I hope this Bottleship finds you feeling nourished as the seasons change.
It's blazing with autumnal sunshine in Portland today. I arrived home from my final international tour leg to find that summer had fast-forwarded to fall. The leaves are already coming down. The air is sharper. I hardly know where I've been or how it happened.
So much of this year has felt fueled by inevitability. I set a series of events in motion at the start of 2018 that have carried me around the country and across the Atlantic. It has been nourishing and thrilling and exhausting and everything all at once. And of course, as often happens when we push ourselves to the brink, I've gotten sick.
So here I am, grappling with undeniable truth of the body. Resting.
This coming Tuesday I'll be in Seattle, WA for my final West Coast appearance of the year: Offbeat Ada's
. After three trips full of of promoting, coordinating, and appearing at tour events, I am (perhaps not surprisingly) taking this one slow. Offbeat Ada's is a conversational series run by Ariel Meadow Stallings of Offbeat Empire. She's a very smart lady and I'm looking forward to approaching this discussion with some of the lessons I've learned from the past year. We'll be at Ada's Technical Books on Tuesday, October 16th. Doors at 6:30, event starts at 7.
It's dangerous to think we've ever reached a stopping point in the business of learning who we are and how we make our way through the world. During the tour I'd often say that I hadn't solved
my relationship with my Inner Critic, but that we were coexisting on healthier terms. And then today a friend of mine said something about the personal work they'd been doing that stopped me cold:
"I only did enough work to make me feel good about doing the work, because my identity is based on being the one who’s good at doing the work."
I’ve achieved so many of the goals I set out for myself this year—lots of them thanks to your support—but I’ve also re-learned the lesson that our challenges will continue to shadow us no matter how much we accomplish. It’s humbling. To quote my Hourly Comic Day entry from 2016:
Here's a list of other noteworthy items and events for the remainder of 2018:
- The comic at the top of this newsletter is based on my friend Kristen's new drawing challenge, By the Bones. She's announcing the full rules on November 11th, but if you'd like a preview of how it works, I'm posting all six of my remaining entries on Patreon over the next few weeks.
- I spoke with Antia Sarkeesian on Feminist Frequency Radio about 100 Demon Dialogues, social media saturation, and the paradoxes of success. (We were recording in an Airstream trailer under blazing September sun, so if you find yourself inexplicably sweaty while listening, that's why.)
- I picked up a beautiful UK edition of The Running Sky by John Dee after falling in love with Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk from the same Vintage Classics series. It was easily one of the most vivid and moving books I've read this year. Highly recommended. (Now to acquire ALL THE REST.)
- Lauren Bacon writes excellent, clear essays about Imposter Syndrome and strategies for understanding it.
- Steve Chapman runs an experimental podcast called Sound of Silence. We enjoyed an afternoon together at Gillespie Park in North London and put this episode in the can. Odd, short, and delightful.
- In September I completed a series of popular watercolor paintings featuring sunrises and sunsets. The originals sold out with staggering swiftness, but postcard prints are now available in my shop! (If you'd like to be first in line for the next round of originals, Patrons at any tier get dibs.)
“In the process of re-creating with our own hands what lies before our eyes, we seem naturally to evolve from observing beauty in a loose way to possessing a deep understanding of its constituent parts and hence more secure memories of it.”
- The above quote comes from Alain de Botton, whose book The Art of Travel transformed my understanding of capturing exploration in drawings vs. photographs when I read it twelve years ago. (Recovered via this NYT article on looking for artists in the landscapes they inhabited.)
- Finally: East Coast friends can find me at MICE in Cambridge, MA next weekend, October 20th and 21st. I'm appearing on a panel about comics and mental health on Saturday at 11am, and hanging out behind Table E116 the rest of the time.
Please read the entirety of “Meditation at Lagunitas“ by Robert Hass to close this out, or, if you can’t, at least end this email with a taster:
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
I’m wishing you all autumnal peace, communal strength, and grounding self-knowledge for the next month.
P.S. Have you made a plan to vote on November 6th? There are some excellent resources to make sure you’re registered and informed at Vote.org. Take heart.