A new comic I made just went up on The Nib! It's about freedom, stress, materialism, guilt... you know, just a few of the highlights of modernity.
Read it here: https://thenib.com/downsize-your-problems-away
Here's a little note on the making-of. Read the comic before you read this:
I'll be honest with you, I really struggled with this comic. I was drawn to the subject of life-style minimalism and it's related trends (tiny houses, homesteading, &c) out of a genuine interest and affinity for the subject. I've moved an average of about once a year since I left home for college and each time I've been disgusted by the ever-growing katamari ball of possessions I feel compelled to drag in my wake. What is all this crap!? And yet, I seem unable to divest myself of any of it.
Tiny houses and homesteading fascinated me because I think, at the root, they promise freedom. House ownership and financial stability seem like impossible goals for a freelance artist (and, frankly, for many Americans) and the lower price-point of tiny homes, combined with the cost-saving promises of homesteading, plus a dash of self-righteousness, make for a heady brew. I ate up those blog posts and trend articles.
However, the more I read the more I doubted the premise. Most of people who go this route start with fortunes in tech or business. Most of them are white. Very few of the people I read about came to minimalism from a position of poverty (although many had debt, in addition to high-paying corporate jobs).
Also, the tone of self-righteousness and satisfaction was hard to swallow. It's as if by becoming a minimalist these people were essentially washing their hands of America and absolving themselves of its sins. They were not participants, they were not fighting for a better life for the most vulnerable inhabitants of our country—they were opting out.
I had a hard time putting all this into words (I still do!) and I drafted FIVE versions of the script, before finally spewing out a rough version of the finished comic in one long screed. After all that work that's what I ended up with: an angry rant.
Anyway, I've not been entirely unaffected by the extensive reading I've done on the subject. Even amid my growing disgust with the minimalist gurus and their instagram ilk, I've been moved to donate about half my closet and a third of my books, in addition to a number of other mini-purges. I also taught myself to fold and store my clothes the Marie Kondo (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and, well, it's a little addictive.
There's no escape.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the comic. Next time you feel compelled to clean your closet, don't. Call your Senators and Congressmen instead. Take that money you were going to spend on a desk organizer and donate it to Planned Parenthood. That's real change.