In pulling together material for my next book project (short story collection), I’ve been doing some digging into my early published works. And we’re talking really early. I’ve been doing this for a scary long time! (Dude – the 1980s called and they want their chapbooks back!) For some reason, this caused me to lay out a bunch of my published works in chronological order, left to right, top row to bottom (click to enlarge).
Some interesting themes emerged, the first being that my earliest self-published works have now come full circle to my newest “indie-published” works. But the tools to make that happen have also come a long way, as you’d notice if you held the books in your hands. The theme of the early work was local, #LdnOnt-focused, and a mix of poetry and short fiction. I was active in the local literary scene and the one on Western University campus.
Then came my comics period, which resulted in two strips I’m really proud of, shown in the later rows. But that industry is a tough nut to crack and despite some success, my creative partner Tim Levins and I eventually wound them both down and moved on to other projects.
But just as I’ve been learning with #NaNoWriMo, the important thing is to keep trying even when success doesn’t look likely. Art and the creative life is a journey, not a destination. It’s worth the effort. My next project after the short story collection will be a novel (working title “The Launch”) about some of my comic strip experiences. I was reminded of this excerpt from that novel when reviewing my creative history:
But creation is not enough or why wouldn’t we just take a [comic] strip, hammer it up on a telephone pole and be done with it? Appreciation is not enough or why wouldn’t we just print a bunch of strips and distribute them to our friends and family for their enjoyment? Or even post it on a blog or web portal and enjoy the approving comments posted by comixgeek82 and slinkyboy. The trouble was the yardstick we came to understand as the proof of having made it in this world of comics, this strange intersection of art and commerce, where the artist and the capitalist move forward together with a joint venture. We think we’ve got something here, world. You take a look and let us know what you think.
My latest indie publishing efforts have me pitching my own tent right there at the intersection of Art and Commerce. It’s been a long strange journey, but always one worth taking. Hope you’ll take a look and let me know what you think.