Signaling the Gods: Cartoons by Emily Flake

Emily Flake is a cartoonist, writer, illustrator, and performer living in Brooklyn. She is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, and the author of a book of essays and cartoons about parenting called Mama Tried. She co-hosts a quarterly parenting-themed comedy show called Shitshow with NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg; and a monthly show called NIGHTMARES with comedian Kate Willett where they talk to funny people about their nightmares, every second Tuesday at the KGB Red Room in New York City.

Cagibi had the pleasure of conducting an earlier interview with Emily, and here, to introduce these new cartoons, she shares her thoughts about process (and keeping your apartment clean).

We discuss process as though it were a series of ritualized steps that, if we could only get them right, would unlock the doors to a hidden wonderland of creativity. Boy, do I wish it were that glamorous—more often than not, my “process” goes something like this: sit down to work, stare at a piece of paper, jot down a couple words hoping something will be jarred loose, get up and tend to a VERY IMPORTANT CHORE THAT MUST BE DEALT WITH BEFORE I CAN POSSIBLY WRITE ANY JOKES, repeat until alarmingly close to deadline, write and draw in a frenzy, repeat. But in all seriousness, the key thing here is that first step: Sit down. Show up. A million people smarter than me have said that the most important thing is to signal to whatever god of the creative arts exist that you are reporting for duty. This step is, coincidentally, the hardest one to undertake. I fight with this constantly. But showing up to listen—and believe me, very often you hear nothing, and then you’ll get up and do the dishes and all of a sudden an idea will come a-buzzing in your ear—that’s the magical key. These four gags represent a pretty good survey of my interests—theological questions, motherhood, the coming apocalypse, and, uh, dwarfs?—the raw material that I sit down to try and organize into jokes. Right after I mop the floor, that is.

We recommend viewing these as a full-screen slideshow by clicking here: Four Cartoons by Emily Flake.

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Also enjoy the hilarious interview with Emily Flake.

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Issue 5

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