My first book, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, which will be published by Vertigo on November 3rd, is a memoir about a trip I took to Israel. Until going to the country as part of a Birthright tour in 2007, I had based most of my assumptions of life in Israel on what I read about in the news.
Now, for my next project, I want to investigate journalism itself. To do this, I’ll be following a small team of journalists on a reporting trip to Northerm Iraq, Syria and Eastern Turkey. The working title for this book is Stumbling Towards Damascus.
I've always admired journalists and at one time in my life I aspired to be a photojournalist myself. But what journalists do always seemed so impossibly difficult to me and so I focused on making art instead. Years later, my friends Sarah Stuteville, Alex Stonehill and Jessica Partnow started a new multimedia journalism outfit called the Common Language Project(CLP), and I watched them as they found a new way of reporting at a time when journalism was going through major change.
Although the CLP is now based in Seattle, where they teach journalism at the University of Washintgon, they have gone on several foreign reporting trips to areas of the world which are often stigmatized, and on issues that are under-reported. Their work has been featured on PBS, NPR and major newspapers, and they've received quite a few grants and awards for their excellent multimedia reporting.
For their next project abroad, the CLP will be reporting from several areas in the Middle East which have been affected by the war in Iraq. This time around, I'll be going with them--a sort of "embedded reporter" with the reporters--in order to make a full-length non-fiction comic book about how they work together to make the news. I'll be finding the story behind the story. How do journalists find translators and fixers? How do they know who to interview and what questions to ask? What kind of ethical dilemmas come up?
By shadowing my reporter friends, I'll be learning to be a reporter myself, and this book will be a move towards the kind of narrative non-fiction journalism--in comics form--that I have been thinking about making for a while. I think comics journalism can be a great way to bring real-world issues to life, and many artist/writers such as Joe Sacco have already been doing this masterfully for some time. I feel that the best way for me to learn how to make journalistic work like this myself is to literally follow in the footsteps of the people I'm close to who have the experience in the field.
I'll be traveling with the CLP for one month, starting in November. We will fly into Istanbul, take a short flight to Eastern Turkey, where we will look into water scarcity and border issues, then cross over into Iraqi Kurdistan. After that we will head to Damascus in Syria where an estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees wait for years to be granted legal entry into the US or Europe. I will return in early December and the CLP will continue reporting for another month.
What I'm asking of you is a pledge to help to defray the costs of travel, as this trip will be coming out of my personal savings. There are rewards for pledging listed to the right, but even a tiny pledge will be a drop in the bucket to help me make this happen. I hope to be able to complete the book in watercolors in a year and a half.
I will be keeping a blog while I am away on our experiences which will be posted in a section of my website, www.smallnoises.com.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in December!
video edited by Robin Enrico. Thanks Robin!
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About How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less
"Glidden, a progressive American Jew who is sharply critical of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Occupied Territories, went on an all-expense-paid birthright trip to Israel in an attempt to discover some grand truths at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This graphic memoir tells the touching and often funny story of her utter failure to do so. ...Glidden's drawings have the look of something jotted down on the fly...yet the simplicity of the drawing is offset by bright, delicate watercolors that belie our heroine's unresolved struggle with history and heritage."--Publishers Weekly
The Amazon page for the book can be found here.
Some sample pages, from the Vertigo blog, can be found here.
An interview about the book can be found here.