Today is the last day to register to vote in Massachusetts. Are you registered? Up to date? Good!
With an important mid-term election looming, and the news cycle, well, all the time really, but particularly in the last few months, many folks I know and particularly folks who identify as women have been feeling pretty stressed out of late. The Kavanaugh hearings were difficult for a lot of folks and the results were even more so. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel those feelings and, if possible, use them constructively. But sometimes you just need to take a break and feel some positivity. Here are a few things that have been working for me, lately.
Tussetroll and Tingeling: Fun fact, I am not particularly an animal person. I’m not afraid of them – I’m just…not that interested. However, once in a while there comes a pet Instagram that I can’t help but fall for, and this is the latest. The animals I like have a lot of personality and are usually a little different from the norm, and huge, flat-faced Persian Tussetrolle and his pitch-black, Scottish Fold flat-eared sister Tingeling hit all of the right notes for me.
Little Allejandro: Another Instagram feed, but this one’s closer to home. The Giant Party should have made it obvious that I am in love with tiny things. I also really love inanimate objects having grand adventures – it’s a little bit of magic in a world that is often far too mundane. Little Allejandro is a doll who lives in a house quite nearby to my own – and the house has a little dollhouse BUILT INTO THE FRONT OF IT. Child-Me would have been obsessed with it – and frankly, adult me is, too. The homeowners change up the scenery of the dollhouse frequently to match the seasons, holidays, and events in the neighborhood, but they also run this Instagram feed for their most iconic resident, Little Allejandro. He accompanies them on trips and occasionally runs into trouble. It’s a brilliant, soothing bit of everyday magic.
Making Ice Cream: I’d never suggest eating your feelings, per se, but this summer I finally broke down and bought my own ice cream freezer and I’m having a lot of fun figuring out how to get the most out of it. So far I’ve mostly made very traditional, custard-based ice creams, largely inspired by http://bravetart.com/, but there’s a whole world of sorbet, ice milk, and other delights waiting to be explored.
Hilda: I don’t want to step on the toes of any other Ladies who might want to do a more comprehensive review of this Netflix gem, but if you’re looking for something comforting to watch, you couldn’t do better than Hilda. Based on the popular graphic novels by Luke Pearson, Hilda is the story of a little Scandinavian girl who has adventures meeting the magical creatures who live in the woods and city around her. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting is top-notch, and the whole show is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket with a cup of cocoa. (Hilda herself is voiced by Bella Ramsey, better known as the amazing, scene-stealing Lyanna Mormont on Game of Thrones.)
Work with the Rage: Finally, sometimes you just have acknowledge your anger to let it go. The Believer published this excellent long read by Megan Stielstra about women’s rage and why we have so much trouble acknowledging and processing it. She’s been dealing with her own anger in part by throwing axes, which you can now do here in the Boston area, if that appeals. However, you can also use those strong feelings to make a donation or volunteer for a nonprofit in your area (here’s my personal favorite), campaign for a politician or cause you believe in, or start a Meetup for folks to come together to share other ideas for engagement, learn more about candidates, or just talk about how they’re feeling.
So that’s how I’m dealing with my anxiety about November 6th. ON November 6th, of course, I’m going to do the only thing I can do – I’m going to vote! What are all of you doing to deal with your hopes and fears? Tell me all about it in the comments.
This post took a couple of twists in my mind – I need to get back to my Flash recaps, and I really have an all-ages round-up review that I need to get to you all, but inspiration wasn’t coming on those fronts. Then I realized I hadn’t written my now-annual webcomics recommendations, and I have three more that are drawn and written by women. So boom! More suggestions of fun comics I think you should check out and which are freely available to you on the internet-enabled device of your choosing.
Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler
Update schedule: Erratic, I guess? But there’s a pretty big archive built up, and they are always worth the wait.
Plot: In 1920’s Saint Louis, a gang of misfits and ne’er-do-wells attempt to help young widow Mitzi May maintain her once prosperous speakeasy, the Lackadaisy, after the untimely death of her husband. Her competition includes gangsters, voodoo-practicing twins, and former employees, and her allies are lunatics, drug addicts, and young men with an unhealthy zeal for firearms. Oh, and did I mention that all of the characters happen to be cats?
That conceit could be annoying, but Butler pulls it off beautifully – her artwork is gorgeous, and she takes advantage of the cartooniness of anthropomorphic animals to allow her characters to express a full range of emotions. Slapstick zanieness? Yeah, we got that, but we’ve also got some real poignant moments, too. The writing is also top-notch, and has me really caring about what happens to the Lackadaisy and its denizens.
Bonus: The Gallery This little round up of extras has a ton of amazing content, from silly mini-comics to some drop-dead knockout illustrations of the cast as humans. Plenty to keep you occupied while you wait for the next post.
The Meek by Der-shing Helmer
Plot: A young girl with green hair and mysterious powers makes a promise to her dying mentor to travel to the heart of the empire she lives in to find “the center.” Meanwhile, the emperor himself is plagued by border disputes with the neighboring country – and by visions of a tiger only he can see.
I’m not gonna lie – this one is hard to explain. Think epic fantasy quest with a bit of an environmentalist theme, although I feel like that doesn’t do the story justice – it sounds like I’m talking about Ferngully. The truth here is far more complicated and subtle – Helmer has put a lot of thought into the rituals, religions, and political structures of her fictional lands, but manages to weave them into the narrative in a way that feels natural. (Although the comic does have its own wiki if you want to do further reading.) The art is masterfully colored, and shows an understanding of movement and flow that I really appreciate.
Bonus: For a while, The Meek was on hiatus – so she started another whole comic called Mare Internum. It’s about life on Mars and it is getting seriously creepy and beautiful right now. She is also responsible for this. I don’t know how to tell you to feel about that.
Sakana by Madeline Rupert
Updates: T, F
Plot: Jiro and Taro Sakana work in their uncle’s fish stall – Jiro is a salesman, while Taro is a rather too good butcher. The comic follows their adventures trying to figure out women, excessively cranky co-workers, and navigate adult life.
While all three of these recommendations have occasional jokes and levity, Sakana easily has the lightest heart. The title is a big clue of what you’re in for – “sakana” means fish in Japanese. Full of silly puns and cartoony art that favors Chuck Jones-style overreaction over subtlety, at its core Sakana is still about a family and its problems, and the emotions are real and gripping.
Bonus: Rupert writes and draws for Boom! Studio’s KaBOOM licensed kid’s comics, including Adventure Time, Regular Show, Bravest Warriors, Bee and Puppycat and Steven Universe. If you like those properties I can almost guarantee you’ll like Sakana.
So what else should I be reading? Have any of you followed up on my other recommendations and what did you think? To the comments, friends!