You have so many layers, that you can peel away a few, and everyone’s so shocked or impressed that you’re baring your soul, while to you it’s nothing, because you know you’ve twenty more layers to go.
—  Craig Thompson, Carnet de Voyage
Gems from Alison Bechdel
On writing:

“It began at a low point. It was very difficult for me to get started because I had absolutely no confidence in my writing. The comic strip is all dialogue, which is a very different kind of writing.”

“I hate collaborating. I try to do it as little as possible.”

On the graphic novel:

“You’re intimately involved with the whole book. You’ve caressed every surface of every page. If you write a regular book, it’s a one-dimensional construct, a line of text that flows endlessly. But here you have to handle every page.”

“I would make repetitive graphic marks in my diary as a kid. I was afraid of lying, or writing untruths, so I would add these little notes that said, “I think,” to qualify the sentences. It was a way of undoing myself. Eventually it got too time consuming to write those words over and over again, so I made them into a little symbol, and the symbol got bigger and bigger, and I would go over it and over it until whole entries in my journal were obscured. In a way I feel like this memoir is just an elaborated version of that, these crazy, repetitive marks on paper.”

On the culture of comics:

“I started working in the early eighties doing this lesbian comic strip. Comics are a teenage boy-oriented industry, and back then it was much more so; there was no question that my work was not going to be part of that universe. So I entered the gay and lesbian literary world. That was my venue.”

On drawing:

“The more fun, exciting part for me is the writing. I love the drawing, but it’s work. It’s arduous, at least the sketching and layout.” 

“I don’t even keep a sketchbook. I only draw when I have to.”

Read Alison Bechdel in conversation with Craig Thompson, the creator of Blankets here

Alison Bechdel is one of our 25 Women To Read Before You Die.

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