Websites? Wobsites. Wibsits!

Last month, while driving from Portland to Ojai, I stopped off in San Francisco for a distanced morning park walk with my pal Robin Rendle. After I’d got done screaming about how unbelievable it was to see the sun and be outside in short sleeves, we remembered we’d been joking about recording a podcast for a long time and figured there was no time like the present to give it a go. So I offer unto you:

A Robin Rambdle or I’m Sorry, You’re Welcome, Episode 1 or

A jaunty yellow square with three black speech balloons containing heavy white text that read, in order, Websites? Wobsites. Wibsits!

(You can download a transcript of our conversation here, if reading’s more your bag.)

This is broadly a discussion about unusual websites and trying to be yourself on the internet, but we also managed to talk about The Muppets, book design, 1970s British television, generative poetry, and at least two types of cheese.

We also watched a hawk building a nest in this tree the whole time we talked. Magical.

Three tall trees silhouetted against a blue sky. The sun breaks through the trees on the left, producing a lens flare.

Here’s links to more or less everything we mentioned:

Aaand…that’s it! Thanks for listening. It’s nice to get excited about stuff while talking to a friend.

Make Haste Slowly

In a chapter of Always Coming Home titled “Long Names of Houses,” Le Guin writes:

“It is hard for us to conceive, harder to approve, of a serious adult person not in a hurry. Not being in a hurry is for infants, people over eighty, bums, and the Third World. Hurry is the essence of city, the very soul. There is no civilisation without hurry, without keeping ahead.”

Suddenly I’m thrown back to reading Terry Tempest Williams at the bottom of the Grand Canyon seven years ago; an image I’ve never forgotten of runners trying to outpace the Colorado River.

“The river was red. It was a race; they ran shoulder to shoulder, faster and faster, bodiesbehindandbodiesinfront, inhaling, exhaling, fat-free hearts pumping oxygen into every living cell, the body a machine, sighing, groaning, moaning like one large organism running, running, faster and faster, sweating, puking, shitting, wheezing. They outran the river, faster and faster, every one of them, two feet times thousands tapping, drumming, beating the pavement, faster and faster […]”

They are singing together, these two. (If you’re reading this via RSS, I’d recommend the on-site version for clarity in this next part.)

“The hurry may lurk invisible, contradicted by the indolent pose of the lounger at the bar or the lazy gait of the stroller along the hotel walkway, but it is there, in the terrific engines of the TWA or BSA supersonic planes that brought her from Rio, him from Rome, here to NY, NY for the IGPSA conference on implementation of GEPS, and will rush them back tomorrow, hurrying across the world of cities where there is no tense left but the present tense, every second and tenth of a second and millisecond and nanosecond clocked, the readout always moving a little faster and the A rising.”

“In our human world, we worship speed and desire. We desire money. We assign money to time. What is time worth? Your time. My time. Our time. Talk fast. Work fast. Drive fast. Walk fast. Run. Who ever told us to wear jogging shoes to work? Don’t saunter. Don’t look. Speed walk. Speed dial. Federal Express will fly our thoughts around the world. We do not trust slowness, silence, or stillness.”

“Mozart’s A was a hundred and forty cycles a second, so Mozart’s piano is out of tune with all our orchestras and singers. Our A is a hundred and sixty, because the instruments sound more brilliant tuned up higher, as they all rise like sirens towards the final scream.”

“Stop time. Time? What was my time? What was your time? They are handed their time; for better or worse, their trophy is their time.”

“There is nothing to be done.”

“Where the runners stop, the river continues, a slow, strong current that now meanders through willows.”

“There is no way to heighten the pitch of the instruments of the Valley, no way to abbreviate their institutions and addresses and names to capital letters, no way to get them to move ahead.”

“I am not so easily seduced by speed as I once was. I find I have lost the desire to move that quickly in the world.”

Le Guin published Always Coming Home in 1985, but here I am reading it in 2021. Williams published Red in 2001, but I first read it in 2014. The precipitous time travel of literature never ceases to make my head spin. To discover these things all out of order and yet find them in conversation with each other—so close they could be touching. A thought moving at the speed of light, yet also crawling forward with impossible slowness.

“To see how much I can done in a day does not impress me anymore. I don’t think it’s about getting older. It feels more like honoring the gravity in my own body in relationship to place. Survival. A rattlesnake coils, its tail shakes; the emptiness of the desert is evoked.”

A thought you must think all your life long.

The rattle on the end of a rattlesnake’s tail is called a crepitaculum.

Rage, Liberation, & the Adventurous Life with Tessa Hulls

I love being on Patreon for many, many reasons, but chief among them is the platform it’s given me to record more conversations with creators I admire. I already keep an extensive archive of panels, talks, and classes on my SoundCloud page, but the support and enthusiasm of my Patrons has allowed me to add candid monthly interviews to the mix. Typically these conversations go up for Patrons first, and then (if the artists are comfortable with it) on the public feed a few weeks later.

Back in September I spoke to Tessa Hulls—a dream interviewee of mine for some time. Tessa’s work defies categorization, but it often encompasses notions of heritage, independence, wilderness, and community—all things I am endlessly fascinated by. She did a staggering number of residencies in 2018, all while juggling enough concurrent projects to make my head spin. I am deeply in awe of her energy and dedication.

In this 90-minute conversation, we discuss merging identities to create powerful new selves, balancing finances as a traveling artist, the transformative power of alternative community gatherings, coming into one’s own as a vulnerable communicator, navigating fine art spaces, “pathological independence,” and the current cultural crucible of female rage. Notes on our conversation below:

If you want to see more of Tessa’s work, I’d highly recommend starting with…

• This essay about bike touring, weddings, and personal freedom

• This glorious series of paper cut paintings

• This comic about rage

• And, really, everything on Tessa’s website and Instagram. Her graphic memoir, Hungry Ghosts, is definitely a project to keep an eye on over the next few years.

If you liked this conversation and want to help support more things like it, you might also like supporting me on Patreon! I am deeply indebted to the folks there for making these talks possible.

Thanks for listening!

Inner Critic Investigation Week

This week I’m thrilled to announce the release of my latest podcast episode with writing coach Deb Norton, a long-time friend and extraordinary creative resource.

I’ve known Deb since I was 13. She brought me into my first writer’s group and taught me so much about working with my inner critic in the company of other dedicated creators. She was a huge inspiration for the 100 Demon Dialogues project, so I’ve been itching to talk with her for a while. We ended up recording an hour-long conversation about creative resistance, grit, risk-tolerance, accountability, limitations, shame, self-knowledge, protection, NaNoWriMo, recovery, process, and so much more. You can listen to the audio through SoundCloud, or watch the video if you’d rather see us wave our arms while we put everything to rights.

As a fun bonus exercise, we decided to collaborate on a series of seven prompts that will help you get to know your own Inner Critic a little better. The rules are simple: set a timer for 6 minutes and let your demon do the talking. It always wants your attention anyway, so give it the floor and see what happens.You can write lies, you can write truths. Just make a mess.

A new prompt will go up at 9am PST every day this week. You can find them on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Patreon, Facebook or via this blog. (Gracious, that’s a lot of social media. Something for everyone, I guess!)

Thanks for reading, and good luck with the prompt! I look forward to hearing what comes up for you all.

Audio Treats: KBOO and Chris Schweizer

A quick post today to let you all know I’ve got two new audio interviews up for your listening pleasure!

kboo

I had a great time guesting on KBOO’s Words and Pictures show a couple weeks ago, where I talked to host S. W. Conser about my recent projects, including my upcoming show at Portland’s Sequential Art Gallery (more on that tomorrow!). You can give that a listen right here.

I also had the immense pleasure of talking with fellow boat-savvy cartoonist Chris Schweizer as part of his new conversational podcast. We delve into all sorts of stuff including (but not limited to) boats, comics, theater, higher education, and French comics. Chris is not only a stellar cartoonist and history buff (have you read Crogan’s Vengeance? YOU SHOULD. IT HAS GOT BOATS IN), but also an eloquent, fascinating guy. This was a blast! You can expect more of these recordings from him in the future, so keep an eye out.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more details about next week’s show at the Sequential Art Gallery. Hooray!

Panels, Podcasts, and Posts!

Hi gang! First off: big thanks to all of you who came out last month to say hello at Emerald City Comicon. It was incredibly cool to see so many familiar faces and get comics into returning hands. I promise I’ll keep cranking ’em out so you’ll have more to enjoy in 2015.

ECCCFaceNow: I have a whole bundle of audiovisual treats for you today, taken from various panels and speaking gigs I’ve done in the past few weeks.

First up is It’s Not Too Dangerous to Go Alone, a great panel run by Kenna Conklin of Geek Portland on having the guts to make your creative career happen. I got to speak alongside Erika Moen, Dylan Meconis, and Angela Webber, which was a treat in and of itself, but I also feel like we hit some great points about motivation and starting from scratch.

PanelHeaderSecond is Erika’s Freelance Like a Rockstar panel, with Steve Lieber, Dylan Meconis, and Amy Falcone. (I nabbed this recording on my phone, so the quality is a little less spectacular, but you can still hear everyone!) We discuss all the juicy freelancer topics like finding jobs, self promotion, pricing strategies, and *gulp* contracts. Valuable fun for the whole freelance family.

Finally, I got to participate in a panel on Setting Realistic Goals as part of the MakingComics.com Massive Open Online Course last week. I really enjoyed getting to digitally discuss project management, scheduling, and work/life balance with Jared Cullum, Jen Vaughn, Damon Gentry, Eric Shanower, Christina Blanch, and Patrick Yurik. Plus this one has video so you can see all our weird facial expressions while we talk.

Phew. That’s all from me for now — I hope these discussions are useful to you all!

New (Side) Project: Party on Paper

ConvoPanel1ConvoPanel2

ConvoPanel3Many, many moons ago I was lamenting the fact that I am peripheral friends with a lot of incredible lady cartoonists, but haven’t had the chance to hang out with them as much as I’d like. Scanning my bookshelf in a sulk, I happened upon my copy of Drawn To You, a charming conversation comic project put together by Erika Moen and Lucy Knisley. Inspired by their model of passing a comic back and forth, trading panels and getting themselves into artistic scrapes, I broached the idea to Bridget Underwood and Carolyn Nowak.

Since then, we’ve been swapping a Photoshop document around as and when we’re able, which has led to the start of a great side project. (Carolyn and Bridget are also both super-pro digital creators, so it’s been a perfect challenge to work digital from start to finish.)

Last night the official Party on Paper blog came into the world, so now we have a place to post all our latest panels and collaborations.

Won’t you follow us?