Note From The President, Cerebus 177, December 1993Copyright 1993 Dave Sim
See. to me, drawing Cerebus is like being a major league baseball team. You play one hundred and sixty-two games in six months: virtually every day. If I get two pages a day done, that's a win. If I get a page and a half done, that's a one-run game; it could go either way, a win or a loss. A page a day and you're going to need some luck to pull it out; you have to get some unearned runs, the other team has to make some errors. Less than a page a day and you need a miracle to pull it out. You're stranding runners in scoring position, walking the lead-off hitter, blowing comfortable leads. A hundred and sixty-two games in six months. Every day is a new game. Doesn't matter if youswept the last four-game series; if you aren't focussed you can get swept in the next series by a team that's twelve games out of first in the middle of July. You can have the best self-published title in the world, but if you go on a fifteen-day losing streak (less than a page a day) your chances of ending up in first place at the end of September are twofold: slim and nil. Picture the kind of focus that it takes to be in peak physical and mental condition every day for six months. Win or lose, today's game is today's game. You shrug off the losses (all right, I only got one panel inked yesterday. Today I'll do two pages) and the wins (I got almost three pages done yesterday and today my productivity sucks. Everyone and everything get the fuck out of my way; I'm going to get two pages done if I have to work until two in the morning). Nothing exists but today's game.
See, to me, drawing and writing Cerebus is the same as sleeping. Sometimes you can sleep and sometimes you can't. When you have insomnia (I think) you are basically afraid to sleep. You don't want to enter Morpheus' realm because you had a dream last night that you've forgotten that told you some very unpleasant truths about yourself. You are exhausted: you want to sleep. Sleeping is one of the most natural things in the world for you, all things being equal. To accomplish it, all that is required is getting out of your own way and it happens all by itself. But suddenly the part of your brain that wants to sleep is dominated by the part that wants to think. All that is going around in your head is useless 'real' world stuff: your relationship, your ex-relationship, family stuff, disturbing conversations you've had with people whose opinion you don't respect. You go in to work and the drawing board seems to be at the wrong end of the telescope. You find a hundred excuses not to work instead of kicking those impediments out the door and telling them to come back later . . . much later. It is the same thing. The part of your brain that wants to write and draw is dominated by the part that wants to do something (anything) else. Writing and drawing requires going inside yourself to your own little world that no one can enter except you. Every friend and loved one that you have is either consciously or unconsciously jealous of that fact and consciously or unconsciously they labour to keep you away from it. Other writers and artists are the worst. If they're afraid to work that day, they will usually try to find another writer or artist (either in person or by phone) to share their misery, their fear of going to their own secret place. 'Hey, if I can't go to my secret place, you can't either.' Stop feeling guilty about your secret place, stop feeling guilty that others can't go there with you. The more time you spend there, the happier you're going to be. Everyone enjoys a good night's sleep and dreaming. As a writer and/or artist, you get to sleep and dream, and then do basically the same thing for a living. Unplug the phone, put a 'do not disturb' sign on the door and then lock it. Then vanish into your secret place, your private world. Dream. Dream.
Cerebus No. 43 (June 1992) - Aardvark Vanaheim - Well, it's almost fifteen years since I bought the first issue of Cerebus. 'High Society' (or should that be 'Slow Society') lurches to a conclusion. Checking my files, I find that this is the third issue to come out this year of this ostensibly 'monthly' title. Once again we are treated to a Note From Everyone's Ex-Husband/Ex-Boyfriend. Let's see, there was the year off after his marriage to 'recover his bearings', the plea for subscriptions when his bank account (Old Dave Hubbard went to the Cupboard . . .) vanished (couldn't be all those trips to sunny climes with the Bimbo du Jour, could it? Nah). Don't get me wrong. I like Cerebus. I'd even go out on a limb and say I LOVE Cerebus. If he ever gets to 'Church & State' (which at this rate should be around 1996) I'm sure I'll LOVE that as well. I just have the awful feeling that someone told Sim to 'get a life' and he, unfortunately, is taking them at their word. I wish him well with his forthcoming marriage but it would be nice to see issue one hundred before I'm old and gray. Two and a half stars. Davey, we hardly knew ye.
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