Number Seven: The Written Word

Musings in Grayscale issue #7


My relationship with words, writing, and books is in many ways one of the defining characteristics of my personality.  I read, and I write.  (Maybe I know things.  A few things, anyway.)  This issue is largely about the memories I have related to reading and books from childhood — there are so many, enough to do several more issues.  Hopefully I will cover more of them one of these days.

The last panel represents a jump from memory to the present day.  As you might guess, I enthusiastically embrace tsundoku — a Japanese expression which literally translates to “reading pile” and is often used to refer to the practice of buying more books than one can possibly read, or someone who does so.

I’ll admit, I haven’t been reading as much in the last decade or so as I used to.  This year, I’m aiming to change that!  According to my Goodreads stats, I finished 21 books last year, and so far this year.  I’m pushing for 35.

Images Used

  • Panel 1: A Paper Camera image.  I think the New York Times used to be bigger.  I mean, I know I am, but still …
  • Panel 2: Stock photo from, cropped and grayscaled.
  • Panel 3: A shot of me holding open a book from my childhood, The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams and Imero Gobbato.  Photo by Joe Medina.
  • Panel 4: The cover of Mad Magazine #211, cover date December 1979.  Image found on the Vintage Repurposement Etsy store.
  • Panel 5: Covers of All Things Bright & Beautiful by James Herriot and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster.  Located via Google Image Search then grayscaled.
  • Panel 6: A Paper Camera image.  Yes, this is what one corner of our bedroom looks like.

Full disclosure: the links for the book titles will take you to the Powell’s Books website.  If you buy a copy there, I’ll get a little cut.


Number Six: The Idea You Can’t Keep

Musings In Grayscale Issue #6


One of the most frustrating things about being a writer is coming up with ideas that are absolutely wonderful, so much so that you practically fall in love with them — only to realize they just don’t work where you want them to.  It is heartbreaking.  Maybe better writers than I can see an idea won’t work before they fall in love with it in the first place.  I wish I could.

It was my husband Joe who really helped me to understand that I didn’t have to throw out the ideas that wouldn’t work in the story they were in, that maybe they just belonged somewhere else.  That has made letting go of the ideas I love just a little easier.  They’re not bad.  Just misplaced.  I’m not bad — I just had a good idea at the wrong time.

Images Used

  • Panel 1: A Paper Camera selfie.  (Not easy to take a selfie with your hand over your eyes!)
  • Panel 2: A shot of the Smith River at its confluence with Patrick Creek, in far northern California.  Taken by me in 2007 and grayscaled.
  • Panel 3: A shot of a record and its sleeve. Taken by me in 2015 and grayscaled.  (I had purchased the record at Goodwill for the specific purpose of cutting it into guitar picks.  Sadly, it was a bit too thick to work well with my punch.)
  • Panel 4: Image from the National Library of France, found on Wikimedia Commons.  Public domain.
  • Panel 5: A coloring page from Deco Tech: Geometric Coloring Patterns by John Wik, colored by me, photographed then manipulated in Photoshop.
  • Panel 6: A shot taken by me at the 2004 IndyCar race at Portland International Raceway.  (The IndyCar series is coming back to Portland this year, after having been gone for a decade.  Yay!)

Number Five: Attitude


I’ve actually been in a bit of a funk for a while, so it was good to look at this comic and think again about the message I’m trying to send with it.  I know all too well it’s not easy to change your attitude, and to make the choices that will send your thoughts and feelings into a more positive direction.

But damn, it’s sure satisfying when you can pull it off.

Images Used

  • Panel 1:  A Paper Camera shot of the front courtyard at the Jeriko Estate Winery tasting room, just north of Hopland, California.
  • Panel 2:  A Paper Camera selfie (in a Halloween costume).
  • Panel 3:  Composite:  A Paper Camera shot (of the very toilet I was speaking of, after I’d flushed) and the “Scared Cat” meme image, grayscaled.
  • Panel 4:  A grayscaled and cropped image of “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun,” by William Blake.  Image taken from Mark Harden’s Artchive.
  • Panel 5:  A digital shot of clouds, taken by me and grayscaled.

Number Four: Journey, “Lights”


Happy New Year!  This installment is the first of my more random thoughts, a genuine musing in grayscale.  A little arithmetic will tell you this was composed some three years ago, and has been sitting in the stack with the rest since then.  Still, though, every time I hear “Lights” I think about sunset, and have to remind myself otherwise.

I’m not alone in this perception, either.  According to the song’s Wikipedia entry, “Lights” has often been played at the end of both Giants and 49ers home games, and was used as a sign-off tune by a Texas radio station.

Images Used

  • Panel 1: The single cover of “Lights,” grayscaled.
  • Panel 2: Photo from the Internet, grayscaled.  (I didn’t make note of who to attribute for this one, a mistake I won’t repeat in future comics.)
  • Panel 3: Pebble Beach, Crescent City, California.  Taken by me on cellphone camera in 2007, facing north toward Point Saint George.
  • Panel 4: Shot of a gate to a closed sawmill in Crescent City, California. Taken, developed and printed by me in 1985.
  • Panel 5: A Paper Camera selfie.



Number Three: Characters, Part Two


I used a wide variety of sources for the images in this comic, reflecting the many ways I have represented characters in my head: everything from painting miniature figures to playing them as characters in “The Sims” games.

Images Used

  • Panel 1: A Paper Camera selfie.
  • Panel 2: A miniature figure painted by me, shot up close and grayscaled.
  • Panel 3: Screen capture of The Sims 2, grayscaled.
  • Panel 4: A portrait obtained through the Portrait Adoption website.  Art by Nicole Cadet.
  • Panel 5: A collage of logo images.
  • Panel 6: A page from the book Deco Tech: Geometric Coloring Patterns, colored by me, then photographed and grayscaled.

Number Two: Characters

Musings in Grayscale comic issue 3


A green room is a term from the theatre, a place offstage where performers hang out before and after their turns onstage.  As a writer, characters are my stock in trade.  I don’t know if all writers have this sort of mental green room, but I’ve heard of many whose characters talk to them.  Sometimes to the point where it gets downright annoying!

Images Used

  • Panel 1:  A Paper Camera selfie.
  • Panel 2:  A photo I took and printed in 1985.  An old camper shell on my parents’ property, set on the ground and overtaken by blackberry vines.
  • Panel 3:  A stock photo, grayscaled.
  • Panel 4:  A Paper Camera photo, shot recently.
  • Panel 5:  A Paper Camera photo, extreme closeup of a faux granite floor.
  • Panel 6:  A portrait obtained through the Portrait Adoption website.  Art by Nicole Cadet.

Number One(a), Introduction Update

Musings In Grayscale Issue #1a


It seemed only fair to create an update to the original comic, Issue 1.  Enter Issue 1a, which is actually the most recently composed of all the Musings In Grayscale as I write this.

I still struggle with self-doubt.  Constantly.  I still feel as if I’m trying to re-establish my identity.  To do that, I need to understand myself.  A very fundamental part of the Musings In Grayscale is that exploration and search for understanding.  I hope that I can make it entertaining for you, my readers, along the way.

Images Used

Panel 1: A selfie, grayscaled and tweaked in Photoshop.
Panel 2: Stock photo of a printed circuit board (PCB), grayscaled.
Panel 3: NASA photo of a black hole, grayscaled and tweaked in Photoshop.
Panel 4: Cell phone camera shot, taken with the Paper Camera app.
Panel 5: Cell phone camera shot, taken by me and grayscaled.
Panel 6: NASA photo of the full moon rising over the Wasatch Mountains, grayscaled.

Number One, Introduction: Cube, Keyboard, and Roots

musings in grayscale comic #1Notes

This was the first comic I created, using the original version of Comic Life.  It was composed sometime in 2013, I think.

Images Used

  • Panel 1: A selfie shot with the Paper Camera app on my Android phone.
  • Panel 2: My cube at Intel, shot with Paper Camera.
  • Panel 3: Another Paper Camera shot.
  • Panel 4: A stock picture of an Intel i386 CPU, grayscaled.
  • Panel 5: A selfie (foot-selfie?) taken with a Canon Sure-shot digital camera and grayscaled in Photoshop Elements 9.
  • Panel 6: The roots of a Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) growing over the burned trunk of the same tree. Shot, developed and printed by me in 1985.