Episode One Hundred Seventy Four: Empty.
In which we are presented a puzzle piece.

1 comment:

  1. Several weeks after making this, I was looking at it to write this note and couldn’t recall what inspired it. Then I saw a discussion on FB around it: a friend jokingly commented on David Lynch and TM, and I replied that coincidentally both Lynch and TM were in this strip. I’d recently seen a clip of an interview between David Lynch and Patti Smith in which Lynch talked about knowing there was a complete puzzle somewhere outside of perception, and the universe would present him with a piece, one at a time, and he was intrigued at how it all fit together in the realm outside our understanding. I don’t recall if he meant this as images coming through dreams, or that came up in meditation, or just when he was writing a script, but his sentiment did resonate.

    I have been recently –gingerly – doing a bit of meditation as part of a regular yoga practice, and had been imagining my attention, as I watch it paying attention, falling on one puzzle piece and then moving on to another. Not that I’m egocentric enough to imagine that my attention gets to see the pieces that are coming in from the Un-seeable Whole, but it’s a nice enough thought (albeit self-deceptive) to pretend that I’m allowed to join in.

    That said, the meditation I’ve been doing always strikes me as essentially fruitless: my attention flits here and there, and I soon just find myself deciding to move on. Sitting doing nothing for even a few minutes feels like an eternity. I mean, I know becoming aware of this state of affairs is part of the point of the practice, and I also know that learning that patience can take a long time – none of this is new to me – but it is noteworthy nonetheless.

    So how, then, does that fit in with this comic?

    I think maybe when I drew the comic I, myself, didn’t really know what it was about. If I remember, I just had an idea of someone looking out at window down on a quiet brownstone street, at night. I imagine there’s a world of people, millions of them, looking down on quiet streets today, now abandoned because of Covid-19, all wondering where everyone else is.

    So he’s just sitting, smoking, looking, reflecting. And then he gets up and goes somewhere. Is it significant that he left in the last frame? I don’t know. I imagine maybe he simply went to get something to drink, or to pee, or to get something to read. But maybe in the narrative it does have a deeper meaning.

    As a parallel to meditation, perhaps he’s trying to sit and look out the window, but he eventually gives up and goes back to his TV. The framing of the images, swinging gently right and left, as it is, also feels like my wavering effort to maintain a focus. I’m not sure what led to my including the blank wall in the third frame, as I did, but it does work.

    The title from the Garbage single off Strange Little Birds (2016) . Was listening to that album while working on the strip, and the sentiment felt apropos to both my general state as well as to the feeling that accompanies quiet self-examination (although not in the yearning sense that is expressed in the lyrics).



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