The International Festival of Arts & Ideas has unleashed on New Haven again, and on this second day, Penny and I stood in a loooooooooooong line to get in to hear Roz Chast talk about Memoir and Cartoons. Of course, she told the story of her aging parents through images and her award-winning graphic novel Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Check this out for a taste.
There is some genius in the book, as evidenced in the Q&A that followed. People suffering through the passing of their parents commented on how much the book helped them, more than anything else they had found. Chast does pull apart all the complexities of thoughts and feelings at this fragile time through the simplicity of line drawing. It is brilliant, funny, sad, uplifting, wistful, and true, true, true.
I especially loved hearing how she got started as a New Yorker cartoonist in 1978 and laughing along with the throngs at her truthful twists on tropes.
Like this one:
and her commentary on values:
For all her success, Chast comes across as nice, self-aware, and self-deprecating.
Asked if her parents understood and appreciated the humor in her cartoons, she said they were so proud of her. Very Jewish-y parents.
Separately she told the story of how her father interpreted this New Yorker cover she did.
She was showing the evolution of ice cream. He thought is was about a doctor telling people all the bad things they shouldn’t eat. Very Jewish-y parents.
I leave you with this bit of wisdom from Chast:
Seize the day!