Poorly Wisdoms

You have a project or projects in the works. You want to get eyes on this project, especially if you intend to crowd fund it. You blog and tweet the project(s)’ progress in the hope of building up an audience. Write about shit that interests you first and hopefully you’ll be start drawing in readers. 

I had/have little to non art to show for Rivers of Beer so I wrote a dozen or so blog posts about. I spent hours planning the pieces and checking my fucking grammar. I bored *myself* with that shit. It was all just straight information.

I’m excited about my book but I’m not that excited about discussing my book online, at least at this point. I picked up no followers here, and none on Twitter that weren’t people following me back.

Then I started just sitting down and writing whatever came to mind. I dig what I’m writing. I’ve gone back & read those posts just for fun. I got a follower out of the blue and there you go.

Here’s what you *don’t* do: I did a couple of posts about how the work of Austin Kleon and Steven Pressfield has improved the way I go about creating things. Every word of praise was true, but I mainly wrote the pieces to try and get some of their followers in my corner.

I got *none*. I

believe those posts, honest as they were as far as content stank of desperation. Click bait, they call it. Pandering. I tell myself I won’t try something like that again but we’ll see.

*****

We got a new artist on board for the beer book. This is a guy I’ve loved working with before. This isn’t the type of comic that I’ve seen him work on before and I can’t wait to see what pages he picks and what we come up with. 

So when I was a kid, riding back and forth to school and such in an old green station wagon (not cooler than the minivan, not lamer than the minivan though a dog did once puke on my leg in the back section) I listened to the radio and imagined that the singers were actually at the radio station, performing live.

These days, when I listen to music, I imagine it being performed live, even though I’m not that crazy about live shows. The older I get, the more unseemly the live performing of music seems.

Anyway, if the song I’m listening to is particularly good I imagine *myself* performing it, in front of a crowd of people who are acquaintances, but there aren’t many of my loved ones in the audience.

No idea what that’s all about other than some underlying insecurity and fantasies about blindsiding people with a talent they weren’t aware of.

(I keep hoping to blindside *myself* with a surprise talent. I want to subconsciously say “Shazam!” and when the smoke clears I’m awesome at bowling, or carpentry or accepting myself for what I am and making *that* work for me. )

Books and TV and movies and stories, the ones that I love anyway, leave me with a small new way of looking at the world. For better or for worse, I get new ideas and new perspectives and new things I want to rip off.

When I listen to music that I love though, my world changes in a more abstract way. Good songs give my world a new pair of shoes, a new piece of furniture, a new brand of toothpaste.

The best songs put something cool in the places where I live that may fade into the background but never quite disappears. A plucked string never stops humming, the stars from a flashbulb never quite stop popping. 

Being a storyteller, I’m surprised that I don’t tend to create little videos for the songs I hear. The sound and attitude of music has played a big part in the tone of a lot of my stories though. 

I don’t listen to as much music as I used to. Podcasts dominate. For *those* performances/anecdotes etc I do picture the hosts and storytellers and interviewees. If I’ve never seen the person with my own eyes, the visual I cast for them rarely comes close to reality. Just like with stories, I go away from good podcasts with a new way of of looking at myself.

****

I’d like to still be able to call this a work blog, so have a little bit of not music related script:

ONE: Our caveman, Crunk (sorry) is sitting on a rock, looking bored and surly as he munches on some dry barley from a crude clay jar. He has the jar on the rock next to him as he looks at the wad of grain in his hand. He does not appear to be enjoying it much. Maybe he has a little burning black squiggly line over his head. There are some flowers growing around the base of the rock.

CAPTION: Many historians believe that we first consumed beer when we were still hunter/gatherers, before agriculture, when barley was picked and eaten raw rather than baked as bread.

TWO: Crunk lights up as a nice looking cavelady goes walking by. She seems oblivious to him though.

THREE: Picked flowers in hand and cartoon hearts around his head, Crunk takes off after her leaving the jar abandoned on the rock.

FOUR: Close on the jar getting rained on.

CAPTION: One theory is that a forgotten jar of barley was wettened…

FIVE: Same shot; close on the jar as the sun shines down.

CAPTION: …resulting in fermentation.

 

I’m committed to blogging everyday, *but* without art to show off or other project progress to crow about, it’s getting a little boring. I threw together a list of topics but if the shit bores *me* it’ll certainly bore those folks who *ain’t* me. So I’ve got some new anti-guidelines for my blogging:

  • Try not to even think about the day’s topic until I sit down to write.
  • I don’t have much of a writing style, but I *do* have a talking style. So here’s to writing the way I talk: lots of slang, run on sentences, digressions and a lot more ”?” and "…" than ”!” and ”.”
  • Be more honest but *not* more obnoxious. I hate it when people equate being tactful with being disingenuous.

We’ve got around 35 segments of “Rivers of Beer” that need artists. Of the 7 people that I’ve reached out to (strangers all) I’ve heard back from 3, 1 is already working on his pages, 1 is interested but hasn’t committed, 1 (graciously) declined, and four haven’t followed up at all. With this trend, if my math’s right, I’ll need to hit up 245 artists to cover all of the slots unless some are willing to take more than one assignment.

Why is it so difficult to get people to work for free for a stranger?

Friday Report Card

I discovered Rick & Morty on Adult Swim: 1/5 Hotel Californias.

Bravo is still on the air: 4/5 Hotel Californias.

I’ve stuck with my low carb diet for 4 days straight: 1/5 Hotel Californias.

Constipation probably just cashed in it’s air miles for a direct flight to my colon: 5/5 Hotel Californias.

The pug has yet to reveal herself to be the pupal stage of an oversexed cucumber demon: 1/5 Hotel Californias.

The pug has yet to manage to pee on the fucking pad, not 2 inches from the fucking pad: 5/5 Hotel Californias.

2.3/5 Hotel Californias? It’ll do.

To help out with the Kickstarter campaign for the “Book of Dragons” anthology from Bronco Ink I offered to write a six page script to be offered as part of one of the reward tiers. The publisher, Scott O.Brown and I go way back; he’s published two graphic novels by Mal and I including our debut.

The campaign was a success and last week my editor April introduced me to the artist I’ll be working with to fulfill his pledge reward. I don’t have anything that would work in a six page format and my brainstorming was going nowhere.

I don’t get writer’s block as much as I get overwhelmed with options when I have free reign to write whatever I want to. I’m indecisive on my best days. One fix for this situation is to make a list of possible stories ideas, no matter how lame they may seem, until I have 5 or 6 to work with. Then I set a timer on my phone and work on each idea for five minutes, no more or less, before I move on down the list. The runts of the litter become apparent pretty quick, some might even eat one of their sibs, and nine times out of ten I’ll have decided which of the little swine gets a nice bucket of slop and which ones get hung upside down over a washtub.

My other remedy when I’m suffering a lack of inspiration is a simple walk. Whether I’m trying to brainstorm a list of potential stories or developing the idea that I’ve decided on, a good brisk walk gets me where I want to be more often than not.

I tend to listen to audiobooks or podcasts when I walk and it occurred to me today that maybe this is a case of my limited attention span working for me. I’m listening to the show, my mind starts wandering, and I come up with something solid to work with. I was ten minutes into my stroll this morning and I had my eureka moment. I keep mulling it over and by the time I got home I pretty much had the whole story plotted. I just e-mailed it to the artist; hopefully we’ll have some pages to show off soon.

Fuck you writer’s block.