Dear Kelsey Wroten,
I am sure you are a lovely person. I am sure we could have some interesting conversations about not only your graphic novel, Cannonball, but about life itself. Who has not felt like your main character, Caroline Bertram? Who has not loathed the joys of adulting when you are not ready for it? Then again, are any of us ever ready for it? And of course, Caroline has the added struggles of being queer, a writer and being a drug-addled alcoholic. But then again, are self-proclaimed geniuses ever understood? And are they ever able to be truly appreciated by anyone? Even themselves?
Yes, Caroline is a sad individual. They are never full as their friend Trevor said. They will always want more. They could write the Great American Novel. NAY! The Great WORLD Novel and still want to write the GREATER World Novel. Yet how will they when they are always trying to sabotage themselves? Caroline has a horrible father. Mother, too, really. Their friends are selfish by selling out by getting a job (I mean who needs food, rent or stability?) And why should Pen be happy with Shiloh? Leaving Caroline outside their circle of love? So of course, Caroline is pure in her loathing of everyone.
If you have not guessed, I am not a fan of Caroline. I see myself in some of her hopes, dreams and desires, and appreciate that, but I hope I am not as self-absorbed or as self-destructive. I hope that if I get a chance to write a book, publish it and win awards (okay one award, but a pretty damn big deal) that I would not find it necessary to say, “It’s not a KIDS book, but Young Adult!” Like it is a curse to write either.
I am not sure I would say your artwork spoke to me in the usual manner. I found the characters odd at best. Yet, this is probably my favorite part. You do not need to read the text, you know what is going on via illustrations. The colors pop and your style fits the story. Text and art complement each other. The way that Caroline’s book(s) is/are a different style from her life helps you flow into that world. Her dream-states also in a different style show the change in story. Seeing people naked in flesh and life makes this a book that is going to do well.
As you can see, I was not a traditional fan of your book. However, I am truly grateful for the work you put into it so I could read it. The reading of it is an experience I will not forget anytime soon. It made me think, feel uncomfortable, laugh and realize a thing or two about a thing or two. I hope other people find your Great Novel and experience it. Because it is worth the ride. Please do not feel it necessary to write the Greater Novel. You could, but please keep writing the things that speak to your readers. Because this is a Great Novel. Do not try to improve on greatness. Even if we might misinterpret your meaning, you should be proud that you did touch us, made us realize there are others out there like us. That there is someone who understands what we are feeling, hoping and dreaming.
Thank you, Me