutgers and especially enjoyed the creativity segment towards the end when you showed the slides and mini-video of how you create your panels and words. You were most eloquent and erudite and what will remain with me was your resounding message of committment to truth telling in a meticulous and most scrupulous fashion, despite the mendacity, cover-ups and deceptive appearances that enveloped your enivornment. Kudos and many accolades to you for having the strength and courage to do so.

  8. Ian says:

    AB, you’re just a star!!! I suspect that a lot of people on here would go complete fangirl/fanboy on you, were the comments not so erudite and cerebral. Mind you, there is a fair bit of flirting going on … 😉

    On a personal note, I just checked out the GarfieldMinusGarfield thing. It’s so freaky how much removing something actually adds depth to one of the blandest things I’ve ever read. In fact, the site freaked me out ‘cos I suffer from depression (but no bipolar) and it scared me how much I identified with Jon. Too, too scary.

  9. Jessica says:

    I’m a Rutgers entomologist who has loved your books for years but I’m stuck in Germany for work right now and couldn’t see your talk last night! Bummer!

  10. Lindsay says:

    It was such a pleasure to see you speak yesterday. I somehow had no idea what an equisite corpse (that got passed to me at the dinner table) was, but I think my drawing of mangled intestines suited the torso quite well. I’ll have to send you a copy of the collaborative work. Maybe next time we can actually get a “moon tent.” All my best.

  11. Sonya's ladyfriend says:

    Aw, not that tired-out cookie. AB, you need any more northwoods dykes and cats? Mm-hm. Knock ’em dead in MSP, then get yourself some rest.

  12. Ian says:

    Sorry – more random stuff.

    Anyone know the whereabouts of Stuart? Was this guy wearing a utilikilt?


  13. Christine says:

    It is now 7:04 and I just read that you are at the Humphrey Institute tonight at 7:00. Do you have plans for an appearance tomorrow night?

  14. emaline says:

    I got to see you speak at Dickinson! It was loads of fun (small crowd and a very exciting power outage mid-Q&A). I have a question- my girlfriend was too shy to get her book signed and now she’s kicking herself. I would like to surprise her for her birthday with a signed book. Do you only sign books on speaking engagements or can I send her book somewhere to have it signed? I am unsure of proper book signing etiquette.

  15. auderey says:

    just wanted to say thanks for coming to rutgers last night – i thought your lecture was fantastic and i really appreciated having a more developed presentation in addition to the reading. – and yes, that’s me in the front row, next to my off screen but *very* jealous friends.

  16. Mothra in NYC says:

    Lindsay mentioned Exquisite Corpse; AB, have you been playing it with friends? Cool. You can do it with just text, too, writing a story and folding over the top of the paper so the next person in the chain can only see a few of the words before adding on his or her own next bit … good for hours of fun and sleep deprivation.

    Re the Dr. Seuss tribute: But wait, there’s more stuff in the replies to it! That was an awesome strip, and people are still writing in …

    Happy trails, and enjoy the WiFi hotspots in the airports … Burlington will still be there when you’re ready to go home, I’m sure.


  17. NLC says:

    Mothra in NYC mentions Exquisite Corpse

    We didn’t use that name, but when I was in grade school, we had a kids-version of this:

    Across the middle of a sheet of paper draw six appropriately-spaced short (about 1/4in) vertical lines. Then fold the paper in half, such that half of each line was above, and half below, the fold.

    The short line segments corresponded, respectively, to:
    – the outside edge of the left ear
    – the left edge of the face
    – the left side of the nose
    – the right side of the nose
    – the right edge of the face
    – the outside edge of the right ear

    Two people would then draw, respectively, the top-half and
    the bottom-half of a face (without looking at the other half, of course). The only constraint was that the various parts of your drawing had to “hook-in” appropriately with the line-segments above.

    When done, you unfold the paper and examine your collaboratively-drawn face. Hilarity ensues.

    Who knew we were proto-dadaists….

  18. judybusy says:

    And another super off-topic post: Jessica, you mentioned you’re an entomologist working in Germany—have you heard of Maria Sybilla Merian? She was an amateur scientist and artist from the 1600’s. When she was in her early fifties, she travelled to Surinam to study metamorphasis and paint. Kim Todd released a biography of her in 2007 that I just read. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in science history and women’s roles in that history!

  19. Katie says:

    Hi Emaline,
    I am researching the answer to your question – I will get back to you soon.


  20. Katie says:

    Hi Allison,
    Thanks so much for drawing my very own color in characters at your reading on Wednesday at Rutgers!
    PS, dykes to watch out for coloring books…i see it
    -Katie, coloring book fanatic (and Fun Home too)

  21. June says:

    OMIGOD, I’d love a DTWOF coloring book–though the comic-book collections can be used in a pinch. (I used to color in the holiday cards/postcards before using.)

    –Also a big fan of coloring books!

  22. Katie says:

    Hi Emaline,

    If you could please email me, I can give you instructions. I can be reached at katsulliatmtholyokedotedu.

  23. Jessica says:

    Judybusy–no I haven’t heard of her but will look for the biography about her–thanks for the tip!

  24. judybusy says:

    Hi Jessica and all, if you google her, it’s very easy to find images of her work. I also heard that the Getty Museum in LA, California is showing some of her water colors this summer. Enjoy!

  25. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Uuuummmmmm, I’m really not sure what this sudden frenzy for riffing on “Garfield” is about, but maybe y’all should check this out-


  26. Amanda says:

    Thanks so much, Alison, for a wonderful and intellectually stimulating evening. You handled everything so well and your willingness to converse with audience members and listen to the impact you have had on others makes reading your work all the more pleasurable, knowing that there is such raw honesty behind it. Good luck with the rest of your travels!

  27. Aunt Soozie says:

    see what i get for not reading carefully enough? not eating, living and breathing this blog. I missed the Rutgers reading… and there you were right in my very own backyard. oh, pooh.

  28. Kate L says:

    “I was signing books till the cows came home”. – A.B.

    I used to think that this was just an expression, the meaning lost in time, until I was a geology grad student doing seismic field work (it involved firing a .50 caliber gun into the ground as an impulse source. We found out after one field session that at one point I was firing just a few inches away from a major natural gas pipeline. That could have been embarrassing). Anyway, we’d be out in some farmer’s field from dawn till dusk, and, yes, at about sunset each day, the cows DID come home!

  29. Boyles says:

    Garfield minus Garfield is cool – but how ’bout Lasagnacat?


    I recommend watching at least three to get the idea…

  30. The guy with the dogs name says:

    Hi. Ran across your site through an odd series of links and spent a good couple of hours throroughly enjoying myself.
    One of my fixed male cats has had a “dinner guest” for a couple of months and the other day she had kittens on top of my Lamb Chop doll which I had hidden in a shoe box.
    I am an amateur single panel cartoonist who has been in the H2G2 Post for a couple of years with an almost feature called Platypus Dancing. I really like your art and philosophy. Thanks. Will be back soon


  31. BrooklynPhil says:

    Thanks for the Garfield minus Garfield link. It reminds me of that strip by David Lynch, The Angriest Dog in the World, with its stagnate action and obtuse comments.

  32. iara says:

    I love the moose discussion that is still going on in the comments to episode #523. I worry that it will prematurely come to an end, before we have explored all aspects of it, so I decided to post my moose-o-philic comment here instead, even though it does not connect to anything.

    So… I was rummaging through the nether regions of the dtwof blog, and look what I found – this is from an “artistic condition” posting on July 4, 2006. Is that the first sighting of the moose?!


  33. Julie says:

    Hey, get an entry in this blog about your MN appearance! (You asked me if I’d posted any comments to the blog – now I have. 🙂 We want to hear from you and see ourselves, we Minnesotans.)

  34. judybusy says:

    Yeah, we Minnesotans are getting dissed! And I thought we were a very good audience, comin’ out in the below zero windchill for you and everything!

  35. Jing says:

    My roommate and I are Rutgers Students and we can’t believe we missed your talk here! I was just rereading Fun Home today as I pack up for spring break, and decided to check for updates on your website… and right now I’m still very upset that I missed the opportunity to hear you speak and possibly have my book signed by you.

  36. Jing says:

    Actually I’m looking at the pictures and it looks like the College Ave Student Center… The familiarity only makes me more mad that I missed it completely…