Sometimes it’s hard to remember: love is an act of resistance in a culture of hatred. Why should it be easier to turn against strangers than to find a place to meet in the middle? I wrote the script for this comic in the early afternoon but didn’t actually finish creating it until well after midnight, and now I have nothing left to say for the blog. I’m tired.
True story. I don’t talk about it much, but I have had a few deeply spiritual experiences, and this one took place 4th of July weekend, 1997. I remember the date, because when I pulled into my parents’ driveway in the U-Haul, one of the neighbors came over and joked that he thought this was supposed to be Independence Day. Ha Ha. I got in a day late, because the truck blew an alternator and I had to spend an extra night in Ohio. It was a magical vision quest that helped fine tune the compass of my life. And also helped me understand the opposition.
And I keep trying to make my contribution to the cause, and the haters keep stymieing the results.
Maybe the opposite of love isn’t always hate. Maybe often it’s just a total absence of concern for other humans. I’m not saying that there’s no hate—the guys in panel 4 are haters and proud of it—but they’re still a minority. The ability to not care about things that don’t personally affect you, that’s a common skill that happens to enable hate by default. Maybe if just a few more people switched over to the “spreading love and beauty” camp, that might be all it takes to flip the balance back toward the minority not deliberately ruining everything for the rest of us.
If you’ve been following the adventures of Snake and Dragon (make sure your brain reads that to you in the voice of Boris Badenov ) this all makes perfect sense. If you haven’t, let me know what you make of it. As I may have mentioned, short fiction has never been my forte. Stories and characters develop over time, and this arc is far from completion.
Brutal honesty is something that I do, but typically only when it’s either directed outward, or, if it’s directed inward, when there’s no one else there to notice. Broadcasting my own issues is pretty far beyond me.
When I was a kid, I was frequently told what an incredibly and offensively selfish human being I was, and, probably as a result, I grew up into a martyr and a nurturer with zero instinct for self-promotion. Possibly, promoting my faults is not the path to commercial success, but at the same time, I don’t really know a single artist who doesn’t deal with these issues in some way. When your sole goal in life is self-expression, it’s easy to fall into the trap of fear. Artists have to project a ruthless belief in themselves. You cannot make art if the snake or the parrot or whatever is sitting there over your shoulder screaming about how badly it sucks, how badly you suck.
We all have the snake, but until we either tell it to shut up or learn to ignore it or stand up for our own belief in what we’re doing, we don’t get to create.
When I just considered myself a writer, I wrote about 4 hours a day. Now, I typically draw between 5 and 8 hours a day. That doesn’t mean I don’t hear the snake. I’ve just been telling it to go to hell every 30 seconds since the beginning of the year. Once you get the habit, it gets easier not to care about the snake’s definition of failure. The act of creation is the measure of success.