I’ve been out of town for quite some time and have a lot of work to make up. So, here’s a post from the old blog, dated June 24, 2006. I was being whiny because I had pnuemonia and work wasn’t going well. And sometimes I need a reminder.
The blog is rather silent for the last few days. I have a lot of work to do.
The last time I got pnuemonia, I was 20-something and it took a year to recover. I did not get it nearly as bad this time as last time, but I just don’t have that old energy meter up and running like I should. This sucks. I take afternoon naps.
The next time I complain about my job, I will sit down with my dad and let him tell me stories about life as a cop. This week’s thrilling tale: digging up the dead bodies of three infants from under the front porch of a retarded couple who kept having children and discarding them under the house. Apparently, they had figured out how to have sex, but they had not figured out where babies came from or what to do with them when they arrived.
My brother is also back on the beat, having graduated first in his class at the police academy, getting a fancy plaque from the hands of the mayor and a city councilwoman who looked at my brother like he was something good to eat. I realize he is buff from all that working out, and he looks fine in his newly tailored uniform – but ladies, control yourselves.
Three days after going back on the force, bro was removing a man from the top of his toilet where he had decided to treat himself to a jailhouse-style suicide. The suicide did not succeed, and bro and partner got the fellow cut down and delivered to the men in the white coats.
I will not complain about my job all week, the one where I get to sit in a comfortable room all day, draw comics for good money, and take naps when I get tired.
I struggled hard to get to this point, and it is all very nice now that I am here. But it does now seem a bit ridiculous to have indulged in years of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth to draw comic books; or, more precisely, to have had to run such a gauntlet to draw comic books.
Perhaps people set the bar so high because the stakes were so low.
Lives aren’t endangered here, just egos. Maybe that’s why the path to success is so brutal. Maybe that’s why – when people don’t get the success they want after the struggle – it drives them nuts. Don’t most artists think they are special? What happens when the world tells artists they are just like everyone else? If everyone is special – that patronizing platitude springing from kindergartens everywhere – then no one is special (yeah, I saw The Incredibles.)
When I hear an artist complain that their name didn’t get on an awards nomination list, or they didn’t get invited to some convention, or they didn’t get the sales they think they deserve, I prepare myself for the inevitable public nervous breakdown that accompanies the dearth of special treats and recognitions. It’s like watching the kid who couldn’t get good attention demand it with bad attention. And then I wonder if they know what real pain is – or maybe they thought the dreamland of art world success would take all their pains away.
Not getting success as an artist is a Chinese water torture kind of pain. The little drips of disappointment wear away.
Then again, maybe some people just have the wrong definition of success.
If hard work precipitated financial rewards, then cabbage pickers would be millionaires.
Hard work guarantees nothing in art and entertainment. Talent doesn’t guarantee anything, either.
The kind of work we do is a different kind of hard work, a difficulty that can’t really be measured (or even imagined,) by people who have never done it. I’ve dug ditches and plowed fields, but there is no comparison to that and writing and illustrating books. Most people can’t even imagine physical demands from writing or illustrating, to say nothing of the psychological stress.
Of course, there is no stress in my work that comes anything close to the stress derived from digging up the bodies of three infants.
So, my thought to myself for the day is, shut up and count yourself lucky, girl.