2019 has been a harrowing adventure for me and, frankly, I nearly did not make it to see the new year. Last August, a visiting nurse injected me with a deadly bacteria and, within a few moments, I was so ill that I had to be rushed to the emergency ward. Days later, I was told that I had been within minutes of dying and that I had only a 1-in-3 chance of survival. It took another three weeks of antibiotics to save my life and then I remained quite ill for weeks. When I was eventually able to get out of bed on my own, I often found myself staring into space for hours at a time, wondering why I was still here, horrified by how close I had come to my demise.
As mentioned in my previous blog, I was nearly finished with my third book, "Pincin And The Blue Whales," prior to my illness, but I had no energy to return to my work once I returned from the hospital. It took many months of convalescing to feel up to facing the thought of writing or creating art for the book. Life since last August had become an unbearable calendar full of doctor's appointments and blood tests and I was sick of it. By April, I was determined to return to some semblance of "normal," so I went whale watching and returned to Disneyland. I just wanted life to make sense again, which was far more difficult than it sounds.
After many 3am sessions of writing, proofreading or illustrating/inking, I was able to produce a new book which revisits themes regarding recycling and ecology but also themes of family, caring and friendship. As with my previous stories of the denizens of Nereidia Pacifica, young Pincin is busy trying to save the world, while escaping being told what to do by his elder sisters, the loving and well-meaning but meddlesome Princesses Bualile and Ciona-Mara. I hope that this tale reminds young readers that adults are not just being busy-bodies when they question kids about their roaming--we just care to keep them safe, just as we should care to keep our oceans safe from pollution. Both are exceedingly important.
As for me, life is full of new surprises and I am glad to still be here to marvel at them. I thank everyone who has offered me kind words and concern in the past year--it has meant a great deal to me. I dedicated this book to my sister Clare, who kept me going when I was hospitalized and in the months to follow, and to Dr. Brian May, who encouraged me during the previous summer to keep at it. Thank you to them and to all of you!