Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Getting Perspective

* Cartoonist amazing Jason Little was our guest at The Center for Cartoon Studies yesterday, delivering a powerhouse perspective drawing session. I felt pretty much a fish out of water -- I've never had a knack or much knowledge on the fundamentals of delineating proper perspective as a cartoonist -- and I'm afraid wasn't much help except to maybe one student, but Jason was excellent: solid presentation, mucho prepared, knew his stuff inside and out, very attentive to the students and their various needs, and a charmer. If anything, we could use either a longer session next time around or a two-day workshop on the topic. I learned plenty, and tinkered with some of the principles this morning -- Jason made it look so simple! -- before diving into my morning writing chores (which includes this daily exercise). There's some things an instructor is best admitting one doesn't know or have a handle on, and a more skilled & knowledgable guest speaker is needed, and this was one of 'em.

* Afterwards, I dashed up to James Sturm's house for a brief get-together with James, his wife Rachel, and their dinner guests, Jason and his family and poet & fellow CCS instructor Peter Money and his (wife? partner?) Lucinda and everyone's children -- couldn't stay for dinner, as I had to rush home to dine with Marge (chicken in both households), but had time to draw a dinosaur for James & Rachel's daughter and then teach the kids how to make 'Exquisite Corpses' and we drew a couple, which is always fun. Love to watch their eyes when the unfold their first-ever unfolded 'critter' -- this had them all wanting to draw!

* Having thus precipitated trouble, I had to dash while Rachel's succulent-smelling dinner was served. Sigh. Still, made it home on time to find Marge about to pop her chicken delight into the oven, and a fine meal it was, too.

The odd mingling of kitchen odors between the houses, almost 90 miles apart, both linked with delicious meals, makes tactile the curious harmony driving life these days: this is all so right, feels worthwhile and correct, the cords/chords between our home and the new life at CCS. It even smells right, an affirmation for the senses, the tastebuds. How rare is this?

* After dinner, we struggled with the issue of the rising fuel costs (back up to $2.91+ a gallon hereabouts already), possible car-pooling options, "should we move" options, and that kind of happy shit. We love our house -- the first I've ever owned, not rented! -- and it's finally perfectly customized to our needs (like this insane book-lined studio/office I type & work in every morning/day), but we both drive such long distances to work (172.6 miles for me round trip, now just once a week, but Marge drives 145+ every day).

Geographically, a move upstate makes a lot of sense; in fact, Marge's son/my stepson and his fiance live right about there, which is another magnet. James drops lead hints regularly about Marge and I moving closer to CCS -- he wants us, "they" want us closer -- indeed a draw (pun intended), and is currently making arrangements for me to have a drawing studio in the upcoming new CCS space (I've said yes -- at last, a place for my paleontology library and return-to-work on my beloved Tyrant?).

But house prices are up, we've got a lot invested into this place, my kids live close by still, and our dearest friends live south of us (in Massachusetts), and that's a huge factor, too.

Emotionally, our hearts live here, and there's many other factors, too (like, moving my enormous wads of shit just 8 miles back in 2002 took six months total -- with almost daily trips in my old Toyota squareback -- and many moving trucks on the final fateful day! What a horrorshow). I'm working with three communities now -- serving on Boards for three different organizations I believe in (two in Brattleboro, one in White River Jct.), and increasingly extending my teaching work into where we live, here in Marlboro -- and that's an anchor, too. I've no wish to step away from any of it, especially since I'm told what I'm doing as part of the three collectives is bringing something unique to all three; my stepping away (which I damned near did with one of the Brattleboro groups) would cost them, somehow, diminish all we've worked to build. And my son and daughter live in Brattleboro, my daughter having only recently opened doors to communication/being together that had long been closed. The heart lives here.

Ah, who cares? Marge and I will figure it out eventually. What a rambling blog this AM...

Hey, some days, it flows. Somedays, you get this crap...


Blogger Mike Dobbs said...

At our bed and breakfast in Edinburgh, we met a man who lives there four days a week in order to work in that city. He lived in Perthshire, a couple of hours north and commuting, despite the excellent mass transit, was out of the question.

This is becoming more and more of a problem for many people. Coordinating where the work is with where one can afford to live is one of the great "unsaids" these days. It's an economic development issued tied into both state and federal governments' decisions to de-emphasize mass transit of the past 60 years.

While many people think my wife and I are nuts for living in a creaky old New England city with many problems, I have to say that my 10 minute commute (Mary's is even less) is one of the biggest blessings in our lives as gas prices go unchecked toward the $3 line.

Did you actually admit that you're considering reviving Tyrant in print? Oh my God! what will the Comics Journals discussion boards will say?

Of course you know what I say: screw 'em.

Didn't know that chicken dishes could provide a spiritual link between locations seperated by 90 miles.

Blogger SRBissette said...

Nor did I -- hence, the thought. Mmmmm, chicken.

Check out the two posts I added to today, Mike. And hey, you and Mary (and Mark and Jeannie) are the friends we can't bear to live any further away from.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Steve long time no talk. I've been enjoying dropping by your blog on occassion to read your opinionated opinions. I tried to post quite a while ago but blogger didn't let me and so I lost a long ass comment on graphic novels so I'll see where this gets me today. Been writting an essay for the last five years in the annual St. Martin's Press anthology 'The Years Best fantasy and Horror' so I keep my hand in the field although I mostly just do book illustration these days.

Anyway I came across some interesting early (circa late 1800's) proto comic strips from Russia that I thought you might be interested in for your class in graphic narratives. I've scanned several of them so I can sendyour way if you respond to this e-mail(my e-addy:

My best to you,
Charles Vess


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