Today’s guest blogger is by Margo Hammond, co-author of Between the Covers: The Book Babes’ Guide to a Woman’s Reading Pleasures.
The path to writing a book — and publishing it — for the first time is not the same for everyone. Selden Edwards, author of “The Little Book,” toiled more than three decades before landing a book contract: He began his novel in 1974 and then polished and refined it for 34 years before it was accepted for publication in 2007. Randa Jarrar, the Arab-American author of “Map of Home” and Rachael King, the New Zealand author of “The Sound of Butterflies” may not have had to wait that long, but they, too, have tales to tell about how one word written down on a blank page (or computer screen) was transformed into a published book. These three first-time novelists, appearing on the First Books Panel at Wordstock, will talk about the often rocky challenges of that journey, the false starts and the aides they employed to push themselves to the finish line. As their moderator, I can relate: I will be publishing my first book, a book of book recommendations co-written with fellow book critic Ellen Heltzel, November 15. Ellen and I included many first books in “Between the Covers: The Book Babes’ Guide to a Woman’s Reading Pleasures” whose authors went on to write many more. Selden, Randa and Rachael, take notice: The next panel you’ll be on will be entitled: “The Challenges of the Second Novel.”
Today’s guest blogger is Douglas Wolk, author of “Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean.”
The history of political comics goes just about exactly as far back as the history of comics themselves, and the “Comics and Politics” panel I’m moderating at 1:00 PM on Saturday, Nov. 8, features three panelists who are experts on where the intersection of politics and cartooning has been and where it’s going.
Patrick Rosenkranz knows more about the history of underground comix-with-an-X than just about anyone else–he’s the author of the excellent retrospective “Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, 1963-1975″–and he’s eloquent on the subject of how closely they were linked to the social movements of the ’60s and ’70s. Spain Rodriguez has been drawing political comics since he was cartooning for the East Village Other in the ’60s; his most recent book is “Che: A Graphic Biography.” And Alison Bechdel‘s new collection “The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For” documents twenty years of her hilarious, pointed comic strip about the uneasy relationship between the personal and the political.
We’ll be discussing the evolution of political comics, of course, but we’ll also be talking about what kind of political praxis can come out of cartooning, and if that’s changed at all over time. It’s a cluster of questions that apply to every kind of political art–does ideology make art more or less powerful? is political art just preaching to the converted, or cheering on the troops, or can it really change the world?–but they’re particularly important questions to comics, whose aesthetic revolution over the last four decades or so is inseparable from the radical political impulses of the medium’s pioneers.
And yes, there will be pictures.
Deadlines can be great motivators. That’s the premise, at least, behind a slew of create-under-pressure events, like National Novel Writing Month and the 48-hour film project. Last week, Portland’s Indigo Editing hosted their own twist on this theme: Sledgehammer. In distinctly Portland style, the event incorporated a scavenger hunt for cues that had to be incorporated into the final story, due 36 hours after kickoff.
Read more about the event and the participants in yesterday’s Oregonian.
Come see the Sledgehammer winner read at Wordstock on Saturday, at 11:30 on the Community of Writers stage. (Check the schedule here.)
Do deadlines spark your creativity? Have you been part of these events? Are you Nanowrimo-ing this November? Let us know!