Yes, that’s right! Another set of illustrations for The Rumpus–this time, to accompany Lidia Yuknavitch’s incredible Spines of the Finwomen. This piece was the final in the #monsters2019, which was curated by curator extraordinaire Marissa Korbel, and an absolute joy to read and participate in. Go! Read!
I think about form and malformation all the time. You have no idea. Obsessively. You might say I’m a malformation junkie. Especially on the page, especially in language or art, but also the form of the human body or the bodies of animals or trees or bodies of water. Form is everything to me. The forms that interest me the least—the forms that I find close to useless, the forms that make me want to shoot myself a little bit are the mainstream, perfectly shaped, well-received, and popularized traditional forms that the majority of people find pleasing and whole and and beautiful. I am passionately obsessed with and devoted to malformation in art and literature and people. Not just structurally, but also in content. I love the monster. The creature. More than I ever love the hero, by about a gazillion. Heroes bore the fuck out of me unless there is something seriously, beautifully, and irreconcilably wrong with them. I know what you are thinking. Antihero. Not enough for me. Give me the squirming tentacled blob or grotesque medusa or oozing alien. Now I’m trying to think of a sentence that will accurately convey to you the extent of my devotion to the differently formed in art, in language, in people. A sentence something like this: “I’d rather lick pus ooze than embrace the so-called well-formed hero. The beautiful heroine. The beautiful object of any sort.”
When I stopped believing in the deer-legged gods and they died, or got adopted by another girl, or turned into streamers of light in the aurora borealis, I needed something else to believe in. I was so in love with Iceland and Eiður that when I looked in the mirror, I saw someone else entirely: I wasn’t the girl the goddess saved—I was the goddess who saved the girl.
This piece by Lucia Iglesias, published over at The Rumpus, is a must-read (plus, you can check out the three illustrations I created to accompany it!).
And for a month all goes smoothly; she goes to meetings, sometimes three in a day. She seems well, better than well. She helps in the house; she cooks the best beef stew you’ve ever eaten; you and she laugh your asses off together. And then one day she drinks, and the anger comes and the screaming starts and doesn’t let up for two days. The third morning she disappears before anyone is up; her suitcase is gone, she is gone, and you have no idea where she is or how she got there. She does not answer her phone. Days go by. No word at all. Where is she? The house is quiet now, sane, and you would feel relief if you weren’t frantic with worry. You don’t know if she’s eating, where she is getting food. You don’t know where her money comes from.
I illustrated three companion pieces to this short, powerful flash essay on loving someone with substance use disorder, by Abigail Thomas. Go look and read.
I recently started illustrating for one of my favorite lit mags of all time, The Rumpus. These couple of pieces went up in June, and are companions to Christy Stillwell’s Habitat, a piece of original fiction that discusses abortion and the power of choice. It’s wonderfully written and I was honored to illustrate it!