hustles, fuss, and lies

down by the sea

i’m not one of those people who’s been whining about the recent change in the weather. yes, the summer was unsatisfyingly brief, but what kind of ungrateful idiot complains about a tempestuous early-autumn day? folks take offense at the season as though it’s done them some injustice; like summer has a will of its own, and uses it to wrong us.

invite sketch

the one complaint i will register is that, between the persistent rain, the endless procession of weddings and life’s usual litany of assorted distractions, i didn’t get to spend nearly as much time in the ocean as i should have liked. it was at the top of the list of things i meant to accomplish by labor day, followed by drawing a bunch of comics, reading a book that people would be impressed to learn i’d read, going to yoga, finding and befriending the last surviving stegosaurus, and so forth. but mostly i just want to be at the shore, building sandcastles and chasing down the fudgie-wudgie man, and not to be some useless fucking grown-up, scribbling invitation designs in his notebook and checking his phone, while he’s there.


of course, i’m not the only one with thwarted ambitions. girlcate had dreams of an infinite summer, but the l.s.a.t.s had other plans. emiliejolie never made it out to governor’s island. nefarious had a whole new album he wanted to record, and emily was going to start her magazine, and b.s.g. almost planted the most delightful little rooftop garden. goldabear was totally going to leave the house, until the beatles inspired him to remaster all those old hunchback recordings.

we stop to look around and wonder how this happened. where did the time go, and all that. and we generally conclude that it went to adulthood; work, chores, obligations. we remember that we were kids back when summers really were infinite. which is why i have this plan to eventually be a kid again. i’ll spend the warm months in my big old victorian in asbury park, just drawing and floating and digging and drawing, feet and when it ends, if it ever even does, i’ll have stacks of new comics and at least two full length albums recorded, to say nothing of the murals i put on all my walls, just ’cause why not.

but come on, guys, we’re full of it. having to work for a living doesn’t help, to be sure, but neither is it the root of our troubles. think, if you will, about what we did accomplish this summer. maybe we reorganized all our closets or finally settled on a hairstyle that suits the shape of our head. maybe we persisted until we found the perfect rug for the entryway, or, i don’t know, built ourselves a brand new website to showcase the work we weren’t doing because there was all that code to write. how proud are we of any of these accomplishments, achieved at the expense of finishing our novel, or building our prototype, or founding our organization? right? right: when we direct anger at the summer for its brevity, we mean that we are angry at ourselves for squandering the glorious sunny days we were given. it’s not really the summer that we find inadequate.

&#9675 yes, okay, neat, but why, you ask, am i telling you this? it’s a good question, and one i pose myself frequently. who really needs to see the inside of my sketchbook? who cares what occurred to me on the train last sunday? who even wants to read my comics? why do i think anybody needs access to all the little bits of kenan that end up here?


here’s the thing: they don’t. i know that. why would they? everybody’s got their own dreams they’re busy avoiding; i know no one has the time to concern themselves with mine.

except this one dude in plano, texas. i’m fairly certain i don’t even know anyone in plano, texas, and not at all certain that a place called plano, texas actually exists. but almost every day for the last week, some computer claiming residence there has loaded the front page of this website. just that one page, and then it’s diverted to other endeavors.

now i’m well aware of the possibility that this is just my friendly neighborhood spambot checking in to see if i need cialis yet. or maybe it’s a grad student researching her dissertation on mother goose, whose browser has insisted on autofilling my web address ever since that one time she followed a misleading google link. but it could also, in theory, be that some actual human person likes my blog and stops in periodically to see what’s new, and the mere possibility of that swells my heart, the better to explode it.


i don’t know why nothing gets done. maybe it’s distraction, or fear, or laziness, or prudence. maybe ineffectiveness is programmed or maybe it’s cultivated.

but i do know this: whoever you are, whatever your ambitions, someone in plano may or may not believe in you, and may well be rooting for you, helping you along with encouraging thoughts, and eagerly anticipating the next bit of genius you’ll bestow upon the world.

look, i’m not asking you to follow your dreams on my account, and we both know you’re not going to do it for yourself. but what’s-his-face is very possibly counting on you, so you’d better get to work.

reading man


  1. Boots says:

    I secretly wish I were trapped in a cabin all winter during stormy weather, during which time I would become rested and bored enough to tackle all those big projects with vigor. And then when the sun comes back out I would play and work for pay. I remember those endless summers as a kid and I used to be antsy to work on big projects and learn by the end of august.