And now, today, I felt again afraid that I - for some reason - would not make it. Would not draw all the things I really want to draw. Or write all the things I really want to write.
Very afraid ...
And I think I know why ...
I felt afraid because I was not spending enough time doing it.
For when I don't spend enough time doing it, then ... it is obvious to feel afraid: "What if I die tomorrow or next year? ... Without having ... "
I see that now.
And I shared that.
I hope you can use it. I can.
"There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life. A day that closely resembles every other day of the past ten or twenty years does not suggest itself as a good one. But who would not call Pasteur’s life a good one, or Thomas Mann’s?"
- Anne Dillard
I am still only doing Hammer and Magic - art and illustration bits - in my spare-time when I need to relax. I am going to be deliberately and hopelessly "unprofessional" about how I work on this project, because I know from experience that ... nothing else works, if I want to stay motivated under the circumstances of my life.
If I can make a buck from some income stream or other attached to the site where the story and other things reside - then fine. If not the project will have served its purpose anyway, namely to give me energy when I need it. And give me the opportunity to express that desire to do epic storytelling (and illustrate it a little) that apparently I cannot escape (nor do I want to).
I won't rule out ever publishing on Amazon again, but my desire just for control alone seems a far cry away from the raw deals The Company is offering authors these days. And I don't think it will help to just sit down and hope they will treat authors better in the years to come.
That is another good form of beginning, I suppose: To constantly imagine what I will draw, even if I don't have time yet to draw it. Or have even decided how ambitious I am going to be, and can possible be, about it.
But these are seeds, and they are nurtured at times when I am slogging through the winter rain to get some thing or other for Jay's dinner from one of the few super markets open.
And thus they grow.
So money, miscast loyalty to others, and devotion to productivity methods that may work for others but not oneself.
Those three agendas sucked out a lot of energy from the YA novel, until I shelved it when other parts of reality killed the last of my motivation, notably my need to focus on my own business, on getting settled in yet another new apartment and dealing with the personal and relationship fall-out after (at first) not having been able to have Jay, after many treatments. Oh, and a couple of close family members died, too. Just sayin' ...
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.
The easy and yet difficult question is that of Stephen "7 Habits" Covey is to ask yourself what you want people to remember about you at your funeral. I like to imagine my spirit seeing my body and thinking back on what I achieved. And spending countless of hours with the 'B's - boners, buzz, breaking news and battleships (any kind of random entertainment) - that just won't hack it.
I'm not a puritan, that bears repeating. But the fact is that I badly want to draw more, now that I have thought and obsessed about this for years and I badly want to do better at business. I have already watched and read thousands of hours of porn, news, and entertainment. Oh, and good books, too - books that are important for your spirit and education and all that.
And I have 20 minutes every day to myself. After Jay starts daycare I might have an hour or two at best, because I still have to spend more time making money.
So those are facts.
They should make it easy to choose how to spend that time for some years in the future.
I have resolved to draw 25 pages or so and then see if I am not dead. If I am not dead I can draw another story, perhaps at a greater pace.
And I am going to do it the old-fashioned way because this has become, after all the soul-searching you know about, something mostly for the sake of my soul - a meditative practice if you will that makes me feel good and rejuvenated, in all the ways.