Notes on Seattle, November 28, 2008, Part I - The Eel & Chelz' Path to Enlightenment

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday: the relations did ply me with drink, as they did the same to themselves, though each to his/her own particular taste, and so I went to bed groggy Thanksgiving night from something else besides mere fatigue and the mythic (and silly) mega-dose of tryptophan. My brother Chris, who often goes by the self-given appellation "Eel," knows well of my predilection for the ol' gin and tonic, and when I arrived, I found that having such items on reserve coincided neatly with the fact that we would not be leaving the environs in any way for the evening. Such fortuity was not to be believed, but so it happened to be, and thus I did make way with a couple of rounds of my favorite spiritual mix.

Not surprisingly, given the way things tend to work for me, I woke up at my normal time Friday morning, or slightly before that "normal" time, really. And my head was fine. A little too much so it seemed, as I immediately began my usual course of determination for the morning -- getting up, writing, reading, gaining knowledge and spewing it back out as nonsense for no reasonable person to divine. I spent the better part of an hour trying to teach myself Adobe Illustrator, and made some decent headway on a banner for the new Cinema for Space Lovers website, though I knew right away that what I was really doing was building a temporary model from which I would try and convince Sal to work his magic on it back home.

Once the brother and the sis-in-law (whom I shall only refer henceforth either by her name or as my sister) arose for the morning, after the normal round of personal ablutions, he hit the road. It had already been decided that we would hit the EMP and Science Fiction Museum on Saturday, so what I told them I wished was for them to choose some swell places to go to give me a taste of their Seattle experience. After a quick run to the bank, we began the trek...


Chris mentioned to me that we were going to first hit a section of the city called Georgetown. When I asked why, he replied, "Because we are going to the Fantagraphics bookstore." He had said the day before that there was such a place, and I knew that we would likely hit it at some point, but I was not fully prepared for it so early in the morning. I have numerous Fantagraphics volumes at home, and they are all easily attainable online or at other stores, but to imagine going into a place fully stocked with just about any tome dedicated to the history of the comic arts was just to much for me. Splitting its space with a pretty nifty LP store (I like that vinyl is still hanging around just enough to warrant a New Arrivals section, though some of them are merely recent antiquated acquisitions of the shop), the Fantagraphics store felt like a paradise from the moment I stepped through.

How I wish there were its like in my vicinity! Shelves and shelves of Peanuts, Popeye, Crumb, McCay... I just could not handle it! I actually had to step back and remind myself to not delve too deeply into the contents of the store, for fear of driving myself mad. Instead, I found a retreat in a small room at the back of the store which held 50%-off discount books, all of them damaged, out-of-print or sadly unloved, which may not be the actual reason, but where else would you put books no one wants to buy? Surprisingly, though there were extreme exceptions, many of the books don't seem too bad, and I could have easily made off with four or five slightly worn blocks of the hardback Peanuts run. But sense took over (I had very little room to transport items back, which I sort of did on purpose), and so I finally decided to grab a pair of quite thin releases in the Pogo series (#s 9 & 11), which, along with Krazy Kat, is one of my top priorities strip-wise.

It is a dull enough morning that the girl with the expected look and countenance working the counter drifts back and forth sharing conversation with what I presume was the owner of the record portion. (I am unaware of the true nature of the owners/employees of the respective stores. All I know is that business was slow enough to very nearly demand such interaction as a means to simply stay awake.) Besides our trio, a handful of others zip in and out of the place while we are there, and after about half an hour, I finally made my Pogo decision (not that I really had a choice, and besides, the books are actually in perfect shape, so they may have fallen into either the out-of-print or my proposed sadly-unloved category after all). The counter girl is a delight, and she is more than happy to tell Chris and myself about several upcoming events at the store, including an appearance by Peter Bagge's band, which the record guy said could actually prove to make people leave the store instead. "But who knows?" he adds. Chris and I grab several free items to round out our purchase and then we leave to go find Chelz, who had already slipped away to check out another place, and presumably get some food.

But, wait! There is something else that Chris and I get at Fantagraphics, and it could well prove to be the most important part of the trip. The store keeps a series of differently sized dummy books on hand, all fairly cheap in price but quite well-made. I find a 7" x 7" hardcover beauty with an all-white dust cover, 144 pages thick, while Chris opts for a slightly taller one. Mine only costs $6.95, and while I have no idea how I am going to fill the book, my intent is to try and jump-start my drawing abilities once more. Of course, it is entirely possible that I will find some other use for the volume, but over the course of the next couple days in Seattle, Chris will have already leapt into filling his with some amazing ink work, and will likely have his largely complete by the time I next see him in December.

Br'er Rik? He lay low, still thinking about what he wants to do with it, and for the next two nights, he falls asleep wondering what that will be, still reluctant to actually put pencil to paper. While I have burst through a long and bitter writer's block victorious, likely for life, I am still mired in an artistic quicksand as regards my ability to draw again. I had hoped that this, along with the remainder of the weekend, staying in close proximity with Chris, who is never at a loss to do so when around me, will help trigger this. Not yet, though. I am far too shy to draw around others, and it seems that I might be far too recessed into my own doubts to ever get out.

(To be continued...)


Mark Otis said…
More, please, more. Some really nice writing..

P.S.Aerin has inspired me to draw again, and we both did some great drawing this weekend in SF! You can draw with us here! WE do some collaborations...

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