Diary of a Freelancer Redux

Fog of Worry Diary I want to encourage you. But give me a minute.

I'm an introvert, it turns out. I know you wouldn't think that, because I'm smirky and I'm a comic and I'm a redhead. But, turns out, I'd rather be drawing and writing than almost anything else on the planet. The three exceptions to this are:

  1. being on, or in, water
  2. traveling with my guys
  3. climbing Mayan temples
  4. eating Mexican* food

*Or, Indian food. Either one. Both magically delicious in their own amazing way!

I know, that's four!! And then, five, with the asterisk! Keep reading anyway!

I think you have to be pretty self-motivated, when you're a freelancer. And lately, I've been frustrated with what I am  or am not getting done - that's a big piece of it too. In the last few months, I lost my dear Dad (very shaky still), and we've moved to a new city (this month), and I'm still staring at many unpacked boxes (intimidating, and where's my dang Martha White Corn Meal?). It's a (let's call it) challenging time of life. And I know "the West" gets it wrong, with grief, and how fast we should process things. But that's another bloggy wog. Sooooo, anytime I get down about my work, or my life, or my mood, I just pull out a sketchbook and my iPad . . . and I keep drawing, and I keep writing.

I talk to the Great Creator (which is a lot of what is in my head and on my pages) and I ask WHY? and WHY NOT? a lot. I think  right now that God may be very bored with me, but somehow fascinated, like a now-jolly, now-angry kid watching a roly-poly on the sidewalk. And I ask God questions, and I think, hmmm. God is not answering, God is observing, or God is waiting, or God is binge-watching "Stranger Things" on Netflix, like everybody else. And I think about how small a word "God" is, for the Great Creator.  And I want miracles for everyone with Parkinson's and Cancer. Right now.

I'm so glad to have my health, and mad that others don't.

And wondering why some people think they have to be mean to others. I'm horrified by what Leslie Jones has been going through, and proud of her for standing up to it. And mad about how that redirects her great, creative energy for a bit. Stealing her time (I'm always in a bad mood if you steal my time, even without all that hate attached.)

And then I'm back to me again, feeling inadequate, still, of all things! You would think that at this age, my middle-school insecurities would be wiped away, but nope, turns out, I'm human. Dammit. I keep trying to rise above that, but well, as you see.

And then I make a list of what I've done this year.

Which includes 300 drawings for two coloring books, plus comics and cartoons for Dirty Diamonds, The All-Girl Comics Anthology, an illustration for The Cartoonist, for the National Cartoonists Society, two comics and two ads for Magic Bullet (DC Conspiracy), my own work on Haint Blue, my it's-taking-forever graphic novel about the supernatural, and submitted my Fog of Worry panel comics to more than one syndicate (waiting on that). I've written and performed stories on stage with Story District DC and Storytalks NYC (Gotham Comedy Club), and performed my standup act at Comic Strip Live in NYC.

And I feel a little better, but cancer and Parkinson's are still attacking people I know and love, and their friends and family. I'm mad about that. I keep coming back to it.

And I spend a little time praying, and hoping prayer "works."

Back to drawing.

Hang in there, everybody, we are all on a journey no one else can really see. Because if they DID see, we would be embarrassed at how often we turn to brownies for solace, even if they ARE Fiber-One brownies, and so much better for you.

Right now I'm planning the fall cons - CreativeCon Panama City, and New York ComicCon. Well, I'm not the one planning them, who has time for that? (See: "Stranger Things".)

peace, love, and other things hippies say,

 

trl

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOG OF WORRY: DIPPING SAUCE

Dippingsauce

Forget Regret

This journal piece I'm posting is a meditation, and I call it a meditation, because then you will think I really really worked hard on it. But! That goes against the whole point of ART JOURNALING, which should be done pretty quickly, to reduce the self-editing factor. I know you can hardly believe I ever edit myself, but oh-yes-I-do. Okay, and if you cannot work quickly, work slowly but HONESTLY. Not yelling, just emphasizing. I'm posting a piece I did last August, when I was working hard to not regret some things. The results of choices I've made -  bemoaning my woeful business sense, wondering when I come off as insensitive, (lots of lack of sense here), wishing I were taller . . . you know the routine. (BTW, I'm 5'6", but due to my width . . .) ANYWAY!

Today I want to encourage you (and me) to focus on the future with the learning from the past and awareness of the present. (Should I sell this as a motivational poster at Staples?!! You tell me!) No, really. I have been guilty of beating myself up, why I did this, why I didn't do that, why I didn't choose one thing over the other, why I wasn't more assertive or why I didn't understand a certain situation clearly, or why I don't look like a supermodel. (Geez, back to shallow.) Plus, I have a straight answer on that one, and it has to do with my sincere, deep, and heartfelt love of collard greens cooked with ham hocks, blackeyed peas cooked with bacon, and a big corn pone served up with buttah. I hear that the bona fide supermodel Kate Moss has said, "Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels," and I think that's because she's never had my mama's cookin'. And, for my part, I choose the comfy soul food I grew up with. (Okay, but I'll exercise more this year.)

So, here's to forgetting regrets . . . I cannot say "no regrets," because in my estimation, to never have regrets at all would mean one is a very insensitive arse of a person. So, don't beat yourself up, don't be an arse; hang in there, look forward.

BTW, this is meant in no way to endorse MSNBC's new promo phrase "Lean Forward," because I think that's stupid. It just makes me think that they don't believe in actually GOING forward, just looking like they might consider it at some point. Like, hey, don't you think we won't, 'cuz we're gonna. Maybe.

"Lean Forward" also makes me think of those trick clown shoes which hook into the floor so they can lean all directions and not fall over.

A clown leaning forward.

Brrrrrr. Way to give me the heebie jeebies, MSNBC.

peace, love, and other things hippies say,

trl

Po' (but awesome!) Paella

Po Paella

We made paella on a budget the other night, and it was awesomeness! Two considerations for us were cost, and the fact that we had two vegetarians, and we didn't want them to have too much trouble picking out the meat and seafood, so we stuck to big chunks of chorizo, which they could easily spot. Also, we are fortunate in that LaTienda, a Spanish food importer, is based right here in Toano, of all places! So we can shop there. YOU are fortunate, in that they have a kick-ass website where you can order all foods Spanish: http://www.LaTienda.com.

I, BTW, cannot even THINK the word "paella" without thinking of the Fawlty Towers episode where Manuel makes (or talks a lot about making) his famous paella . . .

Here's the recipe - we were budgeting, and we have some great local fresh produce. My friend Alisa bought the veggies from a local farmer's market, and we went to LaTienda for the Spanish foods. I always keep smoked paprikas on hand - they add so much flavor! Anyway, here's the recipe we improv'd:

1/4 c. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

salt (we had some French salt, but you can use kosher or sea salt)

fresh ground black pepper

2 teaspoons paprika - we used Spanish smoked paprika (the "bittersweet" style, from LaTienda)

1 large white onion, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 yellow summer squash, diced

1 large (we used a ginormous one) bell pepper, diced

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes

8 oz. Spanish style chorizo links (we got ours at LaTienda) - some recipes call for 1 pound, we went quality over quantity!!

4.5 cups chicken broth

2 cups short-grain rice (we used Bomba Spanish rice - it is awesome! you can sub Arborio)

pinch of saffron threads (don't hate us, but we skipped this, to save dinero)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a paella pan or very large shallow skillet  - a big cast-iron skillet is awesome, but I used my flat-bottomed cast-iron wok my cousin Shelia gave me a few years ago (thank you Shelia, I love my wok!!)

Pour in the olive oil, and heat to medium. Add the paprika, and stir it into the oil. Add the onions and the bell pepper, and sauté  until softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and chorizo. Cook that about 5 minutes, and add the veggies. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then stir in the rice. Cook without stirring for about 20 minutes.

I noticed that I did add a little more olive oil as I was cooking - use the salt and pepper to taste; I tend to throw in pinches while I'm cooking - you know your own taste :-)

We bought picos (little Spanish tapas breadsticks), cheese, and anchovy-stuffed olives to use as apps and to eat along with the paella, and had a great fresh salad Alisa made - with a great vinaigrette she made. We thought another touch which would be great would be do mince the anchovy-stuffed-olives and add to the vinaigrette!

OH!!  and the SANGRIA:

2 cups simple syrup (sugar water  - dissolve sugar in warm water) - this part is to your own taste, k? I didn't put much sugar in the syrup, so you have to gauge this to your own liking

1 24 oz (750 ml) bottle red wine (I used 3-buck-Chuck)

1/2 c. orange juice

10 oz. Tonic water

thinly sliced oranges, lemons, apples, or whatever you have on hand

Mix, pour over ice, enjoy - I DID punch this one up with about 3/4 c. of Trapiche Malbec (Argentina) - and that made it JUST RIGHT :-)