Between 1998 and 2003, my family and I went through what I guess could be called a tragedy. I don't really talk about this. Even those folks who are closest to me probably don't know the whole story. One thing I've never thought about is exploiting the story professionally. So, I was very surprised when I found myself wondering yesterday what the story would look like as a comics memoir.
I tried to ignore it for a while, but even today, I find myself thinking about the structure of the tale. And I've been thinking about it in those terms: a tale. What would need to be revealed first, second, so on.
In comics, memoirs like these are often the purview of the writer/artist. I'm thinking about Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Epilepsy by David B. I am not an artist of course, but that would be an interesting problem, wouldn't it? Attracting an artist to the project who would fit visually. What exactly would be in the project that they would find attractive?
I think as far as publishing goes, that the project would be sort of a no-brainer. It seems like exactly the kind of projects that large publishers are looking for. Thinking about it in these terms makes me feel a little slimy. How many times have I looked at an ad for a new memoir and said, sarcastically, "Boy, I wish I'd experienced some horrible tragedy so that I could get a book deal." Now that I'm thinking about it seriously, I feel like a hypocrite. Of course, I can't help but think about the commercial potential of any project I might consider. It's second nature to me by now.
So, I suppose, I have to consider why it is I want to work on this project. It is not simply to have a commercial project (believe it or not, it's never only that). I've found myself thinking about this time in my life more and more lately. It almost feels like something that needs to be exorcised. But that's not right either. It's an episode that has certain power over me, mostly because I haven't examined it closely. Perhaps, once I have looked closely at it from all sides, it will no longer have a hold over me.
And of course, there are more feelings in play than just mine. My brothers, my sister, at least one ex-girlfriend, inlaws. I'd need to speak with all of them about this, right? They were all involved and will be affected if a book about this period comes out. How does one handle that?
There's a lot here I need to think about. And I few people with whom I should talk. More later, I promise.