Monday, July 09, 2007

Baggage Check


It’s been a long while since I just did a straight up blog post, so, after a long holiday weekend, here’s what’s going on in my little corner of the world.

Obviously, first and foremost on my mind is the baby, which will be here in just a few weeks. Despite having read a few of the baby books (yes, I saw Knocked Up), it still does not feel real to me. I am in this weird sort of limbo right now, where everything I do, all the normal things like reading books, comics, watching TV, exercising, hanging out with friends, going out to dinner, and even sleeping have this weird, unidentifiable feeling attached to them. It's like in the back of my mind, at all times, there is this vague sense of the monumental change to come, yet nothing concrete enough to be able to put into words. Anticipation without any reality. I think not knowing the gender of the baby adds to this, but still I try to tell myself to just enjoy everything now, which I do for the most part, but knowing that such a seismic shift in my life is coming just makes it all feel weird. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited! This is the most important thing I will ever do in my life, bar none, and I know how critically important the first year of a baby’s life is, in terms of bonding, etc. so I am committed and excited, but it still doesn’t feel real.

As for the other stuff, I finally got off my ass and actually submitted some writing this weekend. I have never had a problem with the actual creative process, in fact, if anything, I write too much and could use an editor, but I have always been awful at doing anything with the stuff I write. I have made a few feeble attempts at submitting stuff to literary journals in the past, and have, of course, published a lot of stuff online, but as far as getting my best stuff out there, I have been slack to say the least. I think it's partly a confidence issue, but moreso it is just a hell of a lot of work, none of which is fun compared to the creative stuff, and so it always seems to fall to the back burner. Anyway, we’ll see if anything comes of it.

I am also very close to finishing my book about Sri Lanka. I’d describe is as “a photo travel memoir.” It’s tentatively titled “14 Days in Sri Lanka” and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with it exactly. Publishing online seems like my best bet given how expensive color printing is, but I am considering doing a small print run, say 20-30 books, just so I have something to give to family and friends. I will also send it around to some publishers and see if there's any interest, but I'm not optimistic about its prospects.

As far as comics go, I have been continuing to read and enjoy Love & Rockets. It’s not only been rewarding in the sense that I am really immersing myself in such outstanding and classic work, but also in that it's a great personal challenge, a marathon of sorts. I may hit a huge speed bump when the baby is born, but hope to be back up and running with it by Thanksgiving.

I’ve also started reading Sandman Mystery Theater, a series which I collected but never read more than the first storyline of. So far I’ve made it through the first 20 issues, and while the series starts out kind of slow, it really starts picking up steam once Guy Davis takes over as the regular artist in issue 13. Davis has an ideally suited style for this comic, a jittery, wavy line that at times looks like scribbles, yet comes together in a way that's hard to describe but it works. And the period research Davis did - everything from the costumes to the city shots to even everyday household items - is outstanding. The entire series (or at least what I own, which is up to issue #45) is consistently broken into four issue arcs, a format which works well in Wagner and Seagle's hands. This series also had some outstanding photo collage covers by Richard Bruning and Gavin Wilson. I don’t think I ever really inspected them until now, but the pulp, pre-WW II feel is pretty interesting. Overall, SMT feels like one of those underappreciated Vertigo series that has gotten better with age (think Milligan's Enigma or Morrison's Doom Patrol, or even some parts of Ennis' Hellblazer). When it was coming out in the early 90s, it was largely overshadowed by Neil Gaiman's Sandman (of which it both fortuitously and unfortunatly shares its name), but in retrospect, this is every bit as mature and unique a book as Gaiman's was.

Also, last night I started reading Syncopated Volume 3, a black and white anthology of "first person reportage" comics and short essays. It’s edited by Brendan Burford, and looks to be the next big ascendant comics anthology to hit its stride, joining the ranks of SPX and Kramers Ergot. Definitely worth check out.

1 comment:

Rita Skeeter said...

I am proud of you. Just remember that "you gotta survive. You gotta hit the bull's eye." You will do great, I know it.