Granny Sue, From Whom All Good Things Flow

"Granny Sue" is a handcrafted wall hanging that my sister-in-law Susan purchased for me on impulse while she and Eddie and I were browsing at a nearby Goodwill store here in North Adams. Something about it struck a chord with me instantly, and it has occupied an honored place in my studio ever since.

I view Granny Sue as my mascot and muse. So what if a label in back tells me she was made in China? I’m all in favor of immigration, and maybe someday somebody in China will reciprocate by buying my graphic novel.

Hurricane Q&A

Q So how did you and Eddie fare during and after last weekend’s big storm?

A Eddie and I were more fortunate than many others as far as Hurricane Irene goes. We had no lengthy blackouts; just a few outage blips that forced us to repeatedly re-set our electric clocks and made our cable TV connection re-boot spontaneously. We mainly experienced the hurricane/tropical storm as a very, very lengthy downpour that wasn’t that different than many other rainstorms that blow through town without a name attached. Some roads were washed out near us, but North Adams hasn’t had to deal with anything remotely as heavy-duty as have the stranded and devastated residents of Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey whose plights have been widely shown on CNN (not to mention other northeasterners whose ordeals haven’t made the cut national news-coverage-wise).

So don’t worry about Eddie or me; just direct your good thoughts and, where possible, practical assistance to the folks who were within Irene’s reach who have actually suffered.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Wendel in Northampton

Last week’s gabfest with readers of The Complete Wendel at Northampton’s Modern Myths was great fun for me, with hospitality and good vibes being showered on me by the members of the Modern Myths Book Club who attended.
An Alabamian Makes Good Across The Pond

Ben Duncan was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Just like me.

Unlike me, however, he migrated to England and, after too many interesting adventures and struggles to summarize here, gained impressive prominence as an on-air essayist on BBC radio broadcasts. In 1962, when he was only 26, he expanded his range beyond short autobiographical radio pieces by penning the fascinating book-length account of his evolution called The Same Language.

The version of that title that you’ll find at Amazon if you click on the foregoing link, I should mention, is a far different animal from its 1962 predecessor. Published in 2005 by the University of Alabama Press, the present incarnation of Duncan’s memoir has been enriched by the addition of all the memories of and observations about the gay aspects of his life that cultural norms prevented him from including when The Same Language first saw print in ’62.

That by itself, thanks to its clearly indicated temporal bifurcation (the newly written sections are printed in italics), would make the memoir an interesting read sociologically. But the more important reason for delving into this book is that Duncan is an irresistibly entertaining storyteller. I was a committed fan by the time I had read his memoir’s first few pages, and my enthusiasm remained undiminished through the rest of the book. The author’s account of the sparring match that arose between his teacher and himself as he was learning to read his first sentence in school is as wittily told as the steps he took to make a name for himself as a British broadcaster.

P.S.: To hear the man himself reading passages from The Same Language at a bookstore in 2005, take a look at these video clips, which are helpfully housed at the Southern Spaces web site.

Alabama Boys at Summer Camp

Even though my brother and I can sometimes look similar in these old photos, I’m pretty sure that that’s Allan and not me on the upper bunk on the left in this shot of campers and counselors hanging out at Camp Winnataska during the 1950s. I’m concluding that because I recognize the three other campers as being in my bro’s age cohort from back in Springville. (Come to think of it, those Winnataska counselors were not un-hunky, were they?)

Camp Winnataska, by the way, was the inspiration for the fictional Camp Chokkaholluck in my Wendel series (see below).

Above: A drawing in ink and markers from 1973.

A Thank You Note

Many thanks to Oxford American magazine (and columnist Kevin Brockmeier in particular) for saying nice things about Stuck Rubber Baby in it’s August issue. The occasion is a roundup of graphic novels called "The List / Comic Books for People Who Love Literature But Not Superheroes."

Hey, here’s stuff of mine that you can buy!
Click a cover below to learn about my latest books.
…and click here to visit my
Cruse Goodies merchandise shop
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About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
This entry was posted in A Tip o' the Hat, Artifacts, Books in my Bookcase, Life & Art, Me, Me, Me!, Yesterday & Today. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Granny Sue, From Whom All Good Things Flow

  1. Glad you made it through the storm.