Labor Day! 

If I had done something interesting over the summer months, I probably would have blogged more or at least tried to write something. But, I spent most of the summer hidden in a dark room contemplating where things went wrong for me and how I could turn it all around. It sounds depressing, but really it was just sort of stupid. On the one hand, it wasn't like I was pulling the wallpaper off the walls trying to get to the woman moving around inside there. But, on the other hand, I was upset enough to waste an entire summer trying to get my wheels spinning in the right direction again.

Sure, I did a few things here and there. I drew a few pictures, and I read a book or two: nothing too remarkable about either one. But mostly, I spent my time in front of the television watching reruns of cartoons and old sitcoms, or I was surfing the internet and reading up on other people's art blogs. The art blogs were interesting. I liked to read about how people created their works or how they explained the thought process behind them. And believe it or not, the cartoons were interesting too because I was watching them with a artistically curious eye. (I would note how the animators used color in the backgrounds to enhance the mood of the scene, or I would try to deconstruct visually how the characters were created and moved about.)

Portland Zine Symposium

On the whole, however, the summer has been somewhat of a bust. I suppose if I were feeling charitable to myself I might describe this "bust" as period as internal reflection and recuperation. School doesn't start for me for almost another month, so there is still time to make something of the summer and have some outward accomplishments justify the internal ones. The tendrils of negative thinking are always waving just out of sight, reaching towards me and threatening to pull me back into the stupor of nothingness, a darkened shell. The weirdness of depression is knowing intellectually how all of this works, but emotionally falling into all of the traps anyway.

In the spirit of breaking out of my darkened shell, I went to the Portland Zine Symposium last week. Initially, it was a little awkward being one of the oldest people there, but even still, I enjoyed myself. It was nice to meet some of the do-it-yourself comic creators I admire and imagine how I might be able host a table of my own comics someday. Aside from the customary pacing of the aisles to observe the wares people had for sale, I attended two "workshops." (They weren't quite a workshop as I imagine them, but then again, I am not sure what else they would be, so the word will have to do.)

The first workshop was a comic "jam," essentially an even where one person draws a single comic panel of a story, passes it to their neighbor and trusts that they continue the story somehow in a reasonable form or another. I started a comic where a person (who distantly looks like me) wonders if his cat is an alien. The end result was a four panel comic where an alien cat demands tuna in exchange for not blowing up the earth. I was actually impressed by the creativeness of the other attendees, especially since I had no idea how to continue a cat alien story and, somehow, they did. The second workshop was a discussion, and then a demonstration, about how to do some screen printing at home. Frankly, the screen printing sounded like a lot of work. I was uncertain about how such a technique would benefit me or my art, so I did my best to sit through it. I suppose if I ever came up with a simple T-shirt design screen printing would be worthwhile, but then again, the cost of starting up would be too much, especially as the first results would be inevitably terrible.

As a side note, the symposium and workshops took place at a university that I almost attended myself, so the strangeness I felt during the symposium was amplified by thoughts about how my graduate career might have turned out differently if I chosen this college over the other. Physically being in "the other classroom," an opportunity that I imagine doesn't happen to many people, and picturing myself teaching a freshman class there, was just another one of those weird moments of the past few years and the fiasco of my graduate school experiences.

We shall see in the coming weeks if I am able to maintain a new level of activity and redeem the rest of my lost summer. One goal I would be happy to achieve is a blog post once a week, but I am definitely not going to sink into despair if I can't make it. A secret (in my favor) that I haven't told anyone is I already have some comics drawn up that could be posted on my other blog tomorrow if I wanted. I have only to scan them in and voila! Most are diary comics with one or two of them being several months old. I think I would be happy if I could get them up in a week or two. But even if I don't post anything else for yet another month, I am at least hoping for better and more productive days. We'll see.

31 August 2008
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