Pain in the Arse

I am feeling a little too rested, which makes me unbearably restless. I am really looking forward to the new semester and the return of structure, even if powers-that-be yet again make us use a completely new electronic course-management system.

Eldest told me yesterday, “Maybe you should write another book. The last one kept you occupied for a year!”

This was a well-deserved burn, because I tend to drive everyone crazy (even after concentrated efforts not to) when I am not sufficiently busy. I don’t do vacations well.

In the coming academic year, I will keep kickboxing/strength training 5x per week, as I’ve been doing this summer. Getting up at 4:30 am is not my favorite thing in the world, but with the early slot I’ve been attending regularly, which wouldn’t have been feasible with afternoon slots. Middle Boy has been showing interest in kickboxing, so I might buy a heavy bag for the two of us to punch and kick to our hearts’ content.

I am contemplating starting a weekly webcomic on academic life. I am looking at some resources to improve my drawing skills (remember, I have no formal training and my last art class was in freshman year of high school) and to learn about story-boarding, but mostly I think I just have to start and see how it goes. More on it when the comic is ready to go.

I am also working on some short stories, but I don’t think anything is ready for prime time. Again, I am looking as some online resources, both free ones (like this one) and short web courses.

I don’t like sucking at things, so I am clearly trying to preempt  the suckage… Although deep down I know it’s inevitable.

I receive the reviews of my proposals and papers non-stop, so there is no shortage of criticism in my life. Do I need even more rejection, as I put comic strips online or submit stories for publication? A glutton for punishment, I must be.

I am also looking into enrolling into some evening courses at the university to brush up on my so-rusty-it’s-basically-pulverized German. At least that should feature sucking without rejection.

Off to revise a paper. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the summer, and those who could took a nice peek at the solar eclipse!


  1. Hahahaha!! You clearly just had a vacation. I was expecting freaking out over looming proposal deadlines, which is more common for you at this time of the year. Glad you got some well deserved rest! I also went on a vacation where kids were busy playing all day. Came back with an outline for a novel and bits and pieces written. We should take a resting class 🙂

  2. I dated a comic book artist for many years. When kids would come up to the booth at comic conventions asking how to become a better artist, he would recommended a book by Scott Mccloud called ‘Understanding Comics’. Scott labels himself as a comics theorist and he really is the book explains a lot about how our brain works and why certain very simple lines convey emotion etc. It’s a really engaging book and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with even a slight interest in visual communication.

    On the other hand, I really like your drawing style. You have a personal style that is quite recognizable, unique and engaging. I would hate to see you go get trained and become bland and perfect.

  3. Oh, a webcomic would be fun!

    I consider being OK with sucking at something when I first start a muscle I have to continually exercise. Which is why I took up crocheting. It is something I definitely suck at right now, and fits easily into my schedule. So I get to practice sucking at something and being OK with it without to much trouble. And even on something as unrelated to anything that actually matters in my life as crochet, I have to work at being OK with sucking. I kept at a project that was too hard for me waaaay too long before deciding to ditch it and get easier yarn to use on a similar project. I just didn’t want to admit I couldn’t do it.

  4. Anon, don’t feel bad — I’m sure it’s only a temporary surge in energy and will be depleted by the end of the NSF fall submission window. Plus the kids’ activities start up again in the fall, which has been known to drain the will to live even from the most energetic of parents…

    But it’s interesting how the things that we liked to do when we were young remain what we gravitate towards in the middle age, when we finally have a bit of time to breathe or pursue something creative. I wrote poems when I was in elementary/middle school and had even some published in some national-level publications for kids; I also wrote/drew comic books when I was very young, mostly for myself and my class mates. It’s amazing how much of a draw these pursuits have yet again, some 30 years later.

  5. Yes, I hear you. I’ve always loved drawing and photography, have been trying to spend more time doing it, and had planned to enroll in an art class on campus this semester (one of our benefits). But this is the first week of class for my kids, and good lord I’ve done *nothing* work related except teach one class. The thought of adding 3+ hours for a new commitment, even if it is something I love …. not going to happen.

  6. Re: storyboarding. I think Danielle Corsetto who drew that awsome webcomic “Girls with Slingshots” does some courses/has them online for a donation to her Patreon (I think $20?). I’ve seen some of the lessons at the end of her printed books and they are in the form of drawn examples that were a really cool way of instruction. Might be worth checking out:

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