Sometime in July ’08 I began work on a short project that is finally seeing a final draft. This morning I drummed out parts 3 through 7 (seven total) from a copy of its first draft in a worn-all-to-hell moleskine and written more-or-less illegibly. Worst yet, it needs work – and plenty of it. What’s taken so long is persistent, every-so-often revisions based on shifting personal taste. It is a story told tangentially, and I am frustrated by narrative conventions and my attempts to thwart them. Argh.
But I hope to be done here soon. In the meantime, I am picking www.s-is-for-somewhere.com back up to try and finish it as a virtual hub for my scattered presence online; I’m not much of a web-designer, but I get a kick out of dabbling a little and so I am excited to see what I can do with it. If I had the wherewithal I’d ask for help – but hell no[t yet].
I’ve decided to release everything I can online for free under the creative commons licensing; I suspect the reality is that I won’t make a dime, but that’s okay – I may be able to overcome obscurity (a feat).
At the New York Times: A TINY glass telescope, the size of a pea, has been successfully implanted in the eyes of people with severely damaged retinas, helping them to read, watch television and better see familiar faces.
You mid-nineties gamers remember the antihero Garrett (Thief: the Dark Project / :the Metal Age / : Deadly Shadows / :Gold), having his eye twisted-out by the tree-thing Viktoria, had a steampunk mechanical [telescopic] eye built by the Hammerite, Father Karras.
Sunday is equally lazy. Kristen and I slept late [and she still]. It is just about noon and I am at the glasstable looking out at the little patch of woods just off the porch, and finishing-up “the Hangman” draft – which has taken me only a year to get to this point for measely fifteen-odd pages since I’d written it down. I come back to it every few months, and can’t understand why it is taking me so so so long.
I read through the grapevine that The Graphic Classroom was plugged in the school-library journal Teacher Librarian, reading: “Web 2.0: The growing popularity of blogs such as The Graphic Classroom, http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com, has provided a way for people to easily share reviews and favorite web sites about age appropriate materials for young people.” — which makes me want to mention (I am sure I have before) that I am really pretty impressed with what Chris Wilson [editor] is achieving through his reviewsite. And although it is [for some ungodly reason] in the shadow of godawful reviewsites like No Flying, No Tights, I am watching for it to take off.
I think [I think] the issue may be that it is geared toward a niche audience, or maybe because it is a blog it is somehow less-worthy than NFNT‘s messy code, which–maybe like Bookslut–earns it status as an eZine. The Graphic Classroom’s multiple talented authors are thorough reviewers (academic in length and structure), and Chris has some well-earned sway among some of the early-reader/ya graphic marketers: it might not be too hard (although it’d certainly be more time consuming) to wrangle authors and illustrators in and interviewed, reports on major industry events (we already do that, but they aren’t gathered in–say–their own corner of the site, but intermingled with the steady stream of reviews).
Using Bookslut as a model and looking through the TGC archives, there are enough reviews, op-eds, features and suchlike, including the obligatory links, Chris’s killer graduate study, archives organized by recommendations, and so on to situate and usurp a NFNT’s position in the YALSA Recommended Websites list. IMHO
Intending to address the derth of content by pointing you to my new website-in-progress called “S-is-For-Somewhere.” I am still in the layout and code-buggery phase, but hopefully by the end of the week I will begin writing there semi-regularly. Essentially, because I exist at the Blogering Hole and vis-a-vis Bradford County Public Library virtual presence, twitter, and so on ad nauseum, I really wanted a master hub I could use as both a portfolio website and general hangout. I’m screwing around with a widget I am trying to install that will create a snazzy flash gallery to replace (or at least supplement) my Facebook, Flickr, and Myspace – for instance.
I also wanted somewhere I could throw-up (blaaaaaahrg) my occasional short stories, some essays I’ve written, and so on.
I know some of you RSS me, and I’ll probably have my journal postings there dumped into here for a short while, but the RSS feed is setup over at S-is-For-Somewhere for anyone wanting an early start.
Tthe School Library Journal plugged Chris & I and The Graphic Classroom [and zeroed in on our eh … manga tone, which was totally subconscious, but that just shows you].
So. I am trying my best to write this brief regarding the Graphica in Education conference now—already—a couple days behind us, and so much of it is already fog. If anything, gather that that’s just testament enough to the caliber of the whirlwind Chris W. and I got swept-up in this past weekend in New York City.
The Skinny – We proposed to and were invited to present at the inaugural GIE Con. [“guy-con” IMHO] (courtesy of Fordham University) to a smattering of upper-echelon librarians, educators, journalists, marketing coordinators, and a slew of nerds-at-heart academics our case—based on Chris’s research—for comics in the classroom. We were pretty fortunate to have an established and original niche—(The Graphic Classroom)—that briefly garnered Chris and I a sort of ad-hoc expertise (this field is ultra new), which leeched a couple of the concurrent sessions of its audience. We felt pretty low, but the fact was that even though we were among far better academicians than us, this sort of talk is so new – we just figured smart and laid-back introductory heffalumping was the right way to swagger.
It was a part-lecture we approached primarily as fans of the genre, and the back-and-forth behind the doors made for an insightful and fun hour-plus rife with panels and anecdotes. I was just happy to get carried away and gift swag and horse around.
Some Mingling – A journalist from the School Library Journal interviewed us. I was happy to meet with Random House, Diamond Bookshelf (John Shableski), Teachers & Writers, and – mm, I can’t even remember, let me look … – oh right: Dawn Reshen-Doty from For Beginners Books, who was way-too-kind, and (of course!) Gina Gagliano from First Second Books (killer). DC Comics was there, lurking, and a [the?] curator from the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Spoiler: she says the movie Watchmen was great. Here’s to Alan Moore’s health and wealth.
A mispacked mac cord sent us trekking up-alongside Central Park to the creepily modern Apple Store (an elevator that descends from a glass box into the store-proper). It was very cold.
Denouement – Chris and I ducked into a solid dive on ninth ave and drank some beer.
I was pretty taken-aback reading the discussion that followed an article on the college financial aid system in the USA Today. The argument from a surprising number was essentially that “the government doesn’t exist to pay for your education” and “gee, think of that, having to earn the money to pay for school before attending,” or – of course – “save by cutting corners.” One poster (MidAmerican) had one particular gem:
Find ways to cut costs by not getting spinners put on your car.
I couldn’t resist stepping in.
The average cost of a four-year degree is approx. $40K. That is a lot of corners; it’s cheaper to rob the rich, actually …. Education is among the better democratizers of our society, and refusing it — not based on ability, but wealth (when the industry itself requires of a student more than almost any uneducated worker makes in those very same four years) – is a sly snobbery masking classism. Ivy Leaguers with pappy’s fat-pockets and the rest of us.
Not to mention your — MidAmerican [Orignal Poster] – stereotypes are urban non-white generalizations, when the reality is that the only option for anyone uneducated is to work at, say, KFC — or invest their efforts in other, less legitimate industry. Those wheels come from your Lexus, big guy.
Think of it this way, sirrah: you’re going to end up paying in the end, your taxes might as well spare you the ire of all those you would designate subalterns.