it was a dark & stormy night…

as tornadoes and thunderstorms tear up an early december evening in illinois, i contemplate my newfound faith in myself.

it turns out that i am not content to take myself seriously solely an artist. the writer inside of me is also demanding attention.

whenever i start reading a lot of fiction (which i have been doing lately,) my inner writer gets stirred up. anymore, i can’t help but to take a story apart as i read it to see what works & what does not. this is actually a trait that has only recently developed in me. it used to be i got so lost in a story i didn’t know which way was up. which–it turns out–is a bit of a handicap as a writer.
being able to now analyze and dissect stories has me thinking i should be reading more of my own writings.
like this pile of works from the late 80s & early 90s. two books, some short stories, and flash fiction pieces written before i knew there was such a thing as flash fiction. 
my sister bound the one up like that. it is 300 some pages of double spaceed content–so not as huge as it appears.
note that i was using yet another version of my name for that one.

so!
the minions are away. i have two art commissions to work on. other than that, i will be poring through short stories, forgotten novels, and journals & journals & more journals with the crazy idea that i might have not one story to tell but three? four? more?

i know, you’re thinking “baby steps!” but i think i am just going to jump on into the deep end–you know, knowing how much i love a challenge. 
(i am my favorite challenge)
plus as a gloriously blooming late bloomer, i got some ground to cover to get to where i need to get to.

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half-assed theories & no plans for thanksgiving

i have just finished reading two different suspense novels that were suspenseful…but so so so fucking badly written. one was a writer who apparently has written dozens of books & won awards. has she just gotten lazy? or have readers become lazy & writers aren’t trying? or is the market just saturated with bad writers and it is difficult to find a well-written novel these days?

fuck a duck.
i need to write a book. no, i’m not a great writer, but i can write decent dialogue, goddammit. i have read a few blogs on here where there is brilliant dialogue. i don’t think someone who writes crappy dialogue should be given awards & book deals. but that’s just me.

i have mentioned a couple times that in my teens & early twenties i wrote a half a dozen books or so. none are published.
and then i quit writing books–when i should have kept writing & tried to get better.
why did i quit?
i just lost the ability.
and got distracted by men.
this all happened around the time that i met & became good friends with paul tobin. so it is now my working theory that not only men i dated took the best pieces of me but also men i was friends with.
paul tobin stole my writer’s soul.
when i met him he only wrote comics & semi-autobiographical short stories. he was all envious of my ability to pump out full length fiction. he would ask me all kinds of questions. after becoming friends with me he was writing novels, & i could only come up with short fiction & semi-autobiographical comics…. and he never took me seriously…even though i went to  him for advice on comics & writing. he just treated me like a bimbo & then took off with my novel-writing abilities. these days he will barely return an email. he got what he wanted.
it’s a theory.
what else could it be?

so how do i get my novel-writing soul back?  of course…my novel will have pictures, as all should. who’s idea was it to take all the pictures out of books for grown ups? as if.

and it is thanksgiving. i waited. i received no invitations. maybe i was supposed to invite people here? i’m better at being a guest than a host. trust me.

i could butcher a couple of ducks. i mean, too many males…& y’all can guess how i am feeling about males these days….

okay.
i don’t like thanksgiving. i don’t. you know, alcoholic father…bitter mother…november in illinois.
then i married two different men who’s extended families were not drinkers.
a dry thanksgiving? are you mad???

anyhoo. 
i will be doing art, working on my soon-to-be-best-selling novel (with pictures) & watching the incredibles 2 (which i have only been waiting like 13 years to see) and maybe some reruns of remington steele & moonlighting as i am now convinced that they were instrumental in allowing me to release my innate feminism while living in a catholic (aka women-hating) small town (aka women-hating) farm family…so i’m thinking my boys would benefit.

wow.
i think the flavor of the day is bitter.
with traces of sweet…there is always sweet
you just have to get past the bitter & will find my sweet.

 

i love my kids…but i hate being a mom….

i hate being the one in charge
i hate being the bad guy
i hate having to be the one who makes sure we don’t run out of
toilet paper
clean clothes
toothpaste
shoes that fit
food
i hate being the one that has to make impossible ends
meet
i have to
no one else is going to do it
i have to find ways to fix
messes that seem impossible to fix
i have to referee fights
that seem to have no end
i hate being referee
i hate being mom
i want to not have to worry about everything
to not be the one who is supposed to have all of the answers
i want to find room in my heart
for me
to not feel overwhelmed by them
i want to be able to breathe

it’s not them though
is it?
it’s not being a mom so much
as my being damaged
damaged by life
damaged by parents, damaged by exes
never taught to love myself
in the way a person needs to be able to
so that person can be a good mom
neglected by my own mom
leaving me unable to cope
abandoned
abused
by the man who was supposed
to do this with me
be there for me
now
i just want to hide, heal, and lick my wounds
but as a mom
i just can’t seem to
there are just too many other things
that need to be
done….

page11

yesterday i collapsed in a heap and all i could think was, “i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom.” it was both a relief to think it…and horrifying.

i didn’t always hate being a mom…if you read my wordpress profile thing-y here, it sounds like i used to really think i was a good mom….
(i wish i could remember that feeling.)

though it was a cruel awakening when i became a mom and realized i was working harder than i ever had before–but i wasn’t getting any pay or benefits. after a lifetime of supporting myself, i was now dependent on a partner who was–well–crappy. he would tell me my position as a mom was pointless and why was he the only one earning money? he would tell me to get a job. i was exhausted to my bones–and he was telling me i wasn’t earning anything therefore i was lazy…useless? and he wasn’t the only one. our society echoed him. subtle or blatant, i got the message loud and clear.

i was a mom now–and now i did not matter.

page12

gone was my independence. my ability to just pack up everything i own and go somewhere new. just go. whenever i wanted. be free whenever i felt caged. now i was anchored. by one..then two..then three..and finally four little anchors.

gone was time to myself. my crappy partner put that last nail in my coffin. no art. no writing. (right now i have a five year old begging me to color & i really really don’t want to color–i want to exorcise this demon–i want to write.) no exercise even because no one would let me. seriously. i was not allowed to do the walks i used to do daily to clear my head & keep my weight down. if i wanted to go–everyone wanted to go with me–and it became an unbearable circus…

page13

i know there are people out there devastated because they can’t have children. i used to be one of those people. i wanted to cry every time a friend or a sister got pregnant. i tried for 10 years before i got pregnant. i dreamed of being a mom. i dreamed of having that love in my life. of course, i thought, being a mom will fix what is wrong with me.

but i wasn’t careful about with whom i had my kids. that was my mistake. my biggest mistake. i didn’t realize how much that would change things…taint things. that partner who doesn’t value you–or your role as the mother of his children.

it’s devastating…at least for me…it has damaged me so deeply sometimes i feel like i am unable to love at all.

but i love my minions. i do. as much as i hate being a mom sometimes–i never stop loving them.
so that’s something, right?

something salvageable?

page15

(these illustrations are more  from the project i am working on “the mistress of mud” with a friend of mine. yesterday i posted that i hadn’t gotten any work done, but i realized i actually had…and i did the one at the top of the post last night as i played around trying to emulate david mack’s style.)

bruised

when i was a little girl, i loved to draw and i loved to write. i won (or at least came in second) in different competitions for both of them. i was good. at some point, i decided i had to choose between the two. i don’t remember why i decided this…but it seemed like the thing to do.

i chose to be a writer.

effectively, i stopped drawing and put all my energy into writing. i wrote my first two books while i was in jr. high school. i wrote another in high school. i wrote another directly after high school. i would spend many hours a day writing. in notebooks. on typewriters. on napkins. on word processors (it was the 80’s & 90’s). i wanted nothing more than to be a writer.

i moved to iowa city directly after high school to attend the university of iowa and it’s famous writer’s workshop.
but life got in the way, and i decided, “who needs to go to school to be a writer? live life & write to be a writer!”
so i did that. while living life, aka working in a bar, a girl (colleen coover) told me i reminded her of a character in the graphic novel love & rockets. and that began my love affair with comic books.

maybe it was with my fourth book that i started thinking maybe i could turn it into a graphic novel. so i sought out the local iowa city comic guy (paul tobin) and asked his advice. like most men comic bookers, he was just excited to see a chick interested in comics. he was trying to break into writing serious stuff and turned it around so i was helping him. and he tried to get into my pants. it all ended up with our becoming good friends, but he never took my becoming a comic booker seriously–so i never did either.

(coincidentally, i eventually introduced colleen & paul and they later became a comic booking team and romantically involved…or vice versa)

(also, coincidentally, i later dated tim bradstreet–another comic artist–who also declined to take my aspirations seriously.)

anyhoo!

i focused on writing for many many years, ignoring my love of drawing.

but i love them both. words & images. i love them. you can do so much with either medium.

(sigh)

so one of the projects i am playing around with is taking all of my random stories & thoughts and putting them in a visual context. i know i have already talked about this…but not with such a fascinating backstory!

so this one is the start of a short story that i never finished. bruised. about a woman who has a seizure and comes loose in time…ish. like i said, i never finished it…so who knows what happened next.

but i had fun doing this. the first attempt went into the fireplace…but i am pretty happy with this one.

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