”I’m a glass half empty guy, and the glass has spiders in it.”
Is that my brand?
I hope not but I think so.
I spoke those words just yesterday while speaking as a guest lecturer (via Zoom) to a comics writing class at UCLA. We were talking about positivity and passion and motivation in an industry where you must deal with constants of change and rejection. While I said it as a joke, I know deep down it’s funny because it’s true.
A few years ago, I figured my career was over. I had been cast aside, along with several other creators, by a publisher where I had dedicated a lot of time and energy. Suddenly, editors who had said they enjoyed working with me were silent when I reached out. Suddenly, a number of creators I considered friends were nowhere to be found. It’s too bad, really, because some kindness and friendship would have went a long way. Of course, I try to remind myself that everyone was confused and worried at that time, but… spiders in the glass, remember?
Was I angry? You bet. But I was also terrified.
“How do you deal with the rejection that come with working in the industry?”
That was one of the questions from the class yesterday.
And my answer pretty much sums up how I managed to keep fighting, keep swinging, and keep myself from swirling down the drain.
I come up with new ideas, new plans, new pitches. I develop characters. I create monsters and horrors to torment those characters. I spew forth ideas, some of them are downright terrible, some of them just all right, and some of them—a handful—really great and exciting for me. And when those exciting ideas come along, I grab hold and follow them to wherever they take me.
I take that half-full glass and I drink the spiders down.
Last week was awful.
Is that my brand?
I don’t want it to be. Lately, though… wow.
I was supposed to attend a lecture and event at the local library. I was going to talk to kids about creating comics. I was going to do a Q&A on THE GHOUL NEXT DOOR. I was really excited about it. But, a couple of hours before the event, everything just… went to Hell.
One of my son’s guinea pigs got very sick. My son loves those guinea pigs. He takes better care of them than I’ve ever seen anyone take with a guinea pig before. Sadly, though, guinea pigs are not hardy creatures, and when they get sick, they often don’t recover. In this case, after a trip to the emergency vet, my son’s pet didn’t make it. To make matters much, much worse, my son, my wife, and myself let the stress of the day just get to us. I should have been the rock for my family, but I wasn’t, and an already sad day just kept snowballing into a more and more hellish experience for us all.
So I thought it best to cancel the event and spend time with my family. I feel really bad about not being there, but I’m pretty sure no one would have enjoyed my company.
The Bunns are fine, by the way, and we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and well wishes that we saw from friends last week.
Despite it all, I managed to get back to being a little more productive. Three comic scripts and a lengthy proposal/outline requested by a publisher. I’ve got a lot of work to do to get back to where I was (and where I need to be) productivity-wise, but it felt could to actually work.
I also went through a practice pitch for a TV show that we’re pitching to buyers soon. And I listened to another practice pitch for a TV show based on one of my comics.
On Thursdays, I’ve been spending some much-needed time with friends by entering a horror-themed trivia contest. We haven’t won the contest yet, which means the other teams are monsters, because we only missed a four questions out of fifty.
Here are the ones (I remember) we missed. See if you can get them without looking them up.
- What is Nancy address in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET?
- In the remake of CHILD’S PLAY, the brand of the Good Guy dolls was changed. What were they called?
- These three actors were in a horror movie. Name the movie. Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, Christina Hendricks.
Have a great week, folks.
Be good to each other.
Drink some spiders.