Friday, August 12, 2016

Death of a Crappy Salesman


Welcome to the latest update on “Saturday” the book, where you’re GUARANTEED to catch the hottest updates on a book that came out like a year and a half ago. I guess what I’m saying is that reading these updates is about as informative and helpful as reading a musty old TV guide with Bee Arthur on the cover.

Speaking of breaking news: I’m going to start posting these updates on the 15th of the month. I figure it will be loads easier to ignore these long-winded diatribes if there’s a predictable date attached. I’m also thinking of sending these through a different venue, so instead of coming through Kickstarter I’ll probably send them through MailChimp. They would still have updates on “Satudray”, but they would also include what I’m working on right now, including new illustrations and updates about my new book (the one about puberty). What do you think? Are you interested in something like that?

If so, sign up here:

In other news: I doubled my sales on Amazon last week! Pretty incredible, I know. I’ve now sold a total of two berks. But I don’t want you to treat me any differently now that I’m a massive, break-out success. Yes, “Saturday” is selling like hotcakes. At a militant gluten-free, anti-capitalist commune. I also received an email from Amazon that basically said, “Your books ain’t exactly flyin’ off the shelves. Want them back?” There’s nothing quite like the largest retailer on Earth delivering a bracing dose of humility right to your doorstep.

I’m…uh…I’m bad at the whole selling thing. I’m Willy Loman sitting gloomily in the audience of a Ron Popiel infomercial. I’m Shelley Levene frowning in a Silicon Valley conference room. I haven’t even heard of half the words these tech bros are bandying about. I have no idea what “synergistic” means and I don’t *$%#@ care.

I’m about to say the most un-American thing I’ve maybe ever said. Joe McCarthy is about to roll over in his grave (he was a jerk anyway). I don’t like hotdogs. No, wait…that wasn’t it. Freedom Sticks are delicious and help build strong stomachs (because they’re made from them). What I meant to say was I don’t want to be a salesman. I don’t like it. I’m not good at it. I’m not interested in being better. And every minute I spend trying to polish the turd that represents my sales acumen is a minute I’m not doing the thing I probably should be doing. The thing I actually want to do. The thing I’m halfway good at: Making new things. I want to spend my time drawing weird, fun, different books. Full stop.

Of course, selling my work is part of what allows me to make new things. Money, it turns out, is somewhat completely crucial to continuing to make new stuff, live indoors, and eat regularly. Some might argue that, however distasteful, selling is an inevitable and necessary part of the show. Selling is a little like radio commercials. Insipid, asinine, embolism-inducing radio commercials. However much they make you want to rip your radio out of the dashboard, grind it into dust with your teeth and then spit the dust into a volcano, commercials pay for the music or programs you listen to.

So here’s the plan: I’m going to dial back the selling part a bit. Not completely, but enough to free up more time to keep making new things. Things like this:

I’m not giving up on selling the book. I have a few things left to try out. For instance, I’m going to try to get a digital version of “Saturday” out in the world to hopefully let more people see it (even though I think print is the best way to read it). I’ll also do book events now and then.

But Life is short. Too short to spend time doing things that make me miserable. And if ever there comes a reckoning point before or after someone pats me on the face with a shovel, I’d rather say I made more things than sold more things. Bang up job so far.

So, just to recap: Iff’n you want to hear the latest about what I’m working on, mosey on over to this address and sign up:

I thought about just dropping all the email addresses I have from the Kickstarter campaign, but something about that feels creepy. I know signup means an extra step for you (sorry), but I’d rather ask you to opt in than add another email to your inbox without your permission. In the words of the sage, Wilford Brimley, “It’s the right thing to do.”

Sign up and you’ll keep getting “Saturday” updates AND see whatever this odd shut-in has been drawing lately. I’ll share projects, sketches, and my dumb, dumb thoughts. And they’ll come right to you once a month, like the worst paperboy in history. What do you say?

PS: It embarrasses me to say anything sincere or heartfelt. It feels like letting a stranger look through my refrigerator, and I’m ashamed of a lot of the stuff in there, like Freedom Sticks. But here goes anyway: I remain, as ever, grateful for your support. There’s no two ways about it: I wouldn’t have been able to get this far without your help. You helped make this book into an actual thing you could hold in your hands. That means everything to me. Thank you. Thank you. Ask your doctor if Freedom Sticks are right for you. He or she will definitely say no.


Friday, May 27, 2016

TED talk


Well, I'm not sure if the video of my speech at the TEDx conference will be posted or not, but, as the Magic 8-Ball would say, "It looks doubtful." So, in lieu of the video, I'll just post the text, along with the accompanying images. Also, fair warning: If you think my normal updates are long-winded, this one is going to seem like listening to Alan Greenspan read a James Michener novel aloud.

Here goes.

Hello. My name is Noah Kroese, and I’d like to begin today with a moment of respectful silence for the ordinary human being.

We try so hard, us mortals. But the fact is that we’re nothing more than fleshy water bags who work in offices, pay bills, and sometimes forget the “lefty loosey, righty tighty” rule. We live in anonymity and die in obscurity, about as noticeable as a potato. Sure, some of the brave or foolhardy ones will try to do interesting things, never aware of the insurmountable gulf between our own averageness and the creative and intellectual luminaries who can actually make meaningful contributions.


One of the many ways in which my own overwhelming averageness can be measured is in my inabilities, which I have in spades. I can’t do that thing where you stick your fingers in your mouth and whistle. I can’t do math or spell words in my head. And I’m really bad at estimating distances of either the literal or metaphorical kind. That last one is important, because it turns out I’ve been overestimating the distance between us average schmucks and those creative and intellectual giants. My whole life. By a LOT. But I didn’t know that until I wrote and illustrated this book called “Saturday”.

Let me explain.

I’m an illustrator. It’s not the most common job, but it’s not unheard of. And just about every aspect and every result of my job is so normal it’s near invisible. When you’re leafing through a magazine or scrolling through a website and, for a millisecond, you glance at an accompanying image and then can’t remember you even looked at it? That’s what I do. I draw the things you can’t even remember you saw. I do so from home, which is even more boring than an office because there’s no one around I can chit chat with or steal lunch from. Maybe the only extraordinary thing about what I do is how much I love it.

I’ve pretty much always loved to draw. I drew when I was a little kid. A lot. But I wasn’t a prodigy. My drawings were awful. Mostly ninjas. Some robots. But mostly ninjas. And again: If there was anything extraordinary about my drawing it wasn’t the quality, it was how excited I was to be doing it. I loved it so much that I didn’t care how awful I was at it.

I also read a lot. And by “reading” I mean, you know, looking at pictures. Holling Clancy Hollings books, Tintin adventures, Rien Poortvliet, Frank Frazetta. These weren’t human beings. Somewhere, probably in some stately marble hall where your footsteps echo and you speak in reverent, hushed tones, there were bronze effigies to these titans who never ate ketchup or worried about the power bill.

Even as a kid, without being told, I understood they were special people. In another league. From another planet. Like Krypton or “Look at Me I’m So Special and Perfect Planet” (that’s in the outer edges of the Jerkwad solar system). That’s not something people like me can do. It’s not something ordinary people do. It’s something other people do; people with innate abilities and knowledge that I don’t have and can’t obtain.

But I was having fun, so I wasn’t afraid to be drawing in the long, deep shadow cast by their talent.

Later on, in spite of what turned out to be totally sensible advice from my mom, I went to college and majored in art, drew crummy political cartoons for a couple of years, and eventually blundered into freelance illustration.

So there I was wallowing in my own averageness, driving around a mostly un-rusted 1994 Toyota Camry and eating at the finest gas stations when I had this idea for a book. One that I’d never really seen before.

To be fair, I was terrified. Scared enough to sit on the idea for several years because of that fear of my profound ordinariness. I didn’t know the first thing about writing or illustrating books. In fact, the reason my imaginary book had gathered dust on an imaginary shelf was because every time I thought about starting it, I would think first about the laundry list of things I didn’t know how to do. And it was a long list. It had regular points and sub-points.

But I was also curious. And I knew it would be fun. Drawing is the one place where I’m willing to follow my curiosity in spite of my own reservations. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, I guess the worst that could happen is that I would start drawing the book and somehow my face would catch on fire. But it’s more likely that I would try it, it would turn out crappy, and I’d give up. And that’s not so bad. If that turned out to be the case, I could just bury the idea in the back yard like a goldfish or a burned quiche and no one would be the wiser.

So that’s how “Saturday” started. It was about as profound as a rerun of “Wheel of Fortune”.

What I had in mind was a king-sized graphic novel/children’s book with a lot of lavishly drawn detail in every panel. It would have weird characters, goofy jokes, and cultural references, sure. But what I really wanted was a book that the 10-year-old me and the 30-year-old me would both want to pick up and explore.  I wanted to make something that you could get lost in. And I did get lost in it. The aspects of the book that made it unique and exciting to me also made it an astounding amount of work. “Saturday” took me nearly nine years to finish. And every inch of it was fun. 

Now, it’s super important to note that I don’t think “Saturday” qualifies as great art or that, having finished “Saturday”, I’m now among those luminaries with their own bronze statues. But I DO think it’s cool. I think it’s fun and interesting. But that’s beside the point. Even if you think it’s worth its weight in soggy bread, you can look at this book and see how much work it took to bring this thing to fruition. It’s an intimidating amount of work. One I never ever thought I would be able to finish. I was always my biggest doubter and critic. Mostly because of my own acute awareness of my extraordinary ordinariness and of the distance between a human like me, who once shaved off his own eyebrow, and the kind of genius and talent capable of making something cool.

But I didn’t sit down one day and say, “I think I’m going to make an epic, sprawling, ambitious book” and then just do it. Ever see one of the old timey cartoons where someone dangles a carrot on a fishing pole in front of a donkey to get it to pull a cart? It was more like that. The drawing was so much fun that I didn’t even notice the cart was behind me. And also because of that fun, I pulled that cart a distance I thought couldn’t be crossed by someone like me. Because I have to be tricked into doing anything worthwhile.

It’d be like if I ate nothing but fried mozzarella for six months and at the end I found out I had accidentally competed in a triathlon. I never actually meant for something productive to result. I just think cheese is really, really delicious.

I think my concept of how cool things get made was also a bit screwy. I guess I’ve always imagined that, not only were there brilliant people who were bestowed with godly artistic or intellectual acumen, but also that these people thought of what they wanted to make and then instantly willed those things into existence. I never thought about Faulkner pacing around and chewing the end of a pencil in frustration or Renoir having to throw a sketch into the trash because he got nacho cheese dip on it and then he tried to wipe it off real quick but it just smeared and made it worse.  But we’re not privy to their struggle, so we assume it came easily to them.

Remember that first thing I said? About how ordinary people are and how they can’t accomplish anything interesting? I still think half of that is true. People are ordinary. But it’s the ordinary people who do interesting things. And the art and literature and science that I admire and adore? Pretty much all of that was all authored by regular folks. It’s a thought that’s both depressing and exciting at the same time. Depressing because it means there aren’t really superhumans. There’s something comforting about the idea of infallible people who always have the right answers. Maybe because we could turn to them like kids turn to parents when they’re confused or scared and need answers. But it’s exciting because it means we, ordinary people, can make extraordinary contributions in spite of our own infinite limitations.

So go forth and be ordinary.


Go and make your thing, whatever it is. And when you’re struggling with the work and with yourself and your fears about whether or not someone like you can actually make something cool, don’t forget that you’re an ordinary human being. That there’s a proud legacy of average humans making abnormally great stuff. Part of a very long line of people who sometimes put the milk away in the oven, bang their shins on coffee tables, and sometimes create things beautiful enough to make your heart stand still. That your struggle with ordinary is part of the distillation that’s responsible for lovely things to come to fruition.

Thank you.

Monday, May 16, 2016



I’ve just returned from the northern metropolis that is Spokane, Washington. The hard streets of Spokane needed a hero; someone to fight evil and stand up as a shining beacon of strength and decency. Maybe not the hero they deserved, but at least one they needed. I was not that person. I drove up in my so-normal-it’s-nearly-invisible Honda Civic, set up my table, made polite and unassuming conversation, and then quietly left at the end of the day. But at the end of that day, I knew I had made a difference to the city of Spokane. Because I paid $10 to park there and that money goes to the city. Unless that garage was privately owned, in which case I made no difference whatsoever.

Also when I left I had to drive around a bit because I couldn’t find the highway onramp. I feel like that’s not something heroes do. It’s not even something moderately-competent people do. But there we are.

I was there for one thing and one thing only: The 10th Anniversary Lilac City Comicon. More specifically, I attended said comicon to hock my wares like a sullen, crooked-toothed Brit selling pewter teapots on Portobello Road (it should be noted that my only experience with said road and market is from the movie “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, but I remember the song being pretty good and I’ll watch anything with Angela Lansbury in it).

Here’s what my table looked like:

I had never been to a comicon before yesterday, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. My preconceived notions pretty much all came from TV and movie stereotypes of comicons; unwashed hordes of overweight, fishbelly-pale single men shuffling around, pushing up coke bottle glasses and debating through excess-spittle lisps about whether DC or Marvel has better comics. And, to be fair, there were a few of those in attendance.

But mostly, there were people of just about every stripe, excited to be around their tribe. Some of them were super hip-looking, attractive, and looked like they spent a lot of time in the gym. I was not one of those, either. If I wanted to break out into a sweat and feel bad about myself, I’d just re-file my tax return.

I have a confession: I know you probably think I’m the coolest guy in the entire world. I know I do. But it turns out I’m closer to the TV stereotype of a comicon goer than I am to the suave, debonair, James Bond-like image I’m sure you have of me. I’d be a dead ringer for James Bond if James Bond never killed, punched, or insulted anyone, if he slouched and dressed a little dumpy, and if he were played by Don Knotts.

But there’s at least one place where I walk with confidence and even bravado: Nerdville. The Nerdosphere can sometimes (unfortunately) be more snobbish and exclusive than a country club run by Robin Leach. Fortunately, I carry my nerd credentials around with me at all times, like a scarlet letter made of useless pop-culture references and obscure trivia. Don’t believe me?

-I can quote eight seasons’ worth of episodes of “The Simpsons”. Almost verbatim.
-I get genuinely excited about Ken Burns documentaries.
-I have seen every single episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.
-I used to go to Star Trek conventions. In costume.
-I have a Lieutenant Worf Commemorative plate.

-Oh, also I spent nine years writing and illustrating this dorky book called “Saturday”. That one’s a duesy.

Hold on a sec, I have to fend off ladies with a pointy stick.

So, in spite of having never been to this specific area code of Nerdville, I’ve lived in the city limits my whole life. Here are my observations of this particular corner:

-It’s hard to feel out of place at a comicon.
-Not knowing a lot of the cos-play characters made me feel old, like going to the grocery store and no longer recognizing any of the celebrities on the covers of gossip magazines. But the costumes were, for the most part, RAD. My favorite was the person dressed as Barf from “Spaceballs” (again, because I’m old). You can see a bunch of the costumes here:

-There are TON of talented people in the world.
-Sometimes I wasn’t sure if a person was in costume or not.

I’m not sure I’ll be a regular at comicons. I don’t know if “Saturday” fits there or not. But I was happy to sit at my table amongst a sea of tables full of cool stuff made by interesting people; the evidence of their strange and wonderful excitement and myopic pursuit of the stuff they love. Surrounded by people similarly disposed to love weird and obscure things. Some of them dressed to the nines and looking for all the world like a very large group of misfits who have shed the polo shirts and khaki pants of their mild-mannered, normal person disguises and donned their freak flags.

It was neat-o. That’s all I’m saying.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Roundup


Welcome to the “Saturday” update; a never-timely and never-truncated account of the exploits of a mild-mannered illustrator who secretly fights the forces of common sense and dignity in an attempt to foist his book on to unassuming citizens who were minding their own business.

Sorry about the delay on this one. I had a couple of irons in the fire. Said irons are now cooling, so I can yarn for a spell.

Have you ever watched a rodeo on TV? There’s always a part right before the ride starts where the camera shows the bull rider in the pen with the bull. The rider is adjusting his grip and doing other rodeo man things and thinking god knows what.  Could be anything.

1.) “I’ve made some interesting life choices.”
2.) “I should have been a freelance illustrator.”
3.) Nothing whatsoever. This is probably the smartest thing to do. But also maybe how he came to be sitting on a rage-filled 1000-pound steak in the first place.

I also wonder what the bull is thinking. He is, after all, also in that tiny little pen. He has a performance coming up, too. I wonder if he’s nervous. Every once in a while, he’ll buck against the pen and the whole steel cage shudders like it’s made of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. Like he just wants to remind everyone involved they’re about to have no fun. It’s MAYBE going to last eight seconds, but it will feel like watching three back-to-back family comedies starring Ice Cube.

Regardless of what the bull is thinking, he’s upset, he’s probably got some poo on his flank (which adds to his upsettedness) and his job is to go out and rage until someone gets hurt. Like the CEO before a board meeting at Chipotle. Heyy-oooo.

Well, to me, the run-up to speaking events feels a little like that part in the pen right before the ride. And I am NOT the bull. I’m the guy sitting on top of an unstoppable pile of muscles, suddenly a little self-conscious about the way I’m dressed, pretty sure I have no idea what I’m doing, and aware of just how small I am.

But the gate opens and then there’s no time to think. There were a string of rides recently. Here’s how they went once the gates opened:

-Prichard Book Event (two weeks ago): Generous hosts in my favorite art gallery. A modest-sized, warm crowd. Afterward, I got to meet a whole flock of ginger kids who looked like the Weasleys and were super cool and very, very sweet. And I know this is going to sound cheesy as all get-out, but meeting them made every struggle and every tiny indignity worth it. Ten times over.

Photo credit: Jade Janes Stellmon

-The TEDx talk (two days later): I practiced for weeks. I sat in the pen before the gate opened. There were maybe 300 people in the crowd. I started out pretty strong, but nervousness and some slide malfunctions threw me off a bit. And then my mind went completely blank. There was just NOTHING there. I forgot everything I was supposed to say. And, for the first time in my life, I was so scared that I literally had the thought: “I could run away right now. I could run off the stage and hide somewhere and no one would find me and hiding would make it better because then people wouldn’t be looking at me anymore.”

And then I paused, figured out generally where I was, and finished it up. I think I finished fairly strong, but I couldn’t tell you. People were nice about it, though. If the video gets posted, I’ll share the link.

What I learned: Forgetting my speech in the middle of giving the speech in front of an auditorium full of people was NEARLY the worst thing that could have happened at the worst possible time. Maybe the only thing that would have been more embarrassing is if I had poo on my flank. But it happened and I didn’t explode. I felt like I was going to, but then I didn’t.

I also had the privilege to meet some pretty astounding people. The other speakers and the organizers at the event were brilliant and funny. It was an honor to share the stage with them.

Photo credit: Irish Martos


-Gibson’s Book Event (four days later): Gibson’s was SO kind to have me. And it was a lovely bookstore. If you’re in Concord, go. You will find something you love there, I promise. The crowd was very nice. And, as Greg Proops said, “They honored every one of my jokes with a moment of respectful silence.” I don’t think the presentation was appreciably different from the other times I’ve given it. Maybe they didn’t know what to expect or I was giving off strange vibes. But whatever it was, it felt like I bombed.

And again, I did not explode.

-NEC Student Talk (24 hours later): This was a talk I was asked to give to art and design students at New England College. It was about my experiences as a professional illustrator. I think the college wanted a “boots on the ground” perspective for students to consider. And I did just that. I spent maybe an hour explaining how I got started, what a typical day is like for me, and what I’ve learned by doing this for well over a decade. It was great good fun, the crowd was responsive and asked good questions, and I had a phenomenal time. Plus, the people at NEC could not have been more gracious and accommodating.

Photo Credit: Devon Mozdierz


-NEC Illustration show (one hour later): Directly following the talk, there was a show of selected illustrations of mine (mostly from the past four to five years). This was my first show since college. Again, the good folks at New England College thought of every detail and took care of everything. They did a beautiful job hanging the work. There was a lovely reception where I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with students and faculty. It really could not have been cooler and it was an honor to speak and show my work for them.

Photo Credit: Devon Mozdierz


This round of rides is done. I’m brushing the mud off and scampering away while some very helpful rodeo clowns (the only acceptable kind of clown) are keeping the bull from wrecking me further. The scores have been tallied and they’re not bad. I’m not taking home whatever prize you get if you win the rodeo (A belt? A lifetime supply of Ben Gay? A scholarship to a technical college where you can learn a trade that’s NOT riding a dangerous animal?), but I did ok.

I’m grateful for every opportunity I’m given to tell people about “Saturday”. I want to share it with people and, so far, this is the best way I know how. But it’s scary for me every time. Standing in front of people doesn’t come easily or naturally to me. Maybe it’s the same for bull riders. Maybe they’re not even scared of the bull. Maybe the real fear comes from the crowd. That screaming, frenzied crowd made up of individuals who nevertheless become one massive thing. A monolith whose power and judgment can make you a god or a soggy piece of sidewalk trash at its whim. Maybe that’s the true heart of fear.

Never mind. That’s crap. Bulls are scary as hell.

Whelp, I’m off to look for another rodeo. BTW, if you haven’t left a review on Amazon and you’re game to do so, please do. It will help me out a lot. Here’s the link:


Roll credits. Cue music:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Late in Life


Welcome to the “Saturday” update, which comes out every couple of weeks like clockwork. If, that is, you happened to fish your clock out of a tar-filled dumpster. And then you gave that clock a laundry list of things to do on top of telling the time. And then you bashed it with a framing hammer.

Brief Progress Report:

“Saturday” is now available at Hastings. But only the one in Moscow, Idaho. Which is great. If you happen to already live here. Or if you happen to be passing through for some reason. Or you got lost and you wound up here. Otherwise, the new venue just isn’t going to be all that helpful to you. I should maybe work on my salesmanship.

I’m also working on putting “Saturday” up for sale through Amazon. And by “I’m working” I mean some very nice, Amazon-savvy people have agreed to do it for me. It’s one of the few times where I’m letting my own complete ignorance stop me from doing something instead of blundering on ahead. And I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize once again for that unfortunate eulogy I tried to deliver in Hebrew. I swear I didn’t know that word meant “buttface”.

I think I can also safely announce at this point that the East Coast book signing and presentation will take place at Gibson’s bookstore in New Hampshire on Wednesday, April 13th. Time TBD. Again, this is a pretty specific location, but if you happen to be near that place on that day, groovy. Swing on by. You can watch me make a jackass of myself in person, rather than having to see me do it through the computer screen. I’ve always believed firmly that jackasserey is a very personal medium and should be done up close. It’s just more satisfying that way. For you, I mean. For me, it’s much, much more humiliating because I have to see the look of disappointment and empathetic embarrassment written on your face in a way I don’t have to when I type these on the magic machine. These are things I’m learning as I go.

Have I ever mentioned that I learn things late?

Last week I learned that the month of August was named after the Roman emperor Augustus, because of his fondness for summer wear. I learned recently that the word “Nazi” is short for “National Socialist”. I also just learned that peanuts grow underground.

That last one messed me up. I seriously thought peanuts grew on trees. Or at least on some kind of bush, like a lot of the other nuts. Nope. Having to admit that I didn’t know one of the most basic facts about one of the most vital building blocks of the snack-osphere…well, it was humbling.

This very slow, arduous crawl up the side of the learning curve doesn’t just apply to small things, like nuts and months named after long-dead Roman dudes. In my case, it also totally applies to big things. Let’s take one at random, like, say…decade-long projects involving lavishly-illustrated books.

With “Saturday”, I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to make until I’d made it. Let’s be clear about this: That’s a stupid, stupid way to do anything.

But one of the things I learned from it was that there’s a certain kind of story I want to tell and a certain way I want to tell that story. Again, I didn’t know that until I had worked on “Saturday” for nine years. Which is weird, right? Who does that? It’s like some kind of crazy automatic writing or a Ouija Board, except with drawing. A LOT of drawing. The kind that eventually reveals as much about the author as it does the endeavor.

That kind of trite premise could easily be the flimsy plot of an inspirational “Lifetime” movie event of the week. Let’s imagine some tag lines for said garbage parade, shall we?

“He thought he was discovering how to write a book. But he ended up discovering…himself.”

“The journey took him into a world he’d never been before…his own heart.”

“He told the story he’d always wanted to tell. And ended up telling the story he never wanted to tell…the story of his heartbreaking addiction to prescription nasal spray.”

That last one really went off the rails. And I totally want to watch it now.


Imagine if you could only learn after you’d already done something. Seems like it would bode poorly for most undertakings, particularly the important ones. It’s inefficient if I have to screw it up royally on the first attempt before I can produce anything half way decent. And by the time I’ve finished that first attempt, it’s too late to do it over again. It’s going to be an awkward conversation to have with my first born. Probably through a plexi-glass window while he or she is wearing an orange jumper.

“Look, Icepick, sweetheart,” I’ll say in my most conciliatory tone of voice, “I know I didn’t do so hot with you. And I’m pretty sorry about it. But on the bright side, your younger sibling is doing super well.”

 Well, that’s how I roll. To quote Ben Bernanke, “It’s like trying to drive a car forward by only looking in the rearview mirror.”  At least my first try at stuff gets to be a surprise for me, too. Granted, the word ”surprise” doesn’t always connote good things. A hamburger with steel wool in the middle is a surprise, but not one you’re overjoyed to discover.

Also in the bright side category: I kind of know vaguely what I want to do for the foreseeable future: Make fun books. Ones with odd characters, crazy drawings, lots of detail, and a very specific kind of humor. I also want to tell different stories every time. I can pretty much promise that there will never be another “Saturday” (not from me, anyway). And, as already discussed, it’s too late to make “Saturday” for the first time. Which is kind of a shame, because it was real fun. But if you’re up for a lot more drawing, puns, babbling, and hand-wringing, I’d also love to share whatever results with yous guys.

So. What have we learned?

I’m not sure. Give me a minute.