"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito."
- founder of The Body Shop and business executive Anita Roddick
Sunday, Sept. 30 is Word on the Street in Canada, a day-long Book and Magazine Festival celebrating reading and advocating literacy.
If you happen to be visiting the festival in Toronto, try to visit two of my cartoonist friends who are scheduled to appear:
Patricia Storms will be presenting in the Children's Reading Tent at 3:15 and will be featuring "13 Ghosts of Halloween" by Robin Muller. (Scholastic) Patricia is a multi-talented cartoonist illustrator and her artwork in this book is gorgeous. Buy a book, (for ages 3-7) have her sign it for you and tell her I said hello.
At 5:00, drop by the Comics and Graphic Novels Tent where my friend, Toronto illustrator and cartoonist, John Martz will be participating on a panel to discuss "Graphic Novel Publishing on the Internet - Web Comics, Digital Distribution and the Online Community."
John is the founder of Drawn!, a tremendously popular collabrative illustrators'/artists'/cartoonists' webblog. Tell him I said hello...and ask him to mention my blog on Drawn!
Oh yeah...very important point...the festival is FREE! Have fun!
The closest place I can get to in order to connect with other cartoonists is Toronto...about an hour's drive away depending on traffic. Occassionally, I get to cartoonist conventions like the annual Reuben Weekend. It's the cartooning community's equivalent of the Oscars. It's a weekend of cocktail parties, seminars and a Black-tie Awards Gala. It's basically a big party held in a different locale each year at gorgeous 5 star hotels...but besides being a weekend of partying, it's an opportunity to talk shop with like-minded pen-pushers. Not many of my regular friends seem to enjoy talking about pen nibs.
Other than conventions and the odd get-together in Toronto, I'm pretty much on my own in terms of connecting with people for office chit-chat. Thank goodness for the internet...it's my own personal watercooler.
Of course, cartoonists don't always just talk ink and bristol board. One of my cartoon buddies is Kieran Meehan who does "Meehan" for the Evening Times in Glasglow as well as the comic strip, "A Lawyer, A Doctor and A Cop" which is syndicated by King Features. I'm a big fan of his work...he's very funny and his artwork is unique and sophisticated.
So, back to the question...what do cartoonists talk about? Well...last week, Kieran broached the serious issue of Martinis...can you see where the cartoon ideas come from?
Did I tell you, I spent an age researching the correct pronunciation of Noilly Prat? Vital for my dry martini. I ended up e-mailing the company in France for the phonetical spelling. Once I found out. I practiced it diligently, "nwayi-pRat, nwayi-pRat, nwayi-pRat" remembering to pronunce the "t" at the end of Prat. I then waited for the day I could use my new-found sophistication to impress the attractive girls behind the Oddbins counter. Yesterday was the day. "Can I help you?" says the girl behind the counter. "YES," says I. " I would like a bottle of nwayi-pRaT, PREEZE." I then dropped all my small change on the floor.
(Note: If you are new to my blog, the following post is in reference to my goal of running 5 miles by next spring when I turn 50...one mile for each decade.)
Report # 6 to Kevin-who-has-run-the-Boston-Marathon-four-times.
Okay...this has not been a good week.
Mon. 9:30pm - Ran my regular routine.
Wed. 8:30pm - Feeling very tired. Ran 1/2 mile of regular routine and walked the rest. My legs felt like dead weights. Wasn't going to go out at all but made myself try.
Fri. Spent the day in Toronto. Got back late. Did a lot of walking in the city though...about an hour's worth.
Sat. Planned on doing third run but still feeling tired. Walked to the YMCA and back so at least I did something.
Next week I am driving to Montreal on Wed. and coming back on Thurs. so I will try to work around this by running on Monday - use the crosstrainer at the Y on Tuesday and run on Sat. as I know I will be tired from all the driving on Friday.
What do you think?
I like the crosstrainer. I use it a lot to fit in a session or as a cross train. It is great cardio with low impact. Try starting out at #5 and every 5 minutes bump it up one level until you get to 25 minutes. MAKE YOURSELF SWEAT A LOT.
Are you going to Monteal because I was planning on coming up this week?
I am impressed that you have preplanned your week for workouts. You're starting to show signs of being a runner. Please do me a favour and stop thinking that walking is exercise. If you cannot work out, that's ok, but don't tell yourself that you walked a lot so at least you accomplished something, that's crap.
PS..Keep stretching, girl.
I'm not making excuses for my miserable week...but truthfully, it was just one of those weeks where I felt tired for a multitude of reasons. However, if I'm going to be brutally honest...looking at it now, I can see how I was beginning to justify and make excuses. If Kevin-who-has-run-the-Boston-Marathon-four-times didn't cut to the chase and call me on it, I think I would probably have begun to slide a bit.
Kevin: Consider my butt kicked.
It's funny to take this strip out and read it now (I wrote in June 2006) because it relates to an article I was reading on AOL a few days ago. Here's a little quote from "Will a Bigger Salary Make You Happier?" by Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.ca
"We all know the Joneses. They're the neighbours with the Range Rover and Mercedes sitting in their driveway, living in the multi-million dollar house, raising five kids, three dogs and taking long vacations to their time-share in the Caribbean. Yes, we know the Joneses. We think we need more money to be better than the Joneses. Word to the wise: don't bother - the Joneses are broke."
It's about 10 pm and I head out for my run. My neighbour is pulling out of her driveway and kids me saying, "Do they let you out this late at night?" I tell her, "I'm running." "Ohhhhhh...", she says, "-and you don't want anyone to SEE you."
Women...they always just seem to know.
By the way, I did get three runs in last week. Here's a partial synopsis of my report to Kevin who has run the Boston Marathon four times (saying that seems to give my pitiful running attempts more credibility somehow...):
Three runs this week...
"If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?"
~feminist Gloria Steinem
I enjoy a wide variety of comics but I have to admit I am drawn to the work of women cartoonists. Part of the reason is professional curiosity and part of it is because there is often (not always) a slant in these cartoons that is uniquely female.
One cartoonist I particularly admire is Marjane Satrapi. She is an Iranian cartoonist who now lives in France. Satrapi is probably best known for her graphic novel, Persepolis, her memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi tells the story of daily life in Tehran during the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of the war with Iraq...all through the eyes of a young girl.
Satrapi followed up with Persepolis 2, a continuation of her life story. In this book, Marjane's parents send her to Vienna out of concern for her safety in fundamentalist Iran. She eventually returns to her native country but the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism leads her to question her future there.
With the success of Satrapi's graphic novel(s), she has now turned Persepolis into an animated movie. It received The Jury Prize at Cannes and was recently shown at the Toronto Film Festival. I wish I had been able to get to Toronto to see it...I'm hoping it will have a wide enough release to be shown in local theaters.
You don't have to be a political junkie to "get" Persepolis. Satrapi is very adept at telling her story on a personal level and connecting it to the political climate of the times. It's a great read. I highly recommend Persepolis and Persepolis 2.
This post was going to be about a couple of characters that were either changed or eliminated during the development period of "Between Friends". While looking for some artwork, I came across this photocopy that was sent to me by King's international salesperson. (It's a very old strip...probably about 1995-6ish...so there's a big difference in the artwork)
The dialogue has been translated into Turkish or Swedish. I can't recall which. Anyone know? The gag has something to do with a no-smoking section. I know I'm not giving you a lot of information here, but I thought it might be interesting to see the translation...and the (shudder) difference in the artwork.
In my other life (pre-marriage, pre-children, pre-no-responsibilites-other-than-looking-after-myself-while-parents-paid-for-all-the-neccessities-of-life life) I played squash, recreational volley ball, baseball and swam competitively. (I even won a few meets) I took part-time classes at university and had a job and even a social life. Things have slowed down for me considerably...especially with a career that requires a lot of drawing, a lot of thinking and LOTS AND LOTS OF SITTING.
In this life, I will be turning fifty next April. I'm not in a panic about it as I've never really been phobic about how old I am. However, this milestone has made me think about getting in better shape. There is diabetes in our family, colon cancer and some heart disease. These are big issues and I'm at a stage of life where I really should try to be proactive.
So - I decided to set a goal for myself. I want to be able to run 5 miles by April...one mile for every decade. This is a real challenge...not only because I have never been a runner...but because I hate running with a passion.
My cousin, Kevin IS a runner. (We are the same age) Among other races, Kevin has run the Boston Marathon four times. I figured if I seriously wanted to give this 5 mile thing a good shot...I should ask him for advice.
(His reply..."You've got two lungs")
It turns out Kevin is quite happy to coach me and I send him a report every week along with any questions I have. He's given me a lot of advice from where to buy a good pair of shoes to structured work-outs.
I told Kevin in one of my reports that I was running at 6:30 in the morning...he e-mailed back that he was going to meet me the next morning to run WITH me. And he did. Of course, I only run/walk/run/walk a mile at this point...but with his enthusiasm and willingness to help me, I'm sure I'm going to achieve my goal. I don't think I have a choice any more. He's coming back again at the end of the month.
For the past three weeks, I have only managed to get 2 days of running in per week. This week I have to do three. So, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and get my run in now. House will be on in a half hour.
Next week I'll let you know how I did.
Before I go any further, I want to make one point crystal clear: I DON'T HATE DOGS. I just don't happen to be one of those people who has a natural affection for them. In fact, I've never wanted to have any pets because cleaning up pet poop has never been a past time I've aspired to either.
My husband on the other hand, LOVES DOGS. However, one of the compromises we reached in our marriage was NOT TO HAVE A DOG because (among other reasons) I was the one who worked at home and as the person-who-doesn't-hate-dogs-but-doesn't-particularly-like-them-either, it didn't seem fair that I would end up being with the dog all day long.
Enter children. Enter son who hounds me (no pun intended) day after day after day after DAY for FOUR YEARS to get a dog. And after four years of pleading, debating and whining, he finally found my Achilles heel. "You could put the dog in your strip, mom...A DOG WILL GIVE YOU STRIP IDEAS!".
Sigh. Enter Newman. Our golden retriever puppy. He is five months old. He is teething. He sits on my couch. He's jumping on my bedspread. Guess who spent 2 1/2 hours at the introductory meeting for dog-training school last night? All I can say to my children is:
YOU BETTER REMEMBER THIS WHEN I'M AN OLD BAG.
If you have been following "Between Friends", you know that Maeve has crossed paths with Viggo Mortensen. If you haven't read the series, I promise to archive them as soon as possible.
Here's the back story on the Maeve/Viggo story line: I was chatting with Viggo one day and ...HA...had you there for a minute, didn't I? The closest I ever get to Mr. Mortensen is when I'm watching LOTR on dvd in my family room. But I digress...
I had just finished writing a series about Maeve dating her ex-therapist and I was thinking that Maeve always gets dumped on in her love life. I thought it was time for something good to happen to her. But what? Maeve can never have a relationship end in marriage because...well, then Maeve just wouldn't be Maeve. Enter Viggo Mortensen. I had already written about Maeve's fantasy crush on Viggo/Aragorn in previous strips and the more I thought about it, the more I thought how much fun it would be for Maeve to actually meet the guy. I've tried to keep the series loose and write them from Maeve's perspective with the hope that they don't intrude on Mr. Mortensen personally. I have no idea if he has read them and if he has, I hope he had a chuckle over them and realizes they are written mainly in the context of a tribute.
Anyway, Maeve is having a great time, I'm having fun writing for her and my readers seem to be enjoying the fantasy as well...
"I'm really enjoying your latest story line, since I share Maeve's Viggo fantasies. I guess you know he's known as the "the thinking woman's sex symbol"...we are having a bet on what kind of outfit he buys her (something plaid, or a sports jersey of one of his teams...) I hope if Viggo sees your cartoons that he gets a laugh too."
"Any chance of a year long adventure between the two?"
"So jealous (oops) meant "happy" she has had a chance to meet the "MAN"."
"If I could kiss the ground you walk on, I would because I cannot tell you enough how much I love the comic strips where Maeve and her friends are discussing her obsession with Viggo...I adore Viggo. Did I mention that I adore Viggo?..."
"Susan needs to get a hobby...OTHER than worrying about what Maeve does...it doesn't matter what Maeve was doing, so long as it wasn't hurting anyone else. For all we know, she might have been role-playing as the sultry master spy...captured by the "other side" (Viggo)...strapped to a chair and her feet tickled until she divulged the secret code that would turn the tide of the war. Or, just having coffee. Whatever. =c) "
BTW...Viggo Mortensen's new film "Eastern Promises" will be released everywhere Sept. 21.
When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
-writer/humorist Cynthia Heimel
"Between Friends" is loosely based on myself and my friends. When I first started tinkering with the idea of a comic strip, I had five main women characters...one that represented each of my buddies. I sent my submission package out to the syndicates and received form letters from all but one. An editor at King suggested I reduce the number of characters from five to three as they felt five characters were too many to deal with. "Really develop these characters.", I was told. So, I took the three strongest characters and ended up with "Susan", "Maeve" and "Laura". I know there's isn't a "Laura" in my strip now...but I'll save that story for another post. Susan, Maeve and Kim are composites of my friends. They are no one in particular. (although I identify most strongly with Susan)
There are some identifiable traits though. Maeve is one example. I based her on a friend of mine who was divorced and had short dark hair. She was also the manager of a retail outlet that had been about to shut down until she came along. She's an amazing salesperson...full of energy and enthusiasm and she's a lot of fun to have around. She completely turned that store around and the company actually ended up renting a larger space in the mall. Anyway, my friend is now happily married with two great kids and is a teacher.
She e-mailed me the following joke this morning. Or rather...the Maeve in her did:
A lady walks into a bar and sees a really good-looking guy sitting at the
bar by himself. She goes over and asks him what he is drinking.
"Magic Beer," he says.
She thinks he's a little crazy, so she walks around the bar, but after
realizing that there is no one else worth talking to, goes back to the man
sitting at the bar and says, "That isn't really Magic Beer, is it?"
"Yes, I'll show you."
He takes a drink of the beer, jumps out the window, flies around the
building three times and comes back in the window.
The lady can't believe it: "I bet you can't do that again."
He takes another drink of beer, jumps out the window, flies around the
building three times, and comes back in the window.
She is so amazed that she says she wants a Magic Beer,
So the guy says to the bartender, "Give her one of what I'm having."
She gets her drink, takes a gulp of the beer, jumps out the window,
plummets 30 stories, breaks every bone in her body, and dies.
The bartender looks up at the guy and says, "You know, Superman, you're a
real asshole when you're drunk."