...yeah. That's pretty much where I am currently.
It's actually not as bad as it sounds, it was just one of the first times since I started getting paid for writing that I actually found myself having to put off things I wanted to write for things I had deadlines for. I feel kind of bad that it hasn't happened sooner, though looking back to college, I think it probably has, and I just made the wrong decisions about how to prioritize back then.
There are worse times it could have happened. "The Tagalong" feedback I've been getting has surprised me - people are either wildly enthusiastic, or really displeased with how it ends. I didn't really expect a story about a lost love and a neglected child to be more polarizing than the thing about strippers and depression [re: The Peep Show], but hey, strong feelings are better than no feelings. Plus, having this other work to do means I'm getting a little time away from it, and will hopefully be able to pop in with a lot of good things to think about, and fresh eyes.
And I haven't even heard back from everyone yet.
"Walks with Angels" work remains on hold, though probably not for very long. Weekend, maybe. Looks like I'll have a small website copy job for my cousin coming up, too. Would like to do some comic work too. Old projects and new. I guess I am still figuring out how to balance things.
Before all this hit, I had a couple of days there where I was just reading for myself. Finally finished off "Strangers in Paradise," which I guess saying out loud would probably surprise a lot of people. Terry Moore's first big indie title was probably one of the most influential things I'd ever read, as far as my own work goes, and when I tell people that, there's usually this immediate belief that I followed the work closely, and just knew it all backwards and forwards, could recite from it the way I used to be able to do with Kevin Smith's "Clerks." And I guess that's valid... I mean, in geek culture, how much you know, what obscure thing you know, what your recall is, like any subculture that pretty much measures the size of your geek penis, but I never really bought that sort of obsession necessarily indicated your level of passion for the work, or what kind of effect it had on you.
I could write for pages about SiP, talk about it even longer, but again, my time right now is limited, and something like that I feel would demand a lot of care, like my Amy post. I think a post like that will happen for "Strangers" someday, just not today. Instead, what I will say is that when I first came upon SiP, I was fairly sheltered in the kind of comics I read, they were all super heroes and Ninja Turtles, and while all that was great, something about what Moore was doing in the few issues of that book I was able to get a hold of - they just moved me. They turned a hobby involving a niche medium into something that could suddenly be so vast. I even think, honestly, that if it weren't for "Strangers in Paradise," I wouldn't even love super hero comics as much as I do, because I'd never have gotten to that place where I could appreciate moments that weren't all big fights and cool powers.
It wasn't the only thing that made me love comics. Far from it. But it really made me want to write them, I think. I don't know. Maybe I just needed to see that nothing was off-limits. That there was a lot more ground to cover.
Anyway. A few issues, or the whole thing - there was something intrinsic there, something that wasn't going to let me down, something that I could get from a few pages or from the entire narrative. I think that's how good the series is, but I also think on some level my experience with the work made it a pretty big deal to me. And I also think that, deep down, there was something frightening about finally having no more excuses [I haven't had any for awhile], so it was just time, to buy that last trade, to finish the series.
I dated this girl once who was a huge Charles Dickens fan. Just, the biggest I've ever known. And rightfully so, his work is great, and lovely, and some of the most important in literature, love it or hate it. But she called me once, upset, not overly so, but just very... upset, because she'd just finished reading the last thing by Dickens which she hadn't read yet. For the rest of her life, there would be no new Charles Dickens, no story of his which she hadn't delved into. She could read the old stuff, and still be surprised by what was in it. She would forget things, or see things in a new light. She would discovers gems she'd never noticed before. But there'd never be anymore. There'd never be anything new.
Terry Moore has other comics. His upcoming "Rachel Rising" seems to be an idea which could easily surpass anything else he's done. But this story, this story of Francine and Katchoo and David and Casey and Tambi... I've finished it. I'll never read more "Strangers in Paradise." There will never be a time again where there's an SiP story I haven't read.
I mean, maybe. Moore's never said there wouldn't be sequel. Occasionally, he seems to flirt with the idea. And even though I'm kind of down about being finished, part of me almost hopes he doesn't. But either way, for now, having that hit me, being done with it, especially when working on "The Tagalong" which, as I mentioned before, felt like it had some of that "Strangers" vibe in it... well, it's good I'm busying myself with things.