Where even am I?

I’m on day…17? of this leg of the tour and it’s been amazing and terrifying and weird in the best possible way.  You can watch it all on instagram if you want but today I have a day off to recuperate and so I thought I’d share this.  I usually make tiny metal ferris wheels to ward off anxiety but it’s too hard to do on the road because all the little pieces get scattered and lost, so instead I doodle.  I do it on planes and in cars and mostly in hotel rooms when I’m hiding away from the world.  I finished this one last night and as I looked at it I could see the memories of drinking glasses from the hotels I’d used to make the circles.  I could see the mixture of hotel pens and sharpies and whatever I had to make things work.  I could see that when I’d make a mistake and cover it up I’d end up with something more complicated and unexpected.  Sometimes the flaws made it right.  Sometimes the bumps in the road forced me to make decisions I didn’t want to make, but were the right path to take.  Sometimes the markers would run low and I had no others, but I found that I could use the almost-empty colors to add depth that wasn’t there before.  I’d take ideas for patterns off of rugs and wallpaper and blankets and the small things that we take for granted, but which became my home.


There is beauty in the ordinary.  There is depth in the worn.  There is perfection in flaws.  There is art inside everything.  There are worlds inside of us all.

156 thoughts on “Where even am I?

Read comments below or add one.

  1. The more I work on one aspect of my creativity, the more other parts of it develop as well. There’s also something so calming in the repetitive movement of pattern drawing or colouring something in.

  2. That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I heard in one of the locations you were at the bookstore the same day as Ringo Starr – I heard that and thought “of course, that Jenny is just as awesome”. And my boyfriend bought your book and it has him laughing out loud on public transit. It’s wonderful 🙂

  3. Lovely! And I second the motion for a Bloggess colouring book. Colouring is very therapeutic.

    (I have no idea how to do that but when I get home I’ll see if there’s a cheap way to do that. You have my permission to print it off and color it now though. Thanks! ~ Jenny)

  4. Wow I love this!! Would you put it up for sale? This is legit art. That I would frame. Perhaps a charity auction?

  5. When I’m writing, I create the story as I read, which is a zillion times more exciting than reading. I would imagine doodling as you color would be similar.

    Three cheers to the coloring book idea. Adult coloring books are all the rage now.

  6. You must be buggered (tired, not the other buggered). Travelling and meeting people must take a strain. Rest and enjoy having your feet up.

  7. This is beautiful. You should put together a book of your doodles and market it as an adult coloring book. I didn’t know that was a thing until a few minutes ago.

  8. Cups. That’s how you get the circles. I was thinking maybe you carry around a compass (the drawing thing not the direction thing), but I couldn’t figure you could take one of those on a plane.

    It was a joy seeing you yesterday, and I tell you, I considered wearing my red tutu to work today, but I do have some sense of decorum. Still wearing the Mary Janes though!

  9. That’s awesome! This my first time posting here. I just finished reading Furiously Happy last week. It came at a really important time in my life, so thank you for being so open and out there. It means a lot to not feel so alone and strange.

  10. I’ve been absolutely loving these. You make me want to get out my markers and start drawing again.

    I have a habit of doodling compass roses on everything. I used to draw them on my hands every day in high school when I first started battling depression. I don’t know why it helps, but it does.

  11. A PDF would be super easy to create and allow people to purchase and print the pages out. My friend runs a coloring group on Facebook – Keep Calm and Color – and I know we have several coloring book artists there who can probably point you in the right direction. I have the tools to create a PDF but I’m not sure about the publishing/selling side of it.

  12. This is beautiful. Had I known you were interested in doodling I would have brought you a Zentangle book yesterday. You should look into Zentangle or Zendoodle. It is fascinating and I love it. And it was wonderful to meet you in Chicago yesterday. Thanks for coming!

  13. Did you know that what you’re doing is basically like “entangle”? It’s a way of relaxing and meditating through repetitive drawing of designs. If you google it, you’ll see what I mean. Either way, yours is just lovely!

    (Now I can’t stop looking at all these patterns being seared into my brain. So good. ~ Jenny)

  14. Have you thought about creating your own coloring book? I would totally buy it if you did.

  15. That is so phenomenally awesome!!! You could make that into a colouring book page for all of us adult colourers (is that a word? my spell check doesn’t think so).

  16. Congrats on the success of the book & tour!

    If you’d like, I’ll gladly endorse you for “Shared a stage with Jesus” on LinkedIn.

  17. Jenny that drawing is beautiful, but your words are powerful. Thank you for your words. They always help.

  18. Yay from the woman in the teal sweater 2rd row right holding up the Rory mask.
    (The one who asked you to sign her sign)

  19. First of all, that is epic. I want to color it and use an obnoxious amount of glitter.
    Second of all, it is ridiculous that you are probably within 45 minutes of me. If you want dinner, I’m in Kenosha 🙂

  20. It’s like ZenTangle – very cool and most definitely a form of meditation or therapy.

  21. I had to take a friend for an MRI today for possible prostate cancer. I was sitting in the waiting room, with other folks who were either waiting for loved ones or waiting for their own tests and reading your book. Laughing out loud in a waiting room where people are waiting on word about cancer is not exactly a normal thing to do but here I was, clapping my hand over my mouth. Your ability to shine a light on anxiety and mental illness and somehow make others laugh is a gift. Thank you for sharing it. The doodles are actually gorgeous. xo

  22. It’s wonderful that you’re creative even when you’re not doing your day job of being creative. Although it’s not really a day job if it’s what you do all the time. You’re living the dream!

  23. That picture…it’s me. Made up of different parts from different places. Full of flaws both real and imagined, and parts that only I can see. Mistakes and victories….

  24. I absolutely love this! Question, though. What you have written around the top right circle: “If you cannot teach me to sing, teach me to curse beautifully,” is that a you quote or is it from something else? Google has failed me.

    (It’s my quote. It was inspired by Peter Pan. “If you can’t teach me to fly then teach me to sing.” ~ Jenny)

  25. Today I sat at my daughter’s bedside while she came out of the anesthesia following ECT treatment. I read “Furiously Happy” and I laughed. Thank you for hope.

  26. these doodles that you do are some of my favorites of yours. Don’t ever stop doing them. They are THE coolest thing ever.

  27. caffeine72 I second this! Jenny can you makes us photocopies of your doodles and make DIY adult coloring books? We’ll buy our own colored pencils and colored markers meant for drawing!

  28. That’s so beautiful! I don’t call those doodles, I call that artwork. Please sell prints of it, I’d totally buy one! Hang in there on the road, I’m looking forward to seeing you at the San Rafael CA bookstore!

  29. I have a friend who turned a coffee spill into fantasy art. she liked it so much she does it all the time and her stuff is fantastic.

  30. Love it. I’m a constant doodler, I carry notebooks with me everywhere and I’ve always just zoned out and drawn all over things. It’s meditation, I think? I read your book in one sitting while lying on a completely isolated beach alone. What a day that was. Thanks. You’re my hero.

  31. I love it, I’m also a doodler. I carry notebooks with me everywhere I go. I’ve always done it, since I was really little. It’s like meditation, maybe? I read your book two weeks ago, in one sitting, alone on an isolated beach. What a day that was. Thanks, you are my hero.

  32. Jenny, thank you for sharing both the art and the Artist. I hope you understand how much it helps. Much love and admiration. We are all travel this road. You are blazing a trail that will help others.

  33. Frame it! It is beautiful – and the backstory makes it even more exceptional. Definitely worth a frame and a spot on the wall as a reminder of all the beauty in the accomplishments and adventures even when it may have felt overwhelming and scary. Well done!!

  34. I can see myself in the Murderous Vampire Dayton picture! Totally makes my day cause I hid in the back (my usual reaction to crowds is “nope”). But I got to meet you and it was awesome! Also, I wrote you a letter because I write so much better than I speak. So, yeah. Thanks for visiting Dayton!

  35. OK, I’m weird (well, that goes without saying; I’m here, aren’t I?), but I keep thinking what great fabric designs each of those sections would be–I can see them on a larger scale by the yard in beautiful, deep colors, all ready to be made up into dresses (because that’s what I like to sew for myself). I’m not sure how one would go about printing fabric by the yard, although there’s a site called Peach Couture that might do it; I’ll have to look into it and report back.

  36. OK, I’m back–Peach Couture is now Peach Berzerk (http://peachberserk.com/wordpress/), but another place that sounds ever better in terms of fabric by the yard is http://www.spoonflower.com–they‘ll print your own designs on all kinds of high-quality material at reasonable prices, all things considered, plus they’ve got lots of existing designs that are amazing (I swooned over some of the medieval designs). Should you ever decide to design robes for the Bloggessarian faithful, you could do a lot worse… 😉

  37. Why can’t I just f***ing l”like”? You need a like option!!! Sometimes a girl just wants to hit “like”… In this case, I appreciate your creative mind!!!

  38. That is really beautiful. And I received my signed bookplate in the mail today. Thanks so very much. The book was great, so I’m sharing it with my cheap friends.

  39. You make me see my self in you more and more everyday. Are you a long lost sister? (hey I know my dad got around 😉 Thank you for coming into my life during the time I needed someone to lift me up yet I would not let friends or family do it.

  40. Sweet merciful Zeus, is there anything you’re not good at? I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. I’ve thought about buying one of those coloring books for grown-ups because I can probably at least stay in the lines, but I suspect browsing the “Adult Coloring Books” section of the bookstore would feel too much like going behind that little curtain that was in the back corner of every ’80s video rental store.

  41. Totally off topic but we’re coming to see you next week in Mpls and I just might wet my pants in excitement. TMI?

  42. This is amazingly beautiful! I mean, all of it – the doodling your words, your thoughts. Thank you. Thank you, thank you.

  43. What a beautiful piece of art. You are an amazing woman with many creative talents. I’m still sad you’re not coming to Vancouver this time, but maybe next book?

  44. Love the descriptions of your inspirations. Have you been reading the Zentangle books? Shows one how to make this style of meditative doodling.

  45. When I’m stressed, I color. I have several coloring books geared toward adults and it really helps relax me. I think you should gather all your doodles and publish a coloring book, because they are seriously amazing!

  46. It is beautiful, and a perfect metaphor for life. We make our life/art, using the materials at hand at the time, honing it as we go.

  47. There is a beautiful tattoo on that paper . . . full of memories and accomplishments and winning and kicking assedness!

  48. I am currently doing the Audiobook version of Furiously Happy and have my 13 yr old son in the car. Best compliment ever came from him yesterday: “wow! There are more of you in this world….you would say and do half this stuff.” Followed by a short silence and then he said, “That’s cool”

  49. They remind me of Japanese temari – and that’s a craft that might be portable … looking forward to your Portland arrival, even if I don’t make it out to the bookstore! Bisous XO

  50. OH my god………does your life HAVE to be so bizarrely FUNNY..and touching ang crazy ass???? I don’t think I could survive it……..and I am in awe of your strength and ability to share.
    One problem I am having though……I am reading your books…well right now the second one….aloud to my husband….and it durn HARD……I START A SENTENCE…AND THEN I AM LAUGH/crying so much that I can’t get the words out and I have to start the paragraph again…then my eyes are all blurry and I have to stop and wipe them and start again……and I am in love with Rory…Love!!!! I had a stuffed pheasant when I was younger but he was not near as interesting…he was too full of himself I think….he just put his nose in the air..kind of like royallty!
    You are so lucky to have a Victor!!!!!!! I myself have a Carey. We decided a long time ago that we were destined to find each other…..and glad we did as no one else would survive either of us!!!
    Thank you Jenny!!!!!!!! And I thank my niece Katy for telling me I HAD to read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”
    I have not read your blog but do not take it personally I am a total random surfer on here……. I don’t follow anyone though I think I am going to hunt you up on Instagram…..

    So thank you again for helping me accept my insanity and say hey to Rory for me!
    (Um…. I don’t have a blog)

  51. Where are all the words I just so painstakingly wrote???? Agggghhhhhhh I am going to have to check later as I have a frigging Dr. Appointment to figure out my blood pressure………I think it is high because I am freaked out by the machine……..we shall see…….I hope my first post does show up cuz I don’t think I can remember all I wrote….and I think it was funny..,Agggggghhhhh

  52. That’s very cool. I don’t have the patience to do something like that but I wish I did. Maybe there’s a Blogess adult coloring book in your future. That’s what this reminds me of… one of those pages in the adult coloring books that are so popular now.

  53. Adult colouring book page indeed! Turns out though, those “Zen” adult coloring books offer nothing but madness. It takes 10 hours to complete and how in the hell do you choose the perfect colors?! 🙂

  54. Hi, Jenny. You should check out books on zentangle. You have discovered how to do it accidentally. By the way, I love your new book. The first one was excellent. This one is more excellenter.

  55. i agree- beauty is in everything…god what would i do without that simple fact of life; i suppose i would think “my” art is shit at all times. when i don’t think certain art is shit, it’s because i’m empathizing with it. and i empathize with your beautiful sketxh, jenny. second leg means there’s another leg? that must be too damned fun yet also tiring s hell, at the same time. i just woke up from a dream that all my acne came back. because it was “realistic”, i believed the dream was really happening, no matter how i tried to convince myself it wasn’t. bc my dreams, generally, don’t fit the protocol. i turned to your site on my phone for comfort. i’m going to allow my typos to be. : )

  56. ok. so. are the doodles purely for personal calming? or can you tell me how much you want for it? i see frameable art. Oh, and I like to buy artists before they get to be big….. ;-p

  57. Jenny, Beautiful Zentangle! I love to doodle & draw too…purely for my own well being. It is calming to get lost in the doodle!

  58. “There is beauty in the ordinary. There is depth in the worn. There is perfection in flaws. There is art inside everything. There are worlds inside of us all.” <———– THIS IS AMAZING

    absolutely positively LOVED this post.

    I almost cried and then laughed…and then almost cried again.

    you are an incredible woman/writer/blogger/person who can capture the beauty, truth, and hilarity of life so perfectly.

  59. Oh crap… that would be a beautiful tattoo…and one I could live with. But I am a wimp, so could you sell a print for the wall instead? Or at least a Zazzle notebook, or ornament?

  60. You are such an arty farty. That is such an awesome doodle! I can’t imagine you called that a doodle. For me it will be my masterpiece that should be treated as a family heirloom for no one else in the family can do something like that.

  61. absolutely. This is just stunning. Girl, you are multi talented. Do you KNOW how good these are? (seekrit for reviving ‘worn out” colored markers: pry off the end cap–the end you bite– with small pliers and add a drop or two of water to the marker. Let it sit, and see if you can revive it. Most markers, unless they’re the smelly ones, will absorb the water and give you a whole new life with that color. Really. )

  62. Depression is scary. And not just to people that have it, but also to the people that love the people that have it. When my daughter was in her early teens, she begged me to take her to a therapist. I sat sobbing in the therapist’s office and said that I just wanted my gorgeous, talented, highly intelligent daughter to be normal. The therapist told me, “Ma’am, your daughter has an IQ of 167, she couldn’t be normal on a bet.” Then he explained that all of her wonderful had a flip side that could be overwhelming. She was on medication for a few years, she and her doctor and therapist worked on teaching her the tools she needed and she eventually was able to come off the anti-depression medication. But I am so glad I finally listened and got her the help she knew she needed.

  63. I don’t see how you can possibly have time to read all of the comments. But it still feels right to put the positive energy out there. I think those doodles are wonderful. They’re lovely to look at, and engaging. And even though I don’t have the slightest idea what they mean, if anything, they evoke a pleasant feeling. It makes me think that, under all of your pain and suffering, you must be a happy person. I know that your funny, but that does not necessarily mean happy. I wish for you respite from your illnesses, so that you may just enjoy the happiness that they sometimes cover.

  64. Your doodles are gorgeous. Thank you for bringing so much good stuff into our lives! As the amazing Neil Gaiman said “when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make Good Art.” If you decide against publishing a coloring book, would you think about putting the best of these on some matte card stock and selling color-it-yourself greeting cards? Because this is some damned good art.

  65. Ok.this isn’t even remotely fair. You are hilarious and awesome, AND you can draw!?!?! That just isn’t even right. I am super jealous of your amazingness. I want to be you when I grow up.

  66. It’s so much fun to play with textures. I used to hold a pen to a page on car journeys as a kid, then I’d turn the “map” into a picture, or patterns. I used to also try to draw the essence of music I was listening to.

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