This Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day... and I will be celebrating at the UO Bookstore at a fabulous event featuring a slate of authors pitching their favorite reads and signing some of their own. We will be there from 3-5pm... Join us!
When I look through my books, I wonder..."how the heck did I think all that up?" I'm amazed and sometimes humbled by all that I've done, wondering how I will keep coming up with something new. Haven't I done it all? But somehow, I find fresh fodder. The characters give themselves, and me, life.
For a comprehensive look back, for the best way to read the strip, I hope you all have copies of the books. When you sit and read the strips weeks at a time, you can really enjoy the story. And it is a story... my slowly unfolding novella, one day at a time. Not really plotted out, just organically unfolding, just as life does.
It's the holiday season and there are two events I love to do every year. The Authors and Artists Faire on Dec. 5, which benefits the Lane Library League... and the Register Guard annual book signing on Dec. 8. The Register Guard is my home paper, the one that helped me launch the strip in the first place. They have an event every year for their columnists and cartoonist (that would be me), promote the heck out of it and let us keep all the proceeds. Thank you RG!
If you are in Eugene and can come by to either event, I'd love to see you.
The Portland trip earlier this month was a great success and a lot of fun. Powell's Books is amazing! It's not called the City of Books for nothing... several blocks in Portland's Pearl District are devoted to this amazing place. Thanks to all the great fans who came out for the event... You mean the world to me! And thanks to Powell's for hosting me.
While in Portland I was invited to appear on the local morning show, AM Northwest. TV is nerve wracking... what to wear, what to say, how not to cough or stutter... but I think I didn't fall flat on my face. If you want to see the segment, here it is...
For my Oregon/Washington fans... I will be signing books at Powell's City of Books on Burnside in Portland, Oregon next Tuesday, Sept. 9th, at 7:30pm. This is the mothership of independent bookstores, and I'm hugely honored to be hosted by them. If you are in driving distance of Portland, I hope to see you there!
"It just seems so real" is a high compliment sometimes paid to my work. I write from the heart and from the life that surrounds me so that compliment means my intended honesty and sincerity is coming through.
My characters have been based loosely on the people in my life, not always literally but amalgamations of friends and family. Holly and Alix, for instance, started out as representations of my daughters but after 25 years they have morphed into characters of their own, with opinions and wills I can barely control. Actually, that's also like real life.
My character Wally was created when the strip was fairly new. I didn't have a male character and wanted to be careful in how I developed one. In a female-centered strip it would be easy to develop a guy who was a target, a bumbler who didn't get women and had to be taught. But I dislike that stereotype and didn't want my strip to reflect that cliche.
Enter Wally, an old friend, a gentle, big man who cooked for seniors and took them on outdoor adventures. Played the guitar, loved the company of women (and truly respected them as equals) and was often found doing dishes. I asked if I could borrow his name and his schlump, and Stone Soup Wally was born.
Last Friday, the sweet real-world Wally left us. After years of inspiring a beloved character (an editor of mine once pleaded "Please don't let anything bad happen to Wally!") my good friend succumbed to a lousy disease. Stone Soup Wally will live on, of course, and I hope real world Wally will live on in him. He loved singing and boating and would berate me if I neglected to put life jackets on my characters.
I'll always love August but it's now the month I lost Wally. Long long love, Wallster, from all your earthly friends.
I had a wonderful week last week…travelled up to the north of Ontario to visit my friend and cartoon mentor Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse). She hosted us, got us out on the lake, took us fossil hunting...we talked trash and cartooning (and cartoon trash) and generally had a fabulous time. Her studio is amazing, her creativity amazes me as she continues to think up new things to do with her talent. Thanks, Lynn!
Barnes & Noble in Eugene (at Valley River Center) has offered to host a talk and signing this Thursday, July 24th, at 6pm. It's part of a pop culture week, and I'll be doin' my best to talk smack about cartooning. If you live nearby, stop in and say hi, buy a book, get an autograph, and ask any questions you want to about cartooning, what Gramma's up to, why Cape Town? or anything else that's on your mind.