Take the rest of the day off.

I am supposed to be working right now, but I’m not because FUCK WORK.  Work is hard and I will not remember the hours I would have spent doing laundry and answering emails so instead I am at the park with Hailey, where we are saying, “Fuck off, gravity.”  Well, I’m saying it.  She’s 11 so she’s just saying “THIS IS AWESOME.  LET’S PLAY EVERY DAY.”

And we can’t, because life doesn’t work that way.  But today, for a few hours, it does.  And it’s lovely.  And it’s worth doing.

So instead of writing a real post I’m spending this time catching pokemon (I CAUGHT A SNORLAX) and singing with my kid and we’re about to go home and watch (moderately) scary movies and then read.  And I’ll be behind on work, but ahead of the game on the things that count.

If you’re reading this I give you full permission to have a fun day with no guilt.  What would you be doing if you could do anything?  Do that thing.  Start a game of tag in your office, make a bonfire of all the emails you’re not going to answer, watch a movie, explore your city, stick googly eyes on random things in your house so that they are like small pets you don’t have to feed.  Whatever makes you happy.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 2.42.36 PM

Have fun, y’all.

It’s later than you think.

Sometimes tattered and worn = loved

I use my books.  It drives Victor insane.  He’s the person who will scream “YOU MONSTER!” at a complete stranger if he hears the sound of a spine breaking, and most of his best comics are permanently sealed in hard plastic slabs, mostly to protect them from me probably.

I live on the other side of the extreme.  My books are all broken backs and finger smudges and dog-ears.  You can find the best parts of my most beloved books by just letting the book fall open naturally, because it will automatically open to the places it’s been read over and over.

One of my favorite things to do is buy old books from estate sales…those books that have been well-loved by people who have passed.  I flip through and look for the ones with creases and notes written in the edges and signs of a life well lived.  Victor doesn’t understand it, but reading those found books is like reading with  ghosts, ones who eagerly point out their favorite passages or share their thoughts or questions in the margins.

It sounds wrong, but you can tell that I really love a book if I damage it thoroughly.  I destroy it with my love. I shove it in pockets and carry it in purses and suitcases.  I drip bathwater on the edges and get pollen stuck in the pages.  I underline passages that remind me I’m not alone, and tuck receipts and slips of paper into places I need to reread.  It is my opinion that a treasured book should not be kept in a box or wrapper. It should be used.  And battered.  And loved…just as much as the owner is, as they carry that book through their life. As they drag it through the rough spots. And as it drags them through the rougher spots.  Whenever I finish writing a book I always hope to myself that this is the kind of book I hope I have written.

Recently someone asked me to autograph their copy of Furiously Happy and they were embarrassed to show me the shape it was in, but it made me so incredibly happy. I asked if I could take a picture of it, and I keep that picture with me to remind me that in some ways I’ve succeeded.

tattered cover

Today is #NationalBookLoversDay and so I’d love it if you would share a few books you love so much that they’re like a part of you.

I’ll go first.  Ray Bradbury’s From the Dust Returned.  Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series.  Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

Your turn.

PS. My next book (You Are Here) is literally made to be written in, tacked to walls, shared and used.  Victor is shuddering already.  Leave a comment if you want one and I’ll randomly choose a few people to get free copies once they come out.

One of those nights.

I’m having one of those nights where – against all logic – I find myself feeling small.  Not a good small, like “Aren’t you adorable? I want to put you in my pocket” but that insignificant, unimportant sort of small.  The kind that makes you feel like you’re just dust that could spin out into space, or that the night is so dark that you’ll never be found or remembered.  The kind that makes every personal failing magnified to the point it’s physically painful.  I don’t know where these nights come from but I suspect they come to us all…making us doubt that we exist, that we matter, that we will ever get our shit together.

Maybe some people don’t have nights like these.  Maybe I just say to myself that it’s normal because if it’s not then that niggling sense of failure and fear that floods over me is based on reality.  I know it’s not.  Logically, I know it, but logic doesn’t work well on nights like this.  I go through my mind and count the facts and try to discount the fear and panic.  I fail.  I am small.  But I also succeed sometimes too.  I am important.  I am insignificant.  I am a speck of dust.  I am necessary.  They’re all true.

But on nights like these I push back in the dark and tell myself that tomorrow the sun will shine and this night will be past.  I will have beaten the darkness that seeps into my heart when things shift and rifts appear.  I will have beaten it simply by existing long enough to find the sun again.

I am small.  But if that’s true then so, too, are my fears and doubts.    They seem so large, but they live in me so they can’t be bigger than I am.  I will win.  By sheer volume.  And I’ll keep repeating that to myself until I finally believe it, or until the morning comes.  Whichever comes first.

That’s how it’s done, bitches. Apparently.

Hunter S. Thomcat does this thing where he sits next to me in my office and stretches out his arms wildly until someone holds his hand.  You might think he’s just stretching but he won’t stop or open his eyes until he reaches someone and if you aren’t paying attention he’ll also meow.  It’s weird as hell but last night I think I finally figured out what was going on:marco polo

Laziest. Cat. Ever.

PS. Today we’re going to pick Hailey up from rodeo summer camp.  She’s been gone almost two weeks and I’m basically living for the photos that show up on the camp website that prove to me she’s still alive.  In the latest pictures she was just wearing a sheet and I was like, “Fuck.  She’s run out of clean clothes and she’s just wearing her bed now” but turns out they were having a late-night toga party in the cow barn.  Which is almost as unsettling as running out of clean clothes.  Maybe more so.  I’m trying not to think about it.

 

 

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?