Occasionally I get the urge to be creative.
Controversial statement: Photography isn’t creative. Photography is just stealing light with a box. Setting up sets, directing models, and predicting crowds to be photographed? That is creative, and good on anyone who goes to these lengths in their photography. The main requirement for creating is… ready for this?… creation. Making something that wasn’t there before. Capturing light that’s already there isn’t creative. We clear on that? So when I practice photography, due to the style I employ, I certainly am not being creative. Someone perched on top of the staircase waiting for that perfect moment, is.
For me, being the geek* that I am, that means drawing something. A comic. So I look at my paper and pencils and go, “Okay, what to draw?” Then I sit there for a bit chewing the idea over. Inevitably, it comes down to two things:
- Finish an old abandoned comic series that I quit making in the middle of serializing.
- Make a comic about expatriates teaching ESL.
Both of these have their drawbacks that leads me to playing video games, or going for a bike ride, instead.
Finishing an old comic requires that I somehow regain the audience the comic had beforehand. The internet, being what it is, means that there’s no central point I can drop a line and say, “Hay guise! Nu comix! Lol!” And there’s no reason for them to want to start reading again because they have no idea if their time will be rewarded or if they’ll be left hanging once more. For my part, it would be looking at the older art and trying to not be constantly mindful of where I went off the rails story-wise. And by “mindful” I mean “It preys on my mind like a parasite, devouring all enthusiasm”.
Also, it’s been years for both of them and their audiences were never that big to begin with. I’d basically have to start from scratch because the audience will essentially be new. In which case, why not redo everything that I didn’t like that caused me to abandon the comics to begin with?
As for the comic about expats: I’ve been playing with that idea for a very long time. A lot of things have stopped me. Not having a story for one thing. I suppose I could make it a gag strip like The Halifax Explosion up there. But then I’d just be going over old inside jokes that every expat would understand but people who have never lived our lifestyles wouldn’t.
“I went to the bar and I saw a sign that said, ‘Fuck off black people.’ Can you believe it?”
“At least they’re finally being honest.”
It would take some effort to make that sort of thing accessible. And if I was going to make that sort of effort, then why not make a story of it? Yet all I have right now is the idea of a comic about being an expatriate. The actual comic about being an expatriate is not in my head.
That’s were my creative urges stand at the moment. A mild desire stymied by not having any actual content to create. A while back a famous superhero comic writer responded to a question about how to deal with writer’s block with (paraphrasing) “Maybe you’re not actually a writer and you should do something else”. Of course this unleashed a lot of geek outrage, but thinking about it, I think the guy was right. Creation is an act of passion when you get right down to it. You need to love your ideas to the point that you’re absolutely certain that everyone else is going to love them too. It doesn’t matter if you’re producing shit. You got to produce. It’s in the blood and bone.
So maybe those urges I feel aren’t anything at all.
*”Geek” is a self-description that I’ve recently decided isn’t very good due to the large number of scumbags who are also geeks. Until a new term is invented, I’m stuck with it. I’m also rethinking the word “atheist” for similar reasons and I’d be happy if all those trilby-wearing assholes would fall of the face of the Earth.