Trait of Honor Excerpt 4

“No,” Domino protested.  That was the opening Voice Two needed as he tilted the bottle and the liquid poured out.  Domino choked and swallowed reflexively.  “Stop!” she cried as the bottle was pulled away.

Maybe it was because she had not had the stuff in her system a while, but the drug hit harder and faster than ever before.  The net above her shimmered and wavered dreamily.  “Stop…” Domino said again, but this time she meant the net.  It was disconcerting to see so much happen all at once.  Too much, too fast.  Boat. Boat boat boat.  Didn’t that have something to do with water?

Water… She could do with some water.  She was thirsty. But wait, that net looked kind of pretty once you got used to the billions of rectangular patterns it made as it moved.  Maybe that was her boat. Or the water.

“Watch yer ceiling,” said Voice Two pleasingly.  “It’s pretty than ever, ennit.”

“Yes,” Domino said, grinning.  “I like this ceiling, Voice Two.  I like it a lot.”

Feeling Tired of It

Warning: this post has angst. And curse-words. And angst. It’s an angsty post. With angst. So if you don’t like self-pity and angst, don’t read this. K? K.


Maybe it’s that time of the month, but I have to confess to feeling very disheartened by the whole comic thing lately.     It’s the reviews that are doing it: the growingly consistent verdict of how I could draw better if I wanted to, that my artwork is meh, and the one and two star marks. I should stop looking at them.

Normally I look at them to see what’s out there for me to consider for improvement. But today I came  to one person posting that the artwork wasn’t great and that chapter 1 didn’t end on a cliffhanger. (It… didn’t? An opening chapter introducing setting and characters ending with Lhung standing at the sink being upset over his blood lust and no resolution in sight isn’t a cliffhanger? WHAT KIND OF MOTHERFUCKING CLIFFHANGER WOULD YOU FUCKING LIKE THEN, EH?) And another person spoke directly to me, saying how they knew I could do better. Two stars. Three stars. Poor reviews.

Although it’s against my personal mojo, I did respond back to the person who directly addressed me. I thanked them for their review and told them they were right – that although Heavenly Bride’s rewrite was done largely through serious sinus infections, death-defying abscessed tooth situations, and a variety of other obstacles I probably could have done better. And as a result I should have taken much longer to get it done and out there.

But I’m sitting here thinking… they’re not right. I couldn’t have done better.

See, ever since I was a young kid I’ve always had this problem with my art. I can only draw well when the inspiration is there. I can’t just draw arbitrarily. If I do, the artwork will come out flat and undefined. Details that other pages have will not show on the page I’m trying too hard on. It’s not a matter of gut, as Richard Pini once told me a long time ago. I can tap into my gut just fine. The raw truth is I wasn’t meant to be an artist in the 2D or even 3D sense. My talents are actually something else and art is just a side effect. It just happens to be the one people around me decided I had to hone because they didn’t understand me, leaving my artistic gifts unbalanced. And that’s just how it is.

So, I realized after a few minutes, when that person addressed me to tell me I could do better that actually hurt. A lot. They meant well, I’m certainly not angry at them. I’m thankful they actually stopped to fucking say something, at least – most people don’t. But I can’t always do better. It’s not how I’m built.

And it hurts that I worked really hard on this rewrite and most of the responses are people telling me that it needs work. When the damn thing needed work, I got 0 response. Nothing, nada… except for 1 person who said it sucked. So after working hard despite what was going on at home, I get… that it needs work. Just… fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

The other day I went to a defunct webcomic’s site to see how things were going and read the artist’s blog a little bit. I ended up getting a little angry. There they are, a single parent dealing with small kids… and they are also healthy enough and have enough money to go to the gym five times a week AND pay for not one car situation but more than one. They work at one job and have started their own business which is starting to do well. Their readers are still clamoring for more pages of their webcomic after all this time because to top it all off they’re GOOD AT IT – and they were bitching about it. I ended up writing them pointing out how good their life actually appeared past their complaining I was so moved, as it were. I wrote my email positively, but on retrospect I probably should have said “STFU and count your blessings.”

When my kids were small I lost everything. Car? I lost them. And jobs. And homes. And friends. I couldn’t have tried to consider starting my own business, too. I was lucky just to come home and drag myself into bed on some days. And health? I had enough to survive on. I never have had enough to work full time AND go to the gym. Rape? Damn familiar with it. Being used and thrown away? My shadow companion. Art, talent, comics? I’ve never had the clamoring this person was complaining about. I recognize people feeling entitled to the next page can be a little obnoxious, but it’s a hell of a lot more positive than the 20 something negative reviews on my stuff I’ve read in the past week. STFU already. Get over yourself.

I’m almost 41 and I’m tired of trying to be a stinking 2D artist and continuing to suck at it just because I used to doodle on my homework in elementary school. I’m tired of putting out comics no one likes. Or writing stories no one cares enough to review unless they hated it. I think I’m ready to throw in the towel entirely.

And this is me, disheartened. I’ll probably stop reading my reviews entirely and to hell with everyone’s opinion and trying to use them to improve. It’s becoming clear to me most of the critics out there were never told: If you can’t say nothing nice, then say nothing at all. So I can pretty much guess what’s going to be said: Don’t get the sample issue. It sucks because it’s a sample. The artwork isn’t very good. It sucks because of the artwork. The story is a boring romance without explosions, Twilight angst, and porn. It sucks. It sucks it sucks it sucks. Anything that can be said that is the opposite of good, that’s what I’m going to say. Because I bought a book and that makes me a critic. Angst!

I’m certainly not going to another popular artist’s blog ever again, lest I get tempted to piss on their green grass. =^-^= I’m just going to watch the Heavenly Bride count alone.  And see what happens.

And tomorrow I’ll feel better, of course. But today it’s angst, it’s all about angst, and that’s just how it is.

No moral of the story. This is an angst day.