Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (reread) – I’d forgotten the extent to which this is just a collection of short observations, many just a paragraph or two, with no explicit narrative momentum for the first third or half of the book. It works in spite of that due to 1. a logical and emotionally compelling structure 2. the simple fact that every sentence is beautifully written. This is one of my very favorite books.
The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolfe, ed. Susan Dick
Acme Novelty Date Book Vol. 1, Chris Ware
I spent the beginning of this month sequencing a new comic, a collection of short stories, that will come out this fall. For me that process has two pieces: first, there’s the thematic element. Placing stories in an order that lets them talk each other, while not being too cute or contrived in underlining connections between pieces. Figuring out when I can move straight from one story to the next, versus when a page or two is necessary in between for the reader to breathe. But there’s also the simple algebra of putting together a book: being sure that page turns work the way they need to, adding and removing page to add up to multiples of four…I like this process a lot. I enjoyed sequencing others for Warmer last year and I enjoy sequencing myself. Now I have three or four different sequences for my new book that I’ll return to in a few weeks.
Beyond that, I’ve been busier than I would like and also unsure of what project to take on next. So I’ve done a lot of drawing in my sketchbook, more than I have in a long time. Just collecting images and words to see if I can build towards a narrative. Ideas that might have been tweets or blogs in the past are just going into the sketchbook right now. Here are some examples: