It’s graduation week, and Emma is having to move forward whether she wants to or not. There are crushes to confess, sexuality to sort out and a few (or maybe more than a few) last drinks to down with her best friend Joey.
In her debut graphic novel, The Floundering Time, Katy Weselcouch tells a story of a time of life when if feels like you’re simultaneously standing in place and being pushed into the world.
Weselcouch based her story partially on her experiences studying abroad in Paris and attending Smith College, a private liberal-arts school for women in Northampton, MA.
“I set it around graduation, which felt like a really unique time for all of us,” said Weselcouch. “My last days at Smith had a simultaneous intensity and stillness that I wanted to capture, like you are in between your life happening.”
In the vein of Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For and Ariel Schrag’s Potential and Likewise, The Floundering Time offers an exploration of love and sexuality without treating them as “issues.” Emma harbors a long standing crush on her transgender friend Elliott, while Joey goes through a seemingly unending supply of stoic bad girls as they avoid the looming questions of their “futures.” Weselcouch cites the setting of the story as key to this tone.
“I wanted to tell a story about people of variant genders and sexualities where that wasn’t the focal point of the story, where they were kind of just doing their thing, not constantly having to address the challenges of that,” she said. “It’s set at a women’s college, because it’s a place that exists in a sort of bubble, isolated from the ‘real world.’ It feels like a summer camp and sorority mixed together, then filled with a lot of really bad-ass girls.”