Note: This post is part of a week-long series from guest editor Lindsay Anne Watson. Lindsay makes sad funnies in Portland, Oregon. She is the author and illustrator of I Don't Need Eyes, published in 2016 by Tiny Splendor. Her work can be seen at lindsayannewatson.space.
Do you ever feel like words come out of your mouth in a very solid and orderly way and then suddenly you realize you're creating language and then you can feel all the words fall down to the ground? Is it a good thing?
This happens to me all the time, usually when I’m making people laugh. That’s my favorite reaction to get out of a person I don’t know intimately, so if I catch myself in some sort of a bit that seems to be working, I’ll try to analyze/remember it as I’m saying it. Then my brain overheats and I’ll say something that’s either surreal, unfunny or both. It’s good. It’s a human moment and those are their own kind of funny.
Does all or almost all of your darkness find a home in your stories and does it stay there or does it sneak out and follow you around in other ways?
The last story I wrote, Ha Ha! Very Funny, was kind of designed as a darkness receptacle. I was trying to write about this kind of sinister aimlessness vibe that seemed to stick to a lot of people and places I knew growing up in Florida. When I finished the story, I found myself looking at home in a more positive light, but I’ve had friends tell me that the story makes them wonder what depths of darkness I’m hiding. To me, it feels like I exorcised a lot of it by making this book, though I’d love to write more Florida stories.
What kind of impact or effect do you want your stories to have on yourself?
When I’m writing, I try to make at least one decision that I know will take me out of my comfort zone as an artist. That way, each book I put out represents a step towards being a better storyteller. Since I was in 5th grade, I’ve had this fantasy of owning a master tome of everything I’ve ever written. Partially, because I’m very interested in how the work I’ve done has led me in a certain direction, and partially because I think it would be cool to hold. I reread my old work a lot, and I always hope that it surprises me and makes me laugh.
Ross Jackson is a cartoonist based in Portland, Oregon. The works featured above are Beibert (a collaboration written by Barrett White), Ha Ha! Very Funny, and Way Out Here. More of his work can be seen at https://www.instagram.com/rorsjarckson