By Brittany Kerfoot
It’s a fifteen-minute drive to the dead-end street where they park the car and climb into the backseat together. They make the trip twice a week on their lunch break, stroking each other on the way and kissing at red lights. She tries to make conversation but he’s a quiet man, she knows this, so she watches him drive her car with one hand, the other resting heavily on her thigh or petting her between her legs as he swerves around slow-moving minivans. It comforts her to know he’s just as eager to reach their spot, an empty cul-de-sac of half-built houses and plots of barren land. She locks the keypad on her phone every time, paranoid her foot will accidentally bump her purse and dial her boyfriend’s number, leaving him a voicemail of her screaming another man’s name.
They take off their jackets and toss them into the front seat; she kicks off her shoes and lunges for him, awkwardly straddling him as he grabs a fistful of her hair and bites her bottom lip. She sucks his long fingers and digs her nails into his shoulder, a small part of her intent on leaving a few semi-permanent marks. When they’re done, her body aches and she lies across him, naked and unafraid. He looks at her shyly, smiles and says, “You’re amazing. You’re the best I’ve ever had,” and she almost believes him, and she almost starts to cry.
Marji Fortin is a 2D (Flash) animator and creator of the webcomic Proud Lands. Marji has primarily worked in television (Word Girl, Squidbilles), but she has recently started to specialize in animation for mobile games. She currently works on Minomonsters, a monster battling game for iOS.
In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding, Marji talks about working as a traditional animator, webcomics, and storytelling.
PT: It first occurred to me to interview you for Paper Tape when you told me about a Women in Animation panel you served on where something you said took everyone by surprise.
MF: I was invited to be on a panel by the San Francisco chapter of Women in Animation. I feel like I was the least accomplished of the panelists as I shared the stage with a Pixar artist as well as a stop-motion artist who had worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas! I guess I was the only traditional animator in the group, though, and the audience of (primarily) animation students were pretty interested to hear that I had found work in my field–and that I firmly believed others could too!
Once Disney Feature Animation went under everyone pretty much believed it was a dead art form. 3D was the wave of the future (and is still going strong), and I knew several friends who had switched to it not from a love of it but from a worry that they wouldn’t have work if they didn’t.
Animation is not an easy field for anyone and can be especially challenging for those who are focused on traditional (hand-drawn) animation, but there’s a surprising amount of options out there. Flash, ToonBoom, and other programs that facilitate the process mean that there are still 2D animators here in the states.
The panel itself was held at the Walt Disney Family Museum here in San Francisco and was really fun! I loved hearing from such a varied group of artists and animators. You forget about other areas of even your own field sometimes and it was nice to see how varied it can be. There was a girl whose expertise was in prop-making, who had worked in stop motion but also on Mythbusters and now other shows, helping to build whatever needed building on set! I never even knew that job existed! It was pretty great.
By Danny Thiemann
The photo showed a tall brunette. They’d broken up. He didn’t say why. Wasn’t hard to guess. For him, love came on stilts, awkward and out of reach. Abby was beautiful. Her eyes were not brown so much as wicker woven to carry her present moments into the past. He woke holding her photograph—his knuckles five backs bent in harvest of a world beneath his palm. He looked at her the way fire must watch the stars, or how the moon must watch the sea, seeing himself in a past he could not reach. Abraxas got dressed and lay face down on the bed. He traced the dirt on our sheets. Motel mattress-stains were a poor man’s atlas, even better perhaps, at mapping islands of others’ pasts.
Tell her you love her and that’s why you’re giving her the facts, I said.
That ain’t love.
It’s a start, was all I could say.
By Mercedes Lawry
I listened to the sirens for a good fifteen minutes. It must be bad, I thought. Likely fatal and a fair amount of destruction. As children, we’d been taught to say a Hail Mary when we heard a siren. Somebody clearly needed a prayer one way or another and those words still jump into my mind though I no longer believe in the church, or God or the Blessed Mother. I did like her blue robes.
By Patrick O’Neil
The movie was French, promising subtitles, a scruffy looking protagonist, and skinny women with non-Hollywood implant breasts and complex dispositions. The theater was one of those art house independents that cater to the affluent. The type who want an espresso with biscotti instead of a forty-ounce soda and tortilla chips covered with a slimy orange substance commonly referred to as nacho-cheese. The popcorn looked and smelled fresh. It was actually popping in the machine as we entered the lobby. I glanced across the concession counter filled with boutique cookies and European chocolate bars and felt my stomach go queasy. It wasn’t because of the array of sweets and baked goods, although for some reason the stench of cooking oil from the popcorn wasn’t helping.
I touched my forehead, I was sweaty and my skin felt hot. I looked over at the usher standing by the door staring at his pointy shoes. He was short, in a baggy black suit, with big curly muttonchops and greasy long hair. I was reminded of a lonesome cowboy and wondered if there were ever any French Westerns. A woman wearing sunglasses that covered most of her face pushed her way in front of us. Her hand held out as though she was holding a dog’s leash. Perhaps it was just habit. Seems everywhere I go women are walking dogs and picking up shit with little plastic bags. Thoughts of whether she washed her hands slid through my mind as she shoved the ticket in the usher’s direction. He continued to look at the floor so I didn’t even try to pretend I had a ticket to show him.
by Harmony Button
“A Little More Pirate Now” is part of our “This Word Is” feature. Please see the submissions page for details, and then send us your words!
I’ve always loved a good heist story. It starts with an underdog: usually someone clever and lovable with morals that don’t necessarily adhere to social standards. Sometimes our hero has a dark past, but has worked hard to get back on the straight and narrow. Sometimes this figure, heretofore innocent, has been so vastly wronged that the only avenue for justice is one of criminality. The social system has failed, or has fallen into corruption, and Robin Hoodery is the only choice. These are the honorable thieves, and they are cheeky, courageous and righteous in their cause.
By Maya Lionne
When Dinah asked Lucy to write something for Tanya’s birthday gift, Lucy went to work immediately, not with actual writing, but with searching the stacks of correspondence in her room for a particular set of letters from several years earlier. After hours of sifting through piles of letters, envelopes, and envelopes without letters, Lucy found what she was looking for: a stack of letters, bound with burgundy ribbon, envelopes yellowed with age and prolonged exposure to sunlight on a windowsill in her old apartment in New York, where she developed the habit of leaving letters until the piles grew too large and threatened to block out the light. She sat down, removing them from their envelopes, the paper still faintly smelling of an odd-but-reassuring combination of her mother’s perfume and her father’s hands, which were perpetually crusted with wood glue and soldering flux, and a few other scents that brought back memories long filed away.