This blog has become pretty exclusively a manga/anime blog, but initially it was intended to have a broader scope, and I’m going to use it as such today. These are the things on my mind right now.
First of all, I haven’t talked at all about politics here before, but it’s hard not to with the presidential election looming so close. I think Joe Biden was correct last night when he said that this is the most important presidential election I’ve been a part of in my lifetime. Others have felt important at the time, but the weight of this one is overwhelming. I feel it everywhere, too. I’ve been enjoying (and cringing at) Shaenon Garrity’s stories of her mom’s experience campaigning for Obama in Ohio. They remind me of my own mom, arguing with conservative relatives and friends over e-mail and on Facebook. I saw a bunch of old friends last weekend in New York, and with each one of them the conversation eventually turned to politics. My host’s ten-year-old daughter wouldn’t let me leave the house without my own Obama button. People are excited and terrified and energized. I’m not going to pretend this is a non-partisan blog. I’m obviously an Obama supporter. It’s hard for me to imagine, though, why anyone wouldn’t want to participate in a historic election like this one, regardless of ideology. So on that note, I’ll just remind everyone that you can register to vote online at declareyourself.com.
On a completely different note, I’ve been doing a lot of work on my comic over the past few days, and though I know people mainly come here to hear me talk about other people’s work, I’m going to talk about mine just a little.
Then at NYAF, I found an artist whose work I could not forget. I stalked the Alley pretty relentlessly all weekend, and every time I passed this particular artist’s work, I’d still be thinking about it ten booths down the line. On the last day, I finally bought a couple of her prints, and found myself repeatedly pulling them out of my bag to look at over the course of my train ride home. The next day, I wrote up an e-mail, hoping to persuade her to at least talk to me about the possibility of joining me on my project, but the truth is, even if she doesn’t, the inspiration I’ve gained just from thinking about her work will have earned her a thank-you in the liner notes.
I’ve said things before about hoping to be inspired by an artist and vice-versa, but I don’t think I ever really understood what I was talking about until now. This person’s art is completely different from anything I’d previously imagined for my comic, but as soon as I started thinking about how she might interpret my characters and settings, things that had been troubling me in my own work suddenly fell into place. I’ve been struggling, for instance, with the first chapter for a while, feeling that I needed to go back and rewrite some (or all) of it, because it wasn’t having the impact I felt it needed to draw readers into the universe. Now, with this artist’s work in mind, I know what I need to do, and suddenly I feel *lucky* that I have the opportunity to find an artist to work with on my own, because it is clear to me now that the collaborative process will make my writing better. It is this process that will keep me moving forward, and help me to create something I can be really proud of releasing into the world. This search for an artist is not just about attracting a publisher. It’s about making the work truly outstanding, so that it is actually worth publishing. It’s about contributing something unique and beautiful to the world, instead of something simply serviceable.
I’ve been writing for a long time, but the thing that has been different about this project right from the start, is that it was the first universe I’d ever created myself that I loved as much as those created by other people. That is what’s been driving me all through this process, and what’s sent me into anime conventions to engage in such terrifying activities as, you know, talking to people. Lately, though, I’ve felt my passion faltering. I’d blamed it on personal stress, health problems, work, the pressure of networking, etc., but I think really I had just arrived at a point where my own ideas could no longer thrive in a vacuum, and I needed someone else to let the air in. So for that, artist-who-remains-unnamed, thank you.