The beginning of my book El Deafo is about my 2-week stay in the hospital while I recovered from meningitis. My hearing loss was a direct result of this illness. I spent a lot of time drawing during those two weeks. My parents claim that I drew the same thing over and over and over again, and that by the time I got to leave the hospital, I had done over 100 drawings. My parents only kept three, probably because it wasn’t really a time they wanted to remember. Here’s how I imagined I looked as a kid drawing in a hospital bed:
Here are those three drawings, featuring pretty much the same basic elements: a green-faced girl with a triangular dress/body, a rainbow, a happy sun, flowers, letters. Child psychologists would have a hey-day with these!
You know how when you experience something traumatic, the memories of what you you were doing around the time of the trauma are so clear? I totally remember getting all dolled up after I got my first hearing aid so that my dad could take these pictures of me. If you look closely, you can kind of see the cords going up to my ears. I think I put the hat on in an attempt to hide them. Well done, Kid Me!
I used these photos for an “Origins” drawing for the book; it didn’t make the final cut. You know how superheroes all have an origin story? That’s my favorite part of superhero comics. In my case, instead of taking a bath in a vat of super-poisonous chemicals, my origin story was that I got sick. I think superhero origin stories make an interesting statement about how when something horrific happens—a vat bath or an illness—you lose something, but maybe you also gain something amazing to balance out the magnitude of the loss you’ve experienced. Hence, the super powers! Heavy thoughts for Friday. Good grief, where’s my head at? Anyway, here are a couple of versions of that drawing for your enjoyment:
Thanks for reading! Only 11 more days to go until El Deafo is released to the winds!