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I had not drawn before the pandemic, not even in kindergarten. In March 2020 I was in Uruguay working on translations when COVID-19 shut down the world. I was stuck like everyone else, in my case in a rental apartment 5763 miles from home in Wisconsin. Everything in my Montevideo neighborhood was closed except the grocery store which had some colored pencils for kids. So one day I bought a box and a pad of paper. I wanted something to do besides staring at the computer reading bad news all day. So I started drawing. After a while I began posting my sketches on social media where my friends were supportive and full of good suggestions.

Like a lot of people during lockdown, I found online classes to help me with my new interest, because I really had no idea what I was doing. I took my first online graphic narrative class with Kristen Radtke, then went on to take classes from Amy Kurzweil, Melanie Gillman, Leela Corman, and a number of classes from the Royal Drawing School in London including two wonderful ones with Sarah Lightman.

I wrote what turned out to be a series of essays illustrated with my drawings. Two of these, “The Fox Sister” and “Speak Up,” won essay prizes at New Letters and the New Ohio Review. In 2022, I took my first in-person art class. It was with my colleague at University of Wisconsin–Madison, Lynda Barry, the queen of comics. We had shared students for years, and it was a great privilege to be in her class. Lynda says that there is no difference between drawings and words. Words started as drawings. We can and should do both. And now I agree.

Below are some online examples of what I’ve been doing. Revised versions of these and many new ones will be published by Fieldmouse Press later in 2024 as French Girl, a graphic memoir.



Find it here, published in Image (Issue 119, Winter 2023).




Find it here, published in New Letters (2023, Issue 89, 3 & 4, pp. 82-104).


body is a vessel

The Body is a Vessel

Find it here, published in Fourth Genre (July 17, 2023).




Find it here, published in Booth (2023).