It’s a bit of a sad day around the Typosphere. My favorite sleeping shirt has, alas, seen its last sleep.
The shirt in question is a standard white T-shirt with a cartoonish image of cats done in cubist style. I want to say Lisa got it for me at an art fair or something, but the truth of its acquisition story is lost in the fogs of time for me.
As one does with shirts, I wore it in various locations for several years, including during my first stint in Los Angeles with the Writers of the Future, which is where the shirt’s story takes the turn that resulted in its sentimental value. Short version: I’d been on a quest to write eight stories in the week I was there. I’d finished seven and was dead tired when I came down that last late afternoon to take a break. A person there—who knew I was trying to get eight—asked how it was going. I told him I had seven done, but didn’t think my brain could do another that night. “You should write something quick about that,” he replied, indicating my Picasso’s Cats shirt.
The rest is history.
I immediately ran up to my room, and out flowed a gift story—a simple one-punch, inside writing thing that eventually was published in Nature and then became a title story to my first collection.
When, eventually, as all things human-made do, the shirt began to wear thin, I retired it to a life of evenings. In other words, it became a comfortable pajama shirt. It made me smile to put it on because in its donning came the reminder of that story and the history of what it meant to be able to create things.
Alas, Time Waits for No Shirt. Even these uses carry their toll. Holes showed up. The collar frayed.
Now the Cats sit in my office on my guest chair, waiting for me to decide what to do with them. Simply discarding the shirt seems woefully disrespectful. Making too much of it seems, I don’t know. Just too whacky. That said, simply writing this little ode to say goodbye brought the beginnings of a little tear to my eye, and caused a touch of cotton to rise in my throat. It’s been a very good friend, this little shirt with its cubists cats.
I’m going to miss it.