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I Just Got Back (Again)

March 22, 2018

Things I am Enjoying Lately

In January, after I completed my book and the holidays passed, life resumed itself and I dove nose first into a post book depression. I haven’t felt that depressed in a long time. I knew why I was depressed, which helped…kinda. Depression doesn’t really care WHY you are depressed–its business is to just take over and feel endless. It didn’t help that all my illustration work I had scheduled for January all got canceled or pulled. I felt about as useful and connected as an old rotary phone. My friend Jennifer Hayden had warned me about the post-partum after completing a book: “You’ve just given birth–you will need time to heal.” So I slowly groped my way forward. I made diary comics just to keep my hand in motion, even though it felt hard and unnatural. I got back into running–which has saved me more than I can say. I also got into just…healing. I drew a lot and watched Agatha Christie and British mysteries. I made soup. I noticed when I was hating on myself and tried as best as I could to just be kind to that part of myself (which wasn’t so easy). I called on friends when I needed to. I waited. Then one day my friend Chris asked if I wanted to meet at a cafe a few towns over to do some drawing. I’d only been there a couple times and the idea of something TO DO in the morning sounded insanely good. So I went and Chris and I ended up having one of those ordinary miraculous days exploring the unfamiliar town and having an unexpected adventure. When I drove home I suddenly noticed something: I wasn’t depressed. I was happy. Perhaps there was something else I hadn’t considered: shaking up my routine! You know, leave the house and go somewhere, uh, NEW. It was a momentary relief–I got depressed again a couple days later–but it was a sign that my depression wasn’t forever and it helped me stretch towards other moments of ordinary miracles: pie potlucks with friends, the river’s current in the morning, reading poetry, listening to the blues, and the greatest miracle of all–an idea for a comic! My ‘Ghosts‘ comic was the first inkling that some deeper thread to life and work was mending itself.

I’m currently working on a 5 pager that I’m excited about and after that I’m going to start on a 9 page comic that I’ve written out.  I feel a renewed sense of purpose again and that in itself feels like a kind of spring. The 5 pager I am working on feels like the first short piece I’ve done that is connected to the work and style of the book I just completed. In a strange sense I feel sort of “up to date” at last from the 8 months I spent on the book to now. I knew that when I was done with the book I was in a new phase–I just didn’t know how that would shake out.  So here I am again: I just got back. Now if it would just stop snowing.

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