Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Caution. Nautical themes, and some blood, appear in the following scenes.

Well, I'm back.
This blog is officially re-launched. I just smashed a bottle of Dom Pérignon against the port side of my scanner. I have a large gash on my left thumb, blood and champagne on the carpet. That's the price of a good relaunch, though. Tally ho! Ships ahoy!

I like to imagine my career as a danish houseboat painted teal green. I named her, with an earlier bottle of champagne and an earlier gash, Tilde. Anyway, Tilde, my career, has undergone a careen.
  1. 1.
    turn (a ship) on its side for cleaning, caulking, or repair.
  2. 2.
    N. AMER.
    move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way.
    "an electric golf cart careened around the corner"

Definition number 1, not number 2, I hasten to add.
Tilde's careen was necessitated by us building a strawbale home. I wanted to get all down and dirty with the process so I've spent about eighteen months wearing clumpy boots and picking straw out of my hair each evening. I packed Tilde into a leaning boat shed and replaced publishing deadlines with building deadlines. I leaned up against the boatshed doors and played all hard to get, hiding under my fringe, muttering "No, no, no, I'm not working."

Now, however, the house is done. ish. I'm throwing open the boatshed doors again, full of gung ho* and sailing lingo. The sun streams in. I have a sailing cap.
"Hello Tilde old girl! Let us sail forth into the deep waters of the blue yonder."

Sailing lingo rocks. Rocks starboard! Begad! Look lively lubbers! All hands on deck!
It's hard to stop. 

Actually, I have kept up with a bit of work. Some graphic design, some painting and some drawing. In a career direction that initially did feel like a careen, definition 2, I started teaching a little dance class for kids. We call it Make and Move. We make stuff, we find ways to move, we play. It's been deeply, refreshingly, fun.
I admit that, coupled with a recent divergence into face-painting, Tilde does seem to be sailing the easy seas of mumsiness. The 22 year old me-the edgy VCA art student I once was -is disgusted.
"You've gone from political cartooning to crocheting baby owls and face-painting kinder kids." she sneers. "Can I get you a LARGER armchair?"

I quietly sit her down. I explain that working with children is the most world-changing work of all. I explain that my new motto, besides use more sailing terms, is have fun, sailor!

And as Captain  of my good ship,(Admiral perhaps? All that gold trim..), I have a strong feeling, deep in my beard, that play leads to good art. And that not taking yourself too seriously is a gift of middle age. I lift my pipe and shout  "Let's pipe the side, cast off and launch her leeward, crew!"
So send me a pigeon, or email me, via the contact link on the side of the page, if you want any cartoons and illustrations. Or if you just want to stroke my luxuriant beard.

P.S. I'm writing a book of cartoons about parenting. I'm just putting ideas down at the moment, quick drafts, but here was what I drew when I got back from the school drop off this morning.
I didn't actually do it. But I wanted to.

P.P.S. Just quietly, I really have been crocheting baby owls.

*Gung Ho: This term originated as a Chinese expression used to describe ship crews when they would join together to make it through a difficult situation. The term was brought into the English vocabulary when WWII Marine Lieutenant Colonel Carlson  used the term for a motto for his division. Today the expression is synonymous with excited or ready for action.


  1. welcome back, laddie! may the fair salt winds be at yer back! I never had a list checked off like that. Alison. x

  2. Thanks for posting, Alison.
    I've never had a list checked off like that either. We don't own a cat, so it wasn't really fed, and I don't think there was an excursion form either....but cartoons are prone to exaggeration.
    I realise now I should have posted another cartoon (or 10) to represent all those days when the reader is unread, the pjamas stay on the loungeroom floor, the lunch is left on the kitchen bench and we arrive at school late and breathless with bits of tissue lint of our clothes.
    This is pretty much the norm, hence the cartoon showing exaltation and megaphone.

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