Text+pictures=comics-pictures=text.

Uh woops, I ran out of day. No comic. Here’s a repost of a story that originally appeared here and was just published in the Yahara Journal!

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So Many Shades of Red, Our Love

By Breena Wiederhoeft

“Shower the people you love with love.” In a sea of conflicting ring-tones it is perhaps the only one which bears any relevance. In one moment it is battering my ear drums and in the next it simply resounds.

So I hum the tune.

I hum it at least fifty thousand times because it’s right there, in my head. Shower the people you love with love. I begin to brainstorm in a strangely literal way.

This begins as I am at my window, leaning outward toward my neighborhood with my elbows propped on the sill and my neck thrust forward. With my thoughts fully trained on a magnificent outpouring of love, my eyes fill to the brim with tears. If only I could shed those tears onto the people passing by on the sidewalk three stories below. The very first tear clings precariously to the edge of my eyelid.  I blink to encourage it, and it falls lightly to the sidewalk below, hitting no one. I try again, to the same effect. These tears of love, they will touch no one, so I retreat momentarily from my window.

I return with a pot of cold coffee left over from this morning. Love. I extend my arm out the window and, with a simple turn of my wrist, pour the contents of the pot onto a man who is walking his cocker spaniel. Some of the love splashes up onto his dog. The man turns to look at me and returns my affection with a string of sharp, forceful words. I hear only the urgency with which he projects them upward toward me. Of course. I smile briefly back at him, and again I retreat.

I return with a gallon of skim milk, a jar of mayonnaise, a bag of unshelled peanuts; without hesitation I shed this love down onto my brothers and sisters below me. Without waiting for their joyful response I rush back to the kitchen. Dishes, drinking glasses, my finest cloth napkins. Gently I distribute my kindness and devotion from the window. One of my silver serving spoons strikes a woman on the shoulder and she screams up at me, “You’re crazy!” Crazy, yes. Crazy in love. My love has worked the people into a frenzy; I can hardly differentiate one exuberant response from the next. Their love overwhelms me as I begin slinging spoonfuls of mashed potatoes down at them

I hurl the entire bowl out the window and someone’s windshield erupts into a cloud of sparkles and song. In a particularly inspired moment I scream, “James Taylor says hello!” to a man, before dousing him with a special kind of love: a raspberry jello mold infused with peeled grape halves and carrot shavings. So many shades of red, our love.

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A few bits of news…

Hi.

I feel like I never write in this blog anymore because I’m always drawing dang comics. Thank God for the occasional bits of news so that I can keep the ol’ typing fingers in practice.

A few things:

I’ve added a Links page. After I did this I took my links, or, “blogroll,” off the sidebar but it looked naked so I put them back there. But links will be categorized and explained a little more on the Links page.

There were a few links I wanted to highlight here, though, as long as you’re reading. Continue reading

Two new things which are not comics.

Comics will be back tomorrow! Again, I’m out of town with no scanner, and also no spare time. In the meantime, I’ve added my painting/drawing gallery to this website (thanks Arek for your help!) which you can find by clicking the tab at the top labeled “paintings.” (In case that wasn’t obvious.)

Also, I’ve enabled comment threads! I’ve been wanting this for a while and wordpress just introduced it. So all this means is you can now leave comments on one another’s comments and have little comment wars and such (like all the annoying commenters at the Onion AV Club!) It will be great fun, I assure you.

Master of my own domain.

It was a Christmas present to myself. I bought www.easelainteasy.com. I’m working on creating some new pages so this website will eventually (hopefully soon!) be home to my art, comics, music, and as always, blog. (If you are subscribed, the longer wordpress address will still get you here.)

More paragraphs than I planned on.

When we were kids, my friend Rebecca and I used to write stories together and read stories together and do basically everything together. Beck had those mildly gruesome little “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark” books, which I was always a little jealous of, because I probably wasn’t allowed to have them. We would take the instruction quite literally and look for somewhere dark, or semi-dark, to read them, like a tool shed in the back yard, which, with bright daylight peeking through the door, was just the right amount of scary for me. (If we had only known at the time that a teenage boy had murdered his entire family in her kitchen and living room just 40 years earlier! True story!)

I don’t know what prompted me, but I was thinking about this the other day, about when we used to read these stories to each other. Whenever it was Rebecca’s turn to read I would follow along with her over her shoulder and correct any time she read a word wrong or misinterpreted a particular mark of punctuation. Pretty much I must have been completely annoying! I could pick much more amusing stories from this friendship to write about, could in fact probably fill a book of memoirs-turned-blockbuster movie, but like I said, this ritualistic scary-story-reading is what most recently came to my mind.

And anyway, I just remembered what had sparked that memory. Last night Rachel and Molly and I went to see Holly play a show at IQs, which was great except for the smoke (Madison, my lungs and I love you for being smoke-free… Green Bay, get a clue!) One of Holly’s songs has a line about a toy drum, which made me think of that scary story with the toy drum and the gypsy girl and the woman with the glass eye… I remember reading that story with Rebecca and then a few years later hearing the very same story plagerized by some girl in the class above me, trying to pass it off as her own. Can you imagine? Trying to plagerize a classic like “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark”? Is nothing sacred anymore?

My family and I went to see the movie Marley & Me today. I was surprisingly engaged by it, and so, it seems, were all of the little kids in the theater who were sobbing. I cried a little too – partly because I could feel my mom’s tender heart breaking in the seat next to me. I don’t know if anyone loves animals more than she does.

Friday night I was at Holly’s birthday party and got to hang out with a 3 year old princess.  Really, she had two separate princess gowns along with her. She is my friend now. We played magic carpet ride and sinking ship and fort and when we got hungry we ate Holly (“Come here, you Lunch!”) Anyway, it was good for me. I wasn’t sure if I liked kids too much, but my new 3 year old friend proved that I do, or at least that I can.

On Christmas day my family went to stay at my dad’s cabin on the Wolf River. While we were there we watched Alone in the Wilderness, and I was reminded of how attractive it is for a man to know how to build things. I first realized this when I watched The Notebook with Laura and remarked that, “There is nothing sexier than a man who builds a house for the woman he loves!” So anyway, I’ve decided that my dream man will have the skills to build a cabin with his bare hands (and okay, a few tools). He will also play guitar and be kind to animals. There are at least 100 other qualifiers on this list, you can inquire to hear the rest of them.

While we were at the cabin the snow was everywhere and terribly beautiful. My dad has cross country skis and snow shoes hanging on the walls and for the first time in many years I actually felt some desire to go outside in the winterland and participate in some form of sport. Trust me, this is a new development. Being so new, I did not act on it, but I really think I might try some outdoor activities this winter. Considering how winter is just getting started! Don’t tell anyone, but as my family and I were driving through the state this week I said, with my eyes fixated on the gray and white landscape surrounding us, “I like winter.” Who am I? I tried explaining to my mom my theory that winter is the perfect climate for humans to exist (as the miserable beings that we are) and she thought it was kind of depressing. But kind of true?

We visited the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau and checked out the tromp l’oeil exhibit and the illustrated letters exhibit. The latter really inspired me to start writing letters again, and to do so creatively. That was the fun part of a long distance relationship, but of course letter-writing can happen between friends and family as well. I won’t make it an official goal, but maybe in 2009 I’ll do a bit more of this.

Hey, I just made two new friends. They are great. They are characters in my story. I mean, that is the only place that they exist. Is that weird? I brought my sketchbooks along with me this weekend thinking that I’d have a lot of time to get some pages filled. Well, I did have the time, but I am learning that I can’t write when there are people around, or even the option of being around people. So progress has been limited, but I still hope to have my designated chapter finished by the end of this month.

This has been a terrible summary of the past week… it is not chronological, it is not exhaustive, it is hardly descriptive. But considering that I just sat down as a matter of self-discipline and forced myself to start writing I’d say it’s not so bad after all.

2009 is going to be a big year…

August is over, on to December.

Oh no!  Well, I finished my twice compromised challenge and completed my one chapter before November’s end, and I have every ambition to keep on with the graphic novel. But!  Another project has crept up on me and seized my attention.  This would be a short-film involving animation AND live action (I wish that didn’t immediately conjure up thoughts of Roger Rabbit, as this will be a much quieter film) and I have no idea what in my schedule will be sacrificed to make the time for this project.  I don’t plan on taking a class next semester, so that frees up some weeknights.  So what will it be about?  Well, for those of you detective-types, the title of this post is a clue (the titles of posts are always clues!)

This is my problem – I let myself get distracted so readily by other projects.  My painting moratorium has really been great for purposes of focus, but when it’s not painting it’s something else.  Not that these distractions are bad things.  I just finished my collaboration with Molly which was well-worth the time (and which I will share here about one month from now).  I’m working on a music project with my brother that is really fun (will also share in early January) and planning an installation exhibit with Gwen.  Off to the back-burner are my plans for a daily webcomic, an improved online gallery, and any chance at a social life.

Speaking of living in a cabin in the woods (the implied transition), I finally picked up Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago.  I like it, but deciding to purchase it reminded me that I have a fairly large queue of albums that I’ve been meaning to get, and this time of year is a dangerous one for that kind of thinking (“Let’s consider it a Christmas gift to myself!”) Also dangerous, apparently, is publishing a brand new website in one fell click of the mouse… I might have crashed our server (or it might have been a coincidence?)  Check it out, though, I redesigned our website for my company!  (Which much help from Arek, thank you!)

And finally, a question for those of you who blog.  I don’t quite see the difference between tags and categories.  Are categories a more general thing and tags more specific?  I get a little OCD when it comes to organizing this blog… I’d prefer to use whichever is the more general, but I haven’t used categories all along and don’t really get excited about going back into each entry and adding them. But I’ll have to go back anyway to clean up my tags, so now is the time to make changes.  Help!

A compromise compromised.

Earlier this month I took on a challenge which was a self-designed compromise from the more daunting, national challenge of National Novel Writing Month.  I knew I couldn’t complete a 50,000 word novel this November, but declared I would, instead, complete two chapters of my graphic novel (which I now speak of rather freely… hm, go figure.  So much for self-propelling mystery!) Well, to put it bluntly, I was crazy.  There is no way I’ll have two chapters done by the 30th.  This story has been unfolding just fine at its own lazy pace and I would only screw that up by forcing myself to write words and draw pictures that aren’t coming of their own volition, when they have been doing so quite nicely prior to this.  Yes, it’s an excuse, but those are allowed on occasion.  I will hereby compromise my challenge and say that I would like to complete ONE chapter this month.  Just one.  It’s a compromised compromise, but it’s still a challenge.

All right, now that business is out of the way, I have a few other things.  First of all, don’t take this as sounding ungrateful, but I am really creeped out by how low gas prices are getting.  I drove past a station that advertised $1.85 a gallon today, which means that other places in the country are probably getting down near a dollar.  Yes, it’s great, it’s cheap, we can all dust off our hummers again, but it’s still freaky.  I feel like I’m living back in the late 90s.  And who the heck likes the 90s?? (Okay, Alex, I know you do.)

Next, I had another dream about my late cat Pepper again last night.  This one was a different kind of sad, though, because of how realistic it was.  Usually when I dream about her (which is often) she has somehow been resurrected, enjoys full health, and seems perfectly unaware that she was ever dead, to both her and my delight.  But last night she was weak, small, and frail, just like she was in real life before she died.  In my dream she barely had the strength to jump up onto the bed, so I picked her up and she crawled under the blankets where we cuddled.  Just like real life.  I feel like I write about these Pepper dreams every time they happen (which is often) but I did a search to link to some past ones and couldn’t find any.  Maybe that is a good idea for a blog-reader-challenge.  Locate the Pepper Dream Posts!  Whoever finds any wins… a photograph of Pepper.

I had a few other things to say but I think I’ll save them up for days when I have nothing.  Which, you’ve come to know, is most of the time.

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    Breena Wiederhoeft
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