A reader who posts her rather wonderful KrautGrrl art and stories (go look!) over on Deviantart sent me this little review, and gave me this permission to post it. First our little conversation about that:
Donna: "I am so happy you like that! Did they get it from here? [link]
And I'd like to thank them for getting it for you! Which shop is it?
The book was written as a kid's book, but it's probably too much for most kids. I mean, it would have been fine for me, but most kids would probably not get it. I had a lot of fun with internal art puns, as I recall (couldn't point 'em out now)."
June: "Oh I would have loved it as a kid. And I have no idea where he scavenged it from. That shop is crammed full of so much -- and I didn't think to ask but I shall next time I see them.
"Twilight Musings in the January 2011 Astronomy reflected why our household finds the sunset hours so fascinating, especially the cut line "We commonly wait to view Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse, but it also appears projected against our atmosphere any transparent night." The shadow of Mauna Kea on the atmosphere made me shiver.
We are -- and probably always will be -- on a giddy, ancient or kid level of astronomy: identifying bare-eye objects, oohing and ahing at the Milky Way, tracking planets.
In August 2010, walking on the beach on Clallam Bay, on the Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, we saw on airplane over the beach. Or an oncoming helicopter? Something too large to be a star or planet, at least not there. As it lowered winking angrily red and green against the silvering sky, we realized it was much farther out than any man-made object. Racing back to the house, we grabbed our astronomy texts, and soon identified it as the binary system Al Ghoul, or The Head Of Medusa, in Perseus.
Its powerful appearance as its rising, with nothing else visible in the sky, made us realize why the desert peoples called it "The Demon." As you can see in the photo at http://www.sekiu.com, the ridge we live behind blocks low-level objects. We're used to seeing Perseus as a pretty but not spectacular overhead winter constellation.
(Has anybody at "Astronomy" tried my experiment of running down a hill at a green flash to intensify the perceived color? It can be replicated as a sun sets, allowing anyone, kid or adult, to see a green flash over and over. Admittedly, that might be pushing playing with science a bit far.)."
"I've never been rescued, but I've rescued others and their lives and limbs many times, including myself, people, animals and at least one horse. I don't know why this is: I seem to have inherited my father's lightning-fast reactions when there's an emergency, and only panic when the incident is over and everybody's safe.
One rescue disturbs me because it was of a child when that boy's parents should have been there to watch over him. I was splashing around in the warm, calm waters of Belfair beach at the very end of the Hood Canal, near Shelton, in Washington State. I noticed a small blond boy picking his way along one of the small oyster-shell island, accompanied by a little Asian girl, both of them in bathing suits.
Belfair Bay seems very safe, but there is a First Nations tale about a witch that eats children there, and I think it must be based on the tide, that comes in very fast over a wide, flat bay, filling in deeply through one or two deceptively shallow-looking channels. Some of the mud is like glutinous quicksand, dangerously deep for a child.
I was splashing around happily in the rising water when I looked up to see the boy balancing on sharp oyster shells, with a look of panic on his face. The little girl was trying to get him to cross the fast channel. She could swim, he couldn't. There was no way he could have gotten back across the island in time before it was covered. She was going to have to watch her friend drown.
I waded and swam over to the poor kid, and told him to hang onto my waist and not to panic or let go, no matter what happened. He was very brave; even though I could feel him shuddering with terror, he just hung on tight as I swam us both back, the girl darting through the water ahead of us.
When I got them back to the beach, I told them to tell their parents to NEVER let them go to the beach alone. And to never do it again, no matter what. When they nodded, they seemed to mean it. Last I saw of them, they were heading back over the ridge to the trailer camp where they were staying with their parents. I probably should have gone over and had words with their folks, but it seemed like talking to the kids was going to have better results."
I would like to extend a huge gift to my fans, but I want to ask you first. You know how Gene Roddenberry allowed anyone to sell any Star-Trek-related things they created themselves? I'd like to do the same with my work. Not the old stuff you're representing -- anything THEY make, new and pretty. I'll let you hyperventilate for a bit, and then get back with me."
"Hyperventilate? Hell, no, that sounds fantastic. I mean, personally, I think every creator should pirate their own work and stick it out on torrents and forums and P2P sires. Anyone who downloads the work there and reads it on a computer (un-ideal) wasn't going to give you money anyway, either due to not having any money or just being a stubborn ass, but either way I don't believe you actually lose anything and you gain word of mouth and exposure.
Creator-approved fan-fic (even for profit) is a profound idea, and can do nothing but good. It's free marketing and reader engagement for publishers, too. On paper they all have to poo-poo these kinds of ideas, but if they're already in motion.... :)
So there you go, folks. Go nuts. Send me stuff (email files, copies, links) to read or enjoy. Sell it without worrying about paying me. Invent new characters, whatever you want to do. It's a big desert out there (and Gene was usually right).
It's time for the yearly "have you seen this cat?" notice.
Yes, I know, cats have been found after 14 years because they were microchipped, but Vincent wasn't. But now we have Facebook.
A cat psychic doing a reading at the time said someone stole him and that he died trying to get back.
"He saw a woman with her hair in a bun or ponytail who was carrying groceries in a bag into a 'medium-colored' (brown/green/even light red) building."
"It was within three homes of yours (in Bremerton). Then he saw something near the building. He saw some milky-colored cat food and he ate some."
"He became sick, and felt like hiding. He went into some bushes, somewhere between your home and bushes. There was a recessed area, or alcove under a deck or a porch, or even under a foundation. The bushes had a slight arch. The leaves were like plumes, and slightly arched. Possibly ferns?"
"He was in and out of consciousness. He didn't physically travel, but cats can associate travel with bad things. He didn't go anywhere physically. Then he crossed over."
"He says he feels like a star. You made him feel like a star. You can stay in communication by doing something good. Plant a tree, write a poem for him. Making him a cat bed would be an excellent idea."
Homeopathy (prescribed for grief): St. Ignatius Bean. Take 1 drop ever 15 minutes for an hour, then twice a day for 60 days to help make the grief flow out. Drop one pellet in a gallon jar, put in pet's water, refresh daily.
Immediately upon hanging up the phone, I put out a folding chair, and an afghan I'd crocheted, that he'd knownand slept on. Fearless -- whom he'd known and slept with -- and Kiki, whom he didn't, got into a squabble over the chair. Then Fearless came back and snuggled down in the chair.
The weird thing is, for months afterwards, I kept wandering near that house, feeling something pulling me. I have no doubt the body was removed. Other cats disappeared in that neighborhood, too. Now I know why we hope there's a Hell. I'd look for a homeopathic medicine for grudges, but when we're part Irish, those don't do any good.
To tell the truth, I dunno if the Trade School would ever work; like it says, I can promise nothing afterwards. All I can help people do is develop as authors and artists and put them on the right path.
As for teaching time -- it's really about making the students do all the work, and making them think. Tweaking the sails, so to speak. For those who want to be turned into clones, I'm of no help -- and for those who don't, I may not be necessary.
So nothing may come of it -- but I could promise a good return if someone wanted to take it on.
My REAL trade school goes like this:
Writing and drawing: Don't copy -- go out and draw stuff and experience things! You have 10,000 bad drawings/pages in you. Do 'em and burn 'em (or share 'em in Sketches at Deviantart.com)
Materials: DickBlick.com (DanielSmith.com when you want to do gallery work)
Now I've had a couple of students serving internships with me from the MCAD, I've had a chance to think about what I can really offer and what I need out of it.
I am no longer going to offer internships; I don't need people to show up here to do scanning and scut work. I need to be able to pass on years of experience in art, writing and publishing -- and be paid for it. Instead, I am offering a trade school.
If you're short of time and money and just want to get to work in any end of this industry, consider that I can offer you the same training as a college, with fewer costs in time and money.
The details for a one-month course; you must be a legal adult:
1. Costs for either on-line or in-place option: $4500.00 Paypal (with additional fees) or money order.
2. If you opt for training with me directly, you will find your own place to live while training, and feed yourself.
3. You organize and pay for your own travel. If you are late because you didn't take into consideration the distances or bus routes, you may not change your schedule; you'll have a lot of travel to do in this business and you can't be late for anything.
4. Courses will consist of five hours per day, with an additional lunch break, from Monday through Friday. You will have weekends to yourself, but you will be expected to finish all assignments.
5. The first two weeks will be drawing, writing and comics layout. The second week will be more full training in open source programs, including the art manipulation program GIMP, the layout program OpenOffice. The final week will be networking, accounting, marketing, small press publishing, cooking and health hints for authors, etc.
Be prepared for a LOT of work, and no pity if you don't get it done (you'll never get any from a editor). Time at the beaches and in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula can be earned by finishing projects in time for weekends. Since I seldom get out to see them myself, I will be willing to provide transportation so I can see them too. However, I am not a hang-out buddy, so don't expect it. I'm also a working freelance reporter, so I may have to leave you to work on your own; you should have enough independence to work hard without supervision. Please don't bring up personal or family problems, unless we're just gabbing on beach-runs -- then anything's fair.
At the end of this course, you should have the tools you need to go out and work in the comics industry with fewer expensive or scary surprises. It will not gain you recognition in academia, unless you think associating with an historically-recognized comics author will do so. It may not necessarily open any doors for you (although I have a huge list of contacts who will listen to my recommendations), but it will give you the tools for being prepared to do so yourself.
You will also have the right to contact me any time after the class with reasonable, well-thought-out questions about anything having to do with comics, as well as access to my extensive colleague and reader community. Your performance will count. If you make a bad impression during the course, you can redeem yourself by future life performance; I do not burn bridges, and people can change. Points are given for honest effort.
First person who signs up and pays for this gets to take me out to to the Clallam Bay Inn for fish n' chips and beer and a walk on the beach; no holds barred on the evening's conversation or questions.
That's the question for the Killing The Grizzly Art Contest. So get drawing and writing, folks! It's a chance to not only get a page in a sharp new anthology -- they're actually offering a token payment for publication rights.
Yeah, yeah, it's only $25.00, but that's better than you get from most people putting together an anthology! Most of 'em don't even get you a free ad in the book for clients to find you. Even a little $25.00 is better than ANY other anthology (you know, those clowns with their "we'll offer you two free copies for slaving away all day") -- and these guys are just getting started as a real powerhouse company. Join in now and be there when they can really offer what your amazing art and writing deserve!
Went to the PNWA Convention yesterday. God knows why; I've spent literal decades being sneered at when I say I do comics (with that little cringe and eye-twitch). Admittedly, I'm shell-shocked (for those of you into psychological terms, that's PTSD), I even titled my little talk Eyes and Hands, and gave it a real under-the-radar tone, to hope to at least fool a couple of people into coming in and seeing what I did.
Surprised was I when three people showed up, eager to hear everything I had to say or maunder about on. One guy was even using Comic Life to create fumetti with his gaming figures, and doing a perfectly readable and shareable job of it.
After the talk, stayed around for dinner, and found -- to my utter surprise -- that all these writers were surprised there was a comics panel at the show and were sorry they'd missed it.
All I can figure is the old farts who thought comics were an Inferior Art Form are dying off, and thank all the Manga people who are running around in love with words and pictures. A whole generation of older writers are seeing that what we do is valid.
AND -- for those of you artists who are trying to find writers, these people are NOT embarrassed to admit they are Prose Genre. They will be perfectly happy to do you a script for a nice payment and then go away without demanding rights or artwork. These are script jockies and screenwriters, nice hard-working people.
Let's hook up our industries; artists and a very available pool of professional script writers. I want to see what happens.
BUT: there was only ONE sales outlet -- previous consignment through Barnes and Noble. Because B&N owes me money, their shop at the convention lost my consignment form. Yup, actually NO other way to sell books -- a one-distributor gateway they keep locked. Why do they let themselves be treated like this?
Neat things going on with my work and that of a number of other comics authors: http://www.killingthegrizzly.com/the-desert-peach-by-donna-barr/
I'm letting these guys do what they do best -- promotion and finding the money. I'm hoping to be able to be getting out of the processing of my work and the marketing yada yada and back to actually concentrating on writing and drawing.
I plan to take all the files I've processed and sending DVD copies to the San Diego State University Collection of my work. Then, any publisher who wants a copy can be directed there, and for whatever fees SDSU requires, obtain a copy of the files for future processing, after coming to contractual agreements with me. It can be hands off for me: I can turn over all my original art and let them begin to sell it.
Dan Clowes is a great drawn book author ("artist/writer/letterer/colorist/owns copyright,"), and a nice guy to boot.
But here are the dumbest questions he and I and ALL of us drawn book authors are asked by interviewers, with my answers (first heaving huge sigh):
"Did you draw that TOO?" (No, elves on crack did).
"How long did it take you to do a page?" (WTF does this one mean? My answer: 52 years -- and I've been publishing since 1986.)
"Why do you do comics?" ("Because I can write and I can draw.")
"Why did you draw it that way?" (Because I CAN)
"Who's your inspiration?" (WTF? Do ALL prose people think we're tracing other artists? I was inspired by ancient anonymous tomb art, specifically Egyptian, Mayan and Scythian).
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start writing smarter, more uncommon questions than this, the ones we all get tormented with. Interviews are like programming: GIGO.
Poor Dan....at least he doesn't get invited to the idiot eternal "Women in Comics" panels. But I would have loved to have heard some really good questions asked him, instead of the SOS we all get tormented with. I'm about to do a t-shirt, I swear, with those questions on it....
Welcome to wonderful world of comic books! It's more books, more kinds of books -- and more people worldwide -- than you can imagine. I recommend you look at all these sites. And imagine how many more there are.
This isn't going to do any good, but I have to do it anyway, because every once in a while I have to try again. It's worn a hard rut of sorrow in my heart, and at this point I know I'm never going to get over it. So if you've run into me and found me snappish, narrow-minded and sour, read the title on this post.
Soon after he went missing, I dreamt he met me at the foot of a street going straight up from the west end of the Fremont bridge in Seattle. There is no such street. I've even checked a Fremont street in Bremerton, and a Fremont neighborhood in Tacoma. Thinking of him the other day, and discovered there was a Fremont neighborhood in Las Vegas.
If you can tell me what happened to him -- and prove it -- it's $250.00 bucks for you. If you can bring him back alive, it's $500.00.
There. I've got it out of my system for another session of weeks or years. And don't tell me to Get Over It; a local poke-into-your-life wanna-be spiritualist leader told me "We (him and his just-as-bad partner) can cure grief and guilt." He's lucky I didn't slap him silly on the spot.
Got back from Emerald City the day before St. Patrick's Day.
What can I say? A good show, as always; sold lots of books out of the booth I shared with five other artists at the Cartoonists Northwest booth. I like sharing a booth better; there's always somebody there to watch our stuff and it's a party all the time.
Managed to physically see Leonard Nimoy, so I can add more steps to the Kevin Bacon game Dan and I have so much fun playing. It doesn't get me any closer to Boston Legal (George Takai playing pingpong did that years ago), but it does get me one step closer to Gunsmoke (be sure not to have anything liquid in your mouth before you go to this link).
Now, the best part of traveling: trying out new restaurants with Roberta Gregory!
Steelhead Diner: poutine and smothered greens (that's Roberta's happy mouth).
Poutine: flat, blah dish. Supposedly extra-tasty with special gravy, sausage and cheese curds. But -- that may be our fault for sprinkling the white chili vinegar on our olive oil and butter before dipping in the scrumptious bread the restaurant had bought at the Pike's Place Market. Or pairing it with the yummy smothered greens with Italian bacon and sherry vinegar (deservedly in the foreground). We did rescue it by slathering it full of torn pieces of Thai basil we'd bought in the market. The chef said that in season it was served with truffles; that's right, put something earthy on something flat. Coffee: so very good. Black as evil, but not bitter or oily. Not a drop of milk needed -- and it's bottomless. Then again, I'm an artist, and if the coffee's good, we're happy with the place. No, the portions are not dinky; we always split, so we can pretend we're at the Bite Of Seattle as we walk.
Such as Sweetie's, the candy store in the Pike's Place Market. The owner is the proverbial kid in the candy store -- that's him grinning after he discovered he could get mango sour-powder in Seattle. We simply HAD to get us some Kookabura licorice, some salted licorice, and licorice all-sorts. Yes, dears, we are fond of licorice.
Northlake Hawaiian Barbecue: That's Roberta and her guy, Bruce Taylor, digging into home-style Hawaiian comfort food, pork lau-lau and pork adobo (and each other's plates). Very clean, but very tasty. I never thought I'd like poi or slices of fried spam in my ramen soup. Even the plain rice and coconut pudding are delish; the latter bounces with flavor. They bring you a tray of assorted teas -- I always let Pele choose -- and then run by every once in a while to replenish the hot water. This may not mean much to you, but I'm terminally thirsty, especially after walking all over downtown Seattle with Roberta. Where is this place? At the bottom of Yesler and Boren. It is a most unprepossessing heap -- an ex-gas-station -- with all its charms on the plate. Large dining room and deck in the summer, and they cater.
"Oh, come on, my fellow authors/artists. Haven't we all met the trembling fan-boy at the conventions who has a picture of our art or a photo of Betty Page in the alltogether and acts like he pooped it out of his own butt? Or the quivering fan-girl who pretends to be us at trade shows -- or even goes into bookstores to sign our books? Hey, we used to call them Trekies. Give these poor, talentless, uncreative people a break. They can't make it themselves. Most of them never got near an art class because our schools don't provide them any more; they've been harnessed mind and soul to work on factory lines or punch out code. The best they can do themselves is make bath bombs or Martha Stewart Halloween potpourris. Poor things. have some sympathy; what else have they got?"
I never wrote a tune for that, although it wouldn’t be hard. Of course you can share it, illustrate it, anything you like—mentioning authorship and my author’s site would be lovely.
Can I share this with my customers and on my blog? It's great.
Wendy asked me to send this along-- I wrote it not long after seeing your ‘Seat for the Baron’ picture in the ooooold Centaurs’ Gatherum. It’s yours, although I’d love a plug for my book site
A Stallion's Drinking Song
The day's at an end, Come with me, my friend, The barley's been threshed And we've time we can spend, With beer, or with ale, And the barmaid's full tail Still has an attraction that has yet to fail!
Lift glass, and one hoof, See there? That's the proof! I'm sober as stone, and that's clearly the truth! One stein, at most two, For me-what's for you? Another full tankard? Don't mind if I do! I've plowed with a will, I'll now drink my fill, My mare won't object 'til they've tendered the bill!
Hey, there! Watch your rump! I've spilled at that bump! You'll buy me two others? Colt! Two more here, jump! I've met you just now, Yet I'm sure, I vow, We're long lost herd-brothers, I know it, somehow!
My friend, you're grown tall! Or do I now sprawl Hooves-up on the floor? I fear that is the call! It's to stall I must go, My mare will soon know! I'd best have three more, then, to cushion her blow!
As the result of a bad case of end-of-project anxiety ("Whadda I write about NOW??"), I'm poking at a -- novel? -- novelette? -- historical fantasy thingie? -- sci/fi? -- which is my usual way of starting something completely now.
Right now it's only some vague historical meanderings, with a gloomy kid (guess what I was like as a teen) wandering around in it. No, it is NOT Catcher In The Rye.
I'm actually going back and putting the action and dialogue in to spice up the liveliness (I can hack as good as the next guy). What I've got is just a skeleton, and an author with no clue. I don't even know what this thing is about, yet. Mystery? Teenage angst? Rage against the machine? It's talking to itself and I have no idea what it wants. I'm waiting for it to start talking to ME. The kid is probably just a place-holder until the real character shows up -- which is what Stinz did.
What later became the the centaur hero of one of my most -- dare I say? - beloved series was just some two-legged sidebar mayor in An Insupportable Light, a story about a young nobleman trying to take over a position in life he didn't really want. Stinz was standing on the sidelines smoking when he perked up and said, "Okay, I'm in charge of this plot line now."