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Restricted Frequency #190
2023: Notions Towards a Blueprint
I am returned, my children.
Christmas is of no interest to me, and I’ve never been one to observe or celebrate it. But every year, I receive quite a few Christmas cards from those who do (by all means a lovely gesture). A couple of them however—sent by acquaintances who run their own very small businesses (which I s’pose is what I do as well)—are what you might describe as thinly-disguised pieces of self-promotion/ego-boosters, where the vast majority of the card and/or letter become a retelling of their year’s worth of fantastic accomplishments. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love seeing people succeed, most especially if they’re carving their own path. Year after year of getting these sort of cards though, you can begin to see where some of these puff-pieces are really about presenting a pristine front, often with way more fabrication than truth. And for whatever reason, despite working in the arts, I am only concerned with truth. No matter how cold or hard it may be.
And truth be told, while my 2022 may have been pretty good, my 2023 has been off to a rough start. But there have been a number of positives as well. Perhaps we start with those:
1. MOUTHFAIL Nominated
I received word that MOUTHFAIL, the 14-page comix essay I first created for Emory’s AND I MUST SCREAM catalog and later serialized here on RESTRICTED FREQUENCY, has been nominated for the Mahmoud Kahil Award, a prestigious award out of Beirut, Lebanon. I remember submitting just hours before the deadline, not even sure it would be considered at all by virtue of it:
a) Being in English.
b) Seeing publication in the U.S.
So it was truly a most delightful surprise to receive that email. Even more so because—despite my lifelong love for comix—I’ve had far more experience and recognition in other fields, so it’s that much more meaningful to get recognized for my comix work, an area of practice where I am at best deemed an outsider. Winner has yet to be announced, but regardless of the results, a nomination in and of itself is more than an honor.
Original MOUTHFAIL pages are available from Garage.Ganzeer.com
2. Three Codenamed Projects
Previously, I would only assign codenames to self-initiated projects I’m developing or thinking about, because my work-for-hire gigs were often awfully too short-term to require speaking of at any length prior to unveiling them. Three particular projects that have landed in my lap have proven to be more extensive than anticipated, and if I were to carry on without discussing them I would in fact have very little to discuss. And so it is time they received the codename treatment.
Project KIM: A design gig for a thing I would typically assign about a month of work, but this one involves quite a bit more than the typical thing and is commissioned by a larger entity in size than I usually work for and so each phase needs to get okayed by more people than I’m accustomed to. So far, it has been pretty smooth, and everything is getting checked off without fuss, but it is slower simply by virtue of having to wait on responses. The best thing about this one though? It couldn’t possibly be more my jam: science fiction meets queer punk rock and plenty of good trouble? I mean, c’mon.
Project BRUCKE: A short comix project, just a handful of pages really, each self-contained but each steeped in research and uh, shall we say, particulars. Best thing about it is that it entails bringing comix into a space where it isn’t expected, which is something I very much love doing. Which was one of the great things about MOUTHFAIL. Although unlike MOUTHFAIL this one is a collaboration, and so the process, subject matter, and approach are all very different.
Project SNOOZE: A short prose thing for a publication series that has historically featured the works of some of my favorite authors of all time, and thus has me equal parts excited and nervous, but probably more of the latter if I’m being honest.
3. THE SOLAR GRID ch.7/#8
Colors and letters on this one are underway, which means it should be finished fairly soon. After which only two chapters remain before the entirety of THE SOLAR GRID comes to a close, a project of (checks calendar) some 9 years in development (jeeeezus fucking christ!). Not at all what I anticipated when embarking on it, and with that comes much frustration with one’s own self, but on the other hand it makes each finished chapter that much more a joy to behold. And also, I very much recognize how this thing has acted as a vehicle for my development on so many fronts. Had it been rushed to completion within the span of 2 years? Boy oh boy would it have been different.
Print editions of THE SOLAR GRID #1-7 available from Mythomatic.com
Now for the nasty:
Let me just say that the year kicked off with a personal development that is leading to much disruption on multiple fronts, one of which is my living situation. I have thus been on the hunt for a new live/work space for the past few weeks and am reminded of how terribly unfun that can be. Furthermore, the very sudden need to embark on this quest has triggered in me what I can now discern as trauma. The trauma of displacement, of fleeing your home country of 32 years, and subsequently hopping from one state to another over the course of the six years that followed.
On which note, today (the day I draft this anyway) marks the 12th anniversary of Egypt’s rather unsuccessful revolution. It was on the 10th anniversary that I decided to no longer have anything to do with it. That it was time to let go, to sever its memory from my mind and purge oneself of any impractical sentimentalities connected to it. Clearly a measure to preserve my sanity and peace of mind, but I realize today that I simply cannot. I always find myself getting rather melancholy on January 25th no matter what I do to distract myself.
But as they say, art is the best therapy.
Available from Garage.Ganzeer.com
Stay strong, more soon,