Way back in October 2006, I launched the Melancholy Greetings card line with a single floor spinner, 24 different designs, and the hope that I might sell 500 cards by year's end. Given the cards' unapologetic sadness, I wondered if selling even a hundred cards would be possible, let alone five times that number. And yet, remarkably, despite their bleak content, the cards continued to sell. Before I knew it, sometime in December I'd surpassed that initial goal of 500 cards. Soon, the cards were available in stores coast to coast, something I never dreamed was possible. The card line eventually expanded to include the unmotivated undead, apathetic animals, and morose Martians. (Seriously, why should humans hoard all the angst and ennui for themselves?)
Over the years, the one question I get asked the most is whether the subjects depicted in my greeting cards are based on real people. The short answer is no. But in actuality, I think the hapless individuals that comprise the bulk of Melancholy Greetings probably resemble someone you know.
Perhaps, in one of my hand-drawn, dun-colored epiphanies, you recognize a down-on-his-luck uncle, or a rattled roommate, or a disenfranchised friend. If so, perhaps this coincidental similarity may inspire you to share your unexpected discovery with that uncle, or that roommate, or that friend.
At the end of the day, it's important to remember that "misery loves company" is not an excuse to indulge in schadenfreude. Instead, think of it as a call to empathize. Sending someone a greeting card won't save the world, but it's a terrific way of saying, "This folded piece of paper made me think of you."
A few hundred designs and many thousands of cards sold later, I finally retired the Melancholy Greetings card line in 2018. Luckily for discerning Depression Enthusiasts, the cards now live on in book form, as a collection of 46 postcards called, fittingly enough, Blank Cards for Empty Lives.
You can learn more about the official postcard book here. But be advised, optimists: happiness sold separately.
MELANCHOLY GREETINGS related content and illustrations © 2020 David S.E. Zapanta. All rights reserved.