Tuesday, 11 March 2014

It's a Beautiful, Crazy Life

Well hey there. I missed you guys, whoever you are. Ladies. Gentlemen. Everyone else.

It's been a crazy...month? Couple of months? It's been a while, any way you slice it. A lot has happened; let me fill you in.

NEWS!! It appears that I will be finishing my English minor at Durham University in the UK next year. I'm still waiting for the affirmative from the last stage of the application process, but at this point things are looking good. It's a daunting prospect; Durham's English department is currently the highest rated in the UK, surpassing both Cambridge and Oxford. I'll keep you posted on how that goes, and with luck I'll be writing to you from England in the Fall.

The first Sacred & Sequential post is up on Sacred Matters! I haven't written much here about the work I'm doing with S&S; I'll try and elaborate on it in the near future. We are, as you can read in brief at the bottom of Beth Davies-Stofka's article, a consortium of scholars working together to build a conversation around the intersection of religion and comics. I was honoured to have Dr. A. David Lewis ask me to join the project last year, and Beth's essay on Genesis in comics is the first published material to come directly out of this enterprise. I can't give too much away, but there will be more material appearing on Sacred Matters in the next couple months. Keep a weather eye on it. Also, thanks to Michael J. Altman for giving us a space online to publish the beginnings of this project; it's pleasure to be working with you.

Some of you may be following me on Twitter, and if that is the case then you are aware that I'll be traveling to Chicago in mid-April to present my paper Out of a Diasporic Metropolis at the PCA/ACA national conference. This prospect still terrifies me. I have a ton of editing left to do (but sshhh...don't tell anyone at the PCA), a hatchet job of about 5000 words to bring the paper down to a journal-appropriate length. I'm playing the optimist here and hoping to get published. We'll see if that goes anywhere. As it turns out, applying for a travel grant is actually a hell of a process. It's quite the Catch-22, in fact: in order to apply, one must submit a confirmed flight itinerary, which you only get once you buy your tickets, which you can't afford to be buying at all unless you get the grant. Quite an experience. I'm still waiting to hear about the grant; until then, I'll keep pecking away at this paper in hopes that I won't actually have to sell my soul to get to Chicago.

What I have had to sell is my art. After the credit card bill for those tickets went through I had about $200 to my name, which is half a month's rent for a shoebox on Leon Avenue. I'm lucky enough to have a steady illustration gig for The Phoenix News, though. As soon as I discovered just how broke I really was I emailed my editor to let him know that I would, in fact, be drawing the piece I'd turned down yesterday, and that if he had anything else I'd take that too. I found myself in the studio, drawing like mad because, for the first time in my life, my skill with a pen was actually my livelihood. It felt like this challenge was the thing that had missing from my art, like it was the missing piece of my passion: "Here; make this mean something. Make it more than just a hobby. Make it your life."

Shameless Plug: I recently put my self-published comic Inspired By Art up online at bit.ly/AJKzine, where you can order it and get a FREE ZINE!

Any money I can put together from sales of said comic book will also go towards helping me reach Toronto in early May, to attend another conference. I've been selected to present this lovely piece to The Canadian Society for the Study of Comics, which happens to be holding their conference in conjunction with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. I may have freaked out a little when I discovered that Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Dakota MacFadzean, and Jeff Smith are all going to be there. But only a little. I swear.

I have a lot of other things on my mind, but I'm saving them for other posts. You can look forward to reading about what I learned about monsters when I went to a Durer/Picasso show in Kamloops, my thoughts on Stephen Harper's speech in the Knesset, a comics review or two, and likely a sneak peek at my BFA grad exhibition as it comes together over the next month. Until then, I'll leave you with a tweet:


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