Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where Koobish Come From

First, a little background: in my novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, there is a kind of alien livestock called the koobish. Here are a couple of them in a photo with one of the story's protagonists, J.Lo:

I'd like to explain how the koobish came to be, and to do that I first have to tell you about a very bad tattoo I got back in 1991.

I was eighteen, and away at college, and four of us decided on a whim to get tattoos. What, you may be thinking, could possibly go wrong. If memory serves I believe Liza got a Tazmanian Devil. Kim got some sort of dolphin/rainbow/Earth combo. I can't remember what Brad got, but based on these previous choices I'm going to go ahead and guess it was the Chinese character for "stupid."
I had begun writing a bit at this point, and I fancied myself something of a humorist, so I got a jester on my ankle. Like so:
I was not drunk.

I don't think I'm giving away too much at this point in the story if I tell you I no longer have this tattoo, but this is how it looked to the best of my recollection. Like Bea Arthur. I didn't even draw the original design myself. I picked it off the parlor wall. I was an art student AND I PICKED MY TATTOO OFF THE PARLOR WALL.

Anyway, years passed. I quickly grew to hate the tattoo, but it was on my ankle, and I almost always wear socks, and literally months could pass where I didn't think about it at all. It was so inconspicuous that I dated my wife for a whole summer before she noticed it was there. We managed to pull through as a couple.

Eventually I realized that while I would never pay to have it removed, it might be worth one or two hundred bucks to get it covered up with something else. So I designed this little fellow:
Here it is filled in:
And actually on my ankle:
I liked it, and I named it the koobish. And it occurred to me that I'd like it even better if it had some actual significance, so I wrote it into the novel I was working on.

Ta da.

Sometimes people ask me why I write, and sometimes I answer, "To correct the mistakes of the past." And then they nod sagely, and pretend to know what I'm talking about, and I reach down to pull up my sock.

20 comments:

Carolyn said...

Wow is a crazy back story, I am glad that you told it though, it makes the story a lot more interesting:)
I looked at your Frankenstein and other illustrations are awesome, you are really really good at illustration, I love your style.

Brian Biggs said...

That is far out. You are a wild man and we here in Philly never even knew it.
I love your style too.

Peter Underhill said...

I like the way you shave around the tattoo so it doesn't get too hot. Or does it graze on ankle hair?

Kinderscares said...

I remember this story from when you did that interview with us. Funny stuff! Writing inspiration comes from the strangest of places...

Jake said...

Hilarious!

Zach Kline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gm said...

Great story Adam, thanks.

Donna said...

my all-time favorite tattoo story.

Dan Santat said...

WHAT?! Greatest story ever!

Vinod Rams said...

Bea Arthur is rolling in her grave because you covered her up!

. justin segal said...

that ... is an awesome tale, and it goes to show that ... um ... fantastic mythical creatures are born of human desperation. Nuff said. Love it!

Cynthia Lara said...

Very funny story :)
I've become a fan of your work just bought Frankenstein makes a sandwich....can't wait for it to arrive home!!

I've always wondered if your illustrations in your books are handmade or digital?

I see a lot of traditional sketching tho...

Diantres said...

haha nice story
i'm thinking in getting a tattoo, hope don't regret it.

Brun Croes said...

The past few updates have been a pleasure to look at Adam.

Thanks for putting them up.

-Brun
http://bruncroes.blogspot.com/

Phil said...

Such a fantastic story. It's too bad you don't have a photo of the original for comparison.

I'm guessing you won't pick your next tattoo off of the parlor wall.

jillsbooks said...

This made me LOL. Thanks!

Valeriote Design said...

Too funny! Nothing like college day whims.

Colin said...

Beautiful drawing atop Adam, would love to read it when its ready.

Kelly said...

That is hilarious!
Do you have Frankenstein or a sandwich on the other ankle? ;)

C.R. MacTernan said...

XD! Very funny. I like the little guy that came out of it all. It reminds me of the only quote I have committed to memory . It's a good one that I think is very fitting here..."Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement. " -Barry LePatner I use it it almost all my profile descriptions! :P Makes me feel so smrt. Anyways...Thanks for that. Was a good story. Best and Cheers!