Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Occasional Stutter

My inability to create art is, perhaps, one of the greatest disappointments of my life.

Whether it involved drawing, or painting, my talents never evolved beyond 5th grade art class. I was stuck in a land of stick figures, which I continued to doodle in the margins of my poetry books.

This has gone on for years, with my drawings being a source of bemused embarrassment; something I never shared, though I seldom had reservations about posting my words under the comfort of anonymity.

But then I discovered very respectable web comics like Toothpaste for Dinner and Exploding Dog, which helped me come to terms with the terrible artist within:

I don't understand perspective or shadows, and I couldn't draw a human face to save my life... but I do understand a bit about the world, and some days I just can't put it all to words. I'm a very visual person, believe it or not (hence my obsession with photography).

So for a few years now, I've actually been keeping track of my drawings. And this Friday, something strange happened: I filled up the last page in my book.

I've also been sharing a few comics with co-workers, two of which have encouraged me to give my strip a name and put it online.

And so I did. I've scanned everything in that I've done thus far, which means there's ample material for a comic-a-day for quite some time... particularly when you consider I hope to continue the series.

So here's what I'm going to do: on days when I have a new comic to post, I'll do that. But if the muses fail to inspire, I'll have something old already triggered up and ready to go.

Next time you come to YAWP and you're disappointed to see I've (once again) failed to post, try The Occasional Stutter.

You'll be disappointed in a whole new way.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Too Silly for Sad

I'll let these images speak for themselves.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Being There

This, I imagine, is how it begins.

An entire day spent in silence, readjusting a junk sofa; laying down new rugs and wiping vomit from the old ones.

This is what you never wanted; what so many of you fear.

It is alone.

Not the adjective and not the adverb, but rather the thing itself. It is, for lack of a better description, the genesis of a solitary noun.

It is… orange leaves outside of a window.

Sirens wailing towards Devon.

The gurgle of a seldom used fountain; the collapse of a soap dish unable to carry its burden alongside the tiled bathroom wall.

It is the sight and the sound and smell of autumn; everything falling and crunching and wailing to its own chord.

It is beautiful and sad. It is solitude with little more than a waning desire to be otherwise.

It is giving up.

It is the nauseating understanding of difference; the realization that, hermit or not, there is a profound difference between having the choice of company (youth) and none at all (present).

And it pushes on your chest, dripping your lifeline into the pit of your stomach, pounding to the beat of old memories and moments. Laughs and pranks and walks and sundry other moments where you were not — by any superficial definition of the word — alone.

But time is a lion, leaving in its wake a path of beautiful destruction.

People grow. They marry. They have children. The children grow.

Everyone older and older, their faces dropping from the only circle you’ve known. And so it goes: you are alone, in the middle of everything.

God forbid you should ever wake up to realize what I have: that there’s seldom a need for a telephone. No need for stationery and blank CDs. No need for vocal chords or complete dinette sets.

You will stay where you are while the world spins on; stopping and demanding you dance at their convenience. And yet: otherwise forgetting your face; your name; your voice.

And that, perhaps, is your problem. Your Achilles heel, as it were.

You are always there.

Waiting and helping. Helping and waiting. Like a piece of furniture that brings comfort after a long day, with scarce occasion for reciprocity.

But when the world does indeed comes crashing down — as it most assuredly will — and your ears ache with the sort of silence that only tinnitus knows.

No one — no one — will be there to hear you scream. No one will rub your feet or bring breakfast in bed. No one will answer their phone or call for random hello’s.

And this, I imagine, is the replicating middle. The climax to a story with no denouement except for the endless repetition of the silence; the solitude; and the fury.

But the question remains:

How does it end? How do you break out of the cycle and rebirth yourself into the happy happy joy joy of the faces around you?

It is the hardest feat of them all. An action so Herculean in effort that you can scarcely imagine the thought.

You will have to turn to someone you love and say, anguish dripping from your cheeks, that, no

I cannot be there for you.

Not ever again.

And until you accomplish this one, great disaster of your life, there is only this:

the beginning, the middle and the end – consistent only in their unraveling.

Monday, November 03, 2008

To Say


I have nothing to say.

Just these photos, now old, taken of a new experience some months back.

There's nothing profound, really: just a memory; a laugh; an experience.

I have been here and there when you have not.



Walking, so often, where we have walked.

But: listen.

I have nothing to say.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kant Attack Ad

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Carpe Diem Chronicles

Something happens though no one wants it to. It sneaks up when you’re in the middle of your afternoon coffee or mid-step on a 12-mile hike.

You are dying, dying, dying.

And with you: all of those dreams and what-might-have beens. But where did it all go? The almost-reality of summer internships in Paris; the train that kept you from a moment of bliss?

And what of those long walks in the rain – where have they gone? Or your spark, for that matter, which once upon a time could ignite the world.

What did they say you would be, when you were young? What did you say?

Were you going to publish a novel? Act on broadway? Cure cancer?

This is the potential of every life, exponentially wasted.

In Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death, these dreams of ours dwindle as we come to terms with our mortality, anxious by the ever-increasing pressure to leave something behind.

“Immortality projects,” he calls them. Beacons by which future generations will remember us. Traces of the dead, forever engrained into the living.

And while some never lose sight of those early dreams – and so paint their way into history books – most turn instead to the project that society (both modern and ancient) has deemed the simplest means of self-preservation: the propagation of the species.

Which is to say: procreation.

It is this biological desire that so strikingly resembles those of our animal brethren – creatures we’ve held ourselves above since the first caveman turned a grunt into an utterance.

But even the most brilliant of minds will awaken some day to a realization: the same realization that haunts parents and dictators and artists alike, from the recesses of their very subconscious.

You. Are. Trapped.

You’re caught in a life cycle that seems beyond your control; and yet, beneath you: a mammalian instinct engrained in your DNA, and so very well out of your hands.

The doom of your lifeline is carved into your palm, so deeply engrained that no amount of scrubbing could ever erase.

[How’s that for futility, Mrs. Macbeth?]

Your dreams, once upon a time, were limitless. But your hours upon this earth are not. So why, then, all of this wasting?

When all along, we have only ourselves to blame.