Cats and Cigarettes

My daughter, Pencil Princess, drew these. I love them.

She does not like them (hates them), but said I could post them on my blog.

She did these in art class. The little girl is watching big sister smoke. Then in the next panel, as an older kid, she’s now smoking. Their faces are scratched out, but I love that. So, the little girl is wearing a cat dress and then she’s wearing a cat shirt to show progression of time. I love the exaggerated clouds of smoke and how the smoke lines up almost perfectly from panel to panel.

I forget, did you do that on purpose, PenPrin? Nice job. Love it.

Check out her creations on her blog. She’s really developing her illustration skills.

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Vol. 2 (continued)

More from my second volume of Present Tense. These excerpts have not been published or seen. This is from the time I visited my dad in the hospital, just before he passed. He was very sick. End-stage cancer.


Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em


Lung cancer. He smoked for over 45 years. Sometimes 3 packs a day. Sometimes a pipe. Rarely marijuana.
He is laying in bed in a hospital room. I walk into the room with my mother and sister. He’s in a gown, head shaved and Sharpie marks on his scalp. That’s where they focus the radiation. That’s where the brain tumors are. There are several marks. There are other places in his body that have cancer. Leg. Stomach. Chest.
He’s uncomfortable. He starts to squirm. He rolls onto his stomach, props himself up on his elbows and knees. My mother rubs his back. She whispers softly in his ear. She looks scared. So does he. This is the most vulnerable, tender moment I have ever seen them share. The pain passes.
He looks at me and asks me to buy him a pack of cigarettes. He hands me several dollar bills. I agree.
Our philosophies were in agreement on this day and many to follow. The world is a brief, harsh place and you find pleasure where you can.
I was not going to deny a dying man his last want or need.
We are on our way to my grandmother’s funeral.

Don’t Mess with Success

So, the picture is a bizarre lithograph I made for printmaking at college. I ended up turning in something completely different for the assignment. It’s not my best (her lips are lopsided and her hair is on fire lol), but I like the party-girl-smoker, sleepy-eyed, end-of-the-night, boozy feeling. Like “the girl you wish you hadn’t…” from SNL. This post has nothing to do with my current situation, just a puff (of smoke) from the past.


I thought I couldn’t live without cigarettes.
I loved to smoke.
Then I quit because I couldn’t inhale without coughing.
Now I can’t imagine enjoying another drag.

I thought I couldn’t live without food.
I loved to eat.
Then the diet to end all diets because I was dying.
Now I can’t believe how good life tastes.

I thought I couldn’t live without you.
I loved you.
Then I lived one day without you.
Now it’s easy.