Title: 1018

Tuesday, Sep 9, 2003

September 2003


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Title: 1018

September 9, 2003
12:01 AM

I think I may have pulled myself away from the brink of having a nervous breakdown. That’s a good thing.

For a while now, I’ve been really stressing out about the comic. Ideas would come to me, but only after pushing myself for them. Doing the daily strip was becoming a very difficult task for me, because it involved putting my head down on the desk for sometimes as much as an hour trying to think about something to put in the comic. Combine that with various other stress factors in my life at the moment, and it adds up to a lot of pressure that was bound to explode eventually. Thankfully, with the help of a chat with Liz, I think I’ve pulled myself away from that.

She didn’t say it, but something she said sparked my brain, and I got to thinking. Perhaps the reason I was having such a hard time writing the comic lately is because I don’t see the people I use in the comic on a regular basis anymore. Don’t get me wrong, Tony, Debbie, Adam and Dave are all still very good friends of mine… I just haven’t seen them in a while. Dave’s in the Navy, and I see him maybe once a month, often less. Perhaps trying to make up scenarios using these people was what’s been stressing me out.

When I first started Real Life, I felt like I had so much material that I would never run out. Ideas kept coming to me, because back then my life revolved around my friends. I was either at work, or at my friends’ house. Nowadays, things are different. I’ve got a house to take care of, and various other things that have toned down the social life a bit. In addition, I’ve begun hanging out with different groups of people. You’ve all heard me talk about Cliff, or Ben, or Christy, or Lena. I see them all on a fairly regular basis, so perhaps taking things that happen there and attempting to paste them onto existing characters hasn’t been working for me.

In any case, over the next few weeks, I’m going to be introducing these people into the comic. I’ve always felt that I want to keep the comic true to life, and in this case I feel that the best way to do that would be to show the people who are part of my life. Does this mean you’ll be seeing less, or none, of Tony, Debbie, Dave, and Adam? Hell no! It just means that you’re going to be seeing more of Cliff, Ben, Christy, and Lena. Cliff, you’ve already met thanks to his appearance in the Comic Con strips. The rest, you’ll meet as time goes on. This comic is, and always has been, very experimental. I’m constantly trying to find what makes it work best. I feel that lately my writing has been sub-par (last week’s strips were great in concept, ho-hum in execution), and I’m hoping that “returning to my roots” in a way will help get me back on track.

In any case, I’ve found that ideas are coming to me much more easily now that I’ve conceptualized this new direction. I hope you’ll all enjoy it as much as you have been the past few years.

And at the very least, consider that it’s managed to keep me from shooting people from the rooftop, so that’s a start.