I’m turning 31 tomorrow, which even more than 30 feels incontrovertibly adult. No longer on the cusp of adulthood, but well inside it. This past year has taken me past the edge of burnout. It burnt in.
I wrote a 340 page manuscript for Drawing Blood, my first real book.
I went to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Abu Dhabi (and also Hollywood, Sweden, New Orleans, Columbus). I saw torn ISIS flags flapping over a town that Syrians had taken back. A brilliant journalist snuck me onto the site where Abu Dhabi’s new branch of the Louvre is rising. I sketched Turkish soccer ultras as they threw smoke bombs at the police.
The Divide, the book I illustrated for Matt Taibbi, came out. Jon Stewart said the cover was lovely.
I wrote articles that made people furious, and ones that got me dozens of emails saying I’d made life better. I drew murals at nightclubs and for refugee kids. I spoke in front of a thousand people in Sweden.
I made a giant painting of my face, then wrote all the criticisms people send me on top. Its a talisman
My best friend had a baby.
My old cat, the one who I’d had since I was eleven, died. She was so small at the end.
Mostly, I wrote. This book ate everything.
Old friends let me stay in their house upstate. I spent days alone, swimming in their pool, lying on the grass as the mist came off the Hudson, disgorging the last ten years into my laptop. Memoirs are idiot’s work. How to turn the chaos of life inot something with narrative arc. I remember a tombstone in Paris, that read “The point of human life is to pretend there is a point.”
Each year I write these lists but they seem more and more vapid: card decks of achievements. What’s that next to the sun on your skin?