All issues of The Outbreak use Prezi, a third-party online presentation software. I know that Prezi works great on computers with Windows, because that’s how I built it. But I can’t test everything! If you encounter problems viewing The Outbreak on other devices with other operating systems, please let me–and everyone else–know in the comments. Of course, please also leave a comment if you found a solution! I’ll add all advice to the How to Use Prezi page.
It seems a bit silly to write a review of Maus, because its greatness isn’t really a matter of opinion. It just is. So if this reads a little more like an advertisement, an effort to make sure everyone knows about this and has a chance to read it, then I hope you’ll understand.
Maus is a story about a man getting to know his father. Maus is a story about life as a Jewish man in Poland during the Holocaust. Maus is a story about a difficult family relationship. Maus is a story about mental health. Maus is a story about survival. Maus is a story about how essential, life-saving behaviors and habits can seem ludicrous when survival is no longer a struggle. Maus is a story about how trauma affects us and how that in turn affects everyone around us. Maus is a story about how essential we are to one another, even when we can’t stand each other. Maus is a story about marriages. Maus is a story about loss. Maus is a story about the overwhelming presence of absence. Maus is a story about immigration. Maus is a story about ingenuity. Maus is a story about real, living history.
Maus is a great book and an amazing comic. Just go read it already.
Just a warning that if things don’t look right on the site for the next… while, try giving it a few minutes and refreshing the page. I’m furiously working behind the scenes to get the site ready for the launch of the first issue of The Outbreak. But every once in a while, my changes spill out in front of the curtain.
It’s a learning curve and, like all learning curves, a damn frustrating one.
The good news is that when it’s done, you’ll have a new comic to read!
In other news, the reading I did with Paging Columbus last week went very well, I think. It was wonderful to see so many friendly and supportive people there. I should have a video of the event to post soon!
Just a reminder that I, along with a couple other writers, will be reading tomorrow (Thursday) at the Urban Arts Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio. I’ll be reading from my in-progress novel, which you can learn more about here.
Here’s a little promo that Hannah Stephenson recently sent out with some more info and nice links.
Of Large Marge, Casper, and Beetlejuice. Of stomping grounds and returned-to places. Of poltergeists and amusement park haunted houses and the haunted house that the mind can become….
I can’t wait for Thursday’s Paging Columbus: Haunts! Our expert team of ghostbusters/spirit guides (David Winter, J. L. Smither, and Rachel Lee) will be sharing poems and prose. Also, for the first time, Paging Columbus will begin with a (brief but haunting) performance by artist David Knox.
Our event will run from 6-8 PM on Thursday, March 6 (at OSU Urban Arts Space), but we’ll get started with the performance/readings at 6:30. Tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya.
Hemingway, Ernest, Donald Sutherland, Travis Tonn, Steve Gomer, and Amre Klimchak. 2006. The old man and the sea. New York, N.Y.: Audioworks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Divison. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/ 69652152
Like Moby Dick, The Old Man and The Sea clearly isn’t for everyone. But I loved it. You don’t pick this one up for the plot, you pick it up for what it says about the human condition. About each one of us, more so the older we get. Life is a struggle. Sometimes we get lucky and something amazing happens. But even then, does it really matter? We can feel proud and we can feel shame, we can face the world as an impoverished Cuban fisherman or as the great Joe DiMaggio, we can feel energy or exhaustion, and we can put up brilliant and incredible fights… but in the end, does it matter? We all die. We all struggle and die and then are eaten.
That sounds horribly depressing, I realize, but it’s not! Truly! How freeing to know that no matter what you count as your personal successes and failures in life, we all end up the same way. The trick is just to keep fighting. Just keep striving for better, for stronger, for longer. Be content with what you have and what you’ve achieved, yes, and allow others their own choices, but strive, always strive.
Santiago is like some kind of Zen master, never begrudging the other fishermen for their success, still loving the boy even though he has had to join a more successful boat, and deeply respecting the marlin who struggles so epically and forms such a worthy adversary. The sharks finally snap the calm, peaceful thread through this story, the sharks that defeat the old man.
There will always be sharks. There will be 85-day stretches without a fish. There will be giant marlins who fight for 3 days. There will be times you have to eat dolphin without lime or salt. The nobility of these struggles comes not from the struggle themselves, but out of how we react to them. Each of us has a choice at every moment to get angry, bitter, and frightened. Or, we can choose to recognize the ultimate meaninglessness of these tiny battles and accept life for what it is.
This story could very well be the defining one of Santiago’s life. But who will know about it outside his village? How much will he even tell the boy? This is just one small story in the course of one small life, the kind of thing that gets quickly forgotten by everyone else. But what is a life but a series of small stories–accomplishments mixed with failures? And what can a story from another small life contribute to mine?