Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
“It” is that precious quantity which lets you make artwork which is better than good and sometimes “it” allows for work which is truly inspired, but I learned from working on monthly deadlines for Kodansha and Dark Horse, you couldn’t depend on “it”. It was capricious and wispy, disappearing for periods of time, sometimes only half returning, or returning for only half as long as you want it. It’s also a problem to have to create work on deadlines without “it”. That is a killer. Too much of that kind of thing will beat you into a peculiar kind of self-loathing, hard to describe, but which makes your face in the mirror unbearable for yourself to look at. But you can get “it” to come and stay with you when you have great discipline and work hard without distractions. This is why I like working for three days straight. Those first few pages of Escape are pure “it.” And that set the standard I had to follow, which meant to keep on working until “it” came back, which “it” always does eventually. When I’m most discouraged and begin thinking I have no talent at all, I recognize that as the lowest point of the process of making art and ride it out. Looking back on Kirby’s work, or Toth’s, they seemed to always have “it,” even in their obvious mistakes and their sloppy work. I get mad at myself, then, for the vain luxury of complaint. You have no excuse, I say, or something in me says. You live in a part of the world where you can do just about anything you want. Not everything but anything. No one is firing mortar shells at your block. There are no attack dogs, no mustard gases are ruining you. No one is poaching you for your tusks. You’ve got no excuse.
So I try brewing coffee, then change the music on the CD player. Nothing helps. So I leave my place. I don’t do my laundry, which is dirty and shoved into a narrow crevice in my closet. I don’t do my dishes, dirty and uneven and even dusty in the sink. I don’t pay the bills, their eternally replenishing stack by the mailslot. I don’t put gas in my car, which is always on empty. Instead, then, as I do now, when the deadline stress is too great, I wait until I’m hungry, then go eat Indian food. That day, I called Scott and we went to this place called Taj Mahal to eat Chicken Tikka Masala, spicy, with Nann, no butter. Aloo Matar, and Raita. Mint chutney, too. Lamb Korma, or a sizzling Tandoori platter. Or spicy curry chicken. And Chai or a King Fisher, or a Flying Horse. No dessert. Not long after he and I started working together, we established this custom of eating a big Indian dinner as we were about to enter a serious deadline period. This ritual is intended to brace you for the hard week ahead, and let you celebrate it, too. After all, deadlines are part of this lifestyle, take it or leave it. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. And if you sometimes take a week, or even two, off and do absolutely nothing, you only really steal it from some other week yet to come, and regardless, every third or fourth week seems to be this sleepless, fitful, awful deadline time, with fifteen hour a day work weeks. And you must learn to love this. It’s your lot, your wife, your price. You must love this stress and learn how to burn with it, not to be burnt by it, otherwise it is a miserable servitude without much recompense. This is your garden, now cultivate it."
-Paul Pope, from the intro to THB Circus (1997).
Also remember that Pope said, in his “In the Studio” essay from PulpHope that “You simply can’t only work when you feel inspired… You can’t always rely on the caffeine or the juice in the iPod. You can’t afford to only work when you feel “it”. I learned early on, you can’t rely on “it” to get you out of a mess.”
Page 1 of 16