Each week we’ll be turning the spotlight on one of the many quality graphic novels from our extensive back catalogue.
This week it’s the turn of Stuff That Happened.
This book is a collection of comic strips created between 2013 and 2014 by artist Vicky Stonebridge, who lives and works in the Scottish Highlands. At the time this series of unrelated anecdotes were originally created as occasional blog posts. They were designed to be drawing exercises, to entertain friends and later they became therapeutic, capturing funny or poignant “Stuff that Happened” as she went about her business as a fire-fighter, art tutor and community worker.
Vicky was travelling between her home in the wild, rural, West coast to Inverness for work and then to the sandy beaches of the East coast to spend time with the new man in her life, Andrew. Her constant companion was her dog Bruno. Both dog and mother of three were coming to terms with an empty nest and dealing with a range of anxieties and PTSD. For Bruno the answer was simple, to never leave Vicky’s side. Vicky had to worry about how to carve out a new life and new identity without other people to look after. But she didn’t have time to really come to terms with these changes, before a much bigger, more dramatic change forced itself into the narrative. She became seriously ill. This story covers the period of time when she became symptomatic with her illness, and was in and out of hospital for tests and emergency treatment.
Would she be able to work again? How would she survive financially? How ill was she? Would she be able to go back to fire fighting? It seems a person’s body can only undergo so much physical work and stress before something has to change, and this period in Vicky’s life was where change was forced upon her. It has taken her three years since this time to be able to finish the original pencilled roughs. When we are living in the moment, it is difficult to see the thread which binds events as they happen – we are too close to it. But with hindsight, this book is an honest and personal tale of a life changing illness, stress, worry and more importantly, the little moments in life that make it worth living no matter what stuff happens.
Written and illustrated by Vicky Stonebridge, click the links below to order or download Stuff That Happened now!