Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ballad of 'Ol Shootin' Jed: Page 12

And we're baaaaack!
I apologize for the delay, tax season descended upon me like a swarm of locusts!
I've never, ever had trouble doing my taxes before this year, the reason being that all my taxes before this year have always been really easy. This year I began running my comics business a lil' more seriously AND began helping my friend with his startup.
Which! By the way, go to! Literally tens of thousands of anime titles ready to rent, delivered right to your door!

In either case... it's over now, mercifully.

So have you heard of Ariel Schrag? She got her start as a cartoonist, but now spends most of her time writing for television, which is pretty hardcore.
I bought her book "Likewise" sometime last year, based on the simple initial interest that was roused in having read the synopsis on the back cover. Then it sat on my shelf for a year, because I'm totally good at reading. Apparently, it's part 4 in a series. It's okay though, because the story seems self contained enough and easy to understand, despite not knowing all of the back story.
So a little about "Likewise", and the encompassing series. It's a high school story, so it's incredibly relateable to anyone who went to high school. Even more so for me, because we both went to school in the bay area, (she was a few years ahead of me, and a few cities over, but the general feel was familiar). Even more familiar because, not unlike myself, she was serious about being a cartoonist at a pretty early age. I have a supreme amount of admiration for her though, because she finished FOUR gigantic comics IN high school that got PUBLISHED! I on the other hand could never finish my projects at that age. Hell, I can barely finish my projects NOW, let alone even START them.

I'm not too terribly far into the book yet, but it's hooking me in very much so far. The short version is: Ariel is growing up gay, in surroundings that don't quite understand her. Her folks are divorced, and at the same time, she's dealing with what is essentially a one-way long-distance relationship with another girl whom she is ever having doubts about. It's a pretty good culmination of the late 90's/early 2000's teenage slice of life story. It's about longing and not getting, wishing you could just belong, while at the same time, trying to stand out, struggling to understand yourself, and the world, yet having no basis for comparison, and in turn, hating the world and hating yourself for not understanding you.
It's kinda like Daria, but without as many memorable one-liners.

I might be embarking down weird stalker territory here, but I feel a little bit of a kinship forming with this author. I've admired plenty of writers and cartoonists before, but this is somehow different to me.
I mean, apart from the superficial similarities of having grown up in similar areas at similar times, there's a lot of other parallels I see going on there. The fact that she went from cartoonist to TV writer intrigues me. I'm a cartoonist who's dabbled in screen writing before. Not for anything successful like The L word though -_-
She essentially had, and lived my dream before I had even constructed it in my head. If anything, she serves to me as living proof that it's possible, and not only could I be a successful self published cartoonist, but also parlay that success into something cool like writing a teevee show. I feel like there are some footsteps for me to not necessarily follow in, but maybe at the very least examine.

I don't know if Ms Schrag does the con circuit, but if she does, I'd like to make it my new goal to meet her and possibly pick her brain, in the least zombie way possible. I've admired many authors and artists before, and have even gotten a chance to meet many of them in my time doing cons. The problem though, it's hard to take advice from life experience that so drastically diverges from your own. I love hearing peoples' various stories, but it's often hard to take away something meaningful, other than being entertained, when their life and their goals are so different. I'm doing my best to not set myself up for disappointment, but I have a funny feeling that Ariel's story might offer me some good insight.

And this isn't because I've always secretly wished I was a lesbian :P I swear.

Well.. it isn't JUST because of that.

It occurs to me that I provided zero links to Ariel's work. I know how you internet people are!
Here, chew on this, suckers!

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