Welcome back to “Pause & Reflect!” I haven’t posted since February 28, for a variety of reasons. The major one was that I was exhausted. The webcomic has taken up so much time and energy. I needed to recuperate and it’s given me a chance to uh, er…pause and reflect…on whether this webcomic is working. The way I feel right now, anyway, is dissatisfied.
After finishing my “big” comic, Multiverse Comics and Stories (SEE BELOW), I really felt I needed to do something more ambitious. Combining my interest in Buddhadharma with my comic book efforts seemed like a way to challenge myself. Well…I got that right!
But maybe, at this point in life, the challenge was too big a bite to take. The Edzl story (“The Awakening of Edzl“) is confusing. There are too many mysteries and too much plot. I feel like I’m trying too hard. The projected series of “Do-It-Yourself Dharma” (Only one has been posted to date: “DIY Dharma: Vipassana Meditation“) was the worst. I felt like I was illustrating instead of creating. It reminded me of how uncomfortable I was with cartooning assignments I had to do decades ago, when I was a freelance illustrator. It wasn’t a good fit for me then and it feels ‘way too tight now. (Gimme some breathing room!)
Experience has shown me that my attitudes about this stuff may change. I had started “Case of the Renegade Refrigerator,” the feature story in MC&S, as a daily comic strip. I did six weeks, plus four Sunday strips and sent it off to the major comic strip syndicates, all of which rejected it. Then I dropped it and (by that time working full-time in a library) turned to other things.
Eventually, I realized I wanted to give the strip a conclusion and turn it into a comic book. Doing that while I was working full-time was difficult. There was a lot of stop and start and I often felt like calling it quits, but I kept coming back. Only when I retired was I really able to give it my full attention and wrap it all up.
So maybe this will follow a similar, off-and-on pattern, or maybe I’ll find something else. Or not. Who knows?
As much as I love cartooning it has been a huge relief to take some time and NOT to be compulsive about it.
Part of the compulsion was feeling that I had a new, novel approach to doing a webcomic. Perhaps that part was an illusion, but despite the pressures I put on myself, it was fun to play with it.
See what I mean about “playing with it?”
I ordered a little comic book from Line Høj Høstrup, the wonderful Danish cartoonist and illustrator who I’ve mentioned on these pages before. The book is 50 Days of Storytelling, a “diary comic” as she calls it, and is a light-hearted graphic memoir about the joys and tribulations of being an emerging cartoonist in Europe. I love it! She threw in a free mini-comic, Sinbad the Reporter, as well and drew these wonderful geese on the mailer. It is so amazing to be able to connect with people all over the world through the web!
Speaking of connection, of our dharma-buddies clued us into the fact this morning that Sharon Salzberg, one of the founders of the Insight Meditation Society, and a teacher who has inspired people all over the world, was giving a free online teaching at 1 pm courtesy of Tricycle magazine. We quickly registered and after lunch joined about 100 other people to hear her give clear, heartfelt instruction on basic meditation that was also a valuable reminder to long-time practitioners.
Sharon reminded us how we are all interconnected (even without technical assistance). Our technology has enabled many of us to work from home, to home-school children, to order food and other necessities online. But think for a minute how much we depend on all those delivery people! There’s an opinion piece in today’s NYT that can put them and their dilemmas in the picture: “I Deliver Your Food. Don’t I Deserve Basic Protections?“
Best wishes to everyone out there in these stressful and dangerous times. “Dharma Buns,” above, is supposed to be a poem, believe it or not! Here’s a real poem, forwarded to me by a dharma buddy who is also a doctor: