Red Rock Baby Candy: Infertility, Pregnancy Loss, My Dad's Cancer & Me is a graphic memoir that begins in black and white and unfurls into full colour and collage work. The book is a surreal romp through 10 years of outsider pregnancy attempts and failures hinging around a parent's terminal cancer diagnosis.With gravity and an indestructible sense of humour the novel inventories the myriad of ways a body can fail its owner.Set in a kaleidoscope of locations in Toronto and Montreal, Red Rock Baby Candy time travels through opulent old theatres, hospital rooms and a vegan restaurant with rules.Deeply inspired by musical theatre, this work sees well-costumed characters sing and sometimes resurrect the dead to map the geography between infertility, sexuality, choice, and mortality.
Reproductive difficulties are ancient and ordinary and most often shrouded in silence and shame. Very little has been written about the experience of infertility, and even less so from the perspective of those outside of the mainstream. Who better than an infertile, high femme, low income, non-biological Jewish mom, dyke drama queen and ectopic pregnancy survivor, smack dab in the middle of the queer baby boom in an increasingly hostile world, to document this point of view?
As a secular Jew, I come from a culture where babies are coveted, precious, and common as desserts. If we look at facing reproductive difficulties like baking cakes -each person would be tackling a unique recipe -combining medical obstacles and pathways with layers of additional complication dependant on who they are and what forms of multiple discrimination they already face. Think burned infertility cake, iced with a custom blended mix of difficulties. There are simple cakes and there are very high and complicated ones. Red Rock Baby Candy is a messy slice of mine.
Red Rock Baby Candy is a work in progress supported in part by grants from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.