That thing.

by jbyron

So before I took the currently ongoing sabbatical from this blog, I eluded to the reason why. If you don’t remember, don’t care, or are simply new to the musings on this blog, let me refresh: I have a thing. A new thing I’m working on. This thing is time-consuming, but hopefully worth it. This thing was supposed to eventually make it’s way onto this blog… same as my paintings or other work –  just simple posts hopefully more often than not… alas, I made a decision early-on in the process of this new thing that I wouldn’t share much of it. The reason? Confidence.

See, this new thing is a children’s book. It’s from a story, a poem actually, that I wrote nearly a decade ago while I was doing open-mic nights at a local coffee joint (yea, i’m that guy). I’ve been toying with the poem ever since. A few months ago, I had a breakthrough that made me realize it was time to sit down and design the pages that I had been envisioning for all these years. “Breakthrough” is way too strong a word and frankly, feels a little pretentious; still, that’s what it was for me. I finally had my ending.

Now let’s back up to that confidence thing I mentioned. I’m half-way through with the book. I gave myself a November deadline and I’m right on schedule, maybe even a little ahead. About 3 illustrations in, I realized that this project meant more to me than simply getting another creative whim off my chest.

In the past, I’ve referred to the act of creation as a beautiful burden. A gift, but a burden nonetheless. That’s a personal perspective that comes from the fact that I constantly have these ideas, whether visual or musical or literary – these ideas MUST make their way from my mind to some sort of tangible thing for others to experience too. And i’m not even sure others’ want to experience these things, but I force it on them anyway. That’s not really the point – the point is, these things have to have a release or they literally make me sick with stress. It consumes me. The main reason I feel this to be a burden is because most of my creative pursuits are not big money-makers… don’t get me wrong, some do okay. My paintings, shirts and freelance work have afforded me a supplemental lifestyle that is a true blessing. But considering I have a family that relies on me for various things from money to the simple act of quality time, spending our time on these creative pursuits can feel very selfish.

This one is no different. However, this time I’m confident… or maybe it’s just blind optimism… that this book will find it’s way into a bigger world… a world outside of my small handful of clients and collectors. The reason for this optimism is partly ego – but also because I’m taking my time with a piece of work that is close to my heart.

This is my second children’s book. The first can be found here. That one, entitled Broken Dreams, I self-published about 5 years ago. And while I’m proud of it, I admit that I rushed the illustrations a bit by using A LOT of photoshop trickery; the story could be finessed a bit; and I chose it in the first place because I felt it had the most commercial appeal – that last bit sometimes made inspiration hard to come by. Commercial appeal or mass appeal does not make for good art… if the masses love it, fantastic, but designing with this intent can feel like compromise… and compromise has no place in my creative endeavors.

On the flip side, my new book is very much me… for better or for worse. From the subject matter to the style, its’ a book that I would want for myself if I saw it on a shelf somewhere… or the bargain bin. It’s a little dark. It’s a little romantic. It doesnt pander. It requires the reader to suspend some of that tightly-held reason in the name of creativity and entertainment. And it doesn’t end with a nice bow tied around it. I hate that. I like art that survives off the different perceptions and interpretations of others. My hope is that there are enough likeminded individuals to support my efforts. I’m confident there are. There’s that word again. And that’s why I’m hesitant to show off the fruits of my labor thus far. If this badboy does find it’s way to a shelf somewhere, I’d rather the artwork be shiny and new and not spoiled by my own need to show it off. Yet, trailers get the folks in the seats right? So here’s a couple images to (hopefully) whet your appetite. The cover is at the end of this post.

In about a month, I should be nearly finished… this is when I intend to pursue some council on getting this thing published. My query letter is written. I’ve done my research. One of the reasons I self-published before was that I simply don’t have the resources to knock on all the possible doors of opportunity. So this time, I hope to find some representation… someone supportive who believes in the work. Someone who sells these types of books for a living. Someone who is not me.

I probably won’t post again until I finish the book or have news on it’s life outside of my hard drive. And if this simply becomes another flight of fancy for me, you guys can enjoy the ride as I’ll most certainly self-publish again if need be. Until then…