laptop, cat, and coffee

laptop, cat, and coffee When I’m working at home, the kittens’ favorite spot is on my desk, basking in the light from the window. Today, Ingrid has been right there, sleeping on and off, only getting up to follow me to the kitchen or the bathroom. Galactus is on top of the climbing tower, occasionally jumping down and trotting over to check on me.

As I write this, Ingrid has jumped down, and Galactus waited only a moment to take her place in the exact same sunny spot.

learning is fun, and so are worms

Lombricultura title

I’ve been doing some DIY instructional comics! This is a new kind of drawing work for me, and it’s been very interesting. I get to learn while drawing!

My sister, Phoebe, who lives down in the Patagonia region of Chile, asked me to illustrate a handout about Vermicomposting, or Lombricultura in Spanish. Basically it’s composting in a bin with worms, dirt, paper, and food. Phoebe is on the Committee for Environmental Education for the 10th Region of Chile, and they organize summer and winter schools for all the environmental educators in the region. This year she did a workshop on integrating compost, planting in vertical gardens, and eco-bricks into the classroom. Here are a few of the drawings I did for the handout:

tierra y papel mojado   collander   no sobrealimentar   what worms eat


goodbye, 2014

2014 is the year I…

1. …went to southern Chile with my cousin Craig to visit my sister Phoebe. The biggest adventure of my life, both in miles traveled, new things experienced, and inner exploration. I spoke Spanish, rode horses, went white water rafting. I swam in the most beautiful rivers, danced late into the night, re-learned that I can do ANYTHING. And all this with my first two friends, who’ve been with me all our lives and know me in a way no one else does. Two of the bravest people I know who inspire me to be braver.

2. …marked the one year anniversary of my mom’s death.

3. …saw Bruce Springsteen in concert for the second time and cried remembering the first time I saw him, with my mom, holding hands while he played our favorite songs.

4. …went to Paris with the love of my life, who asked me to marry him, and I said yes. We wandered the streets of a city I’d always wanted to visit, watched movies in French, ate croissants, drank coffee, walked our feet and legs to the bone, ate pizza and drank champagne in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower. Started the next biggest adventure of my life.

5. …turned 29.

6. …buried my dear cat, Henry, who died unexpectedly.

7. …discovered I actually like oatmeal.

8. …welcomed two sweet kittens into our family.

9. …traveled to Seattle, LA, Colorado, New Jersey. Saw some beautiful people get married. Found my wedding dress in a cool vintage store with three of my best friends. Felt a baby kick in my friend Leah’s stomach. Danced with my sister at the farmer’s market on Dia de los Muertos near Venice Beach.

My New Year’s Eve traditions have varied over the years. As a kid I spent several New Years’ with my bff Shana, playing Taboo and hide-and-seek in the dark, making pizzas. In teenage years there were sleepovers at Leah’s. Our parents made us stay home on Y2K. I don’t really remember what I did during and post-college, except that I often worked to get time-and-a-half holiday pay. One year I went to Phoebe’s house in Oregon with our cousin Kristin and we saw a Pink Floyd cover band and then played charades and danced in the kitchen.

I remember my parents’ tradition: cooking lobster and writing letters to themselves, reading their letters from the previous year. The lobster tradition stopped after Phoebe and I got too upset, but the letter thing always stuck with me. Some years I’ve written letters to myself, and often forgot where they were hidden by the following year. I guess this is a public letter, to record the year that is passing and get ready for the next.

What a fucking good year.

Here’s to another one.

holding it in my hand

I finished the cancer comic book. With the help of a really lovely woman named Kate Barber and the Publication Studio at the Williams College Museum of Art, it is printed and bound and is a real live book I can hold in my hands.

adventures of a left breast

I want to cry. The intense joy of seeing the physical result of seven years of work plus the deep sadness of my mom not being here, not seeing this, and the sadness of everything we’ve gone through… seeing it and holding it I want to cry.

Reading the first part of this book, my mom’s part, is the only thing that makes me feel close to her right now. When other people tell me they dream about her or feel her presence I get mad, because I don’t feel it. It’s too much for me to feel it, or she just isn’t here, and I’m so mad, because she’s not here and she’ll never be here again.

But she’s in this book. At least, a part of her is. 2007 Viola is here, and I remember all these scenes. Reading her story in her own voice with her drawings and collages and handwriting is comforting and devastating at the same time.

We made this together. And I finally finished it.

Now that it’s a real live book, organized and formatted, I’m going to send copies out to publishers and hope it gets made into a book you can actually buy in stores, at comics festivals, and on the internet. I’ll let you know when that happens. (Incidentally, if you are a comics publisher reading this, feel free to contact me.)