If you click here, you will see the AKIRA invite Marcelo did for my 25th birthday – so many, many moons ago! You just have to scroll down to see the full page. Having never shown my face on DoctorDi, I have slightly mixed feelings about doing this, but it’s kind of perfect, too, as this both is and very obviously isn’t me. To my blogging friends, I don’t know that I’ll get a better opportunity than this to reward your very polite curiosity about what I look like. It’s cheating, I know, but it’s also quite fun, I think, and I suspect you’ll agree.
The Darklings have been in conference about whether or not I should pursue the images for the manuscript at all. C voiced her concerns, J followed, and so naturally I gave the matter even more thought, and tried to assuage their doubts and fears about the impact on the MS and its chances of ever seeing the light of day. The main thing I hope I expressed to them and want to express to you is that my MS stands without these images. I view them as a potential enhancement, as I said to the Darklings, ‘a very nice to have.’ But were I to ultimately abandon the idea, the MS won’t fall apart. It is intact, a thing in itself. And I think that’s important.
The other thing I perhaps hadn’t articulated until C expressed her doubts was that I am currently exploring the idea, and I can’t make an informed decision about the potential impact of images – for better or worse – until I see some. At the moment it’s all in my mind. I may take one look at an initial sketch and realise it’s a terrible idea, unworkable, disastrous, but I have to be able to view the sketch in the first place in order to make that determination. I suspect these images will actually serve the story very well, but I could be wrong. The only way to find out is to pursue the idea.
There’s a clear cost risk involved, and as I can barely rub two beans together at the moment, I am not planning to commission artwork lightly, I assure you. But I do think it is an investment I need to make, so I’m very glad I’ve just been commissioned myself. I have to write three articles this week, and they will go some way toward paying Marcelo or whoever else eventually agrees to the project. Thank you, freelance fairies…
I’ve given all this so much thought. If you had read my thesis (and of course no one but the three examiners have submitted to that particular hell), you would know that in some sense I have been working toward this collaboration for many years. The relationship between words and images and the additional meaning created by the gap between them is a fundamental preoccupation of mine. I think one of the reasons the Darklings became so concerned is that this is not something I articulate in so many words. But it’s there in the text, this embedded principle, and exploring that space is one of my core creative imperatives. I wouldn’t necessarily think to say that to other people, it’s just part of how I think, so obvious to me that I sometimes forget it needs saying. It’s made me reflect upon the people I’ve been most drawn to in my life, and, aside from those who compulsively write and/or read, it’s definitely been artists. I’m fascinated by the way they use space to create meaning. The composition of a painting, the shock of a room-sized installation, the play of sculpture in unexpected places – all these things fascinate me. All that potential for humour, surprise and, what it all comes down to, human expression. And images are the basis of my comic artist character’s expression. He speaks in pictures. Wouldn’t I be doing him a great disservice to ignore his gentle pleading? Shouldn’t I at least “hear” him out by looking for someone who “speaks” the same tongue, and so may be able to help me collapse the gap between their language and mine? I think I should. I want to know what else he has to say that on my own I can’t quite hear.
p.s. I forgot to say how much I value the candour of the other Darklings. It’s not easy speaking up about important differences of opinion, and I appreciate their honest response to my ideas absolutely. We won’t always agree, but that’s all right. We don’t need to. But we do need to be totally free with each other – and it’s that transparency and constructive criticism you just can’t put a price on.