8 December 2006

What Would Jesus Do? (Last Rites/Wrapping It All Up In Time For Xmas)

The comic strip that tops and tails this is where it all started in at least two ways. Sick and broke in the lead up to Christmas 1997, and increasingly obsessed with comics (pretty much my only reading matter at the time, especially if you discount offical government forms designed to disprove sickness, and my only encounters with narrative of any kind), I scribbled this with the intention of scanning it, copying it, posting it to family and the last of my dwindling, disappearing friends as a form of homemade Christmas card. Of course this is me I'm writing about so all I actually got round to was drawing it and scanning it then leaving it to gather virtual and real dust on hard drive and shelf. I drew several other comics over the next year or so and then stopped. There was no blog then to for me to post them on and no other bloggers around to spoon feed me the bitterly false nectar of encouragement and belief. Prior to drawing this comic I hadn't drawn anything for about 12 years, except the odd daydreamy doodle.

Six years later I received a Christmas email from a blogger, attached to which was a drawn-and-scanned cartoony card. The friend was Natalie, an artist and cartoonist whose brilliant work adorned her (then) fairly new blog and who I was growing to admire as a creative talent and even more as a warm and interesting new friend, albeit of the disembodied online kind. Feeling that I should reciprocate somehow, I sent Natalie the comic. Soon after, Natalie replied saying that she liked the comic, that I should make more of them, perhaps put them on my blog (then even newer than Natalie's and strictly textual). Flattered by this encouragement from an artist I admired, I followed Natalie's advice and posted several old doodles, including the Jesus comic. Natalie's only criticism were a couple of references to the Jesus' small nob. She liked Jesus and always imagined him with a big nob - any suggestion otherwise was offensive to her. So I censored and amended the original to remove all references to god's little manhood.

I soon ran out of old doodles and started making new ones. When I expressed frustration with my limited and inappropriate tools, Natalie bundled up a boxful of her old artgear and sent it to me, a fledgling artist's survival kit. And so me as groan-up comic mangler, and guild of ghostwriters as doodle blog, both owe their existence to this scruffy old strip about Jesus, his little nob, and me.

The few who have been visiting this (and the old and gone) place for a long time (and I know of at least one who has been linking/clicking here since the first week of my original blog) will know one or two things about me by now. You're probably aware that I'm often sick, have been for a long time and probably always will be. You'll know that I have something of an obsession with crucifying things. I have crucified Santa, the easter bunny, jesus and mostly I have crucified me. You will probably also know that I get the Xian holidays confused and usually end up crucifying most things for Xmas rather than easter. So for my final doodle and post I'll continue the habit of a blogtime and unseasonably crucify myself.

I had planned to paint it but I've put my paints away. I don't have the wound in my side because I'm worried that I'll put it on the wrong side and offend somebody. Which, all things considered, is quite funny really.

I've not been making art - or doing anything of value to me or the world - for ages. I keep trying but it isn't happening. So I'm going to stop trying. I don't plan to start trying again but a part of me hopes the pressure and depression will pass and I'll feel the need to pick up pen again. Part of me hopes I can move on from all that because in the long run it makes me feel worse, hammers home what a failure I am. This place is the same. Stats are a terrible thing because they show that if I ignore the googlers googling for drugs, magic mushrooms, pussy and blakean then I'm left with a very few loyal visitors. Most of whom, I can't help thinking, only come here out of pity. That's not say I don't appreciate your pity, support, praise and all but also I see my need for it as part of my sickness that I shouldn't indulge. And really, I don't deserve readers anyway because I don't do any reading myself. I indulge in the occasional manic bout of blogreading but only out of guilt. I can't help thinking that the original blog died just when it was getting known and that this new blog never carried forward the momentum and popularity of the old place. Momentum is everything in creativity and I lack the means or will to generate it anew. I missed my chance. I lack the self promotion gene, the take a chance and risk failing gene, the happiness gene, the will to live gene.

I'll leave all this here for the time being so that those who like stuff can make copies of their favourite bits. If I'm not making new stuff by easter I'll crucify it proper at the right time of year. Thanks to all those who helped make this place good when it was good.