COVID-19 sucks for a lot of reasons. It’s hard to sit idly with the knowledge that people everywhere on Earth are suffering, and, of course, the promise of an economic depression is stressful regardless of how one’s own household is managing. However, isolation has its perks when you are a self-employed artist. Because I’m not distracted by social engagements, I now have the opportunity to work on creative projects that I previously hadn’t taken the time to develop.
My childhood dream was to be a cartoonist, but as I grew up, my passion for writing overtook my younger plans. Art school also had a way of sucking the fun clean out of being a visual artist, so when I went on to university, I chose to pursue an English literature education, rather than continuing in fine arts.
I think, over time, I just stopped considering that I could be a professional cartoonist–that is, until I went from being home, oh, let’s say 80% of the time to being home 99% percent of the time. There’s only so much avoiding work a person can do before it gets tiresome and quite frankly kind of icky to wallow in unproductiveness, and when you’re in full creative control of your work, variety can keep the machine well-oiled.
So, all that to say, I’m making gag cartoons now, but I can’t show them to you yet. To take this new branch of my career seriously, I can’t post cartoons on my blog, or they won’t be considered by the publications to which I hope to eventually sell them.
I suppose this blog entry is a bit anticlimactic, then. Here’s a picture of me enjoying my backyard, as consolation.
Well, everybody, my first book has finally come to fruition, thanks to the talented folks of Mosaic Press, and I suppose also thanks to me, since I wrote it.
It’s simultaneously surreal and quite regular. I’ve been working towards this milestone all my life, and yet it seems now as though my book has always existed.
It hasn’t, though–beyond my own imagining, at least.
I guess what I’m feeling is a sort of arrival. The destination was predetermined.
I’m here now. I made it. Whew.
I could not bring myself to do what I set out to do today, which was to create my first “video media” item for posting.
The thought utterly pained me. “Talk to a computer as though it were an audience?” I thought. “How does anybody make a video of themselves without simply trailing off out of sheer purposelessness?”
I considered directing my monologue at my cat, but cats are flighty at the best of times, and certainly not trustworthy enough to sit patiently through a questionably entertaining sociopolitical rant.
And anyway, she said she had other shit to do.
So, what was supposed to be the first edition of my new video series, “What I read today,” is instead this, um…well, this.
I’ll record my face saying words another time, I promise.
Winter has been, shall we say, a little trying this time around. That going from downtown to the suburbs is to blame for my inordinate level of hermiting is an attractive theory, but it’s a trick of timing. I still have everything I need in (slightly longer) walking distance. I suppose the significant trade-up in dwelling could be considered a factor, but I’ve always been an expert nester.
No, it was the weather. Was? Is? Do I trust the sudden shift in conditions? The wind certainly belies a seasonal change. (Wind. Yes, now I’m hiding from the wind, but this should, at least, be a shorter-lived atmospheric assault.)
I tended the window sill herbs this morning (and by morning, I mean around 1 PM because I’m a writer and this really shouldn’t surprise you). I stood at the dining room window gazing dreamily into my backyard, crusted with partially melted snow, the slow reveal of grass like a striptease.
“…So tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.”
(Romeo and Juliet 3.2.30-33)
The virgin Juliet understands how I feel about my backyard, which I have yet to enjoy in spring and summer. The herbs are outgrowing their starter pots.
Let’s get this show on the road, Earth.
In a sociopolitical climate wherein there is much ado about nothing, and no ado about much, discerning minds must be both cynical and optimistic; literal and interpretive; passionate and measured. In a world where traditional news sources are mistrusted and web media is the scapegoat for a fundamentally unchanged and unchanging species, writers must be all things. We must be at once tapped into the pulse of humanity, of our cities and communities, and egocentric enough to create and sustain our own self-satisfied blogs.
Humanity doesn’t change–at least, not in any sensational manner. I think that’s why social movements appear with such ferocity. If we believed that we were capable of transcending our humanity, we would trust in sheer momentum to bring us ever closer to what we arbitrarily call “good.” Instead, we shout and wave our hands at our humanity as though it were a mountain lion. Ultimately, the mountain lion will take out our illusions of transcendent goodness with the swat of an oversized paw. I don’t mean to say that we don’t learn and flourish with public discourse and intellectual advancement. But, the mountain lion lives on.