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Monday, September 3, 2018

Dubious Doctrines

Episode Ninety: Dubious Doctrines.
In which we scrabble for sequence.


1 comment:

  1. The first four fully-realized Squid Man, Soap Strip Folks, Pharm Life, and Art & Guy strips were an imagining of what the inspiration of e. 71, "Query Expressions" started life as, culminating in e. 82, "Sausage Establishment". Which is to say, I created "Query Expressions" and began to see what the original strips may have looked like, and then I created them. (I like to pretend that I discovered them - that all of this exists in an alternate dimension somewhere, and I'm privy to only a peek.)

    In this case, I had some ideas for the original strips, and created those first, and then sat down and imagined how I would create a Latent Narrative out of them (which is the pretend story each strip likes to tell.)

    It was surprisingly difficult. Normally, Latent Narratives are an evocation of what's going on inside of me at any given moment. Just as, when I am fishing for a vertical comic from a full page of newspaper comics (remember those?) I am often thwarted by not finding any threads that work.

    In this case, looking at the four source-comics that I created I was unable to pull up a strip that made any sense to me. I even printed out a contact page of the four stacked as they would be in a full-page paper, and presented it to my kids. We each had different takes and intriguing interpretations, but nothing actually felt like it really worked.

    And so, in the end, I pull up this. I wanted to land on the one frame from Art & Guy that was the real, inspirational quote: from the liner notes of Robyn Hitchcock's "Globe of Frogs" (1988). I did consider breaking the mold and going with one of my joke frames from the previous week's comic, but tradition held.

    I am able to read into each frame a meaning that works in the capacity of each standard: SM dealing with my ongoing struggle with my varying roles at my workplace; Soap Strip expressing my anxiety about 'playing along' versus leaning against the grain; Pharm Life, as always, about not fitting a standard (in a universe where the standard is arbitrary and ultimately meaningless).

    Yet, somehow, the strip ends up feeling alien to me. And I am left thinking that this must be the experience everyone else has when they view each Latent Narrative for the first time.

    This frustration and uncertainty with process and meaning, however, is perfectly in tune with what's been going on. In fact, taking a month out to create the other strips, the stand-alone jokes, feel like a time-off from the therapeutic value of the soul-mining that is Oats' Latent Narratives. That time out leaves me feeling like I am behind on housekeeping.

    Much scary going on at work - leaving me greatly uncertain about my future. Scrabbling for meaning among the disparate scraps feels, perversely, exactly right.

    So, am I saying it worked after all? Who the hell knows. So tired.

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