What it Is (Now)

More colorful now — not as swollen, at least in the morning. The picture doesn’t really do justice to the purples and blues, but I think you can get a sense of the omnipresent brownish hue of the whole foot up to the calf. The ankle tends to be more painful in the morning but more swollen in the afternoon; natural enough, I suppose after all that hopping around. I tried to be good yesterday, keeping it elevated as much as I could. Fortunately I had the Punk Rock Jukebox to entertain me while I was immobile. That’s really the worst part — being stuck in one place. I miss my morning walk, sauntering down to campus, or just crossing the room because I need something. Sigh.

I realize I’ve fallen behind on reviews, too. The second most irritating thing is how much time the injury has taken up. Two things to be sure to mention: Lynda Barry’s What it Is. I know I’ve talked about it before, but I should specify that this is the book to kick start your creativity. If you’ve read Barry’s One Hundred Demons or her decades-worth of comics, you’ll know just how magical her work is, but her latest is a how-to volume that weaves a good bit of autobiography into the lessons. Barry starts with recalling the freedom we all have as children, where we draw, sing and write without fear. From her own experiences, she retraces how that fear sets in (am I doing this right? is this really any good?) and how to break ourselves of those habits. If you’ve always wished you could be creative, this book will help you rediscover that you ARE. Warning! People who read this book and do the exercises tend to become excited and joyful.

I was absolutely bowled over by Aline Kominsky Crumb’s Need More Love. Long in the shadow of her more famous husband, Kominsky Crumb explodes across the pages of this gorgeous book in reprints of her autobiographical comics, narrative snippets, letters from friends, photos of herself (showing how beautiful she is) and her gorgeous medieval home in France. Like Barry, Kominsky Crumb’s work has often been labeled “ugly” and dismissed as inept, but it’s amazingly effective and brilliantly conveys the changing emotional states of her often dramatic life. As crazy as the events are, you often get the feeling that she plays down the drama somewhat — although the sequence of her throwing herself at poor George Harrison at the height of Beatlemania has been caught on tape. Her story is both completely singular and yet woven into the American 60s and 70s counter-culture, from Greenwich Village to San Francisco. She’s always frank about her feelings, mistakes and choices. Unconventional and neurotic, Kominsky Crumb has nonetheless carved out a life that allows her to create her art (I *love* her doll sculptures!), keep amazingly fit and maintain the relationships she needs to be happy. To get a taste of her unique voice, check out this interview at Phawker.


  1. Totally irrelevant…Aren’t you glad you don’t live in Houston right now?

  2. K. A. Laity says:

    I’m glad every day, Cranky — but yeah, especially now. Fingers crossed for friends there. It looks really bad. With luck people have been sensible and taken the proper precautions. I remember how it felt like a ghost town during Rita. With luck things won’t be quite as bad as they are projecting — there will be quite a mess.

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