Sometimes the journey inward is the scariest one of all. If there are things you’ve hidden from yourself, you can guarantee figuring them out will be an unpleasant experience. Speaking of unpleasant experiences, today I got a cortisone shot in my hand. The PA told me I probably shouldn’t draw tonight but obviously there’s no helping me. We’ll see.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember: love is an act of resistance in a culture of hatred. Why should it be easier to turn against strangers than to find a place to meet in the middle? I wrote the script for this comic in the early afternoon but didn’t actually finish creating it until well after midnight, and now I have nothing left to say for the blog. I’m tired.
According to Facebook, I was wrong, and some people did notice my lack of comics, but I guess they were all people who were too polite to say something about it. And I missed my comics. I miss expressing myself in a public forum where I can see that my words have been read by 100s, and sometimes 1000s of humans/sentient creatures trapped within humans. And the people who like my comics the most seem to prefer Dragon Comics to my better-illustrated work. I actually wrote a not-Dragon comic earlier in the week, but it will keep until Dragon works out some of Dragon’s issues.
The line about the kitty litter also went over very well on Facebook, where I used it, in a slightly different form, to describe what middle age could go do. Seriously, when you are still about 9 1/2 inside, it’s disconcerting to hear the words “shingles” and “astigmatism” from 2 different medical professionals in the same week. Also shingles medication is terrible. The pills are 800 milligrams and the side effects can also eat a bag of kitty litter. (Yeah, shingles are bad too.) I declined the prescription to correct the impending near-sightedness because I can still read books without issue, and I can barely afford prism lenses, let alone bifocals, and because I am in denial about this middle age thing.
It’s time to recommit myself to a lot of things, including this blog. Even though nobody seems to care or notice that I haven’t drawn a comic in over 3 weeks, I remind myself that this blog is for you. It’s for me. You just happen to be lucky enough to read it. There are going to be some Dragon Comics soon.
For this gratitude, which was supposed to go up last week, I was thinking about all the foods in the world I haven’t tried. Like a lot of kids, I was a boring and picky eater with a very limited repertoire. A lot of people would still consider me picky—I largely avoid grains, particularly wheat, and white sugar, and won’t eat anything made with ground or preserved meat, or most fast or junk foods—but I’m fairly open to trying new things, especially if they come from older and healthier cuisines. Lately, we’re obsessed with West African cuisine, particularly fufu and peanut sauce. It’s delicious, and if you haven’t tried it, especially with goat, you’re missing out on some of the good things in life.
For a little pick-me-up it’s fun to go to new grocery stores, especially ones run and patronized by immigrants. There are 100s or 1000s of fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried, with which other people are familiar, and now that we have the internet there’s no excuse not to try them. In all honesty, I tried the bitter melon a few different ways and it was too bitter for me, but I’m glad I tried it. You never know what you might enjoy. The cocoyam I’ll try to work up into something tonight.
My gratitude is for the existence of and will to experience countless new foods.
This is a card I made for a friend’s lingerie-themed bridal shower. The dark red edging around the letters is Sharpie and the rest of the design is cut origami paper, some leftovers from my 1000 paper cranes project. The word “sexy” is also cut paper. It was almost one contiguous piece but I ripped it the tiniest bit while cutting it out, and then ripped it again trying to fix it.
I’ve been mostly working on another project while obsessing over the future of humanity. Part of me felt defeated by reality and overwhelmed with helpless terror, but then I read this New York Times article and thought about what Rabbit keeps reminding me about samizdat and it’s like—yeah, one tiny voice against a hurricane, but also, a million tiny voices against a hurricane. Some people think Trump wanted Bannon off the security council because he resented the media’s implication that Bannon was pulling the strings. I drew this comic after being tagged in a Facebook status that suggested cartoonists portraying Bannon as a puppetmaster could help limit his influence by appealing to Trump’s grandiose sense of being the most (only?) important person in the world.
I’ll draw webcomics again, I guess, but 4-5 a week isn’t going to happen at least until I finish the other project. In case you’re wondering, it’s called “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind.” I didn’t name it; it’s a collaboration. I should probably talk about about it later.
Despite my brother sending me an email explaining how he’d threatened my nephew with last Thursday’s “So Superior” comic, saying that if the bookish 10-year-old didn’t participate in physical activity he too would end up a basement-dwelling neckbeard troglodyte, I don’t seem to be feeling the comic today. If my nephew does end up living in my brother’s basement, I expect that will be entirely on his parents’ shoulders, right? I can rest assured that neither of the Kids will end up living in my basement, because the ground in Tucson is mostly clay, which is difficult and expensive to dig, so hardly anyone has a basement.
Anyway, I remembered there was another old crayon mandala that never made it to the website, because it’s hanging on the wall in the spare bedroom/closet. I wanted to lay it on the flatbed scanner but it appeared to be attached to the nail in some complicated way and it seemed safer to just let it stay where it was.
Truth be told, I’m getting a little nervous about finishing my big project on time, and around about while you are reading this, I am actually getting an MRI of my dominant hand, which could potentially result in surgery, which would likely prevent me from drawing anything or typing more than 20 words a minute for quite some time.
Anyway, I have to go draw some elephants.
Although I’m super grateful that the anti life equation party did not find the opportunity to decimate my healthcare options this week, and will most likely not have a chance to complete their evil scheme before the midterm elections, even before that failed vote it seemed imperative to vocalize my gratitude for the legions of cool people in my life.
Obviously, as I’ve written before, I was a wildly unpopular preadolescent, of the “nobody in this school likes you” variety. While had enough self-esteem to feel like that was probably a mark in my favor (like, why would I want those conformists to like me?) being universally hated is not fun. But I was totally right in my assessment as to the value of the people who vocally, stringently, aggressively did not like me, because as soon as I got out of their bubble of privilege and entitled wealth, suddenly the stigma of being me evaporated, and it turned out that lots of people liked me a lot.
So I used the screen grab of my Facebook f-list as a symbol. I don’t have 584 actual friends. A few dozen of them are people who added me for my comics and/or my connections to the literary world, a couple are people I only know online, some are family, and a lot of them are probably just acquaintances or people I met once or twice at a party. But I’d say between 2/3 and 3/4 of them are real friends to some objective degree—people I’ve known in real life and hung with and whose company I enjoy and who apparently like me back. Some of them I’ve known for 3 decades or more. Some of them it only feels like I’ve known them for 30 years. And I also have friends, like the Fox, who aren’t even on Facebook. (I know; weird, right?) And while there are times when I have fond memories of that period of “nobody in this school likes you” during which 100% of my free time could be devoted to reading and writing, there’s also something to be said for getting invited to lots of interesting parties. Not that that’s why I’m grateful for my friends either.
Community, as it turns out, is probably one of the most important things in life. I know there are people who thrive in total isolation, who can live off the land in Alaska and spend more time avoiding polar bears than talking to humans, but most of us do best with a wide support net, multiple people to call on to celebrate our success or empathize with our distress. Social networking, not in the electronic sense, or the business sense, but in the sense of being integrated into a community with whom you can communicate, ask questions, seek assistance, and share your joy, is valuable on a psychological level, and a socio-economic one, and is linked with living longer and can contribute to professional success and things like that.
So, that’s my gratitude for the week: real friends. Love you guys.