This may look like a rough comic strip, but it’s actually the first homework for my latest “continuing education” (i.e. old person) class at the School of Visual arts, which starts tomorrow. Here’s the prompt:
- Think about the moment something you saw, heard, experienced in some way changed your life. Write a paragraph telling that story. How you were before, how you were afterward, the moment of inflection.
- Fold a page into 1/8s.
- Fill all 8 compartments with sketches that express what is important about that story.
Here’s my paragraph, with a disclaimer:
Cheating a bit. My first thought was the first time I visited NYC, flying in from L.A. in 1999. Even though it would take another seven years, I knew I would move here. I went back and looked at a journal entry from the time, and found a paragraph that sums it up perfectly.
I felt a strange sensation as we pulled into Grand Central Station. It persisted as we walked up to the exit on 42nd Street. And suddenly I was outside. I looked around. It was as if I had gone through the looking glass. I had seen New York countless times before, but never in three dimensions. Sure, Los Angeles has the Hollywood sign, but you can’t reach out and touch it. New York has New York—no matter what street I ended up on, I was surrounded by icons of American culture: cabs, subway stations, hot dog and peanut vendors. Starting with Sesame Street, I was brought up accustomed to these things, even though I never actually saw them in real life. In a sense, I was instantly comfortable.
(Oh, and to explain one of the panels: There’s a New York diner mainstay called an “egg cream,” which is just chocolate syrup, soda, and milk. No eggs, no cream.)