Friday, September 30, 2011

2 Hours Left of 2011 24-Hour Comics Day

Howdy from the UWM Library on a perfect autumn afternoon (I can say that now, right? Wasn't the equinox this week??). 

We've got just three short hours left of this year's 24-Hour Comics Day. Just 2 hours left to claim this is my first 24-Hour Comics Rodeo. 2 hours of penciling and inking left for Britney Winn, my superstar student who is getting a boatload of extra credit for pioneering this event on the UWM campus. Here's the score at the 22 hour mark. 

True Confessions: I'm black-dogging it. I've listened to Dead Man's Bones a gazillion times. I've probably misspelled more words than I can currently count because basic math has left the building. I know this because filling in the blank on "ONLY ____ HOURS LEFT!" just now left me stumped. 

True Confessions: people only want information when I want to nap. I haven't eaten a proper meal since the PB&J that almost killed me about 7 PM last night. Britney's taken two breaks in 21 hours: one to have a lie down and the other to go to class. CLASS! Can you believe it? To take a test. On the Japanese language. And she's just as happy now as she was yesterday, sketching away, with 3 pages left to go before she's finished her 24-page comic. 

True Confessions: when I heard about 24-Hour Comics Day, I was all "it's no NaNoWriMo!"

True Confessions: 24-Hour Comics Day makes NaNoWriMo look like a hot rock massage. 24HCD is difficult, y'all. Artists can spend a week on one page. ONE page. This event means you bust it for 24 hours and walk  stagger away with at least 24-pages. Plus cover art. Plus finished, edited lettering. To say this is extreme is to put it mildly. 

True Confessions: I get it now. This is so much bigger than I could have anticipated a week ago, or 22 hours ago. I set this up so Britney could have a quiet semi-public place in which to challenge herself. I set this up so comic artists and enthusiasts in Milwaukee would know that there's a NaNoWriMo for them, and that it's kind of a bigger deal. But when I set this up, I had no idea just how much I would learn from one of my students. 

Final True Confessions: when I was trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, I came up with this wild fictitious scenario to help me decide. I asked myself: what's the one thing that you could do happily for the rest of eternity, even if you were stuck in Hell and demons were flogging you while you worked? What's the one thing that could turn demon whips into tickles? I know, I know. You're probably thinking it has something to do with BDSM. But that's not what I'm getting at. 

When I asked myself this question, the only answer that fit was writing. Through writing, I could be so transported as to be on another planet, even while enduring the most horrific torture imaginable. Writing is my Sucker Punch dance. Somewhere in grad school, pressured to publish and give public readings, I lost the pleasure I once associated with writing. I lost writing as a coping and survival skill. It became a chore. 

In the span of 22 hours, hanging out with a young artist a hardly know, and watching her work, I've been reminded of my one thing. Seeing her transported as she works, beyond the need for food, for sleep, for diversion or change of scenery--I remember. Writing is alchemy. Like Grant Morrison said, writing is magick. 

Maybe it's the 22 hours sleeplessness talking, but damn it feels good to be a wizard.