I’m canceling all my Autumn conventions, except for Rock Con (Rockford, Il, Oct. 13, 14).

Unfortunately, and heartbreakingly, this includes Essen (Germany) and Archon (St. Louis). Next year, I’ll be doing VERY few conventions. San Diego Comicon and Chicago Wizard World look like they’ll be casualties. Origins and GenCon will probably be my only Summer cons.

This winter, DragonMeet in London (Dec. 1) will be my only convention.

Why? Because I need time.

Time to concentrate on the comic books. Time to concentrate on the comic strips.

Time to be with family and friends.

Time to do good work.

Time to be with my wife.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve felt like the conventions have been nonstop. And they’ve been fantastic. But as the business side of Dork Storm Press has required more time, and the conventions have gotten (for us, at any rate) larger and larger, I’ve felt increasingly pulled from five different directions. I’ve never been more tired than I have the last few months, even after cutting way back on game illustrations.

Comic Books. Comic Strips. Business. Family and Friends. Convention Circuit.

Of those five, I fear I’ve let some Family and Friends down this year. Perhaps because I believed they’d always be there.

Then September 11 happened.

I haven’t gotten over September 11. Like many, many people here and around the world, I never will.

Judith and I took a trip out East two weeks ago. We visited places I grew up, we saw family members I haven’t seen in three years. We spent time together. I was with the love of my life, I was with people I loved.

Our time on this world isn’t infinite. What I care about is my family and friends first, and my work second. Of my work, the comic books and comic strips are what I live for. The business is a necessary evil that has to be taken care of.

Which leaves the conventions.

I looked at my schedule, and I saw week after week of convention appearance. Then the holidays. Then more conventions.

Much that I love — LOVE — meeting readers, and greeting folks, and seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter around the booth, much that the sense of camaraderie lifts my spirits and makes my days on the road, I need some time off.

Much that I’ll miss seeing the fantastic folks in Germany, I need to be with my wife (whom I was away from nearly 90 days last year, and whom I missed every single day of that time), and I want to be there for my friends. I want to sit behind my drawing table week after week, and crank out the best work I can possibly do. I want to get the comic book back on schedule, and I want to make sure I miss no more weddings of dear, close friends and cousins. I want to be at all the family get-togethers.

I want to spend time with my wife.

I want to get back to basics. I need to get back to basics.

Right now, I’m looking at my schedule, and I see more or less five months of being at home, broken up with short trips with my wife, flying — yes, FLYING — to visit family and friends.

RockCon is kinda my local con. DragonMeet will get me back to see my mom, dad and sister.

And in the meantime, I’ll be the one behind the drawing table. Smiling.

-John

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