Two different strips from Zen Pencils passed my attention this year, both dealing with the subject of the drive to create. In both cases I can’t look at them without remembering other Zen Pencils works. The first is referential to John Greene, the second to Neil Gaiman.
I’m not too fond of Neil Gaiman’s online presence, this sort of semi-ethereal supergenius drifting around the world and being considered a near-gospel source for inspiring cleverness, if only because I think that’s probably what I want to do with my life and he’s taking up my spot, but it has been useful to reflect this year on words about writing, about the drive to keep writing.
Strangely, my grief has not been channelled into writing lately. My writing has been about granting things to my friends, about wanting to make other people feel better, not to make myself feel less-worse.
These are not what I expect to be my great works, and I do not aspire for them to be great. But I do aspire for them to find people who they can make happy. At the moment, even if only one of you were reading Sand, I would continue, because I know it’s appreciated, I know it’s enjoyed. I wrote Immortal Engine for nobody-in-particular, but crammed it with references to my friends. The game I finished, “Call Me Happy” is for an audience of one.
I have not yet written anything I can bring to my mind that was about channelling the sadness of this year. Maybe the two most forgettable parts of Sand are tied to the deaths of my pets, and the sudden dip in productivity around my Grandmother’s passing… but what’s driven my art this year has been trying to give to my friends, trying to create gifts.