Tuesday, February 9, 2016

More Multimedia Memoir and a Word on Natural Metaphor

I cannot get over this cartoon about being date raped.

I want to warn you that it is intense, and visceral, and yet not explicit. She has found the 100% perfect balance between personal and universal, and a naturally-existing metaphor in her own experience: making breakfast for her rapist, being precise about it turning out just right, in order to convince herself she was not raped.

For all of the memoir I read, cartoon memoir are actually likely my favorite. Included in that list are the ever-classics Persepolis and Fun Home, but also lesser-known works like Need More Love and underground classic Blankets.

I have dabbled in cartoon/comic drawing myself and find that sometimes even the simplest drawings evoke a feeling it is hard to put into words. Years ago, after someone who molested me when I was a kid came to me to apologize, and we went through an awful and traumatizing spate of therapy, all I could do was draw about it in the most simple and spare faceless cartoons. I look back on them now and they are an emotional record of what happened with far fewer words than I usually use.

I always encourage my students to explore the line between drawing and writing, as inspired by Lynda Barry. And I encourage you - don't limit the way you write memoir, or the way you read it. Check out other genres - poetry, graphic novels, even more autobiographical fiction. Feel out the ranges and possibilities and what form your story/stories need/s.

The form the story takes - novel length, short flashes, comic or poetry or more - that, too, is a part of the metaphor you are building, the how of the story, and not just the what. Match form with life for more impact, contact and connection.

No comments:

Post a Comment