Spacer March 30, 2005
  | Asymmetry | Archive | March 30, 2005 |




Lydia hanging out the kitchen.


Bit of a rough day yesterday, with Lydia getting progressively fussier. Not sure what the problem was, but I certainly hope it's better today. Though her getting me up at 4:40 a.m. may not have been a good sign.

Since I have all of this enforced leisure time right now, these rambles have changed in nature somewhat; a bit less hurried, for one thing. The fifteen-minute deadline may pass; it's not as if I have anywhere to go.

Yesterday I re-read Dylan Horrocks' Hicksville, a wonderful story and even better comic. I think I reviewed it here once already, but its on my mind today so... I purchased it some years ago at Million Year Picnic, a tiny hole in the wall of a comic shop in Harvard Square, which will almost certainly be pushed out within two years by skyrocketing rents there. Most of the square already is taken up by flagship banks and cell phone stores. I miss it terribly--miss the quiet dignity of the Yard, the paths along the riverbank, the few interesting retail spots that remain, and of course the bookstores, though the population has suffered greatly in the past ten years. They used to give out maps showing the bookstores of Harvard Square and neighboring areas; there were twenty-odd stars on them. I fear there would be no point to such a map any more.

But at least for the moment, Million Year is still there. One day I entered the store in more curmudgeonly state of mind than usual, perused the uninspired shelves and begged the man at the counter to give me a good story with real characters. Hicksville was placed in my hands, and I was so grateful that I promptly emailed Mr. Horrocks to tell him how much I enjoyed his book (he wrote a very nice note back). I used to feel that this was some kind of imposition on authors, but eventually reasoned that as much as I love getting mail from people who like what I do, it probably doesn't pall even with some measure of success.

Hicksville is a story about cartoons, and cartoonists, and that part is admittedly not very accessible to me, but it is also a story about endings, and there it strikes a fervent chord. I believe in endings. One of the things I will rant at embarrassing length about some days is the (I think) peculiarly American refusal to consider the idea of endings. Comic books, television shows, movie franchises are all too often built around stories that do not end; they are unanchored in time, unconnected to anything outside of themselves and so ultimately they devour themselves, become thinly stretched jokes wearing ever more tired, recycled clothing. I think it says something that the only comics I have actually liked, out of the few of course that I have read, are those that tell a story that ends.

And Hicksville is a great book, a gem with a dozen carefully cut facets of stories within stories. It's an unlikely landscape, but the people behave like real people, which is the other thing I demand from books, comic or otherwise. They are frustrated, lazy, funny, loving, rude, and one of them does something shameful out of perfectly understandable reasons. I recommend it unreservedly.

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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 2005 Rebecca J. Stevenson