Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Crystal Liechty: A Comic Strip is Born

As a mom of four kids under the age of 13, I'm super excited to show off Crystal Liechty's newest endeavor - a comic strip called PLEASE DON'T CALL CHILD SERVICES. If you've seen her on Facebook posting all the funnies about her kiddos, you'll be ecstatic too see it in print!! Here's a little about Crystal, her family, and what started her new career!

Hey Crystal! Tell me a little about your family:

I imported my husband, Scott from Washington. We're going on 15 years of marriage. Then I've got three kids: Griffin, 10; AJ (short for Allison Jane), 7; and Hazel, 4.
Fun facts about each of us:
Scott almost went pro as a golfer. He played in college but ended up quitting because of a non-supportive girlfriend who didn't think it was a real career. Lucky for me, though, because I probably wouldn't have met him if he'd gone that route.
Griff is the youngest member of the Utah Parkour Intermediate team. The next youngest is 13 so it's quite a feat. In his words, "Parkour is life." He also
breakdances and plays the saxophone. I call AJ my "sunshine" and I mean it. The girl is a breath of fresh air - always giggling and smiling. She's been in dance for over a year and loves to choreograph her own dances and make up her own songs. And she can eat any of us under the table. Hazel is my wild child but deep down, she really is a sweetheart. She reminds me a lot of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She doesn't mean to cause as much trouble as she does; she's so fierce but her tiny body doesn't know how to handle it. Just today, she got in trouble for kicking Griffin and she said to me, so forlornly, "AJ and Griff are good at being nice but I'm not. I'm made different from them. I don't know how to be good." I cuddled her and told her a little secret -- that when AJ and Griff were her age, they hit and kicked, too. But then they learned that was not okay and stopped doing it and she would, too. She didn't look convinced.

Your kids and hubs sound like fun! Tell me who you think has the most laughable comments: 

You know what? I actually think my 7 year old daughter, AJ is the funniest. I mean, she nonstop cracks me up! But she’s in the comic the least so far because it’s not what she says as much as how she says it and I haven’t figured out how to translate that to writing yet. Hazel gets a lot of play because what she says is just so outlandish for a four year old. And she’s been like that since day one. She started talking early and she’s such an imp that I can pretty much pick any moment of the day and find some sort of fodder for the comic.

Too cute! Who do you think is the wisest?

Me. Just kidding. Of the kids, it’d have to be Griff, hands down. Part of that comes from him being so self-aware and so eager to make sense of the world around him. He's the kind of kid where you teach him one thing, and he figures out a hundred. Then you get situations where we’re arguing using logical fallacies like here:

A fast learner! So, tell me how the comic strip idea transpired and got rolling.

For awhile, I'd been getting great feedback from my Facebook posts about the kids. People loved the posts and would often share them and say things like I should have my own reality show or I should write a book, etc. So I'd been considering for awhile how I could translate these funny stories into an art form that's more solid than a simple Facebook post. Then I happened to be chatting with a longtime friend, Steven Heumann about creative endeavors and such. He'd worked for me when I was a managing editor for a newspaper. He did a monthly comic strip. That's when it hit me -- the kids could be a comic! I threw the idea at Steven, half-joking and he loved it. So I gathered up some my favorite past posts on the kids and sent them to him. I have to give him credit -- he's brilliant and totally gets my sense of humor so I don't have to do much other than give him the details. From there, he knows exactly how to execute it. It's been less than two months since I first suggested the idea. I can't believe how fast it's all come together!

It has been fast! Tell me how your kids feel about it.

They love it. They’re all a bunch of hams. Seriously, anyone who’s been to my house can tell you they spend the whole time competing with each other to see who can show off the most. Griffin got a few sample comics from Steven last week and he's been carrying them around with him everywhere, reading them over and over again. AJ's only complaint is that she's not in there more. Hazel already thinks she's famous.

I'm so glad! Where can the viewers see more of your hilarious comics?

We will update the comic every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/unexceptionalmom/) or on my blog (http://unexceptionalmom.blogspot.com/).

Please Don't Call Child Services is an autobiographical comic that details my true adventures homeschooling three precocious and slightly profane children. Every strip is based on real things they've said or done (because if I didn’t laugh about it, I’d have to cry).


Crystal Liechty is the mastermind behind the Please Don’t Call Child Services webtoon, which details the always funny and often inappropriate hijinx involved in homeschooling three mischievous children. If you’ve been to college lately, you might have seen one of her essays in the Elements of Arguments textbook (Macmillan Press). When not homeschooling or torturing college students with argumentative essays, Crystal can be found watching Korean dramas, teaching herself Kpop dances or in general working as an unofficial ambassador for South Korean culture.

Love your guts,