Circular ending #1: putting the new Alexander Hamilton graphic novel right at the entrance to the Jefferson Library.
Yes, I think I'm hilarious.
The end of August was awesome. It was a gorgeous blur of "OH MY GOODNESS I FORGOT I NEED TO FINISH THAT BOOK," madly trying to squeeze in those last conversations, that trip to that vineyard, running back home real quick for a wedding, and tying up the last loose ends.
Graphic novel progress: I have 6 uninked pages, layouts for about 30 more pages, and enough research to float me for like 6 or 7 books, should I decide to write them. I have an exact starting point, date and year for the actual story, which starts after the first 36 pages or so of exposition/ intro/ getting situated. I'm thinking I'd like to gather all of this into a sample for sending out, which might be my goal for before Thanksgiving or so. We'll see how that goes.
I have a giant reading list, a hell of a good idea where I'm going, and plans to stay productive even once the school year starts. One awesome lady asked me how my plans to continue looked, and if I had any distractions coming up. All I could do was laugh. "Well, my school year starts next week, and I'm getting married in under six months!" Blank stare. I do tend to take on a couple of things at once, I guess! No better way to get more than one thing done.
This month was phenomenal in so many ways. I got to learn about archaeology, curatorial work, 18th century fashion, the do's and don'ts of representation, this sorta important family's genealogy, French cuisine, and historic ceramics. I got to visit coffee shops, vineyards, and this one particular comic book shop Telegraph that I will miss A LOT (but will actually save me lots of money because I won't be going there once a week and dropping $40-$50.. oops?)
Left: Magical comic book candyland, pic from their website, on the Downtown Mall right next to Mudhouse Coffee.
Right: Athena illustration by Chris Danger, about to be hanging in my living room (I have to pick up a frame first)
Left: a nice little spot to curl up with a book. Right: Goodnight Moon, Wahoo edition
So what do I take away from my month away from my real life? Comic books, a reading list, several thousand lessons on race in the contemporary U.S. I think it was a hard month to be in Charlottesville, probably much more difficult for people who weren't there as tourists. I get to go back to my New York bubble, where most people do not drive around with Confederate flags on their cars. Just because their bigotry is less trumpeted doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But I think the debate about what these Confederate monuments really stand for, and what we want to memorialize and commemorate, is something we have to keep talking about. As Joe Biden puts it - "we are living through a battle for the soul of this nation."
Left: some people on Twitter have pretty good suggestions.
Right: an empty pedestal in Baltimore. This is a screen grab from the Atlantic, but it says "A pedestal in Baltimore that until this week held a statue of the former Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert B. Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision." dated August 19, 2017
People have lots of opinions about what our history and heritage mean. People are angry. People are claiming that you're erasing history and their heritage specifically if you take down Civil War monuments, and other monuments to oppressive, flawed, historically significant men. I disagree. I think an empty pedestal starts a much harder conversation. "Mommy, why isn't there a statue up there?" is a really great question to have to answer. There is more work to do in Charlottesville, and across this entire country. I think it starts with people saying hate has no place here, take it all down, and let's re-examine the way we tell our history, and exactly WHOSE history we glorify.
Left: The 7s hung a sign on the Rotunda that reads "Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated." This is a quote from Kofi Annan.
Right: School of Architecture - HATE HAS NO PLACE HERE, hung near the floor of a studio review space, where it is most visible to passers by
Somehow in the middle of all of this craziness, the world spins madly on. Despite the news cycle, people get married, people have babies, and life continues. Two of my favorite people got married in Brooklyn during the last weekend of my fellowship. I drove like a crazy person back up to New York, and had an absolutely wonderful time. We decided to recreate a photo from Prom 2008, and it might be my favorite thing ever. We weren't sure why I was so pissed in the first picture, but I think we nailed it.
The end of this month was beautiful, weather wise and life wise. It started to cool off, which reminds me that school starts next week and that this teacher needs to get her act together. People I care about started the next phase of their life together. I reached some really important conclusions for my graphic novel. And I got to have a really gratifying set of drinks with a professor who guided me through some impossible times with my thesis.
When I first saw her, she said she loved seeing me without my walker. That honestly feels like a lifetime ago, but I hope I never forget the way that felt. More than the physical difficulty, the limitation and dark raincloudiness I embodied on a daily basis. I coudn't have imagined how different life would be. I love seeing me without that walker, too.
This picture was taken in March of 2015. It still makes me cry. I used to carry all kinds of things in that basket, and have walker races across the courtyard with my best friend. Man, we got some looks for those. In March of 2017, I got engaged, snuggled some kittens, and taught some high school kids some stuff. I was disappointed because I only ran about 20 miles the whole month, and not very quickly. That may have been my only disappointment that month.
We joked back and forth for about two hours, and I told her that in high school I had been a very lazy student. She told me smart but lazy is her least favorite kind of kid in the classroom, because what a waste! I joked I might not be out of that phase yet, and she got super serious and stopped me, telling me I might be the hardest working student she's ever had. That's a nice feeling.
She told me she had liked the person she met two years ago, but me today is a different person than the person she knew. It's funny what a new hip and getting your shit together can do for your world view. But yes, I feel different to me, too.
I came home to two furry babies, a best friend I think is pretty cute, and a BEACH. It's hard to imagine that the month of August wasn't some crazy beach nap dream, but I have a whole new stack of books on my coffee table, so it must be real.
So, cheers to a beautiful September, and so long, sweet summer.