Scribbling While Rome Burns

It is strange to look at my last post and think how much has changed in a just few months. Back in January, I’d never even heard of the ‘coronavirus’ and wrote about enjoying casually drawing outside. Nowadays, we barely leave the apartment, and it looks as if we’ll all be homebodies for quite sometime to come. Any drawings I do for the foreseeable future will be done AT HOME.

Scribbling Rocket Rabbit While Rome Burns
Scribbling ROCKET RABBIT comics While Rome Burns..

A few weeks after that last post, in late February/early March, Several cities in the Bay Area got their first coronavirus infections, including San Francisco, and quick follow through by local government and the private sector meant that I was working at home full time by March 13th. However, two months later, much of the world seems to be losing its mind at being housebound. Even the survivalists, who always appeared to be gleefully preparing for just such an apocalyptic moment of societal collapse, are now taking up arms and angrily storming City Hall steps across the USA: ‘Dammit, society.. we cain’t quit yew!’

Perhaps I’m better prepared for this moment than most, having already endured a personal apocalypse not so long ago. When paralyzed by my stroke, I was functionally a shut-in for 2 or 3 years, while re-learning how to talk & walk, etc. My effective range was only a few feet from our front door and I rarely left the apartment, gnawing my insides out with anxieties about my future, mounting medical debt and inability to earn a living. So, I already have plenty of experience with this existential crisis thang. Last time around, I learned that the human mind is quite capable of eating itself if you let it. So you must not let it. Instead of plunging into a pit of despair, look in the other direction and keep your mind occupied, ideally with tasks that help you climb out of the hole.

My current situation is actually a vast improvement over my previous crisis. I can now draw (sort of) and therefore have the means to entertain myself, plus a job, and fortunately it can be done from home. Freed from my daily commute, I have 3 extra hours to sleep-in in each day. While I feel very lucky, I’ve learned to never take any moment for granted. Fate is a drama-queen that might flip over your banquet table at any time, so enjoy as much of that tasty pudding as you can, before you’re suddenly sitting in it.

Between work assignments, I doodle away on Rocket Rabbit comics and coincidentally, the book that’s been my art-therapy project for the past few years already had a post-apocalyptic setting. A cartoon version of all that Omega Man/Andromeda Strain/Mad Max stuff. A few years ago, it seemed amusing to do a silly-apocalypse comic book, and now, in the real world, we have people battling over rolls of toilet-paper. Mad Max got it wrong; actual Immortan Joes are stockpiling hand-sanitizer and bum-wad, rather than aqua colaguzzoline.. Cartoon absurdity has become our reality.

15 thoughts on “Scribbling While Rome Burns”

  1. What’s that old saying … ‘life imitates art’ ?!?! ;)
    Glad to see that you’re doing your best to stay productive and not go round the twist by being cooped up inside!
    Take care!

  2. It’s weird. Now that life has drastically simplified I realise how much extraneous crap, pressures internal and external, I’ve shed. Really don’t want em back… hope you’re well friend!

    • Great to hear from you, JP! If we ever get back to ‘normal’ after all this virus bollox, I suspect that it will be a very different normal. My hope would be that yes, we’ve learned what is truly important during this crisis, and rebuild with that in mind.

  3. In the new world we should put David Attenborough, Brian Cox and the Dali Lama in charge. Fix the earth, know what’s beyond, understand compassion.

  4. Sound advice JB.

    That attached photo of you at your computer made me see you at a light table at Hanna’s in the 80’s. From this angle you haven’t changed a bit ;-)

  5. I stumbled across your post this afternoon James and again am in awe of your raw insight, your deep emotional sharing and your incredible talent. Ironically, I started reading a book called Phosphorescence by Julia Baird, and your work reminds me of this as you create a glow that emanates from your writing. Thank you for sharing. Vi


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