I really like your comics; this only the fourth one I’ve read and they’re powerful and well-executed. (I started with the “cord blood” one.) This one struck me specially, since I was recently also thinking about children’s memories. (I have two. Children, not memories). I broke our camera last month and have been sweating the fact that really sweet moments are going by without their being visually recorded. It makes me think of the worth of memories; the “script” as you’ve called it. As a dad, I think a lot about the plotlines etched on my kids’ hearts as their senses take in each day’s dose of play and pain, and how it will shape their perspective as adults. So that last panel struck me deeply.
I grew up really impacted by the contrast of beauty and horror in the world around us, and came out with a whole different set of image–>emotion associations than some of the ones I’ve seen in your comics. I was thinking about that lamp, and other things people connect with sadness, loneliness, and anxiety, and while I can of course take a sense of a transition-to-emptiness from an aged balloon, that image and many others like it bring much more positive feelings. Weeping willows strike me as relaxed and easygoing, even motherly; curved lamps are more funny and clownish than sad (maybe I have Pixar to thank for that). The floating-away panel speaks (to me) of a fleetingness of identity; a groundlessness which makes the balloon seem untied to anything solid. Do you feel like your identity is tied metaphysically to the objects around you, or would your you-ness be completely intact in an empty space, bare of color and content? There are two things this comic communicated to me: 1) when things are lost, they are lost (the balloon has floated away- it’s gone forever – i.e. everything in the last panel), and 2) the state of your present is heavily dependent on your own assumption of #1. Now, on the off chance that that observation is actually close to the truth, I have to say that I don’t agree with #1. I think a life-system which fills our shelves with dusty toys and other clutter (outmoded electronics, undying plastic uselessnesses, lots of favorite t-shirts that don’t fit anymore) and forces a speed on us without time to enjoy those things (even while they’re new) easily creates the overwhelming idea of forgottenness– the cliche of the cobwebbed baby-doll or the haunted wheelchair. It is *use* that keeps thing new-ish, and love that keeps things in use. Perhaps it’s our feeling of uselessness and expendability as human beings that keeps us feeling at risk of sitting on a shelf, cobwebbed, in our old age. I hope I can instill my kids with a counter-image: of their absolute usefulness to the world around them and the solidity and weight of their uniqueness. That they have the power to make things grow again; to bring new use out of old things, “old” people. In that mindset, I feel like there’s a great chance of the cooler parts of the “script” making an impression on them in the deep places, strengthening their hearts instead of breaking them.
Sorry for running on so long… It’s because of your heartfelt questions that I feel prompted to communicate! I hope you can take all this with the friendliness I wrote it with. Thank you for your art, heart and voice. I’m looking forward to reading on.
oh my god, are you talking about Mother’s Cookies?! That was so tragic… my mother and i mourned the iced oatmeal for weeks, but then they came back! : )
But… you’re probably talking about something much more serious. Heh.
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ingrid Sousa. Ingrid Sousa said: “We direct this film, but the script can break your heart forever” – http://comics.lucyknisley.com/2009/03/inflatable/ [...]
I immediately looked at my lamp and couldn’t help but to pity it. It’s much too bright when it’s happy.
It’s a tad unnerving to come across an illustration of one’s own private quirks! I give balloons away the instant I receive them to avoid the heart break and I don’t ever pick up a stuffed animal at a store lest I attach too much narrative to it and not be able to walk away, leaving it behind on the shelf.
This is my life! Try pointing your lamp upwards but towards a wall. That way it’s happy, but not too bright.
This reminded me of hoe bummed I was when Jolt! Cola stopped being made. That was my ‘cookie company’!
Just wanted to say that I love your work. Both the images and text are just beautiful.
Thank you for articulating so many nuanced emotions so well. Your comics truly have a soul and heart.
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