Here I am in the big, big city, folks! I’m such a stay-at-home of late that if feels like a huge adventure, even though I know travelling like this is perfectly routine for some people. For myself, I’m remembering what the hobbits say – “adventures are usually uncomfortable”! So I won’t in all honesty claim that this has been a totally fun trip, though it has had many interesting, delightful, and even satisfying moments. I’ve met some lovely new people, with whom I hope I’ll be able to keep in touch, at least through social media, I’ve learned a few new tidbits, and amazed myself by keeping going when I thought everything was just too tired and painful to go on with (I’m going to pay for this later, I’m sure). I somehow survived the most terrifying taxi ride of my life, gotten fairly confident at using the subway, and am feeling a lot more competent at using “devices” (a word which always cracks me up because in my mind it seems to sprout puns in all directions) to find my way around and manage routine transactions of travel, though I had a bad moment at the airport when I realized I had no idea how to use the check-in kiosks.
(I also had no idea how to draw a plane, so while I had one handy, I drew one.)
If all this makes me sound like an old granny from the sticks, I’m afraid that’s what I’m beginning to feel like. Last time I was here, I was easily and happily walking the kilometre between my hostel and the venue; this time I’m thumping around with a cane between subway stations and destinations. Polite young men and women (and some not so young) offer to help with my bags and offer seats. The lady at the museum gave me the seniors’ admission without asking (and I’m a year shy of the requisite age). It’s like one of those stories where someone gets magically aged and then gets a kind of culture shock! Which can make me kind of freak out, like this fellow I sketched at the Royal Ontario Museum.
So here I am at an event that is a much younger demographic, where I don’t know anyone, and feeling a bit like an alien, insecure, and occasionally sorry for myself. Then I realize, hey – this is a whole lot like what being a teenager feels like again, only with arthritis instead of acne! Everybody here has got something that makes them feel awkward, and my something has just changed, that’s all.
Many of the younger comics creators are writing about these kinds of issues in their work, and maybe I need to address some of these things in comics form too. The whole idea feels profoundly scary; I’m not sure where I would begin to explain that getting old isn’t another country, it’s just a new set of the same things. I guess maybe I’ve written the first step here.
But enough seriousness; in the meantime, while pondering these weighty issues, I’ve made my first zine. In good zine tradition, I stitched it together in the hostel room the nights before the show, and when I ran out of carpet thread I went over to the drug store and got some dental floss. It turned out to be mint-waxed, so now I have the regular edition, and the mint edition. It was actually a really satisfying process, if very labour intensive, to make my own books, printed on my home printer.
Thursday, as I mentioned, was a trip to the Royal Ontario, and a whirlwind sketching tour. That deserves its own post, as I took a lot of photos and would like to talk about them separately. Friday I attended a couple of panels and had a chance to have a one on one meeting with a very kind fellow from the Canada Council, who gave me some good leads, even though at this time I don’t seem to be eligible for any CC grants. I went back to the hostel for the afternoon to rest, as I found the jet lag, different food and water, and all the excitement catching up to me. Then it was a late night setting up, and an early morning wakeup…
…and I’ll have to report on the convention itself later! I’m off to another day at TCAF!