On February 12th 2020 I started a project called Once Upon A Page. I decided to fill a sketchbook that had been lurking on my desk, one page at a time, with a story that would unfold as I drew and wrote it. I haven’t done much in the way of graphic story telling so it is a bit of an experiment. As I add a new page on my twitter feed (@luluallison77) I will also eventually load it up here – we can both see if any kind of story unfolds or whether it becomes a stepping stone of linked observations.


The author sits at her desk with an almost empty A5, landscape format Seawhite’s of Brighton, left over from another idea that was just too daft to carry on with. She draws, writes, with very little care, then wonders if she should perhaps take more care. Decides not.


The author heads out to find the story she needs. In a fat million choices, should she seek out an unfulfilled man she once dreamt up, who secretly talks about himself in the third person as ‘the poet Graham Slaine’? Or join a metal band of sea witches.


The Poet Graham Slaine is in love with a version of himself that isn’t there. He is not in love with the version that is. It makes him lonely. He sits on a park bench, trying to be the poet he yearns to be. The author sends him a card. Happy #ValentinesDay2020 Graham.


He tries, again, to compose the poems that he hopes will pave the road like flagstones, to the real prize – a biography, a distant dream in a shrine. He is a wistful, frustrated man. Vague and yearning love battles with spiteful ambition. It gives him indigestion.


The PGS takes a walk, out of the city all the way to the coast. He feels reckless and brave, sitting on the edge, he feels as though people are watching him furtively, in awe. He is also trembling. He can hear how it makes his windproof rustle.


The author has a confidence wobble, executes a sloppy drawing, and The Poet Graham Slaine, having admitted to himself how bored of his life he is, turns for home. We are though, invited to wonder about what tomorrow might hold.


The author starts to realise when you do one page at a time, with no plan, and literally anything can happen, it can be easier to prevaricate rather than commit. But luckily, The Poet Graham Slaine is taking up the reins.

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