Monday, January 14, 2013

Book, Cats, Why?

So the above is Bumpkins, a fairly early cat scratchin' drawing of mine. The owner who commissioned it was pretty happy, me too. But this was done several years ago and my style has sharpened and improved. (At least I think so...) The Cat Scratchin' book project is ongoing at kickstarter, you can see it here. It is 40% funded and there are about 29 days to go to raise the entire $7800.00 that I will need to put it all together. I may even do an e-version of it, although I'm not so impressed with full color art books on an e-reader. Hell, I've got a book of poetry on my kindle that doesn't seem to 'track' right compared to the old fashioned paper variety. I still am attracted to things that are real. Now we all know that 'reality' shows are not real. I still watch them, I even love them, but know full well that they are scripted.  I buy and sell paper ephemera in a couple of antique malls here. A one hundred and ten year old document still knocks me out. Just the fact that it still exists is pretty cool. Especially if it is true ephemera and would have normally been discarded.  I wonder what the future ephemera will be? Some crappy video game?  Some e-book that doesn't have paper and binding? One of the activities I've been doing lately is organizing and cataloging the correspondence between my favorite Poet and many famous and almost famous writers, politicians, and such. I've noticed how extremely dear and significant the hand-written or hand-signed letter is compared to what he's collecting now. A personal letter on stationary, signed by Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter or even a post card from Flannery O'Connor seems to be more real than an email that is received, printed, and then filed.  But, that's what we've come to.  There's hardly a touch or essence of the person communicating now. I don't write letters any more, I hope I don't lose the ability, but I might. I still pay bills with checks, but assume that at some point I will be forced to do online bill pay. Here's the deal, I don't want a virtual friend, or virtual pet. I need the real thing. I have the real thing right now in the form of a newly adopted puppy (I know, this is a cat blog and book project, but stay with me on this.) For the past 12 years I've 'had' numerous animals that belong to others. I've house-cat-dog sat for a living, and it was fine. I got the animal energy, a little bit of money, and then turned them back over to their owners. Limited responsibility. That worked for me for a while.  Now I have this little creature who needs me to think about him, train him, feed him and take care of him full time for the rest of his life. I wonder, am I up for it? Should I just embrace the impermanence of life and have no attachments?  I'm sorry, I got off track and on a bit of a tangent. What I'm trying to say is, actual physical books are still important. I was so delighted to hold the dog book in my hand and look at the quality of the printed page, to see the drawings that looked exactly like the original art. So many of the animals that I draw came from our disposable society. They don't fit into our 'lifestyle' or we get too busy for them and back to the shelter they go. I have that option for little Mr. Bo dog. They told me that the night I took him home. Even as I struggle to train this little guy, I can't imagine giving him up, or giving up on him. So, just to close this long winded post, I want to put together a book of my drawings of your cats with their stories so they will be around for a long, long time. To show in some small way, that loving something that is real, that you can touch, and hold is as important as it gets.

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