Increasing the AIR Supply

Okay, I think that really has to be it.  That title might just be as lame as I’m willing to be for the sake of squeezing out an “air” pun.  Yeah.  Believe that when I actually stop, right?

So last week I gave you Episode 3, and now, rushing it in only five days later so I can post it before Black History Month ends … it’s Episode 4!




I’m still WAY too wordy, and that’s definitely something I will work on as I move forward and when I go back to revise these early episodes … but hey, I’m nothing if not wordy.  It might just be something I have to accept.  We’ll see.  I’d love to know what you think of the comic — this particular episode and of the work so far.  I appreciate all feedback!

(If you’ve missed any of the other episodes, I’m keeping them on their own page for easy catching up.)

And don’t forget: Saturday is the start of the 2014 Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! Start posting on Saturday, and post throughout March … for the sheer satisfaction of posting, and for the chance to win some lovely prizes.  Best bonus of all, you get to read fabulous writing from other slicers.  You’re sure to find some new voices you’ll love.  This is the seventh year of the challenge and it’s grown like crazy.  I think in the first year we were maybe a dozen slicers? Last year, we were somewhere near 200.  Who knows how many there will be this year?  Add your unique voice to the group!

Check out today’s slices!

SOL image 2014

18 thoughts on “Increasing the AIR Supply

  1. I hope the world is better today. This just makes me sad for the ignorance, but I rejoice with your voice being strong then and now. I love your commentary and I wouldn’t worry about being too wordy.


    1. Thanks, Elsie! The world, in many ways, is better today. We still have lots of work to do, however.

      I’m hoping to take a week-long intensive this summer in making comics, and I hope to come out of that with a better of how to achieve more balance between my words (and words and words …) and images.


  2. I was beginning to really despise your teacher until I read the wise words your mother shared. What a learning experience, and a pivotal one at that, for you. And why is it that people still trot out just MLK all the time when talking about race and race related issues, where are all the other voices in your box???


    1. Your question was always my question when I was growing up. And I knew that the things I had in my box still formed an incomplete list. My mom and dad and my aunt were always telling me about other people. I could have done the whole of high school studying nothing but black history and would still have had so much further to go!


  3. Your mother is so wise. So is mine — when I was the only Chinese kid in elementary school from grades 2-4, she arranged to come talk to my class during Chinese New Year (complete with homemade rice cakes and a penny for each student, tucked into a red envelope). It wasn’t a heavily Asian neighborhood but it was diverse in other ways, and thanks to my mom carving out this space for us, I never felt too “weird.”

    I don’t mind the wordiness, but I would have loved to see drawings of some of the items in your box — were they just books about all these figures (most of whom I’d never heard of until I took US history in college), or were there objects as well? I want to see what those flash cards and comic books looked like!


    1. I love that your mother did this! So wonderful of her, and helpful for you!

      Thanks for the feedback. Most of the things in my box were books, but I did also have the comic book and the flash cards. None of them would have been interesting to draw. I had thought I’d do MLK and Malcolm, but couldn’t get the drawings to come out the way I wanted. If I expanded the story a little, I could have some of the people or stories in thought bubbles/panels. Would that work for illustrating what’s in the box? (Hmm … I’m thinking of drawing Deadwood Dick or maybe Daisy Bates and the Littlerock Nine …)


      1. True, drawing famous figures is not an easy task! Well, in the panel with all the names, for instance — I wonder if you could have drawn many of the people mentioned, even just as tiny figures or silhouettes. If nothing else, showing them as full (clothed) bodies would give a sense of the historical scope, because you’d see that some of the names mentioned are of people from long ago, whereas others are more contemporary. That would evoke something visual, rather than the list of names (though the names are very important too and I wouldn’t necessarily advise cutting them out completely — especially as this makes the point that these names are NOT taught often enough!).


        1. I’d like to figure out something to do with that panel. I loved just filling and filling it with the names (it’s my favorite panel in the comic), and actually wished I could have squeezed in a few more! If I go to VONA this summer, I’m hoping the group will help me learn how to create a better balance between words and images. Wish you were going to be in that class with me! (hint hint hint hint hint …)


  4. I love you work with Comics but I feeling that as you get to the end there are too many words on the page but I am remembering my fascination with Malcolm X and appalled by the negative feelings about his contributions today. Autobiog of Malcolm X, what a book!


    1. Thanks, Bonnie. Yes, I’m worried about the “too many words on the page,” too, worried that I’m really doing handwritten stories with a few illustrations rather than a “real” comic. But something I realized not long ago — and it’s funny to me that I hadn’t thought of this at all before then — is that all of these are drafts, that they can be … wait for it … revised! How did I not think of that? So strange. So I’ve been thinking of the ways I would want to change each of them in the next go-round. I’ll definitely be trying to address the “too many words” issue!


  5. woaca2008

    I love all your words, and I especially love this strip. The experience with your teacher reminded me of something analogous when I was 10 or 11 in the ’50s. One day I noticed that my teacher had a “God Bless Joe McCarthy” bumper sticker, and I was aghast, because in my home Joe McCarthy was a bad guy.My mother said something similar to what your mother did, people have different opinions about people. And I agree with another comment that it would be good to see what the contents of your box looked like.


    1. Thanks, Sonia! I have such a clear memory of this episode. Obviously it really resonated with me as a 10-year-old … and continues to resonate all these years later. I loved making the presentation panel, trying to squeeze in as many of my loves as I could. Your “God Bless Joe McCarthy” episode is definitely the same thing — that shake-up in your brain (that’s my super-scientific way of saying ‘cognitive dissonance’!) is absolutely what I was feeling. Interesting that it happened at around the same age. I wonder if that says something about how we see the world, how we process information at certain ages.


  6. I don’t have time to write a pithy comment, but wanted to say that I loved this! It really makes me think. (I didn’t mind the wordiness, but I am a wordy person myself. But you are probably right that fewer words are better for this medium. It would be interesting to think about how some of the wordier frames could be depicted with more graphics.)

    This medium is a fantastic and accessible way for you to share these stories. And I love that you are telling these stories!

    Now I have to run off to get ready for work.


  7. Wow.
    I am floored by how well your comic/graphic story is coming together. I’m sorry I’ve been out of your loop (although it does seem like you and I and a few others go 11 months between hanging out here on the screen).
    Yes, maybe a little wordy, but my gosh … what a story, and I love how you pulled it together.
    Thank you for making my day.


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