Tomorrow, the mystery shall be revealed!Well, it's dawning on me that the Special Secret Event that's gonna be unveiled tomorrow is going to affect the way I write this blog in an unexpected way. Since it involves having the header image, title, and the first few words of text from this blog appear in what I suspect will be a family-friendly venue, from now on I'll be hesitant to use titles like, "It's My Motherfucking Forty-Fifth Birthday."
There is a certain tragedy in that.
I'm pretty pleased by the last year. I'm tempted to go over my little triumphs point by point, but a) if you're interested, you probably already know about them and b) I may as well save the energy for real masturbation. Let's just say I took some decisive and effective steps toward achieving my ambitions and received unexpected kindnesses from people who helped further my cause.
So what do I want out of the next year?
I want to get my novel off to an agent. This is under my control. I want to get an agent. This, not so much -- but given the quality of the work I'm doing it's not unlikely.
I want to figure out a good venue for my art. I'm not convinced that the fine art scene is where I belong. I'm usually not happy doing work based on specific requests, though, and I'm becoming addicted to seeing my work in large formats. So regular commercial illustration isn't the place for me either. I need to find a way to do what I like and be able to sell it.
If I were to be given a free hand to do illustration and design that would work for me -- but I'm not sure how one winds up in that position. 's what I do for Swill, but that's a special case.
Speaking of which, I want to try and get Swill better distribution. I hate that marketing crap, but it's a really good magazine (he said, eschewing false modesty) and it deserves a wider readership. Right now I'm tentatively trying to get copies to people I admire who I think might like it, since my doing so in the past has produced startlingly positive results, but I want more. I'd like to see it picked up as an annual anthology by a small press publisher with established distribution channels. That would at least put us in a position to throw a few bucks at the writers we publish. The lack of name writers makes the magazine nifty in one way and hard to sell in another. We'll have to see.
I want to develop my drawing skills. The trouble with having so many areas of creativity is that when you ignore a skill set it degrades. My drawing isn't what it has been, and drawing skills provide the basis for much of what I'm doing these days.
Ditto graphic design.
I want to have some kind of product in the marketplace by the end of the year. Nothing wrong with Swill or any of the other fine publications that carry my work, but I want something that people give me money for. It's not a good year for it, I know. And I'm not imagining that I'll be making a living at it. But I want to make that step.
To be more specific, I want to have two calenders available next year. One based on the Bonelands series of prints or the next series of pieces I'm doing for Swill, and one based on the paleontological drawings I'm doing for The Big Secret Project (to be revealed tomorrow!).
I want to have short fiction in at least four different venues.
I want to make some kind of sally at cartooning. An ongoing strip or a comic book is probably too ambitious, given my other projects, but I want to at least take a few stumbling baby steps.
Which is part of a larger long-term creative goal -- to start figuring out how to take my art and my writing and use them in conjunction with one another. I have a big project coming up where I want to use a technique that draws on both illustrated prose and comics... We'll see.
And finally, I want to toughen up a bit emotionally. I am a delicate hothouse flower. I'm polite to the people around me and expect courtesy in return. I've been dealing with a few snotty passive-aggressive creeps and it takes a lot out of me. Some of this comes from the occasional anonymous commenter on the blog -- but most anonymous commenters here are pals of mine. I'd rather deal with the occasional turd than cut my friends off.
So I need to learn how to rise above that shit and shrug it off without resorting to tracking them down and cutting their fucking guts out with a cheap steak knife so I can whisper endearments and prod at their ruined bodies with the dirty tip of my boot and laugh at their screams as the dogs feast...
What am I saying? That's crazy talk. I don't need to grow hard and callous in order to be able to live in the world. I just need to get better at finding these people. Anyone got any tips?
And if you want to meet me, I'll be at the LitPunk reading tonight. It's at the Makeout Room in San Francisco (3225 22nd Street at Mission, about two blocks from the 24th St. BART station), 7:30 to 9:30.
See you there!