Rebirth

And when they say
That you’re not good enough
Well the answer is
You’re not
But who are they
Or what is it
That eats at what you’ve got
With the hunger of ambition
For the change inside the purse
They are handcuffs on the soul, my friends
Handcuffs on the soul
And worse
-Paul Simon
I have been told ‘no’ a lot over the past year.  ‘No’ can mean a lot of things and what it means to you kind of depends on your perspective.  Sometimes it means you’re not good enough, not a good fit for the project or someone better came along.
There’s always someone better.  Which is kind of cool.  I like discovering a new cartoonist and being blown away or inspired by what they do.  It challenges me to do better.  You can’t let yourself be destroyed by the criticism, by the rejection, which is hard because so often these things do kill.  At least for a while.
Over the last year I submitted ‘The Retros’ to comic strip syndicates.  I ended up sending three different submission packets (and I am preparing a fourth) and was either met with a no or with nothing.
I also spent most of last year sending ‘Bear and Rabbit’ to literary agents and publishers.  I sent this project to close to 200 people.  There was some interest, a few promising emails but never found the elusive ‘yes’.
I was laid off in January and was lucky to find a new a few weeks ago.  I sent out dozens of resumes and had a lot of interviews before I found a yes.
It’s exhausting and emotionally draining sometimes to hear so no so many times.  Sometimes it got me down, sometimes it didn’t.  Sometimes it pushed me.  Sometimes it was a wake up call to up my game.
Please know that I am not bitter or angry or feeling sorry for myself or frustrated about any of this.  It feels like these rejections happened to someone else.  I feel like a different person than I was four months ago.
Life is very different than it was four months ago.  My wife is adjusting to life after her heart attack and there are many small and big changes as a result of that.  Brushes with death can do that to a family.  It might sound I am being flip but I’m not.  I went from commuting to an office to working from home and traveling for my job occasionally which is a change to the day-to-day and my routine.  Waiting in airports to board a flight for work is not something I am used to.
It feels like life was rebooted.
When a lot of things change, it forces you to have a new perspective.  Your feelings towards things change and everything that happened before these changes feel like a lifetime ago.
If I was stung by any criticism or rejection I have long shaken it off.  As always, I am looking to what is next.  It’s also time to move from trying to get published to creating more things so I have something new to submit to publishers.

So, what is next?

First off is the long-awaited second collection of ‘The Retros’.  Like the first collection, this will be funded by a Kickstarter which launches tomorrow.  Links to the book will be posted on Facebook and Twitter, both found on the Retros website.

Here’s the cover, once again put together and colored by my friend Ben Mudek:
Retros Book 2 Final Front Cover
I plan on having the third book out this fall.
Like the first Kickstarter, the book will be printed regardless of the Kickstarter success, this is just a way to pre-order it.
Unfortunately I will not be at MSP ComicCon this May.  I will be traveling for work that weekend and it kills me to miss the show.  So, if you want this book, please consider reserving a copy though the Kickstarter.
Traveling for work does cause disruptions to life.  Time away from family, from friends, and from my routines.  Life is about adapting and change.  This change will require me to be more mobile in a few ways and one of those ways I need to adapt is how and where I draw and create.
More on that next time.
Bob

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