First comic of 2013! --> Cold Air
Companion/sequel to From a Tiny Room in the Moony City, in which the Moony City herself, Minneapolis, portrayed here as a French-identifying disembodied voice, writes me back and tells me (in a very Nordic-way) to buck up and deal with it.
On the 31st of December, I'd just finished with nigh on four-weeks of physical exhaustion and work-related emotional wounding and a mysterious lump on my face I'd of course, in a month-long fit of dread, labeled as Of-Course-It's-Cancer-Lump. I'd fought hard to get New Year's afternoon off of work, and, it being my favorite holiday alongside the Fourth of July/Solstice - I like fireworks, perceived-new beginnings, and temporal pivot points, mostly - I was hopeful and excited. I wanted to regain my footing in every way I could. It was an opportunity of the utmost importance. I'd thought so sincerely about tossing things I'd held dear for so long to the wayside, just to try and buck the emotional havoc dogging me. I was ready to throw away whatever it was hurting me, even if I was ultimately mistaken about it. But the New Year, looming and bright, was a perfect window out of which to throw my pain and watch it break on the sidewalk.
Stress begets bad decisions and bad decisions more stress, unfortunately. I woke at the crack of dawn, reeling with a mother of a hangover, and went to faithfully put in rent that morning. Nothing was better. Magic had transformed none of my problems, seeming only to busy itself with concocting a magically-resilient headache, and I felt low and listened to An Awesome Wave on loop. It buoyed me, only in the way that an untethered buoy roils around a corner of a lake - without direction but also without making any progress in any non-direction.
Long-story short, it was the first crisis of faith that cut deep enough to wound the part of me I'd always seen as my unending, special resource - my resolve, my commitment to that part of me wired to create. It sucked. I was afraid. In stark contrast, the comic I'd written in August, upon achieving something dear to me and moving back to Minneapolis, seemed stupidly optimistic and just plain wrong. I thought I'd made the biggest mistakes of my life, but I couldn't name them. I just felt I was stupid, wrong, and fucking it all away.
But, I sat my ass down at the chair in front of my desk. There was another, distinct maelstrom of resolve-cutting crap around that room - crawling from one mis-managed hovel to another, I'd found no respite in any of my usual hole-away spots. I had nothing else, though, but to draw. To put on big, chunky headphones and loop An Awesome Wave, or Astral Weeks, or The Seldom Seen Kid. And, with a little more wisdom to know I couldn't run on so little sleep, so little food, so little rest, that crisis settled. And slowly, quietly, but not always sweetly, made its ugly face scarce. I didn't make money from this drawing, and this drawing may never net a red cent in its life, but that makes it no less valuable having spent the time drawing.
The moral of this being there's no reason to give up that thing you love, even if the thing you'd be giving up gives you intent pain now, or for two or three consecutive-nows, like pain from setting your hand on the hot stove and forgetting how to pull away. In the light of this article making a round on the Interwebs (which personally seems too much like an admittedly slightly contrarian response to Faith Erin Hick's blog entry on perseverance), I thought I'd write an account of how not-giving-up is worth a burnt hand. Because it is.
Change your mind? Re-evaluate? Alter your self along new value-lines? Throw your sail to the wind and take another waterway? Hell yes. She's trying to say those things about the complicated economic truths of the comics industry, to give her credit. But give up? Never. I won't thank you for using that lazy, inhumane phrase. Because comics are, at the core, in the end and above all, art and literature and not commodity. And telling would-be artists to give up is a waste of time.