year of the new book

Hope you all had a great holiday! Mine was pretty good –uneventful, which is the way I prefer it. I did go to Chicago with the BF the first weekend in January to attend a 2 day writing workshop with the great Lynda Barry, which was fun and inspiring. You totally don’t have to read aloud in this class if you are shy, but I read a total of 4 times (revealing perhaps, my inner ham). Lynda B. will be doing this course throughout the year in various cities – next stop is in Madison, WI in February – I urge you to go sometime if you love Lynda and/or if you want to try a very interesting, fun and insightful approach to the creative process. I just started re-reading her brilliant, hellishly funny novel Cruddy. The rhythm of her narrator’s voice, Roberta Rohbeson, is one of the most unique, truthful and transcendent in recent modern fiction. Can’t recommend this book enough. Oh, for more information on her class, go to eBay and search under Lynda Barry writing – it’ll take you right there (she usually has some awesome paintings for sale too, at reasonable prices).

Okay, I’ve pimped for Lynda Barry, not that she needs it, so now it’s time to fill you in on my Aht. I am still getting The Book of Boy Trouble 2 ready to send to the publisher by the deadline (fast approaching). I’d forgotten how much work putting together a Boy Trouble book is – what I went through with the last edition is just a dim memory, with the exception of the 3 dozen emails I need to write and send per day – that part is indelible. Anyway, I’m really liking the way this book is shaping up – we’ve got a nice mix of light, funny stories vs. darker, more dramatic work; DIY-styled drawings vs. seriously skilled professional cartooning, and revealing auto-bio vs. pure fiction. There’s even some sci-fi parody, a porn-flavored true tale, and some beautiful portraiture too. The book will be 112 pages, all-new, and did I mention all-color? Well, consider it mentioned again. The roster of artists is a real intergenerational group, featuring a few key cartoonists whose work I was reading in Gay Comix long before I ever picked up my first rapidiograph pen or Windsor Newton brush (namely Howard Cruse, Jennifer CamperRobert Triptow), alongside folks I consider my peers from the 90s queer zine heyday (my co-editor David KellyGB JonesAndy HartzellMichael FahySina Shamsavari, Anonymous BoyNick LeonardJon Macy and Victor Hodge), folks who came after us in the new millennium (Justin HallTim FishCraig BostickSteve MacIsaacBrett HopkinsBill Roundy and Abby Denson), as well as fresh talents who emerged even after them in the later half of this decade (Dave OrtegaEd Luce and Derek Charm). BTW, if I placed anyone in the wrong generational wave, a thousand pardons – I’m working from my admittedly faulty memory here. Anyway, it’s a real nice mix of people and perspectives. I’m jazzed to see the final, published work.

One interesting thing about this particular edition is how quickly it filled up. When I first started Boy Trouble back in 1994 it was a bit of a struggle filling up a 32 page gay boy comics zine – mostly due to a lack of connections. As the years went by that changed, to the point where with this book I actually missed nabbing a few people I wanted to include (C. Bard Cole, for one – I’ll get you next time, buddy) just because I ran out of available space so startlingly fast. The response to my call for submissions was huge and lightning quick. I barely managed to save a few pages for myself, actually – no kidding. I also lost track of several people from my potential contributor list because there are so many more than I remembered – I’ve since remedied that with a new spreadsheet. If there will be a third edition I am going to have to figure this aspect out better. I’ve also had to face the fact that I just can’t fit everyone available in these books. So I think it’s high time we get more queer-based anthologies to stand alongside Jen Camper’s Juicy Mother series and Boy Trouble. Somebody (else) start that ball rolling please.