“All right, then, annihilate me”

Caught an excellent, all-too-brief conversation between Austin Kleon and Sarah Ruhl on YouTube earlier today and took some sketchnotes:

A gold and black page of handwritten notes from a conversation between Sarah Ruhl and Austin Kleon. A drawing of Ruhl, in cat-eye glasses with long hair, sits page right. Various headers like What tastes good? and Imperfection is a portal dominate the page. Doodles mingle with notes.

I particularly love seeing this emergent theme of authors and creators starting to meld their own weird secular practices with ideas of the sacred. Sometimes it’s stuff they were raised with and other times it’s new systems they’re exploring. All of it fascinates me.

I came to Sarah’s work in high school via her play Eurydice. I’ve managed to see it performed a couple times over the years, but it was the written stage directions I first fell in love with, so the real joy has been knowing they’re there, unspoken, in any mounted production.

(They put on a whole season of her work in Portland one year and I somehow only managed to catch one play! I have a hard time getting over that. But it was In the Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play and it was stellar.)

Since 2016 I’ve found that she’s actually leaping between all sorts of spaces, writing essays and poetry and now a memoir and also a collection of correspondence called Letters from Max which was one of my favorite things I read in 2020. I even drew it as part of a year-end round up, but never actually wrote the blog post. Oops. Here, look, my favorite reads from two years ago:

An illustrated selection of six books: Syllabus by Lynda Barry, Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley, Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson, Letters from Max by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo, Attrib. by Ely Williams, and How to Be Both by Ali Smith.

(I still stand by all of these. God, 2020 was good for reading.)

There’s a tenderness and a generosity and an absurdism to Sarah’s work that I adore. Nice when you finally get to see an author you’ve long admired speak and they reflect those qualities in conversation.


Fun Postscript: Apple now does this text recognition thing in photos that can be very helpful for generating accurate alt text. Unfortunately it’s more of a challenge when dealing with something as complex as a page of illustrated notes. Here’s how much it managed to find in this photo:

A screenshot of Lucy's phone showing a photograph of her sketchnotes with little blue highlight bars over a great deal of the text.

And here’s what it looks like pasted into a text document:

A screenshot of Lucy's text editor full of misunderstood transcription. It reads: Tibetan Buddhism
from feir babysitter.
"I'll have Whal-she's
having.
A service to the
invisible world
Esther Perel, you knaw
That lore lady
at and guess core
of your 20s.
I Want
something
more.
WHAT TASTES
GOOD?
One haile.
a
day to mark-she
passage of time "
Internal truth ofer
Next boole
Asymmetry Lets
fue spint into flie
archi
The line

I actually love this? Doesn’t help with alt text, but it does make a cool new artifact.

FUE SPINT INTO FLIE, Y’ALL.

A Collection of Small Things

I’d never even heard of Infinity Zines before, but this one Kori made is just stunning:

Then there’s a tiny essay Anne sent me in the mail that’s modeled on a cootie catcher. It’s about care and capitalism and giving and receiving, but it’s more complicated to photograph than I have the energy for tonight, so this is just to say that I am having a lot of feelings about unusually-formatted zines lately. I think they’re very good.


A photo of Lucy's desk with four half-inked comics pages on it.

I’m inking my entries from Hourly Comic Day, which knocked me on my ass this year. It’s not that it was a lot of work (I mean, it was), but more that it forced me to really look at what’s happening in my life during this season. To examine the monotony and poignancy and fear and humor of caregiving. To feel as if part of me is still trying to maintain a life like the life I had when I did Hourly Comic Day last year (and the year before that, and the year before that, and so on x 10).

Not wanting to draw my dad because to draw someone you have to really look at them and sometimes it’s too painful to look at him.

And then also understanding that sometimes the best thing I can do is look at my pain.


An ink drawing of a lumpy, leafless tree with two tiny people at the base of it.

I hosted another Chill Drawing Hangout on Zoom earlier today and it was lovely. I’m grateful to know so many people who are willing to gather and be generous with each other and enjoy making art together. I’m going to do my best to make it a monthly practice, which means next one’s March 4th from 12-2pm Pacific. (That’s one day before we’re due to open a show of the collages I’ve been making with my dad, so I’m anticipating that I will be a mess, but that probably also means a couple hours friendly drawing will be much-needed.)


I want to write properly about how long it’s taken me to realize that one of the MANY reasons I’m in love with Lewis Hyde’s A Primer for Forgetting is that it’s basically a blog in book form. So many small chapterlets subdivided into loose categories, all titled with brief words or phrases, all circling similar themes. It’s how I think about what I’m doing here (or with my Rambles)—building a database over the course of many months of Stuff I Am Thinking About so that someday I can surprise myself by finding out the seeds of the next thing have been germinating for longer than I’ve known.


Nisabho’s been recording meditations and sharing them online, which I only realized recently while trying to Google the name of the monastic community he’s working to establish up in Seattle. We went to college together (he features very prominently in True Believer, the first comic I funded on Kickstarter) and he’s remained one of my lighthouse humans. Anyway, Wednesday this week was rough and so I found myself listening to this half-hour talk on grief and mourning to try and cope. It was so lovely—like we were still walking together in the early dark of Portland in October 2020. He recited the same Mary Oliver poem for me on the sidewalk there. I got to share my 100 Day Project with him and his parents.


This post is basically Sarah Ruhl’s 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, although she was caring for small children when she wrote it, but I feel an increasing affinity with anyone who’s doing 24/7 care work these days.


Okay that’s enough small things, back to doing dishes.