Tonight was the fabulous outing to listen to Alison Bechdel read from her first graphic novel, Fun Home
. I was lucky enough to read it this summer after being alerted to its existence by a rather exuberant review in the New York Times
. I bought a copy of it for ergotia
(and rather a trial it was to get a copy as the review had sucked most of the city dry) then, er, read it on the plane. It was great, a perfect wedding of text and story, and littered with literary references that wove in and out of the story of her relationship with her father in a way that both illustrated the novel and, er, illustrated the novels being referenced. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. The book was even later getting into ergotia
's hands, though, because it started rather quickly making the rounds of the rest of the Quad and even some random folks staying at the con. In fact, I've rarely seen a gift read so many times before making it to the giver! But it was that kind of engrossing tale, and I was very pleased at the idea of getting to listen to its author speak (especially since I've been reading her "Dykes to Watch Out For" since, I don't know, '92 or something). I was also very pleased at finally getting to see Miss plumsbitch
, who I had yet to catch up with since arriving.
The talk was very enjoyable and so intelligent. It seemed all of the audience (at least those who were asking questions) had read the novel, as they probed areas of the family relationships and personal revelations she explored with some intelligence. (Me, I just asked if the novels that were so important to her father also shaped her book, and if so, which one was most important; I would have never guessed Ulysses
, but I guess the fact that it bookends the chapters - Portrait of the Artist being the first - might have made it obvious.) I was also pretty amused by her, er, introducer person, a Ms. Lea DeLaria whom I had never heard of before but who was most amusing (and clearly a gay man stuck inside a lesbian's body).
Afterwards went to a thrillingly cheap pub near St. Martins (it has the "Opera Room" upstairs, and 2.60 pints of Samuel Adams cider, w00t) and had a great discussion about the novel, and the role of the novel in this novel, and whether or not it was a novel trope, and some comic book thingie called The Invisibles
or something like that and ate nachos and just went on and on and on, why it is that gambling can be legal in Vegas but politicians in Texas can be against it as a moral stance etc. It was all really lovely and it made me happy to be here discussing such things, which in some ways seems exactly why I moved here. (Only for some reason I thought varina8
should have been hashing it out with the rest of us. Too much cider?) Now maybe I need to see about seeing Miss Delaria perform at the Pigalle Club, and I need to remind plumsbitch
that we have a date to go to the Tate and see Turner prize nominees. And I must go look at Ms. Bechdel's blog
and see what she has to say, and if she posted a picture of me. Man, I miss being able to upload photos to my blog! And perhaps when my stuff shows up from home I can start drawing again ... I feel like I've got a good story in me about my mom, and a whole other novel about the last two years. All I need is the discipline to get them on the page ...