One of the unexpected joys of writing and drawing Sleeper Ave. has been rediscovering childhood. Not that I ever forgot it intellectually, but there’s a strange alchemy that happens when I actually sit down to write these tales. I find myself INHABITING my boyhood, not just remembering it.
It’s as though there are two of me–the grown adult me who is penning these tales, and the ten-year-old me who is somehow coming to life as I write them.
In the last story, “To Catch a Thief,” I actually relived both the guilty pleasure of fooling my friends into participating in my secret mission to track down space aliens, and the frustration and embarrassment of having them abandon the cause when it stopped being fun.
The same is true of the next story, about my unfortunate first art school experience, which will post on Wednesday. I actually felt again the combination of disappointment and shame that I felt at the time, as if I was somehow transported back into the body of my childhood self.
When I was working on “Are You a Mexican?” which took place in a swimming pool, I swear I could feel the water go up my nose when my cartoon self jumped in.
Maybe that’s why writers write. We get to be, temporarily at least, whatever we write about. And if we’re writing about our childhood, it’s like finding the Fountain of Youth.
It beats sitting around feeling old.