The first time I ever tried to get a cartoon published, it was a submission to New Yorker magazine, around 1987. New Yorker is considered the most prestigious publication on Earth for a cartoonist. They rejected me with a form letter. But I never released on the goal of getting a comic in that publication. This week I finally achieved my goal. Well, sort of:


I never really let go of a goal. That's not always a good thing, since all of my unfulfilled goals gnaw on me from within. But it sure feels delicious when one of them wanders in from the wilderness.

Three and a half years ago, when I lost my voice to spasmodic dysphonia, I set my goal on not just beating this incurable condition but ending up with a voice that was better than it had been before I got the problem. My original voice was a bit nasal, and I had a habit of mumbling. If you're going to have a goal of defeating an incurable condition, you might as well add some extras. I wanted my next voice to be better than it had ever been.

As I have written before, I had surgery in July with Dr. Berke at UCLA, who pioneered a procedure to fix this sort of voice problem. It was supposed to take 3-4 months from the day of the operation before a good voice returned. Sure enough, right on cue, this is the 3.5 month mark, and my voice is about 90% functional for most purposes. (I can't shout yet, and by the end of the day it is a bit hoarse.) Still, it's frickin' amazing.

Over the next year, my voice is expected to improve further. But that's not good enough. I'm going to put some serious work into making my new voice better than it ever was. It might take me twenty years, but I'll get there.

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Oct 30, 2008
Hi Scott,

It never occurred to me that your hand and voice problem were related, I do not think you ever mentioned that fact before. Lucky for all of us those problems have not slowed you down or you might have become some type of investment advisor and told us to buy these new fangled mortgage backed securities or credit default swaps. Once your voice comes back better than ever you can join such notables as Joaquin Phoenix and Keanu Reeves and start some form of rock group, maybe the three of you could form a ZZ Top tribute band.

BTW, I went to buy Dilbert 2.0 at my local Borders book store and was told it would not be in for a couple of weeks. However, while I was there I saw the Gary Larson 2 volume collected edition, so I bought that instead. I look forward to buying yours soon.

Oct 30, 2008
If I can figure out how to log on to this blog I know you will be able to keep your voice. I lost my voice and did my time with the infamous Cooper and I still am talking, but am always worried about what or what not to say.
Oct 30, 2008
That's great news about your recovery. Maybe you can sell a few more books by telling people you're raising money for voice lessons. Now I'm going to type the word !$%* and see if it gets bleeped again.
Oct 30, 2008
Great to know that you got your voice back. Post a video/sound file when you reach your goal!
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Oct 30, 2008
I see you are still shamelessly plugging your new book. It won't affect me (I preordered mine some six months ago), but this being the best piece of merchandise I have bought this year, I must advise everybody else to get their own copy (and fast before Amazon runs out).

Your opening story is truly inspiring and revisiting the old classics with the context you supply is great fun.

Now, all I need is a bigger coffee-table.
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Oct 30, 2008
You meant you can't yell at the wife and the kids? very sad indeed.
Persistence is a good quality in most cases.
However, there are some cases when people must give up or they annoy other people to death with their persistence (they have some illusion that maybe some day it will work if they keep trying).

Oct 30, 2008
Enjoyed the interview Scott, as well as the news about your voice improvement, so congrats on the successful intervention by the moist roboticist.
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