I'm in a screw-the-world mood today, which is always the case when I work particularly hard on something and then the blog traffic dries up. Sometimes I wonder if I could deliberately create anything that could prove less popular. I doubt if I could.
Other than write and record the podcast, I spent yesterday turning my attention to things other than politics and current affairs. I drew three cartoons, two of which go straight into the folder labelled 'things only I find funny'. It was a strange day in that respect. I'd fired up my Gag Machine for the first time in a few weeks and the ideas began to flow like they've not flowed in a while. I wrote until I had a full page of cartoon ideas and thereby proved to myself that sometimes the imagination does indeed run flat and needs time away to recharge.
Of course, I look at the list today and wonder what the hell I was thinking. A few of the ideas towards the bottom are indistinguishable from madness. As I write the ideas, I always sort them according to their strength. Some are fully fleshed out ideas and others are just strange phrases that I like to keep in the chance that on a future day I'll look again and see the cartoon that was previous only peeping out.
I then start drawing them, working my way down the list, hoping that by the time I reach those at the bottom, I'll have sat down and written a new list, which I incorporate into the old. Over weeks, the list will reach hundreds of ideas, the best of them drawn and the remainder undrawable. When the undrawables gets too long, I usually abandon the list and start again. Yesterday was one of those new starts.
Today I intend to spend drawing more cartoons for myself. I've missed them. There's something to be said about trying to draw standard 'mainstream' cartoons on topical affairs but it can get wearying. I started to cartoon all those years ago because I like to draw the sort of surreal cartoons that I find funny but I so rarely see published anywhere. When I say cartons for myself, I mean that my absolute favourite cartoons lie in a very hard to define region between the lucid and insane. I mean this sort of thing:
The fact I have so few of this kind of cartoons over the past few months is a bad sign. I've been chasing the kinds of non-surreal cartoon ideas I see elsewhere which I don't find quite as funny but stand a reasonable chance of getting published.
That's one of my chief frustrations. My favourite cartoons would never get published. They appeal to such a very small minority of people who share my sense of humour and 'get' them. It means I end up trying to restrict my natural instincts towards the 'crazy' and draw ideas like 'Issac Newton under tree. Apple logo falls on his head'. That was on my list yesterday and I thought it so weak that I even uttered an 'urgh!' as I wrote it down. I also knew it must have been done before, not only once but a thousand times. And frankly, I wouldn't find it funny if I saw it. So I changed it and had 'Isaac Newton under tree. Apple Mac falls on his head'. Now that's a bit funnier but I also guessed it would have been done and so it has.
That is the kind of cartooning I hate. It probably explains why I don't get published and get so dejected when my best work is rejected. The market forces you towards the mainstream and to copy the cartoons you see getting published. You end up worn out by the struggle to be derivative and 'middle class'. I'm going to see if I can hold that back for a while and try to just enjoy cartooning for a few days.
For that reason, I'm glad that politics will now ease off. The politicians are now heading deep into 'screw you' territory where it becomes dispiriting to follow.
Tom Watson is a fine MP and, despite my earlier reservations about him, I think he's worked tirelessly around the business of Westminster pedophiles and other forms of systemic corruption. He's now running for deputy leader but I had a jaw-crushing-my-toes moment when I saw how he's trying to crowd-fund his campaign and will probably succeed.
I clearly go about things the wrong way. I can't raise enough money to buy myself a new pair of boots and after a few hours Watson is already two grand up towards his £25,000 target to fund his campaign. Scratch that. In the time it's taken me to write all of the above, it's gone up another £1000.
Twenty five thousand pounds! And that's only to become deputy leader. It seems such an odd thing to do only days after winning your seat and another five years on a Christ-only-knows-but-I-can-only-dream-about salary. The donations are already in crazy donation territory. Plenty of people throwing £50 at him but also many over £100. If politics engages people that much, how come the things I've done with a political slant have the lowest traffic? It baffles me. In ten years of blogging, my biggest donation remains less that £10.
I should start offering to sell my original inked cartoons for a stinking fortune. I should stop writing a blog which actually costs me money to give away the entire creative output of my brain. It's madness. I need to learn from these socialists about how to make money. I've been going about it the wrong way. I'll never afford boots that don't leak water at toes at this rate.