The cartoonist Lucy Knisley has very quickly risen to my attention in the past few months. I have a copy of her book, “French Milk,” though frankly her work on her LiveJournal has been some of the best regular entertainment I’ve come to count on. That she’s able to come up with such insightful, personal and funny stories on a regular basis, arranged and drawn in an old-school panel format with engaging, vivid illustrations, invokes the kind of bewildered amazement that makes me wonder how she can manage the drive to get it done without getting paid for the work, dismay that she doesn’t have a model to get paid for it, and feel guilty that I haven’t paid her for it.
Not being an artist myself, the sentiment is probably too focused on money. Except, well, money matters. For at least the past 500 years, artists either find an established, institutional means to be paid regularly for the effort they could spend in less creative fields, find sponsors and manage themselves as cottage industries doing other things besides art, or keep their day jobs.
Lucy knows this as well as anyone, and has cartooned on the subject at least once before, in reaction to more experienced cartoonists bemoaning the loss of the syndicated newspaper comic strip as a viable form of expression with a regular paycheck. Her reaction to them isn’t too far off from my reaction to her latest cartoon, about being asked by a stranger what she wants to be “when she grows up,” and the discouraging comments that follow her answer — a cartoonist.
At least, I think they’re similar reactions. I’m not a cartoonist, and can’t even remember pretending to be interested in drawing, even as a kid. But I did spend 10 years working in newspapers, and recently started another career in an entertainment field where it’s considered appropriate to discourage others who express interest in it. And I have lots of friends who are creative professionals, and read and have read lots of comic books and comic strips. So I think I might have some insight on the subject.
I wonder how many readers realize I borrowed the title of this and the previous post from an issue of “Transmetropolitan,” where Spider Jerusalem does a travelogue of The City and all the crazy hobos who lives there (actually issue 41, February 2001, if you want to look it up.) There is a reason, he concludes, for their bizarre perception of the world around them and the conclusions they draw.
I often wonder how crazy I sound, to readers as well as to myself, including my past and future selves. I get over it pretty quick, though, as I’d much rather sound crazy than boring.
I said there was another reason I don’t write so much here anymore. I may as well say what it is.
OK, that’s a kick in the pants. Let’s see if it makes everyone pissed off about Mike Capps and Tim Langdell finally calm the hell down for a little bit.
I have not, as some people might well think, been slacking off.
It’s not just the clutch of internal excuses and traps that Jay Smooth calls the little hater. It’s not just that I have very little say to my dwindling local audience that I’ve largely turned my back on, most of whom are still friends of mine and who I can pester through other Internet media all I want.
Those are the obvious reasons. There are others not everyone knows about. Here’s one. Not promising I’ll make it to part 2.
I ran into Gordon Walton recently. You might have heard of him, he’s kind of a big-deal guy around town, especially in my circles.
We asked each other how things were going. We’re both busy, though him arguably far more than me. Not much to complain about.
He asked if I was still writing.
I said, not really.
He said, “At least I know I’m not missing anything.”
My Facebook friends are probably getting plenty in the way of details, but everyone else (a rapidly declining number) might not be getting much at all.
Right now I’m in a coffee shop retraining my huge hands to use my netbook keyboard. I might finally be able to use this thing to take notes the week after next, when my Project Management class begins.
This is my second summer living in Austin, and part of me just can’t relax. It’s a part that’s easily swayed by Texas martinis and nootropics, varied entertainment options and a hassle-free workplace, though. I imagine it’s kind of like post-hypnosis. The days when I used to quack like a duck on command are long behind me, and by “quack like a duck” I mean “seethe with disempowered rage.”
I’m sure other people would react differently to such a dramatic life change. This year, I’m sure most in this country experienced one that they’ve had to endure — but I’m also sure I’ve groused about other people’s problems before, without useful conclusions.
Meanwhile, my journey of self-reflection has progressed with fits and starts. I’m currently testing out the notion that the way I talk, both with inflection and choice of words, makes me sound annoyed more often than I really am. Still not sure if it’s actually true, but being happy makes me more self-conscious about such things. I am also aware, as well, that I’m getting old and fat. Being a guy in his 30s, this is not something I feel comfortable questioning others about.
The classical radio station is on too loud in here, and my Step by Step Microsoft Project 2007 book is sitting like a big blue and white lump on the table. I’m probably the happiest I’ve been in years, and the only thing I wonder about is how long it’ll last, which means I still don’t really know how to smile.
Maybe once summer’s finally over.
Been field testing new equipment around Austin lately, so check me out. Latest update: Amy Sage and Mike Boyd of Fiesta Explosion, covering “Game of Love” by Santana. Taken with a Flip Ultra 30-minute model, uploaded with my MSI Wind U123.
Haven’t seen this much news about square footage in a long time. So Vigil Games, owned by THQ, the latter flush with cash for selling one of their studios and firing 200-some people just four months ago, is going to move into a new 33,000-square-foot office space in Austin, in somewhere called Four Points Centre. (Austin Business Journal had the official word on Friday, not that I noticed.)
What the gaming sites have yet to point out is that Four Points Centre is barely what anyone would call “Austin,” at least not counting suburban sprawl. Its own location map advertises the fact that it’s way out in the sticks, and if anyone would care to check the Google Maps version, you might get double-checks their estimates on drive times.
Edit: In all fairness, I’m not (officially) making a qualitative statement about suburban sprawl, just that while the developers most likely expect that the area will build up and become a growth center in the next few years, it isn’t much of one now, and while a 15-minute drive to anywhere might seem fine to anyone from, say, L.A., Texans would call it ‘livin’ in the country.”
But, in truth, the place where I go to work, out on Loop 360, was just hills and trees less than 30 years ago. ‘Course, back then they thought it’d be made into a freeway. Didn’t quite happen that way, and it’s still pretty nice country out there.
Trion World Network announced their new mumorperger, in connection with E3. PR-speak cut out, they’ve got a nifty server architecture, the game will be class- and subclass-based but will employ a “unique class system that allows the players to play every character class in the game,” there’s no release time set but you should set up an interview time in their suite on the convention center concourse anyway.
Only clear message: They really wanted a game with the abbreviation “HoT”.