In April 2020, cartoonist Sarah Leavitt’s partner of twenty-two years, Donimo, died with medical assistance after years of severe chronic pain and a rapid decline at the end of her life. About a month after Donimo’s death, Sarah began making comics again as a way to deal with her profound sense of grief and loss. The comics started as small sketches but quickly transformed into something totally unfamiliar to her.

Abstract images, textures, poetic text, layers of watercolor, ink, and colored pencil—for Sarah, the journey through grief was impossible to convey without bold formal experimentation. She spent two years creating these comics. 

The result is Something, Not Nothing, an extraordinary book that delicately articulates the vagaries of grief and the sweet remembrances of enduring love. Moving and impressionistic, Something, Not Nothing shows that alongside grief, there is room for peace, joy, and new beginnings. 

Events

Book launch in Vancouver! September 26, 2024, 7pm: Reserve a free ticket
More events coming…

Advance Praise

A gorgeous, heart wrenching, deeply human meditation on love and loss. There were pages that lifted my spirits and pages that pierced me to my core. Sobbed through the majority of reading it, but couldn’t put it down. Leavitt’s mapmaking of the landscape of grief is a gift to us all.

MAIA KOBABE, author of Gender Queer: A Memoir

Sarah Leavitt has created a beautiful monument in this book: a primal portrait of grief and a powerful testament to a hard and lasting love. This book is a beautiful, deep, and powerful use of the comics form.

NICOLE J GEORGES, author of Calling Dr Laura

Reading Sarah Leavitt’s gorgeous memoir, I was struck by its silences. The places where language stopped or stuttered. The quiet that ambles forward beyond the death of a loved one. So many panels hold the weight of an absence impossible to fathom. The not-knowing. How death feels at once too true and not at all. This is the best kind of book, with all its unsettling comforts. We’ll all need a book like this one day. Thank our atoms that Sarah Leavitt has gifted us this one.

MICHAEL V SMITH, author of Queers Like Me

Something, not Nothing is a stunning visual and poetic mapping of belonging, attachment, love and tremendous loss. Through tiny portraits and vignettes, Leavitt charts a course through the emotional chaos of grief, anchored in an atmosphere of love and a practice of presence. The result is not your typical book about grief, but an artistic treatise challenging readers to live and love more courageously, especially in the most difficult of times.

LEANNE BETASAMOSAKE SIMPSON, author of Noopiming

A powerful love story culled from the complicated honesty of medically assisted death. With unexpected and sometimes funny wisdoms as tender and searing as they are poetic and radiantly documentary, not since Maus have I felt so much in the pages, panels, and gutters of a comic book. Leavitt has made a memoir of heartbreaking wonder.

CANISIA LUBRIN, author of Code Noir

Sarah Leavitt’s book is like nothing I have seen before. Hues, lines, textures articulate her deeply personal journey through grief just as much as the words—there is such wisdom and beauty here, which is only surpassed by love. What a gift to the world.

HIROMI GOTO, author of Shadow Life

The fact that I wrote this blurb through tears should be enough of an endorsement. This book’s visceral illustrations and words are scratches on the prison walls of grief; a declaration of unending love to one who is lost; an apology for moving on; a messy commitment to joining the land of the living. Fellow grievers: prepare to be seen.

CATHERINE HERNANDEZ, author of Scarborough

This book is so beautiful. It’s hard to find something profound to say about a work of art this profound. I just think you should read it.

ZOE WHITTALL, author of Wild Failure