this is the time of year when I start doing quite a few more art fairs. I’m not doing many this year because I’ve started working my day job on weekends, but the Etsy store has become my online art fair.
When my favorite things to make and sell at the fair are magnets of my cartoons from the last few years. The Big Guy built me a spinning display out of black stove pipe (the kind that, along with the wood cook stove dominates our kitchen), And come out when it’s covered with magnets, it’s the centerpiece of my craft fair booth.
To be sure, people like buying notecards. They’re the ultimate impulse item. their validation of artwork. But nothing beats sitting behind the table, momentarily camouflaged by the spinner as I listen to people giggle at my magnets. They’ll never cure cancer, but being able to give people a little giggle on a Saturday afternoon is pretty good.
I’m putting the magnets up on Etsy soon, and it won’t be quite the same. I’m hoping, though, that this part of the online art fair will spread a little silliness around.
I met this week with mentor extraordinaire and best-selling author Jon Katz to work on editing and cleaning up my first full fledged book, “A is for All Nighter”. The fate of the book is in flux as we are still working to find an agent for it and for me. I’m finding the advice of a good mentor like Jon is invaluable as I weigh the options of immediate gratification through self publishing or delayed gratification by trying to find a publisher.
So “A is for All Nighter” continues on the next step of the journey, and a new friend came to find me last week. Her name is Élly. That accent over the E means you pronounce her name “Yelly”. she’s kind of a loud little troll, and we had a lot to talk about last week. You see, like most people, there’s a lot more to Élly than meets the eye.
The revelations from the presidential campaign that inadvertently focused the national conversation on latent misogyny and consent brought up unpleasant memories for many women I know and for me as well. Some people are able to talk about those memories, but sometimes, candor carries too high a price.
Secrecy also carries a high price, however. In secrecy there is depression and retreat from the blessings in your life. There is a constant mental rerun of the memories that encourage self-loathing, and, in my case I began to look in the mirror and see a horrible, ugly, little troll.
That’s when Élly showed up. Apparently she’s been lurking in the inner world I began building when I was two. She’s been just waiting for the right time to set me straight with some truth about bad things that happen in life and about trolls, about whom there is also much misinformation (they live under bridges, they have bad tempers).
So, like a kid talking to a hand puppet in a psychiatrist’s office, I told her why I felt like a troll and she told me why that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She talked to me about her life and about the strength you find walking through the tears and emerging on the other side into a life you love.
Élly was so helpful getting me back on track, that we decided to work on my next project together. She even helped me find it by suggesting that we work to set the record straight about her kind. Élly’s doing most of the writing, and I’ll be doing the illustrations, and we hope that in a few months we’ll have a kid-friendly book called The Truth About Trolls.