Monday, February 23, 2009

Meditations On Current Directions In The Key Of Flu And February

I've posted this one a couple of times -- but I just really finished it this morning and I realized that by showing you the entire image I've failed to give you a clear idea of what this piece is like.

See, it's big -- I'm working at about four feet long and thirty inches high and there's a lot of texture and details. Click on this sample and see what it looks like at life-size. I hope to be able to print it tonight on a full sheet of etching paper.

Well, I was talking with the missus yesterday morning and I came to a few conclusions. I need to drop my Contemporary Color class, as much as I'm enjoying it. My back has kept me out of school for a while now and having three classes is just beyond my capacity.

And it feels as though it's time to get back to work on the novel. I've gotten a bit of feedback from some of my readers and they're confirming my feeling, which is that the novel is solid but it needs a bit of detail work and line editing. So rather than wait for everyone to get done reading it I'm jumping back in. If someone has a large-scale criticism that mandates big changes and I wind up having wasted some effort, so be it. I'll take that chance.

While I'm revising the first volume, I'm going to be working on outlining the second. As I said before, I'm hesitant about starting out with an outline -- but I've already written a draft and I know how it ends and I've got a good grip on the story arc. The outline will just be a means of making sure that I'm keeping all my balls in the air at the same time and not forgetting about any of the subplots.

I want to be able to start stalking Christopher Moore's agent as soon as possible. If you haven't heard of him, Moore writes novels that fall into a gray area similar to my own work -- his novels are typically humorous works with a bit of horror and action thrown into the mix. He's always got a few fantastic elements in play and a humanely moralistic viewpoint. In addition, there's a distinct West Coast vibe to most of his stuff, even if it's set elsewhere.

These qualities are not entirely alien to my work. And I've noticed that his novels stay in print -- he's still got his first novel out there working for him. Which is the way I want to handle my writing. So the first agent I'm going to submit to is gonna be his. If that don't work I'll have to find out who represents Neil Gaiman or Jonathan Carroll, and so on as I creep down the ladder of ambition.

I have to admit that there's something kind of humiliating about working so hard to write something really original and to then turn around and say, "Well, how does this fit into the market?" And then realize that yeah, they've probably got a slot for you.

I'm also having some doubts about pursuing fine art -- it seems as if it might be a real black hole for money and energy, especially given the current economic climate. Also, my essentially hostile relationship with much of art theory and criticism is something that will automatically keep me from participating in the higher echelons of the fine art world.

But these are just doubts. I'm going to keep on track until I've gotten a chance find out how galleries respond when I try and place the Bonelands show. If there's any interest in my work I can see my attitude changing fast. And let's face it -- I'm sick and it's fucking February. This is no time for me to be doing any kind of serious evaluation -- my attitude is just too shitty to make it worthwhile.

Of course giving up on the gallery and museum scene isn't the same thing as giving up on art. That's not going to happen -- I've tried a few times and I can't make it stick. The question is finding the proper venue for my work...

I don't want to give up working large scale, I want to be able to make the images I want to make -- like it or not, this makes fine arts sound like the way to go. If you discount the expense and probability of failure.

I actually have more hope for my paleontological work. I've decided that when I complete a series I'll try and market it as a children's book. We'll see how far that gets me.

We shall see.

The good news is that we've found the last story for the current issue of Swill. It's one that has been submitted to us multiple times -- it's so well-written that I wanted to take it but up until this version it just wasn't a story. Now it's looking good.

So now I need to do my line edits on that one, finish the line edits on my Swill story, start work on the finished Psittacosaurus reconstruction -- the deadline for that baby is coming up fast, for reasons I'll explain later -- go print tonight, even though it'll mean walking in the rain with the flu for half an hour each way, and so on and so forth...

I hate February.


robp said...

Christopher Moore's agent is named Nick Ellison. There's an interview with Mr. Moore here:

Good luck.

Sean Craven said...

Yeah, when I first started breaking this down, on a whim I tried Googling Christopher Moore's agend and lo and behold.

I'll see how I'm feeling tonight -- I'll try to get in to the Shirley reading.