Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Has It Really Been Ten Years? No, Really?!

I just realized 20 seconds ago that I've been blogging for a bit over 10 years. I began my previous blog, the "Mom's Cancer Blog," on July 26, 2005 after returning from my first San Diego Comic-Con. That's 1072 posts, not counting this.

A decade ago, in September 2005, I was writing about reviewing printer's proofs, doing spot drawings, and designing endpapers for the book version of Mom's Cancer. That's also the month I received my "Gertie the Dinosaur" animation cel by Winsor McCay, which was my first (and to date only) splurge purchase with my new "cartooning money." Gertie passed her 100th birthday in my care.

Still my pride and joy.

What I didn't blog about was the fact that Mom was miserably ill in Los Angeles and, unknown to us then, living the last of her days. The end was quick--up to a couple of days before, we were planning to take her home from the hospital. She died on October 1.

Ten years is a lot of "blah blah blah" under the bridge. I was a more diligent correspondent then. I used to think I had interesting things to say and some obligation to say them. I felt a responsibility to not somehow disappoint my mostly imaginary readers. Over the decade I've lightened up considerably--some combination of feeling like I've pretty much gotten everything off my chest, having Facebook to express some of the lighter thoughts I once would have turned into posts, and realizing nobody cares. I take the whole thing, and I think myself, less seriously than I used to.

I do like leaving a record, however ephemeral the Web turns out to be. Someone reading my archives would know me much better than people who've been real-life friends for 30 or 40 years. I like having a soapbox, even if I don't feel compelled to step up on it as often. It's there when I need it.

Some old posts still get a lot of hits, particularly those related to the technical side of making comics and publishing books. In general, my "process" posts do well long term. A few folks still look up my tutorial on Photoshopping the four-color dot effect I used in Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow every day.

This kinda thing.

Posts that I work very hard on and expect to raise a big ruckus get nothing, while tossed-off brain farts bring down the roof. Weird posts get hits. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a set of encyclopedias we had when I was a child that had a big influence on me. Every so often, somebody Googles "Richard's Topical Encyclopedia," finds that post, and writes to tell me how much they loved it too. Google also brings migraine sufferers to my post on that topic.

Posts that drew the most comments include that darned encyclopedia article, a quippy piece on writing style and grammar, reflections on a recent birthday, two "ask me anything" Q&As (#1 and #2), and of course my announcement that Mom had passed.

My favorite pieces to write are probably my "on-the-scene" reports. I like sharing something interesting I've seen or done with (ideally) some insight and wit. Brings out the old journalist in me. People who can't get to comics conventions or graphic medicine conferences seem to enjoy my posts on those. Two of my very favorite posts were about time I spent in the orbit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, Two Hours in WimpyWorld and its sequel, Nine Hours in WimpyWorld, because being on a bestselling book tour is something most people never experience and I think I captured their strangeness pretty well.

My blogging ebbs and flows. With luck, I'll have some new projects to write about soon, with all new "how to" process posts and on-the-scene reports to come. If you've read some of my posts, thanks for that; if you've read all of them, may God have mercy on your soul.

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