In May I moved from Bainbridge Island to Portland. It was a two-year process of saving, planning, packing and purging. The first thing I did was start propagating the plants in my garden. I wanted to leave behind a garden for the next person, but I also wanted to bring all my favorite plants. The second step was deciding which books to bring and which to give away. That might sound silly, but gardens and books are the biggest inspiration for my work. Albert Camus’ description of the sun makes me feel the weight of an oppressive heat. I want to illustrate every line of Heather O'Neill's novels: "The clip-clopping of the horses' hooves sounded like a room full of children with hiccups." ("The Lonely Hearts Hotel") I hope I can communicate human emotions in my illustrations as well as they do in their writing.

Since moving here, I've been to the Portland Japanese Garden three times and spent way too much time at Powell's City of Books. They have a huge philosophy section where I found the first and second volumes of Michel de Montaigne's essays with an accompanying handbook that goes through each paragraph. Did you know Montaigne was the first person to call essays, Essays? Before that they had been called leçons.

After three months of living here, I already love it.