Flying Mice


I posted this cartoon on social media but I hadn’t posted it here yet.

I found out Saturday night one of my best friends committed suicide. I had known Dorian Cleveland for close to 20 years. We had our ups and downs but were always friends. There was a time we saw each other almost every day. We were both musicians, though Dorian was light years ahead of me. He was also younger. When Dorian and I first met, we were already aware of each other. I knew him through his music and he knew me through my cartoons.

We had many adventures that included a lot of friends, music, late-night after-show parties, alcohol, fights, debates, arguments, and music. There was also music. Dorian was the type of friend where if I wrote down every story we have, I’d forget a bunch. I can only imagine how that is for the people who were closer to him than I was.

Dorian had a lot of friends. There were a lot of people in and out of my life since I met Dorian and this week, I’ve heard from so many of them. I forgot a few of them even existed. You know how it is when a person dies and you start hearing from people you haven’t talked to in forever, and then someone says, “It’s too bad it took this to bring us back together.” Yeah, maybe we should stop doing that.

Dorian was the best songwriter I have ever known personally. If he was somewhere other than Fredericksburg 20 years ago, you probably would have heard of him. That guy wrote hits. He was a rock star.

Dorian was an exceptional guitar player with feel and emotion. He had an amazing voice and every experience he ever had probably made it into one of his songs. Dorian and I had similar taste, not just in music, but in guitars. We both loved Stratocasters, 335s, and most of all, Telecasters. In fact, the first scratches on my main Telecaster may have been created by Dorian. But I didn’t care because that’s what happens when you play a Telecaster. You really can’t break a Telecaster which is another reason it was the perfect guitar for a guy like Dorian Cleveland.

There were times I couldn’t deal with Dorian but now, I’m going to miss him for the rest of my life. He was my brother. He was a brother to a lot of people.

His actual sister has given me permission to include the cartoon on Redbubble merchandise. All proceeds will go to his family or to charity. Prints of this cartoon cost $50.00. Make sure you include a note it’s for this cartoon if you do make a purchase of it.

I give my condolences to Dorian’s mother, Jan Cleveland, his sister, Melanie Cleveland, his She Bites Dogs bandmates, Chris, Stefen, Rick Rivers, and Rob Southall, and to his hundreds and hundreds of friends.

If you didn’t know Dorian then you don’t understand this cartoon. It’s “Flying Mice,” from one of Dorian’s most popular songs. And if you still don’t understand, that’s OK.

I didn’t create it for you.

Dorian, I’m sorry we never did that comic strip you wanted to collaborate on. I’m sorry for all the fights and competition between us. I’m sorry for all the times I hurt your feelings. I’m also sorry we never finished “Enchilada Mama.”

Rest in peace, my friend, my buddy, my brother. I will always love you and I’ll never forget you.



  1. Clay,
    I also lost a friend to suicide, a few months ago. I’m sorry for your loss. (I know that’s a cliche but I do really mean it.) It’s a hard one to deal with. I’m glad you’re talking with your friends, it does help both you and them to honor Dorian’s life and abilities.
    Take care of yourself.


  2. Thank you Clay for your very kind tribute to my son, Dorian. He is everything you wrote and so much more. He reached out to help others even as a young boy and with that beautiful smile, he made friends easily and they would remain lifelong friends.
    As his family and friends say, and I know you are definitely one of them, Dorian loved to engage with people, whether it was to ask how their day was going, or as with friends and
    family, get into a discussion (debate?) about whatever was on his mind that day.
    When he was 6, standing in the grocery cart at the checkout line, he looked back at the long line and with a big smile announced that he could recite all the books of the Bible for them? When the customers smiled back and nodded, he began, and when he finished they all applauded and rushed in for a group hug. I was in tears, watching my little boy bring smiles and tears to people he’d never met.. It was the love in his heart he wanted to share with so many people throughout his life. We’ll love and miss you forever Dorian 💔🙏🎶


  3. Beautifully written Clay. Thank you for the cartoons and thank you for your friendship so many years ago. Dorian will live on in our hearts and in the music he wrote, played and sang.


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