One gets that sense.
So I started doing little drawings and I'd submit them, and then I also started writing fake letters to the editor, and he printed everything. Oh, and he had heard that I had a letter from Joseph Heller, because he loved Joseph Heller. And I did have a letter from Joseph Heller.
You know Joseph Heller? Catch-22?
Yeah, well, I wrote to him and asked him to marry me. When I graduated from high school. He wrote me back. And he said he didn't want to marry me only because he didn't want to live in the dorms. That's what he said! And he was working on Something Happened and he said I should read Something Happened first, to see another view of married life, and then see if I still wanted to marry him.
Oh my god. That's awesome.
So Matt knew about that, and thats how we became friends. And in a lot of ways my comics came about from my teacher Marilyn and from having this outlet, a place to get stuff printed. And also to torment Matt. There's nothing more satisfying than tormenting a tormenter.
Yes. That's basically how the Phoenix newsroom functions. So you've been thinking about this stuff about line, and how art works, right from the beginning?
Because the other thing you talked about, when I heard you talk, was the psychological origins of art, as a do-over.
Yes, yes, yes. Well, it's interesting; is it a do-over or is it — you think of these pop-up campers that people have, they tow them down the highway and when they get the camping place it just knd of unfolds: bump, bump, bump. Well, I think art, or images, are a part of our body — and I don't mean our corporal body, I mean our whole selves — which is like one of those pop-up campers.. You know, they can do fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) now, and there was some guy on NPR talking about the marked similarity of the way a brain looks when a kid is engaged in deep play, and the way a brain looks when an adult is engaged in creative concentration. And that's when I thought, if kids aren't allowed to play, they go crazy. And they're damaged in a way that can't actually be undone, depending on how bad that was. And everybody knows this, all around the world. We have a tacit understanding between the role of play and mental health. I would say we come with play, the way we come with kidneys — we come wwith this ability, like that pop-out camper. So a kid who has a blanket that he sees, that is a constant thing, he actually puts an image in there and it's the image that the whole family recognizes — mostly when the blanket's lost. And the image that's in there, it makes the difference of whether that kid is going to be able to sleep or not that night. So I think of that as the first artwork.