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 . . .
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.)