What to do.
I try to get past those three words and I can't help but cry. I've been trying so hard to do what the doctors say... what friends recommend... what the internet explain... but in the end, I pick up my brush and its as it's been.
A jittery line.
Everyone tells me to hang in there. To be strong. That this will pass.
So far, it hasn't happened.
And each time I try and it doesn't happen... it kills a tiny bit more. The hand knows what the brain is telling it to do, but it can't seem to execute those lines that I could do in my sleep at one time.
I feel as if I'm letting so many people down. My readers, Image, comics shop owners, my wife, my characters. Each time I try to draw Lily, there's this feeling of loss that hits me. As though I'm losing that character. Each time I try, it seems a little worse. I just tried to draw that familiar look, where she's looking at the reader, with her shoulder up a bit. Jesus... I can't execute that image and it fucking kills me.
I'm getting emails from readers who want to know when the next issue is coming out and I can only explain it so many times to where I just ignore the emails. It hurts too much to give the run-down over and over. I want to yell, "IT'LL COME OUT WHEN I CAN FUCKING DRAW AGAIN" but I know that's not the right thing to do.
I just miss my art.
It's hard to be strong when you're losing something that has gotten you through so much in life. No matter what happened to me in my life, I've been able to express it on paper. This is the first time in my life where I'm afraid to touch a pencil and pen. When the jittery lines appear, it's like throwing a brick through a stain glass window.
Lily will tell me things like "I don't really notice it" to lift my spirits, but it doesn't help. It's there. Because I can feel it as I draw and see it in my line. It's not about what the reader can see. It's about what I see. This isn't a bad back or a sprained knee... this is my art. I can't put work out there in hope that people won't notice the messed-up line work.
My art has been my entire world since I was five years old. And now I can't do it.
I'm taking pills I wouldn't take in a million years. I'm wearing a magnet bracelet. I'm seeing two doctors. I'm emotionally fucked up and the one thing I would do to ease my mind is the one thing I cannot fucking do. Each time I try something, I sit down and nothing has changed.
My cartooning is more than art. It's my sanctuary. It's my Hundred Acre Woods.
It's that place I can turn to when the rest of the world is hitting on my skull. My cartooning is what got me through mom and dad dying. It got me through my first divorce. It got me through the times where I truly didn't know how I was going to buy food, or pay rent. It's what I did to meet people in school. It's how I got girls to notice me. And it's what I did... for me.
It's what I did to show the world how I met such an exceptional woman who's changed my universe.
It's what I did to spread my wings and soar.
I could be sitting in Starbucks at a table, drinking a coffee and sketching in one of my books. But what nobody can see is how utterly breathtaking it is to create even the simplest doodle. To draw the egg-shaped circle that is the head. To divide it up so the eyes rest on the horizontal line... so they even up. To then fill out the face... the eyes, the nose, the smile. The hair. To then breathe some life into that simple drawing.
I miss it more than I miss my parents.
If it came back to me, I'm confident I could take having cancer. I could hear the news and say to the doctor, "I can deal with this... I once lost my art." If you're an artist, you can understand that.
If you don't draw, you cannot imagine how that is so much a part of my life. When I see people, anyone, the first thing that comes to mind is how I could draw them. What makes them unique, artistically. Do they have a round or thin face? Their eyes. Their smile. Their hair. Their bodies. How could I translate that to the page. And in every case, I could sit down and do it.
And now... forget it.
I'm not going to give up. But even as I say that, it kills me that I even HAVE to say it. But the pain of trying hurst that much more each time. I'm terrified. I'm emotional. I'm irrational.
I just want to draw again.
I miss it so.