Letters to Holly

Monday, October 19

Finally We Meet

Preparing for this weekend's college presentation took up all of Friday evening for Your Sister. We went back to the school around 11 to dot the i's. She left early Saturday with a local college professor to travel halfway to Virginia to talk about senior projects. I saw her off after loading her CDs into the car stereo for her. I got a haircut and more silver gray was revealed (to her delight). I was to meet my mentored senior for the first time at 12:30, and I intended to kill time at my computer after visiting the barbershop. I had my iPod on and it hit a good sequence of music. It got me antsy. So antsy, that I was soon slipping on my still-wet cold-running shirt and darting outside for a 3-mile run. It was very cold, and I was very brainless. But I ran well and burned the antsiness away.

I got back in time to clean up and grab a snack before driving to the library to meet him. I packed along a pile of minicomics, some standard comics, my sketchbook, the camera, and a handful of letter paper. He arrived about ten minutes after I did, and we sat inside.

First of all, he's not a comics fan. His buddy is, and it was the latter's notion that this kid make a comic out of their shared love of zombies. This would not be so much of an obstacle had he arranged a rendezvous last month when the emails began. We've lost a month, and now we need to scramble. I told him to read the minis to consider page dimensions and story length and cautioned him not to ape a particular style. I showed him how he could fold letter paper repeatedly until it was the size comic he wanted to make and to use a stack of these to make a comic outline.

I saw his sketches and they'll work for the kind of story he's telling. But he needs to show the teachers and judges that he can make a decent comic package. That's the kind of skill these projects are to foster. I told, him, however, that we'll worry about that once he gets a story down on paper. I showed him where the library shelves their comics and found him some good examples to take home (a how-to book and Persepolis). I also handed him a Hellboy comic and told him to look at the tone and techniques.

This may not be as polished as I hoped. I assumed he knew something about comics. He doesn't. But I think I can steer him to a passable illustrated story in a bound folio that will look good. That should get him a passing grade. The meeting lasted only an hour (and that was me talking for practically the entire hour), and I was back home sketching out more genre signs for the library. I need to talk to that contact too about specifics.

Your Sis got back in town around 5:30. We zoomed to the pub to chow down and trade day notes. She sweated over that presentation for two weeks, stayed up much later than normal, and ate little. All for one audience member. She only had one person in the seminar. She's glad to have this thing in hand for the next time, but she's chagrined.

She slept most of Sunday. She couldn't get the gas stove to work Friday night, and I took a shot at it after we got groceries. We were worried I'd have to get a technician to look at it; the instructions are clear that any procedural hiccup should stop the cranking process before the house blows up. I got it to to work, however, and she slept in that room for hours. I did laundry and read and drew and stayed inside to avoid the cold. We made pizza and added reindeer sausage Your Parents brought from Alaska. 'Twas good.

Picture of the Day
The exclusion of Count Blah is inexcusable.

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