When I kicked off “This is Pi Day” I had a solid idea.
That comic strip which I drew for the better part of two years was grounded in this notion of “kids say funny stuff” — mostly because they are kids, but because they lack the nuanced social filters that most of us acquire over our lives. I could mine the rich vein of parenting gold by doing something as simple as going for a walk or driving home from school. There was always a little seed of an idea that could be rolled between the fingers and honed into a crystal of a comic story.
Then the filter appeared, as if overnight.
Kids become teens and cute becomes awkward.
Awkward is not as funny as cute.
So drawing that strip became this tiptoeing balance of finding a respectful route through less of a gold mine and more of a mine field.
Things change, in other words.
Without stories, comics are just wordless sketches, pictures with little more than a fleeting impression of emotion. Glimpses into a universe that is neither fleshed out nor with purpose.
I’ve been trying to find another simple idea to build on, mostly without success, something in which to ground a new set of art and writing. Mostly I get stuck in a bit of a feedback loop, trying to pull a story from the meta introspection of my own life: the “creative nerds are funny” angle, which results in me sketching characters that are neither flattering nor insulting, but which often have a little too much of myself embedded in them.
There is no easy answer to this problem.
While a little sliver of me thought that penning a post about the problem would reveal the answer, the realistic part of me knows that writers block — artists block — whatever, is the quadrant on the graph of inspiration where openness to ideas and exposure to the universe are both negative values.
Being locked away in one’s own home for most of the day, barely able to leave the neighbourhood except for supplies, and dealing with the emotional weight that creates certainly seems likes it might tick a few boxes on whatever survey is tallying my personal writer’s block analysis.
In other words, I don’t yet have a solid idea. Just the motivation to find one. And that is not coming as easily as I’d hoped.
In the meantime, I’ll keep sketching whatever pops into my mind and hoping that the effort will overcome the static friction of this stationary life.