I went back to the drawing board tonight, quite literally, because, well, I didn’t know what else to do.
Here’s the deal: I cleared out my calendar for most of November, assignment-wise, for two reasons: First, because as those of you following along witnessed, the first two weeks of November (well, starting the last weekend of October) were insane. Two comic conventions (Long Beach and Vegas), an art exhibit opening, a release party, playing the release party, a comic book store signing, and of course, all the prep leading up to both the events and the release of the comics behind them. The second reason? After all that, and honestly, the last few months of running nonstop, I was going to force myself to take a break. No freelance assignments. No music gigs (actually, not given a choice in this). No new comic work. Nothing that I HAD to do until December. For fun, I decided to give National Novel Writing Month a whirl, but that’s the only relatively time-sensitive project — and one to only myself I’m beholden — I left for myself this month.
But, of course, literally the day after the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival, I came down with my annual head cold. That’s expected, and it was nothing major — stuffiness, a bit of coughing. My only concern was being better by the time of the Utopian #4 release/signing at MaximuM Comics, and I was, and it went very well (thanks to Jay and his staff at MaximuM, to everyone who came out, and to the groovy media folk who covered the event, especially NerdLocker, who conducted this awesome interview). But not two days later, my stomach started giving me inexplicable trouble. I felt abnormally hungry despite eating all day, but my digestive system felt unsettled. I thought maybe I just was short on protein or something. So I went to dinner with Sara to celebrate her new job, but afterward I just felt worse. It felt mostly like indigestion, but it wouldn’t go away. I went to bed early, hoping to sleep it off. Instead, I woke up at 3 or 4 a.m. and … well, got rid of whatever what bothering me.
That left me kinda weak and malnourished the next day, which I spent drinking only water and watching DVDs. I tried working on the novel, but that didn’t get very far. I did manage to eat some soup and crackers by nightfall, but that’s it. I went to sleep early, again (even after sleeping in and napping for a good three hours), and even though my stomach was still a bit wonky today, it seems like I’m mostly back to normal, though I didn’t eat too much, had soup again for dinner, and don’t really have an appetite.
Problem is, between the physical health issues and the lack of hard deadlines, my ability to focus on anything has been severely compromised. When given a specific project, I can go to town on it and power through it — as I did when I spent all day Sunday recording music with and for my band. But otherwise, I’ve been in this weird limbo, working on things piecemeal, which isn’t much different than usual, except I feel like nothing’s getting done. But the point was to not worry about that, right?
This weekend, Sara and I are planning to drive down to Southern California for some pure R&R — hang out with friends, go to Disneyland, eat at our favorite places, just have a good time before spending Thanksgiving with our collective families. We’ve been planning it for a while now, and hopefully, two things will happen by the weekend: One, I feel a lot friggin’ better than I have the last week or so, and two, I can stop worrying about my nonexistent projects, and just relax. I’m hoping one enables the other.
Anyway, because I can’t wrap my head around this stupid sci-fi novel I decided to start writing in lieu of something more grounded I could have easily written, and because I haven’t actually sat down to draw except for doing sketches at signings and conventions, I went back to work on this story I’m developing as a pitch for someone besides myself to publish. I already did loose layouts for about five of the pages months ago, but I’m tightening up all of the (digital) pencil work, because I’m actually handing this off to an inker to finish. And it feels good to just lay down scribbly lines to form pictures. As much as I love writing, I’ve noticed my affinity for the written word has waned in recent years, for a variety of reasons I’ve theorized. Meanwhile, my ability and interest in visual art has been getting stronger, likely because it’s my most natural strength and I spent so many years away from it.
Alas, no one — outside of the sweet people who have humored me at art shows and conventions — pays me to draw stuff, so surely I’ll be back on the writing horse in no time, whether or not that bronco bucks me to the ground.