I was like a kid looking forward to Christmas presents as I waited for my editor, Alane Salierno Mason,* at W W Norton & Company to send me notes on my graphic novel, "Forget Sorrow: A China Elegy." When the notes did come, I was ready to do somersaults. Then the fear set in and I circled her notes as a lion tamer would a feral beast, wondering from what angle to approah is safest. The jaws or grab it by s twitchy tail. I circled for two whole days with whip in hand.
Last night, I realized her notes were spot on, entirely reasonable and helpful thoughts from a gifted mind. I slept the sleep of fulfillment.
I've drawn/painted roughly a quarter of the graphic novel. Now I need to transform the rest of the prose manuscript, chapter by chapter into script, keeping in mind the panel organization, flow, and the overall page design, the balance of black and white. Once the individual chapters are rewritten in this format, I begin the drawing process which is sheer fun. It is the prize.
I rarely follow the script to a T. The changes mostly involves the condensing of sentences and ideas, very much a process akin to writing poetry. A graphic novel is sequential poetry.
(Belle Self-Portrait with Cat 1995)
I am excited and, at the same time, peaceful. I have a year and a-half's worth of good, beefy work--lots of problem solving in my sleep. Nothing scarier than not having solid work where I fritter away my time on slight, ephemeral nothings.
I've waited years for this moment.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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