Well, the little convention tour is over for this year. Shows have been invariably stressful and exhausting, but always rewarding. For the latter, I owe many, many thanks to those who stopped by the booth for a book, a sketch, or a hello.
Still, while it has all been quite the adventure, my productivity has really suffered, and the resulting frustration, disappointment and self-reproach has a way of culminating into a very disagreeable bundle of creative angst the sort that tends to seat itself in the chest with the implacable cold weight of a canon ball. Just as I was looking forward to alleviating that uncomfortable sensation by turning some undistracted attention back to comic production, something else came along that rather thoroughly sapped all the wind out of my sails Rocky died.
He was creeping up on nineteen years and "he lived a good long time" seems to have been adopted by the family as the official tagline. Even if that genre of self-comforting platitude is true, the subtext is generally that they've stuck around long enough to decimate you upon their departure the way any family member would
and for a long time after, leave you primed for outbursts of blubbering over every accidental glimpse of a photo, lump of shed fur on the carpet, or feather-toy couched in the corner and emanating pathos the likes of Tiny Tim's abandoned crutch.
So, I apologize for the inactivity here. My inclination toward publicly demonstrating my bad taste in humor and drawing criminally stupid pictures in sequence went on hiatus.
As it happens, reams of sentimental drivel come more naturally at times like these. I'm sure some of you can relate. For others, I imagine it comes across as a little pathological...so I beg pardon for these following reams of sentimental drivel.
Early on we had outfitted Rocky with collar bells, ensuring I would ever after associate their sound with him. Initially, this was a well-meaning attempt to warn cute backyard wildlife of the oncoming likelihood of dismemberment. In practice, however, the bells failed to create any real handicap for his sport, and ultimately only provided the ironically cheerful, tinkling death knell for many a hapless rabbit and field mouse.
It was slaughter in the warmer months. Tributes to the gods for the bountifulness of the season's suburban mammalia came in the form of blood offerings tastefully arranged on our doorstep disembodied heads and hearts and sundry mystery organs garnished with sinew and little rivulets of blood. One had to watch where one stepped in barefoot summers as the stoop was something of a miniature ode to an Aztec temple pyramid.
But he was forgiven all this. It may have had something to do with the charming alacrity inherent in a pair of half-crossed blue eyes, or the way his over-sized canines poked through the corners of that universal feline smile for an effect more comical than vampiric. In spite of the mangled quarry, he seemed to exist in dopey ignorance of his predator's conformation.
Among people, he was less predator than adept lap cat - he never scratched, never bit, and sometimes drooled on you a little. That's was an understandable side effect of becoming voluntarily invertebrate, though. It made him a capital foot warmer. And, if he wasn't busy achieving maximum sprawl, or outdoors shamelessly soliciting the attention of some unknown passerby (he wasn't above encouraging even the most perfect stranger to drape him around their shoulders like a mink), he was probably indoors catching and fetching crinkled paper for ovations. He had a performer's streak, and a flair for melodrama besides.
In fact, the thespian emerged at the end of the love affair (or the arrangement allotting for regular cuddling and grooming) between him and Tonya, the mercurial white cat. She inexplicably withdrew her affections years ago - some say she lost her mind like Ophelia, others attest she had just always been a spaz - but he never relented trying to sidle up next to her as before. Following each of her temperamental rebuffs, he'd pace about the dark basement like a theatrical ghost, moaning and howling pitifully, jingle bells substituting for the traditional chains.
He was more geared toward comedy, though. Some of his routines involved breaking and entering into the neighbors' house for surprise visits I'm sure they never truly appreciated, dragging a bag of hotdog buns home which he had ostensibly pilfered from some other neighbor's picnic, or peeling a half-frozen crow carcass twice his size off the ground and trotting it about with ghoulish glee. In keeping with the theatrical and his uncanny talent for self-injury, there were, of course, many engagements with the Elizabethan collar too.
My deepest attachment came, I think, in the midst of those most awkward years of early adolescence. Trudging out on cold, queasy mornings to be picked up by the humiliation-chariot and taken to the ruthless hellscape of teenage realpolitik (uh, school, that is), he'd follow me to the bus stop trailing behind in cool emulation of man's-best-friend clichés and carrying on in squawking conversation while I flailed my arms in attempts to shoo him back home. At those moments he was about the only thing on the planet that could make me crack a smile. Moreover, he gave me a place for my mind to wander away to during the interminable school days, something that manifested as cartoonized pictures of him to drawn throughout my class notes. He'd made himself the bright spot in my little lonely-kid's world.
Now, it's all too easy to dwell on the absence of those shameless performances, his one-sided conversations, his games of fetch and - on evenings marked by inordinate worry because he had failed to return home before dark that reassuring jingle-bell prelude to his presence breaking through the steady chur of the crickets.
I do still have many pictures left to draw, though; a happy residue from years when I could take all of those other things for granted. All told, there isn't much more one could ask for from a cat.
aside from those little forget-me-not piles of gore they like to leave on the doorstep.)
Anyway, I'm not used to being quite so emotional, but now that I've cried all over my sandwich, it's probably time to stop rambling and move along to other things.
Motes of Potential Interest
I'm working on a long-overdue revamp of the character bio page on the Lackadaisy web site
. A lot of art is involved and I expect it to take a little while longer, but I've posted a small preview for the time being. Just click the thumbnail.
I've also just opened a Twitter account here
, my justification being that I'll use it to announce large and small site updates as they come, since they tend to be hopelessly erratic. Outside of that context, I'm not sure how much I'll use it yet, but as a few people poked me and suggested it, I'm willing to give it a try.
Lackadaisy Volume 1Lackadaisy Volume 1 Books
are available for order here
And as a special courtesy, they're even in English this time.