Episode 627: MS Harkness transcript

A deeply personal meditation on life, art and surviving capitalism, Time Under Tension further establishes MS Harkness as a formative voice in auto-bio comics. The book – her first for Fantagraphics – follows the Uncivilized Books titles, Tinderella and Desperate Pleasures. Harkness joins us to discuss her work, weightlifting and teaching comics.

MS Harkness  0:00  
I'm not really too bad. I mean, like, I got like hella COVID relief money. And so like, I use that to move to Columbus, Ohio, which is just like generally like a cheaper place to live. And like in the process of that, like ended up like training, like a kind of COVID Bumble of like cartoonists and like cartoonist, adjacent people. So like, it ended up being pretty nice. Like, I can't imagine having like a better setup as far as just like, you know, doing things as safely as possible at the time. And like, you know, not starving. And eventually, like, I ended up working at a sort of like, I don't know, just like a nice general sort of all purpose kind of powerlifting kind of CrossFit kind of bodybuilding gym that's in downtown Columbus. And so like, I do that, and I teach, just like occasionally, and like I do pretty fine for myself as far as like, being able to support myself for the most part. So,

Brian Heater  1:05  
obviously, Columbus is a really vibrant cartooning community now. But it's wild that there are enough cartoonists that you could really kind of keep you going. Are there enough cartoonists interested in weight training that that could keep you going for a bit? Yeah, and

MS Harkness  1:18  
now I've kind of like expanded to like, you know, just like normal people that want to like train, like where I've got plenty of people like the gym just refers me as far as just like, I don't know, just regular regular folks that want to do like some form of weight training, where I'm not like, training them to be like body builders or anything like that.

Brian Heater  1:38  
Columbus is cheaper than Pittsburgh.

MS Harkness  1:41  
Minneapolis is like where I was. And so yeah, it is because it's just like that much more of like a weird libertarian health status.

Brian Heater  1:50  
So in the book, you were in Pittsburgh for some time for

MS Harkness  1:54  
that little like residency that I did for like a week. So it's sort of like something I did in the summer after I graduated. And then I went back home, it

Brian Heater  2:04  
seemed like you were like, maybe considering moving there. At some point.

MS Harkness  2:08  
I think it was just like that kind of like post grad thing where you just don't really know where you're going to be long term. And like, I never really thought I would leave Minneapolis. But I also wasn't like, really, like resigned to stay there. I don't know. I never, ever really got to like move away after like high school or like during college, so and ended up being Columbus like, once I once I was like, effectively laid off because of COVID. I was like I might as well just do this. Now. This is like the easiest it's gonna be

Brian Heater  2:40  
you were from Oklahoma originally, and then went to school in Minneapolis.

MS Harkness  2:47  
And my parents like moved up to Minnesota when I was like four or five. So I was born in like, basically where they filmed Twister. Just like the shittiest part of Oklahoma, and then came up to Duluth, Minnesota and went to school in Minneapolis.

Brian Heater  3:05  
You went to art school? Yeah,

MS Harkness  3:07  
in Minneapolis,

Brian Heater  3:08  
is that a worthwhile experience?

MS Harkness  3:11  
I mean, I can complain about it all I want. But like, ultimately, like, I feel like I'm in a good spot now. So it's sort of like any complaint anyone would have about college in America, where it's like, wow, this could have been way cheaper. And you know, like, it would be a lot easier if I wasn't like dealing with all this debt. After the fact, and I don't know, however exploitive and fucked up it is that we have like comics degrees, where there's no like, can't really point to really anyone that like is doing well enough to maybe say that that's a great idea to do. But at the same time, like I really do enjoy my life now and and doing better than a lot of people who make that choice. So

Brian Heater  3:52  
just like running the mill late, late capitalism sorts of complaints.

MS Harkness  3:56  
Yeah, nothing particularly interesting, Dan Clowes on the show. You know,

Brian Heater  4:00  
I think the bulk of his money comes from selling originals and doing illustrations, it's, you know, looking at somebody who's obviously like, at the top of his game, and has been for a long time, like, it's so difficult to make a living doing this.

MS Harkness  4:16  
Yeah. And I have like a really supportive partner. So I'm, I like, kind of make no bones about the fact that like, if anyone's like, looking at me being like, Oh, she made it, I'm like, Well, I've made like other strategic life choices. So it's not, it's not like, I've got everything figured out.

Brian Heater  4:34  
The younger the cartoonists I talked to who have been through the process of not only art school, but setting comics, and it seems to be it seems to have been trending in the right direction, you know, as far as like actual usable skills, but also, you know, how to kind of survive and live as an artist.

MS Harkness  4:54  
I mean, kind of I feel like it's it's doable. really depends on the program like I'm finding as I'm like going across the country, and like visiting different comics programs, like just how different everything can be, just like with like the administration at the school, you know, there's the weird hoops to jump through to get your diploma or whatever. But like, I don't know, like, I also feel like, the education that I got even I don't know, like, not even like, less than 10 years ago at this point is just so outdated, where it's like, I was being told to like, cold call people and like, make business cards, and like this shit that just like, makes no sense to do now. And it was only kind of just like, coming around to like, the best ways to game out like algorithms and things like that, like it's always changing. So it's sort of like by the time that you graduate, like, and you would hope that you as like a younger person are kind of like glued into social media to an extent where it's not. It's not horrible for like you as a person, it just like, you just understand how to game it for the, you know, business that you have to run, essentially. But it's like, I don't know, I can't I can't even imagine like how out of the loop, I will be in five years as far as like what I'm supposed to be doing according to the, you know, academic text,

Brian Heater  6:23  
you feel like you've got a pretty good grasp on things like social media at this point, though.

MS Harkness  6:28  
I don't know, I kind of always just like used it like a billboard as opposed to like, a means to engage. You know, it's just like, this is the information of where I will physically be at this time. I'm not going to live, you know, on Instagram or anything. So

Brian Heater  6:46  
it sounded like you went to school with some expectation of like, kind of breaking into the superhero sides of things.

MS Harkness  6:54  
Well, I don't I don't even know if I really knew what I wanted to do is just that I was like golding of a really good at drawing. And, like, theoretically, I would make comics, but I didn't really know like, what I wanted to do with that, and I was not like, talented enough to really go that route. But I don't know, it just kind of depends on like, where your professors are sort of lying within the frame of employment. Like Kevin icinga is sort of the professor I point to the most where I mean, like, he's the obvious answer being that he taught me and like, he, you know, makes books for Drawn and Quarterly and it's more literary than it is, like, you know, being like an anchor or a letter or something, you know, that's part of like a unknown brand. And an identity that's like a marketing scheme. But yeah, I mean, like, I'm, like, most people, I think I went into school thinking that, thinking I would do something, but not really having any idea like what that kind of life would be like, or like, what that would actually entail.

Brian Heater  7:59  
So was Kevin a big part in, in nudging you in this direction?

MS Harkness  8:04  
I don't know if he was necessarily like a big part of nudging me in the direction. I think that if anything, he would kind of like, dissuade me from doing a lot of the things that he did, because he's definitely not the kind of person who's like hooting and hollering on the internet and like, you know, trying to get eyes on the product or whatever. Like he was Sousa was kind of like doing like a do as I say not as I do as far as like trying to tell us like ways to be smart about our work. But no, I mean, I would I would be going to small press shows because I wanted to table at them and sell my like zines and small mini comics and stuff and he would just be there and like, that was not what I saw with like my other teachers.

Brian Heater  8:50  
That's the thing about him is you know, you mentioned the drunk quarterly stuff but also he's been doing a lot of self publishing over the years which is probably an immensely useful gateway to get into this world.

MS Harkness  9:07  
Yeah, and something I still really like doing for the most part so were they

Brian Heater  9:11  
memoir were they autobiography from the beginning?

MS Harkness  9:15  
I for the most part, I did a 24 hour comic about like, a funny a funny story from like my college years and that was like one of the first things that people really actually seem to connect with. When I was like critiquing it in college and then I was started like selling it and like, it was a pretty easy sell for most people. So I think that like initial success, like kind of was like okay, like I'm doing the right thing here like this is the right direction to go in.

Brian Heater  9:46  
What was that story?

MS Harkness  9:49  
Story about trying to have sex at the Orlando International Airport with somebody I met in the security line,

Brian Heater  9:54  
so I don't want to do any spoilers, but it's been out for a while. How did that go?

MS Harkness  9:58  
It didn't happen but We were both mutually enthused with each other. So who knows? Maybe I will someday reprinted

Brian Heater  10:06  
what kind of work were you making prior to that?

MS Harkness  10:09  
I don't know. Like I had like a bunch of like weird ideas for comics. I had like a comic about like a kid who had like the ability to like talk to dolphins or doc to talk to this one dolphin. Like he was a lifeguard and I was lifeguarding at the time. He, he lifeguarded. Outside, he met a dolphin and the dolphin was basically like pushing him to become like an eco terrorist. So there was like, all these ideas I have for that. And then there was one another another nautical themed one where it was like this little this little weird mutant, fucking kid was like a shark head, where his like, basically like his mom fogged Aquaman. And but instead of getting like a really hot sun, it just got like this fucking shitty little shark headed boy. He

Brian Heater  11:05  
got like, the worst parts of the mermaid. Yeah, so it was it was sort of like that.

MS Harkness  11:11  
I don't know I had one. I had a I had a couple of like, really random ones. There's a lot of just like school assignments where it was kind of like make a nonfiction comic. And rather than doing something from my life, I did like a kind of like, I don't know, like nature documentary thing or something about animals. I don't know it was it was always kind of predicated upon like turning something and that was like a inking assignment or something. It was never like, particularly, like, oh, come up with like a cool, you know, 12 page story or something. It was it was like early beginnings of comics school,

Brian Heater  11:44  
it definitely helps to have a prompt. Yeah, the 24 hour comic was done. While you were still at school.

MS Harkness  11:50  
Yeah, it was like a sophomore or something I don't remember. So

Brian Heater  11:54  
you graduate. And you know, it's it sounds like by the time you graduate, you've you've got a pretty good grasp on the kinds of comics you want to make. How does that how does that process? How does that process start,

MS Harkness  12:06  
like being an art school like you're, you're dealing with, like the opinions of like, your teacher, and then like, dumb kids who are just as lost as you are. And so it's hard to parse and understand, like, any kind of like direction you're supposed to be taking with your work. Because a lot of the times the teachers are not necessarily giving you advice that you're hearing. Like you only really hear like weird, dumb quips about like particular panels or little weird choices that you make that have no nothing to do with, like your ideas or like your skill. So I don't know, like, it's kind of just like, you sit there for like four hours giving feedback to people that are like not very talented, and have bad ideas have stupid like 19 year old ideas about stories about like most of it, when I was in college, it was just like, things that just fundamentally make no sense and are not clear and are just like very clearly like this person's, you know, 400 Page saga in their mind, but then they've like, shoehorn it into an assignment that like has nothing to do with what they want to do. And so it's just like, a complete failure to like meet the criteria of the assignment and just like a waste of time. Now, it's like, kids want to make cute stories about friends who are are nice to each other that are have like, no story at all. It's just like, they just want to make like, cutesy feel good stories that are usually like, this person is non binary and queer. And they have a good friend and I'm like, Well, do they do anything? Like, it's not? There's no conflict. There's nothing like going on at all. It's just like a cute style of drawing that they want to do. But yeah, like, I mean, I Tung taught me me drawing like hyenas that die in a bushfire narrated by David Attenborough and I put it in front of these other people and they're just like, I like how you did the fire

Brian Heater  14:21  
just in no way actually.

MS Harkness  14:24  
Yeah, so I mean part of it being like let me do something that's like wild for shock factor because like more likely than not I'm like high during class and I don't give a fuck about what any of these people think. And be like people are laughing at it and like actually reacting to it in some way. So

Brian Heater  14:44  
like, okay, when he put it like that between the students and the a lot of the professor's not giving you particularly useful feedback, what what was the main? What was the main thing you got out of it was just kind of forcing yourself to sit down at Make this stuff.

MS Harkness  15:00  
Yeah, I mean, being accountable is a big part of it. I think just like, if you even if like the assignment or the feedbacks bad, it's just sort of like going into your, like, 10,000 hours of drawing that you have to do to, like, be good at something. It's trying out stuff. It's meeting people that like, you know, I, I've gone on this tour, and I've, like, met a handful of people that I've went to college with, and like, we're, you know, part of my, like, freshman foundation year that like, have nothing to do with what I do now, but are like, still good friends. So it's just like the college experience, which is like, invaluable, I would say. But yeah, I mean, like, Kevin, I had multiple classes with him, there's plenty of things that like, you know, I talked to him about, like off hours that were like, not related to class that helped me. And, you know, just like in the way of like, you show up, and they're like, you know, there's like a ZINE Fest this weekend. And you're like, No, I didn't know. I'm gonna go now. Cool. So the

Brian Heater  16:02  
younger artists, you're talking about who are making these stories about good friends being good friends with each other? Are these are these students are teaching? Yeah, for the most part, do you give them advice? Do you attempt to kind of push them in the direction of adding at least a little bit of conflict to their stuff?

MS Harkness  16:21  
No, I mean, I don't like I try and try and do no harm at the very least, like I, I give them feedback and let them know what I'm seeing. I'm just speaking to the fact that it just seems like a trend to some extent, or it's like it's a lot of this meets that in an irreverent fantasy. irreverent. Or I'm like, What do you mean by that, like, where they're trying to describe it. And it's just, it's the kind of, I don't know, it's just what's in the air in the water for them probably just like coming out of COVID. And doing some part of like, high school like online, where it's like, the maximum utility of like, any of this content for them, it's just purely escapism from the fact that like, everything is fucking terrible, but yeah, I mean, like, I try and meet people where they're at where it's like, I have, like a handful of like, really talented students who are, you know, I'm trying to like, just broaden their horizons as as far as like, showing them like good books and movies and stuff. And not like, necessarily taking ownership or, you know, or like, trying to steer them in whatever way I think is right, and just being like, you need to make your own choices and like, figure out what you need to do, because like, you're an adult, theoretically. And then the rest of them, it's like, okay, well, you just like, clearly are having trouble in all of your classes, and you are not able to like function at an adult level, because you just like don't know how to have, do your laundry and eat and go to bed on time. So like, you know, we need to just make quick choices about what we're going to do for our assignments and not like sit there and sigh and groan for 45 minutes. Because I've asked you to like, come up with an idea. So it becomes a little bit more like kids gloves as far as just being like, okay, like, I'm reminding you, this is when this is due. So

Brian Heater  18:24  
if the assignment is like basically like, Hey, make a comic with a story. And that's something that elicits sighs and groans for people, you have to wonder, ultimately, why they're doing this?

MS Harkness  18:37  
Yeah, I mean, they don't, they have less of an idea. Sometimes, sometimes they more but it's like, I don't want to be too judgmental, considering, you know, I came in not really having things figured out, I had more of my, like, pert my adult life figured out, like I knew how to pay rent and like have a job, which a lot of them don't do. So like, that is great. And that gives you the stability to then like do things that are you know, like, creatively challenging. So, I don't know, you

Brian Heater  19:13  
touched on something interesting there. It hadn't occurred to me. But once he said that, it's very obvious in hindsight, that these these students that you have, I mean, obviously, like all of us kind of effectively lost, like, you know, two or three years of our lives, but they they did it at like what what was supposed to be like peak socialization time. So I mean, that must have really got them out of whack. And maybe maybe because of that, maybe it's not surprising to that, like, the story of two people being friends is in fact a compelling story to them. Right?

MS Harkness  19:50  
Well, and also like There's just nowhere for them to really go like none of them have driver's licenses and there's not like a mall for them anymore. There's no like free areas to hang out. So they just are on their phones all the time. So like that that wasn't going to be any different. But

Brian Heater  20:06  
I've never actually been to Columbus. But I always assumed there was a little bit going on over there. I'm

MS Harkness  20:12  
teaching them in person. I'm only teaching like every now and then like, right now I'm not teaching, I'm doing like a book tour and stuff. But when I am teaching, I'm in person, when you

Brian Heater  20:22  
said that they weren't able to go and do anything you meant specifically during the pandemic. Well, I

MS Harkness  20:28  
mean, like, just kids don't do anything anymore. Like, I mean, like, you might have some that like play sports or something, or like, I don't know, do do some sort of academic ship. But like, kids don't go to a mall. There aren't malls anymore that they go to. They don't like, they get yelled at for like being in any public space, because they're just like sitting around. They play like video games, and they like don't do anything.

Brian Heater  20:54  
They feel like loitering was a very formative teenage experience for me.

MS Harkness  20:59  
Yeah, and like, and no one does it anymore. Like unless like you're a smoker or something, which now there's not a lot of those. Well, there's a lot of vapors, right, right. But you can do that inside.

Brian Heater  21:10  
What attracted you to Columbus,

MS Harkness  21:13  
the Billy Ireland cartoon Museum is here like, I'd already made a lot of inroads with people that had lived here for a while. Like the comics department at the school is pretty new. But it's yeah, it's just that much cheaper. The show here at Cartoon Crossroads is like blowing up. To some extent. It's closer to the east coast, where it's, you know, five, six hour drive to get to Philadelphia, or whatever, and New York and Toronto and all these other places. Minnesota is just like, really far from everything.

Brian Heater  21:49  
As far as the stories that you tell. I mean, it sounds like from pretty much from the get go, or at least pretty much from the 24 hour comic that you weren't. You weren't afraid to be deeply personal on the page.

MS Harkness  22:04  
Yeah, with what I'm comfortable talking about? Sure.

Brian Heater  22:08  
Sure, yeah. I mean, yeah, it's, it's, that's fair. But you know, it is, these are, these are personal things. And these, these aren't things that like everybody feels comfortable putting out into the world.

MS Harkness  22:21  
Yeah, um, I don't know, I was in my 20s. So I didn't really think about it as much as maybe I should have,

Brian Heater  22:26  
just in order to really sort of tell your story. These are the kinds of things that you have to tell they're like, a big, they're, they're a big piece of that.

MS Harkness  22:34  
I mean, I in the book, I talk about the kind of, like, say, like sex work in quotes, or whatever being that like, I did, like sugar, baby shit. And there's a MMA fighter in there that like, I've fucked around with who is sort of like this non relationship that I'm exploring as far as like, kind of, like broadening his character out. Yeah, and but much of family trauma and shit, as far as just, I don't know, generations of of people who have had a hard go of it. And then, like having a dad who molest you as a child. Yeah, I mean, there's plenty of that.

Brian Heater  23:25  
Why sex work in quotes?

MS Harkness  23:29  
Because it's confusing to say that because no one knows what you mean, when you say that. Like, people think I did only fans or, you know, selfie pictures, or were an escort, you know, like, it's such a broad term. And I really, I don't know, like, there's plenty of people that like, don't feel comfortable using that term. And there's plenty of people that do and are like, insistent that you use it as opposed to anything else. And I don't know, I'm just serving myself and saying that, like, you know, like, I did, what is traditionally called being a sugar baby, which is still confusing for plenty of people who, like, don't really know, the difference between that and like a prostitute. And so and now that I'm like, you know, I'm like, I'm fucking retired. I'm not doing it anymore. So it's sort of like, I don't keep up with whatever the lingo is, like, you know, as of this year. So it's just kind of like, I'm not I'm not trying to claim anything that I'm not here are confused people. Yeah,

Brian Heater  24:35  
that's fair. I mean, like, overall, how was that experience for you? That's

MS Harkness  24:39  
fine. I mean, like I said, like I retired from it. i It's not something that I'd love my own children to do. But it's the kind of thing where everyone has an opinion about it. And, like, I'm not again like trying to claim anything for the purposes of like saying This book is about that, like, I think ultimately, like this book is about, like, being the age I was. And just having like a myriad of different things that I'm juggling all at once where it's like, this is like how this kind of person like walks through life and like has to walk through life sometimes and how frustrating that can be. But like, ultimately, it's not like, woe is me to the extent of like, a bunch of like, 100 pages of me crying about how difficult X and Y is, it's more so about like, the verbs of life and like doing things and like making choices in

Brian Heater  25:42  
reading this, it sounds like there are there are certain instances of you kind of getting pushed back as far as the the kinds of kinds of comics you wanted to make when there is a as a professor who said something like, was it like, don't expect to get by on this broke girl shit, which like, did you find that there were a lot of people that you respected in that world? Or at least have you interacted with him in within that world that tried to push you in a different direction?

MS Harkness  26:19  
All right, I don't know, I think you're getting like critique on all sides being an art school. And I think that like I ultimately really did value that advice, because it was kind of like, you don't want to be a circus clown, who is constantly like, look at me, everybody, like, Look how funny this is, and be really self deprecating about everything, because it just, it just doesn't really age well. And there are like things that you're going to regret about it that may or may not be like what everyone will think you'll regret. But it's it's kind of it's just like, there's nothing, no benefit of being like lol I suck over and over again. It doesn't make self esteem happen, or stay. So um, yeah, I mean, there's plenty. There's people like, there was people telling me that and then there's people telling me not to even make comics. So it was kind of like, there was plenty of of like, advice to sort through to be like, what is actually beneficial here?

Brian Heater  27:19  
I was surprised to see that that about Frank, where he seemed like he was kind of I don't know, being being fairly pessimistic about it.

MS Harkness  27:30  
I don't know. I mean, I think he said that to like a quite a few people, basically. So it wasn't really about me. No,

Brian Heater  27:38  
the pushback from the professor was less about broadly, the subject matter you're covering and more about how you recovering it.

MS Harkness  27:45  
Yeah. And also just like, don't be a fucking loser. Like, I don't know. Like, I that's kind of how I took it, where it's just like, I mean, that's good advice. Yeah. Like, I mean, don't, don't seek out situations that you think will be funny to make comics about that, or to your detriment, I think, is ultimately like, what that kind of felt like, for me,

Brian Heater  28:05  
that's a really fair point. And I've talked to a lot of people who I think, fall into that trap. Was that something that you were actually doing at any point?

MS Harkness  28:16  
No, but I also think that like, to the outside perspective, like, I don't know, like, I would leave class to, like, sell weed, like all the time, and like, it was pretty obvious to like, most people that were watching me and and if anyone called me out on it, it'd be like, I need fucking money. Like, what the fuck are you gonna tell me like, I was super bullheaded, and like stubborn about it. And like, I don't know, like, I got plenty of people that were making assumptions about me being like, Oh, you're in art school, so you must have money and you're just like doing this for clout and I'm like, I have no money. Like, I don't know what the fuck you think I am, like? I yeah, like I mean, I'm doing a lot of these things. Because like, I'm not thinking about my well being like, I'm not considering the fact that like, what I'm doing, you know, with with a stranger or whatever it can be to my detriment. Like I'm just saying, like, it's gonna be fine. And there was times it wasn't there's times it wasn't like it's it's not it's something that I don't hate myself for and I don't necessarily regret because like, these are like the choices I was making at the time being like the person I was like, I have empathy for those kinds of people. But like, it's the kind of thing where it's like, you know, I I want to tell stories about about being this age, and this time and some other people will be of a similar mind and I'm not scolding them. I'm just saying what's happening. So you

Brian Heater  29:47  
found that people generally are fairly judgmental when it came to this stuff.

MS Harkness  29:55  
No, I think just like an art school, like we're, you know, you're all like 18 to At 22 years old or something, you just have, like, a bunch of poorly adjusted people all trying to get graded, you know, and yeah, I

mean, I don't necessarily get that now at all. Certainly not from like people I actually care about us into. So

Brian Heater  30:19  
I think these are things that, you know, even if you haven't experienced them personally are, are highly relatable to a lot of people, especially these days, you know, in terms of like, having to do what you can in order to survive.

MS Harkness  30:35  
Yeah, and like, there's, there's like, people who will say, like, you know, well, you know, there's easier ways to make money than this or that, and maybe so. But this is like, how, how I ended up playing my hand, the

Brian Heater  30:51  
personal training, that's your, that's your main gig at this point.

MS Harkness  30:55  
Well, the comics are my main gig right now. It will be back in like January, but yeah, I'm like, I'm going to Seattle tomorrow. I have been traveling since early September. And yeah, I mean, I'm doing a lot of like, talking to colleges and selling books at shows and selling art and stuff. So

Brian Heater  31:18  
it's less like the actual comics. And it's more about sort of the things around the comics.

MS Harkness  31:23  
Yeah, just like the things that I try and do, coordinated with the release of a book. So it's like, Okay, I'm gonna go make another book for like, four years, like, Goodbye, everyone.

Brian Heater  31:33  
Is that how long it took to make this one? I'm not

MS Harkness  31:36  
quite that long. I wrote it. Like 2020 I started making it like at the end of 2020. And then I finished it this year in January. So

Brian Heater  31:50  
that seems like a good time to really, if your focus to sit down and start working on this, because, you know, like, like you said earlier, there just wasn't a ton going on then. Yeah,

MS Harkness  32:01  
and I made a bunch of like, other small press, like mini comics and stuff, too. So I definitely was nice to just rip through a bunch of stuff.

Brian Heater  32:09  
So you found that you were productive during that period?

MS Harkness  32:13  
Yeah, um, I don't know I was remarking the other day because like, I, I never stopped like dyeing my hair and shaving my legs and like working out. And like, making work. Like this has been being on tour like for like, two months now has been like the longest I've not been working on anything or like drawing since I graduated from college. And it's, it's good, it's fine. I don't feel like anxious about it or anything, but it's like, kind of just being like, yeah, no, I, I feel like all the things I do are pretty much like for myself. As far as like, making sure my hair is pretty brushed. It

Brian Heater  33:04  
sounds like working out is something that you genuinely enjoy. And that is a big piece of your identity.

MS Harkness  33:12  
Yeah, um, it certainly helps keep me like, well, I'll keep all my ducks in a row, I'd

Brian Heater  33:19  
say. Just in terms of what like just being focused on things. Yeah,

MS Harkness  33:24  
I think that like the time I spend between sets, just like planning out my day, and like, I'll send emails from the gym on my phone just being like, Okay, I should do this. I should do that. And like, yeah, like slowing down, thinking about things. Like moving my body breathing and like it's just, it's helpful to do something like that

Brian Heater  33:52  
is the process of of actually weightlifting. Is it? Is it a meditative one at all?

MS Harkness  33:58  
I don't know. Like, I'm focused. So I guess so. But like, I don't really not a person who really meditates. So I don't know if I can use that word or something. But you're

Brian Heater  34:10  
not really able to be productive as far as drawing or writing on the road.

MS Harkness  34:16  
I am so busy. I'm so busy. I cannot. It's not worth like I have I have worked on giant pages like comically huge boards, and I have to like like table all of the things all of the time. It's not feasible. Like I brought plenty of stuff to work on and I've not been able to open it because I'm like, I have to go work out and like, clean my clothes and do all the things I have to do regularly but like I've done essentially like live out of my car. So

Brian Heater  34:54  
yeah. Do you have a good sense of what's next?

MS Harkness  34:58  
Yeah, I'll have like a whole other book in like five years or something that will be like the follow up to this