Friday, August 17, 2018

Graphic Medicine Conference - Day 1

While packing books to sell at the Comics and Medicine Marketplace... I had this overwhelming desire to create pins to go with my "We Will Never Leave You" comic. So I drew my favorite Demons and the Kid and I headed off to the studio and punched and pressed a bajillion super cool buttons!! Big and small...

It was fun today (at the Marketplace) seeing people try to decide which Demons were their favorites and then pin them onto their shirts and lanyards. Here's mine:

There are famous cartoonists all around me!

Here are some of the fascinating comics and artists I've met so far:

The crowds and the noise level in the Marketplace sucked out my energy, but there were a few folks I spoke with that got me all excited again.

In the evening, the first lecture was with Steve Bissette about the Process and Practice of Graphic Medicine at CCS (The Center for Cartoon Studies). I'm one of five (I think) Sketch-noters hired by the conference to record the lectures! Here are my notes from this evening:

There's a lot in this conference about Depression and Anxiety. Part of me is relieved to know I'm not alone, another part is repelled and horrified. And another part is a little ashamed... I try to make light of my issues, find the humor, and hide what I'm feeling so I don't scare people. "Protect" them. I can't imagine what would happen if I drew comics about what's really going on in my life --- the bad stuff. The stuff I'm not supposed to talk about. Would it be cathartic - or grounds for a lawsuit?

I truly, truly believe that "Thoughts become things" and when I'm enthusiastic and lost in the process of creation and brainstorming and imagining all the possibilities (I frighten people then too) - that I attract the most amazing things to me. Really weird coincidences happen. I meet bizarre, super cool people. People give me money. I get offered exciting projects, or go on an adventure! And I'm happy.

But when stuff goes wrong... it comes out of nowhere... and knocks me over. I can't think. More and more bad stuff bombards me. It just doesn't stop!!!? I start to drown. I forget what I want. What really matters. And I drag anything good down with me.

Tonight, leaving the conference, I was walking alone through White River Junction. Nothing new for me - but everyone seemed to be in groups. And there were groups in the outdoor cafes, with twinkly lights and laughter... I felt really alone - but also - didn't really want to be with people. As I walked, I noticed a dark shape sitting on a bench and recognized Kieran - a dark shape on a bench, even in bright sunlight! And I felt relief and excitement. One weird cartoonist in the shadows was just what I needed! Talking and laughing, I felt the positive elements of the day returning to me and I remembered WHY I draw comics of my Demons the way I do. Remembering WHY... having a purpose, even if it's to serve as a Bad Example - hey, it's still a Purpose.

The next few days will be a challenge. Long days listening to talks about serious illnesses and mental mishaps... and drawing the Sketch-notes that help to lodge the info in my brain - but.... this is a step on my Path. It feels really important to me. I have to do this, it's taking me somewhere I'm supposed to Be. 

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