Wounds, and the Licking Thereof

Had a couple’a crummy days, to be honest.

At work, anyway.

To be fair, on a number of levels, 2018 is a dumpster fire atop a tire fire, teetering on a toxic waste dump. Which is also on fire.

This was a professional setback that I hadn’t expected, though.

The phonecall came Wednesday night. Short story long, a different sort of project I had worked on long and hard, last year, was deep-sixed late in the process, taking everyone by surprise.

Someone in Hollywood pulled a last-minute plug I sure wish they hadn’t.

It was  a big gig, and I’ll get paid for it, but the crushing disappointment is palpable. Three hundred pieces I consider amongst my best will never get seen. Future doors this gig could have opened were suddenly slammed shut. But, yeah, mostly? – something really, truly fun will most likely never get made.

Thursday, I tweeted about it, then went internet silent, to lick some wounds.

A few folks – followers and friends alike – were worried. My usually cheerful-nay-GLEEFUL tweet-stream was all of a sudden grimdark.

Bless you all.

But it’s OK. It’s fine.

If I’m gonna rave about the highs I get from my profession (Cartoon Funny-Person, Local 345), I may as well be honest that things don’t always go the way you hope.

SHOCK, I know, right?

Here’s the thing, though: this is the creative life. These things happen.

Does it bite? Oh, absolutely. I still feel punched in the gut. This one will take some time to get over.


This is the creative life.

These things happen.

I can’t think of a single pal at any level of success who hasn’t experience the heartache of unexpected disappointment: budgets cut; rugs pulled; gates gatekept . Multiple times.

You get over it. You move on. There are a dozen projects in my sketchbook that are waiting for me to start them or finish them. (Can you say “Tao of Igor”? I knew you could!)

I’m not a fan of failure, and rejection can leave me in knots – even at this late stage in a relatively “My God, How Did I Get Here?” kind of career.

Don’t like it, no, siree.

But – and this is the takeaway – feeling gut-punched about a project that may never see the light of day?

To me, anyway, it’s sweetly reassuring that I still care so deeply about the stuff I work on.

If you’re new to the creative life – or any job you care passionately about, to be honest – you will go through this, in some form or variation, possibly many times. If you’re an old hand at this, let’s compare notes, some convention. And laugh about it.

It’s OK to feel crummy, from time time.

Just keep on caring about what you do.

So – I’ll be going back to that sketchbook, figuring how best to begin/move/finish these other projects (and some of them are pretty dang cool, I tell you what).

But first…

First, I think I’ll have a really good beer.

Something that pairs well with the licking of wounds.

–  John




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