MY LATEST, FOR MAGIC BULLET! DC's comics newspaper :) Do I see crop marks?
It was huge (I won't be surprised if it's over a million, at final count.) I was at an Obama inauguration weekend, and at an Obama Inaugural concert, and the streets were packed, and this seemed approaching that in numbers. It was a great celebration of women, of diversity, of equality. And it was so positive. We marched together, we chanted, we met people, we admired each other's signs, we were polite, and kind and compassionate and loving and caring . . . it was seriously AMAZING. I marched with several cartoonist buds and a singer/songwriter friend of mine. We kept commenting to each other about how amazing and friendly this all was. How kind people were about little stuff like helping you by, or stepping on your toes by accident, or laughing about using the men's rooms, or being told that there was a 3.5 hour wait at Oyamel, for supper. (BTW, PROPS to Oyamel, and Gordon Biersch, handling a crazy amount of people, in a professional manner! What a buncha pros!) The signs were great. The chants were hilarious and/or sobering.
PINK WAS EVERYWHERE. I'm not a pink person, but I was yesterday :)
I want to post more about the March, and I will. But I've noticed that in some of the media coverage, the attempt has been made to narrow our focus, to say it was about one specific right or another. It was about a lot of things. It was about unity, acceptance, open arms, shoring each other up after a devastating election; it was about choice, it was about fighting misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and racism. It was about inclusiveness, and acceptance, and open arms. And I'm gonna say it: It was about love. Love which accepts people, and promotes them, and wants them to be recognized and embraced.
There were zero arrests. The police and Metro workers were friendly, helpful, and professional. The streets were packed. I lived in DC for years, until recently, and have been around a lot of protests and marches. This was . . . special. We were in awe.
There was joy. It was cathartic.
I want to say all this to you so that when your friends or your leaders try to denigrate it, call it names, paint it with the wrong brush, you'll know someone you can ask about it. Matter of fact, there are hundreds of thousands of people you can ask. And not just in one city. And not just in one country.
And, so, it was big, and it was beautiful. And it was encouraging.
As a person of faith, and by this I mean, a Jesus freak of sorts (no longer evangelical), I was thinking, I wish Christians loved on those of different stripes, I really wish people who say Jesus matters to them, could show up and love, in these numbers; as much as I see people here today reaching out to everyone, and then some . . . thats what I was thinking. It didn't steal my joy, though. And that's another blog.
I'm in an afterglow of sorts.
Yesterday we saw women and men and people of all ages, marching, all over the world. In support and affirmation of many different people, but maybe especially WOMEN.
Thanks for that, y'all.
My soul needed it. And I love y'all for getting out and showing up, and all of you who wrote me notes and texted me encouragement, and all of you who printed my art onto signs, and marched with it, and all of you who were with us in spirit, if not in body. Proud to march with, and for, you.
Onward and upward! Now back to the nitty gritty.
We call, we write, we speak, we fight.
NOTE ON THE PHOTO: The sign I'm holding is an edited version of my "How Many" cartoon (see previous post) for RESIST, the women's comics protest paper and site, curated especially for the March. My friend with me in the pic is Barbara Dale, a dear bud and a hoot of a cartoonist. The picture was taken by Ann Telnaes, cartoonist for the Washington Post. She's kickass, too!
Freelancing FOR DECADES messes with your brain pan. For writers, actors, artists, musicians, singer/songwriters, comics, directors, filmmakers, cartoonists, poets, this is success: when you keep on keepin' on. Which is a sentence which may not convince you that I'm actually a professional writer. I actually get paid to write stuff. Mostly humor. I'm hoping to get paid to write some scary stuff, too someday. So, I'm writing it. The best money I usually make at my HUMOR writing is getting behind a microphone in front of a few hundred or thousands of people, and making them laugh for about an hour. But it still all comes back to the writing. And that's probably my favorite part, because it doesn't require SPANX or mascara or strip searches by the TSA. I want to encourage all y'all freelancers (yes, I talk that way) to hang in there. Don't give up. Keep on Keepin' On. Hang in There. (And other clichés! I'm picturing that stupid kitty poster from the 70s where the kitty is hanging onto a branch! Maybe this is why I like dogs better!!)
Mainly I say this encouragement crap because I'm saying it to myself. I know it's true, it's not really crap, but freelancing is such a roller coaster. Feast or famine. If you go by your paychecks, you mistakenly see yourself, alternating, from creative genius to pond scum (and not the pretty chartreuse kind.)
You may not be making untold kabillions, (which is certainly not to say that you won't) or get paid occasionally in coupons (which I have admittedly), but working in a field you love, or doing the things you love to do, on a daily basis, is a great thing. My son reminded me of this one day when I was bitching about a little bitty famine period. (It was a HUGE famine period, but I had you there for a minute, didn't I?) Really, creating for a living is a blessing, it's a blessing you have chosen, though sometimes it may feel like a curse. When you are discussing why it matters for you to get an advance against royalties for your writing, or why you should get paid for doing artwork for a greeting card company, or you're looking down the long list of outstanding submissions and emails which no one has answered, or replacing that printer cartridge once again, and thinking whuuuuuut the hell am I buying more ink for? This is RICH. THIS is optimism. This is wild, unfettered hope.
Is wild hope for creative types just eternally dangling a plastic carrot?
I don't think so. Maybe because I have friends all over the map, some of y'all have movies on the big screen as we speak, others have won Emmys and are now writing some of my OTHER favorite shows . . . others have several animation series under their belts, and new ones in production . . . or are in the storyboarding process of their next animated feature; others are negotiating with studios on sitcoms and movies and some are writing their 50th or 70th books - which are actually being published, and not just on their home printers. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) And I'm soooooo excited when I hear my buds interviewed on NPR or when I can buy a ticket to a movie they wrote on the big screen. And I think of the thousands of my creative friends (hey, Facebook) who aren't there yet, who are still waiting and creating, or who have been there, but aren't now. And I want to encourage us all. Because you know what? Once you get a movie or a sitcom or a cartoon or your own TV series or book tour - it doesn't mean it's all smooth going (has watching 30 ROCK taught you nothing, compadre?!)
The oh-so-scientific study I conducted in my head while I was writing this tells me that all these people have one thing in common: they are still writing. They kept on writing. They are writing now, and they were writing then.
Let's keep writing and drawing and dreaming and submitting. I have a file full of rejection notices and plan to ModPodge them all on a wall someday in a gallery installation I'll call, "Try, Try Again." Or maybe "Try, Try, Again."
Editor, pleeeez . . .
So, I spent all day Sunday drawing Medusa. I'm not sure why I'm all about her right now. Maybe I just like drawing her hair. But, anyway, this isn't really a cartoon, but I think you'll like the thought. Y'all are twisted like that. This is a collage of some of my meds warnings plus some psych pages I had lying around. Sounds MUCH more dramatic than it really is. Then I just . . . used a pencil. Also, a note to all my NYC buds - I'm at Gotham Comedy Club tomorrow night, performing #STORYTALKS in the Vintage Lounge. Call for reservations! (Not me, them.)
Hey, y'all! (Which is Tennessee for "you guys" for my NYC friends!) OUR NEXT STORYTALKS is JULY 30th at GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB, in the lovely Vintage Lounge, which is a more intimate space that the big room, and has this lovely old-timey wooden bar with a ginormous mirror and sich. Love. In an effort to distract you from the fact that I didn't post a cartoon yesterday, and to give you an idea of what the hay-ell STORYTALKS is, I'm posting one here. Well, not the actual recording, or video, because that would mean I have to step away from my Diet Coke a few extra seconds. Nope this is the script. I usually edit these all afternoon at my favorite pub in NYC (where everybody knows my name), and I need you to know, that due to my standup comic instincts, when I read them they are SO. MUCH. FUNNIER. Anyway, I'm going to go work on your cartoon for today, and meanwhile you have to entertain yourself with this true story from my past growing up on the Mississippi River! It could be that I'm all enthralled with my history, because I saw some delicious models of Riverboats at the Smithsonian yesterday (I live in DC, which is technically a SOUTHERN town, but they don't seem to realize it). I LOVE living here, and take full advantage of all the free stuff. (My only complaint about NYC, well, except for that occasional urine smell in the summer, is that you have to ACTUALLY PAY FOR STUFF.)
ANYWAYZ (and I hate when I use that to open a paragraph), I've decided to start putting more of my writing on this here blog - what a concept! - when I'm not posting a cartoon, which is almost daily, and sometimes more. It is what it is, which is a phrase i also completely hate, but use often. What a complex creature I am!!
So, this story was originally published by Howard Publishing, in a humor anthology called "Humor for a Sister's Heart," but since I never had a sister, I talk about my Baptist sistren.
Enough intro. Picture me reading this aloud. While you're at it, picture me 5'10" and svelte.
By Teresa Roberts Logan
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, on the Mississippi River, smelling the barbecue and watching the cotton bales get piled up on the downtown sidewalks ready to be loaded and sent downriver. My Southern Baptist church would always do these riverboat dinners. And my sisters in Christ (and potlucks) and me were always there.
It sounds MUCH more romantic than it is. I pictured Mark Twain lookalikes and handsome gambler types, and red velvet Victorian settees. Something like the Cunard Line would’ve provided circa 1912, with a grand staircase where I could enter to impress the crowd.
The sistren and I dressed up – we actually thought up what outfits we were going to wear and excitedly discussed them at Youth Group on Wednesday night.
The sistren were very free with their advice: “Teresa, you cannot wear that purple dress. You wore that to the Donny Osmond concert and everyone remembers it.”
“Well, I can’t wear the thing I wore to choir or the whatchamacallit I wore to the banquet!” (Do Baptists EVER tire of our food gatherings? I say NO.)
“If you wear that purple thing with that red sweater, that would change it.”
“Purple and red clash and you know it. I am NOT wearing that.”
Truth was, I really didn’t care that much – I just liked talking about it.
Truth was, we needn’t have concerned ourselves in dressing up for THIS riverboat.
This was more like a floating Baptist Fellowship Hall/red metal parade float. There were weathered benches, exposed rusty pipes, and red linoleum to complete the picture.
The sisters and I were a bit disappointed in the digs, but glad as usual to be hanging out with each other.
We had pictured a seafood buffet brought up from N’awlins, where we could dine on crab legs, shrimp cocktail, and hush puppies to our hearts’ delight, after which would follow a sumptuous presentation of Bananas Foster. What we received was watery spaghetti, a Baptist potluck staple*, and brownies for dessert, while a bossy “captain” yelled at us to not be “lollygaggin’ ‘round the rails, ‘cause if you fall over the side and drown, we are NOT stoppin’!”
There was no Department of Homeland Security in THOSE days. Nope, you were ON YOUR OWN.
I had dressed nicely, in the purple dress, and carried a nice little handbag. I am an accessories-aholic after all. (I just bought a little scarf from a friend who imports things from China. It’s lime-green, and although the word mink was mentioned when the transaction was made, my husband swears it’s rat.)
I salivated on the shore in the darkness, waiting for the glorious evening on the River, and watched for the boat to pick us up on shore, and wandered away from the group. (The particular phrase “wandered away from the group” usually is a precursor to graphic scenes in horror movies, but calm down, there is no maniac in this story.)
I stood on the sloping cobblestones, looking at the huge chains anchored into them for mooring all sorts of river vehicles, and pictured in my head (as opposed to, say, in my elbow) how I would draw them. I observed how the river mud and water covered and shined the cobblestones so there were great and interesting patterns all over the ground. I went along, looking at the various shapes and thinking of the erasers, pencils, and paper I would bring in daylight to execute a proper drawing, when I saw one of the cutest sights ever – several little squirrels, standing, at night of all things, near the edge of the water!
I wonder if squirrels ever swim, I thought, and I was excited to witness something that heretofore, modern science may have completely overlooked! I got as close as I could. These river squirrels were not skittish like the ones I encountered on campus, they were downright confident!
Then they turned to look at me with their beady little cute little eyes. Only they weren’t squirrels. I was standing, way too close, to big beady-eyed river rats. And they were looking at me. And there weren’t 3 of them, there were hundreds, standing on their haunches in deceptive squirrel-like fashion, and when the light from the approaching riverboat became brighter behind me, I stood staring as thousands of little rat eyes turned toward me in the light. Thousands of little vermin eyes shining towards me in some sort of Spielberg scene, only I didn’t have a spaceship, I had a little handbag and Donny Osmond’s favorite dress.
All I could think was I must look like Frankenstein’s monster to them. Or Gulliver. And I wasn’t going to wait around for them to figure out they waaaaay outnumbered me, or how creative they could be with rope, rocks, and teeth.
Yep, come to think of it, I’ve never ever seen squirrels at night.
I turned heel and ran as fast as I could to the waiting riverboat and my fellow less adventurous hungry teenagers. “I wandered away from the group, I wandered away from the group!” I was picturing them on my heels, thousands of them, and rats did chase me for a bit, but by the time I got to the group, heaving, “RATS! RATS! RUUUUUN!”, and ready to tell my tale of horror, woe, and impending doom, (not to mention a movie deal or two if we weren’t COMPLETELY devoured), there was nary a rat in sight. No one moved, except slowly towards the watery spaghetti meal. My friends shrugged at me, looking at the empty cobblestones behind me. My non-friends smirked and proceeded to ignore me. I think I heard one say with disdain, “She’s a WRITER. And didn’t she wear that dress to the Donny Osmond concert?”
I had just had a major brush with death! With being eaten alive! Hadn’t they seen “Willard”?! Looking back toward the anchor chains and shuddering. I pictured the hungry river rats (Olympic swimmers, no doubt) following the riverboat cruises every Friday, waiting for that lone clumsy hapless teenager, full of ennui, who went to the rail to ponder his lonely existence, or just his math homework, and stare at the Mississippi River Bridge outline in the darkness.
Slip, splash, dinner is served, and that Bubba guy “ain’t stoppin’, no way, no how!” I guess I’m glad to have a rat scarf.
It’s payback time.
*No resemblance or disrespect to Baptist meals, living or dead, is implied or should be inferred.