notta not-a-boy page one

so i decided to use my ink pen instead of my bamboo pen after i royally fucked up the other page when i went to finish it (posted yesterday pre fuck up)
i love the way this turned out. although future pages might be less laugh-in with less color. i feel the color might be distracting.
i love doing comics.
i know my art journal pages seem to appeal to more people–which is totally awesome…but i’m hoping you can find something to love about my comics as well.
this one is a memoir of sorts.
i was hiking today & imagined its press release a little something like this: THE ANDROGYNOUS ADVENTURES OF NOTTA NOT-A-BOY IN A GENDER-BENDING TELL ALL MEMOIR!
right?
do you feel it?

i have written out a couple of pages of text…which would amount to about 30 more pages of comic…so with a little focus i will be bringing more pages of notta not-a-boy your way.

meanwhile, i will try to not lay awake at night worrying i have offended someone.
this is my story; you don’t have to read it…but i do have to write it.

work in progress

i have started writing down deep thoughts about my lifelong flirtation with androgyny…which then became an examination of my masculine & my feminine.
then i was hiking the other day, letting my mind run free, and decided it might make a good comic.
of course i have imposter’s syndrome about my history of gender non-conformation…especially since becoming a mother & growing boobs.
but!
i still think my story might be one worth telling.
so here is the beginnings of (working title) notta not-a-boy

making new comics brings to light my neglecting of my baby moses jones…so i did dig her out and am looking at where that story left off.

meanwhile, i have a list as long as my arm of other comics i want to create. i better get my ass in gear. stop moping in my daily journals & start some storytelling!

xo

sparrow

just like my mother instilled in me a fear of bird lice and tetanus, my dad taught me to hate sparrows. common & pests. sparrows. my dad was an avid birder, putting out bird feeders & bird houses. planting bushes & trees just for the birds. even putting a bubbler in our pond to keep it from freezing so the water fowl could be happy (so much for ice skating…)
a million years later i find myself chasing the sparrows away from my bird feeder, hating myself for it. but longing for the chickadees & finches. the jays & cardinals. wanting to feel special…not…common.
which is funny in its own way because when i read that some people are orchids & some are dandelions and realized that i am a tender, easily damaged orchid…that i am unable to grow in the crack in the sidewalk…i was devastated. i want to be a dandelion…but maybe just for the wishes?
i do not want to be a potted plant in a green house no matter how pretty. no matter how popular. i want to be a wild flower. a song bird. i do not want to be something pampered & kept safe.
i want to be free.
a magical thing.
something glimpsed causing you to gasp & feel a tug at your soul.

do random thoughts make good comics?

comic to be titled: how am i supposed to have any hope for the human race?

panel one: i dyed my hair blonde once
panel two: country singers invited me to their motel rooms
panel three: boys fought each other to walk me home
panel four: it wasn’t even that good of a dye job

here is my efforts to turn random thoughts into an art form.
does it work?
at least it keeps me entertained….

note…only one country singer invited me to come to his motel room

weener coop page one

some of you may know i spent 4 years living in a cooperative house. this comic is based on that experience.
yes…i am a little jaded by the experience…yet i still believe intentional community is a good thing…just a tricky thing.

i personally find this strip hilarious…but i am sure it is totally offensive to some….

five years later…

excerpt from my short story “jesus fingers”

You feel like you are inviting badness into your life every time you mutter “the little fucker” to yourself and every time you regret not killing it when you had the chance—every time you think about it just disappearing from your life and how easy that would make everything. You can’t help fantasizing though because everything just seems so hard now. So fucking monumentally stressful.

And your body that you were anxious to have as your own again—where is it now? And the days you were anxious to have as your own again? How many more years before that happens now? Five? More? With number three you kept thinking, “Just get through the toddler years this one last time and there won’t be any more toddler years to deal with. Just get through the breastfeeding one last time. Then I won’t have to worry about what I do to my own body—it will be mine again.” But now you sink into despair, realizing it will be even longer. Another baby to soothe to sleep. Another toddler to watch with an eagle eye. Another toilet training. Another kid’s meal to buy if you can actually afford to go out ever again.

five years later

i am defeated
by a five year old
he crushes me
so easily
maybe because
not much of me is
left
he destroys me
so easily
screaming & screaming & screaming
until i am
lying
on the floor
sobbing
i am nothing
as i wish
silently
reverently
that i had never
become
a
mother.

ps.
writing both of these pieces, my short story and this free verse, it helped me to deal with the overwhelming anguish around my conflicted feelings about motherhood.
i wouldn’t trade poppy for the world, but that doesn’t mean sometimes i just don’t want to be a mom.

my “m”

the following is an essay i wrote today for my brother’s oldest daughter who is putting together a collection to honor him on the 10th anniversary of his death. 

Mike was my “m.” It was a family joke. Our initials, in birth order, were
M-P-S-M-P-S.
He was my “m,” & i was his. We would all tease each other by saying what the different letters stood for. Such as, “p is for perfect”; “p is for prude”; “s is for silly”;“s is for sarcastic”; “m is for moody” or “m is for money.” Of course, Mike & I knew that m stood for magnificent.

M also stood for movies. All of us loved movies, but I think Mike & I were possibly the most manic about movies.

We didn’t have a lot of money for things like movies and rarely went to theaters, but I remember the spring of 1980 when we went to see the long anticipated sequel to Star Wars. Mike drove us to see it, possibly in his Chevy Impala that he seemed to be constantly working on. Was that the time the Impala broke down in East Peoria, and we all feared we would not see the movie? But Mike got the Impala rolling, and we all tumbled into the theater to see The Empire Strikes Back. The ending came with a foreshadow of the next in the series with Yoda telling Obi Wan “there is another.”

Walking out of the theater to the car, Mike simply said, “It’s Leia. They were talking about Leia.”

It seemed like magic that he knew that. Mike paid attention to detail & the subtle hints that now seem obvious to those of us who have watched the movies a thousand times.

The summer of ‘81, he loaded us up to take us to another movie. I remember complaining that Raiders of the Lost Ark sounded like the most boring movie ever. However, I was blown away as we left the theater. I would eventually learn to trust Mike’s instinct with movies. His recommendations rarely disappointed.

Once he was away to college and bringing home VHS movies for us, a whole world opened up for me. I will be forever a fan of dystopian plots after Mike’s introducing me to Blade Runner, Terminator, and even A Boy and His Dog. I remember sitting in our downstairs room where we had a TV, VCR, and hundreds of movies, watching Terminator for the first time as Mike would gleefully exclaim, “Surely he’s dead now!”

The last time I watched movies with Mike was the Christmas of 2001. I was living alone in Lexington, Kentucky when he called me up out of the blue and invited me to have Christmas with him & his family. I was so grateful for the invitation and drove right up to Ohio where Mike, Heather, and the kids welcomed me into their Christmas.
I brought him some Knob Creek from Kentucky, and Mike took me to a pub and introduced me to the local beer, Great Lakes Brewing Company, by buying me their Christmas Ale.

To this day, I still buy Great Lakes Christmas Ale every Christmas season & drink one in his memory while watching one of the movies he introduced to me. This year it was Terminator, which I finally let my older children watch with me, gleefully waiting for the chance to say, “Surely he is dead now,” never suspecting that my oldest son would beat me to the punch.

Magnificence must run in the family.

ps. i am the one in the picture in a white t-shirt & jeans who looks like a 12 year old boy 

happy birthday, big brother

today my brother mike would be 55. he died 10 years ago on december 19th. this photograph is from the last time he & i & the rest of us were all together in one place…my wedding.  thinking about him, i started this memoir….

the six of us assumed we were blessed for the mere fact that we survived our childhood.
survived our father passing out at the wheel.
survived drunk motorcycle rides with dad.
survived our father sending us into precarious places to do dangerous chores.
survived our father, drunk, angry, & armed.
survived family adventures. camping. hiking on natural bridges…up to starved rocks…into mammoth caves…all though the grand canyon. 
survived water skiing behind jet engined motor boats.
survived a back yard pond with a homemade diving board in the summer and ice skates in the winter.
survived snow mobiles, three wheelers, four wheelers, chainsaws, log-splitters, tractors, riding on running boards, riding on trailers, riding in the beds of pick up trucks.
survived no baby seats. no seat belts. cars driving fast down country roads so you can catch that stomach dropping hill just right.

six almost died when he had a head on collision with a gravel truck while riding his four wheeler around that one blind corner of the gravel pit. but six was the only one of us to wear a helmet (pants & shoes as well!) the helmet did not survive. six had a broken jaw, broken cheek bone, his femur snapped in half.
but he survived.
which was further proof that we were blessed.

one died when he was 45, and his death shattered all of us. it was beyond comprehension that he could really truly be gone.

some of us were quick to go numb. go into denial. some of us threw ourselves into the mystery, the drama of his death. some of us searched for someone to blame…anyone to blame.

i had talked to him on  his birthday just 19 days earlier. he sounded sad. stressed out. we had so much family drama happening as well as the drama he kept hidden from us. his one consolation was that he had gotten a red velvet cake for his birthday. his family left for a ski trip, but they had baked him a red velvet cake first. 
the same cake that two always got on her birthday when we were growing up because two’s birthday is just before valentine’s day. 
all these years one had been coveting two’s cake just like i had always coveted five’s cake. she got devil’s food every year while i was stuck with angel food–because i was “the good one.”

one finally got his cake. and then he died. and his wife and four kids would have to forever feel like shits for going on a ski trip on his last birthday….

my favorite way to make fun of one was to mimic our phone conversations. “so what else is new?” he would ask incessantly making me scramble for newsworthy tidbits to tell him.

i was on the phone with two around the time one’s plane crashed down. i was making fun of one again. i had just gotten his yearly–& much anticipated–christmas newsletter.
a newsletter so crisp & professional as it was designed & produced by a proclaimed “web guru.” yeah, my brother. 
between the smatterings of “keep christ in christmas” & photos of his beautiful children doing all the things beautiful children with money get to do were articles lamenting the newly elected president and calling for strength & endurance for this upcoming apocalypse of a democrat in the white house. 
thanks to the thorough brain-washing of my completely insane & devoutly catholic mother, one literally feared the evil baby-killing agenda of the left wing.
to me, a self-proclaimed anarchist, one’s christmas newsletter was hysterical in every sense of the word.
so i ranted about this to my sister as one died…for his beliefs. 

so this is the beginning. i hope to write more. another work in progress. hang onto your butts.

ps! if you want to support my art & writings…contribute to my getting microsoft word again so i can edit my stories…buy notebooks…journals…ink & paper…you can do this (and more!) by clicking here

panic attack

i am 
literally
having a panic
attack
looking through 
google docs
& files files files
on my hard drive
& months months months
of writings
here & in the physical journals
from whence
they sprung
…it’s
too 
much
too fucking much
how many words 
can there be?
how many 
emotions
vomited
all over my laptop?
now
fuck it
there is one more.

i am serious about getting together a collection to try to publish…but holy fucking crap. there is so much–crap–to wade through. 
do i keep it to the actual art journal project?
do i add in some older stuff?
some sideways stuff?
some stuff i don’t even remember writing? 

i need a personal assistant/editor stat!

this is going to be one of those “kill your darlings” moments i always heard about in writing workshops, isn’t it?

get me a bottle of whiskey & a blowtorch, y’all, i’m going in!

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