Ties That Bind

Episode Twenty-Five: Ties That Bind.
In which absolution is not a thing.

1 comment:

  1. When I was in high school I would escape home by visiting my siblings, who had both ended up at Indiana University. One summer, my brother was living in a small silver bullet trailer and studying ancient Chinese poetry. At the time, I wrote a poem about the steam rising from a cup of tea, the scribbled pen-mark characters on his Chinese ideogram practice grid, and how each night he swept up a small pile of dead insects from the floor beneath a bare bulb that hung from the ceiling - the crumpled, jagged limbs of the insects mirroring the skewed lines of the practice ideograms.

    Twenty plus years later, my brother died from cancer. While terminal, he let clear his anger about my having recently broadcast a personal family matter in a cartoon I had drawn as part of my B.A. He saw my doing so as a violation of privacy, a frustrating continuation of our family dynamic, in which I, the younger brother (by nine years for him; seven for my sister) would vie for attention by poking at open wounds. He made me promise that I would never use his illness as the subject for my trivializing comics.

    His censure became one of the preeminent issues of my adult life, and I have spent over a decade trying to work it through. For years, I would second guess every joke I found myself beginning to voice, wondering at whose expense the joke was made. (This is no way to gauge humor.) I also spent over a decade without drawing a single line.

    "Accretion" was an oblique strategy (Schmidt/Eno) card that was pulled as I was considering this comic, and that, indeed, did feel like the right address. The meditation here is that I will never find resolution to that problem; that we do not work through issues. Rather, we become an accumulation of our problems, and they coexist within us, and we are but a palimpsest of our own life's markings. Guy is holding an oblique strategy card.

    I am particularly happy with this comic: The chair pose works; the Pharm Life pills turned out perfectly; and the image of the tea, ideogram sheet, and the window is satisfying.



Search This Blog