Pilot and me reading comix.
Here we go again.
I've been meaning to sit down and write a blog for some time. Every week I said "I'll get to it next week," and next thing I know it's been 16 months and my life isn't getting any easier. So I realized I just have to sit down and write whatever comes to mind, regardless of what I have on my mind. Which is tricky, because I have a lot on my mind (most of it I don't feel like publishing publicly), but don't worry: there's still plenty to talk about.
I just got back from CAKE (Chicago!) and it was such an exhausting, extensive, sensational, and emotional trip. The handful of people paying close attention to June, for Short will note that the comic takes place there. The reason why is a little silly and sentimental:
I remember in high school I dreamt about running away and starting this whole new chapter of my life in a magical city far away from anyone I knew. For some people, that magical city is Hollywood or New York; for me, it was Chicago. I went there briefly in 2012: I was a senior in high school and I convinced my parents to let me roam the city solo for a short while. I ended up at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where I sat and stared at a Robert Irwin sculpture for damn near two hours. That brief experience solidified Chicago as "the city for me," where I could be who I was really meant to be. It's funny, now 11 years later, realizing that's not how life works, and you don't become the person you're meant to be. You just get older and become... a person.
I met a lot of people at CAKE over the weekend.
It was my first time there, since I missed it in 2019 and then this weird thing happened where shows just stopped happening for some reason... But I'm almost glad that this was my first CAKE, because I got to go with people I know and love and got to meet people that they know and love, and I got to read silly comics and stay up late talking about the dumbest stories ever (a lot of them were about shit). It was hilarious, nearly blissful, and I smoked too much and laughed too hard and ate too many burgers. I couldn't have asked for a better trip (even if the backseat of the car driving back was boiling hot and the front bumper almost came off).
The short stop at Castle Rock in Wisconsin to tape the bumper back together.
These shows are like... a life line. For anyone reading this who isn't in the community, there's just nothing else I can compare it to. It's a big room where most of the people you love and/or admire all breathe the same sweaty air, showing off this little thing that they put together out of the goodness of their heart. Everyone's making a little money, spending a little more, and just shooting the shit. It's work, of course, especially because I go to these things as a member of Uncivilized Books, and have a modicum of responsibility. But when I get a moment to breathe I go bother the Secret Acres table or pick up a little mini here and there. More and more people just give me comics, and so I started taking little minis that I can give back to them. Or just give out. Because I realized that nothing makes me happier than giving away a little mini that I poured my stupid little heart into. If only I can get that damn duplicator working, it'll make those minis so much easier...
Which, speaking of minis, bring me back to the whole sort of "why I'm writing a blog" point. After I made my last mini, I decided to send some out. To patrons, to friends, to whomever wanted one. But the catch was I had to write everyone a one page letter. It was tough: some people I had a lot more to say to them. To others, they were strangers, and I didn't know what to say! Every once in a while I wrote a little secret. Something I'd never told anyone before. Not like a dirty little secret that was scandalous and I was supposed to keep under wraps. Just a silly secret that has no reason to be a secret. Something like "I used to eat ants when I was a kid." That's a silly secret, because every kid tried to eat an ant at one point (I swear to god if you say "well I didn't!" grow up because most kids did). But it was a thrilling little exercise. I also told everyone they were welcome to write back. Out of the 12 letters I sent, I got two letters back and a couple DMs (which is cheating and not a real letter but sure I get it), only one got returned (you know who you are and I'm sending a new letter!) and a couple people asked for some after I ran out. So, I realized that I LOVED it and want to do it more (if you're interested, I sort of made my Patreon a way to do that) but if you want to write me a letter, you know you just can, right? And chances are I'll answer you.
*Side note: I thought about just leaving my mailing address here, since it's not super private... but just in case I won't post it to a public blog. Instead, you can message me through this website, instagram, email, whatever. I'll give you my address if you ask for it.
Anyway, the letters are also leading me down this unusual mental... trip, this form of communication that is both direct and indirect. It's crazy, taking a little step away from my current perception of the world to say "gosh, I wish I could go back to a time where messaging WASN'T instant." I mean, I always had a phone in the house, and I got a cellphone in high school, so even before I dove into the world of IM, I could get a quick answer. But I realized that before this bout of letter writing, I never really sat down to write letters to put in the mail. I only ever wrote letters that were.... well, forgive me for being obvious, but they were love letters. Letters where you couldn't figure out what to say in person so you had to write it down. They were filled with secrets, so maybe that's why I felt like including a couple secrets here and there: a force of habit. And that's why I'm trying to write more letters. That habit almost forces my hand to be more vulnerable, to speak from the heart in a way that I can't when there's a read receipt on the other end.
I may not have spent a lot of time writing letters previously, but I did used to write in a journal. A lot. And I used to meditate. A lot. I don't do those things anymore, I have found myself saying "I don't have time" more and more. I can't exercise, I don't have time. I can't visit friends, I don't have time. Unless it's something I can do while I'm working (like watching old TV shows or listening to different music) I find my world getting smaller and smaller. There's less room to sift through the bullshit reactionary thoughts and get the the level of my subconscious that I believe represents me more. The part of me that I truly want to be, despite the fear that it'll be rejected.
That level of thinking can be healthy, and it can be dangerous; it's all about towing the line.
Sometimes, you watch something really interesting and informative, and sometimes you sit through an entire TV show just to realize by the end of it that it was all a waste of your time and you've lost a couple IQ points in the process. Sometimes, you listen to the same music on repeat, and sometimes you find a crazy cool new band that makes you want to shake your booty. That's a little more acceptable than the bad TV show. But at the end of the day, it's easier to taking in all that mindless content, and my belly's starting to get full.
Sometimes, I realize I've checked twitter too many times I can safely handle, and I think about deleting it. But sometimes I stumble onto something really cool and it keeps me on the website a little longer. There's so much GREAT shit buried under than layer of garbage "content for the sake of content" (and maybe I'm starting to assemble a little theory of art vs content in the context of weirdo comics and instagram algorithms, but art theory is exhausting pretentious bullshit so maybe I won't).
I end up staying on social media because I can find cool shows to go to around town without having to hang out with the same people every time. I've been doing that a lot lately, going to see local bands by myself. Sometimes I hit up a friend to see if they're going, or hell every once in a blue moon I invite someone to tag along! But usually about once a week I'm hitting up Icehouse or Palmer's alone to see some dudes jam, quietly bobbing my head in the shadows.
I recently watched the Danny Elfman What's in my bag? video and I had a good chuckle because he said something along the lines of "when I was 27, I thought all the good music was made before 1935"-- almost exactly what I said when I was 27 (only a couple years ago) when I said "all the good music was made before 1994." That's of course very wrong (because it was all made before 1974 [another joke, no one burn me at the stake]). There's plenty of good music coming out nowadays, and I've been enjoying watching these little weird shows and following clever new bands on IG.
But the fact remains that I love triphop and PJ Harvey and Roxy Music and sometimes I just get stuck in a loop, fantasizing about a time that I didn't live through.
I realize it sounds like I'm down on my generation, but I'm not. That's the funny thing about almost exclusively hanging out with people older than me, they actually did live in a different time period and almost always say it's better. But I'm optimistic to a flaw, and I like to think there's some fucking interesting stuff going on... Do bear in mind that I find disaster very fucking interesting so maybe don't rely on me to make you feel better. More than once I've gotten into a conversation where I list all of the worst things I can think of, from a point of fascination and curiosity, but accidentally just become a Debbie downer and a bummer to everyone listening. Maybe that's why I don't like talking in group settings... because I always fear I'll just bring the room down.
Anyway, I think I'll call it here. My goal is to NOT take another 16 months to post another blog. But the general jist is: I'm good. I'm great, even. I love my job, I get to make good comics (and probably bad music), and I get to hang out with some clever and cool people and I've got the best dog in the world (sorry everyone else).
Here's what I'm reading right now:
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris
The Complete Eightball by Daniel Clowes
W The Whore by Anke Feuchtenberger and Katrin de Vries
Game of Thrones Book 3: A Feast for Crows (mindless entertainment, if you can get past the constant pedo talk)
Here's what I'm listening to:
Love you all,