...and, unfortunately for that passing mini-van full of nuns, my soul happens to be located in my caboose! Haw haw haw!
But no, seriously:
Peeps, I'm having a bit of a struggle at the moment.
Lately, I've been busier than I've ever been. I've enjoyed some real success of late, certainly since the start of 2013. I'm lettering enough books on a regular basis now, and winning enough freelance gigs, that I finally seem able to reduce the hours I work in my horrible, horrible day job. I've had some AWESOME feedback from certain publishers, and I know there's either the assurance of more work down the line, or a willingness to find something for me to do.
A very large portion of the work that I'm getting is stuff that I can approach with enthusiasm and real energy. And I've had some neato breaks away from lettering as well. In fact, creatively, things are going pretty well. I'm getting stuck into my own comics project. I've got time now to sit down and draw. I've even had time to undertake a few commissions. It feels as if, with a little discomfort and a lot of effort, I've managed to by and large achieve what I set out to do six years ago.
And yet... life is not perfect. Not that I ever imagined it would be.
Lately, I've been dwelling on some less pleasant aspects of all of this, and trying to work out a proper perspective on them.
For one thing, there are some aspects of my life that haven't changed. I'm still doing my part in caring for my grandmother, who is in a very advanced state of ill health. I'm also trying - on a daily basis - to keep my father's spirits high as he does his own bit. While I'm pretty tough-skinned emotionally, this stuff still takes a toll. And, of course, I'm still working that day job, dealing with a public that grows less and less amenable with each passing year. It's a REAL problem trying to preserve my own outlook and positive attitude in the face of this. Truth be told, I'm not a naturally upbeat person anyway, and this stuff frequently erodes the effort I put into getting past that. Sometimes - often, in fact - I fail. It's a huge challenge, every day.
Some days, by the time I get indoors, I feel so exhausted that I have to really force myself to boot up the computer and start working. Or I have to make myself sit at the drawing board. Once I'm there and I've started, I find the work comes easily. More so than ever before, in fact. But, it's the GETTING started that's hard.
That said, the work is getting done. No doubt about it.
Why, right at this moment, I have a 22 page comic to draw, 3 monthly books to letter, plus a bi-monthly, Lou Scannon and another project on top. I'm handling the lettering and pre-press on an original graphic novel. I'm co-ordinating (with sizeable help from Paul Vromen, Brandie Dixon and Seb) the Transformers Multiverse fan project. I'm writing scripts. I'm also - excitingly - putting together THREE pitch packages with my artist buddies, and prepping submissions for different publications.
So... yeah. I'm busy. And I'm having a lot of fun into the bargain. But it's tainted somewhat by the daily trials.
I also wonder, in spite of myself... is this worthwhile? Does anyone CARE?
Is all this work actually cutting a groove in anyone's memory? Is it making an impression? Does it stand up? Am I any GOOD at this? Am I even good ENOUGH at this?
Now, I'll be completely candid here - NONE of the above are actually reasons why I do what I do. I figure, if you do anything in a creative arena - ANY creative arena - for approval, you're screwed. Really. Because that way lies frustration and madness. I was involved in music for 10 years, and the problems that caused for people around me were just unbelievable. Not just on a professional level (and 'professionalism' in the creative fields is one the great lies of the 21st century, in my opinion) but also personally.
But, at the same time, there are some thoughts you can't help but entertain, even if only in a small way. Some frustrations will always be inevitable, and I find I can't help myself. The doubts sneak in, insecurities surface, and before I know it, I feel paralysed.
And, indeed, though it may be poor form to mention this publicly, there have been some very NEGATIVE experiences, too, which haven't helped. I've had some quite unexpected problems with certain people I felt sure would never create issues. Sometimes, I think this has been down to jealousy. Sometimes, perhaps, I've voiced frustrations to people I thought would understand them... only to find that, clearly, they do NOT, and they don't want to hear what's on my mind if it requires the slightest bit of effort on their part. I may have done that for them a dozen times, but it counts for nothing.
I've noticed a change in temperament with some people as well. Where some folks were on hand with positive remarks and a helpful attitude... some are now more predisposed to hostility. And I have absolutely no idea, rationally speaking, why that is. Certainly, nobody tells me.
I find it all, to be honest, a bit strange.
It's not my intent to turn this journal into a pity party, because, to be blunt, I don't need pity. Or want it. And I don't want to hold a grudge against anyone for entirely common human failings.
I'm pretty self-sufficient, in fact. Creating comics, writing scripts and developing my ideas is what I love. Lettering comics, and using that to add something to the stories told therein, is also something I love - and am grateful to be paying my bills with it now.
I'd actually go as far as to say that being able to write, and draw, and letter, has been a real crutch for me in recent months as I've weathered a few bumpy periods in my personal life. But then, maybe that's part of all this... perhaps that creativity has been the constant through a few too many difficult times, and the association is starting to form in my mind.
I dunno. Like I say - not looking for pity, here. Just venting out loud, I guess. And it NEEDS to be done out loud, because part of me wants some of you guys to know I feel like this sometimes. Getting the stuff done that I have to do, or want to do, is not easy. I walk away from my computer sometimes feeling like my brain is on fire, or like I could sleep for a month.
So... is it just me? Do any of you guys get this? I've got comics pros and jobbing freelancers in my friends list here, I know, and I'd really like to hear if this stuff is an issue for you guys as well. Naturally, I also appreciate if you'd rather not say anything about it publically.
Hoo boy, was that ever a load off!
Listening to: Alex Lifeson
Reading: Judge dredd
Watching: Total Recall 2070
Drinking: San Miguel