The Outbreak: Inauspicious

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Yesterday I found out that my submission (with artist Shawn Cheng) to the anthology True Porn 2 was rejected. I'm going to be honest and say that I didn't see this coming at all, to the point where, from what she'd heard about it from me, my wife didn't even know that the piece getting rejected was a possibility.

Beyond the general, form-letter-style "unfortunately we don't think your piece fits in the book" or whatever they said, there was really no explanation given. Amy asked me if I wanted an explanation, and I thought a bit and decided that no, I don't. I was happy with the way the comic worked, Shawn was happy with the way the comic worked--'nuff said, really. It's disappointing, more so because I have no idea where else we could publish a pornographic autobiographical comic (and it truly is pornographic, by the way), but I'll live. (I dunno, maybe I'll hit up Sammy Harkham and try and get it in Kramers Ergot 6--you got to shoot for the moon sometimes.) The bottom line is that I'm proud of the work, which is an exciting and unfamiliar way to feel in the face of rejection.

The funny thing is that a few weeks ago, as I started seeing the first completed pages from Shawn, I realized that if I spent the rest of my life doing whatever for a day job but making three or four good comic short stories a year, I'd be perfectly happy. I mean, I'd like to write the great American graphic novel, because if you don't have ambition, what's the point, but I could live the rest of my life simply producing things like the porn short story I did with Shawn and the sci-fi short story I did with Matt Wiegle and the Bowie biography short story I'm working on with Josiah Leighton, and feel fundamentally satisfied with myself as an artist. Of course, it would be nice if other people could see these things too, but I'm not even convinced that that's necessary at this point.

So my concrete goal in the short term is to start writing more short scripts. I shot a handful of short films on video in college, and I think nearly all of them could be translated into comics rather successfully, so I'd like to start adapting those. Right now it's just a matter of digging up the videotapes and watching them and working. I've found that that's harder than it looks, of course. A day job plus freelance writing gigs plus a wife you enjoy spending time with plus, y'know, TiVo and a 20-graphic-novel slush pile and about a dozen unwatched DVDs from Christmas, and, and, and you've got to prioritize is what you've got to do.

Anyway I planned on writing all this out last night, but my computer melted down for the fifth time since we bought it in September of 2003. So I've taken the day off from work and I'm at the Apple Store, blogging while I wait for all my old computer's information to load onto the loaner they're lending me while they put together a replacement computer. All told this has been an interesting day in terms of inspiring self-confidence in the fate of my new git-up-and-go writing attitude. Haw, as they say.

Last night as I was driving home from work across the Tappan Zee Bridge, the sun was just going down, and the moon was out, and it was huge, a huge Tattooine moon.


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