Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh, I get it

So apparently if one doesn't sit down and write new entries in these blog gizmo things, no new entries appear. That's what I was doing wrong!

I just finished today the process of moving 21 years of cartooning paraphernalia from my office at the Eagle to my home. Three carloads. Yikes. I am a bit of a pack rat and this is the price I pay: A basement I can barely walk through and a dull aching pain in my lower back. Maybe I can update this blog a little more frequently from now on.

And right now all of my evenings are taken up with rehearsals at WSU for the musical "Waltzing in Heaven." For the last 12 or so years I've been Ranger Rick in our cowboy band, the Home Rangers. Fellow musicians David Hawkins, Stan Greer and Mike Lee round out the quartet. We do a hybrid of Sons of the Pioneers and bluegrass, a mixture we've termed "moograss." Don't gig more than 4 or 5 times a year and that suits us just fine. Well, as the only member of the band without a "day job," I suppose I have to admit that it suits me a little less fine than it once did.

So this musical was written by Howard L. Johnson, the father of one of the WSU football players killed in the 1970 plane crash that tragically took more than half the team. It runs this Thursday through Sunday. They wanted a cowboy band that was used to playing with each other and I guess we fit the bill. It's fascinating to watch a production like this from behind the scenes, as it were. Literally. We sit on stage the whole time behind the scenes. The students and the instructors at WSU are doing an amazing job with this play. As for the band, well, the banjo player needs to woodshed a bit but overall, not bad.

I just agreed to be interviewed on KSN's early morning show tomorrow (Wednesday) about my cartooning experiences. Whoa. About six hours from now. Better get some sleep. I didn't realize that not having a job could be a full-time job...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gingerly sticking my big toe into the blogoshere

Welcome to Crowson Blog. I'm a late-comer to the blogosphere. Thought about doing it for a long time but found myself wondering: Who are bloggers talking to? Is it a "dear diary" sort of deal, but posted on a billboard? Is it a note-in-a-bottle kind of thing, where you just toss it into the ocean and hope the right person eventually fishes it out? Is it a Poor Richard's Almanac situation, or more accurately, a Poor Everyman's Almanac? Could it be a manifestation of humankind's deep need to communicate in an age of isolation? Is it ego craving attention?
I don't know. All I know is: Here I am and if you're reading this, there you are. And please know that you're welcomed here.
It's a strange thing, being a newspaper editorial cartoonist who gets suddenly laid off. For years one puts one's work out there in the newspaper, getting the occasional irate reader comment in the form of a letter or a phone call, now and then a compliment as well. Yet that 30-years experience did not prepare me for the response I have recently gotten from readers regarding the end of my Wichita Eagle career.
The comments of encouragement have been overwhelming, to put it mildly. So many warm thoughts from so many folks that I've never met -- even from politicians that I have been skewering for years! It will take me a while but I'll answer every one of those emails, swear to God. And it does look like I'll have a little spare time for such things starting...um...right now.
This reminds me of something, this business of being a kind of public figure who is thrust out of the limelight and then has the privilege of hearing generous remarks from people about oneself. It reminds me, not to be morbid or anything, of that scene in Tom Sawyer where Tom sneaks into his own funeral and gets moved by the eulogies about himself. And it underscores to me how unbelievably fortunate I have been to have had this wacky cartooning job for all these years. How many people work their entire lives, performing their duties much more competently than I ever have, and receive scarcely any accolades for their efforts?
The funeral analogy stops there however. I am not dead, don't even have a cold. I feel pretty damn good and am looking forward to some exciting times and adventures. Got a few emails to answer first, though. Thank you for that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Test Post

Now is the time.