To 2013

As I reflect on the year that’s passed and the lack of many substantial posts on my blog, I think it may be appropriate to chronicle what’s passed in the hopes of springloading my hopes for the future.

To 2013.

2013, you were awesome. It’s been a hell of a year, and I’m thrilled I was along for the ride.

You saw me through earning my MFA. That alone should have been enough.

Yet, you added new cities to the cartography of my life. You took me to Boston and St. Augustine to present research and meet some of my favorite authors. You let me spend a month in Denver learning about publishing, hiking the Rockies, and networking with current and upcoming publishing professionals. When I got back to Florida, you made sure I had a fantastic new job waiting for me, where I’ve been able to challenge myself by utilizing all of the skills I’ve learned over my entire life. And then your surprise addition of a fixer-upper in a south Georgia marsh notified me of a peace and serenity I didn’t even realize I craved.

There were some valleys between peaks, yes; lots of stress and tears. I missed too many milestones–graduation, swearing-in, birthdays, anniversaries. I did some things I never expected to do, like willingly eating vegetables and sushi, amicably reconnecting with an ex, and spending my summer grading standardized tests. I sent out a lot of work and got a lot of rejections–proof I still have room to grow.

New words entered into the lexicon of my life: precinct, burgled, 10-51 10-42. I came to terms with the bitter sweetness of the thin blue line and what it means for me with the five-pointed star and stamped tags jingling around my neck.

And even so, 2013, you were full of invitations! To start a weekly column on comics, to become an assistant graphic narrative editor for one of my favorite lit magazines (in addition to the other editorship I hold), to spearhead the production of a chapbook, to contribute a chapter for an academic text, to submit my work to some of the best publications in my field.

There was also the joy of reacquainting myself with my love of being physical and working with my hands: hiking mountains, painting a house, dusting off the old violin, teaching myself to play ukulele, making an instrument case by hand, jumping back into photography, practicing yoga, running, and finally getting my feet wet with cosplay.

Thanks, 2013. For the books in my palms, the music in my ears, the neurons firing in my head, the moments at my fingertips, and the art in my heart. For all the new friendships, the old ones renewed, the babies born and the loved ones lost, and all the experiences and opportunities (both happy and sad) that have cultivated this year into one of my very favorites.

Cheers, 2013. Here’s to hoping 2014 is even a fraction as good as you were.

Three Exciting Updates!

A lot of really awesome things have happened recently, so it’s about time I updated about some of them.

  • A few months after earning my MFA in creative writing, I’ve also earned a graduate certificate from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. While I was there, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting with several comics nerds, including the editor of Minimum Paige and representatives from Fantagraphics and Dark Horse. To say my little comics-loving heart was in heaven is a gross understatement.
    (If anyone has questions about DPI, I’d be more than happy to chat with you about the program. In short: it was one of the best months of my life.)
  • I’m now a writer at The Drunken Odyssey–each Wednesday, my column, Gutter Space, will be updated with a review or commentary on an indie or webcomic (no superhero comics). You can read the first installment here! If you have any suggestions for comics I should review, please send them my way!
  • In an earlier post about my panel presentation on Comics as Legitimate Literature at the AWP 2013 Boston Conference, I mentioned how our panel room was jam-packed and we had people sitting in the aisles. Let’s see if we can do that again! I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be presenting at AWP 2014 Seattle, this time on “Building a Space For Comics in the Creative Writing Program”! I’ll probably be talking about my role as a student in an MFA program and how writing/drawing comics was received by my colleagues (and the administration), among other things.

In the next few weeks, I’ll also be starting my new big-girl job as a full-time professor of freshman composition. I’m super excited. Once I get into the swing of things, I’m hoping to get back to my weekly updates as I keep working through different comics textbooks and teaching myself how to become a sequential artist!

In the meantime, I’ve put together a handy list of literary magazines and journals that accept comics and graphic narrative submissions. If you notice anything missing from that list, please let me know so that I can keep that page updated! Please feel free to use and share this list, but please link back to me if you do. Thanks!

News Across the Spectrum: Good, Bad, and Pending.

So I’m still working on my proposal for the Poets & Writers article–I should be sending a draft to the director of my thesis for her approval sometime this week. In the meantime I finally made it to an art store this weekend and got all of the art supplies I need–except, not. I should have bought a set of nibs, but instead I only bought one nib pen. I need a whole set so I can experiment with the differences. Duh. So I’m going to have to make another trip out and get one. But I did get the Ames Lettering Guide and some ink and brushes, so I’m happy. I haven’t really had time to play with them, but when I get a few sketches in I will be sure to post.

I didn’t realize it until just now, but I am actually scheduled to show some of my sequential art at a reading series next weekend! This is really exciting because it is my very first showing of art, but I’m totally unprepared. So in preparation, I’ll be doing a lot of sketching to show process (since the reading series is based on works in process, not finished pieces). I will also be reading some fiction and/or nonfiction, so that is exciting. :) I’ll be sure to have a LOT of pictures for you all next week because the past few weeks have had less drawing than I’d like.

On that note, I’ve been experiencing some issues with my right wrist (which is my dominant hand) on and off for a few months, but lately it has been more persistent. I am suspecting it might be the onset of cubital tunnel (presents on the pinky-side of the hand instead of the thumb-side) so I’m trying to take care of it and not overdo anything until I can get to the doctor and get a proper diagnosis. With this show coming up, though, I’m not sure how well that is going to pan out.

There are only four weeks left in the semester, which means my independent study is coming to an end. I’ve decided to keep this blog up and running though, at least through the end of my MFA. I have one year left, and I’ll be starting work on my thesis over the summer. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on that as I make progress. :)