sometimes, a girl’s best friend is her cat

My cat, Henry, died yesterday. He was six years old, and seemed totally fine, happy, nothing out of the ordinary until he was found dead in the backyard by my dad. I don’t know how he died, and it’s a shock to my system that he’s so completely gone.

Henry was there for me during the most difficult times in my life so far: the death of one of my best friends, a depression, confusion about my life, leaving my long-term live-in boyfriend in Brooklyn and moving back to Vermont to live with my parents, my mom getting sick again and then dying, living for the last fifteen months without my mom. When I didn’t know how to explain myself, my feelings, Henry was there and I didn’t have to say anything. He’d look at me and blink his big golden eyes. I’d blink back. He’d blink again. He’d lie on my stomach, his considerable weight a comfort, his gentle little head rubbing my chin.

I cried all morning, his death washing over me again and again. Then I went to work. After work, all I wanted to do was decorate this pair of white Keds I’d bought. So that’s what I did while eating half a bag of chili lime chips:

sneakers

Today I’m going to wear these sneakers. And I’m going to work on a comic about Henry and later I’m going to see a play with my sister Phoebe and my friend Janet.

Thanks for choosing me, Henry. I’m so glad I got to share your life and be your person.

Henry the cat, 2008~2014

me and henryme and henry 2

 

working at home

I love Wednesdays. They’re usually my work-at-home day, when I get to spend the whole day writing, drawing, making things…doing my own work. When I lived in San Francisco for a couple months after college, I lived this kind of life: Wake up, breakfast, go for a walk/explore the city, write, draw comics, dinner, watch a movie. Every day was my own. I wanted to see if I could live this life of a professional writer/artist, and if I would enjoy it. I did.

I enjoy my cinema work, too. It gives me a place to get out of my own head, be part of the movie world that I love, have a role in the community. And I’m so grateful to have a “money job” doing something I truly believe in. But I still yearn for the day that I can support myself and my family using my own work.

I’ve worked very hard to get here, to this point of being able to work part-time at a job I like, and have time to do my art work at home. There have been many “money jobs” in my life that I did not believe in so strongly, jobs I dreaded going to. Many morning on the NYC subway I fantasized about not getting off at the right stop, I’d just keep going, have a different day than going into Midtown offices to work as a temp doing things like data entry, refilling coffee in the break room, filling out someone’s Weight Watchers booklet for them, getting yelled at on the phone, getting hit on by older men with photos of their wives right there on their desks. One day, in one particularly depressing office, a man said to me, “I always wanted to be a fashion designer. Then I got a job here and it was just so easy. So I stayed. It’s been twenty years.”

So here I am, living a lovely life, able to pay my portion of the rent and utilities with the money I get paid working at a non-profit art house cinema. And I have time to write stories, make comics and drawings, and even earn a little money from that. I have health insurance. I get enough to eat. I did this, I got myself here. (Of course with the help and support of people who love me, like my parents, who have helped me when I was barely scraping by, and have always supported me emotionally– I know how lucky I am to have this.)

I also know how lucky I am to have a partner who values my work as much as I do. I know this is rare and special. But I’m also saying that I helped make this happen. It didn’t just fall into my lap. This kind of life is totally possible, but you have to make it happen. I make decisions about what is most important to me. I work every day.

When my mom became an artist (well, she was always an artist, but I mean deciding to live a professional artist life), she and I would have conversations about this often. She in her forties and fifties, me in my twenties, both of us at the beginning of our art careers, figuring out how to live, work, love, and be ourselves in the world. Hanging shows together, giving feedback, going to museums, seeing movies, sitting at the table together drinking coffee and drawing.

working at home

Every day, making coffee in Mama’s espresso pot, doing my work, she’s with me. Even when I forget, even when I don’t know it, she’s there.

work-in-process

I’m in the middle of a lot of new things. Writing, comics, things without a label yet. Here’s a look at my desk right now:

comics in progress

 

Hopefully I will have more to share with you soon. But it’s this in-process place that I love. And it’s necessary. The ideas need to marinate, I do one thing at a time, eventually the final product becomes clear. It’s the same way with being a person. You don’t know what all the little things are going to add up to until after. And you have to feel the uncertain feelings.

I’m also doing the important work of being a fiancee, like making pinterest boards, reading wedding blogs, talking giddily to family and friends, looking at Greg with doe eyes, visiting venues together, talking about music and food. It’s an interesting place to be– a fiancee. The only time I’ll be one, and for just a year, until I become a wife.

 

life drawings

I went to life drawing this week, for the first time in about a year. It was hard to go, without my mom there, a big empty hole between me and the experience. Everyone I look at, even just being in the room, is heavy with her absence.

But it was also good. I like going, and I’m glad I went. Here are my best drawings from that night:

school for style

Hey all you locals– some of my stuff is now available at the School for Style in their new location at 20 Spring Street! Cat Cards, and several of my comics: Shelf Life (#1-3), Fish Dreams, and some mini cancer comics.

Anne Kennedy has done a lovely job with the store’s new location, and just as before, she breathes life and color into the community. Check out her awesome selection of vintage and handmade clothes, accessories, locally made jewelry, all kinds of great stuff. And while you’re there, take a look at my comics and cards!

photo-17photo-15IMG_0865FD-1Photo on 2013-03-15 at 17.15