In the spirit of giving this holiday season, I wanted to share with you something very special.
About 10 years ago, I had an itch that I needed to scratch. Unlike my constant excema, this was a welcome itch and didn't cause personal discomfort or a prescription cream. No, my friends, this was a creative itch. Like most artists, we have our "passion projects" that haunt us until we actually do something about them. Through personal obstacles and work-related hindrances, we tend to put these projects on the back burner. Sometimes they flicker out and sometimes they simmer until we can make time for them.
I was diagnosed with ADHD in my early adult life so pursing and staying focused on ideas that I have is a constant struggle. Throughout the years I have managed to stay focused at work so I can remain economically viable, but it takes a toll on my personal projects. I have a folder of ideas that are just waiting to come to fruition and only time and focus will ever make them public. Maybe that's a good thing.
Every artist has a voice and sometimes that voice should just be an internal monologue. The only way that one can be sure - is to speak. I found my voice when I started writing and drawing for MAD Magazine. The fact that the editors still paid me was proof to me that enough people wanted to hear what I had to say. So, with a thread of cockiness and few shekels in my pocket, I decided to write, draw, print and publish a full comic book.
"Beelzebum" was one of those ideas that you get in your head that start small then start to become an obsession. More than that, it was one of the only times that I never got distracted by another "great idea" that I had to pursue immediately. I would do my time at my full-time corporate gig and go home and just keep pounding away at the script, storyboards and final pages. To be honest, at the time I was driven by getting noticed by a big man behind a bigger desk at the biggest cable channel who would demand his underlings to "find this man" and give him a 30 minutes, prime time sitcom. Keep in mind, this was all during the hay day of Family Guy and South Park, so my expectations were totally realistic.
Since your reading this from my shameless self-promotion and not a paid web ad on www.comedycentral.com, you can surmise that my expectations outweighed reality. I produced it, pitched it and promoted it and it feel flat. I'm not sure if I did all I could for it, but it was devastating. So much so that I never wanted to do it again.
So, why bring it up now?
The holidays always get me sentimental and gooey. The end of the year is a time for reflection and an opportunity to make amends and new promises. I now look back at my time with my impish creation as catching up with and old friend or telling dirty jokes behind my parent's back. What I once considered a massive failure and waste of time is now a treasured time where I spoke without fear and embraced what it truly means to be an "artist".
My hope for the years that follow is that each of us can pursue what makes us happy without fear of failing. We each have stories to tell, memories to share and ideas that need to be expressed. Weather you're an artist, doctor or student, speak what's on your mind - even if no one is around to hear it.
Now, here is your gift! Enjoy it because there is no receipt and no re-gifting. If you want a hard copy (God knows I have tons left) send me an email.