It’s been a good seven months. Most of my efforts outside of work have been concentrated on two new loves in my life: the Little Grey Pages project and my son Arthur. He turned one year old on the first of July. My silence here on the blog marks the point at which he started truly interacting with his new world. He changes daily and I change along with him.
Little Grey Pages is going strong. So far this year, with the help of Crow and others, Red Panda still runs free in Washington, DC.
Brother Weird Beard created a need no one knew they had.
Oscar got a haircut with a mind of its own.
Henry and Harriet have just begun to dig into the mysteries of Fretter’s Creek: fiery mountaintop rituals, ghostly pruners, haunted corn mazes and phantom fauna.
On the Little Grey Pages blog, I started a series of posts called “From the Bookshelf”, where I dig up old readings related to the comic or story posted that week. When Heather was drawing up the “Big Haircut” storyline for The Rescue, I thought it would be fun to share Aristotle’s ideas on friendship as love of a second self.
But most of the work I’d like to do on that front will be more obscure – clips from old storybooks mostly forgotten, hidden among the millions of scanned pages on sites like Google Books and Gutenberg.
We have lots of new material in the works. As we’ve gotten our footing with the characters and where they’re going, the story arcs will be a bit longer. For example, in the case of Fretter’s Creek, I have a few more short stories to share before the main arc begins, which will read more like a serial novel than a series of discontinuous vignettes.
For the comics themselves, I usually write up a description of each panel on each page – what happens, who says what, etc. and then draw a mock up. The last step is probably unnecessary. My sketches are so awful that I have to sit down with Heather anyway to go over what’s on the page, but she gets a kick out of my terrible drawings, which may be the main reason why I keep doing them. It’s great fun working together to see our little worlds come alive.
In the flux I’ve been working on other projects when I can, focusing more on revision and planning than actual writing. In the fall, I completed revisions on the novel I drafted last year and have written an outline for the rewrite. But I need to find the time and the “feel” again. Part of the issue is a lack of daily practice and long form writing. But it’s as much a reading problem as it is a writing problem.
So I’ve set out a stack of books on the nightstand. Some to help find that feel for writing well: short stories by Raymond Carver, Middlemarch, Notes from Underground, Death of a Salesman. And some to remind me of why I chose to be a writer in the first place: Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Out of the Silent Planet. I’ve read mostly philosophy texts over the past couple years, trying to find a bit of context for our current political and cultural climate, and while those ideas have provided new perspectives useful for fiction, I’d rather not find the tail-chasing writing quirks of philosophers cropping up in my work. I spend enough time fighting the tech writer’s tendencies.
Rain comes at sunset. The first few drops fall in the last light of day. Time to settle in again.