In some ways, this page feels like a long time ago. I’ve moved on to another chapter – different characters, different textures, different self.
In other ways, it feels like exactly where I am right now – suspended between the past and the future, between the known and the unknown. Not much to do but breathe, float, dream, and panic. And keep drawing. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Let’s see if I can post directly from the iPad where I’m making these images! Usually I transfer the images to my laptop because I like to do my writing on a device with a real keyboard. But I’m in the studio today, and it’s raining. The laptop is at home. I’d have to get wet before I could use it.
(I love that it’s raining. We’ve been having a drought here, and it was a very hard summer for my garden.)
Sometimes I feel a pressure to get the whole story out. But it’s impossible. Stop. Rest. Kiss the ground. This book is not a sprint, or even a marathon. It’s a pilgrimage.
Drawing is seeing. Seeing what moves through the body, the mind, the soul. After I finished this page, I cried for the better part of an hour.
Writing is seeing too. I might cry again when I finish this post. Left Otter and Right Otter (yes, it’s true, I’m terrible at naming things): off they go, into separation.
There’s so much about the world that feels bad and uncomfortable right now. It feels a little wrong to be holed up in my studio making art. Sometimes it feels terribly wrong to be having fun. But it makes me feel less like clobbering my fellow humans when I have to go food shopping, so I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s worth doing.
I decided to do the graphic novel on an iPad, and there’s a big learning curve. It’s going very slowly. But I love being able to erase things cleanly without tearing the paper. I love having a permanent marker that never runs out of ink or makes a mess of my fingers. I love not doing the lettering by hand.
(Full disclosure: nobody paid me to say any of that. Nobody pays me for anything. I am quite possibly the least essential worker ever, at least by any of the usual metrics.)
Page 1 of all the newspapers today is about a certain public figure testing positive for coronavirus. Page 1 of this book is about something else entirely. Here is the news from my studio:
The weird fish is a reference to a little comic I made several years ago. It makes me ridiculously happy.
I finished that little comic I started working on in February, and re-drew all the panels on one of those printed canvases. Drawing on canvas with a fine-point Sharpie is a little like driving on a muddy road. The pen gets thrown around and makes a wobbly line.
Ray Bradbury said, “The important thing is to explode with a story, to emotionalize a story, not to think it… If you start thinking, the story’s gonna die on its feet. You either feel a story and you need to write it, or you’d better not write it.”
I gave a lot of thought to the structure of this thing, but the first thing I did was feel it explode in my heart. I don’t expect anyone else to feel it. I am not that good a storyteller. But I still feel it, and am glad to have written it.