Sorry for the silence lately. Moved into a new apartment on Monday, and my life has only just begun settling back into sanity. Hopefully my new writing study will be configged by tomorrow, at which point I can finally resume work on BrightGod, which has been on hold for about a week. I’m itching to get back to it.
But!! Before I do, I must share the following. With extra exclamation points!!!
Those of you in New York City, or ever to visit New York in the near future — you must visit the Dessert Truck!! Before now, my favoritest dessert place in all the world was Boston’s Finale. And… well, Finale’s still up there, mostly because they do hot toddies and coffee/chocolate drink mixes that are to die for. (Mmmm… hot chocolate with Bailey’s.) But finally I’ve found someplace in my new hometown that’s just as good. And so unpretentious and inexpensive! Every one of the Dessert Truck’s items are $5 or less. But bottom line: the taste. I’ve had their Molten Chocolate Cake, their Creme Brulee, and — tonight — their hot chocolate. All three are stunning, but let me tell you about this hot chocolate. Think of the richest, finest, smoothest imported chocolate pieces you’ve ever had. (Imported because most American chocolate has issues.) Then liquefy it — but leave it thick, I mean molasses-thick, so heavy on the tongue that you actually have to stop and take a moment work it around in your mouth before swallowing. “Swallowing” is in fact a misnomer, because you can’t swallow this. Instead you have to sort of relax the muscles in your mouth and throat and let it find its own path to your stomach, which it does, but in its own good, thick, sweet time. But before it goes, it lingers awhile in your mouth, just kind of hanging out, kickin’ it with your taste buds. Your taste buds are all like, “YO!! I can’t believe this! I never felt anything like this in my LIFE!!” And the chocolate is all, “‘Sup.” And it grins and winks and leans back, knowing full well it’s amazing.
I think this might be deadly. Thick rich gourmet chocolate is attacking my braaaain. Lord knows what it’s doing to me, but if I die, know, all of you, that I died happy. ::wistful sigh::
I’ve been hearing about this phenomenal webcomic called Bayou by Jeremy Love, and I finally decided to check it out. It’s utterly brilliant. A fantasy take on life in just-post-slavery Louisiana, beautifully and powerfully rendered. Little Lee is trying to enjoy her childhood as the daughter of a hard-working sharecropper, though the ugliness of racism rapidly erodes what carefree innocence she had. After a day when she dives into the bayou to fetch the body of lynched child, Lee sees the child’s spirit in the act of transitioning into a supernatural, magical realm. Eventually she travels to that realm herself — a place that is home to talking animals, terrifying creatures like the carnivorous Jim Crows, and monsters. But not all of the monsters are terrible. Lee befriends a big green monster called Bayou, who has great strength but not much courage. Since Lee’s got courage in plenty, but she’s still just a little girl, they pair up and go off on a quest, hoping to rescue Lee’s friend Miss Lily (and in the process, also saving Lee’s father, who is in danger of being lynched for Lily’s disappearance).
The story is superficially a children’s tale, referencing everything from Alice in Wonderland to European faerie myths. But it goes deeper than that, retooling many African and Native American myths (and true stories) to meld seamlessly with the rest. The result is sheer beauty.
I’m not sure it’s really meant for children, though, given the amount of violence and ugliness in the story. It’s mostly stuff that really happened back in those days — lynchings, whippings, and worse — and it’s portrayed unflinchingly, with an artful starkness that’s both beautiful and shocking. I would show it to my kids if I had any, because this too is educational; I think all American children should know both the good and the bad about our country’s history. It would be a great springboard for discussion, IMO. But if any of you reading are parents, I’d advise you to read the comic yourself before sharing it with your kids, and decide whether yours are ready for it. Some of the stuff in it is gory and a bit scary, even for me.
All that said — let me reiterate. Bayou is brilliant. Quite frankly, it’s one of the most original pieces of fantasy I’ve ever read, period. Apparently others have figured this out too: DC Comics is going to be putting it into print. Yay for Jeremy Love! And yay for me, because now I’ll be able to read my new favorite comic on the train commute.
Go read it! Oh, wait, forgot. Go read it!!!!!!!!!!!!