15 April, 2003

Well, I knew this was going to happen. Too many late nights trying to accomplish something and then getting up early to go to work has resulted in me not feeling well enough to get up this morning. It started yesterday afternoon with a headache, which took a break while I was walking home from work and then struck-up again big time last night. I actually made myself go to bed before midnight last night. Pissed me off to not get anything done last night. Then, when I got up this morning, I just knew I had better call in sick and just sleep. It was really annoying too because I was feeling better on the walk home. I was jazzed. I was thinking about String Finger Theatre, and I was going to get stuff done. So, I get home and rest and fix something for dinner and then kablam. Headache came back, and I accomplished nothing. Really pissed me off. At least, I wanted to get something written for the journal last night. Oh, well, didn't happen.


Anyway, the last two weeks have been better for getting stuff done on String Finger Theatre than The Etymology of Fire. I got a whole bunch of them done a week ago Saturday and then more done sporadically over the week. I've been doing better about not worrying if they suck. I don't always know exactly where each comic is going, but I don't worry if I've got a punch line set-up for the end. In fact, there are a couple that don't really end with gags, which I think is all for the best. I'm not going for a laugh-out-loud comic. I want String Finger Theatre to be pleasantly amusing. I think I can handle that. If I had to worry about big belly laughs all the time, I would never get anywhere. Interestingly enough, the majority of comics are ten panels, but the silliest bit usually happens around panel four. I don't plan for it. I don't necessarily like it, but it happens. I try not to worry about where the silly stuff happens in any given comic.

So, last Sunday night, I was working on a couple comics, and I thought they were cute. I was a little worried that they were weak, but I was going to run with them. I'm going for pleasantly amusing, remember? So, I'm looking back over the comics I've just finished up, and I start laughing. I mean usually I look at the comics and think they are cute or silly or amusing, but looking back, this batch suddenly struck me as really funny. That was good. I like it when the comic makes me laugh. After all, I figure I'm the only person reading these things so I might as well do something I enjoy.

Since I write String Finger Theatre figuring that I have an audience of me, anyone actually reading it should get a real good idea of what I think is funny. While I still thought I was going to get this journal written last night, I started trying to remember which comics from episode one really made me laugh. I thought of a couple right away. Getting thrown over the door still makes me laugh. Fist of the encyclopaedia salesman is good. A one-dimensional Zed trying to save the day also makes me laugh. "Did you smite him mightily?" I love that line. The monsters secede so they can go out for pizza and beer. I'm not entirely sure how they can secede, but they do it anyway.

I know. I know. An author should never be overly fond of his own humor. You know what happens then? It sucks. Nothing is funny. It's something I've discovered about myself. Every so often, people start telling me that I am funny. This is usually followed weeks later by the same people telling me that I'm not funny at all, and I realize that I am funny only so long as I don't think I am funny. As soon as it goes to my head, I start trying to crack wise, and I just suck. I cannot try to be funny. It just doesn't work, which is another reason why I am shooting for pleasantly amusing with the comic. This is also why I tend to worry that String Finger Theatre just sucks.

Oh, well, good thing I'm the only person reading this.

Things have been going really slowly with The Etymology of Fire, and it is starting to piss me off. I got some really good work done. Tahrl and Armada were being downright scary. I knew where things were going. Everything should just be flowing along, right? Wrong! Nothing is being accomplished. Damn! Damn! Damn! So, at some point last week, I realized that I had to stop fighting it. If things are going to be sort-of slow and stop right now, then I should work more on String Finger Theatre. The Etymology of Fire can rest, and then I'll get back to work.

This idea is going over like a lead balloon, but oh well. There were some interesting developments last week, and I'm really hoping that it breaks the logjam. One of the biggest things that had started to bug me about all previous versions of The Etymology of Fire was the ending, and I finally had to accept the fact that it was weak. This was actually the main reason I wanted to do the complete overhaul of the book. I could fix the ending. Anyway, the weak ending had started to show through, and I had even found myself trying to cover it up by having the cast comment on how things turned out. They would promote theories as to why things turned out the way they did.

Well, I decided to really jazz-up the ending, and I decided that a lot more was going to happen. I thought I had it all figured out until I realized recently that I had simply jazzed-up a weak ending, and I think that is what has been giving me progress problems. I am getting close to the weak ending with the rewrite, and I just couldn't do it. So, last week, I realized that I really had to rethink events, and I had to accept the consequences. See, one of the main things I wanted to do with The Etymology of Fire was keep things light. I didn't want to get deep. I didn't want to get depressing.

Unfortunately, the more I thought about the next series of events I just realized that things would not go off like that. Things were going to get ugly. Very ugly. People were going to fight. Blood was going to be shed, and I just didn't want to do it. I had always wanted a reasonably happy ending, so-to-speak. Last week, I think I finally accepted the fact that things were going to get ugly. People weren't going to understand. Voices would be raised. Fists would fly. Buildings would burn, and people would die. Yuck. Anyway, I jotted a whole bunch of stuff down last week, and it has become the preliminary blueprint for the whole new ending. You want to know the sad part? All these changes to the end are not going to influence events in The Magic Flute at all.

Oh, yeah, this also means that The Etymology of Fire is going to be longer than I thought it was going to be. How long remains to be seen. Now, here is hoping I can actually get back to work on it.

29 April, 2003

Okay, it's time for a change of tactics. I'm going to start posting episode two of String Finger Theatre starting Friday, May 2nd. I must be crazy. I haven't even finished the story line. It's time. It's been all but a year since Attack of the Third Dimension ended. It's long past time, and I'm getting tired of not having anything to post on my website. The journal doesn't count. Besides, I don't want the journal to be the thing that is propping-up the website.

I've got something like fifty comics finished in pencil, and I did an ounce of experimenting over the weekend. I think I can do it. I think I can transfer three comics a week from pencil and paper into the computer and still crank out new comics. At the rate I plan on posting, it should take a couple of months before I run out.

My biggest fear with the comic has been that kind of delay. I don't want to leave people hanging for days or weeks on end like I did at the end of The Faire Folk of Gideon. I think I can manage to not get behind. All I have to do is make sure I convert at least three comics a week. Then, I have to make sure that I keep cranking out more strips. All of this while still holding down the day job and working on The Etymology of Fire.

No pressure.

I'm getting tired of talking about progress without actually having anything to show. Hell, I don't even know when I'm going to publish The Etymology of Fire even after I finish it. I figure it'll cost at least three grand, and I simply don't have that kind of money. If I did, I would have printed-up a whole bunch of copies of The Faire Folk of Gideon, but I have not. I don't have the money.

On the other hand, the web is cheap. I can post a web comic. I can do something. Maybe, it'll motivate me to keep working; even though, there isn't necessarily any point to it. The books may never get published, but I shouldn't care.

It's funny really. Back in the old days, I never cared. I did all this writing, and I never gave the slightest thought to publication. I figured I would never be published, and I would certainly never make any money so fuck it. Just do it. Write. Because it is there. Because it won't leave you alone. Because you can enjoy it. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. Those were great times. Dreams and savage nightmares that wouldn't leave me alone.

It really is funny. I don't know how that changed. It nags at me that nobody reads anything on my website, and I've never understood why it bothers me. I think I've finally figured it out, and it isn't some kind of center of attention ego thing. I think it is the fear that all my work is crap. I mean I never used to care. I would joke about being a hack and worse, but I never gave it thought. Now, I worry that I have been deluding myself. I worry that I really am the worst writer to ever try to force his crap upon other people. I should come to my senses and find something worthwhile to do with my life. That is what I worry about. I write to please myself; however, if I can only write the worst kind of vile crap, then what does that say about me?

Anyway, I try to remember Ed Wood, and I like to believe that he enjoyed what he did. I mean I did hear that he finally degenerated into alcoholism and cheap skin flicks, but I like to think that he enjoyed what he did. Ed Wood got to make some of the most wretched movies ever created, and he got to make them.

As soon as I can scrape the money together, I've got books to publish. Fucking right. I hope you like String Finger Theatre – Episode II – The Search for Zed's New Grove.

copyright © 2003 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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