Monday, May 26, 2014

Driving Lessons

Hullo there!

It's that magical time of the week again.  You've been waiting around for what feels like an eternity with bated breath.*  Here's a Tic Tac.  And also the latest update of "Saturday" the book.

This week, the panels come from page 30.  This page wasn't finished yet when I was posting updates the first time around, which means we're into uncharted territory here.  The uncharted territory in question is a stroll through Sunday evening, wherein the McGreevy family is enjoying the weekend's last gleaming:

It just so happens to be Memorial Day weekend here in the states.  It's sort of seen as the first official weekend of the Summer and, according to AAA, everyone is going to be going on a road trip.  Of course, by the time you actually read this, you'll have already tripped the roads fantastic.  You'll be pulling your groaning, steaming chariot back into the driveway.  The windows will be rolled down because your 24-hour deodorant apparently went on strike one hour into its shift.   You'll be exhausted and sunburned, with what you hope is a chocolate ice cream stain on your shirt and sand in your shoes.  If you decided to go to Amity this year, you may or may not have one less child than you did at the start.  If you did it right, you'll swear an oath to never go on another road trip again.

When I was a kid, Summer road trips meant the stuff of every kid's dreams: South Dakota.  We would begrudgingly leave behind a state famous for potatoes and drive to a state who's big tourist draw is Mount Rushmore.  "So long, plain oatmeal!  For the next week, I'll be eating plain bran!"  Oh, the crazy, feverish ecstasy that was South Dakota.  What with Mount Rushmore...and The World's Only Corn Palace...and...uh...I'll get back to you on that third tourist attraction.

As soon as they build it.

Of course, we had family there, too.  In my mind, this was another check in the "Why are we going, again?" column, but kids are much weaker in terms of resolve and upper body strength than parents, so we always ended up going.

Eventually, we would be forced to leave the Ambien-grade wonder of South Dakota.   The trip back would be long, whiny soliloquies punctuated by threats of highway abandonment.  They could have just threatened to take us back to South Dakota.  That would have been enough to scare us into silence for the entire journey.**  We would pull back into the driveway.  My parents would unbuckle their seat belts and slump forward momentarily as if the seat belts had been supporting them both physically and spiritually.

And they would swear never to go on another road trip ever again ever.



*I looked it up.  "Bated" is a shortened version of "abated", which means to reduce or lessen.  So you're so excited to read this update that you're short of breath.  Is it strange to shorten a word that already means "shorten"?  That's like abbreviating the word "abbreviate".

**To the good people of South Dakota: These aspersions are for the sake of humor.  I have nothing against your lovely state and its many fine attractions.  You gotta admit, though, for a little kid, your state is a wasteland of never ending boredom.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Critical Thinking


Welcome to the straight dope on "Saturday" the book.

This week's panels come from page 30.  I'm still only working on page 34, which means that in a couple of weeks these updates will have caught up to me.  Again.  And I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do once I don't have any new material to show.  Maybe I'll talk about old "Magnum P.I." episodes or something.  Any suggestions?

Anyway, we'll cross that mustachioed, short shorts-wearing bridge when we get to it.

In the meantime, here's this:

It's just our protagonist, India McGreevy, thinking hard about something

In school, there's a lot of emphasis on developing "critical thinking skills."  At first, they just ask you to read.  Then they ask you to read AND analyze.  And finally, you're asked to read, analyze, and then interpret.  I suppose all those dedicated educators are hoping that one day you'll blossom into a critical thinking wizard.  You'll go out into the world and you'll read things and experience things and be all like, "Imma critical think the crap outta that and get to a deeper understanding of the material and possibly change my worldview and opinions as a result, homie."

And that's all well and good.  But they never tell you how to turn that critical thinky thing off once you're done with it.  Or at least, they never told me.  And not every situation is ideal for critical thinking.  Let's go through some examples:

Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Good
Watching "Transformers": BAD
Watching a Fellini movie: Good
Reading a Clive Cussler book: BAD
Going to the DMV: BAD
Thinking about that spot on your back: BAD
Wondering what your Mom actually meant when she said: BAD

Critical thinking is like a weed eater: A handy for an overgrown lawn, but it's going to ruin your trip to the beach or that romantic dinner at Arby's if you can't turn it off.

The point is that I've thought about "Saturday".  You know...a lot.  I'm hoping this is one of those contexts where thinking about something obsessively for years and years turns out to be an asset.  But the jury's still out.  Actually, there's no way the jury can even return a verdict on this one because they haven't read the book yet.  When they finally do read the book, I just hope they've figured out how to turn off the critical thinky thing and just enjoy what's in front of them.  Otherwise, I'm pretty much screwed.

But I'm probably thinking about it too much.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Remains of the (Satur) Day


If you're just joining us, this isn't going to make a lick of sense.  So in the words of Inigo Montoya: "Lemme, is too much.  Lemme sum up."  "Saturday" is a book I've written and am currently illustrating.

Too summed-uppy?  Ok.

 "Saturday" is the story of India McGreevy (an imaginative little girl with a penchant for sarcasm), her parents Fred and Elizabeth (nice people with a penchant for martinis), and their various predicaments during one particular week (a week that seems to have nothing better to do than make all their lives unpleasant).

At this point in "Saturday" (the book), it's Saturday night.  These panels come from page 29 for those of you keeping track at home.  A day's adventuring behind her, India is back in the fortress of drawlitude (get it?  "Fortress of Drawlitude"?  Like Superman, mind):

I was showing a page of the book to someone just last night who looked at the drawings of India and said, "India doesn't have any friends, does she?"  I had to think about it momentarily.  I'm sure India has at least ONE friend, but she is kind of a little weirdo.  She sticks out like a sore thumb.  A sore thumb with a giant mess of black hair on it.

When you're a kid, being strange is a liability.  The problem is that pretty much the only friends you're going to make are the other outcasts.  And if you want to fit in, being friends with those kids is guilt by association.  But the normal kids can smell weird on you (hopefully not literally) so you end up getting consigned to the island of misfit toys along with that kid who always has peanut butter on his face and the other kid who thinks he's a dinosaur.

I was a weird kid who grew up into a weird adult.  And a lot of my friends used to be the weird kid.  Except as an adult, it's awesome.  It makes for interesting people.  In the words of Kerouac:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."

So, the moral is: go ahead and be the weird kid.

By the by, today is Mother's Day.  So, for all the Moms (including mine) who helped raise strange kids, who wondered often what on earth your kid was doing, wearing, eating or saying but loved them in spite of/because of their weirdness...thank you.

Also, it's all your fault.  But mostly thank you.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Slow ride. Take it easy.

Hiya, "Saturday" diehards.

Welcome to the latest update of "Saturday", the book that's barreling toward you like a glacier stuck in molasses.  SO slow.

This week's update comes from page 28, wherein the remainder of Saturday (the day, not the book) is coming to a close.  The sun has set on a day in which chance encounters, odd occurrences, and general hijinks have helped to rinse the unpleasant aftertaste of the previous week from India's mouth.  And some pretty crazy stuff had to happen in order to get rid of the taste of said week.  It was like eating a curried onion.  And a side of smoked salmon.  With garlic sauce.

What do you do when you've had a rough go of a week?  I find nothing rinses the taste of a bad week from my mouth better than a martini.  Martinis are the parsley of the soul.  Or like one of those stainless steel bars of soap you can use to get the smell of garlic and onion off of your fingers after you've been chopping them up.

Of course, martinis aren't for everyone.  Especially if you're underage.  Kids: Martinis are only for sensible adults.  There.  That's my public service announcement for this week.  I'll ask my parole officer if that counts.

There are a bevy of other activities that can act as a balm after a particularly bruising week: a walk outside, a nice dinner, spending time with friends, petting a dog.  Petting a happy dog makes me feel better because I can look at the dog and realize they're not thinking of anything past how much they're enjoying the attention.  Dogs don't hold on to things.  The only bad taste in their mouth is going to be from something awful they've just eaten.  But even that doesn't seem to bother them too much.  They ate it in the first place, after all.

This hasn't turned out to be a particularly coherent update, has it?

I'm still working on pages 33 and 34.  If you can believe it, they're going even slower than the previous pages.  There's more detail in these pages.  And also I want them to be phenomenal (or as good as I can make them, at any rate).  I'd like these pages to leave you with the best possible taste in your mouth.

Maybe it's overly optimistic, but I'd like these pages to do act as a kind of balm themselves.  After thinking about the glacial pace at which "Saturday" is being completed and yelling, "What in the holy *&%#@ is taking so long?!?", I'd like you to turn to these pages, take them in for just a moment, and say,

"Oh.  That's why it took so long.  Ok."

But we'll see.