an account of a week and a half

Sunday, Jan 29: Protest.

Tuesday, Jan 31: Hung with friends, watching them buy supplies for their Physical Art Doings at the art store. Impulsively buy cool mirror with dragon on it. Seriously it is fucking rad, it's circular and has the dragon splaying across it, dividing it into a ying/yang sort of pattern.

Thursday, Feb 2: finally unbox cool mirror. Contemplate places to put it. Come to vague decision, don't feel like nailing anything up. Leave on floor in foyer.

Friday, Feb 3: the inner Magician vaguely wonders if it's really a good idea to leave this mirror right at the door, reflecting the energies being filtered by the big picture of the semi-divine version of my dragonsona that's hanging on the inside of the door. Other things like “hanging with girlfriend” and “buying some magic chocolate with high THC and CBD content because my throat hurts when I smoke and there is no way I'm doing the Trump regime sober” distract me from this. There are ten little chocolates in the bag; I will go through them over the next few days.

There is pretty much no point in the rest of this journal entry where I am not at least a little high, until the last day.

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I hadn’t intended to go to FC. I hadn’t gotten a table. Hadn’t negotiated for a room with anyone. But there I was, going down to the airport, with a con ticket and room share I’d set up maybe a month before on impulse. “What the hell am I gonna do without a table to give my con structure?”, I wondered.

The day before I’d been doodling some Parallax stuff, and had found a loose, storyboard-like look that I was considering doing it in as a comic while spending most of my energy on Absinthe and Drowning City. And somewhere on the way to the airport it hit me: one of my younger comics friends had been muttering about how she really missed working on her own comic, but did not have certain mental prerequisites for that at all right now, what with the political situation and her own situation. What if? What if I did quick Parallax page layouts and scripts with Nick, and had her finish them? What if I paid a few different people to do this, put them online for free, then set up a Patreon for the project?

I fired off a message to her, and started pondering who else I’d make this offer to.

On the plane, the Magic Sketchbook passed the “can I do comics in an airplane seat” test with flying colors. I’ve got one more panel of Absinthe drawn than I did last week, and I’m pretty happy about that.

Got to the con, hooked up with my roommates, dumped my stuff, had food, hit the Thursday evening dance, went to sleep. Somewhere in there I looked through the schedule and picked a few panels I’d maybe want to hit up. That’s what people do when they’re not at a table, right? Panels? Sounds okay, I guess?

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adulting is weird

For a long time I’ve been theoretically polygamous, but not actively – ever since I broke up with Rik and Nick, I’ve really just been sleeping with Nick. But recently I’ve started having naked funtime with another friend. I now have both an ex-with-benefits and a friend-with-benefits, and which is a lot of benefits for someone who used to think she would never have any kind of relationship!

Not too long after realizing this, I asked two questions: when’s the last time you got tested for STDs, and what’s the state of your marriage.

The first one is pretty obvious basic courtesy, really. If you’re gonna sleep around, keep yourself clean, you know? One of us should have probably asked it before we’d had our heads crammed between each others’ legs, but, well, these things happen.

The other one… I felt super adult for asking that. Because I’ve been in a position where I was flirting with someone who turned out to be in the middle of their main relationship getting wobbly. And the last thing I want is for “having fun in bed with a friend” to turn into “arguably being a component in a friend’s relationship failing” – I haven’t actually been that, but I’ve backed off from things that looked that way. That’s just totally the opposite of having a good time.

(For what it’s worth: their answers to both questions were fine by me. And so were theirs.)

Anyway. Happy New Year.

Dispatches from pole dance class

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve been attending pole dance class pretty regularly for the past few months. I’m building strength and flexibility, as well as toughening up my skin – your body is not normally ready to support it’s entire weight by the friction of about thirty square inches of arm or leg flesh clenched around a slim metal pole!

Today my teacher praised the way I go at it: most people tend to stick to the moves they know, and avoid the ones they haven’t perfected yet. But I’m repeatedly making myself try the ones I can’t do yet, and asking for crit.

I suspect this is because I’ve learnt two things in my many years learning art: how to learn, and how to not wrap my ego up in my skills.

I mean, I have learnt from master cartoonists, I HAD to learn how to detach my ego from my drawing skills. I’ve assimilated the idea that “people who have done a thing longer than you can probably kick your ass at it without blinking”. Plus I know that while I may be a pole noob, I can draw rings around anyone in class; my ego can afford to suck here. And that probably helps a lot.

The other big thing: How to learn. I’m taking the same tack I tell kids on DA’s forums again and again. Keep doing the stuff you love to do, but also push yourself to the parts of the craft you hate. It’s perfectly okay to hate to draw a subject once you’ve mastered it enough to do an okay job when you have to, but saying “I hate drawing this” to cover up “I can’t draw this” is not okay when you claim to be An Artist. Turns out that this applies to anything. Know what parts of a craft you’re good at, and either push at the ones you’re not good at yet, or accept that you simply aren’t that interested in mastery right now. You don’t have to be great at everything you do – but know that you can be if you’re willing to dedicate the time to it. (Modulo things like “I want to be a great marathon runner but I am paralyzed”.)

Anyway. Now I think it’s time to learn what I’m going to dream about tonight. Going to pole dance class and walking home takes a lot of energy – though not as much as it did when I first started doing it.

exciting new mistakes

So over the course of the past few months, I made a $6000 mistake.

When I was putting book 2 of Rita together, I somehow managed to completely leave out one page in the middle of chapter 10. Which is the one where the timelines involved are constantly weaving up and down, creating a strong rhythm; there’s no way I could get away with a page missing in the middle of that, even if the story still made sense without it. See where the red/orange/yellow stream turns up over the blue? That page. That page was missing.

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 8.27.24PM


When I realized this, I was aghast. This was a serious fuckup that basically meant I would have to throw this first print run away unless I wanted to have an errata sheet inserted into it or something, which would also be ugly. And I take pride in the fact that these books are really pretty objects that I think are worth instantiating into atoms instead of endlessly duplicating as data.

I went to the first place this could have happened, and it was entirely my fault.

I dithered about it over the weekend, and decided, yeah, I’m gonna eat this cost. I have the savings to do it; I’m basically not going to make a profit off of book 2 until I make the second print run. I’m going to have them dispose of most of the first run and only ship one box of them with the second run, which I will keep around as a reminder of this super dumb-ass thing I did.

And for the rest of my publishing career, I will hopefully remember this weekend and always check over my proofs both for making sure all the weird printing tricks come out correctly, and making sure I haven’t put half the damn book together upside down and out of sequence or something moronic like that.

Nick was visiting while this happened, and he kinda gave me shit for this. Justifiably so, it’s a pretty bonehead mistake, and for an amount of money that would have been really scary a few years ago. But he did allow that he’s never seen me make the same mistake twice – and volunteer to be a pair of eyes looking for this kind of dumbassery on the next book, as well.

Anyway. I’ll be spending the next week dealing with this, I think. Rita book 2 has taken too long already, even without this fuckup, and I just want to get it in everyone’s hands ASAP.