Sep 16, 2013 6:48pm

San Francisco gets a reputation for its weather being bad, but I have to say I love the climate here.  Besides, it is more accurate to say that the climate is unseasonable than truly bad. True, when the summer tourist season is at its height, the city is drab and grey, and Fourth of July Fireworks invariably fire off into a fog-bank unseen. But the Spring and Autumn here are both lovely, and sometimes even the Winter too, when those east coast tourists who griped about San Francisco fog are digging their cars out of the snow.

I remember each week that I was in hospital this past Winter, the weather was bright and clear, and I spent hours looking at a wonderful sunny view of the city, from my 2nd floor hospital room up on a hill in the Castro district. I even got to venture out into the bright, crisp clear Winter days, on weekends when Julia would wheel me outside in my wheelchair.

The seasons changed as one after another of my brothers came for their respective tours of duty on ‘Gimp Patrol’, all throughout a beautiful spring. Then Julia’s parents came to keep an eye on me too, and just as they left, Summer swung around as the weather became grey. But now, happily, the tourists are gone, signaling that the bright days are back again, and this time I am ready to enjoy it on my own.

Since the recent milestone of being trusted to look after myself for a week, I’ve had the daily joy of solo-ambling about our neighborhood. I still move pretty slowly, so my walks are still just within a few blocks of our apartment, but my range is steadily increasing and so is my speed. This is in part due to a new leg-brace I just got fitted for a week or so ago, but is also because of a steadily growing endurance.

One milestone begets another, as I can now walk to the small workout room in our Park Merced housing estate, where I shift pathetically minuscule free-weights to obscene amounts of loud grunts and sweaty grimacing. At this stage, my mobility is such that I can only get on a few of the machines but it is a start. I hope to graduate to the neighborhood YMCA within the next few months.


Another major hurdle was crossed last week when I finally ventured onto public transport, which would have been unthinkable even two months ago. For the time being, I can only do this with an escort, and I am happy to say that my brother Jo helped me get on my first MUNI ride in nine months. He has been present for much of this strange journey of mine, and happened to be in town with his wife Priscilla for a wedding, so it was auspicious that they were here for yet another breakthrough as we all rode MUNI to a pleasant dinner rendezvous with Julia, when she got out of work.

Having all this time away from work would normally be a opportunity to finish my comic books and whatnot, but unfortunately my right hand, (AKA the ‘Money Maker’) is kaput. So, in an attempt to maximize the time with something creative, I’ve been doing some writing instead.

Over the past few years, I’ve sometimes posted short recollections from my childhood on my blog, and it had already occurred to me that if there were enough of them, I might collect them into a short book. That idea has moved from the back burner to the front burner and is simmering away at present. You can read the most recent story; a harrowing tale involving my existential crisis at the age of eight.

Notice too, that the first illustration on that post was done with my left hand. I have finally realized that the rehab for my right hand will take a much longer time than I at first thought, so I am trying to do some left handed drawing in the meantime. With that in mind, Julia and I have gone out several recent weekends to go sketching in the neighborhood, which has felt good, although the left-handed dexterity still has a way to go.

So it looks like the right hand gets to take it easy for a little while longer, which is OK. After all, he has been puting food on the table since I was 17 while his lazy-good-for nothing brother got a free ride.

But now lazy ‘Lefty’  has to finally do his share!

9 thoughts on “September”

  1. I enjoy hearing that you’re spending some of your extra time enjoying life and being creative and that you are continuing to progress in your rehabilitation. I thought your left hand drawing was great, and encourage you to keep on drawing! I hope you also keep drawing with your right hand, as it will probably help your hand get better. I remember Benton would draw a picture with his right hand and one with his left twice a day. Eventually, you could see both sides slowly get better, until one side overtook the other. Anyways, keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing more!
    — Anson Jew, September 16, 2013

  2. GREAT DRAWING! dude, you’ve still got it, and there’s something new going on with Lefty that’s pretty brilliant. the thing that’s really going to set the Animation / Comix / Plein Aire worlds abuzz is when you’ve been snapped – photo term – drawing / painting with both hands simultaneously! of course this will mean hauling around twice as much crap as you head out into the landscape, but hey, there’s an upside and a downside to everything!
    — Scott Tolmie, September 16, 2013

  3. Re: existential crises, mate, I went through similar feelings about my chickens a few weeks ago. Read about it in the Farm Report. My advantage: was never scared by a nun at an impressionable age like so many folks I’ve met (you included, apparently).

    Oh, and yeah! the drawing is awesome. The sense of composition and proportion is still guided by the sense of humor. You’ve still got it all.
    I’m gonna be bugging you about coming out soon. Be prepared. Love ya,

    — Jon McClenahan, September 16, 2013

  4. Jimmy your dog heaven ( which truth be known is jimmy heaven) story delighted me and made me cry. I give it two paws up. More please!
    — Deane Taylor, September 17, 2013

  5. Your drawing of Sister MT conveys the point of view of little Jamie. Very good for your left hand! Loved that story. Can’t wait to read more and see more drawings :) As always you’re awesome
    — Charlene Kelley, September 17, 2013

  6. Ugh-! What a GIFT Sister MT gave you. Without her you may not have had such a warm & enlightening moment within you & with your mum. We’re all here for a reason & I think Sister MT did what she was here to do for you, so well.
    My, what a gorgeous person you are James. Truly special, even as a littld tacker.

    Your drawing is great! I can see that the other hemisphere of your brain has lots to offer as well! Keep up the great work. I love reading your words. Sometimes I get a little something in my eye.

    Beautiful…keep writing.
    Heading up to Uralla next week :) acones & tea in Kentucky!!!! :0))))) Lots of love & big squeezy hugs, xoxooo

    — Janine Dawson, September 17, 2013

  7. Jamie – Your progress in recovery and attitude is truly an inspiration.
    I’m glad to hear you’ve decided to start the effort of drawing with your left hand. I worked with a director a while back who was in a similar situation. He’d been in a car accident, and lost the ability to draw with his drawing hand. He switched, and in time, drew really well, to the point that he’s a successful working animation director once again. He’s since trained his original drawing hand to draw well again, but prefers the style from his “new” drawing hand.
    Keep at it, mate. Keep walking faster and farther. Keep inspiring us all. APE will not be the same this year.
    — Richard Quan, September 19, 2013

  8. James, you incredible guy you!! Ambidexterity even!!
    Next thing you’ll be running for mayor!!
    Love to keep reading all this positive stuff. And I shall read your blog stuff too.
    Excellent James!
    Very inspirational.
    I shall stop complaining about anything pronto!
    big hugs from London Phil
    2 girls
    — Philip Vallentin, September 16, 2013


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