On Learning, Avoiding Debt, and Comics
I love to learn. LOVE IT. Like, to the point where an Excel workshop offered at work was one of the highlights of my week, because I got to sit in a classroom and learn a bunch of new skills. The singular reason I didn’t go to grad school was because of the cost. Isn’t that sad? As much as I would love an MFA in screenwriting/creative writing, the debt I would have would be unreasonably large–and look, I love writing, and it’s what I want to do with my life and all that jazz, but it isn’t (necessarily) the biggest money-maker, let alone guaranteed form of employment. Large debt + unsteady/uncertain employment = bad news bears. So I stayed with my rad full-time job (which I’m still at! yay work) and did the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program instead, which I loved and would recommend to anyone looking to sharpen their writing skills.
I finished the program earlier this year, and after going a few months without classes, I started to get a little antsy. I can’t really afford another Extension class right now (either monetarily or time-wise), so instead I’m teaching myself the theory, structure, and language of comics (another area of writing I’m really passionate about) by reading the books pictured above. It’s more similar to screenwriting than prose (which is good for me!), but it’s still another language…or more like a very specific, local slang in a language you’re sort of familiar with.
I’m about halfway through Understanding Comics, which is a very theory-based book. I personally love delving into the theory behind any sort of communicative medium–I did, after all, major in Media Studies. Give me some Adorno, Barthes, or Habermas any day! However, I’d say in terms of learning to write a workable comics script for the modern day, I’m really loving Words for Pictures. It’s fantastic, easy-to-read, and really clear about the different ways to go about writing a comic. I’m excited to delve into Supergods, which is essentially a history of comics and superheroes in the context of what was and is happening in the real world. So much good stuff. It also keeps me busy–if I’m not working on my current projects, at least I’m learning something to apply to the next one.
And, of course, learning all of these things is an excuse to revisit some of my favorite comics yet again…for research, of course.
If you want to follow along with what I’m reading, add me on Goodreads!