March 18th, 2010


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Interviewing the cartoonist Jules Feiffer on the Diane Rhems show--a ghost writer for the Spirit and a famous political cartoonist, among other things--he uttered a sentiment that I recognized immediately--"Everything that I did that I found that I loved doing and had meaning, I stumbled into." 

Lord, ain't that the truth!

I didn't know I wanted to be an artist. I took an art class, at my mother's urging, and fell desperately in love, despite everything.* I didn't know I wanted to be a cartoonist. I definitely didn't know I wanted to be a children's book author. I got my agent on the flimsiest of chances, with no book, no nothing.

I have a vague feeling that I will be one of those people who, at age sixty, discover some great passion previously undreamt of, and I'll end my days as an authority on javelina-keeping or whatever.

I have no real point to this post except to say that the only reason one should plan out one's life is if one is looking for comic relief later.

*And I honestly think, had my drawing teacher been encouraging, I might not have continued. That she was contemptuous of my commercial ambitions and cliche subject matter while grudgingly appreciative of my talent made me work like a goddamn dog. Spite was always one of my great motivators. To this day, I wonder if she was a good enough teacher to recognize that, or if fate just threw together two grating personality types, and she was merely a good enough teacher to be grudgingly appreciative and reasonably good-humored about it.

She died some years ago--she was quite old, and had fought off cancer once already--and I regret that I never had an opportunity to send her one of my graphic novels, with a note somewhere between "HA!" and "Thank you." So, thank you, Gabrielle Ellertson. And, uh...HA!

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I was pleased by this one far more than I should be for the simplicity of the piece. It's rare I do a painting I would hang on my own wall, but this one, I think I would. Apparently it has nothing to do with quality or complexity, either...just something about it works for me. Go figure. (If I ever figure out what quality it is that I am actually attracted to, I will either become a much better artist or give up completely because there will no longer be much point.)