Monday, April 26, 2010

reasons why i love local

I am so very tempted to just say "everything" and call it a day, but that doesn't make for much of a list, does it? (I'm talking about Local by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, btw.)

*I'm really coming to enjoy the whole concept of a series of short stories coming together to tell a larger story. This series of comics does that beautifully. In twelve issues, we get twelve distinct stories (well, in a way, eleven, as two of the issues fit together a bit more tightly).

*The essays! In the original comics, both Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly included an essay at the end of each issue. In the big compilation, the essays are included at the end of the book, but I read the essays for each issue as soon as I finished the particular issue they were written to go with. And really that was the way to go...I think I likely got much more out of them this way. Anyway, the essays were so interesting! They gave such insight into so many things: the process of writing comics, the way Local changed from Wood's original concept as the stories began coming out, the personalities of Wood and Kelly, etc. And they weren't just interesting--they were downright fun!

*The soundtracks. I love when authors let you in on their soundtracks. And both Wood and Kelly included their soundtracks with each essay. Now, to be truthful...I didn't know a lot of the songs or bands (Me = Unhip). And if I'd have read this a year or two ago, I'd have known even fewer (my wonderful friends Ana and Chris are slowly dragging me into the 21st century, so I did know few like Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens, and The New Pornographers). And there were even a few I knew all on my own, like Bob Dylan and Talking Heads. Anyway, I just loved the soundtracks, and I loved going and trying to listen to the songs I didn't know just so I could hear what they were listening to as they created each issue.

*The whole city concept. Each issue is set in a different North American city. And they went to great lengths to make them accurate. Both in the big picture cityscapes and in the details inside the stores, restaurants, etc. It's just so awesome the way the great local flavors just come shining through. The only one of the cities I was at familiar with was Toronto. The opening panel of that issue just made me smile enormously because I could see without question the hotel that Rich and I stayed at when we spent a few days there a couple summers ago.

*Megan. She's the thread that ties these cities together. She leads sort of a vagabond existence from the time she leaves home at seventeen (in the first issue). She figures prominently in many of the stories, but only appears in the periphery of some of them. But even in the periphery, the events of these stories affect her. I was shocked to read in one of the essays that a lot people told Brian Wood that they hated Megan. I don't get that at all. I really don't. Yeah, she does some pretty annoying things. Even some hurtful things. But god, she's so real. She's a hurting, authentic, flawed young woman. And one of those stories where she's sort of in the periphery...well, no one could go through that and not come out a little inwardly scarred. I related to Megan so much. Not that I ever led a vagabond existence. But shit happened as I was entering adulthood that really screwed me up. I maybe wasn't always the nicest person over the next few years. And trauma or not, few of us move smoothly through the process of "growing up." (And this really does cover the span of her "growing up," following her from age 17 through about age 30, about a year passing during or between each issue.) So anyway, I really don't get how people hated Megan. I loved her, flaws, immaturity, pain, and all.

*Picking up little bits of previously unknown info. Like the fact that Hope Larson and Brian Lee O'Malley are married. Who knew? (Yeah, probably everyone but me. :P But hey, now I know, too.) They happen to be the letterers for this book, btw.

*And last, but not least...The Art. (And honestly, it's only last because I need to get some other things done...I suspect I could go on with this list for quite some time yet.) Okay, The Art. Black and white. Bold, yet full of detail. Expressive. Truly, I just thought it was gorgeous.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

not the post i'd originally started

I admit it...I'm as depressed lately as I've been in a very long time. The post I started was a list of things I do when I'm sad. And as I sat typing my list, out came "make lists of things that make me smile." And while there's nothing wrong with the list I started with, that entry gave me the incentive to go in this direction instead. Maybe tomorrow I'll confess to the ways I wallow in sadness. :/

But today, here is a list of things that made me smile recently:

*giggling with Annie (She doesn't giggle as much as she used to, so it's even more of a treat when she does.)

*having wonderful friends to whom I can vent

*Seth Aaron won Project Runway (I can't believe the person we *really* wanted to win actually won! That never happens! Goes to show that nice guys can finish first. :D)

*the Mary Oliver poem Ana shared this morning (I just love it when things fill me with such joy that tears find their way to my cheeks.)

*this silly Axis of Awesome video (What can I say, I just can't help it...I smile every single time I watch it.)

*this cake (It may well be the cutest, happiest cake I've ever seen! Wonder if they really ate it...)

Friday, April 23, 2010

i'd so like to read...

Books I'd love to read for Ana's 1930s mini-challenge.

*Fattypuffs and Thinifers by Andre Maurois

*The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

*Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

*Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers

*The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

*Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

*Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot

*Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

*Burmese Days by George Orwell

*Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin

*The Mortal Storm by Phyllis Bottome

*Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field by Anne Whiston Spira

*Unsolved London Murderes: The 1920s and 1930s by Jonathan Oates

Thursday, April 22, 2010

things that make me smile as I look out the front window this afternoon

*all the sweet little grape hyacinths in the front yard, and the way they keep spreading each spring

*the way the squirrels seem to nibble so frantically

*an old couple walking down the road hand in hand

*noticing that we still have the green lightbulb in the lamp post from Christmas

*cottonball clouds in that happy blue sky