Okay, everyone. I’ve been working my butt off on a post for four or so days out of the last week. I had hoped to have it finished last night, but it wasn’t to be. Today I looked at my file, and it is ten pages long, when printed. For the Web, it’s tl;dr. And I am about to go back to my schedule of working on small parts of large projects, every day: I cannot (or maybe should not) depend on my Writing to sustain my life.

I want to. I just think I cannot.

I’ve gone through the printed version with a highlighter, trying to pull out the substantive points I wanted to make, which tied in with Writing and Character Design (or as it may turn out, also Character Development) — which was the topic I initially intended to address.

What I wrote is not a blog post. It is a seed file for multiple posts, or a seed file for an extended Creative Nonfiction piece, or background work for the Fiction piece (finished length and form unknown) that I’m still trying to figure out, right now. Plus: the initial “thesis” with which I started out (that I’m working from the inside-out with character design, rather than outside-in), I found to be based on false assumptions.

I still have somatic feelings when Spirit, like a shapeshifter, takes on a certain form in me, and I transfer what that voice says, to the page. It’s really easy and natural for me. But to infer that it’s different when drawing — well, for one thing, I haven’t drawn enough to compare the processes. But when I draw characters, I do find myself asking who this character is, what their history is, how they got to this point, etc.

How one answers these questions is something of a mystery to me, right now.

My major issue with visual Character Design is that I have much poorer insight on how the process works, than I do with Writing. I have been Writing for so long (probably around two and a half decades), that I have a very good idea of some of the limitations and pitfalls of the form, and ways to manipulate the text to achieve effects that aren’t possible in reality.

I also know that not everything is pretty, in Writing…and even just thinking about transferring my stories to a visual form is difficult, because I have to think about drawing aspects of reality that I don’t like to acknowledge and don’t want to focus on. There are, simply, parts of life that will harm one if they take up too much space in one’s mind. Especially if one has a genetic tendency towards depression.

And so it’s…really difficult to think about. Even considering turning my eye for detail onto subjects like run-down inner-city corridors or homeless encampments, is painful. And yet, because my stories are not total fantasy, there is a good chance some of these neighborhoods could turn up in my stories. It’s somehow more approachable for me to write about these things, than it is to draw them.

It reminds me of what I know of the psychology of Japanese horror stories: much of the “horror” has to do with being forced to see what the society doesn’t want to acknowledge. It’s not necessarily scary, but it induces discomfort in a society where Art (e.g. in ukiyo-e prints) historically has had to do with idealization.

It definitely would be a good thing if people on the whole started paying attention to and assisting with solving these problems in a constructive manner, as turning a blind eye to them is the norm. As hard as it is for me to feel the discomfort of acknowledging my own vicarious pain, I’m not even one of the people who has to live in these areas under conditions of poverty or dispossession.

But I am aware of how close very many people are, to poverty. If I were not living with family, my life would be entirely different. If D had lost his employment while I was a child, my life would have been entirely different.

Homelessness is not necessarily the fault of homeless people, though they surely take the brunt of the blame. It’s a societal issue that causes the most vulnerable to fall through the cracks.

Similarly…it’s hard to think about the state of the “gay” community, even 50 years ago (though I should remind myself that 50 years is half a century). This history is part of my continuity…but it’s an extremely painful history. And it didn’t have to be that painful. It’s still painful, to be honest. Just nowhere near as bad as it was.

I wonder what the state of music would be now, had the mechanism of the spread of HIV/AIDS been caught and controlled, early on. But that’s water under the bridge. The powers that were, didn’t care.

Conflict and tension are key in Fiction. In Art, that’s not necessarily the case. There are issues that pop up at the interface of the two in Sequential Art, that I know I hadn’t necessarily realized. But I do think that, at least at this point in my life, I’m more of a Writer than an Artist. That’s mostly because my Writing skills vastly overshadow my imaginative skills in Art, and because the way I think about my creative expression, is based in a Writing paradigm.

I don’t know what that means for any Art practice I may have or pursue in the future…but maybe it should mean that I should do my Art for its own sake, and not as a vehicle for storytelling.


5 responses to “Overworking”

  1. I get it. I don’t always feel like drawing the bad stuff, but sometimes I do like drawing a character in black face. There are still things that I just can’t and won’t do and that’s fine. If you don’t want to draw particular things, you shouldn’t. It doesn’t take away from your story and it isn’t a requirement. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Feets. I understand. Sometimes when something’s off-limits, it just makes us want to draw it more! 😛 I think that point of view and intent is also very necessary to take into consideration, when dealing with taboo subjects.

      Really, I don’t think I’d have the stomach for drawing out some of the images that come up in my writing…images are just so much more immediate and emotional for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get that. Sometimes when I’m reading over my writings I get that same visceral feeling and sometimes somatic pain in my gut like I should stop, but that doesn’t stop me sometimes.😰


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