Putting Things into Perspective

November 24th, 2009

Nicholas Kristof’s talk was just another obligation on my schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and having recently viewed a preview of the upcoming HBO documentary, Reporter, a haunting film that follows The New York Times’ Kristof into the depths of the Congo, I was certainly looking forward to seeing him in person. But I had so much to do. After all, my book had just come out. I had all these photos from book signings I wanted to post on my new website. After several days away from the newspaper, I was trying to acclimate back into the world of news and cartooning. Worst of all, I hadn’t blogged in days!

Kristof, known for his extraordinary reporting form Tiananmen Square to Darfur, along with former Los Angeles Times reporter, Sonia Nazario, appeared in Omaha recently as part of the Great Minds series held at Kaneko—a fairly new venture intended to foster creative thinking. The topic? (Un)covering Human Crisis: Crucial Dispatches from the Innovative Journalist. Sounded heavy. And a bit depressing. Not to mention I was exhausted and all I could think about was that I was way behind on my website and my blog and…

As you might guess, the night was transformative. Kristof spoke of his experiences in Cambodia, interviewing young girls who had been kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. As a journalist, how could I come away from a talk like that without completely reevaluating my own work? Suddenly, my cartooning, my book, my blog, my life, were the last things on my mind. All I could think about were those poor kids sold into prostitution, specifically, the girl Kristof described, the one who refused to cooperate for her captors, and, as a result, had her eye gouged out.

But Kristof doesn’t just shine a light into the depths of human darkness and then walk away. The journalist/activist encourages all of us to get involved. We can’t all be Nicholas Kristof. But there is much the rest of us can do to help. To learn more, please visit the website for Half the Sky, the new book by Kristof and his coauthor and wife, Sheryl WuDunn.

Thank you, Nicholas Kristof, for interrupting my hectic life. And thank you to Kaneko’s Great Minds series, for helping me get out of my own head.

Soggy Seattle

November 6th, 2009

I’ve been to Seattle many times before, but never in November. So last night when thunderstorms rolled in, I figured it was par for the course. Not so, according to my good friend and fellow Prairie Cat, Jason Grotelueschen. Jason is originally from Nebraska and says that in his eight years in The Emerald City he’s experienced only a handful of storms of this intensity–the kind that come with lightning and thunder, not to mention a “biblically torrential downpour.”

Jason apologized but also suspects that I may have brought the weather with me. I am, after all, the guy who has been struck by lightning. In case you’re wondering, I have no plans to visit the Space Needle today.

The Grand Prize Winner!

November 3rd, 2009

In celebration of the publication today of Inklings, we’re announcing our Grand Prize Winner, chosen at random, in the Great Cartoon Countdown! Although most of the entrants came from the midwest, during the six day run of the contest we received entries from all over the United States and as far away as Australia. We’ve awarded signed copies of Inklings to winners in South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maine, and Iowa.

Interestingly, the grand prize goes to our youngest contestant, Mary Kava, from Omaha, Nebraska!

Mary will receive a signed copy of Inklings, an original cartoon and all three copies of Prairie Cats CDs.


Also, here’s one of her entries, in the creativity category…looks like she’s on her way as an artist!

Thank you to all who entered. In the coming days I plan on posting some of the other entries. Stay tuned!

Pub Day!

November 3rd, 2009

It’s weird. It sort of feels like Christmas came early. The golden leaves are falling like snow and my memoir, which I have worked on for many years, is now officially published. I am blessed to have such a great agent, Amy Moore-Benson, a wonderful publisher in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and my dear friends and family who have been so incredibly supportive.

And what about this website, huh? Is it not the best website you’ve ever visited? I wish I could take credit, but all the applause goes to the incredibly gifted folks at Omaha’s very own, What Cheer!

5…4…3…2…1…Our latest winner!

November 2nd, 2009

We have our final winner in the Great Cartoon Countdown! Congratulations to  Tierney Israel of Pleasantville, Iowa for this entry.

Tierney will be receiving a signed copy of Inklings!

Check back tomorrow when we announce our Grand Prize Drawing!

T-Minus Two…another winner!

November 1st, 2009

Yes, we have another winner in the Great Cartoon Countdown! And this one is our first specifically related to music–one of three themes contestants can choose from…congrats to John Platt from West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, for this entry…

For submitting today’s winning entry, John will receive a signed copy of Inklings!