(Well, I’m not but…eh, y’know.)
As of this writing, the baby’s due in a little over two weeks. It’s our first, my second (my son is fourteen). This time around, it’s a girl. I’m ecstatic. I’ve truly never been happier in my life.
Okay, now comes the really hard part; the thing that I really don’t want to admit. This happiness that I’m feeling…? This overwhelming sense of fulfillment and balance…? It’s almost completely wiped out my desire to create stories.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I mean, seriously. When I’m unhappy, besieged by anger or hopelessness or contempt, I’m so driven to write that I can barely sleep. Admittedly, when I’m in such a state, I’m never satisfied with what I’ve written — but that only impels me to move onto the next project as quickly as possible, never breaking from that frantic, furious pace. But when things are going well for me I tend to stall, creatively. I relax. I lose focus.
Or I gain focus…?
When my son, Dylan, was born, I was dirt-poor. I had nothing because I’d never wanted anything. That’s a side effect of growing up in poverty that you almost never hear about; the fear that, if you gain something, you’ll lose it. So why risk it? If you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. Yeah, it’s bullshit, but it’s comforting.
Dylan was born at the beginning of August, 1999. Suddenly, I had something. Something incredible. A month and a half later, Hurricane Floyd blew in and destroyed the restaurant where I was working as a chef (and, therefore, my job/source of income). At the very same time (literally, within hours), my dad dropped dead from a heart attack at 46. Fuck this, I said to myself.
Within a year, I was writing for Marvel. Evidently, I’m at my best only when I’m at my worst. And that really, really, really sucks.
I’m at a very strange point in my life. I have to find a new motivation. I have to become comfortable with happiness. I have figure out how to nurture my career-which I love, dearly-with something other than anger or fear. That “something,” of course, is happiness.
See? It’s strange.
This time around, I’m financially secure. I’m in great physical health and — okay, mental health. Everything’s good. I wish that I could enjoy it more without having to enjoy it less.
It’s not that I’ve stopped working. I can’t, frankly; I’ve accepted and signed contracts for half a dozen comic book projects, all of which involve other people who are counting upon me to deliver. And I will. It just won’t be easy.
Hm. Maybe that’s it. Yeah, that’ll work.
Problem solved. Next problem, please.