Thank you, first of all, for your interesting comments and messages in response to the last letter [#125].
If it resonated with you, then let me recommend Nathaniel Drew’s conversation with the musician Carla Morrison (YouTube / Spotify), an artist who seems deeply connected to her inner voice. I’m very struck by her sense of self-worth and her understanding of what feeds her and what does not.
Speaking of inspiring musicians, please also allow me to recommend watching a Hania Rani performance on YouTube. Rani combines synthesisers and grand pianos in her music and to watch and listen to her is to witness an expert craftsperson and an artist who completely surrenders to the work. Watch as she runs her hands up and down the octaves with her eyes closed — amazing!
What happened to the drawings?
Many of you have written to me to say how much you enjoyed or have been inspired to see pages from my sketchbooks in this newsletter over the years.
Suddenly, about a year ago, the sketchbook pages stopped appearing here.
It wasn’t because I had stopped drawing — quite the opposite. But I switched from journaling and observational sketching to writing and drawing stories.
While journaling sometimes felt self-indulgent and observational drawing eventually became repetitive, drawing original stories from my imagination is like a fusion reaction with each story generating more energy than it requires, creating a self-perpetuating momentum.
Much like love, the more I do it, the more of it there seems to be.
The downside is they take much longer to make, and it’s hard to share single images without giving the story away.
Today I want to share a story, my favourite story in fact, from the first issue of Biteguard Fever Dreams. It’s called “Aquanimity” and it’s a dramatisation of a letter I wrote to you last summer [#119].
I like this story for a couple of reasons (aside from the nifty pun). It’s the first story I’ve written that has a distinctive and (I think) complex and believable character in it. I drew many sketches to refine his face and his expressions. It has some dark humour and a nice clean plot escalation. I don’t love the artwork but petit-à-petit I’m getting better.
Oh, and before the story begins, here’s a cool thing: the story is an exaggerated telling of the frustration I often felt with other swimmers while trying to do my laps. But since I wrote the story, the anger and frustration have evaporated. I now swim in calm zen, no matter the busyness of the pool.
Writing & drawing this story cured me of those horrible vibes!
Until another Sunday soon,