Memories of Trains Past

School buses, metros, high speed rails…our lives are filled with transportation, often public, even if it never takes center stage. Primarily identifying as a driver for most of my life, public transportation only occasionally slipped into my consciousness until recently, yet memories of those trains and buses remain vivid years later.

My First Time: Miami Metrorail

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Photo by Alancrh.

As a kid, my parents took me to work with them in downtown Miami on the Metrorail and Metromover. The whole ordeal seemed like a theme park ride to me: high above the city with a great view of building and cars flying past. And the best part: no seatbelts! I could jump around and change seats all I wanted! That is–until my parents yelled at me to quit fooling around. In my quieter moments, I contemplated why the windows were so dirty, attempted to translate the graffiti so poorly scratched into the plastic, and studied the design of the metal tokens that took the place of tickets as if they were treasure.

Foreign Adventures: Japan, Hong Kong, Paris, and Costa Rica

One of my favorite ways to get a view into lives of people in a different country is by public transportation.

In Japan, the countryside whizzed past as the high speed rail raced from Kyoto to Tokyo. The flat fields morphed into small towns patched with rice paddies in lieu of vacant lots between buildings.

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In Hong Kong, children in uniform raced from school to the bus at the edge of the jungle park while monkeys followed in hot pursuit, watching for dropped food.

Parisians dazzled me with what almost looked like a fashion show on the bus. I admired their black coats, black dresses, and black heels as I tried to deflect attention from my old hoodie and sneakers.

Deep in the countryside of Costa Rica, our bus maneuvered the dirt road to avoid a farm dog lazily wandering about the path. We passed a couple of horses hitched to a tree and stopped to let a line of people onboard. As people ascended the stairs and found a seat, the dog followed at the back of the line, attempting to board! The driver had to push the dog back out the door.

 

All of these experiences (and more) formed the basis of what would eventually become Attention Passengers: Adventures on Public Transportation.

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A Whole Mess of New Drawings

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Went into overdrive, thanks to a combination of intense inspiration and pressure to complete the book, and created a ton more drawings. Actually, I have so many drawings now that I can roll around on a pile of them and throw them around like I’m rich!! …Except it’s in drawings, not money. Haha.

How many of these drawings have you seen so far? How many are new? Which are you looking forward to seeing finished?

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Inspiration! Graphic Novels You WILL Want to Check Out

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These are a few of the artists/authors I’m obsessed with. You’ll quickly realize that nonfiction (or at least based on real life) is my favorite type of content, especially when it comes in the form of autobiographical vignettes aka memoir. Check them out and give me your recommendations for more!

Julia Wertz – Drinking At The Movies, The Infinite Wait, etc. etc. etc.

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She’s hilarious and inappropriate and weird and everything I love, all encapsulated in graphic novel form. I love how she presents the strange task we have of dealing with serious and sometimes extraordinary struggles as part of our everyday mundane lives.

Wendy MacNaughton – Meanwhile in San Francisco

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This book–Meanwhile in San Francisco–is everywhere in SF nowadays…as it should be! Great observations about what gives a city its unique vibe have always fascinated me. A bit cheeky and satirical, this book is all sincere.

Michel Hellman – Nunavik

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Already obsessed with remote areas, particularly in Canada and Alaska, I couldn’t pass up this story of Hellman’s trip to the remote Northeastern part of Quebec. While unfolding his observations from different towns and areas, problematic issues–particularly issues the native people face as well as the changes foreigners have imposed upon their culture–make their way to the forefront.

Pete Duffield – Kellie and Pete

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Not a physical book yet (and why not?!?!), this guy skyrocketed to internet fame after HuffPo picked up a story about his drawings revolving around his life with his (now) wife. He doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to revealing how weird they are in their everyday lives.

Awesome person alert!

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I once met an older gentleman on his way to the airport, carrying a small suitcase and a saxophone case. The bus picked him up from his extremely modest home–a trailer in a tiny home project located on a median between major streets in an industrial area. He was incredibly pleasant and polite as he held his saxophone close and explained that he was on his way to Paris to play jazz with his band at various cafes over the next month.

I love imagining him there in front of an audience of people who may adore his music or may not even care, but regardless, no one can judge him based on where he came from. All that matters is his passion and art.