Reaching a Goal: Writing about my Work

meAt an Event, doodling. Look at the HAIR GEL!!!

Reaching a Goal
Writing about my Work
Written By Grandpa Dinosaur

Historically, my family have been nothing but simple farmers. Upon coming to Canada, my entire family went into the automobile industry. Even my long, estranged Uncles in America are a part of the auto industry. I don’t think that I would enjoy working in the auto industry, even though I like welding and building things. It seems like a dead end for my family, a back-up choice, or no choice. I find that a lot of Cambodian people work in the auto industry and do factory work, just because it is good money. In fact it was hard for me to think of someone who did not do factory work.

My parents were very upset at first, as they had lower expectations for me growing up. My brother was to be the doctor, and I was supposed to have the dead end job and bad education. They ended up banking on things in reverse and as a result they’re not to happy with how things turned out. Regardless, they’re happier now that that I did not choose the enter the auto industry and that I am continuing my education. They show a little support, but I never expected that they would.

I’m very goal oriented. Without goals or objectives, I really don’t do anything.

Without being able to envision a future, I would not be able to do anything.

Lately, I’ve been suffering due to high expectations, Asian expectations. People expecting me to act accordingly as a “Cambodian woman” should, while the crush comes from the Western side that I should move out because I am 23, rebutted by the senior community shouting that ladies don’t live alone.

And no one cares about my feelings. No one cares about my goals.

Talking to a friend last midnight made me realize that I was able to accomplish everything I have done because I have been able to endure hardship alone. More than that, I’ve also learned to deal with the disappointment and depression that had plagued me do to lack of parental, social and financial support. Friends that had promised to be there were vacant when push came to shove, and now when they are available, I no longer need their support as I am strong enough to go at it alone.

Also, because investing my belief they will there is taxing and the energy better distributed elsewhere.

And even before I walk, I know that the path I will undertake will be the loneliest walk of my life.

Thus is the life of creator.

I’ve spent hours alone, hunched over a paper or computer, crunching away. Not seeing friends, not going outside.

Writing a serious comic is the worse as you’re pouring yourself into every panel, every detail. So much so that NO ONE could understand what each page of your comic means to you. How many hours spent, glossing over pages, finishing work, begging others to proof-read, running to the printers.

I know Davita jokes about my stints and absences, but I DO and OFTEN go without sleep for days pressing through pages. Kerning and spacing letters in Indesign, printing copies that I read on 3 hours of sleep with the lights dim and a red pen to circle mistakes.

When I write, even poetry. I painfully stroke through every word with tension and frustration. I’ve been told that my poetry contains such rough and full of emotion that people actually feel scared and tense reading my writing.

Historically, I have not done well. People are often surprised that I talk about myself as though I’m not a prize, that I am humble about my accomplishments.

It’s very hard. As a person, a coloured person, a Cambodian woman, I’ve made a lot of personal sacrifices to get where I am. I’ve learned and suffered a lot of hard lessons while learning things that cannot be taught, and continue to learn and gradually change. I feel at times that no one understands what I do, and even if they understand I feel burdened by their expectations to do better.

Sometimes those are the same reasons why I stop writing for this blog when I write books, draw comics, sew clothing. Sometimes I worry that the poison from my frustrations will ruin my work, the way that being upset while decorating makes a Christmas tree look ugly. Those are the days of writing, writing, writing in isolation, running to the printers, cropping books, crying over easy to correct spelling mistakes due to people editing AFTER the book has been complete. These are times where I am so frustrated and feeling so alien, I push my family away, my friends, even Davita Cuttita. There are frustrations, heart-breaks and sadness that I keep within myself. There is sadness that I can share with no one.

It’s weird to hear people talk about me now as opposed to in the past, talking about me as a person who follows her dreams.

I’ve been off this blog, developing my skills, writing, networking, drawing, researching book publishing. Thus although I’ve been juggling blogging here and working there, one usually gives in to the other. I’m a very busy person due to all my aspirations, if I didn’t make eating a routine, I wouldn’t eat.

Although my family is all in the auto industry, they all have an entrepreneurial spirit that I know has been crushed due to the sacrifices and choices they had made.

Sacrifices and choices that have not paid off.

Because I want to have a life that may not even pay off in the near future, even the next three years, I still crunch on little comics and zines, and hardcover books that I literally assemble page by page. And all these little things I neglect this blog for may not even pan out… May not even mean a thing to anyone else besides myself as as a learning experience. As a step to boost my confidence, to teach me to run at certain intervals towards my goals, to pursue what I really want to do.

Communicate and connect with others with media.

And I laugh, because in the creation of these works I’m so alone in tiny rooms, with the understanding of my family as I scream at them about my self-imposed deadlines and actual deadlines. As I pull my hair over choosing a $10, 400.00 3D animation or a $3, 700.00 Book and Publication course at 4:00 in the morning. How I debating strategies and copyright complications of self-publishing as an amateur in the shower as I apply my shampoo.

This quote summarizes my feelings perfectly:

“Every moment you’re not doing work, you’re thinking about it, and more precisely, you’re thinking about how you ought to be doing it. Days of your life will pass with no memories, no social interaction, nothing but you and the work. But a cartoonist’s days leave behind pages, and the creation of these pages is worth trading our lives for, day by day.”

-Matt, Comic Tools

I left the idea of this post because I don’t feel I need to make excuses for my continued absence. I don’t care if no one understand, because people rarely understand why I care so much that I would give away weeks and months of my life purely working. I like to write things that would inspire others and I’ve always felt that writing about my personal work (not my fun fan stuff I love to also do) would make people feel… Depressed.

So I conclude this article with links to what I read when I am in the most pain after 3 hours of sleep for a week:
Hagio Moto is an older shojo mangaka in Japan. She teaches drawing manga in a Japanese University and has the same sort upbringing and family background as I do. She still has resistance from her mother today, but is very successful visionary in her field.
Keri’s Smith’s words are very simple, but they have the silent belief in the artist reading… Very inspiring.
I like to hit up his articles, jump though his links. The most inspiring thing is connecting with other artists and writers in the thick of creating books and tap into that working energy.

I don’t feel the need or rush to finish this article, or groom it for the concise words to make you feel good after reading it. Because I sure feel frustrated and tired, and I don’t feel that my feelings towards my work can really be explained in way that is sufficient to myself, let alone a reader. My work is still and always will be a work-in-progress, I hope to feel differently about my work—no, I actually feel that the pain and struggle of putting together books is essential to their creation. I’ve always felt a strong attachment into the smallest book, I hope my feelings don’t change. Ever.

Even to the end, I’m hoping to be one of those elderly people working to the last day that I’m allowed, only to have a heart-attack and collapse over a architects paper rending of a house.

Working to the next goal and then sorting out my life has become such an essential part of my existence. The circular trap that gives meaning to my existence, the reason why I’m alive. I’m very goal oriented. As I said in the beginning. Without goals or objectives, without being able to envision a future, I would not be able to do anything.

Reaching every one of my goals, creating every one of my books, finishing a project. It’s become the very cornerstone of my happiness. Selling my works to ABSOLUTE strangers, sending hand-made Christmas cards to as far as Sweden, getting packages from China. This is why I work. Even without the cheering support, against the odds, running at my own pace in a marathon and reaching the goal. Tired, elated. And it’s all these small little goals that become so much bigger than they were, that grow from such small ideas that make me so happy.

That’s how I’m feeling at the end of this article. And mostly every article. Thank you for reading.


~ by l on January 17, 2009.

7 Responses to “Reaching a Goal: Writing about my Work”

  1. […] in Uncategorized For those of you in the category of Obsessively Dedicated to Creative Ventures, this post by Grandpa Dinosaur over at PDDP about, well, lotsa stuff is, uh, really good. I can’t […]

  2. “Writing a serious comic is the worse as you’re pouring yourself into every panel, every detail. So much so that NO ONE could understand what each page of your comic means to you. How many hours spent, glossing over pages, finishing work, begging others to proof-read, running to the printers.”

    as an aspiring comic artist, i totally feel you. people who haven’t done it would never guess how much work goes into that shit.

  3. I always try to share my experiences. I know how tough and isolating pursuing an art career is for girls, especially coloured girls because no one understands why we are doing this work that’s so out of our field.

    It takes a lot of work and commitment. I hope to share so work when I finish.

  4. i look forward to seeing it. your post inspired me to pick up the pencil again yesterday, after a long break.

  5. Yeah, I had to take a long break to over the holidays due to being a part of multiple comic projects. (Our doujinshi is going to JAPAN! WOOT!) All in all, it’s been a fun experience, but I think it’s time I go for pro?

    Drawing is fun, and selling comics is fun. Overall, I’d like to draw more. I’m glad to hear that this blog post was inspirational. Have as much fun drawing, because comics is a cruel mistress. XD

  6. Thanks for writing this, so often you only see the work, and hear less of the process behind it. I’m really anal about my zine-making process, so much that when I copy them I always feel I’m betraying the original form because the machine takes out the color and dimension of an original. You just can’t explain to a stranger how many hours you spent cutting apart and perfectly arranging the text so that it highlighted such and such background image…and on and on. In the best moments, it’s enough to know I’ve made something I love and find beautiful. Oh well. Keep writing, when you have time that is, it’s much appreciated!

  7. I think that’s why certain work has more value to the creator than to the reader.

    As a writer, artist, book-maker and salesperson, I always hope that my books end up in the right hands and it the home of someone who will love it and wear it down into nothing.

    I will try, I have a lot of college applications and book writing to do….

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