Welcome to another surreal, and very real, month of home isolation. It’s nice to share time together online. I have been “catching up” on MUTTS and, for the first time in 25 years, have gotten ahead on my deadline. This is opening up time for starting other projects, perhaps a new children’s book or a graphic novel. I am also enjoying the fact that spring is here and nature seems to be truly benefiting from our staying in place. The world is so much quieter now. You can clearly hear birdsong all day. Yesterday I learned that 150,000 flamingos are flocking to Mumbai, India. It is a great desire of mine that we can all learn to appreciate, and take care of, the magical beauty around us.
Last month I had invited you to send me your experiences with fostering and adopting during these times. You can draw your own comic strip (templates and more information can be found here) or just write about your new best friend. You can include photos. I plan to adapt some of these in future MUTTS Shelter Stories comic strips. If you haven’t created your own adoption stories yet, please do! This is not a writing or drawing contest, but a chance for us all to have a shared experience documenting our love for animals. If you have any questions, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My good friend, author Glen David Gold, dreamed about MUTTS stories centered on the pandemic and sent them to me. He sent to me a week’s worth of MUTTS. I took the opportunity to draw two of them for him, and for you. Here are his writings, all of which give a great sense of what we are going through:
Monday: Starts tight on a deer standing on a narrow road, grazing. We pull out. It’s a wider road. Last panel, very wide shot: it’s an eight-lane highway. No cars.
Tuesday: Bird nest. Birds coming to feed their young. Last panel, pulled out: the nest is the eaves of a boarded-up bookstore.
Wednesday: Bip and Bop in their tree. Panel 1: “C’MON ‘BONK!'” Panel 2: acorn harmlessly hitting the empty street with a teeny “pink.” Panel 3, same. Panel 4: on Bip and Bop. “It’s hard to be an artist in these times.”
Thursday: Guy we’ve never seen is sitting by the curb, forlorn, tired. Mask and gloves. Cute, bouncy dog appears, nuzzling him. Guy holds onto the dog tightly, and thinks “Warm puppy.”
Friday: The guy is still holding the dog. Second: Owner’s voice, off-screen, “Wally, come!” as the dog bounds away, the guy happier, re-energized. Final panel; see a hospital he’s walking back into, and we realize he’s wearing scrubs.
Saturday one big panel: A line of people standing six feet apart and at the front of it, Fatty Snax Deli, with Butchie in mask and gloves, handing someone take-out. To the very right, Mooch and Earl. “Essential service!” “Yesh!”
Sunday: Jellyfish dancing in the water. Ever increasing complexity and design. One says “And now the big finish.” Another says “This is for our audience at home.” Small inset panel of Frank and Millie, masked, rapt with attention, watching the events on a webcam.
And here are two new, only-to-be-seen-here MUTTS strips, based on them:
As you are probably aware, Dr. Jane Goodall is spending her time sheltering in place at her childhood home in England. She surprised and delighted me by creating a video of her reading Me…Jane and posting it on her site:
Of course, no one could ever possibly read Me…Jane as wonderfully and personally as she, and I invite you to spend the short amount of time it takes to view it. If you have children, young or older, share the experience with them. Jane is an inspiration to everyone, and Me…Jane is a tribute to her and to her dream coming true. Her hope today of making the world better for all beings is more urgent than ever.
Thanks for being here. Stay safe.