370. Hammer Time!

Another day all family, but with time to think of how to find and use time not with the family whilst carrying laundry back and forth. It is a delicate act but I am learning it.

Okay, so I have written at length about this and I don’t really feel like going back through all my posts trying to find the correct summary or ensure consistency. Part of the purpose of The Blog is to show the development of decisions over time, all the time trying to have focus on what feels good, positive and promising – even when things are messiest and most chaotic. It is not the purpose to present finished solutions, without showing the process. Plenty of other blogs do that.

So fine. Very good. And now what?

Well, to sum up – on this day:

– I have maybe only about 0,5-1 hour to myself over the course of an entire day

– currently I’m struggling to balance, in some joint understanding with Char, the need to work to earn (my own) money and the need to support the home front. Looking through my calendar I’m not getting much more than 20 efficient work hours per week, hardly enough for marketing, pitching and client work to earn a full-time income as a freelancer, which in this country is at least 4K USD/month (and this is low, by the way).

– Jay is starting in daycare in early April at the latest

– my home office is a mess, but I do have time to use it … on occasion. Otherwise I go to the library. However, when I have time to use it, it often does not feel good because of all the mess. So getting that corner of the first room of our two-room apartment which holds my office (a desk) … getting that in order has high priority. And I’ll have to do it, then, in a few days’ time before Christmas, when Char and Jay is away with other family.

– I currently feel like satisfying my need to tell stories of importance to me – first and foremost – and cleansed of most secondary, useless motives (such as the lust for fame and fortune). But I have limited that to continuing my Carrie-novellas, and not beginning on this new novella-series with a Japanese protagonist, anyway. And the themes about ordinary persons remembering and dealing with past lives will then be woven into Carrie’s story. I feel this is a really good fit for her direction-less life and need to ‘be someone’ before it is too late. She will get that need fulfilled but not in the way she thinks or even wants. Good story-material there. And the novella-format is a good fit for me, after I gave up on writing a novel in 2015. I already have written 30-40 novellas. I have momentum.

– Then there is art, which has been the subject of much fretting. But I do feel I have cleansed myself completely of useless secondary motives here, as well – motives that only made it harder for me to decide on, prioritize and carry through an art project. First and foremost these motives had to do with the need for self-affirmation and getting some affirmation for doing something good and useful and important with my art, whatever that was – and like I had experienced in school, when everybody and his mother told me how good an artist I was and asked me continually what I wanted to use the art for, particularly my gift for drawing. I should have told them I planned not really to use my gift for 20 years while I took an education, looked for more meaningful and profitable work and started a family. But I guess even my perspective is limited … pff. Well, in any case I do feel free to create something new here, just for my own sake and not really any of those useless secondary motives.

Problem is, of course, that art takes a LOT of time which I don’t have currently. I can barely keep up with this blog and shaving, and I only manage The Blog because I cannibalize some of the hours where I should be trying to make money. So when I sit in the library and do webdesign work I try to get an extra hour or two in before I go home and then I blog.

I figured originally, which was some weeks ago, that because of this it would be necessary not to do anything creative without making it a part of the Blog. So if I drew something I should blog about that or if I wrote a new novella, or started on one, I should make that part of The Blog. I still think that is valid.

I think it is an illusion I will get time before April to seriously write novellas, unless I take the time for that when I should blog. And then I have to make a blog post which is a short excerpt I have written that day and comment on it.

As for art, well, I have felt I should take up some incarnation of my dimension travel story again. I tried drawing this last winter and stopped. I tried reinventing a story about it, with other characters for a short novel this spring, and stopped. I really want to continue, though, especially now that some of my inner blocks, so to speak and see above, seemingly have been eliminated. But there just isn’t … the time. Again.

In the last week or so I have had a pad of paper lying around, so whenever I had 5 minutes at home and away from Jay I could sketch something, on yet another version of that dimension travel story or whatever. But I have not sketched much overall, although it has been good to just have the pad and to sit and put the pen to paper, even if for a very limited time.

Then I have also had the treacherous thought of doing something that was not so serious and more pure fun with that still-very-incredibly limited time to draw. I have had for some time now an idea for a scenario I call “Hammer & Magic” – like, what if there were sorcerers and magicians in revolutionary Russia. The tone would be Harry Potter-ish but with serious themes. For example, whose side are these magicians on when the revolution claims lives? Why not whip up bread by magic for the poor masses or teach them to do it themselves, instead of accepting that people have to choose between an autocratic Tsar or a dictatorial Lenin and their demands? There’s a lot of potential here and it could be fun. It is fun.

I could do it over on alternate-history.com and in bits and pieces and then combine writing and sketching, so I would not do full comic book layouts, only in certain instances. Usually it would be more pin-ups. If I can live with that less ambition, art-wise, it could be a perfect deal. Right now.

I would also have a small audience but not do it for fame and money. But audience and feedback is always important to keep motivated. That goes without saying. Just don’t get too focused on either.

So what is holding me back?

Well, I guess nothing really, except the fear of failing … of it all petering out for the nth time. Because of Real Life. Or some more, as of yet unknown, inner schlock I have to clear out to finally, without hindrance, just go and draw and tell stories like I loved so much when I was a teen. Maybe there is also a bit of sense of betrayal towards that dimension travel story I have tried to tell in different incarnations for so long.

But with those 30 minutes or so a day I have to myself I really need to do something fun. And I don’t want to go back to porn, or TV-series, or buzzing around the web in order to re-charge in that time. I want to DO something. Something that matters.

But also something that is fun. I think that will recharge me more. The dimension travel story is, like the past-life story, very serious stuff. Despite the themes the style of story-telling in Hammer & Magic would, as said, be more, well, ‘light’ … more like Harry Potter, which combined that style with some pretty heavy themes. And did it splendidly.

I think I will just have to try this, with the time I have got. I will also combine this with blogging, so each new snippet and bit for this story, including art, will become the basis of a blog-post. I feel I can defend this choice as long as I write some meaningful commentary on that post which is in tune with The Blog’s general purpose, to create 14012 uplifting shares of experiences from a life.

So this is one of them. I feel good about having reached that conclusion. Art is a very difficult area for me to prioritize, especially now. Art and writing … And there has been so much inner distortion and lot of it I have written about this past year and it does not make me proud. Lots of feeling of failure as well, of unused potential.

Feelings which were founded on some real lack of effort or just coming from an inner critic, which I have silenced much in recent years but probably will never completely exorcise from myself.

But I am getting better at handling him – that inner critic.

Originally I felt like writing a post which was very dark, lamenting why I could seemingly never here in my middle years find some kind of priority-mix for creativity that worked and fit the rest of my life. Then the uplifting part – LOL – would be some conclusion about accepting that never-ending search and just appreciate that I was creative and had had many good creative experiences.

Fortunately I did not write that. I wrote this.

And in this the conclusion is that I am almost there.

Given my current life situation and priorities I HAVE to put first – such as earning money now, and taking care of family – given all that and given the limited hours, if not minutes, I have for anything else, this feels like a good combo.

I will write a bit of novellas, which I am already good at and use that process for blogging.

I will write a bit of Hammer-story and do all kinds of illustrations for it, comics pages or otherwise, whatever feels right. I will use that process as well to tell about some interesting and hopefully useful experiences here, on The Blog.

And it will be bits and bits and bits and not much more. But it will be moving forward. And that feels damn good.