Back in 2001, librarian and novelist SaraRyan captured folks’ attention with her young adult novel, Empress of the World. The book (described as “about friendship, love, and the sometimes blurry lines between the two”) is an Oregon Book Award winner, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Recently the book was re-released in an expanded edition. Ryan and I conducted an email interview about it, as well as delving into her upcoming comics work, which includes Bad Houses, a collaboration with Carla Speed McNeil. This interview goes in some pleasant directions and I was lucky to get to interview Ryan.
Tim O’Shea: In researching our interview, I searched for your Tumblr page but accidentally discovered the number of people that quote your work (and hashtag it “Sara Ryan”). I think it safe to assume that any writer wonders how much their work resonates with people. How affirming is it when you see people quoting your work?
Sara Ryan: Here’s where I expose my ignorance of the finer points of Tumblr. Until you pointed it out, it hadn’t occurred to me to check if anyone had tagged posts about me/my work. Now that I know said posts exist, I’m certainly pleased!
Speaking of Tumblr, visiting your Tumblr page it becomes obvious (at least to me) that you love the power of photography.
I do. Photography actually connects very much to comics writing for me; I can’t draw, but I can compose images with my camera. I try to use that same visual sensibility when I write panel descriptions — while leaving enough room for the artist to bring their own interpretation, of course.
So apparently indy label Yep Roc is about to celebrate its 15th Anniversary. To mark it, they are sharing cool stuff from their vault. One such example was recently shared by Stereogum–Nick Lowe’s video for Stoplight Roses, starring a miserable Paul F. Tompkins. Tomkins does miserable so well.
So back in the mid-1980s I was a fan of an Adrian Belew-led band called The Bears. Even got to see them live when they toured in support of their second album, Rise and Shine.
But it is likely my favorite song of theirs came from the first album, The Bears, a tune called Fear Is Never Boring.
But I found out later that actually that song predated The Bears, as it had originally been recorded by The Raisins (who a good chunk of The Bears belonged to, except for Belew–who produced The Raisins album). Here is the originally video for the song, back in the early 1980s.
It was not until tonight, when I was watching a 2007 version of the song, that I realized how much this song works not because of Belew, but because of lead singer Rob Fetters.
One last version, from the most recent non-Bears line-up of Fetters, Chris Arduser & Bob Nyswonger in a band called Psychodots. In the 2006 video, it appears they are playing at a Cincinnati Reds-related event. And I love how the song comes full circle in a sense, the original Raisins video starred a few children. So to see children dancing at the live version when Fetters sang “Mama’s little darling likes violent sex” just amused the hell out of me.
Thanks to my pal, Bill Childs, for making me aware that Bob Mould has a new album, Silver Age. Here’s the official video for the first single, My Descent. And, much like Mould himself, it is unique and distinct.
Judging by these previews, I have little hope for the sitcom (Tomlin nursing a southern accent annoyed me within 30 seconds). But I am much more hopeful for the drama. Check out the previews yourself and make your own assessment.