G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y



“Sabul had ceased to be a functioning physicist years ago; his high reputation was built on expropriations from other minds. Shevek was to do the thinking, and Sabul would take the credit.”

And then later:

“Shevek's career, like the existence of his society, depended on the continuance of a fundamental unadmitted profit contract.”

There's a high concept nugget of a story there. An analogy for the rebellious independence of a small nation state from the tentacles of colonialism told through the microcosm of a post-graduate “rebellion” within a university setting.

Le Guin's story isn't that, but that would be a story worth telling, as it is my understanding that much of how universities operate is in need of complete reimagining.

I wouldn't be the one to tell it though. This would require the expertise of someone neck deep in university life and that ain't me.

#journal #reads

After a few days of thick impenetrable air, the skies have finally opened up this morning and the sun shines through. Though I am inside with two TSG pages worth of inks on the docket for today.

I am however resolved to step outside with a book at some point, and maybe even fit in some exercise and a visit to my chiropractor (it's been a couple weeks, not cool).

I need to get into the habit of treating my day the way I would a physical space. Like say, a closet or piece of luggage. It has a very particular capacity. Stuff it too much, and it just won't work.

#journal #work #comix #thesolargrid

Mystery Spring Packs packed and out to the post office. It is just after 4:00pm here, a little dead as a result of starting my day at 7:00am despite ending last “night” at 3:00am.

I've been graphic-noveling.

Prison Chart (a method I only recently picked up from Dave Gibbons' WATCHING THE WATCHMEN) tells me I am 7 pages away from wrapping up inks on this chapter.

But then there's scanning, lettering, and even coloring in some parts.

But after that I will only be 3 chapters away from finishing THE SOLAR GRID for good.

#journal #work

Michael Moorcock has the best stories.

#journal #listens

One of the Mystery Spring Packs going out in the mail tomorrow.

Yes, those are original drawings. Completely randomized, so even I have no idea who will be getting what.

#journal #work #garage

Almost noon, a cool breeze exhales through my window despite the thick humid air. I like this combination.

Have yet to get any real work done despite being awake since 6:24 AM. An excerpt from Franz Kafka's diary is shared with me at just the right moment, and all sense of guilt is alleviated.

(via @Lailalalami on Twitter)

One must be careful though not to use such things as an excuse.


Feeling a little weary after having switched my “journaling” system for the first time in years. In a recent development likely associated with the unfortunate process of aging, I seem less inclined to leave the house with a backpack on my shoulders, often the apparatus of choice for carrying one of those hardback A5 journals (typically a Leuchttrum1917 or Shinola Detroit for me). Adopting instead the small and lightweight Field Notes. Together with a Lamy Pico Ballpoint Pen (which collapses to a mere 3.5 inches when not in use) this note-taking system is far more portable and better-tailored to jotting down thoughts on the go.

It's been on my mind for a time now, because for a while a thing would come to me and my journal wouldn't be handy. I've been reluctant about going the measly memo-book path because unlike a hardback journal, they aren't made to sit on your shelf, and thus don't store as easily and become a bit difficult to revisit when needed. Until I discovered Field Notes' Archival Wooden Box designed just for that purpose, at which point I was sold.

Designed to store up to 60, and having just started with my first I have a long ways to go before filling that box up, but knowing I have a place to shelve my note-taking things puts my mind at ease.

I am still weary about how this might affect my journaling practice though. What might a piece of paper less than the size of my hand capable of handling versus an A5 journal which took everything from sketches, notes, doodles, quotes, to complete stories. A sampling of my journal from 2016-2017:

  1. San Francisco Tea Seller
  2. THE SOLAR GRID's Mickie Stardust, who doesn't appear until Ch.5 (issue 6) which I only got to work on in earnest by 2020, a whole five years later.
  3. The complete first draft of 1,000,000 A.D., my adaptation of a story by Tawfik al-Hakim, which itself prompted me to start TIMES NEW HUMAN

Everything I end up creating (and everything I don't end up creating) starts with a journal entry of some kind, even if just a passing note.

#journal #work

I know fully well that the Kindle is terribly old tech (as of 5 years ago), but the luddite in me kept me on the fence for years about acquiring one for myself. I finally took the plunge mainly in response to my dwindling shelf space. My love for reading paper books aside, there's also my love for bookmaking and book design itself that I tend to appreciate, in addition to—quite frankly—the heavy discounts on some incredible paper books you might find at second hand stores, which has been my usual go-to for acquiring books for years now.

I'm not really a complete luddite. I'll embrace the latest piece of tech when it comes to some things (hello, Terra Kaffe), but rely on tried and true traditional approaches when it comes to others (pencil + paper for me, baby). With books though, the shelves (or lack thereof) made the decision for me.

And y'know what? I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Reading a 400 page book that is in fact lighter and thinner than my phone is certainly a convenience. The fact that you can connect it to your Goodreads account where your highlights turn up? * chef's kiss *

I just wish it would auto-update one's reading progress though. On a completely different note, I would love to see more laptops incorporate e-ink displays into their design, not entirely unlike what Lenovo did with their ThinkBook Plus series.

“The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding.” – Ursula K. Le Guin, THE DISPOSESSED

#journal #reads

It occurs to me that what Neil Gaiman did with Silas in THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, in that he describes everything around and about the character for us to conclude that he's a vampire without ever once actually telling us he's a vampire is the literary equivalent of what Sergio Toppi does visually with his negative-space silhouettes.

I love this a great deal and would love to work it more into my practice (both in my writing as well as my visuals).

#journal #reads

Upon posting about my inclusion of a 3-tier shoe rack to organize current in-progress pages, I was asked whether or not I always draw standing up. This, I suspect, is due to the position I have my drawing table set at which is rather extremely upright (eyeballing it, I'd say it's at about a 75°-80° angle). This I find is better for my back (which is still fucked) because less hunching is involved, but I still sit down. On this:

It's a LÅNGFJÄLL from Ikea. Quite a few people see this and are surprised to know that I don't have one of those wretched gaming chairs. Nothing could be worse, because those terrible things promote being sat for endless hours straight but what you want is to get up and move every hour or so, but be comfortable enough for just that duration. The LÅNGFJÄLL does just that, and its height-adjustment mechanism is sturdy enough to take the abuse demanded by constantly shifting heights depending on where you are on the page at any given second.

Looking at the above picture though, I now realize that I have a less than ideal “system” in place for my cleaning rags (seen hanging on the right-rear of the table). This I suppose is one of the benefits of posting this sort of thing: you spell everything out and in so doing realize where improvements can be made. Perhaps, a cut of cloth that is less towel-like in texture, placed well within reach on the left-hand side table, properly folded like a table napkin at a nice restaurant.

(Table napkins!!!)

This is probably a good moment to assess what I already have on my side-table:

Drawing tools. To be really precise, we're looking at 4 small pen-holder “boxes” (bought a` la carte in person from The Container Store) , 4 tiny jars, and one cotton glove. The glove I wear on my drawing-hand when inking. This reduces the possibility of smudging wet ink-lines. As for the boxes, each one is divided into 4 compartments.

1) Pencil Box: One compartment for blue and red 2.0mm mechanical pencils, each carrying blue and red leads accordingly (blue to sketch in figures, red to sketch in backgrounds, roughly speaking). One compartment holding a single Faber-Castel 0.7 Grip Plus mechanical pencil which I almost never use, one compartment holding 2B pencils and a fat 6.5mm mechanical pencil all of which I never use, and finally a compartment for my lead sharpeners, one for blue and one for red. So now I know I have two compartments in that box that can be better utilized (why it's taken me this long to realize this is blows my mind).

2) Pen Box: This one is full of black Staedtler Pigment Liners, in four different sizes: 0.1mm, 0.3mm, 0.5mm, and 0.8mm. These used to be all I inked with a long time ago (See THE SOLAR GRID #1 and #2), but I find that I rely on them less and less and prefer instead to utilize nibs and brushes.

3) Nib & Brush box: One compartment holds three nib-pens (typically switching between Kuelox and Zebra; 003, 005, and G, the latter being my most used (with the Hunt 102 on my radar to test out in the near future). Another compartment holds three brushes; Princeton 08 Round, Trekell Kolinsky ½”, and a Loew-Cornell 795 Round Series #2 which is my most used but adversely no longer in production. Much to my agony, a suitable replacement has yet to be found. The third compartment combines both nibs and brushes I use for touchups using white sumi ink; Princeton Summit Round #4 brush, Princeton Summit Round #2 brush, Silver Black Velvet 3007S Script #4 brush, and finally a 002 Kuelox nib pen. The last compartment holds a folded up tissue for emergency wipes which is almost completely unnecessary and will be discarded once the writing of this post is concluded.

4) The last and final box holds a number of small rulers and a compass (all of which actually need to be upgraded for various reasons).

Onto the jars:

Repurposed Petitpot French Pudding jars. At about 3 inches tall, these tiny glass jars are the perfect size for my sumi ink, both black and white, as well as for holding water to keep brushes clean (or go for some ink-wash techniques when needed).

There's a little more to my drafting nook than my left-hand side table, but I'll get to that in a future post.

#journal #workspace