I haven’t done one of my birthday stocktakings in several years, but now seems like a good time, as I’m in the midst of a number of transitions.
Let’s start with some recent notable accomplishments:
- I completed the writing of a new textbook, “Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present,” with my co-author Dan Mazur. That’s pretty big! When I look back, I can see that I announced that I was just getting started a little after my 35th birthday–three years ago! It was a great project to undertake, but boy am I glad it’s over. I’m feeling very much reading to focus on creative work again. It’ll be out in June of this year–more announcements to come.
- I launched a new web series–Two for No, in collaboration with Tym Godek. I’m very happy to have an experimental series to work on, and I’ve wanted to work with Tym for years, so this is a big success in my book! We’ve gone a bit off track of late, but that’s just the kind of project this is–I’m confident we’ll be back to it.
- I finally put Gingerbread Houses into print form. I’m a little embarrassed about how long it took me to do this, but I’m delighted that it’s done. Find me at a con, and you can get one. (I’ll be at MeCAF this year.) It’s a nice-looking little book that I’m pleased to have my name on. It’s funny how often I forget to include this book among my perceived accomplishments. I keep saying “I need to get a GN published” without remembering that I already *have.* I’m still stuck and int he mindset that “published” means in print through a professional publisher. Never mind that the book is both in print (self-published) and professionally published (online, through Modern Tales). Why is it so hard to convince myself that counts?
- I sold a story to a new science fiction anthology: “The Mammoth’s Ivory, The Glacier’s Stone” will be out in “The Girl at the End of the World” very soon.
And now, goals for the coming year:
- Complete the new graphic novel I’ve started. This is a collaborative project with a pair of good friends and very talented artists. I’m very optimistic about this project, and feel confident that this will be the book that gets me into professional print. I haven’t the slightest idea on a time frame for this (and working in direct collaboration right from day one of scripting alters the time frame considerably), but this is going to happen.
- Continue submitting stories, and hopefully get more of them published. I’ve been actively working on this without much luck for the past couple of years. But all I can do is keep putting the stories out there. Dealing with this sort of rejection is a complicated problem; if I were just getting form rejections, it would be easy to say that writing fiction just isn’t my thing–my talents lie elsewhere and I should put my efforts where my talents lie. But that hasn’t been the case–most of my rejections are personal and encouraging. Which means I’m consistently coming *close* to selling a story. And it’s hard to give up when you keep coming close.
- Get more Two for no done. It’s a fun project and a good exercise. I want to get back to it.
- Write a few more short stories. I’ve been enjoying writing them, even if I haven’t had much luck getting them published. I have a few half-finished ones I’d like to complete, at the very least.
- Write another graphic novel. One of my own personal projects. Maybe I’ll be able to find an artist and publisher for it, maybe not, but I need to be working on this. I don’t even care which of my projects it ends up being, but one of them needs to get done.
- Find a new job. I’ve made the decision to cut back on my teaching work, leaving BFIT where I’ve been for the past six years. It was a very good place for me to be for a while, and I will miss my colleagues and many of my students. But I was finding it increasingly difficult to balance the mental drain required by that type of teaching with my ability to continue writing. I’m still teaching comics courses at Emerson and in adult ed contexts, and would very much like to expand my public speaking/guest lecture appearances. In the meantime, I’m looking for something part-time, yet interesting and meaningful to balance out my week. No luck yet, but I’m still exploring possibilities.
- Expand membership at The Writers’ Room of Boston. This is a new item for me to be concerned about, but now that I’ve become President, it’s an important priority! For those of you in the Boston area–The Writers’ Room is a non-profit organization that provides secure, affordable, 24-hour writing workspace in downtown Boston. We take membership applications on a rolling basis, and are always happy to answer questions.