Creator of 'Rhymes with Orange' to speak in Rockingham
BELLOWS FALLS -- When Hilary Price graduated from Stanford University in 1992, she knew she wanted to get paid to write.
She has achieved her goal, though her writing comes in very short sentences, often inside talk bubbles.
Price is the nationally syndicated cartoonist responsible for the "Rhymes with Orange" comic strip, which now appears in 200 newspapers. She is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. at the Rockingham Free Public Library on Tuesday as part of a National Novel Writing Month celebration.
Price will speak about what it is like to have your words and art in print and make a living with humor. Ed Graves, the programming librarian at the Rockingham Free Public Library, said he got a hold Price and asked her to share her knowledge and experience.
He thinks the event will be well-attended because the library has a youth writing club, and he has contacted the Center for Cartoon Series in White River Junction to inform its students that a professional cartoonist is set to visit the area.
Price said she enjoys speaking to crowds and looks forward to the event at the library.
"I love talking to people. My job is so solitary and I'm a social person, so I like it a lot," she told the Reformer.
Price said she got her start in the business when she took some time off from college in between her junior and senior years at Stanford. She lived in Dublin for a while, and her parents eventually went to visit her. Price took her mother and father around to her favorite parts of the city and showed them one of the Emerald Isle's many statues of legendary novelist and poet James Joyce. Price said her mother looked up at the statue -- featuring a likeness of a Joyce with his signature round glasses -- and uttered, "Oh my God. It's Elton John!"
Price sketched this hilarious moment as a cartoon and it was published in satire magazine in Ireland.
"That was my first cartoon that became a paycheck," she said. "That's when a hobby became more of possible employment route."
She became drawing "Rhymes with Orange" in 1995 and now crafts seven strips a week. According to her website, www.rhymeswithorange.com, it has twice won "Best Newspaper Panel" by the National Cartoonists Society. Her work has also appeared in Parade Magazine, The Funny Times, People and Glamour.
Price said she works out of Northampton, Mass., in an old toothbrush factory that has been converted into a studio space for artists.
After than 15 years, she still finds joy in her work.
"I love those moments when I get a cartoon idea and when I get a letter saying, ‘Oh my God. That's my reality. That's so true.' Or when people tell me they use my strip as a refrigerator magnet," she said.
Price has spoken at Bellows Falls Union High School a few times and gives advice to the students, some of whom are aspiring artists.
Graves said National Novel Writing Month is an effort to inspire creativity. He said anyone can visit nanowrimo.org to learn more. Graves said the goal is for each person to write 50,000 words between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.
He said several books -- including a 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern titled "The Night Circus" -- have been written and published as a result of National Novel Writing Month.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.
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