Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Shrink

BlackBook magazine asked me to illustrate a bittersweet holiday memoir from Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors. "Growing up" writes Burroughs, "I was aware that other families had rituals. In my family, the only ritual occurred each fall when my mother suffered a psychotic breakdown and had to be hospitalised. In would come the psychiatrist, a man who dressed like Santa Claus year-round. He would put her in the passenger seat of his old Buick and drive her to a distant motel where he would then medicate and 'talk' her through the 'episode'.

"My mother was going to become a famous writer. But she did not. Instead I became a writer. In my determination to be nothing like her, I became exactly what she wanted to be. I became my mother. Except, every fall, I do not go crazy. Instead I write a book. I write it all at once, consumed by the process. Unable to do one thing besides. It has become my ritual. It is as if Santa has come in his Buick and taken me away to a motel. Uncanny, really."

Art direction by Tom Ackerman.


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