NPR's Fresh Air has an outstanding interview up with with Allie Borsch, the artist, blogger, author all-around hope for the human race who created the magnificent Web site Hyperbole and a Half.
Terry Gross gets Allie to talk about how she thinks about art, comedy and the nature of humor. In short, it's hard work to be intentionally funny. Brosh's style is famous for looking like an over imaginative six-year-old drew it (in fact, much of it derives from her own exploits during her hell-raising childhood, but that's part of the charm of the whole enterprise.) But all of those stories take a lot (not alot) of time to put together and draw in just the right way to elicit the proper emotion. During my time as a journalist, I got to interview several children's authors, and they all told me how hard it was to put together simple stories and draw the pictures just right; I think Brosch's work is an analogue for that.
I also really appreciate her frankness with discussing her struggles with depression. I've had my own issues with mental illness (fortunately mild, but difficult enough) and I really think she richly describes exactly what depression feels like: the emotional deadening, the feelings of isolation, and the almost clinical detachedness from the world around you. I found myself nodding along vigorously during some points of the interview.
I also remember sharing her fears about going on medication -- you're afraid that it will do something to you that will take away that thing that makes "you" be "you." Fortunately, I found that my two years on medication simply helped me feel like a better version of me. Of course medication isn't the only part of treating mental illness, but for many of us, it helps a lot (again, not alot)
Allie courageously talks in great detail about her struggles both during the interview and in an incredible two-part comic on her blog that manages to be poignant, devastating, insightful and tremendously funny all at the same time. I can't imagine the courage and time it took her to do so, but its a tremendous service (and artistic achievement on its own merits)
For those of you who have never seen Hyperbole and a Half, you need to procrastinate for the next two hours and read all the archives RIGHT NOW. (and buy Allie's book too!)