Drawn and Paneled: year one
When I was first asked to write for The Idler I was crushed that I couldn’t do it. I had just accepted a job in Boston and had three weeks to leave my position at the Michigan House of Representatives, fly to Boston, apartment hunt, fly back to Michigan, pack, and drive to the Eastern seaboard. When I am busy I have this terribly practical habit of cutting out my “leisure” activities like reading, writing, and sleeping first.
By the time I caught my breath January was upon us. I was an aunt. I had traveled to Detroit twice. And my older sister had gotten married. I was sleeping on a regular basis, more or less. It was time to write.
Gavin and I went back and forth on a few column ideas before settling on comic/graphic novel reviews. I wrote my very first piece for the site on Alison Bechdel. If I were to describe my crush on Alison Bechdel in one word it would be BOUNDLESS. If I could describe it in eight words I would say, I’m ready to put a ring on it.
Bechdel’s long-running strip Dykes to Watch Out For, perhaps did more to get me comfortable out of the closet than the previous five years being out of the closet did.
Read her. Love her. Propose to her and I will have to fight you.
It’s terribly hard to pick a favorite Idler column that I didn’t write and not feel like I’m playing favorites. Also, some of my favorites have already been noted by the editors. I love Jill Kolongowski’s piece about us getting unintentionally black out drunk at 5 pm on a sunny patio in downtown Boston on her birthday. The writing is smart and brave and I also like anything that is indirectly about me.
I love Ana Holguin’s “On winning and losing it” because it challenged me to consider this trending train wreck in a different way and also made me examine how society was appropriating language. Chain language like #winning is catchy, but people also used to wear stone washed jeans and over-sized pocket t-shirts and Keds.
I also particularly enjoyed Lindsey Malta’s “The seven deadly sins for children,” in which Lindsay deconstructs the holy tome that is the musical movie Rumpelstiltskin (1987) starring Amy Irving and Billy Barty. The breakdown of sins is pitch perfect. I’m hoping she’ll be inspired to do a similar watching of the Disney tales a la this cracked.com piece on beloved characters with undiagnosed mental illnesses.
In the past month or so I’ve grown weary of picture books and have instead started writing a few pieces on city livin’ and being queer. Mostly I am biding my time until Bechdel publishes her next book. If her book tour comes to Boston you can bet your idle selves that I will have tales of slipping her my number and a formal proposal in comic form at Harvard Book Store.