I want to remember how this feels, but I don’t know how to write about any of it. It’s the reason I haven’t updated this blog in well over a year. The reason I said nothing after Hurricane Irene hit the Schulz Library, the reason I said nothing when Dylan Williams died, the reason I said nothing about having to say goodbye to my comics family when leaving White River Junction, nothing about moving alone out to Columbus, Ohio for the position I’ve always wanted but never could have possibly imagined I’d get. Nothing about the million other instances in between.
Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t do any of this any fucking justice in a blog post. I just don’t have the words to.
But for some reason, right now, buzzing after a morning spent exchanging ideas with Carnegie zine librarian Jude Vachon, after a weekend spent in Pittsburgh with folks I hardly knew who welcomed me to be a big part of their zine fair and gave me a place to stay and beer to drink, days after chasing my cat around in our pajamas with John Porcellino, Noah Van Sciver and JT Dockery. One week after the 2012 Small Press Expo came to a close, one of the best weekends of my entire life, with everyone still seemingly high from it. For whatever reason, after the past week I’ve had, it seems unfair to keep all these feelings to myself in journals, that I have to at least say something. But, hell, don’t expect it to be well versed- this is why I stick to comics and zines.
It seems so goddamned trite, but really, the most I can come up with is: thank you. Thank you so, fucking, much. I would write the entire comics medium and community one long thank you letter if I could, but instead I’ll settle for a love letter in the form of my entire life. A humbled and dedicated existence is the least I can possibly give back.
This weekend at the PGH fair, Jim Rugg and Jason Lex interviewed me for their podcast “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” (hopefully I’ll post a link when it goes up). This is the first time I’ve been put center stage like that, an interview that was generally just About Me, and it was really overwhelming and flattering. But beyond the worry of just sounding dumb, nervous or fanatical, I was paralyzed by the thought of trying to concisely get across why I’m doing what I’m doing and what this all means to me. Why I love comics, and even moreso why I love cartoonists. How I don’t know what my life would be without any of this. And it isn’t just about my career by any means, either. It’s everyone I’m closest to, it’s all of my friends, the folks who mentored or influenced me early on, people I’ve fallen the hardest in love with, everything I put all of myself into and hold important.
So, really, I guess I just wanted to say thank you. To the format, to the community, to anyone who might ever read this. For continuously being there to fall back on, for continuously holding me up during some really awful times. To everyone who has taken me in, without question or judgment, made me feel like I’m a part of something, even as my roles change, everyone who has ever taken me seriously and enjoyed taking comics seriously with me, everyone who has introduced themselves or spent time with me at a convention, or in WRJ, or here at the Cartoon Library, everyone who “gets it”, everyone who has made me feel less alone in this strange pursuit, everyone who is also alone right now in front of their drawing table or computer, everyone who has contributed to this messy nest we’ve built, I look forward to knowing all of you for the rest of my life. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be part of it. Thanks for letting me. In the eternal words of Alec Longstreth, comics really will love you back.
I don’t know where else to take this or how to say any of it more succinctly. Below is the only page of original comic art I’ve ever purchased for myself. It’s by Sean Knickerbocker.
There are certain things, among this fractured comics family, that I know I don’t need to try to say anything about. Things I could just sit down next to you with, at a place like SPX, and know you’d understand.