I have grown up running around our vast expanse of paths through the hemlock woods with my little sister Katie. We always like to go to Tasha’s house (we call it ‘Granny’s’) My little sister and I had many-a game of invisible goats and doves in the barn and we always finished riding our very own invisible ponies, Pansy and Flower, down the road and through the lupine.
Katie and I have lots of games we play. All day in the spring we are the ‘Mud People’ living off the dangerous bog that covers miles and miles and can swallow a safe island whole. Then in the evening we might play ‘Miss Miffy’ under the bed. Or if the mood strikes we might play ‘The Mermaid’ game or the ‘Magic Mountain’ game. Or we might teach our stuffed animals how to be fairies. Then when Mommy corrals us into bed we play the ‘Queen Game’ or ‘Chicken Town’ in the dark using only words. A few years ago our pet chicken, Goat, or ‘Goby’ suddenly died. Katie and I were devastated and to help ease the pain, our imaginary version of Goby grew to an enormous size. She is now permanently woven into our life.
During the day we compile many drawings, some are dramatic, a girl chained to a cliff drinking up the magic of the moon, or they might be very silly, a chicken with a bucket on her head. While we make pictures, a story might arise. Waterbean is still a work-in-progress, but King Goby is completely done. I am writing and illustrating some books like Babysitting Buffys, but others, like A Smart Little Egg, Katie is illustrating. Or the other way around such as in Goat’s Gurgling Crop.
On sunny days Katie and I like to go outside to visit our many chickens whom we know as well as each other. Katie might snuggle Black-Bean who is her ‘special bean’ and I will probably say hello to Sunshine, who knows how to jump up to my arm when I hold it out. We have gotten into the habit of giving our chickens ridiculous nicknames such as ‘Fizza’ or ‘Bane-jul’ and even ‘Hysterical Floofy Face’ when their real names are actually Vasya, Angel and Cami. At the moment we have at least 52 chickens on the property.
If Katie and I disagree, it almost never lasts long. When Katie is scared or upset, I get upset too. When I make a new cartoon or drawing, Katie is the first to see it. Ever since she could hold a pen Katie has copied my style of drawing, and until quite recently, she changed her style whenever I changed mine. I always press very hard with my pen and make distinct dark lines and details. Sometimes I can take all day to complete a drawing. Katie’s drawings on the other hand, are light and windblown and she can whip some up in just a few minutes.
All in all I think we could almost be called twins.