Truth or Dare

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Having a comic strip that’s semi-autobiographical often brings up questions from friends, family and readers. “Did that really happen?” “Don’t your husband and kids get mad/embarrassed/want to send you to Siberia?” “How do you put yourself out there all the time?”

Well, first of all, rarely do I write anything that is exactly true or verbatim. I take many artistic liberties. Yes, I often use real life as a starting point, like my kids’ Bat Mitzvahs, driver’s ed, and situations like attempting to scale back work hours. But most of the time, these stories veer off course and take on new paths of their own. That’s a beautiful aspect of writing: continually surprising yourself.

As for the reactions of my family…well, they’ve been good sports forever. Also, they read almost everything in advance. My husband is like me, he has completely lost all shame. Anyway, he’s pretty cool and lets good-natured ribbing roll right off him. There have been times when my kids have put the brakes on certain story lines (like one where Amy gets her period), but for the most part, they couldn’t care less are pretty relaxed about it.

And how do I put myself out there all the time? This is an interesting one, because I grew up very shy and closed off. I suppose I’ve always expressed myself through art and storytelling, so this is where I feel most comfortable. True, ten years ago, I was much more wary of “exposing myself” to a public audience, but the more I did it, the more I relaxed and didn’t worry about it so much. I guess it’s akin to how comedians grow in their field. Besides, the more “honest” and “exposed” I am, the more my work evolves and the more my audience appreciates it.

And — I won’t lie — I get a certain thrill from pushing the envelope. We all get our kicks somehow.

Pajama.20151105

Note: the above cartoon is one of the few I wrote verbatim. (*immature giggle*)

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Truth or Dare

  1. You can have a storyline of getting your first bra, but as a liberated feminist male I find it very surprising that in 2016 still can’t talk about menstruation in a syndicated comic strip. “Luann” creator Greg Evans experienced this firsthand when the titular character got her period and got a truckload of controversy for it some years ago, despite it being done in a tasteful manner (he wasn’t even allowed to even use the word “period”).

    I can understand back of your eldest not wanting her first menses being fictionalized in a humourous way (that’s her business) or even back in the 1970s when Judy Blume got that bizarre phone call from a irate woman for discussing menstruation in the seminal “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” calling her a “communist” and slamming the phone on her (very true story!).

    How is it after two generations of sex-education in our schools for both sexes (even more sophisticated and explicit from when I learned from it); learning to accept people in the LGBT community as part of the global makeup of our society and re-reading copies of “What’s Happening to Me?” to “Our Bodies, Ourselves” that a woman’s natural bodily functions is still taboo?

    • I am the father of a 32-year old young woman (who will forever be my ‘kid’), but also the oldest in a family of 12 with 3 sisters in the mix. Believe it or not, my nose told me when any of them were having their period. I had mentioned this to my daughter in a “Don’t try hiding it because I know”, but she didn’t believe me until it actually happened.

      The nose alerted me, and I went to the supermarket and brought her some pads for the inevitable spills. She was devastated and embarrassed…

      It’s life as we know it. It’s a natural occurrence and nothing to be shunned and /or hidden. 20+ years after this happened, she can laugh about it, but she mentioned it to the Health teacher, and the TEACHER was upset that I would know about her development, almost made it sound somewhat obscene…

      It takes all kinds I guess.

      I read your strip every day and really enjoy the family story line. I just hope that you don’t have a graduation party where the girls melt the wine bottles in the bonfire to keep Dad from finding out how much they drank 🙂

  2. This was more of a privacy issue for my daughter, since the character is based on her. Otherwise I wouldn’t hesitate to put it out there. Not taboo in my opinion — just respecting her boundaries. The bra storyline didn’t bother her. Go figure.

  3. PLEASE, for the love of God, user the correct plural of Bar or Bat Mitzvah which is either B’nai Mitzvah or B’not Mitzvah (for Bat Mitzvah). You sound uneducated when you do it the other way and as a writer, you should really know better.

    • I know the plural, but I think for my average reader (who is usually not Jewish), this spelling is fine, more conversational, and serves its purpose. In the future, if you have an issue, please email me.

  4. I keep meaning to say how much I love your strip, especially when it gets close to home like Aug 7 (I’m not good with names) and 14 (wife has hoarding tendency) and many others. I’m not Jewish but have a good knowledge of Jewish religion and culture and you transcend that anyway. Best humor always has close ties to real life, speaking of which Real Life Adventures is sometimes literally my life and we also love LuAnn (definite relationship with our now adult daughter).

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