"We Are Pleased to Announce" (April 11, 2012)
Among some of my colleagues there is an idiom: to "go cat book." As in: "Oh yeah, Jeff Brown went cat book. Big time." This sounds more disparaging than it is; there's no real shame in going cat book (though neither is there a great deal of honor in it). Ours is, after all, a profession in which the unimaginable pinnacle of material success means making about as much as a civil servant per year, so it's hard to point the finger at anyone who's found a way of making a financial go of it. Plus anyone who goes cat book has to be motivated at least in part by a genuine affection for the subject. B. Kliban, my very favorite cartoonist ,as cerebral and avant-garde as they come, was among the first and most famous to go cat book. (Cats seem to be especially beloved among melancholics, pessimists and misanthropes: irascible anti-Semite Celine carried his beloved cat Bebért through the carnage and destruction of Europe in WWII; visionay junkie William S. Burroughs was like a doting grandma with his flock of cats; even that old sourpuss Stanley Kubrick had a soft spot for them, and let them sleep on his editing table.) For a while, before I got a contract to write my forthcoming book of essays, I was considering going cat book myself. My first three books had made me as much, in advances and royalties, as a really lacklustre run on The Price is Right. My reasoning was, I could do a book of cartoons that were well-drawn, erudite and funny, and people would buy it anyway because it would be about cats. You can slap a picture of a cat on cynaide or nuclear waste or an actual dead cat and someone will buy it for their friend who likes cats. I still have a folder of cat drawings in case of fiscal emergecy, but luckily I was saved from this fate by someone paying me money for my writing instead.
This particular cartoon was inspired by a reader who asked me why my beloved cat had not appeared in any recent cartoons. Itis, in a sense, a coming-out-of-the-closet cartoon for me. As with most comings-out, it will not exactly stun those who know me. It's time to admit it: I have had this cat for eighteen years, far longer than any other realtionship I have ever had. It is, at this point, a common-law marriage. I am married to my cat. She is my catwife. And my cat is a jealous cat. She does not like it when I have ladies over, not even for an innocent dinner. O no she does not. But ultimately nothing can come between me and the cat. As I often tell the cat, in a Barry White voice: "There is no luuve like the luuve that exists between a man and his cat."
"I'm not sure how much of my unwholesome relationship with my cat I want to divulge here," I said to Boyd, sitting on the couch sipping coffe and contemplating this artist's statement.
"I really don't think there's anything left to conceal," he said.
Wedding presents may be sent c/o my P.O. box address in Maryland, c/o Mrs. Quetzal Marie The Cat. Or you may simply donate to this website. For the record, my new name will be Timothy Ward The Cat.
Coming June 11:
"Tim Kreider's writing is heartbreaking, brutal and hilarious--usually at the same time. He can do in a few pages what I need several hours of screen time and tens of millions to accomplish. And he does it better. Come to think of it, I'd rather not do a blurb. I am beginning to feel bad about myself."
"Tim Kreider may be the most subversive soul in America and his subversions--by turns public and intimate, political and cultural--are just what our weary, mixed-up nation needs. The essays in We Learn Nothing are for anybody who believes it's high time for some answers, damn it."
author of Empire Falls and The Risk Pool
"Whether he is expressing himself in highly original cartoons that are hilarious visual poems, or in prose that exposes our self-delusions by the way he probes his own experience with candor, Tim Kreider is a writer-artist who brilliantly understands that every humorist at his best is a liberator. Because he is irreverent, makes us laugh, ruffles the feathers of the pretentious and the pompous, and keeps us honest, We Learn Nothing is a pleasure from its first page to the last."
author of Middle Passage and Black Humor
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