Saturday 29 December 2018

Farewell 2018; you won't be missed

This has been one unpleasant year.

For the last ten years, I've always had a creative project on the go, something to feed the soul.

Not this year.

I had a sequel planned for Theo Paxstone, and I wrote an outline for it. That took several months to work out all the details, all the characters and arcs and subplots. It was epic!

But it got very divisive feedback from my readers, which derailed everything.

Why? I felt ambivalent about the outline to begin with, and the dose of negativity and alternate suggestions (including many valid ones) sent me back into The Possibility Zone. The story could go in a thousand different directions.

Usually it takes time for me to settle on one.

After all, the possibilities are all so intriguing, so interesting. Many of them could be fabulous. Look at how prominent franchises explore alternate, mutually incompatible storylines. Writers want to play with possibility and not be restricted by what others have written before. Movie franchises will ignore certain installments, just as comics do.

Once I settle on something, however, it's full speed ahead. Everything clicks into place, like into slots, and is then hard to dislodge. But if there's no grip, if my gut isn't settled, I slide around on memetic ice, trying to find elusive traction.

So I love when I finally feel certain.

Possibility is wonderful, especially in the initial exploration stage, but you can also be paralyzed by choice.

After the Theo Paxstone II outline got blown to possibilities, I decided to shelve it and let my subconscious digest it for a time. Instead, I focused on a steampunk art show, which sucked up far more of my time than I'd originally intended.

I tried to start another book, a screenplay, and then a graphic novel.

All derailed.

So frustrating.

I got slammed in my day job with more work and responsibility, along with blatantly unnecessarily batshit insane deadlines that I am still furious about.

It's a conundrum: day jobs want to suck the life out of you, but you need them to live. They want you thinking about work 24/7 and to never leave. In exchange, you get a life-giving salary; but what is the reason for living, then?

First world problems, I know.

There is so much I should be grateful for.

I am struggling now to find some small avenue for creativity, a tiny piece of intellectual real estate that I can still call my own.

I have a new graphic novel idea. I have the outline, the story, but not the particulars. I'm exploring visual possibilities, the look of it; I know what I want, but I'm not sure I can get there.

The key thing will be to make sure it fits within the time and energy constraints I am now under.

I am very much hoping for a better 2019.

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