"I AM NOT AFRAID TO KEEP ON LIVING,
I AM NOT AFRAID TO WALK THIS WORLD ALONE..."
And now we are three...
I'm not feeling compelled to do the same sort of long inventory for my third-year birthday as a full-time writer that I did in the previous years. Not that I am not proud as hell of myself, but it feels a little redundant this year. The last twelve months are kind of when it all happened. I mean, like, for reals.
Since last June 1st, all the books that had been in the oven were finally taken out and unleashed on the public. When you consider that The Everlasting, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the first four volumes of Love the Way You Love were all published since June 1 of 2006, it sort of makes other statistics seem moot. That's really it right there, that's everything that the first twenty-four were building up to. And as I type this, You Have Killed Me and Love the Way You Love vol. 5 are both half drawn, and Love the Way six is written, and perhaps most significant, Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? is in production, set for release hopefully in the next six weeks for Comic Con, in shops come August. Not to diminish the other two things, particularly as You Have Killed Me represents perhaps a whole new level of what I've turned out to be capable of, but Horizon being done is huge. We're talking the cherry on top of nearly twenty years of work, of planning and thinking and keeping the eye on one goal. Lance Scott is older than everybody (I was 11 when I first invented him), but Percival and Julia, the stars of the book, are as old as Mason. Cut My Hair was begun and what was once just called Julia and Mendelssohn was conceived immediately after, and thus this Romance Trilogy was born.
And now it's done.
Three years out of the Oni offices, I'm a junior graduating into being a senior, and here, too, another reason to maybe not crow in the same ways I have prior. This is the juncture where I have to figure out what my higher education will be. Where do I go, and how do I apply? For the most part, I've not just written everything I've had planned since I was 16 years old, but I've published it all, too. (Ignoring, of course, the still unwritten graphic novel for Christopher Mitten, This is the Way the World Ends.) You need to understand that in all this time, I never thought about what came next for me, particularly not in prose. I was too concerned with getting the other stuff done first. I didn't want to be derailed. So, here I sit, and if you ask me what my next project is, the answer is largely, I don't know.
I say largely because I have begun something else. Joëlle Jones and I are looking ahead to book #3 for us. She has other things in the pipeline, so I haven't had to rush, but I have started writing This World And Body (first all the "Love" titles, now all the "World" titles), and I'll admit, it hasn't been easy. As the first toe in the water of Jamie S. Rich MkII, there has been some performance anxiety, some birthing pains. While other books have come out kicking and screaming and ready to tear shit up, I'm having to work at it this time. I doubt the final product will suffer for it, I just have to suffer for the final product.
And that's okay. I'm ready to see what happens. I think part of the process is going to be just to do it, not to stress about it, let the stories suggest themselves to me like always. There is a part in The Everlasting where Lance talks about his musical heroes and how most of them got stuck in their adolescence. I think this is a very real complex a lot of artists get bogged down by. It's very easy to repeat yourself and not even realize it, to just keep writing the same stories over and over, thinking you're doing something different, when really any changes are probably only perceptible to you. When Morrissey wrote Maladjusted, he probably didn't realize that he was writing The Smiths all over again, nor did he have Ringleader of the Tormentors to show that there was more. Creating is kind of a pattern. It's kind of like being in bad relationships, where with each new paramour we tell ourselves we're choosing better and find little things about that person to tell us why he or she is an improvement over the last, but unless we're conscious of making a real change, when it's all said and done, it turns out we're dating the same person in different clothes.
So, what does 35-year-old Jamie have to say in fiction that sets him apart from 18, 28, or even 32-year-old Jamie? This is what I'll eventually figure out. If I don't force it. If I just work with it. The collaborations with Joëlle have great importance here. I'm already on the second script I'd never have written had we never worked together, and she's fiercely determined to never be pigeonholed, so as long as she'll stick with me, I'll never be bored (and the more she works with others, the more I'll be challenged to make my scripts for her even better than theirs). As for anything without her, all I can say is stay tuned, because this could get interesting...
(Emphasis on "could.")
By the by, if you really want to see what I was like twelve-months ago, read this pdf of an interview I did around this time last year. It was conducted by Ian "Bubba" Shaughnessy for a magazine that never came out. It was supposed to run alongside "Chevelu" and the drawing Joëlle did of me flipping the bird.
Current Soundtrack: the Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? playlist
Current Mood: forward
All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich