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October 2010

American dreamer

Armadillo Watch = 0

However, as so often in life, (stay with me here, I am going allegorical) you look for an armadillo and you get a
raccoon. Such a startling, delightful thing it was to see that humanoid little face with beedy eyes peering fearlessly through the gloom. (Don't worry, I know I am not to "confront or feed" the wild animals).

I am realising, all over again, the wonder that is the USA for an immigrant like me - one brought up in a raincloud in the strictly monocultural, somewhat parochial and economically depressed Dublin of the 1980's. America! Its vastness, its devotion to fun, its opportunities, its hospitality, its promise.

And yet, and yet. I like my terraced house on my sodden island with its tame climate, the banter with the strangers, the way people know each other, the closeness of family, the green fields. I am fond, as one is of a curmudgeonly grandfather, of Dublin. The human scale of our city, my utter familiarity with it, the personal map of memories laid over it. Many ghosts of times past hang around street corners - I attended our 1996 Christmas party in that hotel with those people, the day my apartment got flooded R and I had a gin and tonic in that bar, I loaded the car in my ex-boyfriend's carpark there, Spike goes to school up that street, and so on, and on.

After years of lusting after a Green Card, applying faithfully every year for the lottery, I gave up, returned to the ould sod, met the JB, and got married. I was 36. Oddly enough, though a Kerryman to the innermost marrow, the JB has in his possession an American passport. Well played, Life. Now I don't need a Green Card, I have one because of him, and also because of him, I don't want one.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Care to tell where you dream of living?

Thanks for your interest in the comic. I think I'll start a webcomic site where I can publish things like it, in my own name (I was not christened Twangy Pearl. Shocked?), away from all this necessarily anonymous stuff. Hmm. More on this later.

always look on the bright side of life

I just handed in my story. Hurray. Let the living recommence - for yes, breathing and looking up is permittable in this daring post-deadline world!

Here is an image from it:


It's a romance based on a real message from this site, as discovered by the brilliant Belgian Waffle.


Thanks as ever for your empathy. Life is full of shit (sometimes. Please, life, don't punish me by making me see how much worse it could be) when you look at it, but we are not alone, we have each other.
You're bricks.
(I like that expression, puzzling as it is. You're so good, I could build a house with you?)

ps. The Manga Girls are so dotey. They say YAY! in response to everything. I mean it. As in:
YAY, a drawing! YAY, it's dark! YAY, chopped cabbage!
You can predict their arrival by the yaying down the boardwalk. Such sweetie-pies.


I was going to write about this funny old comic world, the moonlit beach last night, the Manga girls' obsession with a thing called Sailor Moon, spider bites and the armadillo watch. But my mother texted me to say that my uncle died today and that's all I can think about now.

In recent times his role as caretaker to his wife (who has MS) took its toll on him, reducing our infrequent interactions to dark humour, and outrageous opinions expressed in massively booming voice. But when we were small, and he was a long-legged 25 year old with an unlikely beard, who could make anything, and fix anything, we four cousins used to jump all over him, and he gave us wonderful presents at Christmas. I remember this most miraculous and unexpected Sindy wardrobe:

I don't know what became of it, (where do these things go?) but I remember the exact feel of the white plastic drawers as I reverentially slid them in and out, the way the doors swung open on their hinges. I couldn't imagine anything better - it seemed extraordinary that my uncle had been able to reach into my head, see my dreams and get something even better.

Goodbye Uncle R, and thank you. Another of the old guard is gone.


Here I am, in Florida. It's truly wonderful. I am learning a lot - some things, quite fer-rankly, I didn't even know I needed to know. Like about Manga, and Slice of Life cartoons, inking, webcomics, indie publications and agents. I am getting my bearings - the residents are young, mostly, with a sprinkling of older people like me, mostly American, a few jet-lagged Aussies and a Malaysian woman (whose Irish mother comes from Whitehall, which is 5 mins from my house [world, small]).
Their voices do, as promised, go up at the end of the sentence? Know what I mean? They really are fond of the word "like" as a filler and by jimminy, are they fond of fantasy. The air is thick with their enthusiasm - you could stick a fork in the hot fog of ambition. I am being visited by more than the usual amount of "How did I get here?" moments, and quite a few mystified looks. My accent. They should meet the JB! I have decided counter-intuitively to go the other way and become more Irish. They'll get it eventually, I reckon, so they will. Begob.

And begorrah, it's warm here. I haven't seen any armadillos (boo), just a number of large spiders (an Australian told us one looked like a jumper. Jaysus?) and geckos. God knows what beasts teem under the boardwalks.

Where's me lucky charms, you'd be tired. I now realise I have been chugging along in the slow lane for - well - ever. We are making an anthology, (not to be in shops or anything) as an exercise - 10 pages of comics by Wednesday. There's also a terrifying rumour abounding - an alarmingly named 16 hour comic, plus our own work, whatever the hell that is. Also, life-drawing, workshops, talks, outings, openings, tours.
Karaoke! More talks!

I am far too delicate to work this hard. I need a note from my Mammy. Each day is packed with activities. There is no time to work, except at night, or early in the morning. It's mad, quite mad, but really fun.

More later, for dinner awaits.

Your roving

[Great model, after post-pose clap: This is my first experience doin' this. It's easy! Just like sitting at home havin' a beer and veggin out. Cue appreciative laughter from associates.]

It's Armadillo Time

Tomorrow I am off to Art Camp, having just about survived the usual mad influx of work that inevitably hits like an avalanche just before you go away. Updates from the expedition will be forthcoming, internet connection permitting, and one hopes - at least I do! -  commentary on your blogs will still be feasible.
I am looking forward to a bit of an adventure.

Who knows, I might have one, too, for The Camp takes place in a sort of nature reserve, where wild animals roam. We are advised thus, most thrillingly, by Those in The Know:

[Animals in the grounds] include snakes, mosquitoes, spiders, armadillos, feral cats, and other animals. Please do not feed or confront any animals that you may come across during your stay.

Also, this advice just in from my mother: Never smile at an alligator.
Really? Or else.. what? What?
Is there anything else I might be glad I knew? Bear in mind, Ireland is a place devoid of snakes, St Patrick having rather unkindly drowned them all in a lake in Kerry a Long Long Time Ago.  So  I know not of such things. Bring on your alligator-wrestling stories, I am listening avidly.

Better go and walk around in circles now, in my attempt to pack.
Your intrepid,