Columns / Nicole Hollander

Never Tell Your Mother This Dream #1: Anger Management


A few years ago I did a strip about a store that opened on the West Coast for people who want to work out their anger on other people’s stuff. For a fee you could break everything in sight and then go home refreshed. I don’t know if I could break other people’s stuff… I have to break my own and then realize it wasn’t as therapeutic as I thought and I have to clean it up and regret its loss.Nicole Hollander, Anger Management Sylvia

Nicole Hollander, Anger ManagementOne day I balanced a pair of plaster hands precariously on a ledge, then I brushed past them and knocked them down a flight of wooden stairs. They broke, revealing a metal armature. They were beautiful. I put them in a small cage that had a canary feed logo on the front and I looked at them for a couple of years.

Nicole Hollander, Anger Management 2Last year I added a small slatted wooden table as a pedestal. Janice came by.

“Still not enough,” she said, putting a tiny bird between the mangled fingers.

“Too much,” I said, taking it away. 

Nicole Hollander, Anger Management 3Then I added a menacing looking blackbird to the edge of the table. We liked it, but I think it’s not done yet.

Nicole Hollander created the cartoon character Sylvia in 1980. The strip was nationally syndicated for over 30 years.  Sylvia, Nicole, and, in fact, all the characters in the strip are blatant feminists and love good food, prepared by others. In 2008 Nicole retired Sylvia and started a 6 day a week blog featuring drawings, opinions, politics and classic Sylvia strips.  She welcomes  contributions by friends and sometimes mere acquaintances. Nicole teaches the graphic memoir, fiction and non-fiction in Chicago and has an introverted cat named Toots.

4 thoughts on “Never Tell Your Mother This Dream #1: Anger Management

  1. Pingback: Ink/art - Bad Girl Chats

  2. So this is the kind of thing i’d hear people say, Artists are crazy. What does that mean? And i would wonder but didn’t know how to say, Just follow the imagery and let it touch you and notice all the different thoughts and associations and then notice the sense of myth or some kind of ancient-ness that is deep inside you, a feeling sometimes of roots that are thousands of years old, a sense of grounding, sometimes humor, fear, memory…


  3. I have been thinking of funny things I could write but no, this piece, this theme moves me, seismic quality of this stills and shudders my core. I’m angry inside. Why isn’t the world fair? Why ask why? I break things and regret also. My ‘orphaned’ dog, Dida, is attuned to loud noises and the word ‘f**k’ and all its various forms. Especially loud voices and noises. Back to art. I love imperfect things; I’m always trying to save imperfect objects to continue to use them and keep them out of the landfill. A chair with slightly ruined upholstry, a cracked cup used for pencils, single earrings, a keyboard with scratches and dust, clothes with burn holes and rips, and so on. My mother didn’t know anything about anger management. She was a redhead with a temper and as stubborn as I am, I must have given her fits. I didn’t learn to cook until I married that is, she didn’t let me into the kitchen to teach me and then I learned from Joy of Cooking and trial and error. Just finished my coffee and how I do run on. Thank you so much, Nicole.


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