The comic below is in the Wordless Wednesday spirit, but I felt compelled to add just a few words. With 2017 just 4 days old, I’m finding myself at an odd loss for resolutions – there are, of course, a few things I’d like to do and some dreams on the horizon, but I’m very struck, this year, by an odd sense of familiarity in place of the New Year feeling of rupture and newness.
I’m coming to realize that the past few months of cultivating a craft practice – while a new adventure – has felt more like a long-overdue homecoming. By homecoming, I mean rediscovering a space of comfort, belonging, care, renewal, flourishing, and kinship. I don’t think of this kind of home as a perfect or uncomplicated place, but as the place I choose to dwell in and come back to; it’s not only where life unfolds and is lived, but where I feel most able to make a livable life. In these ways, the decision to start cultivating creativity again has felt like a slow, months-long process of making a travelling nest for myself – a home on-the-go that isn’t limited by the vagaries of place, chance, and circumstance.
In this vein, here’s a graphic love-letter to the place where I actually grew up – East York, a borough of Toronto. It includes some of my favourite/familiar haunts from back in the day.
To finding (and making) (and making pictures of) home.
The unique panel-structure of comics lends itself very well, I think, to exploring episodic memories, or autobiographical memories linked to a specific place, time, and emotion. The borders of each panel form a discrete unit which are like film-cuts, letting you place in the next scene whatever image you please (or, compelling you to repeat images you’ve already presented). This system of transitions, in comics, is freeing. You can explore the minute details of a single sequence, letting the eye jump from element to element. Or, you can paint a panoramic view, bringing the reader with you into a new temporality which you create, inviting them to experience its coherence (or not).
This comic is episodic in that way, and is my attempt at piecing together different memories of someone that I used to know. It comes out of a short poem that I wrote after I thought I saw this person on the subway many years after we had been friends. She was inside the train while I was on the platform slowly watching the train pull away. I questioned the correctness of my senses but harbored a subtle feeling of lost opportunity anyhow. As I went home, I started to try to reconstruct what I knew of her, and began with the little details–the insignificant things that, for one reason or another, managed to persist in the memory bank.
At the time of making this comic, I was also heavily into the work of graphic novelist, John Porcellino known for his King-Cat Comics. His visual style is as simple and evocative as his writing, and I admire the way that his work creates, for me, a really concrete sense of world and mystery out of the little things:
Some last thoughts on comics for the day.