Ironically, I’m not known as a pleasant person when I’m sitting around trying to think up all this funny stuff. My wife just informed me so much when she said, “Oh boy! You’re a barrel of fun right now!” I hate it when she’s more sarcastic than l am.
Whenever it’s time to knuckle down and figure out what to type on this iPad, or even when I’m trying to come up with something for one of my comic strips, it’s always been best if I’m just left alone. Hence, for me, the creative world can be a lonely existence.
In the houses that my family has lived in, we’ve always designated some barren, isolated corner of the basement where I can set up my drawing table and do my thing in peace and solitude. Unfortunately, that place is usually in close enough proximity to the washer and dryer that my wife could yell down and tell me to put in a load of whites. I bet Superman never gets requests like that at his Fortress of Solitude.
So when we recently moved out to the family farm, I was excited that there would be a place to put together my own rudimentary art studio. A place where I can draw or paint or write or whatever without much possibility of human contact. A place of peace and quiet. A place where I can be flatulent without even having to say, “Excuse me.”
This place was formerly known as my dad’s workshop. It’s a 10-by-16-foot wooden shed that is located about 20 feet or so from the back door of my house. Dad has built all sorts of cool stuff in that workshop over the years. The farm is covered with bluebird and other birdhouses that he has made from that location. He has made numerous wood carvings in that shop also.
The thing that he really got into was building doll houses. I would hate to put a number on how many that he has made over the years, but it has been a lot. He made them, and Mom would decorate them. I’m happy to say that my daughter has the last one they put together, and we also recently got a hold of one of the first doll houses they ever made. Made right there in that little workshop.
I’ve always wanted my own Bat Cave, just like the one Bruce Wayne has deep in the bowels of stately Wayne Manor. With Dad’s workshop, I’m getting closer to realizing that dream. A place where I can go out of the house and be creative, make stuff and if need be, catch bad guys.
Dad and I have different skill sets. He can put pieces of wood together and make these beautiful doll houses, I’m more into putting pencil or pen to paper or canvas. So converting his workshop has been a work in progress. I’ve moved out a band saw and put in a light table. The old refrigerator has gone from holding wood stain to holding blank sheets of paper and finished comic strips. Where he used to cut out tiny mahogany roofing shingles, I now write this drivel.
Recently, as I was working in my inner sanctum, converting it from wood shop to art shack, I had left the door open to let some fresh air in and some old sawdust out. As l struggled to move some stuff around, I heard a small “meow” behind me. Enter into the picture a feline named Socks.
When we moved out to the farm, l not only got this shed, but my family inherited some cats. The technical terminology for these animals is “farm cats.” Sometimes I refer to them as “#@$&ing cats.”
Among this group of cats, is a gray and white, long-haired kitten that my daughter has named Socks. This kitten has quite the personality. It’s always under your feet trying to get your attention. Whenever you pick her up to pet her, she loudly purrs her approval.
As much as I like my solitude from other people when I’m working, I’ve always thought it be nice to have an animal mascot hanging around the “studio” to keep me company without having to actually talk to anyone.
As I looked down at that little gray ball of fur, I couldn’t help but think that I had found my mascot. Socks would be perfect. I could already picture her laying around and purring while I worked on cartoons and newspaper columns all day long. It would be the perfect relationship. She could be the Robin to my Batman. Gazing down at her cute little face, she batted her eyes and seemed to sense the decision that I had come to. We both smiled.
She then arched her back, gave a little shudder and walked out of the open doorway leaving behind a steaming, stinky pile of what kittens do best. #@$&ing cat.
Socks and I are no longer on speaking terms. She has been banished from my domicile. So I’m back to being on my own. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need a mascot. Especially one that poops.
But I’ll be fine. Because, after all ... I’m Batman.
You can contact Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.