Monday, February 18, 2008

Two Books I Read

I know, I know, it has been almost two weeks since I posted, what do you want me to say? I'm not sorry, not at all. The fact is I have to deal with things in the non virtual world and the thought of combing the Internet to find something halfway interesting to post about just doesn't excite me. In away I blame the weather. Here in NW Illinois we have had foot after foot of snow in the last month and I have been shoveling like a madman. Currently, when I go outside I am surrounded by a blank white covering over the world. The almost constant cloud cover further stifles my mindset and makes me prone to solipsism. (How do I know that you are even out there reading this, that you are not just some construct I have made to keep myself company?) When the skies clear and my horizon widens again I am sure I will give a shit about what robots are doing in Japan but right now my world has contracted. I've read probably a book a day in the last month, some things I would never have picked in better weather. About all I have used the Internet for is music acquisition mostly here and here. All of this thinking has caused me to reconsider my posting strategy as well. My feeling is that I shouldn't be simply passing on tidbits and links, those are important but there should be some depth as well. Partly this is due to my admitting to myself that this blog is not going to make money. I don't even know why I still have ad sense on here, I probably owe google money.
But enough about my seasonal affective disorder, I haven't posted in a long while. Today I'll review two diaries. The first is SnakePit My Life in a Jugular Vein by Ben Snakepit and the second is 365 Days by Julie Doucet. Snakepit covers three years, highlights from Ben SnakePit's day are documented in a three panel format. As he says himself, he really can't draw but the simple lines reinforce the repetition inherent in his formula. Often pages will go by with him working, getting stoned, being broke, eating burritos and so on. This is broken up by occasional tours. He is so right about Rockford, it is a shitty place.
I for one am impressed that he manages to concentrate his days into three sections. If I were to attempt such a thing it would go something like this....and that's just before noon.
Highlights include the part where he gets scabies and there is a hilarious panel where his friend calls him out because he draws himself thinner than he actually is. In his defense he does begin to lay a little more ink around his midsection. What makes this work all the sweeter is the CD with track listing by date.
I first read Julie Doucet in her excellent Dirty Plotte more than a decade ago. She has always done surreally autobigraphical work and this is no exception. Doucet misses days and sometimes weeks and the days are often separated by decorative borders or collage elements. Of the two books this one is more self consciously artistic. Because of her past work I tend to forgive her for anything (really, anything) but she seems put out about having to make the journal at all. Despite that it is still easy to get lost in her lines and when she feels like it the intimacy she has always brought to her autobiographical stuff is there.

No comments: