I'm trying to think about when it was all possible. When the last time that was.
Probably before I launched STRANGEWAYS, when you could debut a graphic novel into the comics marketplace with no name other than the artist doing covers (Steve Lieber). There's been times before that. But it doesn't feel like there's been so many afterwards.
Sure, I was able to get a story into an anthology and that got turned into a novel(la) sale. That's...two sales over the last several years. There were a couple of sales to that software/IP company but that never turned into anything (but might've if I'd actually lived in the area. Bummer, y'know?)
But when I turned in STRANGEWAYS, I was thinking that people would pick up on it, maybe get some attention. But then I thought that putting out the whole thing on the web for free (particularly, as free content for a money-making website) was a good idea. Perhaps it is if you're selling a particular type of comic, but certainly not the one I made. Hell, I didn't even have merch to sell alongside.
So, yeah, I think about possibility and the abiilty to envision outcomes and where that went. I don't have answer for it. I really don't. The whole forming up positive outcomes thing is something that went away a while ago. I didn't even see it slip out, snagging keys from the console table and quietly closing the door behind it so as not to wake anyone.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I wrote both STRANGEWAYS books. Made me some friends, got me into some shows. Got me a job that I wrote and never got paid for (if it even got printed) so that part's fun. Got me the ability to call myself a comics dude, whatever the hell that means anymore. Still not sure what to do with that last one. I mean, I got to write a scene where a vampire sets fire to a catholic cathedral because the church was getting in his face. That was a good time. Very few people noticed. Thanks to those of you who did.
Art by Luis Guragña from STANGEWAYS: THE THIRSTY
It's been a struggle to get back into something resembling regular work. And I won't lie. I'm very good at finding distractions and submitting to them. Writing is real and hard work, and after a lot of real and hard work on Life, Actually, dropping back into a constant grind where your work is seemingly neither wanted nor appreciated isn't exactly easy. I know. Boo hoo. It's a constant hustle. Always be closing. Never sleep. Always be generating that good content. Why I should consider myself lucky that anything with my name on it even got out there much less read by anyone.
Such is the nature of the Howling Pit. You can do anything. And nobody's under any compulsion to give a rat's ass or pay you for it.
Or even notice that it's there. That's probably the worst of it, y'know? That the work becomes invisible as soon as it gets out there, like pee in a crystal blue swimming pool. Everyone's moved on already. What are you working on next? Hey, when's that thing coming out?
But then I'm no better than anyone else in that regard. Omnivorous, ravenous, insatiable. Bored but hyper, as noted by Gibson. That was probably the rightest thing he's ever put to paper (and he's put down a lot that's been proven right, even if seven K of hot RAM ain't what it used to be.)
And maybe, to quote Neko Case, I never held it at the right angle. Maybe the game isn't one I should be playing at all, and I was only too dumb to recognize it until recently. Thinking about things disappearing into the Howling Pit is only a way to generate despair, and that plus rage are the only things that it seems to be good at. It's not just drinking from a firehose, but that firehose is streaming out bees.
I'll be around, but I suspect in a vastly reduced online footprint, one where the illusion of interaction isn't the main driver. Don't get me wrong. I've also made friends out there, friends who I likely won't have much interaction with unless I continue hanging out in the maelstrom. That's unfortunate.
Stay tuned. Things are under construction.