Note to GSW readers – Today’s guest blogger is an old friend of mine . . . how old? Well, we met at a high school event in the very late ’70s (ack!). We were from different states and took different paths, but . . . we keep crossing said paths again and again. Please welcome S.L. Witt who blogs using clever and touching cartoons depicting the ‘Adventures of Hamster Girl’.
Some people have an alter ego with superpowers, like Spiderman or Superman. My alter ego is a giant hamster; a big, fuzzy, harmless, nervous, hamster. It suits me, actually. We have the same build, hamsters and I, and we both spend endless hours on the wheel. Hamsters run on wheels and chew on their hands in their cage. I do it in my head.
After a few years of doodling cartoons of the hamster, I started a blog to highlight the ridiculous and, sadly, mostly true things that a hamster mind can do: The Adventures of Hamster Girl. Hamster girl is not particularly lucky in love, and has some, well, “boundary issues” she’s working on, but mostly she’s just nervous.
Most of the cartoons arise out of things happening in my own life, but sometimes I hear something in a 12-step meeting that cracks me up and I draw something up based on that story. Twelve-step meeting? Yep, nothing cuts the edge off of a nervous hamster’s anxiety like alcohol. Until it doesn’t work anymore, which explains the 12 step meetings. Most people are shocked to learn that there is a lot of laughing in 12 step meetings. A lot. People do funny, silly, sad things learning to be humans. Here is a cartoon I did after hearing a woman say this in a meeting:
There’s something therapeutic to me about seeing my own misadventures drawn out as a Hamster Girl cartoon. After drawing about how hamsters are not very good at looking out for their own self interest I actually did look out for my interests in a couple of relationships where I never had before!
When I took my first foray into the world of online dating, I drew a couple of cartoons that captured my anxiety about describing myself:
It gets me a bit closer to my lifelong dream — to one-day write something that’s actually interesting. In graduate school they taught me how to write in uninteresting ways. In fact, if you write things that are too interesting, or, God forbid, “popular” you will be shunned from the academic community and definitely not tenured. Having been safely tenured now for years, and having produced my share of uninteresting academic things,
I’m enjoying the chance to turn to other kinds of writing.