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 Post subject: A question for Ms. Boss Lady regarding an essay
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:43 pm GMT 
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Posts: 79
Dear Ms. Butler,

In my English class we are starting a college-style research paper about how one author effects another author. At first I thought about doing Tolkien and Lewis, but somehow a bunch of other kids in my class read my mind and, long story short, I can't do those two now.
I seeked help from my teacher and she took notice in my interest in art and all things graphic novel, and suggested I write about a comic that interested me. I thought about Lackadaisy and I'm thinking about doing it for my paper. My teacher approves, considering I've lent her my copy of the book and keep bothering her to read it everyday. My only drawback is the riskyness, seeing as I have to reference at least 6 scholarly types about Lackadaisy and it's relation to another author. Counterattack to my drawback: see if I can let my teacher bend the rules to let me write about how an author has been influenced by many authors.
Ok. Got that squared away. If that all follows through than what I'd like to know from you is this: should I do it? I don't mind if you say know, but, as the author, I want you to feel comfortable with the fact that a pudgy teenager from America's Mitten is wrighting a research paper is writing a college-style essay on you (and some other author who's isn't as cool).
Double ok. If that follows through, then I need to know one last itty bitty thing. You've mentioned how you've been influenced by Shakespeare (Rocky), Tolkien ("Cellar Door!"), and have tipped the hat towards the Great Gatsby on occasion (although I'm not sure wear...), and you have a list of nifty links and book sources, BUT, what would you say, off the top of your head, would be your greatest literary influence?

Are you annoyed yet?

IF ALL ELSE FAILS, I will probably write about some other graphic novel like Watchmen, or American Born Chinese, or Maus. All good reads. The paper itself is due December 6th, but I'm supposed to start researching these two next weeks. Not to terse you, but a post-haste reply would be much appreciated.

Danke,

Hailey Theresa Joan McLaughlin

PS- Other forum members, what say you?

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Boss Lady
 Post subject: Re: A question for Ms. Boss Lady regarding an essay
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:36 pm GMT 
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Well, let me preface this by saying wow - I'm very honored.
I don't have any objections that would lead me to deliver an outright 'no' to you if this is really what you want to write your paper about. However, it is my honest opinion that Watchmen, American Born Chinese, and Maus are much more deftly wrought examples of the bridging of comics and literature, and are far worthier of being the subjects of such an essay than Lackadaisy is....or me, for that matter, as the author. They are also probably more pragmatic options for you, as other essays and critical reviews have been written about them upon which you can base some of your research.

Answering your question about literary influences is going to be a somewhat tricky affair. There were no one or two definitive tomes in my collection that led me to decide I must concoct something of my own, emulating some other author or following after the tradition of some preceding book. The volition to draw and write Lackadaisy emerged from such a bevy of things - historical facts and memes, movies, cartoons, comics, music, and books - it's difficult to pin down primary influences and dissect out which pieces of literature had a conscious effect. I'll jot some things down, though, and you may feel free to use the information if it's helpful to you.

---------------------

It's almost perfunctory to cite F. Scott Fitzgerald as an influence, if not a resource, for all works of fiction relating to the Roaring Twenties but written in some later decade. It's warranted, though. Lackadaisy has been no exception. Fitzgerald, in as much as he wrote fiction, chronicled the trends, attitudes, lifestyles and lexicon of an era (albeit within a somewhat limited sphere) and left his American progeny with a very distinct impression of its overriding character. The Great Gatsby and many of his shorter works, including some of the more biographical information and even some of his notes compiled in The Crack-up had a great deal to do with my perception of the time period, my own approach to characterizing it and developing personalities that would (hopefully) seem to be products of it.

Writers such as William Faulkner (mostly in reference to The Sound and The Fury) and Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast) have probably had much to do with my very character-centric approach to storytelling, for better or for worse. I tend to spend more time on the details of character interaction, sometimes at the expense of expedient plot progression, and I suspect this is why - I've enjoyed their work and its semi-voyeuristic fixation on the personalities therein and how their interplay creates a story. I found I prefer this to the inverse in which a story is more or less thrust upon a cast of characters.

Stodgy literati aside, Douglas Adams has long been one of my favorites. To me, his work exemplifies a near perfect combination of humor and substance woven together for maximum enjoyment. It's irreverent, but somehow manages it without wading too far into the shallow end of the pool, and it's satirical without being moralistic. In whatever capacity I can be called a writer, I strive for something similar.

Funny you should mention Maus. I read it back in about 2002 initially, and then read it again while Lackadaisy was still in the development phase to glean what I could from it. Although Spiegelman's graphic novel is of a far more serious-minded nature than mine, and though he uses animals to both lampoon and spotlight notions of nationality and ethnic difference (something I don't do at all), I think it helped validate for me that human characters with animal features can still carry dramatic weight.

I've referenced T. S. Eliot a couple of times for a similar reason - who has ever done a better job of telling stories about humanity with cats? The Waste Land has also colored my perception of post WWI culture to some extent. I referenced it in the middle or Rocky's rather more smug, optimistic (and stupid) poetry...for contrast, I suppose.

Bill Watterson's work taught me a great deal about combining visual and written components to tell a story. Though Calvin and Hobbes might not qualify as a literary influence exactly, perhaps it bears mentioning here.


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 Post subject: Re: A question for Ms. Boss Lady regarding an essay
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:10 am GMT 
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I suspected Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot may have played a part, what with all its rampant personification :wink: You've confirmed my suspicions, boss lady! (Eliot is my favourite poet, especially The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock).

Fisherman wrote:
PS- Other forum members, what say you?


I say your assignment idea is risky but original, and i'd love to see you pull it off! Go for it!

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"I do not give one on a boat, I do not give one in an oak. I do not give one here or there; I do not give one anywhere. I do not give a fuck you see; now go away, and leave me be".


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 Post subject: Re: A question for Ms. Boss Lady regarding an essay
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:17 pm GMT 
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*sigh* I don't think I'm going to be able to write about Lackadaisy. It's not that my teacher dissaproves, but that I need 6 scholarly references comparing Lackadaisy to something else. After scouring the internet, the best I could find were a few grammatically correct blog's from Joe Schmoe. My teacher is still encouraging me to do a graphic novel, so maybe I'll do something in the arena of Watchmen and Sandman. ...But first I need to read Sandman.

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