Thursday, December 31, 2015

What Now?

 Ah, New Year’s Eve.

We’re just about to turn out the lights and lock the doors for the last time on 2015. This time of year is calm like a flat tire: quiet and motionless because all the air has been let out and it ain’t goin’ no further. It’s a great time to sit and reflect. Or, if you’re anything like me and you’re terrified at the torrent of existential thoughts that rush in to fill up the vacuum of silence, it’s a great time to do busy work with the radio on while you tap your fingers nervously and your left eye twitches.

We always claim that the end of the year sneaked/snucked up on us. But it takes an entire year for it to do so. If the end of the year were a monster in a horror movie and took an entire year to chase us down, I’d be rooting for us to have our faces eaten. I’d be yelling at the screen and pointing, certain that the characters inside the magic talkie box can hear me: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? IT’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU! AND IT HAS BEEN FOR LIKE A YEAR!” Plus, the end of the year happens, like, every single year. Why are we always so surprised?

Mebbe because we never really know what the year is going to throw at us. I’m also always surprised by how much gets crammed into a single year. Like Mary Poppin’s carpet bag (if her bag contained things like holiday travel and colonoscopies instead of lamps and other household durables). For instance, here’s 2015 in a nutshell:

-Finished the book.
-Got rejected by like a million publishers.
-Put together and ran a (successful thanks to you) Kickstarter campaign.
-Printed the book.
-Sent the books to you.
-Had my first book signings.
-Got engaged.
-Learned peanuts grow underground.

So…what happens now?

Welp… I’m not too sure. See, we’re past the part where I know what the eff is happening. I mean, at least when I was working on the book or trying to get it printed, there was a clear-ish start and finish. But now it’s this big, open-ended…thing. I guess it’s a process? One where my connections and social capital are really going to come in handy.

So…if any of you happens to own a large publishing company and you’d just plum forgotten up until this moment, drop me a line.

While I’m holding my breath for all those mucky-mucks at the publishers to come crawling back, I’ll continue to do signings and promoting the book where I can. It’s now available for sale on my website (there’s also a list on that page of the other outlets where “Saturday” can be found) if you know of anyone who’s looking for a book that’s non-standard in just about every way.

There’s a part of me that’s super cavalier. There’s also a part of me that’s fairly cautious. Maybe a big part.

The latter is like having a driver’s education instructor constantly inside my head, depressing the passenger-side brake pedal every time the car is in any gear other than “park”. I picture him as having a well-trimmed mustache and wearing a tie with a short-sleeved shirt. He has my safety in mind and means well. But were said instructor to have control of the wheel, I’d never get anywhere interesting.

He’s fond of rules. And following them. There’s a set of rules for just about everything. Here’s the set he wrote about books (this is in the manual under “Creative Endeavors”, Chapter 64, subsection C):

1.)   Do not attempt to write and illustrate your own book.

If you decide to disregard Rule #1 (doing so may invalidate your warranty and result in serious injury or death), be sure to read, understand, and obey the following rules:

1.)   Choose an acceptable, pre-existing genre and subject matter.
2.)   Decide the size and format of the book based on ease and cost-effectiveness of printing.
3.)   Choose your target audience and tailor every element of the book to their interests.
4.)   Send the idea out to agents and publishers for vetting. If the idea does not garner interest, shelve it. If an agent is not interested, no one will be interested.

But, like I said, he doesn’t have control of the wheel. I do. And it’s about time to get back on the road. I kinda feel like starting on that next book. And not paying much attention to the manual (again).

I’m afraid of a lot of things. Spiders. Clowns. Contracts that involve a lot of legalese that I’m expected to sign. Responsibility. Germs. Clown germs. But when it comes to drawing, I’m not afraid of much. Not because I’ve carefully considered the dangers and know how to diffuse them. Not because I’m brave. It’s because I know there’s fun to be had. My pursuit of that fun is stronger than my fear of what might happen if it goes wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with the rules. But I don’t think that following them will get me anywhere that interests me. There’s fun to be had in another direction, so I’m headed that way.

It’s just that, because of that passenger side brake, I’ll be going there very, very slowly.


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