A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, October 08, 2007


When I was in college, I was concerned about my persistent digestive problems, and so I went to the doctor. After some tests, including a lengthy dietary experiment, it was determined I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a stomach condition triggered by stress. Don't ask me what makes that different than the average condition that your mother called a "nervous stomach," all I know is that a doctor told me this is what I had nearly twenty years ago. Since then, it's become a more popular thing to have, like so many modern syndromes and disorders, that a lot of people make claims to but don't get diagnosed. I should have had the doctor write me a note. "Jamie's butt explodes because he's sensitive."

It's gone in and out of my life over the years based on, you guessed it, my stress level. It's amazing I was so fat working at Oni Press, because I was pooping enough for three people most of the time. Since leaving Oni, bad bowel movements have usually had something to do with with the whiskey from the night before.

Enter DC Comics into my life. Oh, boy. To suggest my Syndrome announced its return in a fanfare of trumpets would be no hyperbole. Have you ever woken yourself up from a deep sleep because your flatulence stank so bad? Well, I have. (You may think this is too much information, but I am pandering to a small segment of my audience here. Namely, fellow comics writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose blog is actually called Girl Farts. I suspect her becoming a mother was all an elaborate plan to cultivate more scatological conversation material.)

Anyway, one of the neat things about IBS is that my stomach absorbs some of the stress, so I freak out less on the outside. This means, despite putting a lot of pressure on myself for this comic book, it's manifesting mostly in my toilet.

And on the page--though not in the same way, thank goodness. Last week I established a plan whereby I would create a rough spine for my script by writing ten pages a day. Starting Tuesday, that meant all forty pages of the main story by Friday. I'm pleased to say I reached my goal at around 1:30 A.M. that night. Not bad, considering I went to two movies and had an unexpected personal derailment and a shocking iPod meltdown in the midst of it. My biggest concern was that I would run out of room, I had bitten off more story than I could chew, but I actually came in two pages short, meaning I can loosen the belt elsewhere when I do the big rewrite.

My plan is pretty much the same for this week. I spent the weekend proofing my latest manhwa assignment, Park Hee-Jung's short story collection Too Long (announced here). I really liked it. Delicately drawn stories, loosely connected, all working on a common theme. I made sure to get the clean-up done before I started my DC script, and so proofing my work was a good separator between the two stages of writing. Today I do some side work, as I do every Monday, and also celebrate Columbus Day. (Seriously? Is there a holiday people care less about? I walked to the post office with my packages to mail, and along with three other people, was shocked to discover they were closed. Clearly not an event on most people's radar. It's a holiday for mailmen, bankers, and, as The Sopranos taught us, mobsters. It needs to go away. Plus, no one told the librarians it was a government holiday. They were at work!)

Despite the stress, I'm pretty excited. Too very impressive, very cool artists have signed on for the project, and I think it's going to get a lot of notice. I'm happy with the structure of the story and think it will make for a strong stand-alone.

On that iPod meltdown, can I just sing the praises of Apple Care for a second? I actually find the whole Mac Culture to be repugnant, but I will say Apple Care is a worthwhile investment. I bought my 60G Video iPod a couple of days before Halloween in 2005, when I was traveling to Chynna Clugston's wedding. It's run pretty faithfully for nearly two years. It started freaking out last Monday and none of the troubleshooting worked. I took it into the Mac Store on Thursday, and with 25 days left on my extended warranty, they replaced it with a brand new machine. I was, of course, ecstatic. If something is going to break down, that close to the cut-off date is the time for it to happen. Talk about getting my money's work!

I had almost completely filled the old Pod. It took a while to do, adding music slowly over time. It's oddly freeing to have the opportunity now to start from scratch again. Naturally, there was some music on my laptop already, and that formed the basis for the reconstruction, but now the process of selecting and importing CDs from my collection begins. What suits me now, and how does it differ from what was already on there? Some choices are obvious. Dog Man Star and Louder Than Bombs were the first two things I picked, and outside of a Fall collection, the only things I have ripped from disc so far. I'm taking it slow, biding my time. It's too bad there isn't some record of how each of my various MP3 players have ended their life. It would be like an aural topography of the last six or seven years of my existence. (I would also have my playlists from the last iPod, something I wish I had preserved before I tried to restore it. I had a huge list, in order of my preference, of the singles that have been released this year, as well as mixes I made for Joëlle and collections of Beatles and Smiths covers.) Someone should do a study of what these changes to the music we choose to carry with us say about the ebb and flow of how we live.

Anyway, here I go. Ten pages a day starting tomorrow. By this time next week, if all goes well, Jann Jones will have my script and I will be working on my own stuff again, along with the eight-page back-up for our one-shot. It's all about the kinetic energy, baby!

Current Soundtrack: Zabriskie Point OST

Current Mood: poopy

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All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich


Travis said...

your blog is great...

...for me to poop on.

I figured it'd be another couple of years before your bowels were the subject of an entire blog post. I also imagined it to be more educational about the benefits of fiber and how "solid stools" are nicer on your hemorrhoids...but oh well.

Michelle said...

I don't think I've ever enjoyed reading about someone's bowels before. Huh. That's somehow comforting.

Kelly Sue said...

We should write a book of companion essays -- girl farts and boy farts.