I was asked to participate as a guest and as a guest speaker recently at the Rendez-vous International de la BD (bande dessinée=comic strip) de Gatineau Quebec. (whew!)
This is an annual gathering of Quebec cartoonists, many of whom are well known illustrators, graphic novelists, animators and magazine artists. I was delighted to be in the midst of a serious, talented and accomplished group of people who are well known and well respected in the province of Quebec. It seems this is one place in North America where cartooning really IS considered art- and there is even a university course dedicated to this art form!
There was a strike going on outside the Canadian Museum of Civilization, where the “BD” was held, and visitors were uncomfortable crossing the picket line, as were we. The event could not be moved or postponed, so it continued with few in attendance, but all of us there were free to take time to talk, draw and get to know each other. We were asked to do something that I thought was a great idea. We had an hour to draw (on a 4X6 piece of suspended canvas) an image of ourselves at the age of ten. What a challenge! We each handled the project differently, some of using our characters, some doing comic self portraits, but the interest it generated from the public- and from each of us, was wonderful.
On the morning I was to do a presentation in the auditorium, only about 15 people were in the audience. At first I wondered what I could do to make the "gig" work...but since we were all in the same profession, it was easy. I just talked about the spirit that's within us and how we are always on record! It became an open and comfortable discussion with friends. After 5 days, I felt like one of the guys and was even sputtering some phrases in my high school French. It's times like this I so regret being a jerk in school and refusing to learn when I had the chance. Just think how many JOKES you miss when you only have one language. (Well, I CAN follow the Spanish soap operas!)
[Image: Lynn drawing on a whiteboard celebrating the 50th anniversary of Asterix.]
[Image: A display showcasing the new-ruins.]
I have nothing but praise for Paul Roux and all the kind people who organized the "BD" and I look forward to seeing them again.
[Image: A convention participant looking at the Wall of Foob.]
[Image: Lynn promoting the last collection.]
[Image: Lynn mugging for the camera like an idiot.]
I must add a feetnote to this by telling you about my visit with lifelong pal Adrienne P. “Andie's” brother lives in Gatineau and when I told her I'd be there, she suggested we have some quality laffs together. Well, we had more than that...a great story evolved...and as Dave Barry says, "You can't make this stuff up!"
I’ve gotta tell you what happened with Andie... She snores, now. She told me so, but I figured it would be just a fweep or a snozz...but she snores like a TRAIN!!! I tried for awhile to manage. I gently touched her side and asked her to roll over, but by 1am, I was getting desperate. I pushed Kleenex into my ears, put a pillow on my head, but I still couldn't sleep. Around 2am I was going crazy. I shoved her and said- “Andie! You've gotta shut up!!! “ She snorted, apologized and went into the can. For a LONG time. I fell asleep. About an hour later, I woke up and she was not in the room. She was nowhere to be found and all her stuff was still there! Well...she had gone down into the lobby, wearing her blue flannel jammies (covered in moons and stars) and her red fuzzy socks, carrying a pillow. She asked the night clerk to let her sleep on a couch in the lobby, but was refused. She asked to sleep on a bench in the gym, but the gym opened at 6am. After some discussion about where she could stay for the night, she was given a small room that's only used for emergency overflow for 60 bucks. Bonzai!! Next morning, she wandered back to my room to use her toothbrush and get dressed. When she told me where she'd gone, I laughed so hard! Stories like this have made our friendship a constant adventure and I'll love her for life!!!
Well, that topped off my week in Gatineau. I have just come home from the IFOA- The International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront in Toronto. It’s a week long series of talks, lectures and other book related events which brings together authors, publishers and folks who revere reading and puts the spotlight on literature. Yesterday morning, I gave a talk, drew pictures on an overhead projector and read “Farley Follows His Nose” to a room full of bright, beautiful kids who were a pleasure to be with. In the past, I have always spoken to adult audiences. By having a children’s book on the market, I now have the challenge of talking to a much more critical crew! It went well- which means , once again I was talking to a room full of cartoonists and was able to just speak from the heart.
This ends my book related commitments for 2009. I don’t know if I’ll do any book touring next year- there MAY not be another book for awhile…but the fun of being with book people is almost enough to make one want to start working on something new. Lynn J.
Knowing her, her visit was seen as a humiliation which sent separatism to new heights. If so, I can't blame the Pequistes; I don't want to share a country with her either.