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09P09 – Define family

09P09 – Define family published on 25 Comments on 09P09 – Define family

Whew! Got back late from Intervention and went straight to bed, so the page went up a little later than normal (I try to update night before, for anybody overseas).

I’ve always had difficulty with the concept of family. Growing up, “Family” always meant love with conditions, hiding one’s self, giving all and getting nothing, and above all Obligation. Since estranging myself from my blood family, I’ve slowly discovered that family can mean a lot of things. And it doesn’t have to come by blood. Intervention was a bewildering, but wonderful, highlight of that. Bewildering, not because it was strange, but because it’s not what I grew up expecting. I’m still learning what it means to have a community that loves and supports, simply because that is the kind of people they are.

For one, I was hosted by the incredibly generous Eric Menge, writer for Snow by Night and his beautiful family. Eric not only gave me a place to stay, but picked me up an the airport, escorted me to the convention, introduced me to people, and treated many of us webcomic folks to lunch. Not to mention, we probably talked about conventions and webcomics and writing for hours. I was so amazed and grateful that he would show such kindness and trust to a relative stranger — we’d never met in person, only “spoken” online.

Liz Staley of Adrastus and her hubby Byron were next to me at the con, and basically kept me sane the whole time. Checking in, sharing food, and providing encouragement. At one point Byron showed up with a full dinner for me, when I’d only asked to maybe nibble a bite or two, simply stating “You’re a friend. This is what I do for friends.” They were excellent company (although I knew that going in — Liz has an infectious passion!)

The surprises were ongoing the whole weekend – a lovely little colored sketch of Tama from Jennifer Zyren Smith LaSalle’s Legacy, a bag of four delicious character-themed teas (Tama, Mizha, Pakku, and Zhiro!) from Eren Fitzgerald of Tamuran. (Hopefully he will forgive me for freaking out so much about them…I am a tea fanatic. Tea is my ultimate fandom, above all other fandoms!) And, one of the most amazing surprises of all, the company of a LeyLian named Sorrel. Who showed up, as if by magic, at exactly the right moment hours before the con and offered to help me set up (which was a wonderful thing, as I was panicking a little at all the New Things I’d been dealing with in the previous 24 hours), came by to hang out and talk the entire con, and then stayed afterwards to help me take down the booth (which was also good because I’d failed at self-care again and was getting loopy from lack of food). We spent a large portion of the convention trading sketches, or how we’d write each other’s names in the languages we had made, or just talking stories. It was wonderful and completely unexpected and I can only hope that I was able to earn and return that kindness in the amazing generosity it was given.

Thank you to everyone for making me feel part of your creative family!

How do you define family?

(Site update – I’ve gotten some requests for a collection of the Friday Blogs. You can find them HERE. I’ve also added a link at the bottom of the Archive Page under “Extras,” for future reference.)

25 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Hooray! Thanks for collecting them in one place ^_^ As for family…To me, family is those people who you are so close to that you can pick right up with them where you left off, even if you haven’t seen them in years. I’m lucky enough that my biological family is included in that subset, as well as my two closest friends.

You are welcome! Thank you for the suggestion! Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me.

I’ve been amazed at how many friendships I’ve formed online become the kind that pick up as if nobody ever left…even if meeting only happens every few years!

Maybe it’s because we’re exposed to a broader range of people online, and are more likely to encounter someone whose interests match up?

My blood family is not close at all, and I don’t plan to have children. But I’ve been part of active online communities for such a big part of my life, they’ve definitely grown to be my family. I’ve met my husband and my closest friends online, and continue to meet amazing people and share stories with them.

And of course, no discussion about family should go without a Where the Hell is Matt? mention. Ultimately, we’re all related, and family are the people who will dance crazy with you, no matter where they live. =D

I remember the first big convention I went to after I’d been making comics for a while. Getting to finally meet so many people that I’d previously only conversed with by mail — it really did feel like a big family reunion. For someone who had never been very social, it was a weird experience. “These people ‘get’ me! They know what I’m talking about when I mention Monty Python or Jack Kirby or Hunt 102 pen nibs! How is such a thing possible!?” I don’t know if that’s family or not, but like the old song says, “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came…”

I think the one set out in the comic is pretty good, actually. I have a good relationship with my family, but none of my friends do. Their families sound a lot like yours, actually. 🙁

Also, good to see that Mizha and Zhiro appear to be having a normal conversation.

Hmmm. Family has a different meaning for me. Not sure how so, but I know people who worry about me first who have done so much bad, sometimes it’s hard to forgive. Huh. As always, you make me think.

I definitely understand. Just because somebody is worrying about you doesn’t mean that concern is not oppressive or harmful. I’m not sure I’d define family the same way Tama has here either — it’s close, but not the same. In Tama’s case, his father has always been concerned about Tama in terms of “will Tama live up to the standards needed to be High Sage?” which Tama views as a very self-interested kind of worry. So for him, people that look out for others in an altruistic fashion are the people that love unconditionally the way Family is supposed to.

I love Mizha’s body language on this page. It’s so nice to see her beginning to perk back up into her bubbly self — it feels like we’ve only caught rare glimpses of that side of her since the story began.

And great job on the slatted wood-pattern in the bottom panel. (I can never seem to make those kinds of details work) Actually, great job on that panel in general; you’ve got a nice depth-of-field effect going!

We definitely have met Mizha in a strange time in her life. Ultimately, Mizha wants to be happy, but she internalizes negativity rather than expressing it most of the time, which leads to intense depressive episodes. Unfortunately, she’s been under a lot of stress lately!

It was wonderful to meet you in person this weekend! 😀 I had a good time and wish we could have talked more. Also glad to hear you got back safe.

Love the third panel of this page. The lighting is gorgeous! Though that first panel seems a little sinister to me… we’ll have to see if that’s foreshadowing something.

As for family, I think Tama’s got it pretty accurately. I’ve been fortunate enough to be born into and married into families that are loving and supporting, even when we drive each other crazy. But I also consider many of my friends ‘family’ too.

Aren’t webcomic people fun! And nice! I’m so glad there are so many webcomics and so many people who make them, so the many of us who like them can read them. I’ve been reading comics almost all my life ( about 50+ years now), some good, some bad, and I love the variety I can read now. My family was large and loving, but with issues, of course. I’m somewhat close to my siblings (5) and very close to my mom and kids, and grandkids. My husband and I always taught them what we learned, family is more important than anything and always comes first. That doesn’t mean there aren’t many friends who are also family to us! Who in the South doesn’t have those “Aunts”, “Uncles”, and “Kissing Cousins”! Of course, I have a lot of stepsibs and extra grandparents, too.

I am a fan of my webcomic family. 🙂 And I too love the variety that is available online now. I’ve always been attracted to more unique and quirky titles, but those were hard to find in most stores. I got very lucky that my local haunt growing up stocked a lot of independent works. Although, sadly, most of those stories didn’t get the support they needed to survive. (I guess that’s true online a lot of the time too!) Still, every now and again, somebody would make it. ElfQuest, Finder, Crimson…all of those had a big impact on me! I’m glad that the web is making it easier for people with unique stories to find an audience. Hopefully more of them will survive this time around!

It was great to meet you in person, Robyn. I’ve been talking to you for a why now both through SpiderForest, watching your vidoes, and listening to your podcasts. So you didn’t feel like much of a stranger to me. You’ve given me a lot of advice and food for thought. Being host for the weekend was a small repayment for all you’ve done.

Liz and Byron are kind of the definition of Good People, and you can tell them I told you so. They make everybody feel welcome and they give far more of themselves than they possibly on a strictly self-preserving standpoint they should.

As far as family goes, family to me is definitely the people you love and care about the most. I have a hard time making friends, sometimes, so the friends I do have end up becoming as close as family – maybe because a large part of my own (extended) family and I don’t get along. My core family, my mom and dad, are ridiculously supportive, but everyone else is pretty much psycho and doesn’t exactly spare much love or understanding for the family’s “redheaded stepchild” as it were. (I’m neither redheaded nor a stepchild, but being a fangirl gothy tomboy hasn’t exactly helped matters)

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