Shit. I am a terrible mother.

Last week my friend – Jeremy – who taxidermied Rory (the Furiously Happy raccoon) emailed to tell me that Rory turned 5 years old on Friday, but I’m terrible at keeping up with emails so I totally missed his birthday.  So to make up for it I gave him a vespa.  Or, rather, I stole one of Hailey’s doll’s vespas after I realized that all of her fake American Girl accessories are the perfect scale for a small dead raccoon.  (Honestly, they are really missing out on an untapped market.)

"Look, ma! No hands!" A clear violation of safety rules, but are you going to tell him that? IT'S HIS BIRTHDAY, YOU MONSTER.

“Look, ma! No hands!” It’s a clear violation of safety rules, but are you going to tell him that? IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY, YOU MONSTER.

Regardless, Rory and Rory II had a blast.

The spectators were perplexed.

The spectators were perplexed.

And so did the cats because for once they weren’t the ones giving Rory a ride.

I'm not sure what's happening here but it made me laugh so I'm including it.

I’m not sure what’s happening here but it made me laugh so I’m including it.

And then Victor was like, “WHY IS IT SO LOUD IN HERE?  DON’T YOU HAVE WORK TO DO?” and I was all, “YOU CAN’T JUDGE ME.  IT WAS YOUR SON’S BIRTHDAY AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN REMEMBER” and he just stared at me in confusion and I was like “THE CAT’S IN THE CRADLE, VICTOR” and he shook his head and locked the door to his office, and then I thought I should maybe clarify that I was referring to the Harry Chapin song and not to me actually putting one of our cats in a cradle.  But then that seemed ridiculous because we don’t even have a cradle.  We barely had a vespa for a dead raccoon’s birthday.

Honestly, we are terrible parents.

PS. I really need to get a tiny saddle made:

I really need to get a tiny saddle made.

Cat balancing is the new planking.

PPS. I haven’t updated my shop in months.  Until now.

I made this for me. And for you.

When I was little my grandmother always used to tell me about her grandmother from Bohemia.  I don’t have any pictures of her so I decided to draw one last night.  And since you’ve been so incredibly supportive of my next book (YOU ARE HERE) I thought you might want to see it.

I miss

“I miss the people I never met but who made me who I am – and the people I have yet to meet who will make me who I will become.”

(Click on the picture to embiggen.)

As always, feel free to print or color or hang up or give to a friend as it’s for personal use.

PS. “YOU WROTE A NEW BOOK?”  I DID!  It’s half words and half drawings and I feel so lucky that people are already preordering it because I was –and am – terrified of coming out with something so different.  Pre-order info is here if you want to get one.  Or several hundred to pass out to strangers.  No judgement.

you are here cover

 

Stop yelling at me.

This afternoon I was driving to pick up my meds and I was singing “Call Me Maybe” at the top of my lungs and I pulled up next to this burly guy in a truck at the red light and he rolls down his window and starts screaming “WHAT’S YOUR FUCKING DEAL, LADY?  I DID NOTHING TO YOU” and I was like, “Um…I know?  Why are you yelling at me?  I don’t even know who you are” and he stared at me with that same baffled look that Victor gives me and he explained that he’d watched me screaming at him in his rear view mirror for the last minute and I was all, “Dude. That was me singing.  I just sing really enthusiastically.”   And then he stared at me for a minute and all his anger washed away and he said, “Oh.  Shit.  My bad.  Turn it up.” And so I did, and “Call Me Maybe” was still on and HE SANG IT ALONG WITH ME.  Like, even doing a little dance in his car.  And suddenly it went from hurt feelings and road rage to a weird, impromptu highway dance party.

This is how I want the whole world to work.

Stop judging me. I’m already judging myself enough. And I’m fine. Except that I’m surrounded by rats. The usual.

This is not a real post.  It’s a tiny bit of advice for people like me who have anxiety and depression and sometimes get trapped in their own homes because their brains are being assholes and it’s too people-y outside.  I’ve been talking about my own mental health issues for years and I’ve shared so many important things that help: medication, therapy, community, etc. but today I have something even more important to share.

Today I was at my shrink’s office and I told her that I’d found a new tool that’s seemed to help with my anxiety and agoraphobia and she was like, “Is it PokemonGo?” and I screamed “IT IS POKEMONGO!  WHAT THE FUCK?” and she was like, “What level are you?  Let’s trade tips.”  And then we did.  Because apparently this super embarrassing thing I was going to admit is helping lots of people because it sort of forces you to get out of the house to play and suddenly you’re at the park at midnight and there’s a live possum next to you.  That’s a bad example but it’s going to happen.  Get ready.

But it’s nice because my OCD makes me want to collect all of these invisible creatures and that means I end up in parks and in malls and on road rips and in places I would never normally go in a million years.  And then strangers who also never go out come up to you and say, “HEY DID YOU CATCH THAT BULBASAUR NEXT TO JAMBA JUICE?” and instead of running away from strangers and small talk you’re like, “OF COURSE I DID.  What am I, some kind of amateur?  And also, what’s with all the rats?”  Because seriously, what is with all the rats?  They’re everywhere and I’m always yelling “GO AWAY, INVISIBLE RATS.  I’M NOT YOUR MOMMY.”  Which gets stares from normal people but empathetic nods from other weirdos playing PokemonGo, and technically I was already freaking out the normal people, so not much has changed except that now I’m the middle of Macy’s while it’s happening.

Hanging with my posse. Apparently.

Hanging with my posse. Apparently.

This post would be much longer except that so many ridiculous things have happened to me while playing this ridiculous game that it turned from a blog post into a chapter in my next book.  But I still want you to know about it.  Because it’s awesome and makes you accidentally live life and walk dogs and take your kid hiking.  It’s distracting enough to ward off the pre-panic attacks that keep you from leaving your car and suddenly you’re playing a game with the rest of the world.  Also, you can rename all of the Pokemons.  (Pokemen?  Pokemi?  Whatever the plural is for things that don’t exist either way.)

Did you know you can rename the monsters? BECAUSE YOU CAN.

Long live Pony Danza.

Also, Victor loves it too.  And by “loves it” I mean that he’s getting used to me pretending to take a picture of him to capture how amazing he is even though he now realizes I’m really just catching nonexistent animals that have landed near him.

Secretly he love it. Just...really, really secretly.

Secretly he love it. Just…really, really secretly.

Sure, some will say that it brings you away from real life because you’re staring at a screen but once you’ve fallen into a few canals (2 is my record) you learn to stick your phone in your pocket and just pull it out when it yells that invisible monsters are near.  Like a totally normal person.  Almost.  Close enough.

You’re welcome.

Let’s play.

YOU GUYS.

On Tuesday my next book (YOU ARE HERE: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds) came out for preorder and I announced it and then went directly to my shrink’s office because I was afraid of how it would be received and I wanted her to tell me it would all be okay not matter what.  And it was.  Both because she made me feel better and because when I got back home and looked at the hourly Amazon ratings for YOU ARE HERE I saw it go from #280,000 to #24 and I literally cried with relief that you guys had my back even on something so different as this project.  And I celebrated and tweeted it because I knew it would drop back down any second but I wanted to remember that I had an amazing community of people who could make a book go into the top 20’s in three hours.

But then someone told me that it wasn’t #24 anymore and was, in fact, now the #6 bestselling book of the hour.  And then it was #4.  And then, late in the evening when Hailey and I were night-hunting for Pokemon (Pokemons?  Pokemen?) in the park I saw this:

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.20.53 AM

And I screamed out “I’M NUMBER TWO!” – which, admittedly,  is a weird thing to scream out in a dark public park.  And I considered also yelling “THAT’S NOT A EUPHEMISM FOR POOP” but then I decided not to because Hailey was already embarrassed enough and also, we all know you guys are here playing Pokemon in the middle of the night so maybe stop judging me.  

And I don’t know how to thank you.  For caring and for supporting me.  For buying the book for yourself or others, or putting it on your wish lists for later.  For sharing it with others and for being happy with me and celebrating this as a victory for all of us.  I’m so incredibly lucky that you are here for me when I share my very deep downward spirals, but you’re just as here for me when I share my moments of joy.  That doesn’t always happen for everyone and I want you to know how much this community means to me…in good times and bad.  Thank you.

And as I teased in my last post, here’s the final version of the drawing that Dorothy Barker kept trying to lay on top of:

It’s not in the book.  It’s just a bonus to thank you for being so great.  Feel free to print it out and color it or hang it up or line your bird cage with it. Whatever makes you happy.

Click the image to embiggen.

Click the image to embiggen.

Thank you.

PS.  And for those of you who are like, “WAIT, YOU ANNOUNCED YOUR NEXT BOOK?” here’s where you can preorder it, and here are some other drawings and a description of why it’s sort of your fault that it exists.

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Indigo
Indiebound

You Are Here jenny lawson

Thank you.

UPDATED: Wanna see the cover of my next book?

Remember last week when I announced my third book and then I fell into a puddle of relief when you said you were excited about it?  And I promised you that I’d tell you the title one day very soon?

Well, today is that day.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about then go here and then come back.  We’ll wait.  Done?  Awesome.  Back to the blog post already in session.)

I really struggled choosing the title for this book because I wanted something unique and fun, but also serious and weird and basically encompassing all of the bizarro things that were going through my mind when I created it, and that’s not exactly easy to stuff into a single line.  In the last year I came up with a ton of different title ideas but none of them ever seemed quite right.

Here were a few contenders:

Completely and Fantastically Lost: An Obscure Guidebook For Misfits and Strangelings

Feeling Stabby: A sophisticated coloring book to soothe troublesome minds

THIS IS BULLSHIT: A handbook for life.

Get Lost. (But in a good way. Inside your head. Or in this book. Whatever. I’m not telling you what to do.  STOP YELLING AT ME.)

THIS IS YOUR BOOK. (To color, write in, discover yourself, set on fire and/or throw at assholes.)

I’m Not Allowed To Have Matches (And Other Things I’ve Learned): A coloring journal for creative vandals, notorious scribblers and incurable weirdos.

I JUST WANT MY BRAIN TO STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE: An illustrated journey for the similarly confused

Vandals Needed. See Inside.

THE BIBLE (PART 3)

None were quite right.  But I kept coming back to this specific  thought I’d had so often when I was creating the drawings.  If my head was in a bad place I’d remind myself that I just had to live through that exact temporary moment that I was in because eventually I’d pull out of the haze.  And if my head was in a good place I’d remind myself to stop and appreciate the moment I was in…to live in it and celebrate it rather than worry about the future or the past.  And when my brain went missing I’d remind myself that I was still real and that I would come back to myself.  That I was still here…even when I felt I wasn’t.  And that I wasn’t alone because you were here too.  Maybe not in person, but in spirit…you were alive in the moment with me, whether you knew it or not.  Whether you were struggling or thriving or feeling lost.

You weren’t lost.  You were here.  And that is a wonderful thing.

And suddenly, there was the title.

You Are Here jenny lawson

(Click to embiggen if you want to read the words on my sketches.)

It won’t come out for quite a while but until then I’ll be sharing other drawings here to thank you for being so supportive and for making me feel so much less alone.  For reminding me that I am here.  And for being here with me.

If you want to preorder you can do that here and then it’ll be a lovely surprise present to yourself if your memory is as faulty as mine.  Also, it’ll be a lovely surprise to me because I have no idea how this sort of book will do and I really, really hope you like it.

Want to preorder it?  Yes?  Really?  COME HERE AND LET ME LICK YOU.

A few places you can preorder today if I didn’t fuck everything up:

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Indigo
Indiebound

PS.  Thank you.  You have no clue how many times you’ve saved me.  I don’t know where I’d be without you, but I’m so grateful to be right here with you now.

PPS. A behind-the-scenes bonus:  I was only halfway done when I took this picture but this is what my lap looks like late at night…with a sketch pad and a variety of animals trying to make my life difficult.

Me: I'm drawing here. Dorothy Barker: Nope. Also, I ate your eraser.

Me: I’m drawing here. Dorothy Barker: Nope. Also, I ate your eraser.

PPS.  That drawing isn’t in the book.  I’ll share it here when I’m finished.  That way it’s like you’re getting a ton of the book for free as a bonus for pre-ordering.  Or for thinking about pre-ordering.  Or for telling someone to preorder it for you because you are hard to shop for and now your family doesn’t have to just give you a $20 bill for your birthday.  EVERYONE WINS.

UPDATED: HOLY SHIT, Y’ALL.  It’s #6 on the Amazon bestsellers list.  I’m sure it’ll drop back down any second but I can’t tell you what it means to have such an amazing community behind me.  DRINKS FOR EVERYONE!

#6

UPDATED AGAIN:

NUMBER 3.  IS THIS REAL LIFE?

NUMBER 3. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

I have a big announcement to make and I’m not sure how to say it but it’s all your fault. Sort of.

So.  I’ve dropped a few hints about a project I’ve been working on but I haven’t really written about it because I lost my words.  But they’re coming back and so now I’m going to try to explain it and hopefully you’ll understand why it’s important to me.

When I was on book tour last year I would sometimes share the drawings I’d make when I was locked up in my hotel each night.  I’ve always drawn.  It’s my meditation when my anxiety disorder gets out of control.  It gives my hands something to do so they don’t destroy me.  When I was young I kept a journal filled with patterns I’d perfected…ones I’d learned from others or created myself that kept my mind free…and I’d spend hours filling pages up with doodles and pictures and words and ideas and the patterns I’d found on old walls or garish carpets or bathroom stalls.  Whenever things got hard I would go back to these patterns, finding comfort in the intricate but uniform lines that would fill the page – a way of bringing order to the chaos if just for a few minutes.

"Just because

When I lived in Houston a woman moved next door to us.  She’d just moved from India and she’d often invite Hailey and I over for tea and paint mehndi designs on our hands or feet while we visited.  She had journals like mine – but different, filled with hand-drawn patterns in beautiful styles, and she explained that when she was young it was common for girl friends to share designs with each other.  She’d draw a pattern or design that she’d perfected in their book and they’d do the same in hers and in the end she’d have hundreds of ideas to use when making her henna artworks.  She tried to teach me a few but I never quite perfected them.  I shared some with her out of my books, and we experimented with them and made them more beautiful and elaborate.

jennysketch

In the last few years I’ve found other people who collect patterns.  They do mandalas or tangles or textural collages.  They trade them with others to inspire and the patterns become more fantastic as each person puts their hand to them.  They -like me – take pictures of forgotten patterns on abandoned buildings, and crumbling tombstones, and resurrect them.  They see the motifs in nature – the movement of trees or the way that ivy grows and they embellish those designs.  You learn to see things in a different perspective…the patterns that make up a life, or the world, or the universe.

Click to embiggen.

Nine months ago I was on book tour.  My anxiety keeps me locked in hotel rooms when I’m not doing a reading so I often spent that time drawing, using stolen hotel pens and pilfered sharpies.  I used motel room cups and pill bottles as stencils to create overlapping circles and I’d fill the circles with patterns and with words that I needed to hear myself.  I shared a few on instagram and was shocked at how many people responded.  They’d print them out to color or frame.  They’d bring them to signings so I’d autograph them.  They’d tattoo them on their bodies.  They’d give them to friends who were struggling and needed to be reminded they weren’t alone.

smallbloggessdoodle

These drawings were far from perfect.  They were wrinkled and muddied and I never had the right tools or pens but still people seemed to love them.  And suddenly instead of being embarrassed about them I was happy to share them, and I had the encouragement to share the drawings that usually only lived in my head or secret sketchbooks.  I saw them shared online, brilliantly tinted by people who used coloring the same way I used sketching…as an escape, a meditation, and a way to quiet a sometimes dangerous brain.  I saw people interpret them in lovely ways I hadn’t even meant, or add their own sketches to the drawings, or hang them up in cubicles or in frames.  I got a giant unexpected package from a classroom of 4th graders who used one of my images as an inspiration to create dozens of amazing stories they invented themselves.

bloggessdoodles

Several months ago I feel into a pretty heavy depression and it’s one I’m still crawling out of.  I’m finally having more good days than bad, but one of the repercussions of this depression was that it made it almost impossible to write.  Or, I should say, it made it almost impossible to write long-form chapters.  I still wrote…but strange things that gave me strength to move forward in the dark.  Some funny, some silly, some irreverent, some dark and painfully honest.  But for some reason my head wanted a picture for each one.

I can’t quite explain it.  Maybe it’s part of my mental illness.  Maybe it was involuntary art therapy.  All I know is that I couldn’t work on the book I was supposed to be working on because this…thing got in the way.  These drawings.  These images and thoughts and patterns and words.  And once they were down on paper I could turn the page and feel free of the thought.  As if I’d archived the emotion I was stuck in and could now move forward and see the next one waiting to be acknowledged and recognized.

I felt like a failure for falling behind on life and missing deadlines, but I have no doubt that these drawing saved me.  They gave me a reason, and a creative outlet, and a way to count out the long seconds of the days with each stroke of the pen.  They were all drawn by hand, slowly and meticulously, and as I worked on them I thought of the words in my head.  Each drawing had stories written into them.  Each contained a sentence or paragraph or a page of strange thoughts that went along with it.  As they become more elaborate I shared them with my shrink and my agent and my editor and suddenly a book emerged.  It was a book that seems like it wrote itself.  Not easily.  It struggled its way out of me as if it had control more than I did at times.  Which was good, because I had very little control at the time and that can be a problem when you struggle with impulse control issues and self-harm problems.  The book found itself.  Half of it images.  Half of it words.  Some funny and irreverent and profane, and some dark and confused, and some to remind me to keep breathing and that depression lies.

jennylawsondrawing

So I made a coloring book.

Sort of.

It’s a coloring book if you like to color.  It’s a journal if you like to write in books that make you question what’s going on.  It’s a set of posters that make you feel less alone.  It’s a collection of one-page stories or important sentences or pictures to tape on bathroom mirrors for strangers to see, or to hand to friends.  It’s a companion piece to Furiously Happy but it also stands alone.  It’s what saved me this year and I owe you for supporting and encouraging me whenever I hesitantly shared my work.  It turned into something much bigger than I ever imagined and hope that you like it.  I hope you like it so much you buy a dozen copies so you can color it or frame it or give it away.  If you don’t, that’s okay.  But I had to get it out of my head so I could move on.

bloggessdoodle

It probably won’t be in stores for a while because it takes time to publish books, but I should have a cover and title and all that jazz for you in the next week if things go smoothly.   In the meantime I’ll be sharing the occasional extra drawing that isn’t in the book here (most of what’s in the book is new and unpublished) and you can print it or share it or color it or post it up in your home or burn it in a fire to scare off monsters.  It’s up to you.

After all, you helped create it.

And I can’t thank you enough for that.

Iowa is pretty fucking weird. But in a good way.

I’m starting to come out of this haze of my-head-is-an-asshole and that’s good timing because I spent a few days in Iowa doing readings and signing for some bad-ass library programs and I actually had enough energy to do more than just breathe and cling to the couch.  YAY FOR BEING ALMOST HUMAN!  It feels so amazing when I come out of these funks that I always want to go back to the me of the previous haze and say “It’s gonna be okay.”  Because it is.  And I finally have some of my concentration back so I was able to write notes in my journal again like a real, live person.  And if you ignore the run-on sentences and rambling it’s almost like I’m writing again.  If you want to ignore me until I’m back to 100% I’m okay with that.  I’m probably at 60% right now.  You’ve been warned.

So.  Things that happened to me in Iowa:

I was walking down the block from my hotel to get a sandwich but on my way I saw this group of people playing banjos and there were some girls dancing and one was wearing super short shorts, but they were the type of shorts that were billowy and like a skirt and I was like ‘Wow.  That’s a vagina’ and then I tripped on a dead bird.  And then I was like, “Shit.  I JUST KILLED A BIRD BECAUSE OF VAGINAL DISTRACTION” but then I looked closer and the bird was already dead so I felt better, but not entirely because it’s almost as bad to kick a dead bird.  Plus, people were staring at me because I’d tripped really awkwardly and I wanted to point out that it was the bird’s fault but that seems like victim blaming so instead I ducked into a resale shop filled with awesome stuff like this:

unnamed-14

And there was a youngish couple in the shop who were cursing and making fun of everything in a really loud and obnoxious sort of way, like “LOOK HOW EDGY WE ARE, WORLD” and when they got up to the front of the store they gave a semi-sarcastic “Sorry that you’re probably offended at how real we are” to an elderly-ish woman at the front of the shop and she looked at them like she was just noticing them and said, “You cunts think you invented cursing?”  And then I decided to live in Iowa forever.

Then a bit later I noticed there were gargoyles right above my hotel room but I couldn’t get a good picture of them without a window reflection so I opened the hotel window the 8 inches that it would open and I stuck my phone out the window the get the shot but I was afraid I’d lose my balance so I sat on the ledge of the window seat and put my feet out so that I had a better balance and that’s when I heard someone on the street go, ” HEY.  STUPID.”  And turns out he was talking to me because it is incredibly stupid to hang parts of your body out of windows to take pictures of gargoyles and he was like, “Are you okay?  Do you need help?” and I tried to explain that I was trying to get a good picture of the gargoyle but I couldn’t remember the word for it so instead I said “I’m fine, thanks!  I’m just trying to get a picture of this…lizard…monster?” and then I thought he’d call the cops so I quickly thanked him for his concern and closed the window, but it was actually really nice because 1. it’s lovely to have a stranger be concerned for your safety even if you are only a few flights up and 2. The window only opened 8 inches and so it was very flattering that he thought I was in any way thin enough to slip through it.

unnamed-12

Also, everyone in Iowa was crazy nice and if there’s some sort of award for getting the weirdest gifts on book tour I am winning.  Handily.  And that is a wonderful thing.

unnamed-8

Also, I couldn’t fit the knitted vagina torso in my carry-on so I used it as one of those airplane neck pillows and no one fucked with me even once.  And the balls of the knit penis were filled with pellets or beans so it had real heft to it and when I got it I involuntarily yelled “OH MY GOD, THE BALLSACK IS MY FAVORITE” and scared everyone  in the vicinity.

And then I came home.

The end.

PS. Thanks for sticking around even when I’m not quite myself.  I can’t tell you what it means to me.

Hello, Iowa.

I’m writing this in my phone and can’t figure out how to link. Sorry. Just a quick FYI that today and tomorrow I’m doing a few stops in Iowa.

Tonight I’ll be at Des Moines University: dmpl.org/avid

And tomorrow I’ll be in Cedar Rapids:  http://littlevillagemag.com/interview-super-blogger-jenny-lawson-on-writing-honestly-about-mental-health/

Come and be awkward with us.

#Librariesforever

It’s been a long day

me:  Why is my computer making me update my Flash Player again?  I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS.

Victor:  It does update a lot.

me:  Honestly, I feel like I have to install a new one every week,  I wish they’d just come out with the last version first so I could skip all of this.

Victor:  …Wow.  You’re making my head hurt.

me:  Yeah.  I heard it as soon as it came out of my mouth.