My work in graphic nonfiction began with interviewing everyday women who have led unusual lives. I recorded and transcribed our interviews, edited them, and turned them into graphic narratives. Some readers will consider these narrative fictionalizations, while others may consider them illustrated oral history or comics journalism. The pieces range from 12 to 26 pages, and have been published in Witness, The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies,No Tokens Literary Journal, and Hot Metal Bridge. Included here are excerpts from two pieces.
“Blue State of Mind” is based on a 2011 interview with former Vice President Al Gore aide Debbie Bengtson. Bengston recalls her Democratic political roots, from door-to-door campaigning in Kansas, to spear-heading campaigns out of Iowa, to working on Capitol Hill~ and why she left it all behind.
“Madonna dei Mambo” is based on a 2012 interview with Serbian-American ballroom dancer Diane (Fontaine) McCarthy. McCarthy discusses her evolution in ballroom, from a small studio in D.C. to headlining in Atlantic City, to founding Dance for Life, Pennsylvania. She is candid about her roles as sister, mother, and daughter. She talks about abandoning her orthodox religion and the surprising place she found faith as she battles terminal breast cancer. McCarthy died in 2014.