Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Hard Blog to Write: In Memory of Katie

by Aaron Mystery

Living in my head isn't as difficult as it used to be. I'm content with some things I've done, eager to do and learn more, and willing to admit my shortcomings. I want to enrich your life by entertaining you; I'm only at the beginning of that journey. Right now, it's a very focused and localized few that truly get something out of my work, but one day I will change that without leaving them behind. Never again will I leave a friend - or a fan - behind.

When I first started doing animation, just as the B.E. thing started to take off, I knew a 19-year-old named "Katie" via MySpace and a mutual friend. Back when I still thought Brethren and the Evil Empire was going to make me famous, I made all kinds of retarded cartoons that made little sense (they often featured Mr. Romance-Oh, for example).

But Katie LOVED my cartoons, even continuing to praise them when I was doing little more than catering to a specific male audience. Before I became a bit of an Ace the Zombie myself, she was giving me silly poems to adapt into cartoons - we both had so much fun! If only we lived in the same city...

Katie came to Vegas one day and spent the night, but I was very sick so it wasn't much of a visit - she was only here because she had other business in town anyway. Still, as she left, I knew I'd lost an opportunity, and when I wasn't able to take advantage of our time together in any meaningful way, I drifted away from her. I don't think I answered her messages as much, or as lovingly, or whatever it was. Part of it is that - as Suckermouth took off - my paying subscribers had a right to what they pay for (B.E.), and I honestly find it quite uncomfortable showing most my work to women, and for good reason.

Then I got into a big fight with my then-roommate over the fact that he wasn't doing the Brethren and the Evil Empire MySpace page the way the band wanted (who fucking cares?), and I canceled all my MySpace accounts. Goodbye, Katie, it's good to see you are the first subscriber I have on YouTube, so we're not completely out of touch.

This long, monotonous explanation leads us to a very tragic end. I found out through my roommate, months after my last contact with Katie, that she killed herself. My dear, pretty little Katie who believed in me and shared her creativity with me was gone. I had to stare at her icon on my YouTube channel for months, like a ghost reminding me that I had abandoned her to... what? I feel trapped to this day by the inexplicable reality of this.

I held back confronting certain things out of respect for Katie for a long time. She had big problems that were completely removed from me, and it was nothing short of egotistical to think that any cartoon I could have created could have saved her. But that wasn't the point either, as I would come to realize. I could have done something. Been a friend. Some bizarre version of shame kept me from being that.

I miss Katie. She made an incredible impression on me in a short time. A friend and a fan, in equal parts. I didn't abandon her to serve a different community, I abandoned her because I became a prisoner of my own guilt.

I've come to terms with the need to serve up a regular helping of sexy, crass, or just plain offensive cartoons on a regular basis. I get rewarded with money, views, and deliver a product my audience is looking for. Oh, and I kind of like it, or why would I have been doing it in the first place?

There's no point in pretension: I like creating shit a lot. Videos, music, novels, stories. I just happen to be slightly successful at one little tiny aspect of it. This tiny aspect takes up most my time because animation of any kind is a time-consuming process, and maintaining Suckermouth is a full-time task.

The point is, I don't want to see another friend or fan to go through what Katie did. I hope you see me as a friend when you need one, because an artist is nothing without his fans, and if he doesn't see his fans as friends, he doesn't deserve them in the first place.

[The best place to reach me is]

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