Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 30, 2013

A Brief Update On The Condition Of S. Clay Wilson

imageReceived this letter from S. Clay Wilson's caretaker and guardian angel Lorraine Chamberlain.
I was thrilled to see your blog entry about Patrick's biography of Wilson. Perfect timing, as the San Diego Con gets fired up. Thanks for doing that.

However, I'm concerned about your mention of Wilson's "mysterious health issues" from which he is recovering. I'd like to be more specific so people won't assume he is fairly well now, and even able to draw. He had a traumatic brain injury in 2008 which put him in a coma for weeks and left him severely impaired. (the mystery is whether or not he fell numerous times, or was mugged.) While he was able to draw fairly well for a little over a year afterwards, he has been in a steady decline for over three years now. He can do nothing for himself, and has aphasia, which leaves him unable to talk except to answer Yes or No to a question. When he asks me something, it's very hard to understand what he is saying, since he mostly uses wrong words for everything. Last year, he had emergency surgery to install a shunt in his brain, as fluid was building up in there. He has not been the same since, and has additionally become quite frail and unsteady on his feet. Mostly, he watches movies. I try to keep him moving around, and take him out in the back yard sometimes on a sunny day, but we live a very isolated life now. He can no longer draw at all, and is easily confused by the simplest things. Friends rarely come to visit, although he usually enjoys seeing them. (Since he used to be such a motormouth, many are startled or uncomfortable with how quiet he is now. They aren't used to getting a word in edgewise!)

I try to keep him cheery and clean and feeling loved. It's a 24-hour-a-day job.

I made a website for him where people can read updates, look at photos & drawings, and donate to the Special Needs Trust I set up for him. The address is Please take a look at it! Next week I plan to put another Paypal button on there, so people could "subscribe", and donate an affordable, monthly amount without having to think about it. I have to go to the Apple Store and get someone to help me install the "subscribe" & "unsubscribe"buttons, since the instructions are maddeningly complicated. (They helped with the "donate" button last time.)

I hope you will add this information to your blog. Feel free to edit it down, if you need to. I just feel it is very important for people to understand the reality of this heartbreaking tragedy.
Yeah, the only mystery I was talking about is exactly what happened to Wilson, not his condition. My bad. I should have been more careful in the phrasing. I hope you'll visit the web site. Wilson is an important American artist.
posted 1:33 am PST | Permalink

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