We Go Forward
Aria Heller, the quiet creator of Boggle Loves You, (a wonderful web-comic tumblr featuring a concerned owl who doles out encouraging advice to questions about trauma, depression, and various other Big Bad Life Things), has done an interview with the Comics Alliance, Boggle The Owl Loves You And Wants You To Be Happy:
And so I decided to draw them a worried owl. It just seemed like the thing to do! Everybody likes owls. You can’t distrust an owl’s motivations. An owl isn’t going to lie to you. If an owl says you’re a decent person who is allowed to make mistakes, you believe that owl. I dashed the image off in about fifteen minutes, because I wanted to post it before any of my friends went offline. I expected it to be passed around my little group of friends, maybe get ten or eleven notes.
I think it had about forty thousand by the time I went to bed that night. I was getting messages all evening, from complete strangers, saying things like, “I was going to cut today, but then I saw Boggle and I burst into tears and put down the razor. Thank you.” I think I started crying about four times. There were so many people out there who desperately needed a friendly face, someone who would ask them to just please not be so hard on themselves. I got a message about a week later from a girl who said that she had been planning to commit suicide that night, and then she saw Boggle and called her mother instead, and her mother had taken her to the hospital! And I just kept thinking: I drew this owl in fifteen minutes! I mean, the original post had a typo! And it made such a big difference to so many people. I also received a lot of requests for Boggle to have his own blog, and after that kind of a response, I felt like I couldn’t say no. I didn’t know if a blog about Boggle would last, but I didn’t think it mattered. Even if only a few people wrote in, maybe I could help those people. It felt like the least I could do.
There is a perpetual, combative arithmetic involved in my daily life these days that I want very much to do away with. I am not terrific with math, in fact it’s probably my War On Noun nemesis, so this irks me on more levels than it might somebody else. The problem is this – with no steady income, my life, kneed in the gut by the financial collapse, becomes dictated by To-Do-Later lists. Chores that I cannot address because I do not have the money to purchase the required materials to fix the issue, like the leaky faucet that has been steadily torturing my roommate and I that I’m fairly certain only needs a washer, a wrench, and a youtube instructional video. I appreciate To-Do lists with a near institutional fondness, but my preference is for immediate problem solving, so I loathe To-Do-Later lists. They are Not My Style. If something’s wrong, if something needs to be addressed, now is always better than later. I’m well known for showing up at other people’s houses and suddenly helping rearrange the furniture, because when they drop a comment akin to, “it’s something I’ve been meaning to get around to for awhile”, I’ll jump up and suggest we tackle it right then and there. Yet my life has become a massive sinkhole of financially twisted procrastination, a stack of “when I get my first pay-cheque” balancing. Cold weather shirts versus my credit card bill versus better cat food versus winter weight curtains versus the utility bills versus a can of paint versus groceries versus the zipper on my boots versus a washer and a wrench. Never even mind my Irish passport. It has reached the point where once I do find regular, (lovely! beautiful!), ordinary employment, I suspect that my life will barely change, given that so much has piled up. So here’s the thing, given that many of you are also involved in the poverty economy, how are you managing? How do you make breathing room?
“It came in this little cardboard box. I mean, I’m saying small. It was probably the size of a shoebox, except it was higher. It had a little chicken wire screen window in it. There was a cut out. All you could see if you looked in there was his face. I brought it home, and I actually snuck it into the basement of the house.
No instructions [were included]. He had this waist belt on, a collar, if you will, on his waist, with an unattached leash inside the box. So I opened the box up inside the cage, the monkey jumped out, I withdrew the box and found the leash. I have no idea where it came from; I assumed it came from Florida. I figured, well, it’s probably near dehydration, so I opened up the cage to put some water in it. It leapt out of the cage when I opened it up the second time! I mean, it was eyeing the pipes that I was unaware of. As soon as I opened the cage, it leapt up and grabbed onto the plumbing up on the ceiling and started using them like monkey bars, and he was just shooting along in the basement, chirping pretty loud. It was heading towards the finished side of the basement, where there was a drop ceiling, and if it got into those channels, I never would have got it. It would have been days to get this thing out of there. I grabbed it by its tail, and it came down on, starting literally up by my shoulder, like a drill press it landed on my arm, and every bite was breaking flesh. It was literally like an unsewing machine. It was literally unsewing my arm coming down, and I was pouring blood. I grabbed it by its neck with both my wrists, threw it back in the cage. It’s screaming like a scalded cat. I’m pouring blood. My friend’s laughing uncontrollably, and my father finally comes in the basement door and goes, ‘Jeffery! What are you doing to that rabbit?’ And I go, ‘It’s not a rabbit, it’s a monkey, and it just bit the hell out of me.’ ‘A monkey? Bring it up here!’ I’m pouring, I wrapped a t-shirt around my arm to stave off the bleeding, carried the cage upstairs, and I don’t know why I bothered sneaking it in, because they fell in love with it, and it was like, there was no problem at all. They took me to the emergency room and I got 28 stitches on my arm. “
I remember traveling with my parents as a kid, looking through the back of the vintage comics, Conan, and Heavy Metal my dad bought for me, wishing with all my being that I might have an address someday so I could send away for my very own pet monkey. (Conan was my colouring book). This got so bad, especially after my parents took me to a market where some guy was actually selling them, that when they bought me a fluffy stuffed white monkey I promptly named it Monkmonk and carried with me absolutely everywhere. In fact, this desire was so powerful that I still have it, sitting on a shelf, much weathered, still wearing the flowered pink dress my step-sister Brianna wore back from the hospital when she was born.
She’s actually going through a bit of a rough time right now, a close friend recently passed away from cancer, (she was sending us updates while we were away), so this is especially nice news. Help her out by voting for Y: the last man. I’m hoping soon we can get together again for coffee and ragging on the world, as the world so deserves. Any week now, David and I are planning on hitting up her husband Ian’s “Canadian Content” Urban Improv comedy night over in Kits, (every Monday at the Chivana Restaurant & Lounge), and buying them some commiserating drinks.
Until then, we’re mostly going to be staying in and being poor. David is an unemployed house-husband right now, (he lost his job to come on the trip), and my bank account is running scary low, especially as I may end up catching the entirety of the rent myself in November. I plan on setting up a photography space as soon as there’s room in the house, though, and selling prints for Christmas. I’ve got some concepts already sketched out that I’m really looking forward to bringing into being. Shots with white and red and metal, symmetry and pop. The house is too much of a mid-move disaster to get started, but soon, I’m hoping, soon.
In other news, my Hallowe’en costume is a go. I bought a lion tamer costume off eBay, a little ditty that comes with a corset with tails, (100% of my costume choice motivation right there), which saves me having to make one. I’ve always loved Hallowe’en and making my own costumes, but this year, I just hit a wall. Being back east in cities that actually celebrate Hallowe’en was just too much for me. Now I’m here, I want quick and dirty access to the joy that is dressing up. I don’t want to have to stay up until three in the morning figuring out a pleat, pins in my fingers, chalk in my hair, in a city that just doesn’t really care. I’m done with it. Time to simply give in to consumerism – keep the car running.
It’s clever, and sweet, and just a teeny bit sad – as perfect as the last bite of a favourite dessert.
I’ve been following Busted Wonder since it started, (Charity is a sizzling sweetheart and a super fun read, you should add her), so I’m extra thrilled to finally read the story from front to back and to know, especially, finally, the why of the title. I have to admit, I’d been wondering.
being a neo-victorian web-comic involved with gothic dandies, evil doctors, and girls with frilly underpants.