Alison Bechdel is many things. Contemporary American Cartoonist, in a nutshell. Recipient of the Mac Arthur Genius Award. To me – only nut in this shell wha – she is many things. How much do I love Ali? (may I call you Ali?) Let me count dem ways for you and me.
Firstly, is it ok to say “things” about a human? Answers on a postcard plz. I only mean nice things, so I do.
In the meantime, reasons I love thee! First and foremost, Alison Bechdel, almost single-handedly, introduced me to feminism in films. See, there’s a thing (I’m all about things) called the Bechdel test, you’ve probably heard about it. A super simple 3 questions test. If you don’t know about it, well… you should. I don’t mean to sound all shrill and judgemental, it’s just very important. You’ll be surprised how many favourites doesn’t pass the test. #sorrynotsorry
So Alison kicked the door open for all sorts of mad feminist stuff to woosh around my brain, one might say. After that, a talented Irish illustrator named Gavin Fullerton took me to a comic book store in Dublin and subsequently lent me his copy of Fun Home, her graphic memoir. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the title like I did, Fun Home has nothing to do with Carnival season. It’s effing amazing though. I would rather not use terms such as “effing amazing” and “mind blowing” (just, y’know, as a rule) but guys! My mind? It was blown. Nearly ten years after its first publication and all over spring 2015.
Which, coincidently, is also the time where the musical inspired by the book won 5 Tony Awards. Wait, what? Bless you America. You took quite the dark and somber topics: an honest and raw reflection of what is the family nucleus, the repercussion of each other’s actions and words and silences… the search of one’ sexual identity, the guilt, the shame, the lies, the inertia… and turned it into a musical. A Tony-winning musical! The first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist. Round of applause everyone, well done.
[I have not seen it. Yet. #trulysorry]
Right, back to me! Alison, on top of being/drawing amazing, also introduced me to some great people. The likes of Dr. Donald “Good Enough Mother” Winnicott and Dr. Alice “Drama of the Gifted Child” Miller, for example. Both true pioneers and defenders of children all over. Both brilliant, empathic minds that are not featured here as “Figs.” as such but Alice and Donald have been knocking around our Book Club. If you haven’t already, you should check that out. Wink-wink nudge-nudge etc… Both inspirations, amongst others, behind the altruistic pillar of the BYOBYOGA project. After all, self-care truly starts by giving a mega hug to our inner child.
Synchronicity and/or serendipity is fecking everywhere. All these different reads and peeps got me onto the path I’m on now. People I met at the time I met them, I don’t believe I just “stumble upon them.” It’s kinda less charming that way anyway. And maybe, just maybe, that’s why I link and ping and share and tell you stories about my friends. All shining lights at different points in my life. Sometimes the lights were dim or blinding and I couldn’t really see them. Still happens, but less. It’s different. I guess my point is: it’s ok, let’s all take it in, and let it… percolate.
This renewed will to write is a funny thing.