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"Sara Ryan" - 5 new articles

  1. Four things for February
  2. Subterranean
  3. 2014 in review, 2015 in prospect
  4. First sunrise of 2015
  5. Books I received as gifts.
  6. Search Sara Ryan
  7. Prior Mailing Archive

Four things for February

1. Saw a friend recently, and he asked, “What’ve you been up to?” I paused, shrugged, and we both started laughing. He’s a writer too; we agreed that when you’re not necessarily wanting to talk in great detail about what you’re working on, you’re also not necessarily gonna be an outstanding conversationalist, because what you’re up to, basically, is writing.

2. But I’m also always reading and listening. I discovered the Nerdette podcast after seeing Tricia Bobeda on an excellent panel at ALA Midwinter and particularly enjoyed the recent episode featuring Scott McCloud.

3. In online reading, I’m very much appreciating Malinda Lo’s Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviewing series; here’s Part 1: “Scarcely Plausible,” and Part 2: “So Many (Too Many?) Issues.”

4. I mentioned this elsewhere online but buried the lede, so let me try again: here is a picture of me at about age seven, dressed in a Wonder Woman costume that was homemade except for the mask.

wonder_woman_mask_web

The boots are rain boots, the gloves are dishwashing gloves, the belt buckle is made from a coffee can lid. I post this not just to demonstrate my mom’s cleverness at constructing this early cosplay, but as a way to announce that I wrote a story for Sensation Comics: Featuring Wonder WomanIt’s not out yet, but assuredly I’ll post about it again when it is. Christian Duce is doing the art. And I wish I could go back and tell my 90s Sandman-reading self that one day I’d have a story in a comic with a cover by Michael Zulli.

 

    


Subterranean

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The lump in this photo is my cat in his current favorite location, under blankets. Which, right, technically is not subterranean per se as he is not actually underground, but work with me. Things are happening below the surface.

Have been reading Hilary Mantel, late onto the Cromwell trilogy bandwagon (and how amused her version of Cromwell would be at the notion of a “Cromwell bandwagon”) delighted by its nuance and sweep. Evocative prose on a sentence-by-sentence level, incredible command of the setting and giant cast.

Have also been reading Diane Ackerman, specifically Dawn Light, and appreciating her close and lovely observations of the natural world & the seasons (not really separable, I suppose, which is part of the point). Not a book I would have sought out, but when it appeared unexpectedly, it seemed only right to pick it up.

It’s a quiet January, getting things done & trying to be grateful for what’s possible rather than regretting what isn’t.

 

 

    

2014 in review, 2015 in prospect

I used two tools to come up with a basic overview of what-I-did-in-2014: my calendar, and the bookkeeping program I use to track my freelance work. A bit reductionist, but they do serve to more or less document what I was up to.

Four university events in 2014:

photo credit: Darice Cobb

Kapow! at Eastern Michigan University, a comics art exhibit and panel discussion; also a chance to see old friends who braved the ghastly weather.

 

 

 

photo credit Emma Fierberg

Syracuse University’s student-organized Life Gets Better Together conference, where I was on the keynote panel about the cultural climate for LGBT folks and taught a writing workshop.

 

 

University of Michigan’s Kids Read Comics in the Classroom preconference, another panel! And another opportunity to see old friends, better weather this time.

At Western Oregon University, all by myself this time, talking about Bad Houses with Shaun Huston’s Cultural Geography class. Favorite student response: “Today Sara Ryan came in and she seems pretty kick ass … She has an awesome vibe and spoke about the process of making Bad Houses with great enthusiasm.”

I was a guest at four comic conventions: Emerald City, Wondercon, Kids Read Comics, and the Rose City Comicon.

photo (1)

I was on yet another panel at YALSA’s Young Adult Literature Symposium, this one on YA Realness: what makes ‘contemporary YA’ feel true to readers? Also participated in the very exciting Book Blitz, where the above photo was taken.

And I taught a couple of workshops, one on comics writing, one with Rosanne Parry on writing with cultural responsiveness, at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Oregon conference. Also a writing workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library, and four comics writing workshops for teens at Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Whew.

…but wait, did you actually write anything? 

Yes I did: a more-than-usually-self-disclosing essay for an anthology, and a short comic featuring an extremely well-known character for another anthology. Neither has yet appeared but I will tell you when they do. And also other things, which are In Progress.

In 2015, so far I’m most looking forward to teaching at the Lambda Literary Foundation Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, being a special guest at the San Diego Comic-Con, and — needless to say — progressing on the things that are In Progress. Further bulletins as events warrant.

    


First sunrise of 2015

through the blinds of an upstairs window.

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Books I received as gifts.

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Books have always been my favorite items to give and receive. This holiday friends & family presented me with the following:

  • Evasiondescribed by The Insurgent as “many beautiful stories about surviving in voluntary squalor that are human and touching, yet liberatory and hopeful at the same time.”
  • London Under: the secret history beneath the streetsI’ve enjoyed the other Peter Ackroyd books I’ve read, especially his Shakespeare biography, and anything with a subtitle that includes the phrase ‘secret history’ is likely to pull me in.
  • Americanahwhich I’ve previously read as an audiobook and am happy to have on paper to reread.
  • The Woman Who Borrowed Memories: selected stories. Tove Jansson is one of my all-time favorite authors and I’m ridiculously excited about reading new-to-me stories from her.
  • HavI’ve read other travel books by Jan Morris but had no idea this one existed; a travel book about a place she invented, with an introduction by Ursula K. LeGuin. Sold!
  • The Urban Circus: travels with Mexico’s malabaristas. I have a longstanding interest in circus, and this paragraph from the first chapter is immediately intriguing: “Malabarista. Most dictionaries will tell you it means ‘juggler’, but it’s broader than that. It describes a specific type of circus performer: one whose skill lies in the manipulation of objects. And beneath that it carries a note of ambiguity, a hint at something darker. I have heard that in Chile, it can also mean ‘trickster': one whose skill lies in the manipulation of people.”
  • Godtalk: travels in spiritual AmericaI’m also fascinated by the role religion & spirituality play in people’s lives, so I’m looking forward to this overview of several faiths by an author who took a participatory approach to his investigation.
  • Ilf and Petrov’s American Road Trip: the 1935 travelogue of two Soviet writers, Ilya Ilf and Eugeny PetrovAlmost done with this one already; wry observations and interesting photos.

If I don’t post again before 2015, the above should explain why.

    



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