I just finished the forty-third page of Richy Vegas Comics', "The Villainess Veronica Ortega, part two." I started the final inks on the drawn and lettered pages at the beginning of August. I'm very excited that I've done so many pages in just two months. I'm looking forward to finishing this book sometime in late November or early December. The book will run seventy-six pages in length plus the cover. I want to spend December outlining the next book and writing four songs for an EP that I want to record next summer.
I might be able to release a third solo record before the Insect Sex Act album ever sees the light of day. I will say no more on that subject. I'm excited about writing the four songs in December. Right now I'm not able to focus on the record or songs in any meaningful way. It takes up too much of my concentration and energy to stick with the book. I will do good to play and write for a time or two in the next month. When I concentrated on "The World's Least Important Singer/ Songwriter" earlier this year, I really could not focus on the book.
Right now the priority is the book. I'm able to scribble notes for songs as they come to me, but not much else. The drawings look good. Right now there's still no real deadline pressure egging me on to bust ass on the book. There won't be any deadline pressure for at least another month. That's why I feel so good about getting so much done these last two months. If I have a good month of October production-wise, there won't be any deadline pressure, to speak of, at all.
After a session like the one this morning, I get real obsessive about productivity. I wish that I could be as obsessive about guitar practice, but there you are.
Bret De Palma, one of my teachers from The School of Visual Arts, talked one day in class about fame vs. anonymity. Bret said that people in our society are always in pursuit of fame. For artists the pursuit of fame might adulterate one's message, if one has a message. Bret said that he might instead pursue anonymity.
I can't say that I've been pursuing anonymity in my arts and entertainment career, but you can't tell that by looking at it! Mission accomplished, Bret! I am now more obscure and unknown than I have ever been in my career. I have had one review of my work in a publication (The Austin Chronicle, 1994), my music played over the airwaves one time that I know of (WBAI, New York, June 2010), and that's about it.
But nowadays, my productivity runs at almost full-steam. That is, I'm very prolific and productive of work that I'm very proud of in both music and art. I'm about to finish my fourth graphic novel in four years, and I will start working on a four song EP as soon as that winds down. I have the twin elements of money and time that one needs to complete such things.
Anonymity as it applies to my comics means that there's very little chance I will be sued for whatever assets I have. The changes that I make to people's names, my imperfect memory and lack of ability to render an accurate likeness, and the fact that I sell like fifteen books a year all decrease the likelihood of lawsuits.
The bad people in the Richy Vegas songs appear under pseudonyms, so the fact that "Man's Inhumanity to Me" debuts on October 8th does not keep me up nights. I don't have pictorial likenesses of the antagonists to go along with those songs, so they have no reason to complain. I will draw and write the Richy Vegas story in like three years, finish in six, so there's more time in which to bury the past. I might be as obscure as I am today.
It's not that I really want to play out my entire arts and entertainment career in anonymity, but if it comes to pass that I do, I will try to "hide in plain sight." That is, my art will be available for all to see, but thanks to my lack of ability to ,publicize and promote it through the major mass media, I may have to settle for the artistic freedom of obscurity.
I looked up the issues of right to privacy as it concerns defamation and libel and such. Of great concern to me was the concept of defamation as it relates to the public disclosure of private information. It could be true information, but the fact that one airs it out can constitute grounds for civil action.
I am forty pages along on part two of Richy Vegas Comics, "The Villianess Veronica Ortega." It's about something that happened to me in 1985. The thing is, Veronica seemed very proud of her choice of boyfriends, and the whole episode played out very openly and publicly as far as I could tell. I imagine her boyfriend appeared on her tax records as her employer and everything. So, what would be the problem if I air this info out after so much time?
Further down in the article it said that matters of opinion constitute protected speech. It was my opinion that her actions were distasteful. But it's not like I'm revealing something like how I went on a cocaine binge with her and we spent a weekend in a swingers club, all the while her husband and kids are at Six Flags. That never happened. If it did, I could never reveal that in print or online or anything.
Veronica very publicly embraced this deal she took to work for this guy and also be his girlfriend. If she's a school teacher now and loses her job, I don't know. She was very public about it once. Does the fact that this may not have been her reality for a very long time since grant her a right to privacy that she initially discarded with her actions and statements?
The article talked about defamation as it relates to grave sexual misconduct. Veronica's actions may constitute a matter of opinion, one that she made clear which side she stood on. In the next three volumes of Richy Vegas Comics, "The Consequences of Bringing LIght," I do reveal an episode of grave sexual misconduct. Stay tuned.
I expect to finish part two of "The Villainess Veronica Ortega" by the first week in December. It will come out in print a short time after. I figure that as long as I'm self-published and obscure, I don't have to worry much about lawsuits.
I registered my debut solo record, "Man's Inhumanity to Me," with Tunecore.com yesterday morning. It was easy and pretty cheap. The record will be available for download a streaming on all these services including iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Look for it on October 8th.
Naturally, what I really bought myself was the license to daydream about making it big. I guess it's a little better than buying lottery tickets. Doing stuff like this does not seem to hurt the art I wind up producing. I get over being discouraged pretty easy and just wind up soldiering on.
I told Insect Sex Act guitarist and our record's producer, Brett Bradford, about how easy and cheap it was to register "Man's Inhumanity to Me" with Tunecore.com. I'm volunteering to test out the service to see if we want to use it for our CD.
I'm also in the process of registering the tracks on the record with BMI. Lately I've had a fantasy about walking into a strip club with my credit card and always saying "yes" to whatever anyone asks me. "Would you like a drink?" "Yes!" "Would you like another Diet Coke?" "Yes!" "...and another?" "Yes!" "Would you like some company?" "Yes!" "Do you want a table dance?" "Yes!" "Would you like another table dance?" "Yes!"
The object would be to see how long it would take for me to run up a massive charge on my credit card and to see how big I would let it get before I fled the scene. Apparently there's suckers with money to burn who pretty much do just that on a regular basis. I would keep a tab on how long I had to keep going and how much money I had to spend before a dancer offered to go home with me...for a price.
I tried to have a similar mindset about not saying "no" with this Tunecore when they kept offering me services. I got as far as registering with BMI, but BMI doesn't even charge to register songs with them, so I came out of it okay. If any of these outlets offer to promote "Man's Inhumanity to Me" for a price, I'm not going for it. I rather have the thing die on the vine than start shelling out money for such thing
I mention elsewhere on this site about how I came to believe in God. It's great to believe in God. Now what? I guess to believe in God it helps to believe that God has a purpose for one in this life. It seems to go hand in hand with a belief in God to believe that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, we just need to find out what it is.
Looking back on my life since my early twenties, and how my struggles played out on an almost daily basis, I would say that I had a purpose in life, and went about fulfilling it, long before I ever came to believe in a Supreme Being. That struggle to fulfill God's intended role for me in this plane of existence continues to this day. I simply have more clarity as to what it is all for and why I wind up doing what I do when I am at my best.
My purpose seems to be to challenge so-called normal people on their perceptions and prejudices about what it means to be a mentally ill person. I remember a class in college that I took on Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales." The female instructor seemed intent on doing a feminist deconstruction on the tales. Not only did she seemed intent on doing a feminist deconstruction on "The Canterbury Tales," She also seemed intent on doing a feminist deconstruction of me.
The first day in class she noticed me noticing a young Asian-American girl in front of me, and in her lecture, she talked about how the first tale of the volume look as if it were going to be a love story. As the semester progressed she lectured us on the evils of patriarchy and how women were depicted on society and art. She said something about how men believed that virgins wouldn't get raped as one example. The Asian-American girl in question seemed pretty virginal, so that remark seemed pertinent. I acted visibly distressed by her vitriol one day and she backed off and gave a few examples of how the female form also represented things like Justice and Faith, Hope, and Charity. I acted placated and we were able to move on.
One day I asked the Asian-American girl out after I followed her out of class, and she said that she had a boyfriend. A couple of days later I saw her in the library and said hi to like it was all cool. In a class or two after that the teacher said something about someone "doing something wrong" and she looked at me with kind of a distressed look on her face. The Asian-American girl was not in the class.
One of the last classes centered on the Pardoner's Tale. I had talked this tale up as one of the best stories in the English Language. The Pardoner's Tale is about two men who try to escape Death by leaving their village and they come to rest under a tree. They find a stash of gold in the trunk. They drink some wine to celebrate their good fortune, Then one of the men stabs the other man so that he can have the gold all to himself. Wouldn't you know it, the stabee had poisoned the stabber's wine so that the stabber subsequently drops dead as well.
'The teacher got the message about Death, which was a topic of great concern to me at time. I remember after one of these last classes an older man sort of gave me commiserate, sympathetic look as we left the class. Every now and then in the week, and months that followed this class, another Asian-American girl who took the class would give me a knowing, conspiratorial smile as we walked by each other.
Middle-Class white and hispanic women who adhere to a feminist ideology seem to often believe that I need to be "taught" some kind of lesson. They never seem to target men who are real scoundrels to the women in their life, but seem to instead make it about me and what ever it is I am to them. I concluded, years ago, that these women sense a vulnerability in me that they don't sense in men they consider to be "normal." Recently I concluded that Middle-Class white and hispanic women with a feminist ideology are very insecure about their level of intelligence in relation to the men in their environment, and often they seek out men that they can "best" in some sort of mind game. That is where I tend to come in.
At the age of 49, I still have women with this attitude in my daily life. I'm much better at being able to smell a rat than I was in the days of Chaucer et al. It's not just these kind of women that seem to perpetually intend to teach me a lesson, it's often male confederates who consider themselves somehow superior to me as well. I guess the main lesson that I'm supposed to learn is that they are better than me. Liberal/ Left Wing types of both sexes seem to really want to teach me this lesson for some reason.
I guess that God has put me here to challenge people such as these about what a guy with a major mental illness, all by himself, can stand up to in the face of such overwhelming numbers combined with intellects that function on a level that, really, I can only guess at. I have no illusions of being able to win the hearts of attractive young or youngish feminist women with this attitude. I guess that is because, to them, I am no better than, say, a mentally retarded man who had somehow, someway, managed to outsmart them. Make no mistake, such women are in no way obliged to take a romantic interest in me, any more than I would say they were obliged to take an interest in a mentally retarded man who has somehow, someway thwarted their best laid plans. They must wonder, though, how does he do it? Could it be, that people such as myself and others with a "diminished mental capacity" have to deal with this stuff all the time, and that the sheer repetition and near constant presence of these people in our lives give us plenty of opportunities to get it right?
A few weeks ago I sent a writer of a recently published memoir a copy of one of my books as well as a CD and a letter. While I was out of town for a few days, some man left a message on my answering machine. The message consisted of some guy seeing if I was there and waiting a little bit to see if I'd pick up. At first I figured it might have been a telemarketer. This is, after all, my landline.
Then I thought that it might have been this author. Visions of getting my wing-wang serviced by super models on a near daily basis danced in my head. As well as visions of winning all sorts of prizes; Pulitzer, Nobel for literature etc. This is, after all, the whole reason I send stuff off to people like this, What I try to give people like this in return is some intelligent things to say about their work and how it relates to me personally and/or the work that I do.
It's been a couple of days since I've got this message on my machine, and there has been no further word from whomever this party was. Maybe it was just a telemarketer. The day I sent the author my book and CD, I came to the conclusion that doing so wouldn't hurt anything. I've done things like this in the past, and the worst thing that happens is they never reply. A couple of times I've received positive replies, though. These replies never really blossomed into lengthy correspondences, but there you have it-I got some feedback nonetheless.
So I daydream for a little bit, then I calm down and get back to work. Therefore, it really doesn't seem to hurt anything. And the few words of feedback that I do get from people, like Harvey Pekar, I take very seriously, and I think I've made improvements as a result. Harvey said that I'd probably have to self-publish, as publishers wouldn't have any confidence that my stuff would sell, and so far his comments have been right on.
Which brings me to today's topic. If I self-publish and self-distribute my memoirs, I have a lot of artistic freedom as to what I include. I can draw people who have been hurtful to me in some way so that It actually resembles my memories of them, even if I feel compelled to change their names. So what if I only sell fifteen books a year! What's the harm? My worst case scenario about having the brass ring within my reach is to what extent I would have to water down my vitriol to appease some panty-waist lawyer or some such A-hole.
Look, I have financial support and lots of time now. I've got some ways to go on this project, and so far so good. If anyone offers to make me some kind of rock star memoirist, they'd better know that I don't want to give too much up in order to achieve something like that.
Tomorrow I'm going to Seattle. It used to be that I would get loaded the night before I went on a trip such as this one. Once I arrived at my destination, I would get loaded, and pretty much get loaded every night I spent away from home. Hotel rooms were a real trigger for me, too.
Tonight I thought about getting a half-gallon of ice cream and having milkshakes. That's about as close as I get to getting "loaded" these days. I guess that traveling alone somewhere heightens the sense of aloneness that drives to me to drink and whatnot.
I'm trying to do something that will make me feel less lonely in the first place. Blog posts! Let's try it.
I received a very nice response to my last blog post. In my post I did the usual bitching about not making gobs of money or not dating super models because I can't make it as an artist. The respondent said something to the effect that if I did this stuff for fame money or recognition I will probably wind up being disappointed. The respondent then went on to say that if I did my work for my own personal satisfaction, that would be the most important thing, and that I might be able to get an audience of some kind to boot.
I appreciate the feedback I get, especially comments that are so encouraging and complimentary of my work. It blows me away that anyone sees this site, much less takes the time to write back. That kind of thing makes my day. I'll just say that I've been doing art "professionally" since I graduated with a masters in fine arts in 1991. I've had very little in the way of success in doing it, but yet I persist. I do know how to do this stuff for love. It's great to do this stuff for love. It's better than loving another human being for twenty-one years and getting very little in return for all that one puts into it. Why is that? I guess that the art objects that are the artifacts of that devotion can't decide to make a doo-doo on you whenever they feel like it. They're inanimate objects, and have no power in and of themselves to break your heart.
Doing it for love means you have no real deadlines. You may take as long or as little an amount of time as you wish to do a project. You can be as ambitious as your time constraints and your budget allows. For reasons such as these, it is good to take care to meet at least your own standards of excellence before sending your artwork out into the world. Therefore, it is important to have viable standards of excellence in the first place. It is painfully obvious why a lot of artists will never make it, and I have a feeling that a lot of it has to do with market driven concerns that one produce works of "genius" at all times. If everything you do is a work of true genius, than you never have to worry about developing a critical voice. It is obviously the world's fault that you're not getting the success you so richly deserve.
I've submitted my comics to indie publishers at various stages of my career, and have been rejected on all fronts. Enough rejection of that nature occurs, be it from galleries, museums, publishers, or whomever, one begins to think that one's work really doesn't cut it. For reasons such as these it can be hard to keep on doing it for love, so to do so after twenty-one years of very little in the way of success means that I need very little in way of a lecture about commitment. That said, I appreciate the respondent taking the time to write about my last post. After all, who knows if I'll even get another one? Much less one as thoughtful and encouraging as that one.
As you all may or may not know, I have an addictive personality. I've managed to give up cigarettes (two packs a day), alcohol, drugs, ice cream and too many other foods to list, and I'm doing okay on the unavailable women. Tonight, I've discovered another addiction to add to my ever-expanding list. The newly discovered thing that I have to now give up is....going off of my psychiatric medication!
I started out by skipping a dose a couple of times every so often. Now I'm up to once a week and have done this new thing twice in one week at least once. When I skip a dose of my anti-psychotic medication, I don't sleep that night and I have to stay up all day until the next time to take a dose. I feel a great deal of discomfort all during the day as I go further and further into withdrawal. Finally, late the next night, I take the scheduled dose and sleep for a long time. After I wake up the next day, I feel a heightened sense of well-being that greatly contrasts with the discomfort of the previous day.
Now that I have this somewhat disturbing practice framed in the context of yet another manifestation of my addictive personality, I have a better idea of how to manage it. I will no longer skip doses of my anti-psychotic medication, ever. Back when I drank heavily I was better about taking my meds than I am now. My psychiatrist suggested another end-of-the-day ritual to replace heavy drinking, but I could not think of one at the time. I guess that I could try blog entries at the end of each day.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.