One of my best friends in the world is
a hilarious and good natured cartoonist named Jamie Baker. I looked
up to him long before he even knew who I was. Over the years we would
check in with each other at Comic-con and all those conventions.
Eventually the fates brought us together as neighbors, living just a
block away from one another here in San Francisco. Last Christmas Jamie
suffered a major stroke and lost use of the right side of his body.
He is still working through the slow process of recovering use of his
"good" hand. In the mean time, Jamie still has funny and
charming tales to tell. He is not letting his current physical state
close the door on his art and storytelling. So Jamie has been writing
and drawing with his left hand, his "Bizarro hand" as he
This inspires the living shit out of
me. None of us really know how long we have to accomplish the things
we want to accomplish while we are here. Aside from not knowing when
will die, we never know when some huge obstacle could suddenly stand
in the way of us creating and contributing to the best of our
Somebody smarter than me once said,
"limitations inspire creativity". What can you do in 5
minutes? What can you draw with this charcoal briquette on the side
of a Winnebago? Frankly I find the challenge of getting my ideas out
there, drawing something with my "Bizarro hand" (In my
case, it's the right) fascinating. And the fact that I can try this out and then go back to drawing with my good hand really points out what
a blessing today is for me.
Alright, Jamie has to draw with his left
hand right now. It's OK. He's in good spirits and he's coming up with
stuff he never would have touched on if not for his present
circumstances. After nearly a year of not seeing Jamie, I recently I had the chance to have dinner with him and his lovely
lady, Julia. Like always we told off-color stories and compared notes
on all of our current creative projects. Hearing about Jamie's
writing projects and seeing his "Bizarro" drawings, I
couldn't help but think, "What would my righty drawings look
like? Could I still get my ideas on to paper? It's kind of a bad-ass
challenge! I wanted to go home and try it.
And then I wanted to see all of my
artist friends try it.