Monday, June 21, 2010

State of the Oaf

So, whatcha think of the new look? Please glance to your right and notice the link to my spanking new Redbubble gallery, where the Bonelands series of prints is currently posted and ready for purchase. Also note a few changes in my blog roll -- I've added a couple of pals, deleted a few people who -- while certainly worthy -- were not particularly close to my circle.

See, it turns out that I passed 20,000 hits when I wasn't looking so I figured it was time to class the joint up. The banner? I didn't use 3D software; instead, I used Illustrator to draft a three-point perspective grid, then I drew the shapes in Photoshop, rendered them in Painter, and then brought the thing back to Photoshop for the lettering. Fun times.

So here's what's going on with me.

There's no need to go into the hell of last winter. If you're a reader, you've got an idea, if you're not, you don't need to read my pissing and moaning.

Things are different now.

I have a number of very specific plans to try and make some money. I'm going to be putting all my old art up on Redbubble and possibly DeviantArt galleries, and there will be prints available. My friend Deborah has recently approached me about doing a series of place mats with a dinosaur theme. I'll do those, and then use them as samples of my art when I try and sell a children's book on dinosaurs. And I'm entering the UC Extension editorial program this fall, and while I'm doing that I will be investigating the possibility of writing and editing manuals and tutorials for graphics software.

And I won't be going further into debt while pursuing these options. My sister has finally agreed to sell our family house in Merced, so I'll have enough money to get through the editorial program.

I will also be able to make a few changes in my studio that will make it a more effective creative space. Blinds on the west window so I can work in the late afternoon and early evening, a pillow to support a drawing board so I can sketch while at my workstation, a new stand for my light table so I can use it as a surface for blocking out plots with Post-It notes and file cards, and whatever I need to do podcasts. (That's right, by the end of the summer you'll be getting some spoken-word Oaf.)

The novel is cooking right along. I did some important writing yesterday, and will be doing a thorough re-reading in conjunction with the new plot outline generated at Taos Toolbox. I have every confidence that by the end of the summer, I'll be starting to circulate both the novel and the film script.

And Taos Toolbox was perfect. It set me back on my feet, made me feel that plot is learnable and the novel is under control, and the sheer pleasure of doing something well with people you respect is a difficult thing to beat.

I'm a little further along the process of coming to terms with myself. I am, like it or not, a classic crazy genius. If you were to go back and read this blog from the beginning, you'd find a fascinating if not always pleasant history of what seems to be a series of bipolar episodes. I run the gamut from sleepy croaks to extreme lucidity to hysterical ravings, and if you plot these out you do seem to get a sine wave.

So I am going to be experimenting with therapy, as well. But right now I'm riding the sweet edge of a manic state, and it's a hell of a lot of fun.

I'm grateful to all the people in my life who are patient enough to put up with me. I'm a rewarding person, I hope, but I'm not what you'd call easy on the nerves. Oh, well. Dealing with me is not always like dealing with a person. I'm a bit of a force of nature, a larger-than-life character, and that's just the way it is.

In the past I've felt kind of crappy about the fact that the personality I present to the outside world is one I deliberately tried to construct -- it's only bad craftsmanship on my part that keeps me from being arrestingly charismatic -- but I've come to realize that I had to assemble that personality from the parts I had laying around, and some of those parts are actually fairly admirable.

Yeah, I'm a weirdo. Even in the company of New Agers, stoners, junkies, writers, artists, and SF people I still stand out as an eccentric. What the fuck. You know what I am?

I am brilliant. Smart, talented, imaginative, and skilled. I have an excellent prose style, a fine control over composition, a rock-solid rhythm. I'm a brute, but I'm a good-natured brute. Having me around is like having a pet bear. And at the same time, I like to take care of people. I'm the kind of person people ask for advice, the kind of person children and animals automatically trust. People tend to open up to me if I'm around them for more than twenty minutes or so. That's because I really listen, and I really care. My raging insanity is balanced by a mind of exceptionally fine discipline, and the intense pressures involved in that balance are the source of my art.

I'm a man you don't meet every day.

My powerful drives toward self-negation and self-destruction are hard on the people who care for me. I'm sorry, I'm sorry -- but that is something that's going to come up. It just is. I can take responsibility for it, but sometimes I'm going to need help.

The thing is? I get that help. People think I'm worth the extra effort. I am so grateful for the kindness of those around me that it's hard to deal with sometimes, but it's enough to keep me going, to keep me motivated, to keep me interested in life. Every kind word and gesture extended to me carries a vital importance that I cannot ignore.

So think of it this way. If you're going to care about me, expect a fucking rollercoaster -- but you can count on a scenic ride. Yes, I make extra demands on the people around me. I wish I didn't. But I'm a rewarding person to be around in ways you won't get from anyone else. It's my job to be as good a person as I can be, but I simply am not going to be an easy person, and I'm through thinking I should be. I am big and hard and complicated and frequently difficult, because that's who I am.

I just have to try and be worth the trouble.


Steve Buchheit said...

Be yourself, Sean. That makes it worth the trouble.

EFKelley said...

So, you're saying I need a shirt and shoes to visit here now? That's just no fun.

Rich Baldwin said...

I'm glad to hear the novel plotting has helped you out.

Sean Craven said...

Thanks, gents. Your kind words mean much.

Steve, it is totally worth it. It's just a little more work than I thought it would be...

I wouldn't look at it that way, Eric. It's more like you can come in here barefoot without worrying about getting some kind of horrible foot infection.

And Rich, you and everyone else really, really helped. It's gonna show in the finished product. Thanks again.

Glendon Mellow said...

The blog looks *awesome*.

Sean Craven said...

Thank you, Glendon. I'll confess it's The Flying Trilobite that got me thinking that I could spiff things up around here.