Hit the sack at 5:AM after some late night spaghetti. Eric crashed my futon and we woke up to the chirps @10:AM. Popped in some classic 40s SUPERMAN cartoons and Eric made a gourmet breakfast (Eric is an art director by trade and a chef at heart -- he hosts the best rooftop BBQ's in Greenpoint, where the best parts of the meal never even touched the grill...). So, after eating an outrageous omlette (my pan is STILL soaking!), fresh baked croissants, and coffee, Eric split and I meandered, waiting for Sarah to hand her kids off to The Ex.
Hopped on my bike and went over to help Sarah with her garden. Sarah's garden is one of the only things that keeps that woman sane. Her job brings no satisfaction to her soul, only cash money dollar bills and the occasional high-five for bringing in business. Otherwise, she's not doing that "thing" that drives a mind like mine to wake up in the morning and make donuts. My donuts are on consignment, perpetually waiting for the monetary payoff. But, being a cartoonist only brings in a page rate and a royalty (at best) when working franchise properties. If I'm to bring home serious bacon, it's to be one of my creations and I doubt that I have an iota of what spins a nations collective head much less grabs an international ear. Thus far, I've resigned myself to the freelance lifestyle (still figuring THAT out after 7-months - working at home can be a BITCH!), and waiting to cross-over into Sarah's family/home life (i.e. introduced to her kids as the "boyfriend" so I can eat a proper dinner and sleep over), while chipping away and being a Marvel journeyman, until something clicks. Someone once asked me, why do I do what I do -- make comix? I couldn't answer. I pondered this query and had a long dialog with fellow cartoonist/pal Bob Fingerman (most known for MINIMUM WAGE, soon to be definitively known as the graphic novel; BEG THE QUESTION ~ published by Fantagraphics), and we came up with a one-liner that explains, or at least hints at why we do what we do:
"I am compelled to communicate with strangers."
Or, impelled. Either way could be argued. SO, yeah, pretty funky, huh? Thing of it is, I can still tell my stories in whatever medium I choose (prose, film, comix, song, photography, poetry, etc.), and it boils down to who you decide to tell it to. I choose to stick my neck out there and bust my ass letting strangers know I exist. Is it so important that chump #119 in Bethesda, MD reads what I've got to say? No. But, if I can make a connection, of some kind, no matter how minuscule and share a testament of life...my life...than I can tread through these waters and have a reason to wake up in the morning. Because, I don't want to live in a vacuum where experience gets sucked into a black hole and stories are lost forever. We live to laugh and cry and I'm putting some jokes back into the kennel from which I take.
Anyway, besides her two daughters, Sarah's "comic book" is her garden and I'm just happy that she has something like that to relax in and swagger until she finds that 9-to-5 that makes the alarm clock worth the clammer.
After some heavy petting that lead to you know damn well what, Sarah and I rode around Prospect Park twice on our bikes and settled in for some frisbee with Tim and his new gal-pal Mary. The field was beautiful but the wind tried to steal our aim. After our game gave out, we all plopped down on the field and looked through some cool comix (stuff I had grabbed from SPX 2002). Tim is percolating on writing a new comic done in the same vein as Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR and Dennis P. Eichhorn's REAL STUFF, only by way of early MAD Magazine (where the funny is more HaHa than cough-hack-wheeze), with a host of indie/alternative cartoonists illustrating the tales. After some initial excitement and encouragement, Tim & Mary left for the Tea Lounge and SBX and I went back to her place for another round of God DAMN That DeeJay Made My Day! Took a short nap and our stomachs came a knockin' - begging for grub.
We hopped back on our bikes to BLUE RIBBON, where we both know the core posse who run that luxurious amalgamation of all good eats (if your wallet can afford the damage). Lucky for us, we both have mighty history with the BR-clan (dating back to their first day on Sullivan Street in Soho, when we both worked at Nick & Eddie, and Eric Bromberg was the chef). Still, sweet how they always hook us up above and beyond and make sure we remember how we got there come morning! I got me a classic chicken/spinach/mash plate while SBX went buck wild on the catch of the day. No fan of fish am I, SBX made me (yes -- forced it down my throat), calamari, shrimp, and some kind of nasty fish. Dug the way BR prepped the calamari (not your usual fried rubber-band affair), and the shrimps went well with the chorizo (which SBX couldn't have since she don't chew the meat). We drowned in alcohol and drank a caffeine booster each. Feeling giddy and spreading the joy, we got back on the bikes (we should name these wheels...), and rode our drunk mugs to snag a fancy gift before heading over to a big Lesbian Birthday Party somewhere off Flatbush Avenue. SBX knew these chicks and they had a huge two-floor loft, the kind that artists find and excavate, making it a maze of art & mystery. They had a big ass backyard with a professional trampoline. We popped the cork on some wine when a surly looking Lesbo threw down the gauntlet, daring us to strip. Within minutes SBX and I were topless. Breaking bread with the other side (like we always do), SBX took charge of the trampoline and bounced on that baby's back until her pants fell off. My lady was nearly buck naked if it weren't for the skin tight panties she was sporting. How many glasses of wine HAD she swallowed at dinner? It was a sight. Watching SBX let loose and feel free, bouncing up and down like a 6-year old. No work to think about. No pressures from the kids (and me, for that matter), and she was on Cloud 9. I was truly happy for her. Soon thereafter, SBX made me bounce with her and then we laid thigh to thigh and stared at the tips of the trees, framing the moon.
After a minor spat about superficial beauty (won't even waste time on that), SBX and I split the Gurl Guignol and rode our bikes back to my abode where we listened to Prince's live version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" and, my favorite Prince song of all time, "Adore." SBX got melancholic and passed out hard -- and that was that.