my first comic

okay. my very first comic was a soap opera based on the nursery rhyme “hey diddle diddle.” i would draw it on a chalkboard in the basement of the house i grew up in. there are not actual pages. i erased before doing the next page. but i assure you–it was amazing and proof of my undiscovered status as a child prodigy.

my first comic that i can actually share with y’all was a neurotic comic based on my own experiences in love & relationships. i started writing it in the late ’90s. i was living in a one bedroom apartment with my dog norman. we were right near the bar i waited tables at by day and would go to at night to drink & watch bands. i moved into this apartment about a month after i married my ex-husband.
i met him.
we eloped in tennessee.
i moved in with him.
he told me he didn’t think he loved me after all.
i threw up.
i moved out.
i started this comic.
confusion perfume
it starts out pretty goofy & light…or lightly dark…um…sepia? but then morphs into an experiment where i see what stories of mine i can turn into comics (testing my theory that anything can be a comic)

i have made a page for it on my website here: confusion perfume. i am afraid the print might be kind of small. having had “serious” comic book man friends who told me the “right” way to do comics, i did the originals on large board & then had them shrunk down at a professional printer. these days you’re lucky if my art is on real paper & scanned rather than half-assedly photographed before i share it with you.

so! if y’all are like, “we can’t get enough of the inner workings of quixotic mama’s neurosis and relationship history…”

but is is kinda cool to note, for future biographical historians of mine, that this was when i first started seriously drawing again after having given up drawing in favor of fiction writing when i was 13.

note–confusion perfume is fiction based on me & my experiences. it is not straight-up memoir. some of this stuff is made up…some is true…i won’t tell you which is which…. okay, i probably would if you asked. i am terrible at keeping secrets.

(i think i have it so the print can be read now–let me know if there is a problem.)

bigger than the beatles

i’ve been thinking a lot about “letting go.”
i let go of you the minute i saw you behind the bar cleaning your brand new belly button piercing. you were gorgeous.
it wasn’t even a conscious thought. it was a reflex. perfect people don’t want me. i’m damaged. i’m trouble. i’m too much work & not pretty enough for it.
so i didn’t give you a second thought. a neurotic thought. instead i just talked to you. acted as if i had nothing to lose. because i had nothing to lose. a girl like me would never get a chance to lose a boy like you.
so i let go. i never thought–ever–of you as someone who could fall in love with me…so i never fell in love with you.
instead.
we became friends.
& you were the best of friends.
god you were so much fun.
& then you fell for me.
why? why did you fall for me? why me? when you are perfect & beautiful & not damaged…why would you fall for someone like me?
i am none of those things.
& i had already let you go because it doesn’t make any sense.
any sense at all.
that someone like you would fall for someone like me.

we liked to say
that we were bigger than the beatles.
& when things were good
i believed we were unstoppable
but that damaged part of me
that damaged part
was just waiting for the day you would leave me
one way or another
i knew that day would come
so i kept letting go
over & over & over
hurting both of us in the process….

after i lost you
of course
i kept letting go. over & over i “let go” of you.
over & over.
except
i couldn’t
turns out
i never let go of you at all
& i never will.

i thought loving you made me weak
i have never been
more wrong.

update…i found a drawing i did of this photograph–done from the photograph–back in a journal from 1995/96. so i remembered the photograph slightly wrong.
but my sentiment still stands.

petejournal6

in case you didn’t notice…page 2

this is page two of my experimental tell-all art journal memoir.
i can’t tell if i like it or not.
it’s a good story. i would like to explore telling this story.
i’m just not sure that this is the way i want to tell it.

(here’s page one)

in case you didn't notice2

so keep on playing around with it…see what happens.

i have gotten an underwhelming amount of stuff done while my minions are gone. unless you are impressed by how many netflix shows i have binge-watched?

last night i spent between 4 and 5 hours cutting up my lambs and getting them into the freezer. i am not good at cutting meat. poor things have been butchered twice now. but it’s done!
now i need to see if i can figure out how to clean & tan a hide.
another thing i am procrastinating.
and
perfect weather…but i have not tapped my trees.

ugg.

i’m feeling a bit useless.
so much art to do. so much homesteading.
and i just want to have a beer & watch jessica jones and mope about unrequited love while ogling david tennant.

sigh.

in case you didn’t notice

page one of chapter one
of my tell-all memoir
art journal
i have done sylvia plath
i have done vincent van gogh
now i am going to give
anais nin
a whirl.

is this going to work? are you intrigued or are you all, “meh”? not that it matters what you think because i think we all know i’m going to draw/write whatever the fuck pops into my head whether it’s popular or not….
still….
i’m wondering…should i try to keep it as close to memoir as possible–filling in the blanks & bulking up the dialogue etc. within reason? OR–or or or–should i just go “fuck it” and add fairies & demons, squid & flying whales?
honestly, i’m leaning toward option two.

also. i am working on more moses jones.
and thinking about just doing art journals for characters instead of me.

my cogs are turning.
let’s see if we go anywhere.

edit…so i kind of fucked around with the original and made it look better–to me. you can let me know what you think. you know. if you wanna.
here’s how it looked before:

in case you didnt notice p1

day six of inktober

i’m in a piss-ass mood…
still.

ironically…”don’t worry, be happy” is playing on my radio.
but we all know how that ended….

fuck.

i texted dusty today to let him know i think is a terrible idea for us to live together again in any context.
so then he called…and i said i was busy…and he said “please, please, please” and i said, “no.” but he kept insisting i talk to him.
so i got on the goddamned phone and told him he needs to start taking responsibility for his shit. that i am tired of rescuing him. that he needs to stop taking the easy route and start actually working for a future instead of fantasizing about one.

fuck!

i’m just so fucking desperate that sometimes dusty seems like a good idea.

so fucking desperate….

fuck.

and still my inktobers are getting lukewarm receptions.
so i’m just doing whatever the fuck because no one seems to notice either way.
which
is actually
the story of my life
if you think about it
so maybe
i dunno
maybe
i will be doing some dark & depressing memoir bullshit comics….

bleah.

 

inktober fifth

okay.
i’m tired of what i have been doing with ink brush painting.
yesterday i used some leftover ink to make random panels on a sheet of paper.
today i pulled a comic out of my ass…
about panels.

inktober5

and then i ended up spilling a bunch of black ink
so in the spirit of sustainability and not wasting and taking lemons & making lemonade,
i did a quick sketch using the spilled ink…which is the inking showcased at the top of today’s blog.
full moon long shadows.

i like it.
i like my art.
i like being me.

so there, world of no recognition…or very little recognition. i like my stuff. i know i am good. i don’t need your fucking “likes” (but, you know, they are nice)

on a personal note
because it has been too long without me over-sharing…
i had half-invited dusty to live here–as a paying lodger…but now i am re-thinking that. i mean, it sounds like a recipe for disaster.
he just won’t grow up.
and it’s not like i am so good at being a grown up…but i manage.
meanwhile, he pays a minimal child support…occasionally.
he has a crap job because he won’t bother looking for another one.
he lives with his crap-ass mom because he won’t bother finding his own place–nor does he have the money to do so.
and he has a crappy car that does not run because he just stored it in a garage for seven years while he made me give him rides.
and now he is dependent on him mom for rides.
and i keep thinking…why?
why won’t he just get up off his ass and do something?

well, i guess he’s just waiting for me to pick him up again.

so what happens if i don’t?

little punk rock me

when i was 13 i had every intention of marrying adam ant.
i got his strip album that christmas and went on to buy all of his solo albums as well as his punky-er stuff with the ants.

i love adam ant.

he might be to blame for my always falling for short-ish guys with blue eyes & curly hair.

when his concert tour of the u.s. was announced last fall, i posted that i needed to have tickets. and a friend bought them for me (thank you!!)
but then i started worrying.
do i really want to see him or will it just be weird. like the whole “you can’t go home again”? he is almost 60 years old. all his publicity shots seem to emulate captain jack sparrow after a really long night of drinking. is it going to be weird to see an old guy trying to be young?

except…i mean, adam ant was one of the things that helped me survive a fucked-up childhood. fantasizing about a world out there where people like adam ant lived & breathed…it helped me push through all the bullshit of growing up in an alcoholic & abusive home in a small oppressive town where i was a freak from day one.
his music. his lyrics. his seductive lip-glossed smile. his leather-clad hips.
adam ant shaped me more than i realized. is that weird?
i have listened to his music all day today and a lot of my wonderings about how i turned out a feminist in a household that demonized feminism have been answered. i was liberated by adam ant.
sure, i might also have been born leaning to the left in a right-leaning home…but i think if my folks had known what i was listening to, they would have been limiting my time on my walkman.

the concert is on tuesday in chicago. i am driving alone to chicago to see the man i dreamed about every night of my adolescence. and even if he is old, fat, and goofy…i think adam ant will always be my hero.

split-apart

it was new year’s eve 1992. i was 22 and running away from my life, en route to washington dc from iowa city, ia. i went to my parent’s house in illinois for christmas. my younger–very straight & conservative–sister suggested we go out to a bar in the nearby college town of normal. i think she was trying to impress us that she could be cool. it was a grunge bar (before grunge was really even a thing) with a purple mohawked & tattooed bartender and all the hip college kids as clientele.

i woke up the morning before we went there with one thought in my head, “today you are going to meet the man you are going to marry.”

it was a strong thought. this had happened to me before–and come true. the strong waking premonition. so i did not doubt it.

at the bar, the gallery, i was amazed at the number of hot guys. i had bad luck dating in iowa city, everyone thought i was a lesbian–and i had plenty of those opportunities…but very few straight ones. and all terrible in their own ways. so i felt i had stumbled upon an oasis in my romantic desert.

of the sea of hot guys, i was informed by one of the bartenders that her good friend thought i was cute. he was–sadly–the least attractive of the boys there…not at all my type. large & hairy. but due to my premonition, i thought, what the hell. let’s see what happens. so i started dating him. started having feelings for him. scrapped my plans to move to dc & (with the help of the tattooed bartender) found a job & a place to live in normal.

then the mountain man dumped me.

in retrospect, i think i was just the person he needed to feel confident enough to go after the woman he really wanted to be with. and, his having me doting on him, gave him that attractiveness credit with the would-be girlfriend. all of a sudden, because he was my boyfriend, he was a guy worth looking twice at.  i was a tool. they are happily married now. i never got a thank you card for that…oh well.

i spiraled as someone with low self-esteem is bound to do once rejected. i dated & flirted & messed around…a lot. seriously, so many cute guys! there were parties where all these hot people would sit around & play “spin the bottle.” i had so much fun that i can never tell my kids about.

anyhoo!

there was this one bouncer at the gallery. okay. stop. erase your mental image of “bouncer.” at this bar, the biggest & most threatening bouncer employed there was a woman. none of the bouncers could have probably bounced. mostly they just checked id. and in the case of the 6 foot woman bouncer–deep throat kissed everyone who came through the door. ah…the early nineties….

so there was a bouncer who when i first saw him he was cleaning his brand new belly button piercing behind the bar. (it later got infected and was impressively pus-filled enough that the piecing was abandoned.) i had also just gotten my belly button pierced–so i was like, “hey, me too.”

here’s the thing though. this boy was so incredibly good-looking that my mind literally did not entertain thoughts of him for even a second. he was quickly filed in the “out of my league” category. also. he was in one of those epic romances that everyone references when they are talking about perfect couples. it was always him “&amy.” they were a fixed point in time.

and i was a paradox.

but we became fast friends. fun friends. he was great to goof off with. funny. so funny. i can remember my face hurting from laughing when i was with him. and so laid back. i would find him at parties (there was always a party. seriously. weekend parties. after-hour parties. so many parties!) and we would have long conversations about everything & nothing.

then one day i was at his going away party. he was moving to montana. and he was gone. my life went on. i continued living a strange life full of drama & dating.

then one day he was back.

i was walking down the street, and there he was. he told me that he just got back into town, and from that point we were inseparable.
he later told me that he moved to montana to get away from his girlfriend–it didn’t work.
he also told me
that he came back
because he had a dream about me.
i continued to resist it as a romance…especially since he seemed unable to break up with his girlfriend. but we were the best of friends. we plotted ways to make money. we went on crazy road trips. we even became roommates.

i would lay in his arms every night…you know, as his roommate, and feel like i was home. he made everything okay.

we eventually did date.
and break up.
and get back together.
and get engaged (with tattoos!)
and move to an all girl college together.
and move to austin, texas together.

and…

i fucked it up. as hard and terribly as i could. i mean, it’s like i put effort  into fucking it up. i destroyed our relationship. i destroyed everything.

and i have spent the past 20 years trying to forget him and get past him (when i’m not missing him & imagining what would have been).

but i can’t forget him. i remember him better than i remember what i ate yesterday. he is etched in my brain…my heart…scattered across my soul.
i no longer believe i am able to forget him. or that i am meant to forget him.
back then & still today, i believe he is my split-apart.
the other half of me.

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