Critique: Seal Beach Shootings

Reflection on Initial Context:  I learned that there was a shooting in my hometown on the radio while driving to work.  This was four years ago.  Although no one in my immediate family was injured, the mass shooting happened at the place where my mom has gotten her hair cut since before I was born.  Ima guess 35 years.  Her hairdresser was one of the survivors.

I had just started my third year of teaching middle school in Sylmar, my first year writing this blog and drawing comics.

Although this comic is very rough, there is an innocence in its simplicity.  An immediacy as well.

I’d like to revisit this piece; it would make a nice zine with some formatting…maybe redrawings…though I don’t want to go back to these thoughts or that time.  I don’t want to disturb the narrative I constructed then, because this is how it made sense.  I remember being so scared of going anywhere after this.  I still think about it.

I conquered this fear when my dear friend and duplexer swept me away to the hot springs in Apple Valley.  We got lost on the way there, driving up a mountain our car wasn’t ready for, and arrived at the camp site a few hours before sunset.  We lost the light as we hiked the few miles to the hot springs.  [The hot spring was also a nudist colony affiliate, so there’s that….]

On the way back to the site, we got lost.  As I hugged the cliff, my heels a few inches from the drop I could not see, I remember thinking: It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to move forward.  (Some iteration of that, anyway.  Time changes my perception of my reflection then.)  I just remember being very aware that I was deciding to continue through the fear.  The moon was our only light, and it faltered.

We ended up finding our way back to the camp after a few hours of existential conversations, gender role remixes, and determination to not end up sleeping on the path.

The piece in question:

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