Have you ever had to knock on wood?

My schedule this weekend is going to be rough. But before I tell you about it, I need to wish a happy birthday to zubkavich. I don’t know how old he is, but he’s had far, far more experience with deadlines in this business than I have. I’m sure that if he’s reading my whinings he’s saying something like “yeah? well, there was this one time…”

Happy birthday, Jim.

I’m listening and re-listening to “The Impression I Get,” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The theme of the song is that the singer has never been truly tested, and wonders whether he’d shine or not.

I’m not a coward, I’ve just never been tested
I’d like to think that if I was, I would pass
Look at the test, and then think “there but for the grace go I”
Might be a coward, I’m afraid of what I might find out.

Me, I’ve been tested, time and again. It’s come down to “do or die” and I’ve had to “rise above the rest.” And this weekend, thanks to shipping delays, it’s going to happen again, in a new way. If we’re going to get everything shipped on time, I need to sign 1884 books and sketch in 300 of them in something like 36 straight hours. Sure, sure… people keep telling us (me and Sandra) not to stress, and to do the books “when they get done”. I’ve got news for these folks: having books lying around unsigned will generate more than just stress. It will generate GUILT. We’ve got your money, and you don’t have your book yet. We really, really hate that.

I’ve timed myself. I can do a decent sketch inside of 3 minutes. 300 of those comes to 900 straight minutes, or a minimum of 15 hours of sketching. Hopefully there will be people around to provide moral support, because I can imagine myself going quietly, busily insane. But before anybody tries to tell me not to worry about it, know this… I have to TRY.

Part of me looks at this in abject terror. But there’s this other guy, the guy who has never missed an update in 5 years and 11 months, who thinks this is just some new flavor of “fun.” Sure, the folks shipping the books to me may have twisted our carefully-laid plans into a bona fide mongolian charlie foxtrot, but I just got a new suit. If Charlie wants to dance, I’m gonna lead.

14 thoughts on “Have you ever had to knock on wood?”

  1. *L* I’ve always enjoyed the Charlie-Foxtrot jokes in the strip. Fun to see them spill over into your blog. In the words of Corporal Pronto Pontucci…

    “I got into a fistfight, blew up a door, and got to use duct tape twice… It’s a good day to die.”

    *salutes* Go get ’em, Corporal. 😉

  2. Heh, yeah. Most people don’t get that undone work leads to guilt leads to stress leads to unhappiness in some.

    “You’re still at work? Why are you still at work?”

    Because creating things creates anti-guilt. Pride from accomplishment is rewarding and relaxing after accomplishment is the sweetest rest I know.

    (posted from work)

  3. I complete understand your attitude, but at this point, I feel I must slap you with a fish.

    Not in a unhappy way, because I’m really looking forward to my Schlock.

    But that said — Let me put to rest $18 of your guilt and tell you I can wait. I would feel guilty if I were part of the cause for you and Sandra to be so stressed.

    I know you two are hardworking with wonderful work ethic, but I also want to point out that your’s and Sandra’s LJ have bought a lot of patience capital: Reading what you’re going through, and having to face, has really put a face on things. I’m cool with waiting a few days or a week to recieve mine. 😛 Hell, I’ve waited years so far! XD

    And here’s a thought for the next book: Try making up some book plates so that you can sign and sketch pre-orders before the books arrive. Then you can just slap the bookplate on the book and ship it out. Some people may find that cheesy however, but I don’t have a problem when authors do it, and I wouldn’t have a problem if you did either.

    Good luck this weekend and remember despite all the work you have yet to get through to have fun at the party. I wish I could get there, but at 3.00 bucks a gallon, a 2,000 mile trip seems pretty frivolous ;). And have fun! You’re livin’ the dream!

  4. As a friend of mine just told me, “crappy time to quit herione”. No I don’t know what that means either.

    I for one will not give you a break.

    /me taps foot impatiently.

  5. I’ll wait, do mine last.

    More specifically, do mine after you’ve signed/sketched all the others, gotten them posted, had a good meal, had a nap and you’re feeling relaxed. Then do mine.

    It will be worth the wait.

  6. I already posted on Sandra’s LJ, to relax and not rush on my account, so for now I’ll just say: Party on Wayne!

    Party on Garth!

  7. For inspiration, “Question the Answers” might help. It’s the Bosstones’ greatest album, and now would be as good a time as ever to get into it.

  8. I’ll wait too. Don’t break your drawing hand.

    I’d wait longer if you would sketch mine. I think I missed that line my a couple dozen books. 🙁

  9. Strike Team: GO!

    All right, Utah County Schlockers:

    At an as-yet classified time tomorrow, Bald Eagle One will be making its run. She’ll be loaded with nearly a ton of ordnance and will be striking far beyond her rated range.

    They need in-flight refueling, they need covering fire, and they need relief teams at every leg of the relay.

    We can’t drop those bombs for Howard. But if we have to, we can carry that plane there and back again.

    Who’s in?

    Seriously, let’s treat this like a Con. Who wants to show up and be Howard’s “handler” for a few hours at a time, making sure he’s got the supplies (chemical, artistic and nutritive) to get his work done and have fun doing it?

  10. Guilt must be earned, Howard. If you’re guilty over performing superhuman feats and yet not reaching the goal, I’m sorry for you. *smile*

    Only suggestion I can offer – Instead of asking, “Did it get done?”, ask “Did I do the best I *realistically* could?”

    As long as you answer ‘yes’ to the latter, I would be very surprised if anyone gave you any guff. *smile* Well, other than relatives…. *eyeing comments above*


  11. Meh, just lower your standards. Give each book maybe 45 seconds’ worth of sketch-time, and your fifteen hours is down to less than 5.

    I’m laughing as I write this. Laughing diabolically, I ‘magine.

    1. Notice how the fans and friends are being supportive, and the relatives are the smart-asses?

      Par for the course…

      1. What’s that line about a prophet (Possible mistranslation – profit?) not receiving respect in his home town? *wry grin*

        Howard, the REST of the world’s rooting for ya. We don’t get to see your feet of gummy-erasor-stuff that your family does, tho’. (Hey! – Imagine erasing sketchmarks by tapdancing on the drawing….)


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