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Aug 15, 2023: reflections on the Childhood Magnum Opus


not gonna do a lot of preamble about who i am and what i'm about. just diving right in.

pulled the page of pentacles reversed today. pages are about childlike wonder and enthusiasm, unmarred by concerns such as realism and practicality. pentacles are about earthly things - not just money and material goods, but also health and nurturing. the LWB for the deck i'm using, Soul Cards, has this to say about the page of pentacles:

The Page of Pentacles reversed often shows up when the asker has lost sight of why they started a project or pursued a passion as a career. They may be feeling scattered, stuck or a loss of excitement. Distraction abounds and they are unable to focus on larger goals. This card invites the asker to reinvigorate their mind and invite joy, gratitude and love back into their craft. This could mean exploring their creativity in a new way with no expectations of the outcome, or journaling on the vision of why they started in the first place.

well doesn't this just reek of kenah. it's my biggest personal project, a story i've been holding on to for like, twenty years now. it's my childhood dream, my magnum opus, and it's got a lot hanging on its success, for me as an individual.

as if that wasn't enough, just last night (probably? i have already lost all sense of time) an excellent post came across my cohost feed. i'm happy to say i'm pretty well-adjusted when it comes to my expectations of feedback on my work - i know that, as an OC artist, most of my stuff is for me first and foremost. i know the value and effort of meaningful feedback, even if it's not constructive critique! so mostly this post was affirming and made sense with what i already knew. this part made me think, though:

Go listen to some of the great comic artists, or game designers talk about why they made games. They are making art to serve their audience. They're not getting hung up on their childhood creative ideas, they are designing ideas specifically to find success.

[...]

if you're trying to make stuff For you.......... FOR other people, well, you're setting yourself up to be miserable. [...] if I finally release Brave Earth Prologue and it doesn't do nearly as well as I hope, I kinda gotta hold that because, even with those concessions, I made a game for me. [...] You have to ask yourself. Why ARE you making art, and is your expectations aligned with what you're actually doing?

again, my personal sense is that i know all this stuff. i know kenah is my heartbreaker, though i've never heard that term before. my comic teacher said several times throughout the class, "beware your magnum opus." i thought i was Being pretty Ware, but i probably wasn't bewaring quite enough. thankfully, i'm well acquainted with the idea of doing something just for myself - hundreds of thousands of words of a completely indulgent self-insert story, never meant to be shared with anyone, are a great way to ensure that! but even if i'm not hung up on ideas of fame and monetary success and clout and backpats, i know i'm still scared of getting it wrong. this is a story i want to do justice to, on my own terms. that doesn't mean analyzing bestsellers and distilling their key elements and making kenah be that. that doesn't even mean looking at my peers' work and seeing what i love about that and jamming it into kenah. it means figuring out the story i want to tell, both the elements that are necessary and the elements that simply bring me joy.

it also means figuring out how much concentrated effort and plain hard work i'm willing to put into this to see it conveyed in the medium i want (realistically, a webcomic; in my wildest dreams, a full 3D adventure game). having previous ventured out to turn another story of mine into a webtoon, i have a good sense of how long it takes to tell a story via comics. namely: a whole fucking lot. i have to be willing to draw backgrounds and other shit that doesn't fully interest me. i have to be ready to bang my head against the wall of panel composition. i have to make amends with the fact that i can never draw my main protagonist consistently.

and i have to be willing to be kind to myself, because this is something i'm doing for me... and for little me. it's okay if i'm the most enthusiastic person about it. it's okay if it never makes money. it's okay if i pour hundreds of hours into something that others don't see as a success. because it's my success.