"So what are you going to do now?"
This question has been haunting me for months. Ever since I was "strongly encouraged to pursue a new life path" (*cough* the boyfriend I'd been living with for 7+ years dumping me *cough*), I've been at a standstill. I'm torn between wanting desperately to return to the normalcy of my old life, and the painful realization that, even if I could, I KNOW it just didn't work. At the end of the day, I just wasn't HAPPY, I hadn't been for a long time, and no it wasn't entirely the Ex's fault. I can't point to just one cause. Needless to say, something had to change. I would have rather the Ex discuss things WITH me before pulling the plug- especially since I was the one much more strongly affected by his decision - but there's not much I can do about this now.
But back to that haunting question... It's been asked of me countless times by family, friends, and readers of my old comic. It's asked out of curiosity, or of concern, or even just as an innocent conversation starter. And while intellectually my brain should see it as nothing more than Just Another Question, I can't help but dread it every time it comes up.
See, I have this thing I do... some could blame it on having an overactive imagination, or maybe that I have deep-seated confidence issues, or maybe that I'm just flat out crazy town. Regardless, all I hear when someone asks this of me is "OH MY GOD, get back to being a productive member of society! Why have you not come up with a responsible, fiscally responsible solution for your current situation? Don't you have it all figured out yet? Get off the couch and DO SOMETHING ALREADY!" And as with any time I'm asked to explain myself, I begin to wonder if the person asking, subconsciously, already has a "correct" answer in their head that I'm supposed to conform to.
So it makes me nervous. And twitchy. And no, it's really NOT the coffee doing it this time, I swear. Trust me, I can tell the difference.
This isn't to say that I haven't given what I would like to do a considerable amount of thought. In fact, I have actually made a semi-tentative, I'd-love-to-do-this-if-I-can-make-the-stars-align-in-my-favor plan for the near future. I've mentioned it briefly on twitter, and I've told my parents about it (though I think they both think I'm still in a post-breakup crisis place where I'm not really thinking that clearly). It'd be a HUGE change in my lifestyle; however, given everything that's happened, I figured now would be the best time to do something like this which is, I'll be honest, a little nuts. But it's something that has kept me from going into a hopelessly depressed downward spiral*, so I'll consider that a good sign in itself.
My plan, in a nutshell, is this:
I will be looking to purchase, in the near future (3-6 months), a vintage Airstream Trailer, as well as a suitable tow vehicle (most likely a 3/4 ton pickup like a Ford F250 or something similar). I'll be looking for something that is structurally and mechanically in very good shape, but that I can heavily renovate to have a dedicated art studio/office (among other changes). I will then be able to travel anywhere in the US, working and living out of the trailer. To keep myself from getting lonely during times when I'm not staying in campgrounds near family or friends, I also plan to adopt a dog. Heck, maybe two. I'm flexible.
My hope is that this website can become not just the new hub for all of my creations, but also serve as a travel journal, with videos, photos, podcasts, and more talking about my travels, reviews of places I've been, seen, eaten, done, etc. I'll be brainstorming as many ways to monetize as possible, but the goal is to rely as little on private, one-on-one commissions as possible. I won't stop doing them entirely, but the more I'm able to work on things that LOTS of people can enjoy instead of just one or two people, the better I think it will be for everyone. That's the hope, anyway.
And yes, I do still plan on doing comics. They won't be exclusively BPD, and it won't be on a regular update schedule. I would much rather do full complete stories, or even chapters of larger stories, that are released in chunks than one-page-at-a-time. I'm going to be dead honest with you guys; i can count on one hand the number of BPD updates in the last year that I was legitimately proud of. I don't want to feel like I'm dumping sub-par content on you just to have SOMETHING out on update days. Nor do I have the patience with doing long story pacing at 2 or 3 pages a week. It SUCKS. So for those of you waiting for BPD to return as it was, I'm sorry to say but that's not going to happen. HOWEVER, the characters are NOT retired, and they will return, just in another form. And hey, I'll also FINALLY have the time to work on all of the other non-BPD ideas I've had cooking!
There's definitely a lot to consider going into this. The biggest one for me right now is the initial expense of buying & renovating a trailer, as well as purchasing a suitable truck. But there's also lots of research that will need to be done for all of the logistical things as well. What's the most reliable & cost effective way for me to get internet? How will I receive mail if I don't have a permanent address? And since I'm aiming to reorganize how I earn an income, how can I predict if it will be large enough & reliable enough?
It's a HUGE adjustment, and there'll definitely be a learning curve. And yet, as nervous and paranoid as I normally am about making large life changes, I'm more excited about this than I have been about anything else in a long time. I realized that, after 7 years living in Philadelphia, I had hardly seen much of the city. In the last year & a half when I worked exclusively for myself from home, I almost never left the house.
I'm ready to make the change. This isn't just something I want to do; it's something I NEED to do.
So there you have it. My somewhat crazy, possibly unrealistic vision for the direction I'd like to go. And while it may not be the most logical, responsible plan, being that I've stubbornly chosen to be an artist for a living, this just seems to fit along that trend.
Can I make it happen? I sincerely hope so. A lot of it will depend on how much support and patience I can get from my father specifically, since I really don't want to overstay my welcome at his house. As long as he doesn't "encourage" me to move out before I'm able to afford to put my plan into action, I'm fairly confident that I can make my vision a reality.
A little wishful thinking and possibly a little miracle wouldn't hurt though.
*I'm only human, so I do have had the occasional "mope fest". but having something awesome to dream about and look forward to has made them FAR less common than they would have been otherwise.