January 2004

Listening to NPR…they had an hour with a neurologist who was studying hypergraphia–the desire to write!–which is evidentally a recognizeable brain chemistry in some people (she mentioned that it’s symptomatic of certain types of temporal lobe epilepsy) and by extension the sort-of opposite, writer’s block. While writing was her thing, she mentions that it appears to extend to creativity in general–you get people like Van Gogh who paint pretty much every waking minute in what was practically clinical mania.

The extension of this, of course, is that if the desire to write–and we’re not talking just random nonsense on a page, but actual coherent writing–is a recognizeable chemical process in the brain, then presumably it’s induceable. The theory is thus that one could induce creative drive–better living through pharmaceuticals!–to either make someone creative, or break creative block, and so forth. It’s all theoretical, and I couldn’t presume to guess at the legitimacy of the science behind it, but it’s an interesting theory.

My brain is doing an interesting tap dance between “YES! Cool!” and “NOOOOOOOO!”
Tap dance

James, in a typical conversation that began with “Smell my finger!” and ended with “Pardon me while I kiss the sky!” posed the following intriguing question, which answer I do not know.

Do whales have mucus in their blowholes? (Translated from the original James.) And I’d add, do they sneeze? Do they get stuffed up? Is the cloud of spray from a whale spouting in part whalesnot? I sort of suspect that the sheer power of the ejecting air would render any stuffiness moot, but now I’m curious…

Early Morning Faulty Logic

James and I were talking about something–him perkily, me with my usual groggy growl. The point of discussion wasn’t all that important, since it devolved quickly into “Bet you I can!” “Bet you you can’t.” (We’re so mature.)

James: “Well, there’s no way to prove it, so my theory must be correct!
Ursula: “What are you, a creationist? Just because you can’t prove or disprove it, it doesn’t mean it’s true!”
James: (breaking into song) “It’s…my theory, that’s my theory, like no theory I knoooow! So it…must…be…riiiiiiight…”
Ursula: (incoherent noises into coffee)

It’s still not as bad as the time he made me look something up in the Geneva Convention before breakfast.

And it occurs to Ursula, suddenly, that it is almost time for the annual pilgrimage to the Altar of Probably-Futile-But-I’m-Trying-Anyway-Goddamnit.

I speak, of course, of submitting work to the Spectrum annual, which I better do tomorrow, since if I wait until after the trip, I’ll be so busy I’m likely to forget.

I’ve submitted faithfully every year for about four years, and received rejection slips every time. Initially, they were definitely earned. More recently…well, I’d like to think they were close, and some of ’em have held up well, but I suspect that in a few years, I’ll look back and go “Man, those were stinkers too!” Still, I keep submitting–it’s one of my big artistic goals. (Not that I expect fame, fortune, and success to attend acceptance, I just wanna do it because–well–it’d be cool, damnit!) Although many of the contributors to Spectrum kick my ass up, down, sideways, and extradimensionally to boot, I know I’m better than some of the stuff that gets in, so I keep trying.

This year, I’m submitting “Sir Bunny vs. the Wockwurm” and “Bad Egg,” which garnered the most comments/praise/etc this year, and which James (whose vote equals that of the combined internet) agreed were the best of the bunch.

Fifth time’s the charm…

I should be working. Actually, I am working. However, I must interrupt my work to present the following appalling truth to the world.

Bottlecaps. I love ’em. I drink enough Coke to singlehandedly keep a third-world country oppressed, and some of my favorite candies are gummi cola and Bottlecaps, because they pander to this Cokelust of mine.

The problem is that the cola (or maybe root beer) flavored Bottlecaps are rare. I would open a pack, and start munching through them, and I’d frequently go through two or three mediocre grape or orange, and pick past far too many of the thoroughly disgusting cherry to get to the delicious brown cola ones.

Being a trusting and not overly paranoid soul, I always assumed that there were an even number of all the flavors, and that I was merely projecting the lack of brown Bottlecaps because those were the ones I wanted. There weren’t more cherry, it just seemed that way because even one is too many.

Today, however, James suggested I simply dump the pack into a bowl, pick out the brown ones, and HE would eat the less desireable flavors. So I did. And that was when I uncovered the horrible truth.

Brown — 4
Orange — 5
Grape — 7
Cherry — 10

My god! There really ARE less brown ones! They’ve stuffed the tube with the noxious red death and withheld the desireable brown! I’m not crazy!

The world must be told.

Awright…travel plans made, flyin’ out Wednesday.

I have so much to get done before then, I shouldn’t even be taking time to write this. But hey! Into every life, a little lunacy must fall…at least I got my studio packed up this weekend.

Once more into the breach…!

My thanks to everyone who suggested mottos–there were some really good ones, but in the end, I had to go with the classic:
I despise the arrogant wombat.

In case anyone doesn’t know the origin, I once had a troll with a questionable grip on either the language or consensual reality leave some truly bizarre comments on my art, one of which was the marvelous phrase “I despise the arrogant wombat.” The pleasure I have derived from this phrase is all out of proportion, and it still gives me the warm fuzzies. ‘Cos I mean, really, doesn’t that just say it all?

The nice people over at Silver Bullet Comic Books want to do a creator profile on me, which is great and I’m flattered. However, they want to know my personal motto.

I stared at the “personal motto” blank and the halves of my brain rose up, gabbling, like a flock of geese who’ve just spotted a St. Bernard coming in at full tilt. “Bark like a fish!” “I just work here!” “Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time!” “Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!” “To be invincible is best.” “Just because I painted it doesn’t mean I know what it means.” “Uncharismatic Megafauna Forever!”

Etc, etc…

If anyone can suggest an appropriately pithy personal motto, I’m all ears…

  • Archives

  • I write & illustrate books, garden, take photos, and blather about myriad things. I have very strong feelings about potatoes.

    Latest Release

    Now Available