I really love this chapter. It’s the first actual chapter that we sat down and planned with any sort of strategy to it. Compared to the rest of the story coming up, it’s very comic-booky, but that suits me just fine. It’s important to set the stage of any story, and I think this chapter does it pretty well.
Recently, I’ve been reading quite a bit of academic articles and research papers for school, but I’ve snuck in some time to read for pleasure too. This pleasure-reading has me thinking about stories and the inner workings of characters that drive the stories. What makes our hero tick? What are the demons that he faces?
A Buddhist monk, Hakuin Ekaku, would supposedly paint demons on a canvas as a way to exorcise his own personal demons. A few days ago, I read a graphic novel that did the same. Lynda Barry wrote a graphic novel devoted to this concept called One! Hundred! Demons! in which she addresses the traumas of her past, the anxieties of her future, and everything in between.
How does my hero exorcise his own demons? Do I vanquish my own by writing the samurai? Does Tyler defeat his by giving physical form to my writing? Are we helping the samurai overcome his own obstacles?
I like to think that the answer to all of the above, even if not as dramatically as written, is yes. We like doing this comic, and finding comfort in a simple pleasure can make all the difference on a gray day, when you’re alone with your thoughts, anxieties, and demons.
Lynda Barry’s demons, and Hakuin Ekaku’s demons, side by side. I wonder what they had in common.