Bibliophile in the real world

I had an appointment at the doctor to go over some blood work results. I was running late, but making up for it by driving way too fast all the way there. Speed Racer that I am, I walked through the door at exactly the appointed time. The receptionist smiled, said hello, and told me they were running a little late.

As I sat down she said, “It’ll just be a few minutes. Sorry about the wait.”

I nodded, took a seat, and pulled out the book that was in my backpack, because there is always, always, always a book in my backpack (or purse or jacket pocket or tucked under my arm).

Always carry a book1

“It’s okay,” I said, and then I gave her a smile that was meant to convey my feeling that unexpected reading time is like a genie popping up out of nowhere and granting me a wish….

Always carry a book2

… and, even better, the genie has a plate full of cupcakes…

with sprinkles on them…

and some milk…

and an adorable puppy for me to play with while I consider wish possibilities…

and after she grants me my wish, she gives me the adorable puppy, too, because by then the puppy and I have bonded, and it’s always best in situations like this to let love take its course.

Always carry a book3

I’m not sure she got all that, though. It was a lot to communicate with just a smile.


And an extra bit of wonderful for all my bibliophile friends:

The World’s Smallest Bookstore.



  1. Amy on May 30, 2013 at 4:51 am

    I’d like to borrow your great attitude and lovely spirit, because I? I would have been pissed 😉

  2. j on May 30, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Well, in fairness, it was my chiropractor’s office and I love her because she is fixing me. Our relationship is sort of like a junkie and her supplier… only, you know, more legal.

  3. Nina Badzin on May 30, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I can totally appreciate this! I’m getting my hair colored in 20 minutes (which I have to do every 4 weeks because I’m very gray). Instead of being annoyed, I think of it as time to read (or catch up on Twitter!)

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

      That’s pretty much what my husband said when I told him this story (sans illustrations). He’s always been naturally more Zen than I am, but he said, “you can get furious or you can philosophical.”

      Or you can read and catch up on Twitter. 😉

  4. cindy on May 30, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Love it!!! Awesome Chad…hanging out in the bookstores with no time limit! That’s me in spring, at the green house, pondering the herbs and perennials….patient Kevin…take your time…xo
    Judy, graphic, noodle book in your future?!

  5. Cindy on May 30, 2013 at 7:49 am

    I mean’t “doodle”…oh my…***blush***

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 8:50 am

      I loved “noodle book.” It inspired some noodly-doodles in my head.

      I’m actually attempting to illustrate a love story (an old post I wrote about my son – it’s under “greatest hits” in the sidebar if you’re curious) and another story from a friend about her dog. If it works, I’d love to invite people to share their love stories with me so that I can illustrate them. If there’s enough interest, I can collect them into… well, something. Maybe a book. 🙂

      But first I have to make sure I can actually do it. Stay tuned.

  6. Christie on May 30, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Seriously, your doodles keep getting better and better and I thought that wouldn’t have been possible :^) LOVE the genie doodle…also love the cupcake, the puppy, the words that go along with the doodles, the book you are reading and your very zenlike attitude! xoxo

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Thank you, sweetness! I’m having so much fun, and the art stuff is just pulling me like nothing else. I’m experimenting with more ways to link my words with my drawings, and it’s as if I’m a little kid. I can’t keep up with my own ideas, and I’m always having to learn how to do new things. Currently, it’s collage. Do you know they have all manner of free tutorials online about how to collage (and probably every other artistic thing I might want to try)?

      Wish you lived close enough to come play with me. xo

  7. Nancy on May 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Ditto what Christie said….I’m often running late, and always relieved when I get there and I have a few minutes to collect myself. I need to add something new to my repertoire, though, a book for practicing doodles, though mine look more like noodles. I love the idea of you illustrating our stories and making a book!

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Actually, I’m often running late too. That helps me be more understanding, I guess, but when, on occasion, I’ve grabbed the wrong bag and found myself book-less, it’s much harder for me to get my Zen on.

      I’m so happy to hear you love the idea of illustrated love stories! Me too. I think the illustrations can emphasize different things in the story than the words do, or offer another insight, another way to read it. Plus, it’s a form of collaboration between me and whoever is willing to share their story with me (and then with everyone else). I so believe in the power of storytelling… and love… and doodles. It’s a perfect project!

      Of course, this means you’ll have to tell me a story, Nancy. <3

  8. Giulietta Nardone on May 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Hi J,

    I agree with Christie. I don’t swing by that often, yet when I do I notice right away how fab your artwork is! It’s like anything, if you develop a love for it you can do terrific things with it.

    I adore cupcake illustrations (and cupcakes).

    Made the switch from oil to watercolor – for ease of use – and am doing a little tiny painting a day to help me get more comfortable with the ins and outs of watercolor.

    No notion of where the painting is going …



    p.s. whenever you rush somewhere, they tend to not be ready. think it’s the universe’s way of saying slow down, there’s time.

  9. Pam on May 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Fabulous genie!

    (Guess which one is my favorite?)

    It’s great to get some unexpected reading time, but when you forget the reading material and have to find something in the waiting area…oy. Once at the local hospital (I think the year was 2008) I picked up a National Geographic and noted that it was from 1989. Oh, yeah.

    I’m so glad drawing has pitched camp in your head and hand. Yay!

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      It definitely has. Can’t remember the last time something took hold of me like this (that wasn’t a book). 😉

      And, yes, it was the selection in waiting rooms that first got me carrying books all the time!

  10. hippiechick on May 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I love this illustrated post! And, Maya Angelou (one of my heroes) , an exceptional re-read choice.

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Yay! I thought of you as I worked on it, since you love books every bit as much as I do, and you read WAY WAY WAY faster than I do.

      I wonder if there are any women for whom Maya Angelou isn’t a hero…


  11. hippiechick on May 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Only the people who haven’t read her?

    • j on May 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      And maybe even some of them, too.

  12. David Doodleslice Cohen on May 31, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Great to see your doodle-ocity continue to bloom with each new post! When are you going to post a collage? 🙂

    • j on May 31, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Thank you, David. I tend to share. Stay tuned!

  13. paoloterni on May 31, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Seriously, I would need to use your materials to illustrate Emotional Intelligence and Positive Psychology!! 🙂 P

    • j on May 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

      A collaboration with my partner? I’m in! (Thank you for dropping by, Paolo!)

  14. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) on May 31, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This is one of my favorite posts you’ve done so far!! Just the other day I was thinking about doing an illustrated story type post; you’ve inspired me!

    • j on June 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

      YAY! I can’t wait to see yours!

  15. Estrella Azul on June 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    That is just awesome of your smile to communicate!

    PS: lines are why I am constantly running low on phone storage space. I need my Kindle for Android, a little something to read when I can’t fit a book in my backpack!

    • j on June 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Some day I will enter into the century at hand and use electronic devices. In the meantime, keep a few small books on hand! 🙂

  16. Milli Thornton on June 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Was this your first self-illustrated post? It’s AWESOME! I LOVE the doodly genie. And the story about the extra reading time. So charming and fun! I think you should start you own comic book, with j-style stories illustrated with doodles.

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