Sunday, January 2, 2011

Everyday Matters

Everyday Matters
By: Danny Gregory
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Language: English
September 2003, $14.99
Genre: Graphic Novel/Inspiration

“Danny Gregory and his wife, Patti, were in love.  Their baby, Jack was ten months old; life was pretty swell.  And then Patti fell under a subway train and was paralyzed from the waist down.

In a world where nothing seemed to have much meaning, Danny decided to teach himself to draw, and what he learned stunned him.  Suddenly things had color again, and value.  The result is Everyday Matters, his journal of discovery, recovery, and daily life in New York City.  It is a funny, insightful, and surprising as life itself”. 


Sometimes we forget that comics dont necessarily have to be about caped crusaders and feats of fantasy. Some of the best graphic novels out there are one shots. They have nothing to do with superheroes, though I think Danny Gregory may be a new one of mine. There is something sublime in both his artwork and his honesty in his prose that is both uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Heartbreaking not because Danny and Patti’s life ended, but because I can only read wistfully about how amazing this family is and how stuck my life seems to have become over the past year.

My life is simple. I work, I play and while it is not perfect and happiness waxes and wanes, it is my life. I have friends. I have family. A job that pays and my health, but sometimes you feel like you get stuck. I have been restless. I forgot what it means to be joyful and free. Sometimes I need a reminder of how to do that. Maybe it is the time of year, with New Year’s just passed. *Shrug* But this book was inspirational and isn't that what is important.

This is Danny’s journal. This and his drawings are his catharsis and his rebirth. I love his drawings. In fact it makes me want to teach myself how to draw something more than stick figures. I can draw, just not well. It also makes me want to journal and document my life, to find beauty and joy in the little things. In a way maybe that is why we blog. To share, to find some sort of catharsis in sharing our opinions, sharing our joys and such.

One of my favorite bits was his tale of the couple who was going to Italy for vacation. For months they dreamed of Italy and everything that they were going to do and experience. Bit when it came time for their trip, the plane diverted and they found themselves in Holland. The couple freaked. This sucked. The food, the sights, the people...nothing was the way their vacation was supposed to be. But they were stuck. Then something happened, they grew to love it. Sure it wasn't what they had planned but it was great nonetheless. Sometimes you just need to learn to live in life and love what you have. It doesn't mean you cant aspire to do new things, go new places, look for that Prince Charming in my case, but you also cant just give up and go through the motions.

I think that is my goal for 2011, that every damn day matters. I need to find my creativity again, to immerse myself in new perspectives and new experiences. I need to find joy and freedom and remember that I kind of rock. Sure I may seem like a vivacious, smirking awesomesauce sort of chickie, but in reality I am kind of like everyone else. I have my moments, but I am kind of a normal girly geek who has a book addiction. A serious, serious book addiction.

Now I am not an artist by any means, but then again it doesn't mean I have to draw or stick with paper and pen. I am a crafty sort of girl, something I hope to share this year and if I am lucky maybe get paid for my creativity now and again. I am not normally good at the 365 things, but I am going to try. You know you have read a great book when it makes you want to revive your life. A good book is one that entertains as much as it inspires. You rock Mr. Gregory.

Things I loved: The art is of everyday objects, simple and yet beautiful. Some of the drawings are half finished. But thats is why I like it. The mundane becomes beautiful. Drawing your favorite block of neighborhood or the medicine cabinet. So I decided to try it myself. I drew my cell phone as it sat next to me at my desk. I had fun. I wanted to draw more small things. The pen, the remote, the Christmas ornament that still hasn't found its way into a box. Maybe I will try more. I haven't journaled in years let alone one that has pictures of things I drew. *shrug*

Things I didn't love so much: yeah I got nothing. Well other than One: I currently don’t own a journal in which I can write, draw and chronicle my life thus far. Two: I wanted to read more.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. At least grab it from the library. I cant imagine that it wouldnt make you smile or want you to be more creative.

Part of: Stand Alone. Though he has other books as well.

Also Recommended: An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory, Anything by Keri Smith, Journal Bliss by Violette

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks


violette said...

thank you so much for recommending my book Journal BLiss. I really appreciate it.

I'm with you - i totally LOVE Danny Gregories book - highly recommended.

Love, Violette

CDerosby said...

I'll give it a shot. I'm trying to get my sketch mojo back after quite a few years away, so I like the sound of this one. Thanks.