It’s the Friday after a long hard week and, somewhat gratifying, I woke this morning to find a message from Stu from Horwich, though he didn’t leave an email address so I couldn’t reply directly. But thank you, Stu, for the message and it’s good to see such optimism this far north. You say you think you’ll win The Spectator’s competition ‘along with every other bugger’ but, honestly, I never for once thought I stood a chance of winning. Of course, I hoped, I dreamed, and I would have given my right buttock to draw cartoons for The Spectator. But I assume the Michael Heath cartoon competition already been decided. I’ve not looked in weeks so I wouldn’t know. I really can’t bear to look and discover that it’s been won by some twenty-three year old New Age crystal tapper called Sky or Mist who only took up cartooning last week when doodling lipstick moon symbols on tree bark.
I’m so weary of rejection that I’m finding it hard to write. I suppose the Michael Heath competition was one of the straws that finally broke this particular spine. I could say that I’ve not had time to blog but I would have made the time if I’d had the enthusiasm. It’s grim work, writing and drawing year after year for no reward. This week I feel a little more broken inside. It’s ironic but I was reading the new Private Eye cartoon book the other day where they complain that all their cartoonists are getting on in years. I’ve submitted material, mainly cartoons but also comic prose, on and off to Private Eye for nearly a decade and I have always been rejected. I can’t help but think that there’s a reason why they have a lack of younger cartoonists. They utterly destroy us before they give us a break.
I suppose all bloggers go through a process of falling out of love with blogging. We begin with renewed enthusiasm and eventually fall silent, reflecting the mood of the world. It’s the heat death of the blogosphere. It makes it particularly rewarding to discover that some old friends are still playing the game. I rediscovered Elberry a week or two ago. I once met Elberry in Manchester and I confess that he frightened me. That’s partly down to my own personality. I’m not good at meeting new people but that’s especially true when that person seems as mad as badger hair yet yet possibly the most intelligent person I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. It also took a while before I realised that he plays a fun game with exaggeration and is actually one of the kindest souls out there. I don’t say that trying to flatter him and I don’t exaggerate. I say that exactly as I mean it. He's really one of the good guys. Just don’t let him hear me say that.
Reading Elberry’s blog gives me renewed enthusiasm to work harder. He reminds me that we work not because of the money but because of the work. That’s why it feels so good to be doing work I enjoy for which I’ll get paid, even a nominal amount. My 90 second animated film improves with each day’s long toil. It’s still not animated enough and much work needs to be done. However, it has become something of a labour of love. I really want it to be the best I can make. I learn new things every day. I’m always moving outside my comfort zone. I want to be proud of it but I also want others to be proud of it. Perhaps in a few weeks, I’ll be able to post it here and say ‘this is what I did instead of blogging’ and people will say, ‘well done, great work, but there’s not enough foliage, the scale is off, and I’d have made his trousers brown instead of blue’.