Where the Hell I've Been All This Time

I look at the last date in this blog, rapidly approaching two years ago - even being generous to myself because of the circumstances that’s far too long.

Every time I’d open the window and try to begin, every post of ‘I have not died, I will be proving it shortly!’ - the tides that conspired to keep me from doing so would come crashing back. I’d have a less-than-stellar day emotionally, I’d get called into a job I hated, someone would level a comment or snotty remark that I spent the remainder of the day fighting off, or I’d just end up exhausted and choosing instead to flop into bed with my partner and watch SNL. So I didn’t, until now. But that means anyone not in direct contact with me probably assumes I’m out of the game. I’m not. It’s just been changing.

So the recap, very briefly:

I moved to NE and I spent a bunch of time nannying a great kid, in a great neighborhood. I went on my first date with Scotty Gillmer, the long-time collaborator of our mutual friend Carl Thompson. We, uh, fell in love. That day, like a flash fire. I asked him to marry me not even two months after that date. We’re now less than 4 months away from the big day. I’m supposed to BE A CURMUDGEON, WHAT IS THIS. 

I left the Art Cellar, an arts supply store at my alma mater, MCAD. Somehow, I then worked at 3M. I know - ALSO VERY BIZARRE. 3M conspired to turn me to stone, to make me care about the days of a week (oh noes, a Monday!!), and engage in dumb water cooler talk. NONE OF WHICH I CAN DO, THANKS. And I left there after nine months. I was gestating a Fed-Up-With-This-Shit Baby, and when she’s born, you gotta go. The Autoptic Crew and I pulled off another show in August. I took my first graphic novel from Uncivilized Books to Bethesda for baby’s first SPX. Then I came back and started teaching comics. Add multiple moves, the addition of a new, devilish kitten, and a few successful and many stalled-out projects, here I am. In the snow of a late March, in a planting season, creatively-speaking.

Aside from the completion of Houses, I haven’t made significant headway on any large project. A majority of the other projects I undertook - a painting for this show or that show, personal drawings, collaborations, design gigs for friends - have also found themselves small and burnt up on the floor of my mind, unfulfilled. Since ink went down on the last pieces of art for Houses, it’s been an excruciating and confusing dry period for almost a year. Looking back, it’s been another blurry period of my life, marked with all the more frustration with every passing month. In the wake of my mental crisis, I’d found renewed interest in life and actively participating in it a way I’d only imagined up until this point. Comics was my person, and we spent all our damn time together. And then I fell in love, and in the interest of never ending at my previous emotional nadir, invested my time and emotions fully into my partner. I thought, maybe arrogantly, that the art would simply fall in line behind me like a tethered puppy. That my actual work was somehow completed - that the life-work balance was gonna sort itself out from there. That I’d have the exact amount of work I needed to survive financially and the exact amount of time I wanted to draw, and also to be in a relationship and SEE MY FRIENDS, I REMEMBER SEEING THEM SOMETIMES.

If there was anything I should have taken from my experience working in a cube at a corporate compound, it should have been that life-work balance is a holy grail, an ideal to be grasped at, but will rarely be reached to perfection and forever-more. That it’s a balancing act everyone plays until the curtain call.

So! Here I sit, waiting for spring. Good old Minnesotan snowstorm blowing in, delaying the re-birth. Hopefully the seeds I’ve been struggling to plant in the last few months will be ready to bloom after this, because I sure as hell am.