I want to encourage you. But give me a minute.
I'm an introvert, it turns out. I know you wouldn't think that, because I'm smirky and I'm a comic and I'm a redhead. But, turns out, I'd rather be drawing and writing than almost anything else on the planet. The three exceptions to this are:
- being on, or in, water
- traveling with my guys
- climbing Mayan temples
- eating Mexican* food
*Or, Indian food. Either one. Both magically delicious in their own amazing way!
I know, that's four!! And then, five, with the asterisk! Keep reading anyway!
I think you have to be pretty self-motivated, when you're a freelancer. And lately, I've been frustrated with what I am or am not getting done - that's a big piece of it too. In the last few months, I lost my dear Dad (very shaky still), and we've moved to a new city (this month), and I'm still staring at many unpacked boxes (intimidating, and where's my dang Martha White Corn Meal?). It's a (let's call it) challenging time of life. And I know "the West" gets it wrong, with grief, and how fast we should process things. But that's another bloggy wog. Sooooo, anytime I get down about my work, or my life, or my mood, I just pull out a sketchbook and my iPad . . . and I keep drawing, and I keep writing.
I talk to the Great Creator (which is a lot of what is in my head and on my pages) and I ask WHY? and WHY NOT? a lot. I think right now that God may be very bored with me, but somehow fascinated, like a now-jolly, now-angry kid watching a roly-poly on the sidewalk. And I ask God questions, and I think, hmmm. God is not answering, God is observing, or God is waiting, or God is binge-watching "Stranger Things" on Netflix, like everybody else. And I think about how small a word "God" is, for the Great Creator. And I want miracles for everyone with Parkinson's and Cancer. Right now.
I'm so glad to have my health, and mad that others don't.
And wondering why some people think they have to be mean to others. I'm horrified by what Leslie Jones has been going through, and proud of her for standing up to it. And mad about how that redirects her great, creative energy for a bit. Stealing her time (I'm always in a bad mood if you steal my time, even without all that hate attached.)
And then I'm back to me again, feeling inadequate, still, of all things! You would think that at this age, my middle-school insecurities would be wiped away, but nope, turns out, I'm human. Dammit. I keep trying to rise above that, but well, as you see.
And then I make a list of what I've done this year.
Which includes 300 drawings for two coloring books, plus comics and cartoons for Dirty Diamonds, The All-Girl Comics Anthology, an illustration for The Cartoonist, for the National Cartoonists Society, two comics and two ads for Magic Bullet (DC Conspiracy), my own work on Haint Blue, my it's-taking-forever graphic novel about the supernatural, and submitted my Fog of Worry panel comics to more than one syndicate (waiting on that). I've written and performed stories on stage with Story District DC and Storytalks NYC (Gotham Comedy Club), and performed my standup act at Comic Strip Live in NYC.
And I feel a little better, but cancer and Parkinson's are still attacking people I know and love, and their friends and family. I'm mad about that. I keep coming back to it.
And I spend a little time praying, and hoping prayer "works."
Back to drawing.
Hang in there, everybody, we are all on a journey no one else can really see. Because if they DID see, we would be embarrassed at how often we turn to brownies for solace, even if they ARE Fiber-One brownies, and so much better for you.
Right now I'm planning the fall cons - CreativeCon Panama City, and New York ComicCon. Well, I'm not the one planning them, who has time for that? (See: "Stranger Things".)
peace, love, and other things hippies say,
You know that 3x5 Challenge going 'round? Where you post 3 pieces of art 5 days in a row? Here were two of mine yesterday. I love this Bible verse, and I think I've done about 5 art pieces of it so far (maybe more). these are art marker (Faber-Castell Artist Pens) and gouache and watercolor on Moleskine watercolor paper. Anyway, enjoy! I'm working on new ink pieces, and Magic Bullet 10 comes out soon! Be sure to follow DC Conspiracy on Twitter @MagicBulletDC; it's awesome comics by DC area cartoonists! Check it out! Meanwhile, I'm trying to live by Micah six eight. But I think it's hard to claim the humble part if you have a blog, and Twitter account, and . . . and a PLEASE Like ME PAGE . . . oh what a tangled web . . . I'm trying, anyhow. :) peace, trl
Ramblings about faith and comedy and crap
I freely admit I like me some schlock. I am a full-on fan of cheesy stuff. Over the years we have had quite a kitsch souvenir collection, which includes a huge ceramic Las Vegas die, a plaster “Welcome to Florida” alligator with his throat open to joyfully hold toothpicks, and a jewel-encrusted Statue of Liberty. My favorite is in my hubby’s floaty-pen collection. It’s the Last Supper, and when you angle the pen, the loaf of bread slides back-and-forth on the table, from disciple to disciple. Jesus sits in the middle, patiently like he does, waiting for those wacky disciples to simmer down with the bread, already. Low art is very high art, in my opinion.
I love those Sy-Fy (gaaaah, I HATE spelling it like that!) Channel movies like Slither, and Anacondas: Curse of the Blood Orchid, and, yes, one of my favorites is Mansquito!
There is nothing like seeing people morph into giant-sized things we already hate! Except for Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Because I LOVE tomatoes. My point is, these creatures are such that even the best HR department could not deal with them.
“Mansquito, please stop feeding on the guys in the mail room. We need them. Maybe you could try sucking the blood of someone from middle management.”
“Swamp Thing, can you please wear Crocs or something? You are schmutzing up the carpet by the water cooler.”
“Blob, can you be a little more of a team player? There is no “I” in the word ‘team!”.
Saving Sharknado for a special weekend.
You know what? I even sorta liked those hell movies they showed us at youth retreats to scare us into accepting Jesus. They were über-schlock! To be clear, these are extreme tactics, but hey, I DID get baptized again!! And I mean, dunked, baby, none of that sprinkling stuff. We Baptists-at-heart like to see people just go for it, full-on humiliation, in a clingy, wet, white robey-thingie. Yes, mis amigos, choose your underwear carefully for your rendezvous with the Baptismal pool.
Yep, I got Baptized twice. Maybe I just had better underwear to show off the second time around, you say. Nope. I just wanted to make sure it “took.”
Long story short (too late, you whine), I’m a follower of Jesus. I lurv me some Jesus. But, the last few years, I’ve wanted very little to do with American Christian Culture.
Or, I should say, I would rather have a LOT to do with the less-publicized believers, the ones who aren’t sure about everything, and who don’t think to follow Jesus is to be equated with following Republicans. Seriously, it’s not the same thing. Wish I could Mail-Chimp that to all the right people. I don’t think Jesus is concerned with our stupid politics here. But maybe that’s because I have a dear friend from Syria, and a student from Nigeria, and I listen to BBC news . . . so I think Jesus is thinking about more important stuff than the Sunday morning talk shows, and who brought who to the White House Correspondents Club Conference Prom Thingy. We don't care, really, we just like the comedians. But maybe I'm biased.
I don’t actually usually talk politics or religion much (if ever) in my standup comedy act. So far. I guess so far I’ve saved that for print and the interwebs.
Onstage, I just talk about IMPORTANT stuff like my uterine bulge, and the size of fast-food drinks! I mean, genius, original stuff like, “Whoaaa, have y’all noticed how big a Big Gulp can get?? Whoaaaaaa. Really big.” The comedy of legends.
And I don’t equate talking about Jesus with talking about religion. I think we need to be able to laugh about our questions, so I just wonder out loud about stuff, like I did when I worked in comedy clubs (and hell-holes, too!), putting 1,000 miles a week on my Dodge Raider. I like doing church events though, because they almost always involve very good food. And very nice people, who rarely throw things.
In the last few years I realized, hey, there are churches that will pay a funny Christian to do comedy for their events. What a great fit! I’m funny AND I lurv me some Jesus!! Woooot. I remember the first Christian comedians gathering (yes, we gather, does that frighten you?) I ever attended, and the people at my dinner table thought I was such a hero for working out in the “highways and the hedges,” in the clubs. It puzzled me, because I’ve always thought it was awesome to get to go work in comedy clubs, and loved the green room, and the people you meet and work with. It didn’t seem like a “Livingston, I presume?” sitch to me at all. But I’m weird, so that works for me.
There was a rumor going around in the Christian Comedy Community (I dunno, it felt like it should be capitalized) for a while that some people were pretending to be Christians so that they could get work in churches. All I could say was, “Who the hell would do THAT?” Nobody does that. Really? That’s kinda hilarious. I mean, who would do that?!
But more and more, as the years have gone by, as I’ve become more liberal, less sure of everything, and more clingy to actual Jesus than to church tradition, I've learned some things.
I know it takes bravery to speak up for your beliefs, no matter what side you are on. But your bravery depends on where you are. Like, if you are playing big Christian arenas and concerts and events all the time, and you think you are in the fray, you are just being silly. If you are only hanging around “your” people, you are taking the safe route. Same with liberals. We should all mix it up a little.
I am not dissing these groups, I love working for these groups. It’s comfy! Did I say that? Is it the volunteers who are so caring? The beaming, welcoming, friendly audiences? The gift baskets? The lack of things being thrown at the stage?
It’s all of the above, and it’s like totally awesome.
I’m serious about the humor business. It has made me a living for about 30 years now, from page to stage.
I’m at a point in my life, and in my career, (use air quotes here!), that I do see all that bad-mouthing and back-stabbing and people-dunking (wait, that doesn’t go here) as just speedbumps in life.
Jesus said to expect crap like that.
Well said, Jesus.*
*Before I get a hundred missives dashed off from post-milennialists who think I’m being blasphemous, I do NOT mean to imply Jesus said stuff like “crap,” or “floaty-pen,” but then, I also do not mean to imply that he DIDN’T.
I have opened my ETSY shop and filled it with drawings and collages of iconic women and angels. More cartoons to come, of course! I'm always doing my cartoon humor . . . but I obsessively draw angels and women, too. (You'll probably see some similarities!)
Here's the link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaughingRedhead
Meanwhile, HAPPY MONDAY!!!! (I know, that's not really anything to joke about.)
Art Journal (second today) . . . I draw angels A LOT. Here's another. Watercolor pencils (Caran D'Ache) on paper bag (from Chipotle, I think!) and taped into a painted Moleskine Journal page . . . I used Caran D'Ache watersoluble crayons for the scribbly background and pen-and-ink for the lettering, and Faber-Castell (FINE and SUPER-FINE) Artist Pens for the paisley flowers and the angel outlines.